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From the Desk of County Commissioner
 Jim Martin

(8/2013) The activity surrounding Adams County in recent weeks has given us much to reflect upon. Preparing for the 150th commemorative events and activities brought the private, public, and governmental sectors together for a very successful and memorable ten days of commemoration. A special thanks comes from the Commissioners to all that contributed their time and resources. All the events, that I was able to attend (wishing I could have attended more), were well done and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. This is a tribute to approximately three years of planning and implementation. Our elected state officials, The Governor, Senator Alloway, and State Representatives Moul and Tallman, initiated special efforts that placed $450,000 into the state approved budget to aid Adams County in covering costs to host the 150th. After the county receives these funds a process will be in place to reimbursement municipalities and organizations for their expenses directly related to supporting the 150th commemoration, which incidentally will continue through November 2013.

The many activities of the 150th and the associated business volume did create periodic congestion for county residents. However, as a result of good advanced planning at many levels, inconveniences were mitigated to levels that were considered by many to be very manageable. Regarding the inconveniences, I’d like to send out a special thank-you to our residents for being gracious hosts amid the increased traffic and activity.

Planners were not alone in dealing with the dynamics of the 150th. Finding solutions regarding conducting county business among high visitor volumes were seriously reviewed. Unexpected benefits actually resulted from these solutions. One notable action that came from this review was to move the usual Wednesday central court from the courthouse to an alternative location. The location that was selected was the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex (AKA County Prison). This kept considerable court traffic from entering the center of Gettysburg and helped to increase the availability of downtown parking. Also, security concerns were greatly reduced by not transporting prisoners into an environment of many visitors and slow traffic.

On July 3rd central court took place in a make-shift court setting at the prison. The operation went very well and this live exercise showed the merits of using the prison as not only an alternative site but perhaps considered for the future location of central court. The benefits of using the prison would reduce transportation costs to court, reduce demand upon the Sheriff’s department for prison transport, and provide increased security. This change would also increase the availability of parking. We will begin examining the cost of relocation versus the savings that could be achieved. If the numbers look favorable, a new location for central court may be in future plans.

While discussing the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex, last year a program, "Children of Incarcerated Parents", was in the early stages of being developed. Briefly this program is designed to bring accountability into the lives of the inmates and, in turn, gives their children a sense of caring, worth, and attachment that hopefully will lead to good decision making skills. Thanks to the warden’s direction and staff assistance, the first visit of an inmate with their child (under professional supervision) has occurred. More inmates will be participating in the near future. Inmates must successfully complete a certification program to have the privilege of the visitation program. The program also involves community volunteers that interact with the children in their home setting as additional support. A similar program has been successfully implemented in the Pittsburg area.

Beyond the 150th, Bike Week, and the prison the Commissioners had a unique opportunity to participate in events and activities of the International Fruit Tree Association Tour and Convention. Some 250 fruit industry growers, manufacturers, and researchers from around the globe converged on Adams County to network and share knowledge and experience. From the many topics of this tour, it is obvious fruit growing goes well beyond just planting and picking. Marketing and production strategies and research advancements permeated numerous discussions. Our only regret was the limited time to network with the attendees from different countries, states, and PA counties.

Adams County agricultural will have another opportunity to showcase its place in our community. The County’s agricultural fair will be held August 20 through August 24, at the South Mountain Fair Grounds, just a short distance west of Arendtsville on PA Route 234. The fair will open with 4-H Day, Tuesday, August 20th which provides interesting competition among 4-H club members from around Adams County. Please come and appreciate their accomplishments through many special projects. I plan to be there and hope to meet you and many others.

Lastly, the Commissioners will have an opportunity to meet many others from the McSherrystown area on August 9th while attending a special banquet at the SAVES Station to celebrate and commemorate McSherrystown’s 250th Anniversary . Anyone interested in attending this milestone banquet should call Pat Hubbard at 717-637-0121. As an FYI of future happenings, Abbottstown and East Berlin will also be celebrating their 250th Anniversary later this year. I will finish with a trivia question; 250 years ago Abbottstown, East Berlin, and McSherrystown were in what county?

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