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Public Relations Officer Hannah Brock has passion for City of St. Marys

ST. MARYS — Hannah Brock, City of St. Marys’ public relations officer/human resource specialist, grew up in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, but calls the Pennsylvania Wilds “home.”

Brock, 25, took two years off after college, working at a general store in Slate Run. She moved to St. Marys, where her father’s family is from, in January 2018. She recalls visiting Elk County for holidays throughout the years.

“It was always home here, I just didn’t realize it,” she said.

Brock says she wanted to build a life in St. Marys and showcase the area to everyone else.

City Manager Tim Pearson was responsible for the creation of Brock’s job, which was filled short-term by Leanne Kovack.

“There was a need for a human resources/PR position in order to take care of employees and provide the best service to the citizens of St. Marys,” she said.

She was helping out at a catering business when she met Pearson, Brock said.

“He sold me on his goals and dreams for St. Marys,” she said.

Brock calls herself the City’s “cheerleader,” adding that the purpose of her position is to celebrate what the town has to offer.

“Because I’ve lived in other places, I realize how special this place is,” she said. “A lot of what is here is a gift — the people, the mentality, the teamwork.”

One of the City’s goals is staying updated on modern technology, making information more accessible to residents through platforms like social media, Brock says. She can often be seen taking video at area events, with the video later posted on Facebook. There is also a “city camera” and “our town” video on the website.

Another goal includes making the Diamond in downtown St. Marys more “walkable,” Brock says.

Brock’s position also includes being a part of a team, she says, working with entities like the St. Marys City Council and Chamber of Commerce, Public Works, the mayor, police department and nonprofit organizations.

“For me, it’s about building something we love,” she said. “People have been building St. Marys for more than 125 years. The goal is to make a better foundation for anyone who comes after me.”

Another common goal includes making St. Marys better in order to better the region and the Pennsylvania Wilds as a whole, Brock adds.

“We want to grow as a region, one that’s already growing,” she said. “People 20 years before me created a foundation I can take and grow with.”

Part of Brock’s job also includes being a part of the good times, like volunteering at St. Marys events and meeting new people, she said.

“This job has taught me so much,” Brock said. “I’m so grateful to Pearson and the whole city team.”

With two million acres of public land and many businesses and sights to offer, it needs to be easy and accessible for people to gather information or visit the area, Brock said.

“What I love about St. Marys is they don’t give up,” she said. “They exist to help others. It’s in the foundation of our community.”

For more information, visit the City of St. Marys on Facebook or www.stmaryspa.gov.

ABATE ride raises more than $3,000 for Elk County Humane Society

ST. MARYS — An Elk County group of bikers and animal lovers hit the road to help a local shelter last weekend and raised more than $3,000.

Elk County ABATE — Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education — hosts several rides throughout the summer, including the “Ride for Vets” and the Penn Highlands Community Nurses Hospice event.

The ride benefiting the Elk County Humane Society in St. Marys on Aug. 10 welcomed bikes, trikes, cars, trucks and jeeps to enjoy a sunny day on the road for a good cause.

Chapter President Jeff Mohney said Saturday’s event welcomed 63 riders and more than $3,000 was raised.

Riders also stopped into the ECHS facility that day to visit shelter animals.

The event offered a buffet dinner, basket raffles, door prizes and more.

ECHS Operations Manager Sarah Evers said such fundraisers are a “life line” to keep the shelter going.

“All of the funds generated help with medical expenses for the animals, like vaccines and veterinary care when they need it, basic shelter supplies and expenses that come with the building...,” she said. “Without the community’s help, like the ABATE group, we would have to work twice as hard to raise money.”

“They have done this event for us for the past few years and it’s always gotten bigger and better every year, all because of their devotion to the shelter.”

Alexnelson / Alex Nelson 

The Punxsutawney band has put in 80 hours of hard work at band camp over the last two weeks.

Brookville children see the country with Flat Stanley Project

BROOKVILLE — Brookville youngsters gained an appreciation for new places through the “Flat Stanley Project” of the Rebecca M. Arthurs Library over the summer.

The Flat Stanley Project is one of the longest-lasting literacy projects on the web today. Children or organizations simply send the flat character to a school, celebrity, family member, or any person of interest to them. The idea is that the recipient will return Stanley with a competed journal of what he did, and photos or souvenirs from the place or places he “visited.”

This project is based on the 1964 book “Flat Stanley” written by Jeff Brown. Brown was the creator of Stanley Lambchop, and many other children’s books featuring the family. In the story, Stanley is flattened by a bulletin board, and makes the most out of being flat by taking trips to new places through the mail.

The “Flat Stanley” project was begun in 1995 by Dale Hubert, who was a grade school teacher at the time. The internet was in its early days, and Hubert was looking for a way to bring “kid-friendly” content to it for his students.

Students began sending Flat Stanley back and forth to classrooms whose students and teachers signed up to participate through Hubert. Eventually the list of participants rose to hundreds. Today, students cut and color their own Flat Stanley to send to any number of locations or people in the hopes of having him returned to them with a story about where he went.

The Brookville Library’s version of the project was overseen by children’s director Amanda Mignogna. To keep with the theme of the summer reading program, “A Universe of Stories,” Mignogna found an astronaut Stanley the children could color. Once he was colored and ready to travel, Mignogna sent the children home with a letter explaining the project to parents, and a letter to send with Flat Stanley. A second letter was to tell the recipient the goal of the project, and encourage them to return Stanley back with a “fun experience.”

Most of the children chose relatives to whom to send their Stanleys. The Stanleys were sent to places like Texas; Woodstock, Georgia; Springfield, Missouri; Washington D.C.; and Erie, Pennsylvania. One even traveled to three different places before coming back, stopping in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Mississippi.

“The kids were pretty excited to have them come back, and we still have some out there that haven’t returned yet,” Mignogna said.

Her goal for the projects was to help the children experience someplace new, even if it wasn’t that far away. She explained that some children have never been out of Jefferson County, and being able to get souvenirs from other places was exciting for them. It helps give them an appreciation for other places if they don’t get to travel themselves, Mignogna said.

Mignogna added that some of the recipients of the Flat Stanleys become excited as well. Some of the Stanleys came back with full letters written from the point of view of Stanley, and others had many photos included showing Stanley out at a number of different sites. One Stanley even returned with a book that was donated to the library about the history of the ranch he had visited in Texas.

“It’s not a project that many people know about, but I’ve been seeing it a lot more recently. Hopefully it becomes well-known and we can do this again someday,” Mignogna said.

A few Flat Stanleys have not yet returned to the Brookville Library, but Mignogna is optimistic they will still come back. One that was sent to China has yet to return.

Man charged with firing gun near Sandy Beach Park, fleeing police

RIDGWAY — A Ridgway man is confined in the Elk County Jail after he allegedly fired a gun from his car near Sandy Beach Park’s recreation area Wednesday night.

Adam Jones, 40, is charged with prohibited possession of a firearm, fleeing police, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and several other traffic violations, according to charges filed at Magisterial District Judge James Martin’s office Wednesday.

Ridgway State Police responded to a report of shots fired from a vehicle near Sandy Beach Park around 8:10 p.m. Wednesday, according to the police report. Before they arrived at the park, three Ridgway state police troopers attempted to stop the driver of a while Cadillac. Jones allegedly fled the area in the car with police in pursuit.

After he reportedly committed several traffic violations, Jones stopped the car and fled on foot but was apprehended shortly afterward.

Jones was transported to Penn Highlands Elk on suspicion of driving under the influence. Police also determined that Jones threw a handgun from the car during the pursuit, according to the report. Because he has prior felony convictions, police say, he is not permitted to possess a firearm.

Jones was unable to post $25,000 bail and is confined in the Elk County Jail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28 at Martin’s office in Johnsonburg.

Libra is a kitten available for adoption at the Elk County Humane Society.