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Federal government shutdown affecting some local agencies

The partial federal government shutdown is affecting some agencies and organizations in the county.

The Bedford County Farm Service Agency remains closed, its employees furloughed “due to a lack of government funding,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Across the hall in the office space at 702 W. Pitt Street, the Bedford County Natural Resources Conservation Service remains operational, relying on “mandatory and previously appropriated” funds.

“We’re operating as usual the best we can,” Brad Michael, district conservationist, said. “But we’re not quite 100 percent.”

Michael said his department of three employees is attempting to help farmers seeking assistance from the Farm Service Agency.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday extended a Jan. 15 deadline for farmers to apply for payments to offset losses they had incurred due to the nation’s trade dispute with China.

About $9.5 billion had been set aside for growers of various crops, including soybean, corn and wheat.

“It all runs through the Farm Service program,” he said. “Folks are coming in trying to reach that Jan. 15 deadline. We’re collecting their information.”

The USDA said the deadline will be extended for a period of time equal to the number of business days USDA offices had been closed, once the shutdown has ended.

The shutdown is affecting other agencies that rely on federal funding.

Wendy Melius, executive director of Center for Community Action, said her agency is waiting on a recently-awarded $273,000 federal grant to fund a rapid rehousing homelessness program in a six-county coverage area.

“The grant would allow us to be able to help individuals who are truly homeless with housing,” she said.

Melius said the agency’s other programs targeting homelessness have not yet been affected. She said funding through the Housing and Urban Development is expected to last until the end of February.

“The longer it goes, though — we only have so much,” she said. “It could hurt.”

The federal shutdown hasn’t affected business at the county government level, which relies on some federal dollars.

“At this point, we’ve not even discussed it,” said Bedford County Commissioner Paul Crooks.

School districts also have been largely unaffected at this time.

“Nothing at this point at all,” said Allen Sell, superintendent of the Bedford Area School District. “Federal funding is funneled through the state, so it’s usually a year behind.”

Sell said the district uses federal funding for a small percentage of its budget.

“A state (government) shutdown would be a different story,” he said.


News
Baughman announces run for commissioner

A Saxton Area woman has announced she plans to throw her hat into the ring for the Bedford County Commissioners race.

Deb Baughman of Liberty Township is seeking the Democratic nomination for the commissioners board.

Baughman may be a familiar face to some as she recently ran her first political campaign this past year for state representative in the 78th District as the Democratic candidate.

“As I was campaigning for state representative, I knocked on a lot of different doors in the county, as well as the other counties, but with Bedford being my home county, I’ve always just had a heart for this area and a concern for what’s happening for my own community,” Baughman said.

She said a number of people asked if she would run for commissioner. “I’ve been mulling it over for about a month and I’ve talked to a lot of different people and considering if it was something that I wanted, and decided that i would.”

Baughman, who retired in 2013 with 25 years in education, relocated to rural Pennsylvania 34 years ago to raise her family. She has been a Cub Scout leader, Sunday school teacher and church leader. Today, she said she enjoys being a grandmother to three young granddaughters. She and her husband, John, attend Trinity Church in Saxton and believe it is important to give back to the community.

“I believe we are ‘Bedford County Strong’ with many assets that can be utilized to create a prosperous future,” Baughman said this is a theme that she has seen in many aspects of the county.

If elected commissioner, Baughman said she would like to work to find solutions to one issue that she came across during her campaign— keeping the youth in the area.

“I think that there’s a lot that can be done at the county level to make the county a better place to live,” she said.

Baughman also expressed excitement about working with other individuals as well as other elected officials to help solve problems that the county may face.

“Some of the things that I would be excited about as commissioner would be to work as a part of a team with other commissioners and other elected officials. And I would like to see us begin to prepare the way for a prosperous future and I think that entails a lot of different things,” she said.

Baughman said she hopes to learn more about various ongoing projects throughout the campaign such as the proposed birthing and women’s center in the county. The response to the closing of UPMC Bedford Memorial Hospital’s maternity department showed a spirit of working together that she hopes to continue if she is commissioner.

“Along with everyone else, I was very upset when UPMC Bedford Memorial ceased their maternity services and what I really like is that instead of getting mad and giving in, a group of people are coming together to try to find a solution to the problem and that’s exactly the idea of Bedford County strong that I was talking about,” she said.

Baughman serves as legislative chair of the Bedford Business and Professional Women, is a member of the Bedford County Farm Bureau, the Saxton Sportsmen Association and the Pennsylvania State Education Association-Retired. She is a founding member of Fair Districts Bedford County which seeks independent redistricting reform. Baughman is actively involved with the rural caucus of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee and is a passionate advocate and leader for rural issues and working families.

She is also an active member with the Bedford County Democrats and the Helen B. Hughes Federation of Democratic Women. She said is an avid outdoors woman who can be found hunting, fishing and boating in her free time.

A campaign kick-off event will be held at the Bedford American Legion at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Following the event, the Bedford County Democrats will hold their regular monthly meeting.


News
AP
Federal workers get $0 pay stubs as shutdown drags on

Federal employees received pay stubs with nothing but zeros on them Friday as the effects of the government shutdown hit home, deepening anxieties about mortgage payments and unpaid bills.

All told, an estimated 800,000 government workers missed their paychecks for the first time since the shutdown began.

Employees posted pictures of the pay statements on Twitter and vented their frustration as the standoff over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall entered its 21st day. This weekend, it will become the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

“I saw the zeros in my pay stub today, and it’s a combination of reality setting in and just sadness,” air traffic controller Josh Maria told The Associated Press after tweeting a screenshot of his paystub. “We’re America. We can do better than this.”

The missed paychecks were just one sign of the mounting toll the shutdown is taking on Americans’ daily lives. The Miami airport is closing a terminal this weekend because security screeners have been calling in sick at twice the normal rate. Homebuyers are experiencing delays in getting their loans.

Roughly 420,000 federal employees were deemed essential and are working unpaid. An additional 380,000 are staying home without pay. While furloughed federal workers have been given back pay in previous shutdowns, there is no guarantee that will happen this time.

Workers are turning to Uber, Lyft and other side gigs to pick up some money in the meantime.

Ellen Jackson, a Transportation Security Administration officer based in Las Vegas, is driving full time for a ride-share company to get by. The 59-year-old is planning to retire in April.

“I don’t want to borrow any money,” said Jackson, an Air Force veteran who said she makes about $38,000 a year as a TSA officer. “I don’t want to get into a deeper hole.”

Fellow Las Vegas-based TSA agent Julia Peters applied for food stamps on Thursday and was approved. She said five of the eight other applicants at the benefits office were also TSA workers.

In Falls Church, Virginia, outside Washington, a school district held a hiring fair for furloughed federal employees interested in working as substitute teachers.

Gerri French, who works for the Department of Agriculture’s Food Inspection Service and has been furloughed along with her husband, liked the sound of substitute teaching. “I think it’s a really great school system, and this would be a great opportunity,” French said.

Chris George, 48, of Hemet, California, has picked up work as a handyman, turned to a crowdfunding site to raise cash and started driving at Lyft after being furloughed from his job as a forestry technician supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service.

But the side gigs aren’t making much difference, and he has been trying to work with his mortgage company to avoid missing a payment.

“Here we are, Day 21, and all three parties cannot even negotiate like adults,” he said, describing government workers like him as “being pawns for an agenda of a wall. You’re not going to put a wall across the Rio Grande, I’m sorry.”

Economists at S&P Global said the shutdown has cost the U.S. economy $3.6 billion so far.

The typical federal employee makes $37 an hour, which translates into $1,480 a week, according to Labor Department data. That’s nearly $1.2 billion in lost pay each week, when multiplied by 800,000 federal workers.

Many workers live paycheck to paycheck, despite the strong economy and the ultra-low unemployment rate. A Federal Reserve survey in May found that 40 percent of Americans would have to borrow or sell something to make a $400 emergency payment.

Government workers are scaling back spending, canceling trips, applying for unemployment benefits and taking out loans to stay afloat.

Maria, based in Washington, was already in a financially precarious situation because of two cross-country moves in 2018 and the birth of a premature son. The shutdown has made matters much worse.

“I’m just not paying certain bills. Car payments are being delayed, which is going to put a hit on the credit,” he said. “Credit card payments are being delayed.”

Maria took out a personal loan last week just in case. Now he is pulling his 4-year-old daughter out of day care and telling his 7-year-old son he cannot sign up for extracurricular activities.

Most of the government workers received their last paycheck two weeks ago. Around the country, some workers are relying on donations, including launching GoFundMe campaigns. Food pantries have opened up in several locations.

First Oklahoma Bank in suburban Tulsa is waiving overdraft fees for customers who are federal employees.

In Denver, three-quarters of the people who visited the Food Bank of the Rockies’ mobile pantry on Friday were first-time visitors and furloughed federal employees, said Cait Barnett, a marketing specialist for the food bank.

In Massachusetts, a private group has stepped up to ensure that those working at local Coast Guard stations have food and clothing. Don Cox, president of the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, said the nonprofit group has opened up centers at Coast Guard stations in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island.

The group is helping feed 500 to 600 families a day, about double the typical demand, Cox said.

“We’ve been doing this for 10 years. This is my fourth shutdown,” he said. “I wish the senators and the congressmen weren’t taking their paychecks. I’d feel a lot better then.”

Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado said she will not take her paycheck as long as federal workers are unpaid. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, another Colorado Democrat, said his staff will offer free breakfasts and lunches to unpaid federal workers at his district office in suburban Denver.

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Associated Press writers Alina Hartounian in Phoenix; Steve LeBlanc in Boston; Matthew Barakat Falls Church, Virginia; Chris Rugaber in Washington; Michelle L. Price in Las Vegas; Adam Kealoha Causey in Oklahoma City; and P. Solomon Banda and Dan Elliott in Denver contributed to this report.


Local
featured
Pennsylvania Farm Show

A Bedford County boy showed the supreme grand champion in the junior meat breeding goat show at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Owen Lankey of Everett showed the top doe on Thursday.

The show included two divisions of goats: purebred/fullblood and percentage does. Each division included three classes determined by the age of the goats: junior, 3 months to under 12 months, yearling, 12 months to under 24 months, and senior, over 24 months.

The does were judged based their muscling, volume, bone structure, walking ability, and overall body build.

Lankey showed the grand champion purebred/fullblood doe, RRBG Juliet, the yearling champion, which also was named the supreme champion.

Lankey also showed the junior champion percentage doe, SVSG This Is How We Roll, which was named the reserve grand champion percentage doe, and the junior champion purebred, SVSG Hometown Girl.

Alyssa Lankey from Everett also showed the yearling reserve champion percentage doe, SVSG’s She’s A Flatliner.

Owen Lankey also took home a blue ribbon in the breeding meat goat showmanship, winning Class 1 for showmen born between 1999 and 2001.

The contest was available to those who had shown in the junior meat breeding goat show.

An overall showman was not chosen.

A Three Springs, Huntingdon County, girl showed the supreme champion ram wool breed on Friday.

Mikara Anderson showed both the champion and reserve champion natural colored rams, and the champion and reserve champion natural colored ewes.

Zachary Claycomb of Everett showed the reserve champion Corriedale ewe.

In dairy judging Friday, Macy Walason showed the grand champion and reserve grand champion of the Guernsey Junior Show. Green Slopes Farm, the McDonald Family of Imler took home the Premier Breeder Award and the Premier Exhibitor Award.


Top of the Morning

Chili Cook-off will be hosted by Time Ministries Church on Sunday.

The cook-off will follow the service at 10:30 a.m. Admission is free. The cost to enter chili in the cook-off will be $10 per entry. Votes are one cent each. All proceeds will go to the church building fund. For more information, call 624-2444. The church is located at 5202 Business 220, Bedford.

Fact Book 2019 listings are being accepted.

Organizations and churches are invited to submit information for the 2019 directory. Submissions are free of charge. Organizations are asked to supply their meeting dates, times and contact information for a club officer, while churches are asked to submit their addresses and worship and meeting times. To submit information, send an email to vhenry@bedfordgazette.com, with “Fact Book” as the subject, or submit via mail to: Bedford Gazette, 2019 Fact Book, 424 W. Penn St., Bedford, Pa. 15522. Deadline is Jan. 28.

Bedford County Chamber of Commerce’s “Government: It’s Your Business” returns Jan. 18.

The Chamber will hold the event and lead a panel discussion with the Bedford County commissioners, Josh Lang, Barry Dallara and Paul Crooks. The event will include prepared remarks followed by a facilitated question-and-answer session. The business community is invited, as well as the general public. The breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Bedford American Legion, Business Rt. 220, Bedford. Contact 623-2233 to reserve a place or visit bedfordcountychamber.com.

Alumni to be honored at basketball game next weekend.

The Chestnut Ridge boys basketball team invites basketball alumni to attend its game on Friday, Jan. 18, beginning at 6 p.m. Alumni will register upon arrival and will be announced at halftime of the varsity game.


Obituaries
Obituaries on page 5

(Obituaries on Page 5)

BOWSER, Naomi P., 78, of Osterburg. DAVIS, Florine J., 87 of Millmont. GEARHART, R. Jane, 89, of Hopewell GROWDEN, George R., 66, of Cresaptown, Md. HOOVER, Orville “Dick” H., 89 of Alum Bank.