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Otto farm enters preservation program

The state’s farmland preservation board approved a Breezewood farm for entry into its program on Thursday.

Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board approved nearly 70 acres of Frank B. and Cathleen A. Otto’s livestock operation as one of 40 farms entered into the program for permanent agriculture production.

Don Schwartz, director of the Bedford County Planning Commission, which has overseen the county’s farmland preservation program, said the farm is the 18th to be entered into the program, which now has enrolled 3,657 acres in the easement purchase program.

The Ottos essentially donated the easement to the program for a bargain basement sale at $1.

“So, that’s quite generous of them,” Schwartz said.

The county preservation board had been inactive for more than a couple years. It had last met in November of 2016 and then not again until this past May.

The program received its first grant in 1997 and purchased its first easement in 1998.

Schwartz said it’s possible the preservation board will open enrollment for more farms next year.

With its approval Friday, the state board preserved 40 farms covering 2,760 acres across 17 counties.

“Each acre of land comes with the stories of generations of agriculturalists, and now we know that new chapters will be added on those farms in the future,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a news release.

Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,580 farms totaling 572,527 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.

Other farms preserved on Thursday were in Allegheny, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lancaster Lebanon, Lehigh, Mercer, Mifflin, Montgomery, Northampton and Union counties.

“Our diversity as a state extends far beyond our people to our geography, our products, our production styles, and the options that our land can be used for,” Redding said. “It’s important to take pause and consider the implications of transforming farmland into developed land, which is what our state board and hundreds of other administrators and volunteers across the state deliberate on as well.”

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program is dedicated to slowing the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. Funding allows state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements from owners of quality farmland. State, county, local, and federal funds committed at the meeting are allocated to county programs to purchase development rights to preserve farms on county waiting lists.

“I’ve often said that the preservation of farmland is just one step in securing a viable future for agriculture in Pennsylvania,” Redding said. “We need to give farm families the tools they need to succeed today and plan for the future.”

Author, artist team up on comic book

The team of a local author and an artist/illustrator have published a comic book about the antics of a beloved, high-spirited horse and his adventures.

Ruth Loughney Mook of Bedford has penned an 18-page comic book titled “An Old Woman and a Fine Horse,” a collection of stories stemming from Mook’s time with a horse named Cheyenne.

Mook teamed with local artist and art teacher Sue Goodin, who provided the illustrations for scenes depicting Cheyenne’s days as a foal through his many adventures during his 40-plus years of life.

The two women will have a book signing on July 31 from noon to 3 p.m. at Founders Crossing in Bedford.

Mook said she and Goodin have been friends for many years and attended services together at St. James Episcopal Church.

“She encouraged me to write these stories,” Mook said of Goodin. The book, she said, is “cute; it’s funny.”

Cheyenne was one of a number of barnyard animals on Mook’s family farm.

Along with about 11 other horses, the yard included cats, dogs and more of her furry friends.

Cheyenne was more than a little mischievous, as outlined in the stories. While walking along a parade in Bedford, the horse took a candied apple from a young boy’s hand; another time, he paid an unwelcome visit to a neighbor because he liked the smell of her baking bread.

One of the pages depicts the occasion when Cheyenne broke through the screen door to munch on bread that Ruth kept on the refrigerator, a true story, she said. Mook woke up in the middle of the night to find Cheyenne in the middle of her kitchen eating bread, along with an assortment of other pets and a huge mess.

Goodin said the panel she made for that scene was probably her favorite; its humor and whimsy showing in the animals and the cartoon Mook’s surprise at the scene.

“Sue’s illustrating has made the comic book so adorable,” Mook said. “She has done a fabulous job.”

Mook, now 93, taught for 25 years in inner-city Pittsburgh schools, even coaching intramural girls basketball before coming back to Bedford County, where she served as a substitute teacher.

A self-decribed animal lover, Mook is founder and president of the area organization known as Fix-A-Pet, which had paid for countless dogs, cats and even feral cats.

Goodin is the daughter of the late Jane Gayman, who was a regionally popular artist.

Goodin graduated from Bedford High School in 1971 and then from West Virignia University in 1975 with a major in art educaiotn.

She taught in West Virginia and then directed a Christian school in South Carolina before marrying and starting a family while living in Westmoreland County. She and her family moved back to Bedford County in 1992.

She became art teacher at Chestnut Ridge School District in 1997.

Goodin said Mook and she had talked many years ago about a book that Goodin would illustrate, but the project didn’t talk shape until a couple years ago. The two met weekly to talk about it at the Jean Bonnet. The project got underway about a year to 18 months ago.

The antics of the horse are “unusually funny,” Goodin said. “And to think all those stores were actually true.”

Mook said the book itself is “a spiritual thing for me.”

Though geared toward the child, Mook hopes readers of all ages enjoy the book which has a glossary of terms and some inspirational Bible passages.

“I just hope it’s enjoyed, that people get something out of it.”

Top of the Morning

Events are planned this weekend at Blue Knob State Park.

The programs, which will be held at the Buck Hill Amphitheater, include a presentation on “Backyard Birds” at 7 p.m. Saturday and an “Animal Traces” presentation at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Free GED and adult reading and math classes will begin the week of Sept. 9.

Classes are held at Bedford CareerLink and the Hyndman Londonderry and Bedford County libraries. For more details, call Michelle Yutzy at 814-443-3651, ext. 6133. Call soon to reserve a space.

JLG will celebrate its 50th anniversary Saturday with an “Open Access Day.”

The event will be held Aug. 24 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Sunnyside plant in Bedford Township. The day will include ice cream, popcorn, pizza, face painting, balloon animals, a bounce house, cornhole, music, plant tour, giveaways and more. The plant is located at 450 Sunnyside Road.

Friendship Village Campground in Bedford will host a bluegrass gospel sing this weekend.

The sing will start at the campground in Bedford Township at 7 p.m. Saturday. Sonrise from Fredricksburg, Virginia, will sing. A free popcorn pop will follow. Sonrise also will perform during the Sunday morning service on Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. An offering will be collected at each service. For more information, call 623-1677. Members of the group are Eddie Haynes, Victor Jordan, Larry Jett and Ralph Sellers.

Talent show will be held in Schellsburg

Bedford County’s got talent, and organizers of a new event in Schellsburg are hoping to showcase it.

The Schellsburg and Old Log Church Historical Society and the Schellsburg Lions Club are partnering to hold the first “Rock the ‘Burg” event on Sept. 15.

The show will be from 1 to 5 p.m. at the community park, rain or shine.

The festivities will include a cruise-in, food vendors, games and live music, but the main attraction of the event is slated to be a talent show in which participants can showcase any skill set.

“It can be anything,” Stephanie Hills, an organizer with the historical society, said about what talents will be on display.

“We’re just hoping people come out and enjoy it as an end-of-summer event.”

The talent show will be split into two divisions — one for adults and children ages 12 and older, and one for children under 12.

A $100 cash prize will be awarded to the first place contestant in both levels, while the second place contestants will receive $50.

Hills said organizers have reached out to local schools and have been spreading fliers and brochures around the county in hopes of drawing in participants.

The registration forms to participate in the show can be picked up at the Lions Den, The Zone, Shawnee Country Market and Best Way in Pleasantville. Forms also are available online at www.facebook.com/SchellsburgRocktheBurg or by emailing rocktheburg19@gmail.com.

There is no entry fee. Registration for the show has been extended until Sept. 9.

The Rock the ‘Burg event will feature live music by Earth Angel prior to the talent show, and will include both horseshoe and cornhole tournaments.

Hills said there will be a number of games and activities for children as well, including scavenger hunts.

“There’s bunch of fun stuff,” she said. “We want kids to run around, laugh and have fun.”

Organizers of the event are hoping it can become an annual tradition in the borough.

She said fun activities provide entertainment for the community and can shine a light on the work being done by the two organizations.

Hills said the Lions Club conducts a variety of service projects through the year, while the historical society works to hold education events.

“We want to get the kids active and involved with the history of our area,” Hills said.

The society also organizes the Hometown Heroes banner program, including the Schellsburg Salute event.

The two organizations will fundraise at the event through basket auctions.

Hills said the event will be part of a series of festivities in Schellsburg over the next few weeks, beginning the the Shawnee Valley Volunteer Fire Company’s 59th annual Street Fair and Ox Roast, which will be Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

The eight annual Tractorfest will be held Sept. 27 to 29 at the Shawnee Valley Fire Company pavilion and picnic grounds.

Hills said the historical society and fire company auxiliary will team up to hold two “Spirits of Schellsburg” walking tours in October to celebrate fall. The tours will be Oct. 5 and 12 from 5 to 9 p.m., beginning at the fire hall.


Obituaries, Page A16

FERRELL, Marsha Jean (Morrow) “Mush,” 58, Saxton.

MOWRY, Edward C., 96, Manns Choice.

PENSYL, Barbara G., 74, Buffalo Mills.

WILKINS, Robin R., 58, Everett.

WILLISON, Freddie V., 81, Hyndman.