The Crawford County commissioner forum held recently brought some news about different candidates.
During the course of the conversations and their answers, Dan Hunter noted he has sold his portion of his business. Jeanne Moore-Yount announced (with a huge grin) she is a first-time grandmother. Commissioner Francis Weiderspahn noted he takes no mileage or money for meals while on commissioner business.
Other tidbits which came to light was the fact the newly contracted company for the county care center has already increased its daily census by 10 patients — from 120 to 130 — in just three months. The county recently hired a company to manage it instead of a county paid employee, but the county still owns the facility.
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All seven candidates agreed they would "quit" their current job and become full time. Commissioner Chris Soff said he hoped he wouldn't have to "quit" his job, as the commissioner job is his only job — as is Weiderspahn's. (He would only be quitting if he lost his bid for re-election.)
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After covering government for 40 years, it is interesting to see some of the same issues being addressed. One is the use of the county fairgrounds, in which the difference in both revenue and expenses there from 2018 to 2019 is projected to have a $100,000 negative impact on county finances in 2019. Forty years ago, cries to sell the fairgrounds were hot and heavy.
The late Dorothy Early was one of the biggest proponents to quit spending money on it. At that time, the county was spending more than $200,000 annually for the fairground operation. Apparently there has been some progress made in reducing costs or increasing revenues in that line item.
Another suggestion was to perhaps have a county maintenance crew take care of the many vehicles. Although the numbers may have changed over the past 20 years, when that was reviewed back then, it was discovered it was still cheaper to pay outside companies to do that work.
One thing I like, though, is that many candidates are looking at possible solutions to some issues — even if they have been looked at before.
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The fact it was standing-room only at the recent forum for the Republican nomination for county sheriff shows how hot that race has become. Many long-time Republicans have taken different sides in this race — as in other races.
Eric Henry, a Republican commissioner candidate, reminded everyone at the recent GOP dinner to remember "at the end of the day (the campaign), we are all still Republicans."
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One of the special guests at the GOP dinner was former county District Attorney John Dawson, who recently completed an assignment in Jerusalem with the U.S. State Department. He has been in numerous foreign countries — such as Liberia and Afghanistan — with the State Department and is home waiting a new assignment.
Crawford County DA Francis Schultz, who was the featured speaker, said Dawson "set the stage for DA for a long time," referring to Dawson's work ethic and professionalism in the office.
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Schultz talked about different friends he has gained over the years and noted he misses the late Gary Clark, noting he would be sitting back with his smile "and smart aleck grin" as he told jokes and laughed. That was a great description of Clark, who also was very professional when the occasion called for it.
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Assistant DA Andrew Natalo, who was named recipient of the Terry K. Stover Man of the Year Award, was surprised and upon accepting it noted one thing. "My wife gave me an early present; she finally changed her (voter) registration. We are no longer in a split household" and vowed to work to "make sure we (the GOP) keeps the courthouse. That's my goal," he said, referring to keep the Republican majority in the commissioner race as well as other elected positions.
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We send our deepest condolences this week to Mary Smith, former prothonotary, on the death of her dad, Bill White; and to retired city police chief Dave Acker, whose wife, Rose, lost her battle with cancer.
Both were active in politics and advocates for their chosen issue and will be missed.
Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.