The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Rave

August 13, 2012

Cheers and jeers

Cheers: To the residents of New Berlin who were presented with a unique opportunity when staff from the SEDA-Council of Governments approached them about developing a community-wide program to cut energy costs. Three years later, 135 of the 413 homes in the borough have participated, with 32 homes becoming weatherized in the process. Other homeowners used the information provided by energy audits to research and launch more ambitious alternative energy projects.

The Communitywide Energy Independence Initiative project, which began in 2009, took the National Association of Development Organizations' Innovation Award.

The project itself was funded with $265,000 in grants over three years from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission, and $100,000 in grants over two years from PPL Electric Utilities. Residents paid for their own upgrades. SEDA-COG estimates the borough has saved cumulatively $300,000 in energy costs over the project's course.

Cheers: To the Sunbury Masonic Lodge, which raised $8,000 at a recent golf tournament that the organization donated to the Sunbury Police Department. The golf tournament was organized by Mason Sean Purdy with assistance from Cody Smeltz, 18, of Selinsgrove.

Police Chief Steve Mazzeo said that his officers have been asking to replace their firearms with newer models and the donation will enable the department to make the upgrade.

Cheers: To the police departments in the Central Susquehanna Valley that sponsored National Night Out activities last week. The events held in Lewisburg, Sunbury, Danville and other communities attracted hundreds of people who turned out for the chance to enjoy free food and refreshments and the opportunity to socialize with the men and women who are sworn to protect and serve.

Cheers: To the volunteers who have helped the Selinsgrove Community Library get within striking distance of hitting the $3.6 million goal to cover the library's cost of an ambitious and impressive renovation project at the library/municipal building. Led by honorary chairs Skip and Linda Wieder and campaign chairman Joe Kleinbauer, the campaign has already raised almost $3.3 million. To help make the final push, Borough Council voted last week to designate a $150,000 challenge grant with funds from the Rudy Gelnett Trust. The grant follows a $300,000 gift to the library Gelnett included in his will. Library officials now plan to rename the library in Gelnett's honor, an entirely suitable and well-deserved honor.

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