It wasn't an easy job; a small group of Union County volunteers took to the Lewisburg Cemetery last weekend to seek out military gravesites.

The problem was many of the graves weren't marked, meaning they had to check names and records to determine who was who.

"It's been interesting. We've found some very old graves and dates," said Carole Bollinger, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees. Bollinger, along with PASR volunteer Beverly Harvey and others, helped map out military gravesites throughout the cemetery.

J.D. Kerstetter, of the Union County Veterans Affairs office, on Tuesday praised Bollinger and Harvey for a job well done.

"What they're doing is a great help to us," he said.

The Union County Public Safety Department is moving right along with updating the county's emergency management infrastructure.

Public safety director Rich Caschera met with the county commissioners this week to give them a heads-up on the project.

"The EMS communication system infrastructure is at about 80 percent," he said. The department aims to protect the county's infrastructure from hazards through a "comprehensive, risk-based, emergency management program of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery."

"It's been a long process. ... It's taken some time to work through the challenges, but we're looking forward to the day we can go live," said Union County Commissioner Preston Boop.

County commissioners, as it turns out, have hobbies, too. Union County Commissioner (and apparently avid bicyclist) John Showers completed a bike tour of several of the county's covered bridges over the weekend.

Mifflinburg resident and activist Pat Arduini has been pounding the pavement to drum up support for saving the historic Mifflinburg Borough Building.

"As I go door to door with my petition, I am finding an alarming number of residents who think this issue is coming to a vote by ballot where they will have their say," she wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Item.

Arduini and other Mifflinburg residents were hoping to have their say at Tuesday night's meeting to decide what to do with the dilapidated structure.

Ever wonder where your state tax dollars go? Union County recently received two grants from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association totaling more than $75,000. The money is expected to be used for training.

The Union County commissioners Tuesday approved paying burial expenses for deceased veterans Norman Kouf, George Bannon and Elwood Dale, along with deceased servicemen's widows Emily Combs and Lucille Francovich. Family members of Henry Herman, Charles Hanselman, George Boyer and William Shively also have submitted applications for headstones.

The commissioners make it a point to address military burial expenses at their weekly meetings.

• Damian Gessel covers Buffalo, Hartley, Lewis, Limestone and West Buffalo townships; and Hartleton and New Berlin boroughs in western Union County. He also covers the Mifflinburg Area School District and Union County commissioners. E-mail your news to him at

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