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Penn College North Campus Again Hosting Rural Forum


Welfare reform, hate crimes, and the arts and how they apply to rural Pennsylvania are the topics of the next “Quarterly Forum on Emerging Rural Issues,” hosted by the Pennsylvania Rural Development Council. The session, conducted via two-way, interactive videoconferencing technology, is set for Friday, March 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The North Campus of Pennsylvania College of Technology, located on Route 6 near Wellsboro, is one of10 host sites across the state.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. From 9:40 to 10 a.m., Sherri Z. Heller, deputy secretary for income maintenance for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, will provide an update on how welfare reform is working in rural Pennsylvania. Questions and comments will follow from 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Next on the agenda, Capt. Robert P. Hague, director of the Pennsylvania State Police’s Heritage Affairs Office, will present an overview of the Commonwealth’s laws related to hate crimes, explain how communities can determine if hate groups are active in their area and suggest how communities can combat the problem. A half-hour of questions and comments will follow. From 11:10 to 11:30 a.m., Philip Horn, executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, will discuss the council’s commitment to encouraging arts programming in rural Pennsylvania. Questions and comments will be taken until 11:50 a.m.

An “Information Exchange” will follow with 10-minute presentations on the following topics: “The International Year of Older Persons” and “Promoting Nutritional Health in Rural Pennsylvania.” More detailed discussions of the topics likely will be included in a future forum.

Denise I. Robison, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, will provide information about the department’s coordinating role for The International Year of Older Persons, an international initiative of the United Nation’s General Assembly. Interested individuals attending the forum will be able to obtain a “resource kit” prepared by the department to assist their communities in joining in the celebration. Mary-Jo Langston, nutrition education network coordinator for Penn State Cooperative Extension, will discuss local and statewide initiatives to improve the nutritional health of rural Pennsylvanians and what rural communities can do to meet the nutritional needs of their citizens.

For more information, contact Penn College’s North Campus at (570) 724-7703.

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