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2017 News

“Food, Fun & Animals:” Commissioners Kick Off 69th Annual Middletown Grange Fair with Wide-Ranging Slate of Business

August 17, 2017
Fred Groshens Farmer of the Year, Brian Bahnck of Ottsville

Venturing to the sprawling fairgrounds of the Middletown Grange Fair to renew an annual opening-day tradition, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners convened in the Fair’s Entertainment Tent on the morning of Wednesday, August 16, 2017. After Bucks County 4-H officials and participants raised the American Flag to open the five-day event, Commissioners Charles H. Martin, chairman, Robert G. Loughery and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW conducted a 48-minute business session that included the approval of 89 contract resolutions involving 24 County departments, presented the 2017 Fred Groshens Farmer of the Year Award, crowned the 2017 Grange Fair Queen Sarah Liebel, and accepted 4-H farm baskets filled by Bucks County natural bounty from Buckingham’s None Such Farm.

Chairman Martin welcomed a large crowd to the event, which opened with the presentation of the Bucks County Conservation District (BCCD) Farmer of Year Award to Brian Bahnck of Ottsville. Mr. Bahnck is a first-generation grain farmer whose background includes Bucks County’s 4-H program. He became a sole proprietor to his farming operation in 2004. His efforts have been lauded by the BCCD for the conservation-focused management that is applied to a 77-acre operation.

The crowning of the Grange Fair Queen, Ms. Sarah LiebelThe 2016 Grange Fair Queen, Jacquelyn Sherman, crowned the 2017 Queen, Sarah Liebel, with a tiara that was custom designed by wedding specialist Andrea Petrille to resemble a vintage antique corn motif. Ms. Liebel, a resident of Bedminster Township, welcomed attendees to the fair and posed for a photo opportunity with previous queens.

Following the ceremonial portion of the meeting, which also included presentation of a basket of fresh produce from the Bucks County Department of Corrections 15,000-square-foot garden, the board approved a one-year, $4.802 million Adult Probation grant-in-aid revenue item from the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. That grant runs through June 30, 2018.

The County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program added farm No. 202 with the acquisition of the 56.97-acre Carl Kwartnik property in Durham Township. Located at 4025 Lehnenberg Rd., the farm is a crop/livestock operation that also raises Alpacas. The Kwartnik farm is surrounded by 700 acres of previously preserved land, and is the 14th farm preserved in Durham Township. The County will pay $205,092 plus settlement charges and adjustments – or 40 percent of the appraised total – with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania funding the other 60 percent.

Bucks County Commissioners with Grange Fair Queens past and present.The board unanimously approved 21 items for the Area Agency on Aging (AAA), most of them pertaining to senior center services and adult/in-home services. They also signed off on a two-year, $445,000 contract renewal for residential institutional care and emergency shelter services with Glen Mills Schools of Concordville, PA.

The board approved three Emergency Management items of note, the first an adoption of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) policy, the second a three-year, $14.210 million Urban Area Secure Initiative (UASI) Grant Agreement for the Regional Counter Terrorism Task Force through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), and the third a three-year, $958,981 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) Agreement through PEMA.

General Services represented another large chunk of the agenda, with 14 contract resolutions meeting approval. Among them was an $889,650 revenue item with New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC of Atlanta, GA for the use of space on a County owned communications tower in Newtown through 2037. The board agreed to a $212,422 contract with Cherry Weber & Associates for engineering design and construction consultation services for Bucks County Bridge No. 172 on Old Carversville Rd. in Solebury and Bucks County Bridge No. 282 on Flushing Rd. in Bensalem.

The Penn State Cooperative Extension, Bucks County Division, presents the 4-H Farm baskets to the Commissioners, filled with produce and gifts from None Such FarmAnother large item on the General Services potion was a $372,358 contract with TRC Engineers, Inc. of Plymouth Meeting, PA to provide inspection and management services replacement of Bucks County Bridge No. 13 on Walnut Street over the East Perkiomen Creek in Perkasie Borough. The bridge is schedule to close for the repairs next month.

The Health Department received more than $2.5 million in grant revenue for immunization and the Women, Infant & Children programs through the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

In the Parks & Recreation realm, the commissioners agreed to spend $1.005 million plus settlement charges and adjustments to add 14.24 acres to Silver Lake Park on Bath Rd. (Delhaas Woods) in Bristol Township. That land acquisition has been in negotiation for nearly a decade and will bring Silver Lark Park’s total acreage to 479. Chairman Martin congratulated County Executive Director of Parks & Recreation Bill Mitchell for his work on the project.

All of the voting was unanimous except for a three-and-half month, $28,783 Voting Machines contract with Electec, Inc. of Mt. Holly, NJ for extended warranty on 765 voting machines. Commissioner Marseglia voted against that contract.

A kick off to the Grange Fair, the opening ceremony includes the raising of the Flags, the 4-H Pledge and the Pledge of Allegiance.During his COO/Acting Chief Clerk report, Brian Hessenthaler reminded residents that the final Household Hazardous Waste event in Bucks County will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, August 26 at the Bucks County Technical H.S. on Wistar Rd. in Levittown. In addition, the County Health Department will hold its annual Flu Clinics Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Doylestown office (1282 Almshouse Rd.) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and at the Quakertown and Levittown offices from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room of the Bucks County Administration Building (1st Floor), 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the August 16, 2017 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.

 A presentation of a basket of fresh produce from the Bucks County Department of Corrections 15,000-square-foot garden. Past Grange Fair Queens at the opening kick-off ceremony  4-H Farm Basket, sponsored by None Such Farm in Buckingham, Pa