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Area organizations lay out 2017 resolutions

You've got to see how State College's ice sculptures were made

New Year's Eve ice sculptors took part in ice carving at First Night in downtown State College.
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New Year's Eve ice sculptors took part in ice carving at First Night in downtown State College.

Resolutions.

You know what they are. Those promises we make to ourselves in the new year. Go to the gym. Lose some weight. Eat more veggies. Be more organized. Pay off debts.

Resolutions are simple to make (and break) for an individual.

But what about something a little larger? Something that affects the lives of children, a county or more?

People helping some Centre County organizations have shared their hopes and dreams for their groups as they head into 2017.

Penn State President Eric Barron’s goals for the new year are about advancing an initiative that kicked off in the fall.

“My Penn State wish is to have a capstone for ‘All In at Penn State: a Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion’ that creates a lasting memory of what the expression ‘We Are’ really means to a Penn Stater, and to any visitor to our campuses,” he said.

The “All In” event at Old Main in October was a celebration and a conversation starter to that was a spotlight on one of Barron’s priorities for Penn State, making the university a more welcome and accepting place for students and faculty of all races, religions and other backgrounds.

State College Area School District is much smaller than the state’s largest university, but Superintendent Bob O’Donnell is not short on goals for the new year.

“First, that we strengthen our programs even further so that every SCASD graduate of State High and Delta will have success in their pursuit of further education, in finding fulfilling and productive employment, or in their voluntary service to our country,” he said.

“Second, that each and every student in the district comes to school every day excited and ready to learn, knowing that they are appreciated by others. Third, that each student in our school district truly feels that what they are doing during school is important and meaningful,” O’Donnell said.

“Fourth, and perhaps my most important hope for the year, is that both our families and the State College community continue to genuinely appreciate our SCASD teachers and staff for their daily impact on the development of our students. Our district is very fortunate to have a supportive and involved community,” he said.

Mount Nittany Health had a year of growth in 2016, with an expansion into the Moshannon Valley and new office space in Bellefonte, as well as signing a new multi-year contract with hospital staff.

Goals for the new year, however, are simple.

“At Mount Nittany Health, our mission is, as always, to make people healthier by providing high quality, accessible healthcare to our region,” said spokeswoman Anissa Ilie.

In Bellefonte, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller’s priority is driven by a crisis.

“For 2017, one of our top resolutions is to reduce drug related deaths due to the heroin opioid problem,” she said. “In addition to steps undertaken in 2016, we will work with the drug task force to aggressively prosecute the drug dealers who are poisoning our residents. We resolve to make sure addicts get moved away from handcuffs into rehab by getting the Drug Court up and running in 2017. We will make sure every police department has narcan.”

She has goals for other areas, too.

“We resolve to implement the changes we proposed for the bail system to use newer technology to maximize protection of the public and victims of domestic and violent crime through the use of GPS technology,” Parks Miller said. “Children will remain our priority as we bid adieu to our retiring furry employee Princess, our beloved children’s companion dog, and welcome a new pup to the DA family.”

Betsey Howell’s job as executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau is to continue to make the area an enjoyable and exciting destination for travelers.

“While continuing to promote the area to visitors, meetings/conventions and sports events, our top priority for 2017 is to finalize plans to assist the YMCA of Centre County in developing a new indoor sports facility and outdoor fields,” she said.

“This project is critical to the local community because it will provide much needed indoor recreation space that can be used for basketball, volleyball, wrestling, etc.,” Howell said. “In addition, it will help the CVB in our efforts to attract more sports tournaments to the area, thereby improving the profitability for our local economy.” It will be a win/win for the community and tourism, and we hope the community will be supportive of this effort.”

But the goals aren’t boiled down to just one project.

“We also plan to implement our new on-line training video for those front-line employees in Centre County who come in contact with visitors on a daily basis. The video will provide front-line employees with information on ways to better assist our visitors, while at the same time help the employees learn more about the area,” she said.

The CVB wants to have half of all front-line employees in the county trained with the video in 2017.

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