Port cafeteria staff provided great service

I would like to express my gratitude toward the cafeteria workers and the school on their amazing work with providing local families with a breakfast and lunch program for the school children of our town.

During this specific moment in time with the coronavirus, your cafeteria staff has stepped up and is providing a great service to the community. My family has signed up for the program, and it has helped us out immensely.

It is also nice to see local faces helping out their community in times of need. Not only are they providing a wonderful service to our local families, but the staff have a genuine interest in the lives of our children.

That type of commitment towards our future generations is extremely important to the character building of our children. It would be a disservice to let the cafeteria staff go or reduce their wages during this pandemic time.

Nicholas W. Valentine

Port Allegany

Outsourcing cafeteria may not be best

It has been brought to my attention that on the eve of the closing school year (2019-20) in the Port Allegany Pa School District, that the school board of directors has chosen or is in the middle of choosing to outsource the cafeteria staff in hopes of saving a few pennies for the upcoming school years.

Perhaps this is an effort to not only save pennies but to rid themselves of overhead supervision of dedicated employees who in the past have been called upon, sometimes at short notice, to provide emergency food services to support the district’s needs.

Often senior leadership finds it easier to have contract services provide supervision and training in lieu of inhouse employees, not realizing the full impact of that decision.

On paper it can be justified to be rational but, in reality, it can and most likely will be more costly once there is any slight deviation to an approved contract.

For example, the most recent coronavirus has levied extracurricular actives on a handful of “extremely dedicated” employees who have worked well beyond their scope of employment to meet mission needs, something that will be lost completely under contract services.

The community needs to be part of this vote as you travel along these lines understanding that the approximately 4,200, two-meals-per-day service on a weekly schedule is provided by a handful of about 12 personnel and this dedication should be recognized as noteworthy.

The board should carefully reconsider the path it is taking and carefully weigh the significant consequences for a negative decision cast upon current employees. I would ask that you carefully listen to the undertones and possible consequences you are potentially facing.

To provide the current unparalleled benefits to so many of the Port Allegany school children across all grades is extremely rare when so many in these times across America have lost their jobs and are hoping to be so fortunate to receive a meal stipend from the various “food banks” for the week.

I urge you to reconsider what a contract decision will do to your future promise, not only the children, but to the employees of the current staff.

Terry J. Kinney

Colonel USAF (ret)

Port Class of 1969

San Antonio, Texas

Everyone needs to wear a mask

To the Editor:

I feel fortunate to live in Potter County at this time with only four confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, only 149 residents have been tested and found negative leaving over 17,000 unknown. People enter and leave and the truth is we can’t know who has been exposed, who might be asymptomatic and showing no signs of illness yet still able to spread the virus.

Like many in Potter County, I am older and one of the especially vulnerable to the virus, with a high chance of death if I am exposed. While I realize all businesses are struggling right now, as are many individuals, I have made a decision that I must protect myself and cannot put my life in danger by entering any building that does not require the wearing of masks.

I have made purchases at Hersey’s in Coudersport and Moon’s in Ulysses where the owners or clerks were not wearing masks; I will not do it again. I have also purchased at Ace Hardware where the clerks wear masks, but they are optional for patrons; I will not subject myself to that again either.

New York is just 25 miles away where the governor has declared that if you want to enter a store, you must wear a mask. If you don’t choose to wear a mask, stay on the sidewalk. From now on, I will shop in New York where it is safer for my health and I urge others to consider doing the same.

Or, if the owners or managers of local businesses really care for their customers as much as they care for their business, require masks. If you care, you wear. It’s that simple.

Wishing for everyone to be safe,

Elizabeth Jarrard


Stay safe, stay home and stay well.

Despite its “remote” location, Potter County has, like the rest of Pennsylvania and America, known its share of hardships.

The Civil War took a heavy toll on the County, as many of its sons, brothers and fathers answered the call. Diphtheria ravaged households across the mountains and valleys. The flu of 1918 saw many of its sons leave for a war only to fall victim to the pandemic on cots in training camps.

And, the flu made its way into the homes of many a Potter County resident despite being so far from the hubs of city life where it had its greater impact.

So far away from many loved ones, they waited for the mail and the newspaper to bring news from outside. So, Potter County people, you are again faced with a threat form outside.

It is here and will grow, but you will get through this with the stubborn resolve and perseverance that makes you the resilient people that you are. May you and your loved ones stay safe, stay home and stay well. DEC


Potter County Historical Society Diane Caudell