Venango leaders hear updates on election, recycling center

Venango County chief clerk Sabrina Backer gave an update on preparations for the November general election during Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting.

Backer said the elections office is currently proofing the ballots.

Once the Pennsylvania Department of State certifies the ballots, they will go to print sometime in October, Backer said.

She added that if all goes well, election officials will begin testing voting machines in the next week and a half.

The last day to register to vote is Oct. 18 and the last day to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 26, Backer said.

“We are the only county in the state that offers large print applications for ballots, large print voter registration, and large print ballots,” Backer said.

She said the county still needs poll workers, and training for the workers will begin at the end of September.

“We test every oval and candidate on every machine to make sure the ballots are being read properly,” Backer said.

In other business Tuesday, rates for some of the materials collected at the county’s community recycling center will increase.

The rates for collecting toxic chemicals such as pesticides, paint thinners, solvents, and other toxic chemicals will see a “fairly significant increase” due to recent changes in EPA regulations that make it impossible for ECS&R, who the recycling center contracts with, and other recycling companies to store the chemicals on site until they are destroyed, county planning commission director Jason Ruggiero said.

There will also be a slight increase in the rate for collecting paint and used oil, he added.

“The alternative is that we can’t collect those materials at all,” he said.

Ruggiero said the hope is that the increases will be temporary. He added that the rate for electronics, including TVs, won’t increase.

The commissioners also approved several proclamations Tuesday, including one designating September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The proclamation notes that childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and affects one in 285 children.

It concludes by encouraging “all public officials, all employees and all citizens of Venango County to show their support during September by wearing yellow to support this cause that so deeply impacts families in every community across our country.”

The names of five children in Venango County — Ella McNellie, Jessica Bookwalter, Alister Daubenspeck, Dakota Lipinsky-Braden, and Gabriel Sobina — who all died from cancer — were read.

Parents of some of those children were at the meeting holding pictures of their children.

“One thing that brings us here is the hope that our children will never be forgotten,” said Amber McMillen, who is Daubenspeck’s mother. “Our children are not here, they fought bravely. It’s hard, our son has been gone a year and a half,” McMillen said.

Daubenspeck was three when he died in March 2020.

She added that childhood cancer is not rare.

“It’s a club nobody wants to join,” Daubenspeck’s father, Elijah Daubenspeck, said of being a parent who lost a child to cancer.

A proclamation recognizing Andrew Rugh for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout was also approved Tuesday.