Juvenile court board honors county residents at banquet
BY LARRY DEKLINSKI
COAL TOWNSHIP - The Northumberland County Juvenile Court Advisory Board honored seven county residents at a banquet Thursday at the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center.
The board, led by President Mark Gittens, recognized four people for their outstanding contributions to the youth of Northumberland County and three teenagers for successfully overcoming obstacles in their lives. Keynote speaker was Judge Barry Feudale, a 1964 graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School who serves as a senior judge for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Courts.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Michael Kivko Memorial Youth Scholarship Award in the amount of $1,000, $750 and $500 to Kristina Reynolds, Jamie Lyn Shaffer and Alexia Perrin, respectively. The award was created to provide an educational opportunity for an individual who plans to pursue a court related career and whose involvement in the juvenile court or Children and Youth Services (CYO) Agency resulted in a positive adjustment.
Robert E. Diehl, who presented the awards, said Reynolds, 19, became involved with CYO in July 2007 because of a disrupted adoption. Then 13, she was struggling academically, but through the support of Resource Care parents and her own resiliency, improved her grades. She graduated high school in 2011 and was given a full scholarship to attend Susquehanna University. She is currently a sophomore.
Shaffer, 18, was referred to juvenile court in August 2012 because of a physical altercation. According to Diehl, she was placed on a consent decree with Juvenile Probation in November 2012. With appropriate services in place, her behaviors steadily improved. She has since become a productive member of the community. She is currently attending Westwood College.
Perrin, 18, was referred to the juvenile court in December 2010. She was placed on a consent decree in March 2011 for 6 to 12 months probation. She attended cyber school through Blue Ridge. She completed supervision with the agency and was released from probation in October of 2011. In July 2012, she was again referred to juvenile court. She attended counseling and therapy for her struggles. In February, she completed all her conditions and her case was closed. She graduated high school in June with good marks. She is currently a freshman at Harford Community College in Maryland.
Joseph Cesari, of Kulpmont, received the Fred Piermattei Youth Service Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the lives of county youths. The award is named after the late Fred Piermattei, who was active in serving the youth of Northumberland County from 1969 to 1981. His son, Fred Piermattei, said Cesari has raised money for community athletic teams and community projects, including new playground equipment at the Terry Miriello complex in Kulpmont,
Piermattei added, "If every town had a man like Cesari, we would get a lot done in this community."
Officer of the Year
District Attorney Anthony Rosini presented the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award to Mount Carmel Police Chief Todd Owens. Owens began his career in Mount Carmel in 1992 as a patrolman. He was appointed sergeant in 2005 and became a field supervisor for the Northumberland/Montour Drug Task Force. He was named chief of police in September 2012.
Rosini said that Owens' respect toward young people is leading to a generation of residents who will grow up to be proud to live and work in Mount Carmel.
Employee of the Year
Deputy Chief Juvenile Probation Officer William Rossnock presented the Juvenile Court Employee of the Year award to Molly McCarthy, a treatment court officer with the county, whose career with the county began in 2001. Rossnock said she has an outgoing personality who puts the needs of others over herself.
Educator of the Year
Amy Bowers, a fifth-grade teacher in the Warrior Run Middle School, was named the Educator of the Year. She taught science and social studies and currently teaches language arts. Judge William Harvey Wiest described her as a dedicated teacher who works beyond the school day to help youth.
Feudale became a caseworker for CYO in 1973, investigating cases of child abuse and neglect. He has worked as an attorney in private practice and as a solicitor for CYO. He served as Chief Public Defender for the county, was elected to the county court of common pleas in 1987, and became president judge in 1995.
He summed up the evening, "What you do is often a thankless job," Feudale said. "I know you don't do it because of the money. I know you don't do it because it's a popular job. You do it, and I do it, because it's a very, very important job that needs doing and you have the capability to make a difference."