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United Way kicks off another year of community contribution

WYSOX — Community leaders gathered at the Wysox Fire Department Tuesday for the United Way of Bradford County’s annual campaign kickoff and a surprise recognition to honor one of the organization’s long-time leaders.

United Way Executive Director Kerri Strauss announced that the non-profit will aim to raise $545,000 in their 2020 campaign after meeting their $540,000 goal for 2019.

Strauss also announced to the crowd of United Way members and representatives from agencies involved with United Way that Dandy Mini Mart and Williams Auto Group will be this year’s Corporate Sponsor.

Strauss introduced the two new members of the United Way youth board, Ava Gannon and Ethan Sparrow who will both serve two year terms as they finish high school.

She stated that four new local agencies have joined forces with the United Way for 2020 including the T.A.C.O food pantry which will use funds to purchase a large walk-in freezer, Northern Tier Income and Education Consortium for their school readiness program, Carantouan Greenway for the establishment of a Rail Trail and the Towanda Salvation Army.

Strauss also told that the United Way will again be hosting their Pledge to Win raffle which has grown to 26 prize packages and will continue hosting Day of Caring projects and Community Impact Sessions free of charge to the community throughout the year, saying that the events help the United Way to meet its mission to “improve the lives of people in Bradford County by efficiently raising funds for programs that meet community needs.”

During the campaign kickoff, United Way members honored Nancy Williams, a 36-year member of the organization’s board for her dedicated service.

Williams, who has served as a United Way board member since 1987 as well as having been a campaign co-chair and board secretary for 28 years, was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives sponsored by State Representative Tina Pickett (R-110).

While Pickett could not attend due to a session meeting, the citation recognized Williams for “demonstrating outstanding loyalty to the noble goals and principles of the United Way of Bradford County.”

“Ms. Williams has generously contributed to the welfare of the organization and its members throughout 36 years of valuable service,” the citation read. “The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania congratulates (Williams) on her well deserved recognition, proudly notes her exemplary record of service and contributions keeping with the highest ideals of this Commonwealth and offers best wishes for the continuation of her many worthwhile and beneficial endeavors.”

How to navigate confusing intersections in the Towanda area

TOWANDA — Numerous areas of road in the Bradford County area can be confusing to navigate at times. Some more than others have been the cause or a factor in accidents and instances of road rage or aggressive driving. Most intersections with new and different traffic patterns are learned quickly by those driving them daily but three intersections in the Towanda area in particular are known to confuse drivers, especially ones from out of the area.

The first intersection is technically a private road at the Bradford Towne Center in Wysox, according to PennDOT Assistant Highway Maintenance Manager Shane Bull. To exit the plaza and travel east on the Golden Mile, one must leave via a merge lane which many treat as a stop sign.

The correct way to leave the plaza eastward would be to never stop unless there are extenuating circumstances, fill the merge lane and merge left into traffic, according to Bull. During rush hours with the Golden Mile’s bumper-to-bumper traffic it may seem easier to just wait at the turn, but Bull says that a driver should enter the merge lane with their turn signal on until the end of the lane. If there is no entry to the Golden Mile, then the vehicle should wait at the end of the merge lane for an opening.

Somewhat recently the intersection on the south side of the Bradford County Veterans Memorial Bridge in Towanda was reconstructed to allow entry to Merrill Parkway from the south side of the bridge on Main Street. The intersection to turn right onto Merrill Parkway is situated just before the intersection to turn right onto the BCVM Bridge, and despite there being clearly stated traffic signage prohibiting a driver from going straight in the right turn only lane to Merrill Parkway it happens frequently.

Bull said that people mistake the Merrill Parkway turn for the turn onto the BCVM Bridge and just go through the intersection instead of turning right, which is a risk to vehicles following the signage as they are not expecting a vehicle in the right turn lane. Bull said the correct way to navigate the intersection from the south side of Towanda is to stay in the middle lane until the turn just before the bridge, then merge into the right turn lane.

Bull also said that a concrete barrier or sign in the roadway preventing drivers from going straight in the Merrill Parkway right turn lane would not be feasible because of minimum turn radiuses needed for traffic leaving Merrill Parkway.

Even more recently than the Merrill Parkway entry construction, the intersection of Route 220 and Main Street between Towanda and Monroeton in Towanda Township was reconstructed to make it easier for travelers to turn onto the highway. Before the construction, the road was known to be extremely dangerous and was the scene of two fatal accidents in the previous five years before construction. Since the construction, there have been numerous accidents at the intersection.

The construction added a middle lane that drivers making the left turn from Main Street toward Monroeton solely use, then merge into the southbound traffic. Bull said that to the best of his knowledge accidents have decreased at the intersection, but that traffic still moves fast and if drivers are not careful, especially when crossing a lane with oncoming highway traffic, accidents can still occur.