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40th Scholarship Challenge set to kick off in January

SAYRE — For the 40th time, Valley residents will be turning their radio dials to the Choice 102 to tune it for one of the longest-running radio programs in New York and Pennsylvania — the Scholarship Challenge.

The high school quiz will once again pit 24 high school and eight junior high teams against each other in a competition of quick wits and knowledge of history, math, English, culture, and much more, host Chuck Carver announced during the challenge’s luncheon last week.

The challenge will kick off at noon on Jan. 25 from the Patterson Auditorium on the Guthrie campus in Sayre, and be broadcasted live on the Choice radio station.

After 2019’s challenge was named by Pennsylvania Broadcasters’ best station-sponsored event, which added the 30 state and national honors already to the challenge’s credits, this year’s competition will take a more somber note after the passing of Canton’s longtime coach Jeff Wynne earlier this year.

“He was involved in all kinds of extracurricular activities to support the kids at that school,” Carver said. “So we’re dedicating this season to him.”

There will also be a relatively major first for this year’s competition. As part of the effort to make sure that a full field of 24 teams are hosted, the high schools of Notre Dame and Athens will be bringing two teams each to the challenge.

Nevertheless, 40 seasons and $215,000 in awarded scholarships later, the scholarship challenge will be sure to feature the quizzical reactions and heated competitions that make the program a Valley staple every year.

Round one will open at noon on Jan. 25 and feature teams from Tioga Central, Waverly, Athens, Blue Ridge, Canton and Wellsboro.

Johnny Williams/Morning Times  

The Holiday Bazaar continues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Athens United Methodist Church. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., lunch will be available through the Youth Cafe. Numerous Christmas and fall items will be on sale throughout the event, and representatives of My Brother’s Keeper will be available as well. Proceeds benefit the church’s Sunday School and Heifer International. Pictured are Betty Bump, Becky Williams and Linda Yager.

The Bridge gearing up for 17th annual Sleepout event

SAYRE — A Valley tradition will continue on Friday, November 29 when The Bridge of the Penn-York Valley Churches kicks off its 17th annual Sleepout.

The annual event has become a major fundraiser during Thanksgiving weekend with funds going to fund The Bridge’s ministries.

According to a press release, 25 percent of the cash donations go to Kids at Risk, which provides for the needs of area school children. Another 25 percent will go to the Valley Food Pantry with 50 percent going to The Bridge’s general fund, which provides one-time vouchers for housing, utilities or other emergency needs for all the remaining ministries such as catastrophic and interim assistance, Clothes Closet and Helping Hands.

“The Bridge does important work to assist those in crisis. Planners hope that when they raise awareness of the needs of Valley neighbors, financial support will follow,” the press release said.

Since 2002, The Bridge annual Sleepout has started the day after Thanksgiving. Organizers chose this day because it follows a day of plenty, when most people will have eaten enough, if not too much, a press release said.

The Sleepout starts on Black Friday when many people will be spending money on Christmas gifts. The event also takes advantage of the visibility and bustle of the Sayre Christmas Parade, according to organizers.

“(The parade) has been important for the Sleepout (as it allows) visitors to see our makeshift home, observe volunteers shivering in the cold air and recognize that in this time of excess, many people in our community do not have full bellies or full shopping bags and many will not go home to a warm house,” the press release stated.

This year, the Sleepout will be held in the parking lot of the Guthrie Desmond Street Practice, which is the former Newberry’s building. It starts at 3 p.m. on Nov. 29 and continues until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30.

Visitors to the makeshift home, can make donations, learn more about the programs of The Bridge and enjoy a cookie and cocoa, a press release said.

Organizers “seek active involvement of individuals and businesses to give generously and to participate in the Sleepout.” The Bridge encourages those donating to also commit to spending an hour in the cold in the makeshift house with Bridge representatives to show their support of the community and those who are most vulnerable, according to the press release.

The committee is also inviting musical groups to sign up for a block of time to perform at the event.

The organizers are hoping to see “more youth groups participate (as) they bring an energy that everybody loves.”

For the second straight year, Valley school districts will be joining the fight with The Bridge. Through the month of November, the Valley schools will be collecting gently used pants and new underwear for school-aged children. The clothing will be collected and distributed through The Bridge’s Kids at Risk program.

The Athens Area School District won a plaque last year for collecting thousands of socks in 2018. The plaque will stay with the winning school district each year.

The Bridge also issued a challenge to local churches as the event draws near.

“The Bridge challenges all Valley churches to support the Sleepout by financially sponsoring a one-hour block of time by sending a group of representatives to weather the cold with Bridge board members in support of those who will suffer this winter without Heat,” the press release stated. “The Bridge also challenges churches to send families, men’s groups, women’s groups, support groups, choirs, choruses or clubs. After all, when a home is cold, the whole family suffers.”

For more information, visit the website www.thevalleybridge.org or call Kim Paul at 570-867-2628.

Kelsey resigns from Tioga County IDA

OWEGO — After over 20 years serving on the Tioga County Industrial Development Agency, Chairman Ralph Kelsey recently submitted his resignation from the board.

His resignation goes into effect on Dec. 31 of this year.

“I have strived to contribute toward the well-being of the residents of Tioga County and the legislature’s objectives,” Kelsey said. “Continue on, carry out the mission and don’t forget how important what you do is for the betterment of Tioga County.”

Kelsey started with the IDA on Dec. 8, 1997.

A lifelong resident of Tioga County, Kelsey is a semi-retired banker and also chairs the Broome Cooperative Insurance Company; the Chairman of the Tioga County Senior Citizen Foundation and serves on the Tioga County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

In addition to his civic service, he is Lay Pastor of the Grace Bible Church, in Candor.

US has new plan for notifying Americans of election meddling

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday released a new framework for notifying victims and the public of cyberattacks during the 2020 presidential election.

The procedures are designed to ensure consistency in how victims and the public are notified of election interference by foreign governments. The framework, which was approved by President Donald Trump, comes as the federal government has faced criticism for the lack of information it has made public about efforts by foreign hackers to penetrate campaigns and election systems. It also comes as the government braces for foreign interference in next year’s election similar to the hacking and foreign influence campaigns of the 2016 race.

The process underscores the difficulties the federal government has faced in balancing the public’s right to know about national security threats against its own interests in not disclosing sensitive sources and methods, as well as desires by some victims to not be publicly identified. For instance, members of Florida’s congressional delegation have complained that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security would not publicly identify the two counties where Russian hackers gained access to voter databases before the 2016 election.

A senior intelligence official said Friday that the framework implements a coordinated process for making notifications and expands when such notifications can and should be made.