CRI expands its Lewistown location

Heather Smith - Wednesday, January 05, 2011

LEWISTOWN - Community Resources for Independence Inc.'s Lewistown office has expanded to 4,800 square feet, which has allowed it to add some new rooms for training, and to bring additional staff members on board.

CRI, located at 33 E. Hale St., recently took over an additional suite in its building, bringing its total space to three suites, said Shaun Hayes, attendant care regional program manager.

The company, which helps people with disabilities become fully integrated into society, serves Mifflin, Juniata, Huntingdon, Perry and Centre counties. CRI has some regional human resources managers, Hayes said, so it lends support to other counties as well.

Hayes said the reason for the expansion is the company's growth. CRI serves more people now and has more staff, he said.

This time last year, CRI's Lewistown office had seven office staff members, but now has 10. There are 90 direct care field workers throughout the five-county area, and about 140 people, or consumers, are served throughout those counties, Hayes said. When CRI moved to its East Hale Street location in June 2009, it served between 100 and 110 people, he said.

Hayes attributes much of the company's growth to word of mouth from both consumers and direct care workers in the field.

"We feel the location of this building provided us with the opportunity to take (CRI) out a little more," he said.

Other reasons for growth are outreach efforts and continued good working rapport with other local organizations and agencies, Hayes said.

The expansion has allowed CRI to add two new rooms, and a kitchen and bathroom for training, he explained. The new rooms will be used to train aids and direct care workers on ADLs, or activities of daily living. One of the rooms will be used to train new attendees and retrain or recertify workers on ADLs, Hayes said.

"Basically it's how we can make them better attendants," he said about the purpose of the training rooms.

The kitchen will allow attendants to be trained on cleaning thoroughly after a meal, and eventually will be used to teach consumers with mental retardation how to be more independent, Hayes said. Previously, CRI's one training room was located in the conference room.

"Now the conference room can serve a better purpose of being just a conference room," he said - and it can be used to hold for meetings for social service groups, or to hold blood drives.

Hayes said with the expansion also comes new job positions to fill.

"Continued growth always allows for employment opportunities," he said.

The company currently is interviewing people to fill open positions, which include jobs out in the field. It is looking to fill probably about another 15 positions, and the human resources department already has expanded, Hayes said.

"(The growth) allowed us to bring on an HR manager," he said.

In the future, CRI may consider opening a management of information systems department, in which a computer support specialist would be hired, Hayes said. If that plan does get put into place, the company may also think about introducing a computer resource center, located on site, that would allow the general public to access computers to search what is available to them through CRI, he said.

The mission statement of CRI is to preserve, enhance and enrich the quality of life for all people with disabilities. For more information call the Lewistown office at 248-8011.


December 30, 2010 - Lewistown Sentinel

MARJORIE STROMBERG - Sentinel reporter

Miller Mistletoe Mile ~ CRI's Own Takes 3rd

Heather Smith - Monday, January 03, 2011


The Fourth Annual Miller Mistletoe Mile was held recently with nearly 200 runners participating in North East, PA.  Runners of all ages and entire families donned their Christmas hats, costumes and jingle bells for a another good cause. 

Hosted by the North East cross country team this year’s proceeds will benefit the North East Autistic Support classroom.

With the temperature barely above 15 degrees for the annual nighttime run, the North East Fire Department led the way for the runners. Hot chocolate, donated by the Boston Bean Café, was waiting for runners at the finish. 

Taking 3rd was CRI's very own Adam Rowe of the Erie Office.  Adam finished the mile in 5.22 minutes.  

"Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory." ~ William Barclay

For additional standings regarding the race visit

Adam Rowe pictured above.

Greetings from the Executive Director

Heather Smith - Monday, January 03, 2011

I would like to wish everyone in the CRI family a Happy New Year.  Your help and generosity over the past year have surpassed all expectations and I hope each and everyone of you will continue to do so in 2011.  I am very enthusiastic looking forward to another successful year ahead.

“It's the New Year.... I wish upon the star that your year is a beautiful one with... A Spring filled with joy, a summer filled with peace, an autumn filled with love, and a winter filled with warmth.”

Greetings from the Wellsboro Office

Heather Smith - Monday, January 03, 2011

Team work is the goal for the NEW YEAR, as part of all the PRE's the goal for 2011 is to help your fellow co-workers in some way.

Our social committee funded a really nice dinner at the Antlers Inn for the entire CRI Wellsboro Staff on Wednesday, December 8, 2010. The meal was excellent and included ham, green beans, scalloped potatoes, meatballs, bow tie pasta primavera, salad bar, breads, and the best pumpkin cheese cake I have ever tasted. Many staff donated items for a Chinese auction that also raised $257.50 to put back into the social committee fund.


Many PCA’s saved pop tabs through out the year for the Ronald McDonald House Charities and brought them to the training for an end of year donation. We received eight grocery bags worth of tabs to donate. Nice Job Team.

December 9, 2010 we welcomed three new PCA’s to the Wellsboro team. They completed orientation and began work this week.

Judith Kelly the PCA Supervisor/Mentor got engaged December 19, 2010 to the man of her dreams Scott Berguson.

A Special Thanks in Lewistown

Heather Smith - Monday, January 03, 2011
"Real life isn't always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only survive but surmount our difficulties."

James Briddle and his son were this years recipent of the Good Neighbor Fund's Adopt-a-Family Program at the Lewistown Office. James Briddle recently brought in a fruit basket to the Lewistown office in an effort to extended a message of thanks to all CRI staff and family.  James said that he really appreciated everything that we had done from him and his son.  James also said that at the time that he felt the lowest, we came along and did this for him.  And he couldn't be more grateful for everything.  Jeremy Herwig of the Lewistown office wanted to be sure to pass James' message along to everyone.  That being... "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone at CRI." 

For more Good Neighbor information click here!

January 2011 CIL Meeting Agenda

Heather Smith - Monday, January 03, 2011

A Message from the Executive Director

Heather Smith - Wednesday, December 15, 2010

With the holiday’s right around the corner, I would like to wish all of our consumers, staff, and families a safe and happy holiday season. Your help and generosity throughout the year has made CRI what it is today and we are looking forward to another successful year ahead. I wish you health, comfort, and prosperity this holiday season.




Goodwill at Christmas!

Heather Smith - Tuesday, December 14, 2010
With only a few days left till Christmas, the holiday spirit is eminent everywhere you look.  From red and white christmas lights glistening down the street, to the smell of fresh baked cookies in the oven, to the goodwill of all of CRI's generous staff. 

For the past month each location (Altoona, Allentown, Bradford, Clarion, Clearfield, Erie, Hermitage, Lewisburg, Lewistown, Oil City, McConnellsburg, Warren, and Wellsboro) have sponsored a family to help through the holiday season.  Whether they are facing, the loss of a mother, detrimental medical issues, or even just the lack of finances each contribution by CRI's generous staff have made this holiday one to remember for several families this holiday season. 

Pictured above are the several contributions made by the Erie Office for their family.


Corbett appoints coal company founder to cabinet

Heather Smith - Tuesday, December 14, 2010

HARRISBURG - Gov.-elect Tom Corbett said Thursday he has tapped a coal company president and prominent GOP campaign donor from central Pennsylvania to head the agency responsible for numerous community and business aid programs.

Alan Walker of Bradford Energy Co. will head the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Corbett said in a statement.

Walker, of Clearfield County, is Corbett's first cabinet appointee.

Corbett, the state's Republican attorney general, will be sworn in Jan. 18. After that, Walker must pass a Senate confirmation vote to assume the job on a permanent basis.

Walker, 66, is a member and past chairman of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Coal Association, and has an outstanding record of civic and community work, Corbett said.

"Alan Walker has an impressive and diverse record of achievement, in both the business and civic arenas," Corbett said. "He will be a valuable resource ... as we work to turn our economy around and take Pennsylvania into the future."

Walker received a bachelor's degree in economics from Bucknell University, where he is a trustee, and a master's in business administration from Penn State.

He spent several years as a products manager for the chemical maker Dupont in Wilmington, before he returned to Bigler to join his family's business and become president of Bradford Energy in 1975, according to an online biography at Bucknell.

He has served on the boards of a number of community and civic institutions, including Clearfield Area Health Services, which owns the nonprofit Clearfield Hospital, and the Team Pennsylvania Foundation.

The department Walker will oversee has more than 320 employees and a budget of about $325 million this year. It funds programs designed to attract, develop and market businesses and redevelop communities. It also houses pots of grants that the governor and legislators steer to pet projects.

In addition, the department is directing about $275 million more in federal money this year and it administers several authorities that issue grants or loans, including the Commonwealth Financing Authority, the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority and the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.

Philadelphia Inquirer

Corbett names four longtime aides to his cabinet

Heather Smith - Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Governor-elect Tom Corbett on Tuesday announced his first cabinet appointments, tapping four longtime aides from the state Attorney General's Office to become members of his inner circle when he becomes governor.

Corbett named Brian Nutt as his chief of staff; Annmarie Kaiser as his legislative affairs secretary; Jennifer Branstetter as his policy and planning director; and Kevin Harley as communications director.

"I'm grateful that such an experienced and trusted group of professionals is joining my administration," Corbett said in a statement. "They have worked closely with me on a daily basis for years, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we tackle the challenges facing Pennsylvania."

Nutt, 39, is the Corbett transition team's chief of staff. He was Corbett's gubernatorial campaign manager and previously served as his chief of staff in the Attorney General's Office. Nutt also managed Corbett's attorney general campaigns in 2004 and 2008.

Kaiser, 41, is serving as Corbett's acting chief of staff in the Attorney General's Office, as well as as his director of legislative affairs. Prior to joining the Attorney General's Office in 2005, she was the executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association.

Branstetter, 38, is the transition team's policy director; she held the same position in Corbett's gubernatorial campaign. Before that, she was the director of education and outreach in the Attorney General's Office. Prior to joining the Attorney General's Office, Branstetter was a communications manager for the Pennsylvania Bar Association and a deputy press secretary to Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker.

Harley, 47, is the transition team's communications director; he held the same position for Corbett's gubernatorial election. Harley also was the communications director and press secretary for Corbett in the Attorney General's Office.

All four live in the Harrisburg area.

Harley said Tuesday that he didn't know what their salaries - including his own - would be. That information, he said, would not be available until inauguration day, Jan. 18.

"It's not something we've discussed," he said.

Chris Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College, said that with his appointments, Corbett has effectively created an insular environment that will allow for frank discussions while ensuring "a tight, leak-free administration."

But, said Borick, in such groups there is a danger of "group think" impeding innovation.

"That's when you have people who are so comfortable together, they begin to think alike," he said. "There are no dissenting opinions in the room."

Still, said G. Terry Madonna, professor and pollster at Franklin and Marshall College, lack of dissent matters little, particularly in a strained economy where there is little money for innovation.

"This is an administration that has to deal with a deficit and make cuts, not an administration looking for new programs to expand the role of government. For this administration," Madonna said, "there will be a relatively limited set of options available."

With little diversity of work histories among the core staffers, the administration will need to go elsewhere for subject-matter expertise, Borick said.

"It's reasonable to ask whether they will be ready to take on the broader challenges of a gubernatorial office where the job requires some breadth," Borick said. "Corbett might argue that his staff is already in Harrisburg and knows the culture and general environment."

Angela Couloumbis and Tracie Mauriello
Dec. 8, 2010.

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