As most people in this area know, when July and August comes around it’s fair time. Southwest Pennsylvania has a number of the best fairs in Pennsylvania. In fact, there are four fairs in Greene County and Washington County alone.

Our local fair season starts off with the Jacktown Fair, in the western Greene County town of Wind Ridge. The Jacktown Fair runs from Tuesday July 19 through Saturday July 23. New to the fair this year is a BMX Bicycle Stunt Show and Motocross Classes on Wednesday. The Cincinnati Circus will present two shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The fair book is available online or stop at Burns Tire Service in Waynesburg. Home and garden entries should be brought to the Floral Hall on Monday, July 18 between 9 a.m. and 6 pm. Livestock entries close July 9.

The Greene County Fair, which is held in Waynesburg, begins on Sunday, Aug. 7 and goes through Saturday, Aug. 13. Books are available at the Greene County Penn State Extension Office, located at 26 W High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370. Home and garden and livestock entries are due to the fair office by July 30.

Then it’s Washington County’s time for fairs. The Washington County Fair begins Saturday, Aug. 13 and finishes on Saturday, Aug. 20. Books are available online or at the Washington County Penn State Extension Office, located at 100 W. Beau St., Suite 601, Washington, PA 15301. Livestock entries were due by July 8 and entries for Home and Garden are due by July 15.

We finish our fair season with the West Alexander Fair. The West Alexander Fair, held in the western Washington County town of West Alexander, is always the week of Labor Day and this year begins on Monday, Sept. 5 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 10. Livestock entries are due Aug. 17 and hall entries are due Aug. 24. Forms are available online at their website.

4-H and agriculture are a vital part of the fair season. When only one percent of the population has direct ties to agriculture, the local fair is about as close to agriculture as most people ever get. It is here that the general public gets a chance to view animals and agricultural products and machinery. It’s also an opportunity for these folks to talk to the youth and adults that exhibit at the fairs.

Penn State Extension works closely with both the 4-H youth and the adult exhibitors to make sure these events are fun, educational, productive and a positive reflection of the agricultural community. I encourage everyone to attend a fair, in your area, and show support for agriculture in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Walt Bumgarner, Livestock educator, Penn State Extension

Pennsylvania needs its sheriffs, deputies

As president of the Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Association, I would be remiss if I did not address the tragic and cowardly killing of five brave Dallas Texas area law enforcement officers.

As a sheriff, as a law enforcement leader, as an American, my heart is broken and my prayers go out to the families of the fallen officers, the law enforcement community and the Dallas community as a whole.

As time has gone on since last Thursday, more and more stories are being told of the bravery of these officers protecting those they have sworn to protect. Running into the firefight as most sought to flee. Using their bodies to shield citizens in an effort to keep them from harm. Those officers did what law enforcement officers do every day. Put themselves in harm’s way, willing to lay down their lives if need be, to fulfill that oath “To Serve and Protect.”

My reason for writing this letter is twofold. The first is to lift up the law enforcement community, to show a solidarity that is necessary in the law enforcement profession and to also decry those in our profession that would use their badge of authority as weapon against society and not as the shield that it is intended to be used.

The second reason is to again bring attention to the plight of the Pennsylvania Sheriff as we fight to regain full law enforcement authority, to be full law enforcement partners with our brothers and sisters, whether trooper, officer or deputy. In a society where we are losing many of our youth to drugs, especially the enormous opiate addiction problem, the future of this great country is at stake, where we are seeing law enforcement officers being targeted, vilified and murdered just because they wear a uniform and a badge.

This letter is directed to our legislators, to our fellow law enforcement partners and to our citizens. The Pennsylvania Sheriffs and Deputies raised their right hand and swore an oath with the same commitment as the Trooper and Police Officer. To uphold the constitution of the United States, the constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to serve and protect the citizens of our communities.

We have no ulterior motive, we don’t want to “Take Over Territory,” or cause communities to close a police agency because we want to be the “Do All End All” in the fight against evil.

We just want to be full partners. We want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any and all of our law enforcement peers. We are trained equally to a municipal police officer, equipped and on the streets of our cities, on the roads of the Commonwealth and ready and able to re-enter the fight. We want to fight against the evil that preys on our society and not against one another.

So to all of our law enforcement partners that oppose us, let’s end this fight. Let’s send a message to those that would flood our streets with the poison that is killing so many. Let’s send a message to those that would use an isolated incident of perceived injustice at the hands of law enforcement to kill our brothers and sisters. Let us again stand shoulder-to-shoulder, with a mutual determination to bring justice to all.

To the members of the House and Senate of this great Commonwealth that have the ability, and I would say have a duty to assure our citizens that you are doing everything in your power to keep them safe, introduce and pass legislation once and for all to allow the Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs to again have full law enforcement authority. Let only one group have a voice that that would guide you in determining what role the Sheriff should play in our communities. The voice of the PEOPLE.

As I pray for these fallen officers, as I pray for a hurting country, my hope rests in a God who vows His Protection.

God Bless you all and God Bless America.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.” — Psalms 138:7

Respectfully, Nick Hoke

Crawford County Sheriff

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