Centre seeks naloxone grant, plans to digitize court records

By EMMA GOSALVEZ, egosalvez@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE — Centre County is ramping up its efforts to stop opioid overdoses.

The Centre County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a letter of endorsement for Mount Nittany Medical Center’s grant application to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). The grant funds will be used for the county’s Narcan program. Narcan is the brand name for the medication known as naloxone and is used to block the effects of opioids, especially in cases of overdose.

According to Natalie Corman, county deputy administrator of human services, PCCD recently released the $5 million statewide grant opportunity, which will provide one centralized coordinating entity (CCE) per county or region and up to 120,000 doses of naloxone throughout the state over a two-year period. The CCE will help with the distribution of intranasal naloxone kits to first responders.

The commissioners designated Kasandra Botti of Mount Nittany Medical Center as the county CCE. Botti currently serves as medical director for emergency medical services at Mount Nittany and works with the six local police departments for their naloxone distribution.

“As we have expanded the program, it has saved additional lives in the last couple months,” said Commissioner Mark Higgins.

The deadline for the grant application is Monday, Nov. 6.

In other business, county court records dating back to 1800 will soon be digitized, thanks to a new contract with RBA Professional Data Systems, Inc. According to Debra Immel, county prothonotary and clerk of courts, RBA will digitize 366 docket books which contain civil and criminal cases that have gone through court. The docket books date from 1800 to 1994.

“This project is a benefit by improving public access, while preserving our books,” Immel said.

Many of the docket books are in poor condition, she said, and some are falling apart. RBA will scan each page, and each page will be made available on the public online county information system, WebIA.

Immel said that the first phase of the two-phase project is expected to be completed by Jan. 6, 2018. The second phase will be completed within six months.

Phase one will cost $61,425, while phase two will come to approximately $181,000, according to county administrator Margaret Gray.

In terms of funding, Gray said that the first phase will be taken care of by the county’s records improvement committee. Phase two will be funded by the records improvement committee, automation funds maintained by the prothonotary’s office, and the county information technology replacement fund.