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City makes strides toward linking law enforcement, community

At its third Cookin’ Up Conversation event, the city joined with other institutions and organizations to form solid connections across all areas of the community.

The initiative has been ongoing all summer and provides residents from around the city and county an opportunity to meet community leaders and public service employees. Many city police leaders were there grilling free food for guests.

Each Cookin’ Up Conversation event is held in a different area of the city in order to reach a larger and diverse population. Sunday’s was held at River Valley Church on Catherine Street.

“We want to travel to them,” Mayor Derek Slaughter, said. “We want to build these relationships throughout the entire community and we want to make it easier for people to come to us and do that.”

Each host location has been an opportunity to reach new residents and bring together more organizations.

“We’re just trying to uplift the community here,” Slaughter said. “We’re trying to get the police officers out here and organizations to meet, collaborate, and get to know each other and the citizens. This is a two-way-street and this makes it easier for everyone to make that happen.”

The Lycoming County United Way partnered with Cummins Engines through a national program to donate 30 bikes to area kids throughout various events over the summer, including all of the Cookin’ Up Conversation dates.

Cummins Engines built the bikes to be raffled.Each bike comes with a helmet and a lock.

“This event is important because it draws people to and from different parts of the city,” said Ron Frick, president of the Lycoming County United Way.Frick raffled off bikes to four excited kids at the event Sunday.

JanAnn Todd, the United Way’s Director of Community Impact, said that the children are an important part of each of these events.

“It’s nice for the kids to be able to experience this,” Todd said. “To be able to get together and meet police and officials in this way.”

Many members of the River Valley Church were there showing support as the hosting location of the event. Margie and Rick Macintyre said they were happy to be there to see everyone gather together in such a way.

“The community getting together to support fire, EMS, and law enforcement … this is essential to our community,” Rick Macintyre said.

Slaughter said the events have gone so well that they plan to host one in the center of the city in September.

“We’ve had an excellent reception,” he said. “It’s been very good and everyone seems to be enjoying it. These events are important and people are seeing our city cops and officials out here on a personal level.”

In continuing with community outreach initiatives, Slaughter said they are beginning a community walking program called Pride in the Port.

“We’re hoping to start this in September, but it will be a chance to get together and walk around different parts of the city to highlight folks who take pride in their homes and in their community,” he said. “And to provide resources for homes that may need a little tender loving care.”

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