Sheetz - Port Allegany's new Sheetz store appears to be almost ready for business. The leasing company saw to the construction of all four corners of North Main Street at Arnold Avenue, although two of them had been part of the central commercial streetscape project two year ago. The new, larger Sheetz includes an expanded convenience store, fast food line and dining space, along with gas station. Martha Knight Photo/Story
Sign Donated -Pam Fischer Photo/Story
Success For Scouts - Daisy Scout Chloe Cramer is all smiles because she's dressed in her Halloween costume, because she's painting a pumpkin and because she was one of the many scouts who went trick or treating for PACS (Port Allegany Community Services). The girls and their leaders had fun while helping others in the community, and that's something to smile about! Scouts from the Northern Star Service Unit including girls from Port Allegany, Turtlepoint, Eldred and Roulette, went Scouting for treats Sunday afternoon and came away with two pick-up trucks loaded with non-perishable food items for the local food pantry. The Scouts would like to thank all who contributed and helped to make their Sunday Scouting event successful. Pam Fischer Photo/Story
Commissioners Approve Massive IT Upgrade Smethport - Up to 15 years of making do and piecemeal replacements and expansions have left McKean County government technology in need of a major overhaul, according to a presentation to the McKean County Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday morning.
After Jean Hendrickson, Information Technology (IT) Director, and Troy Glasgow, Network Systems Administrator, presented the findings of their and a consulting firm’s appraisal of technology needs, the commissioners voted unanimously to purchase the technology infrastructure upgrade they recommended, at a cost of $199,529.70.
Everything except the consulting services will be purchased through the state bid system, which is one approach to the competitive bidding requirement. The vendor being used by bid aggregator Costar is CDW-G, the government-oriented division of the company formerly known as Computer Discount Warehouse.
Many items of the hardware, software and connectivity now in use in various county departments are so old that support is no longer offered for them, and they cannot be upgraded. They are at “end of life,” Hendrickson and Glasgow said.
Also, older servers require more cooling and physical space than their current counterparts. Many of the self-contained computers in use by staff in the Court House and other county buildings are outdated and limited, Hendrickson and Glasgow noted.. Their function can be replaced and then some, by modern, slim “virtual” computers or terminals supported by a faster, more robust network.
Server capacity will be expanded but the servers used will be less bulky. Security and backup strategies will be improved as part of the upgrade. Data storage, protection and sharing will be improved.
Commissioner chairman Joe DeMott pointed out that when the current commissioners took office, they wanted to have technology needs reviewed over a period of time, so that a plan could be developed for bringing and keeping technology up-to-date. In-house IT staff had recommended and the commissioners had approved additional help from Synergy, a technology consulting company. Synergy will also see to the professional installation and configuration of all the equipment, according to Hendrickson. Synergy’s fee will be $34,960.
The new infrastructure design in the Synergy-designed plan calls for one large power backup unit to support all new equipment, and a single vertical rack for the new gear, consolidating and streamlining it, at a cost of $7,200.
Enhanced network design will result in multiple switching for redundancy, so that if a switch or loop fails, another can take over, resulting in “zero down-time,” the report explains. Switches, servers and storage area network (SAN) connectivity will cost $20,590.
Synergy’s design calls for three large capacity servers to handle the needs of the new “virtual environment.” The IT staffers said this also allows for future expansion. This equipment will cost. $41,526.90.
The study presented to the commissioners states that backup provisions now in use are not adequate for maintaining complete backups. The new backup arrangement will include a tape library that will hold two weeks worth of complete backups. Also, there will be off-site storage of one week’s data. There will be a separate, smaller server dedicated to the backup system and library of backup tapes.
The SAN itself will cost $54,544.90. Virtualization licensing is expected to cost $18,697. Microsoft Windows operating system and Microsoft Exchange software licenses, including the appropriate number of “seats,” will cost $16,971.88. Licensing of the software that will manage the backup process will cost $5,045.
DeMott suggested that the costs of the project can be allocated to various county departments and functions where IT services are used, for purposes of budgeting and claiming appropriate reimbursements. Martha Knight Story
Donation - During Saint Gobain's Annual Inter-national EHS Day celebration, EHS Manager Dan Decker presented a donation to the Port Allegany Fire Department Chief, Kevin Ernst, and members Cody Green, Courtney Barnett, and Wayne Stambaugh. The glass containers plant and the Star Hose Company have a long tradition of mutual support that benefits both parties and the community as a whole. The Fire Department conducts an annual drill at the plant during which the members practice some of the emergency services that they provide. According to Mr. Decker, "Our relationship with the Star Hose Company is the foundation of an invaluable service to our plant and our employees. To have emergency services that are as well trained and prepared as ours, is an asset that many other glass plants really struggle to obtain. By being very closely located and having a number of members that are actually employees of the plant, they are well positioned to handle any urgent situations that arise. We owe a debt of gratitude toward these brave volunteers and look forward to many years of working together." Pam Fischer Photo/Story