Millard / Barletta
It's the waiting game for Congressman Lou Barletta. Earlier in Donald Trump's search for a Transportation Secretary... Mr. Barletta was highly recommended. But, that job has gone to another... and this time Mr. Barletta's name is being tossed about as Secretary of Labor... something that doesn't surprise State Representative David Millard of Berwick. Appearing on the Thursday edition of the WHLM Morning Buzz... Mr. Millard said he'd be interested in Mr. Barletta's job in Washington.... if he were to vacate the position.
Prayer / Football
A second school district in the area has ordered the head football coach to stop praying with his players. Our media partner Newswatch 16 is reporting... members of the Danville Area High School football team have a tradition of praying before each game. A national group fighting for the separation of church and state found out about that, and like it did the Dunmore team, helped put an end to it. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Danville Area's superintendent this week after someone posted a video on social media of a coach appearing to pray with the football team.
Parts of Pennsylvania dealing with drought conditions got some welcome relief this week in the form of rainfall, but, much more is needed. Thirty counties remain under a drought watch which calls for a voluntary 5 percent reduction in non-essential water use. Those areas got over an inch of rain this week with more expected over the next few days, but state environmental officials say rainfall deficits total 7 to 8 inches. In addition, a drought warning remains for Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton Counties.
The state Department of Transportation and Penn State University have teamed up to form a high-tech partnership. PennDOT's District 2, which covers nine midstate counties has been chosen as a technology corridor, with a focus on Interstate 99. The department and Penn State are teaming up to place Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS technology on I-99 and conduct tests, which include the use of autonomous or driverless vehicles. Officials say the partnership's goals are to reduce road congestion, increase safety and save lives.
A law that aims to give ex-offenders of low-level crimes a better foothold in society is now in effect. The law allows people who have been convicted of non-violent misdemeanors to have their criminal record sealed from public view...if they have served their punishment and have stayed out of the criminal justice system for ten years. To do this, the person must file a petition with the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the charge originated. Supporters say the law will reduce recidivism and lower corrections costs for the state.
Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble
The Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble is in the middle of producing a play... all by three cast members... about “Every Christmas Story Ever Told.” It's a 90 minute comedy everyone can relate too. “Every Christmas Story Ever Told”... runs weekends through December 23rd
Wilkes – Barre Fatal
The Luzerne County coroner said a woman is dead after a crash in Wilkes-Barre. Emergency crews were called to the intersection of Market Street and Pennsylvania Boulevard around 4:30 p.m. Thursday. A driver slammed into a pole at the corner of the busy downtown intersection. The driver was taken to the hospital where the coroner said she died.
Some charitable organizations in Pennsylvania are seeing donations come in at a slower pace this year. In 2015, the Lycoming County United Way helped fund 34 organizations that provided services to more than 28-thousand people--about a quarter of the total county population. This year, the organization is still about one million dollars away from its 1-point-4 million dollar fund raising goal for the year. Its executive director says that could be due to uncertainty in the presidential election year...and the rise in healthcare premiums.
New gas rates are in effect for UGI customers. Subscribers will see their monthly gas bill go down. UGI said in a news release that rates for residential heating will go down about 6.2 percent. An average residential bill will go from $82.92 per month to $77.75 per month.