Bloomsburg Flood Protection
The Bloomsburg Town Council recently gave their okay for the installation of three sanitary sewage pump stations and six sanitary flow control structures around the yet – to – be – built floodwall protecting Autoneum and the former Windsor Food plant. SEDA – Cog's Glenda Ruch telling council that the town's Municipal Authority has agreed to own the facilities... but they have no one to take care of the pump stations during flooding. The Council agreed that duty will fall upon Public Works Department employees who will shift their job duties from road and general maintenance to flood control.
Next week at this time the state legislature will be in special session... trying to resolve the issue of pension reform. During a stop in Bloomsburg last week, Governor Tom Corbett says it's one of the most complex issues facing his administration. The pension issue comes as Governor Corbett is facing re-election this fall. But in his talk... Corbett says his opponent Tom Wolf believes there isn't a pension crisis in the state.
More Pension Reform
Don't blame me... that's what a Luzerne County State Senator is saying in reference to the $50 - billion state pension crisis in Pennsylvania. State Senator John Yudichak says he voted no on a measure passed in 2001 that provided a 50 percent increase in pension benefits for lawmakers and a 25 percent increase for state and school employees. He says a 2010 reform measure that reduced pension benefits among other actions is working, but the crisis continues. Yudichak supports a plan to borrow nine billion dollars to reduce the unfunded liability.. he says a severance tax on the natural gas industry could pay the interest.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled next month for a Berwick man charged with aggravated and simple assault... stemming from a domestic disturbance over the weekend in an apartment in the 100 block of West Second Street. Berwick Police Chief Ken Strish says 19 – year old Steven Mercado and 50 – year old John Alex Flores – Rivera got into a fight on Saturday... which led to the stabbing of 61 – year old Ruth Rhodes... identified as Mercado's grandmother. She was stabbed in the shoulder by Flores – Rivera who had grabbed a knife during the argument. Strish says Flores – Rivera was arraigned... and when he was not able to post $50 – thousand bail... he was remanded to the Columbia County Prison until his August 4th arraignment.
Temporary Beer Gardens
The Liquor Control Board's handling of temporary licenses is being criticized by the co-chair of a Senate Committee overseeing the agency. They're called "Pop-Up Gardens"... off-site, catered events granted temporary licenses to serve beer and liquor. But State Senator Jim Ferlo, one of two chairmen of the Senate Law and Justice committee which oversees the L-C-B, says the agency is allowing liquor to be sold 10 hours a day, seven days a week, when the limit should be 5 hours for just one day. Ferlo says this is hurting restaurants and taverns near these "Pop-Up Gardens".
Turnpike Speed Limits
The transportation law passed last year authorizes a 70 mile an hour speed limit on eligible roads. But WHLM's Cathy Clark reports portions of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be the first to adopt the new limit. A 100 mile section of the PA Turnpike between the Blue Mountain and Morgantown Interchanges will go to 70 miles an hour this week. The Turnpike commission says its studies show that the design of the system in that area can safely accommodate the higher limit. Meanwhile, PennDOT is still reviewing other 65 mile an hour highways to see if the limit could be safely raised on any sections.
Fire Department Grants
Several Luzerne County fire volunteer fire departments are in line to receive an estimated 30 – thousand dollars from $590 – thousand being dolled out by the state Bureau of Forestry. The departments are located in area's where forest and brush fires are big problems. The money will be earmarked for equipment and training.
Wilkes – Barre Sex Assault
A disturbing story out of Wilkes – Barre. Police say they're investigating the sexual assault of a 9 – year old girl. The incident took place late yesterday afternoon on a home on South Sherman Street. For the most part... police are remaining tight lipped. No arrests have been made.
NEPA Gas Prices
The average cost of a gallon of gas continues to go down. The latest Triple A Fuel Gauge report shows self – serve, unleaded regular is averaging $3.60 a gallon... that's a penny less than the weekend... and nearly five cents a gallon from a week ago. The drop is attributed to a stabilizing situation in Iraq.
The Luzerne County Treasurer's office is loosing an important employee. Office deputy Dominick DePolo will retire in early September after spending the past 15 years as a county employee. DePolo was involved in several initiatives to save Luzerne County money... and came up with programs to generate new revenues. They included the in – house collection of county taxes in cities.
A sure sign that the football season is right around the corner- NFL preseason camps are opening. The Buffalo Bills were the first of the 32 teams to begin preseason workouts. The New York Giants will be on the field Tuesday, and that means that former Southern Columbia star Henry Hynoski will be starting his 4th NFL season. Hynoski appears to be fully recovered from a knee injury which limited him to just three games last season.
Pitching for the first time in two months, Phillies starter Cliff Lee lasted into the 6th inning against San Francisco Monday night. The Phils trailed 6-4 when he left the game. The Giants defeating the Phillies 7 to 4. Game two of the series is tonight starting at 7:05. Coverage on the WHLM Stations begins with the pregame show at 6:30.
Other MLB Games
In other games Monday night.. The Los Angles Dodges defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5 to 2... the New York Mets were downed by the Seattle Mariners 5 to 2... and the Texas Rangers got by the New York Yankees 4 to 2.