Local News-Thursday, August 31st
The Flood of 2006 is still fresh in everyone's mind, and there is potential for heavy rain this weekend from Tropical Storm Ernesto. The American Red Cross is reminding all residents to be prepared. Tim Firestone, Director of Emergency Services for the local Red Cross chapter reminds residents that while flooding could pose a threat, individuals and families can do a great deal to help themselves. Firestone also said that residents should make a kit with emergency supplies, make a plan in case flooding occurs and stay informed by listening to local radio stations in the event that watches and warnings are issued. If flooding does happen, be prepared to seek shelter as soon as possible. Should the need arise for assistance, contact local authorities immediately.
Porter Township and Cressona Borough were honored during Wednesday's Schuylkill County Commissioners meeting for improvement in their recycling efforts. Schuylkill County Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator Dan Grow said Porter Township had the most improvement in collection tonnage and Cressona has the second most improvement over last year. Jerry Bender accepted a certificate and a check for just over $520.00 on behalf of Porter Township and Lyle Frehafer accepted a certificate and check of just of $504.00 on behalf of Cressona. Also honored during the fourth annual recycling site sponsor awards were four commercial sites that had improved collection tonnage. They were Boyer's Food Markets in McAdoo and Orwigsburg, Midway Super Market in Valley View, Redner's Warehouse Market and the county Works Department. They all received certificates for their efforts. In a related matter, The Solid Waste department was authorized to apply for a performance grant amounting to $321,116.00 based on the county's 2005 recycling effort. The grant is an increase of just over $100-Thousand Dollars and 3,200 tons above last year's performance grant.
Schuylkill County will soon create a new position in the County Elections Bureau to manage and supervise the programming of the touch screen voting machines. County Administrator William Reppy advised the Commissioners Wednesday that a vacant Clerk position in the Election Bureau will be eliminated and a new Supervisor of Elections position will be created. Reppy said someone with an associate's degree in information technology would bring a higher level of skill sets to the bureau in preparing and programming the machines for each election. Reppy said the person will also do some of the clerical duties that were in the old position but their primary responsibility will be election equipment. Reppy said Diebold will remain involved in the process but someone from the county's side is needed to manage and supervise the programming of the machines.
A local hospital has received a grant to help track hospital-acquired infections. A check was presented in the amount of $48-thousand-dollars to the Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and the Highmark Foundation for software to accurately track infections among the hospital's patient population. Hospital CEO John Simodejka said that the MedMined Data Mining Surveillance service will significantly aid the hospital's infection control management program, and can ultimately reduce costs because of shortened hospital stays and provide better care for their patients. Prior to the implementation of the new system, collecting data about infections was done manually by hospital personnel. Hospital-acquired and community-acquired infections are not a new phenomenon in health care. In 2004, Pennsylvania reported 11-thousand cases of hospital-acquired infections. In 2005, that number increased to 21-thousand. Marc Volavka, Executive Director of the health care council, said those numbers most likely increased due to more accurate tracking. Pottsville Hospital is one of 11 Pennsylvania hospitals to receive the grant.
Residents of the Hegins area are being warned of possible "gypsy" activity. Township police report that a man attempted to distract an elderly resident last week by drawing her from her home. After the man left, the woman discovered a small safe from the home. Police warn that gypsies typically work in groups and target older citizens. They attempt to distract them while others enter homes and rummage for valuables. Citizens who see suspicious activity should contact police at once.
A Tower City man received his sentence for assaulting his then pregnant wife last year. Mark Zimmerman apologized to his wife in Schuylkill County Court yesterday after he received a 1 to 2 year state prison term, with credit for time served for pushing his wife Sandra through a plate glass door at their home in October, 2005. According to the Pottsville Republican and Herald, Zimmerman pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, terroristic threats and related charges. An earlier charge of attempted homicide had been withdrawn.
Zimmerman will also have to pay court costs and a $500 dollar fine in the incident.
The Commissioners also gave the Department approval to conduct the 7th annual Schuylkill County Watershed Awards with a maximum award to be $3,000.00 to any one organization. The awards presentation will be done at the Conservation District’s Board of Directors meeting on September 19th.