Monday, October 23, 2006

Local News-Monday, Oct. 23rd

Tragedy struck in Tremont Township today with the death of a man in a mining accident. WPPA/T102 news was on the scene a short time after the accident at the R and D Coal Company. The deep mine is located just outside the village of Joliett. Tom Garcia from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration made the announcement after 1pm Monday that one man died. The miner was found some 2-thousand-feet underground. Five other miners got out of the shaft safely. Inspectors remained inside the mine throughout the day Monday to try and determine a specific cause. Early reports indicated that an explosion occurred inside, but that information has yet to be confirmed.
R&D Coal Company experienced a mine explosion in 2004. Three men were injured in that accident. The Williams and Tri Valley areas of Schuylkill County are dotted with small underground mining operations. According to Pennsylvania DEP, Anthracite mines in Pennsylvania are inspected every two months by DEP mine inspectors and twice a year by the department’s electrical inspectors. MSHA inspects anthracite mines quarterly.

Two vacant homes were destroyed by fire in Girardville yesterday. Fire officials in the borough say that the blaze was intentionally set, according to the Pottsville Republican. The row homes at 16 and 18 Ogden Street, adjacent to the Ranger Hose Company, went up quickly. Officials say that the fire started in a stairway between the two homes, and some form of accelerant was used to speed it up. The investigation continues.

The ongoing odor problem at homes in Pottsville will be discussed in an open forum next Monday evening. The problem was reported by several dozen homeowners after the completion of the city-wide sewer upgrade project by the Greater Pottsville Sewer Authority. The $43-million-dollar project was mandated by the state to separate storm water and sewage flows. Properties on Oak Road, Howard Avenue and Mahantongo Street have experienced strong odors coming from floor drains in their basements. Officials from the sewer authority and the city of Pottsville have suggested that homeowners install traps to divert the smell from eminating through their properties. The city and the sewer authority have scheduled a public meeting to discuss the problem and possible remedies on Monday, October 30th at 7pm in council chambers at City Hall.

Two individuals were arrested by State Police Thursday on several charges in Washington Township. Troopers responded to a call Thursday afternoon on State Route 895 and Blue Mountain Road, where a suspicious man and woman were reportedly drunk and wandering around. 30-year-old James Nedinsky, of Pottsville, and 42-year-old Karen Boris of Minersville were taken into custody and charged with public drunkenness. The pair were taken to the State Police barracks. During a search, two bottles of Morphine Sulfate pills were found on Nedinsky. A single morphine pill was found on Boris. Nedinsky was charged with numerous offenses and arraigned. He was released after posting bail, and was ordered to seek medical treatment. Boris was taken to Pottsville Hospital, where she refused medical treatment. She will be charged in District Court.

An illegal immigrant was arrested on drug charges in Shenandoah Saturday night. Shenandoah borough police say that Javier Garcia was detained for a traffic stop in the borough late Saturday, and was unable to produce a valid drivers license, then gave them false information about his true identity. Garcia is reported to be in his mid-20's.
A search uncovered a quantity of cocaine in Garcia's sock. Charges against him include possession with intent to deliver cocaine, providing false identification to police and traffic violations. He was remanded to Schuylkill County Prison.State Police have identified the woman who died in a Friday night crash on Interstate 81. 42-year-old Cynthia Mealey of Mahanoy Plane was pronounced dead at the scene due to injuries suffered in the one vehicle crash. Mealey was southbound on I-81 near the Delano exit when she left the roadway. Mealey tried to recover, but her car struck a rock embankment and rolled over. She was ejected from her car. The fatal crash happened around 8:30pm Friday night.

Two people were moderately injured in a crash Saturday afternoon in Washington Township. A car operated by 57-year-old Sandra Schaeffer was driving east on Route 443, waiting to turn into a parking lot along side the road. The car driven by Deborah Chitwood of Pottsville was westbound on Route 443, and tried to avoid Schaeffer's car, but the two cars collided. Chitwood and her passenger, Bernice Sockwell, also of Pottsville, were transported to Geisinger Medical Center via helicopter. Schaeffer was not hurt. The crash happened around 1pm Saturday.

A Tamaqua woman who state police reported missing late last week has been found in Philadelphia. 29-year-old Jill Alicea was last seen on Thursday afternoon at her home. She was reportedly heading to work at Mrs T's Pierogies in Shenandoah, but disappeared. Troopers say that the woman's mother reported that she checked herself into a hospital in Philadelphia.

Red Ribbon Week begins today. The Red Ribbon Campaign, the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation, aims to raise public awareness and help communities to combat alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among youth. This year's theme is "100% Me-Drug Free!" Good Samaritan Center for Counseling Services and Schuylkill County MH/MR and Drug and Alcohol Programs are sponsoring the event. Schools will hold educational programs and special activities to celebrate the week. There will also be several activities planned in the community, including the Driving Out Drugs Bus, which will visit local businesses to deliver the trademark Red Ribbons and other drug prevention material.

Pots of simmering goodness were enjoyed by many at Pottsville's Third Annual Chili Cookoff Saturday at Humane Fire Company. The event was tied into Pottsville's 200th birthday celebration, and more than 75 people stopped by to enjoy various chili recipes made by 6 different contestants. Two Pottsville fire companies, a city restaurant, Pottsville's City Treasurer and two individuals prepared recipes for all to sample. A panel of 7 judges based their decision on a variety of criteria, including aroma, taste and consistency in determining the winner. When the votes were tallied, City Treasurer Ellen Micka's "Taxpayer Chili" took first place honors, followed by Susan Holdshue and Roma Pizza. The best dressed table award went to the West End Fire Company.


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