Thursday, October 19, 2006

Local News-Thursday, Oct. 19th

A Pottsville man pushing a lawn mower across Route 61 was struck by a car Wednesday night. Troopers from the Schuylkill Haven barracks report that Matthew Gentile was pushing a mower across the highway, when he crossed into the path of a car driven by Timothy Faust of Fleetwood. The impact forced Gentile onto the windshield and roof of the car. He landed face down on the highway. He was flown to Lehigh Valley Trauma Center for treatment of his injuries. Faust, nor his passenger, were injured.

The Pottsville School Board met for their regular monthly meeting last night. The business agenda was light this month. However, the board has been asked to consider an issue presented by the borough of Port Carbon. A letter signed by Borough Council President Thomas Pavlick requested that the board consider forgiving the property taxes on an abandoned property at 55 Mill Street. The foreclosed home is reported to be in poor condition, but an interested buyer is willing to bring the property up to code. However, there are significant municipal and tax liens on the home. The mortgage holder, Berks Community Federal Credit Union, is working with the borough and the prospective buyer to come to a reasonable solution. Water and sewer liens have been exempted from the debt, and Port Carbon Borough and Schuylkill County have agreed to forgive the taxes. The Pottsville School District is requested to do the same. Board members were to discuss the matter in executive session following Wednesday's meeting, and consider a vote at a later date. In other business, the board recognized the success of the Hi-S-Potts and TideLines publications and the students who write for them. They received awards from the National Scholastic Press Association and the Pennysylvania School Press Association.

An area mining company has decided not to use dredged materials to fill in a mining pit near Tamaqua. Coaldale Energy LLC, which assumed responsibilities for Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co. in April, has informed the DEP that it no longer intends to use those materials in reclaming the Springdale Pit. The company sent a letter to the department Tuesday, stating that it is not seeking reauthorization in its pending permit renewal of special conditions that allow the use of a mixture of dredged sediment, coal ash, cement kiln dust and lime kiln dust. The company's decision to forgo the use of dredge has no affect on the general permit that the department issued in March, 2004 in association with the use of a mixture of dredge and other materials for mine reclamation in Pennsylvania. DEP approved amendments to LC&N's surface mining permit in January, 2005 to allow the use of dredged sediment and other materials in the reclamation project. No dredge material has been placed on site to date.

Schuylkill County may buy the 9-1-1 center from its owners and save several million dollars in lease costs. During Wednesday's Commissioners work session, County Administrator Bill Reppy proposed purchasing the building for $775-thousand-dollars from Miller Brothers Contracting, Schuylkill Haven. Reppy explained how the county would save money by taking out a mortgage rather than continue to lease the building. Reppy said the County would be buying the building at $25-thousand-dollars less than its appraised value of $800-thousand-dollars. The building, located at 435 North Center Street in Pottsville, houses both the 9-1-1 center and the County Emergency Management Agency. The Commissioners are expected to act on the proposal at next week’s board meeting.

The American Red Cross urgently needs your blood donation. All blood types are needed, as well as platelet donations, to meet hospital orders. Blood types O-negative and A-negative are especially needed. Officials at the Northeastern Pennsylvania Blood Services office in Wilkes Barre say that blood donations have dropped in the region, and the freak blizzard that dumped two feet of snow on Buffalo last week and high demand in the Detroit, Michigan area have drained supplies to critically low levels. Anyone who is at least 17 years old, weighs at least 110 pounds and in good health can give blood.

The Schuylkill County Commissioners have been asked to adopt a new version of a LERTA resolution for a designated area within the Highridge Business Park. Mark Scarbinsky brought the proposal before the Commissioners during their work session Wednesday on behalf of SEDCO, Cass and Foster Townships and the Minersville Area School District. The program would affect about 700 acres of the 2-thousand-acre business park. LERTA, short for "Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act" is designed to allow local taxing authorities to make special tax provisions to encourage improvement of deteriorated property or areas.

Heritage areas across the state are receiving a shot in the arm from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, including several from our area. Governor Ed Rendell announced the state's investment of more than $1.5 million in Pennsylvania's heritage areas to preserve the richness of the state's past and create jobs and opportunities for the future. Pennsylvania's heritage areas are multi-county regions built around a particular industrial theme such as agriculture, railroads, steel mills, coal, oil, canals, lumber and highways. The $1.5 million in heritage area grants will be matched with private, local and federal dollars. The Schuylkill River Heritage Corridor will receive $162-thousand-dollars, some of which will benefit the Sovereign Majestic Theatre project in Pottsville, and for the Anthracite Museum in Ashland, to give it multi-use opportunities as a museum and community building.

Calling all chili chefs...does your recipe have what it takes to be a winner? The 3rd Annual City of Pottsville Chili Cook-Off is this Saturday at the Humane Fire Company on Laurel Boulevard in the city. Shannon Wabby, who's heading up the event, said that there are at least ten competitors from all walks of life. The Chili Cook-off is tied into the Pottsville Bicentennial, and proceeds will benefit the Lasting Legacy efforts. The fun begins at 4pm, and cost is just $10-dollars. By the way…the defending champion is the Pottsville City Democratic Committee.


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