Thursday, October 26, 2006

Local News-Thursday, Oct. 26th

A two-car accident left two men injured in Delano Township Wednesday morning. The crash happened just after 6am near mile marker 134 on Interstate 81. Jose Torrez of Hazleton was driving south on I-81 when he lost control of his vehicle while attempting to pass a truck driven by James Mowery of Shickshinny. Torrez vehicle hit the rear of Mowery's truck, struck an embankment then spun around, back across the highway and hit the guiderail. Torres, and his passenger, Jose Salazar, were ejected from the vehicle. Both men flown to regional hospitals for treatment. Mowery, and his passenger were not hurt.

Poll workers are needed for the upcoming general election in Schuylkill County. The Schuylkill County Commissioners, during Wednesday's board meeting, said that anyone willing to help should call the Election Bureau at 628-1467 for a listing of where the vacancies exist. The vacancies are political party specific and workers must be a resident of the precinct where the vacancy exists. Commissioner Mantura Gallagher said the worker shortage is unusual, but given the nature of the work, attrition is expected. The workers help check voters in at the polls, and keep track of records during the voting day. Training is taking place by Bureau staff to acclimate workers to the process, and to instruct voters how to use the touch-screen voting systems.

As expected, the Schuylkill County Commissioners approved the purchase of the 9-1-1 building at 435 North Center Street, Pottsville during Wednesday's board meeting. The county negotiated a sale price of $775,000 from Miller Brothers Contracting Company, Schuylkill Haven, owners of the building. After last week's work session, County Administrator Bill Reppy said the county will save several million dollars in lease costs over the life of the mortgage the County will take out to buy the building. In other business, the Commissioners adopted a new version of a LERTA resolution for a designated area within the Highridge Business Park. The Commissioners were asked to adopt the new version on behalf of SEDCO, Cass and Foster Townships and the Minersville Area School District. LERTA, short for "Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act" is designed to allow local taxing authorities to make special tax provisions to encourage improvements in deteriorated property or areas.

Investigators continue to sort out the details as to the cause of Monday's fatal mine accident in Tremont Township. State and federal mine inspectors advanced into chute number 19 where the accident happened, after a safe working environment was established. The accident damaged mine timbers and roof supports and the ventilation system, making it unsafe for inspectors to continue the investigation. The underground investigation could take up to a week to complete, according to authorities. The accident reportedly involved explosives used in the coal mining process, but a final report may not be available for several weeks. One miner, Dale Reightler, was killed, and six other miners escaped the Monday morning accident. The mine will remain closed until the investigation is completed, and mine regulators are satisified that operations can resume safely at the Buck Mountain Slope owned by R and D Coal Company.

A Tamaqua man is charged on several counts after being accused of raping a 9 year old girl. 32-year-old Michael Golden faces charges of simple assault, indecent exposure and making terroristic threats. The young girl accused Golden of threatening to kill her, then sexually assaulting her. A Joliett man is under arrest for burglary and assault in Porter Township. The incident happened at the home of Brandon Merwine on Main Street in the township Monday afternoon. State police at Schuylkill Haven indicate that Jose' Negron, Joliett, broke into Merwine's home and struck him in the face. Negron fled the scene. Troopers caught up with Negron, but he refused to stop. Police nabbed him after a chase on foot. Negron was arraigned and lodged in Schuylkill County Prison.

With the onset of the winter heating season nearing, the heating assistance program is back in operation for low income residents. Applications for this year's LIHEAP program are now available at the Schuylkill County Assistance Office. Jean Lewis, Executive Director, said the program assists low-income individuals who cannot pay their heating bills. Eligible households can receive assistance through a direct payment to their energy provider, or through a crisis component during weather-related emergencies. The program opens for both components on November 6th, and closes March 22nd of next year. You must meet income guidelines in order to be eligilble for the LIHEAP program. For information, contact the Schuylkill County Assistance Office at 621-3072, or 877-306-5439, toll free.


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