Friday, March 23, 2007

Local News-Friday, March 23rd

The driver of a school van that injured her and two students will be cited by state police. Lynne Creitz was driving the van transporting Schuylkill Intermediate Unit students when it rolled down a bank in the village of Kaska. State police concluded that she failed to keep the van in her lane, and was cited for it. Creitz and two teenage boys are patients at Lehigh Valley Medical Center. She was transferred there from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.
The crash happened after 3pm Tuesday afternoon.

The developer of an ethanol plant to be built in western Schuylkill County received several approvals from county officials this week. Green Holding LLC, based in Emmaus, was given conditional approvals for a several items by the County Planning Commission, according to the Pottsville Republican. The $300-million dollar plant to be constructed near Joliett will produce the corn-based ethanol product and other alternative fuels. The company can now proceed onto the next step, making applications to the state Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation. That process will take some time to complete.

Third graders at John S. Clarke Elementary Center in Pottsville will have an important job next week. They will vote to provide funds to worthwhile organizations. The Karen Chattin Ney Education Foundation’s “Karen’s Heroes” program sets aside money each year for 5 charities in the community. Karen, a beloved third-grade teacher died of ovarian cancer 9 years ago. The 5 charities making presentations next week are the Pottsville Soup Kitchen, the Sovereign Majestic Theatre, the Schuylkill County Diabetes Organization, which is a new entry, the Pottsville Free Public Library and the Make A Wish Foundation. Students will hear 30-minute presentations every day next week, and determine how much money will be donated to the charities, with each vote worth $7.50. The program teaches kids the value of making donations to worthwhile causes. The program was featured in the American Profile magazine in January, and adopted by an elementary school in Gainesville, Texas. Karen’s Heroes is in its 8th year.

PennDOT is calling on volunteers to help during the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup April 21st.
The Adopt-A-Highway program started in 1990, and now boasts 71-hundred participating groups and organizations. They adopt a section of roadway for a two-year period, and collects litter on it at least 4 times a year. The groups who volunteer during the Great PA cleanup agree to help pickup trash wherever they choose. PennDOT provides all of the necessary supplies. Anyone interested in volunteering should call the Schuylkill County PennDOT office at 385-7812.

The Schuylkill County Commissioners, at Wednesday’s work session, approved a request by Child Development Inc. to submit a continuation grant for subsidized child care services. The grant is for just over $3.7-million-dollars, an increase of almost $900-thousand-dollars over last year’s funding. The grant will serve more than 16-hundred children. In other business, the commissioners approved a request from Mark Scarbinsky of the county Economic Development office to buy the Union Street parking lot from the City of Pottsville for $1.00. The lot is be used in the development of the county’s Intermodal Transit project. In a related matter, the Commissioners approved a request by Scarbinsky on behalf of STS, to authorize a “Notice to Proceed” for phase two of the Intermodal Transit Project. Scarbinsky said this allows the design team to proceed with work tasks as required by the Federal Transit Administration. The cost is estimated at $300-thousand-dollars which is fully funded through the grant program. The office of Senior Services asked approval to accept a low bid of $144-thousand-dollars from Bognet Inc. of Hazleton for renovation of the Tremont Senior Center. Rest Haven asked authorization to award a linen and personal laundry services contract to Paris Healthcare Linen Services, Dubois for a period of two years at a cost of just over $509-thousand-dollars.
The County Election Bureau received approval to hire Diebold Election Systems for preparation work needed for the primary and general elections at a cost of $84,500.

The County Prison recently underwent its annual inspection from the Department of Corrections. Warden Eugene Berdanier told the prison board at its Wednesday meeting that all areas of operations were evaluated and discussed and a copy of their findings will be made available when the report is finalized. Berdanier also said that due to overcrowding, particularly among the female population, additional cots were borrowed from SCI Frackville on approval from Superintendent Robert Shannon. The Warden said a group presentation for female inmates was scheduled for Wednesday by an organization from New York State on various topics including drugs, alcohol, prostitution and criminal activities. The Warden said the group was at the prison last year and was invited back again because of the favorable response to their program. Berdanier also said he is working on security issues for another female- only outreach program entitled “Realize Your Potential”, sponsored by the New Start Foundation from the Philadelphia area.


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