Friday, March 30, 2007

Local News-Friday, March 30th

A Washington Township man made his case for stopping a proposed duck farm in the township at Wednesday’s Schuylkill County Commissioners meeting. John Hughes grilled the board about the plan, and questioned the approvals already given for the duck farm. One of his biggest complaints had to do with the approval of a manure cesspool for the 62-acre animal farm. Hughes said that by approving this project, is may set a precedent for other “corporate” poultry farms to come to Schuylkill County. The County Planning Commission gave approval for the farm, but it needs a building permit from the Washington Township supervisors before it can proceed. The farm would raise Peking ducks shipped from Berks County duck farm, and after growing time, would be returned there for processing. Hughes and a group of concerned residents are holding a meeting about the matter at the Washington Township Municipal building in Pine Grove on Tuesday night at 7pm.

The Schuylkill County Commissioners Wednesday approved a bid for renovation work at the Tremont Senior Center. Bognet, Inc. of Hazleton was low bidder on the project with a bid of $144,000. The Tremont Center will be moving into the former Tremont Elementary School building after renovation work is completed. In a related matter, the Commissioners approved a new lease with Tremont Borough for space at the former school building. The space will be leased on a month-to-month bases at a monthly rental rate of $410.00 which includes a $45.00 cost for sewer services. The buildings cafeteria will be utilized as a temporary location for the Nutrition/Senior center. In other business, the Commissioners approved a new lease with the Shenandoah American Legion, Anthony Damato Post home to use the main hall area, kitchen and bathrooms as a senior center. The space will be leased on a month-to-month basis at a monthly rental of $750.00. A five-year lease was renewed for the office of District Judge in Frackville. The lease with Thomas McAndrew of Frackville for 619 West Oak Street consists of 2,500 square feet comprising of the entire first floor of the building at a monthly rate of $2,200.

The Schuylkill County Commissioners gave their approval to seek a $100-thousand-dollars grant to begin some restoration work in Court Room Number-One in the Court House during their board meeting Wednesday. At last week’s work session, the Commissioners were told that a total restoration and rehabilitation of the court room has been estimated at $355-thousand-dollars. Other grants may become available to complete the work. The ornate court room has many unique features such as large murals which need to be restored. Commissioner Mantura Gallagher had said it’s the second largest court room east of the Mississippi River and is used for mostly ceremonial events. In other business, The Commissioners awarded a contract for Rest Haven linen and personal laundry services to Paris Healthcare Linen services of Dubois, Pa. for a period of two years at a total cost of just over $509-thousand-dollars.
Approval was granted to STS for file an equipment grant application with PennDot for six wheel-chair accessible small transit buses and six two-way mobile radios, at a cost of $399-thousand-dollars. Approval was granted to advertise for bids for a coal contract for the court house and prison for one, two and three year periods. Bids will be opened April 18th and tentatively awarded April 25th. One bid was received for a cleaning services contract for the County’s Human Services Building. TKO Cleaning Service, Pottsville bid $42,500 for one year of cleaning services and $85,000 for a second year. The tentative award date is April 11th.

New monies to help revitalize a Tamaqua neighborhood are coming from the state. Senator Jim Rhoades and Representative Dave Argall said yesterday that $400-thousand-dollars from the Department of Community and Economic Development will help the South Ward of Tamaqua. The grant is provided through the state’s Elm Street Program. The monies will upgrade seven buildings in the neighborhood, as well as renovating the Spruce Street pedestrian stairway and to build the South Ward Neighborhood Center. PennDOT’s Home Town Streets program will kick in $92-thousand-dollars in addition to the $62-thousand-dollars in private funding already committed.

An investigation into thefts of equipment from an area mining company several years ago results in the arrest of a Bernville woman. Coaldale police say that 26-year-old Jennifer Cougle, formerly of Bernville, was returned to the state from Florida to face theft charges after she allegedly stole $75-thousand-dollars worth of stainless steel drilling equipment from Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company between August, 2004 and March, 2005. Fifteen pieces of equipment were taken on several occasions, then sold at a scrap operation in New Jersey. Cougle was helped by a man who worked as a security guard at the plant. Cougle was arraigned and taken to prison after she was unable to post the $75-thousand-dollars bail. The investigation continues.

A one vehicle crash left a Williamstown woman injured Wednesday morning. Christine Reinoehl was driving north on Interstate 81 in Ryan Township, when her car left the road. It traveled more than 190 feet down a ditch, struck a tree, then rolled over, ending up on its roof.
She was taken to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for treatment. Frackville State Police were assisted by emergency crews from the Englewood Fire Company and Frackville EMS.


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