Thursday, January 31, 2008

Today's News-Thursday, January 31st

The borough of Ashland is trying to recover from Tuesday morning's fatal fire. Audrey and Victor Klinger, ages 3 and 6 respectively, died in the fire that burned a block of Centre Street. The children died of smoke inhalation, and their deaths have been ruled accidental. Their brother, Gunner, has been released from the hospital after treatment from injuries received when he and his father, Michael escaped from the home during the blaze. Michael is still in the hospital, recovering from his injuries. Angela Klinger was not hurt. The fire is still being investigated by the state police fire marshal.

The Schuylkill County Commissioners opened bids for work at the William Penn Fire Company on Wednesday. Five firms submitted bids. The apparent low bidder was Soojian Strausser Construction of Orwigsburg who submitted a bid of $136,800 dollars. The project is for a roof replacement and construction of Americans with Disability Act compliant restrooms. Funding for the project will come from CDBG monies. The contract award date is February 13th. In other business, the Commissioners approved a request from the Parks and Recreation Department for the purchase of a snow thrower from M & S True Value Hardware in Tamaqua for just over $2-thousand-dollars. The machine will be used at the Sweet Arrow Lake County Park. The department indicated that renovations to the park created approximately 8-thousand-square feet of sidewalk and a large amount of un-plowable parking areas and because the park and clubhouse are available year round, the public needs to have properly cleared and safe access to the facilities at the park.

The Schuylkill County Commissioners approved pay increases for poll workers, mileage and poll rental during Wednesday's board meeting. Judge of Elections, Inspectors and Constable will each receive a $10.00 increase. The new rates will be $105.00 for Judge of Elections and $100.00 each for the inspector and Constable. Polling place rental was increased by $10.00 to $80.00 and mileage rate will increase to 45-cents per mile. In a related matter, a polling site change for Sheppton in East Union Township was approved. The polling site was moved from the firehouse to the New East Union Twp. Building. In other business the Commissioners approved several appointments. Bonnie Yanuskiewicz and Eleanor Sanayka, both of Frackville, were appointed to three year terms on the Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board. Eugene Berdanier, Holly Nyce and Bette Brennan were reappointed to three year terms on the Mental Health/ Mental Retardation Advisory board. Angela Toomey of Pottsville, Janine Lucas of Ashland and Erica Ramus of Schuylkill Haven were appointed to four year terms on the Assessment Appeals board. Five individuals were reappointed to two year terms on Schuylkill Community action’s board of Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
They are, Kenneth Huebner of Orwigsburg William Mackey of Andreas, Anna Hoover Smith of Frackville, Randy Stump of Pine Grove and Kay Williams of Pottsville.

Grant monies for Pottsville's Elm Street corridor will be used to demolish several properties on North Centre Street. Mike McGeever, Elm Street manager, tells WPPA/T102 News that the funds, left over from a 2006 grant, will be used to tear down two vacant buildings at 521 and 523 North Centre Street, and two adjoining lots as part of their effort to reduce blight in the corridor. The properties were purchased at sale in December.
McGeever notes that the PA Department of Community and Economic Development must okay the transfer of funds for the demolition project.

State Representative Dave Argall has announced he will seek an additional term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The Lake Hauto resident has been serving the 124th District for more than two decades.
Argall says his top priority is continuing to push for the elimination of the state’s archaic school property tax, along with other economic and environmental initiatives. In a related note, Tamaqua businessman John Schickram is contemplating a run for the House seat held by Argall. He is expected to make an announcement by mid-February. The Schuylkill County Republican Executive Committee is scheduled to hold their Spring Endorsement meeting tonight at the Schoeneman Corporation headquarters in Pottsville to formally announce their slate of candidates for the April 22nd primary.

A Pottsville business has earned recognition as one of the leaders in their field by a national trade publication. Heaven and Earth Salon and Spa, North Centre Street, has been recognized as one of Salon Today’s Top 200 fastest-growing salons in North America. Kim Greis and her husband Scott own the full service spa. Kim talks about what the honor means:
The company was judged on several factors, including the types of services they offer, along with sales and growth of their business. Greis says that their success is a team effort:
Heaven and Earth will celebrate its 12th anniversary in March. They employee 22 people.

A Maryland man was arrested on outstanding warrants from his home state during a traffic stop in Rush Township. Township officers picked up 35-year-old Romonda Southall of Owings Mills, Maryland during the stop. A records check indicated that he was wanted for failing to appear for a hearing on burglary charges. An arrest warrant was outstanding for him by Charles County Sheriff’s Department in Maryland.
After arraignment, he was taken to Schuylkill County Prison.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The debate over property tax cuts has sputtered to a halt in the state House of Representatives. It's bogged down in a familiar dispute over how many homeowners should benefit. The House ended its session Wednesday afternoon without revisiting the tax cut debate that has dominated House action this week.

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - Officials say a new state funding package could help bring pro soccer to the Philadelphia region. Gov. Ed Rendell and state Sen. Dominic Pileggi decline to discuss specifics of Thursday's planned announcement in Chester, Delaware County. Local investors envision a $115 million, 20,000-seat stadium there.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - The cost of cleaning up Chesapeake Bay will be felt by sewer customers far north in Pennsylvania where rivers like the Susquehannna flow toward the bay. Without some form of federal or state relief, customers of the Williamsport Sanitary Authority and municipalities that contract with it will see a big increase in sewer bills.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The final findings of an investigation into a collapse at a Pittsburgh convention center will be released Feb. 5. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the report apparently does not assign blame to any individual contractor for the collapse of a section of flooring. The collapse occurred last February. No one
was injured.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Unemployment continues to rise in Cambria and Somerset counties, even though there are more jobs. The Center for Workforce Information and Analysis says Cambria County added
200 jobs in December and Somerset added 100. An analyst with the center says those filling the jobs may not necessarily live in the area.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) - Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the only two candidates present when the Democratic presidential hopefuls square off tonight in the final debate before the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses. John Edwards pulled out of the campaign yesterday. And he has not announced an endorsement of either senator.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new poll suggests Americans are not pleased with the way things are going in this country. A new AP-Yahoo News survey shows about three-fourths of those who were polled say the
country is on the wrong track. As candidates lobby for the Oval Office, the poll suggests Americans think a president has considerable power to influence such things as interest rates and the price of gasoline and health care.

UNDATED (AP) - Americans and Canadians can no longer just state that they're a citizen in order to get into the U.S. Those 19 and older have to show proof of citizenship, like a passport or birth certificate, along with a government ID, such as a driver's license. But an official says officers won't be too strict at first.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Senators could start today to vote on two rival plans designed to stimulate the economy. A new one adds more Senate-supported rebates and benefits to a House bill that
President Bush supports. Both sides agree the sooner the president can sign a measure and get money in circulation, the better.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For the second time this month, Britney Spears is in the hospital. The Los Angeles Times cites unidentified authorities as saying she was taken to the UCLA Medical Center to be placed on a "mental evaluation hold." The hospital tells The Associated Press it won't comment because of privacy


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