Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Today's News-Tuesday, January 29th

A massive blaze has claimed the lives of two people in Ashland early this morning. The blaze broke out before two am at West Centre and Fifth Streets. Four buildings were affected, including a home, restaurant, a flower shop and an apartment building with an antique shop in the first floor. The American Legion Post was also damaged. The fire reportedly started in the home where the victims were found. They have not yet been identified. The American Red Cross is assisting 7 victims displaced by the fire. Ashland Downtown Incorporated has set up a fund for the fire victims at Susquehanna Bank in Ashland. Checks should be made payable to Ashland Fire Victims Fund, at 735 Centre Street, Ashland. For more information call 875-3571.

The Blue Mountain School District is growing, and they are studying ways to plan for more in the future.
The district hosted a public meeting last night at the Blue Mountain Middle School, where administrators, faculty and taxpayers listened to architect James Lewis outline possible solutions to upgrade buildings and plan for anticipated growth of their student population. The problems result from aging buildings, overcrowding due to the addition of special needs students and increasing enrollment. Lewis outlined 5 different scenarios for renovating two of the elementary buildings, East and West, and possible new construction on the current elementary campuses. The middle and high school buildings may be put in a similar position down the road if enrollment projections are realized. The options are costly, and taxpayers who spoke at the forum, are concerned about the economic realities of building new facilities and possible tax increases. Business Manager Andrew Smarkanic stated that a worst-case scenario could see a possible one mill property tax increase for two years to pay for the debt incurred for the projects. Superintendent Dr. Joyce Romberger tells WPPA/T102 News how they arrived at this point:
Repairs and renovations at Blue Mountain Elementary East and West appear to be of the most immediate concern. The board will consider all options in the next several months. Once a decision is made, a public hearing will be held to detail their plans.


Renovate and expand Blue Mountain Elementary East-COST $14.7 million


Renovate and expan Blue Mountain Elementary West-COST $14.5 million


Build a 5th Grade only building, and remove those grades from East and West-COST $12.2 million


Renovate East and West Buildings- COST $21.7 million


Build a 5th grade building, attached to East, and repair the East building-COST $21.3 million

Senator Jim Rhoades of Mahanoy City is looking for another term in the state Senate. The incumbent, who was first elected in 1980, says that he’d like to continue in Harrisburg to work on education, tax relief for property owners and to help needy families with home heating assistance. Rhoades is a former educator, and currently chairs the Senate Education committee and holds positions on other senate committees.

A Mahanoy Plane man's bid to sue the county and related parties over poor medical treatment received at the Schuylkill County Prison can proceed, according to a federal judge’s ruling. Judge John Jones stated in an opinion that Thomas Zimmerman, who served time in county prison on drug charges, can continue parts of his lawsuit. Zimmerman contends that he received poor medical treatment and that his artificial leg was broken while in jail. The Republican and Herald reports that Warden Gene Bernadier and the deputy warden can't be held liable under the Americans with Disabilities Act for an injury Zimmerman incurred in the prison's shower. Other employees cannot be sued over charges that Zimmerman was denied medical care, and claims against Prime Care Medical and St. Luke's Physician’s Group. Judge Jones did say that Zimmerman can amend his initial suit, filed in 2007, to reflect the excluded items. Zimmerman is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill.

Pottsville fire fighters were called into service last night for a fuel leak at a city home. A fuel leak was reported at 8 South 13th Street. Officials report that a broken fuel line led to the spill of several hundred gallons of heating oil. Several inches accumulated in the basement of the home, according to the Republican and Herald.

An Andreas man is looking to challenge incumbent Representative Dave Argall for the 124th District state house race. William Mackey made his bid for the Democratic nomination last night in Tamaqua. Mackey is a retired pipefitter, who ran against Argall in 2006. As he did in his last campaign, his platform centers around property tax elimination and the effectiveness of the state House to get anything done to help taxpayers. Argall has served in the 124th District for more than two decades. He is expected to announce his re-election bid soon.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Progress on cutting property taxes for Pennsylvania homeowners has been slow in the state Legislature. The House spent five hours discussing just one of the dozens of amendments to be considered. The chamber has to consider all amendments before a final vote on a bill can occur.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has named two women to top education posts in his administration. Lori Shorr, a vice president at the Philadelphia Youth Network, will be his chief education officer and child advocate. Shorr's deputy will be Sharon Tucker, currently an adviser in the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Two Carnegie Mellon professors have received a three-year, $1.1 million grant to study how the brain works. Los Angeles-based W.M. Keck Foundation has given the money to cognitive
neuroscience professor Marcel Just and computer science professor Tom Mitchell.

BRADFORD, Pa. (AP) - The federal prison in McKean County has a new warden. Francisco Quintana took over the Federal Correctional Institution on Jan. 20. He replaces Helen Marberry, who became warden of the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. Quintana has been warden at the Federal Correctional Complex in Beaumont, Texas.


Post a Comment

<< Home