News

News

9/26/16

by News Department on 09/26/16

9/26/16

by News Department on 09/26/16

Wolf supports House Bill...




A new house bill that seeks to combat the ongoing opioid crisis has come under attack due to speculation about how the bill was fast-tracked, the expense to patients and insurance companies and whether the plan can actually curb the effects of the epidemic. 

House Bill 1698 requires health insurance plans to cover at least three abuse-deterrent opioids if they provide coverage for an opioid painkiller. 

Abuse-deterrent opioids are painkillers that can interfere with drug euphoria, or even change the makeup of the drug if it is manipulated for snorting or injecting, making it less palatable for abuse. 

The intent of the bill was to provide a therapeutic choice to patients and doctors, especially in cases where a patient or family member could be prone to opioid abuse. 

The bill, which passed the House in June by a 190-3 vote, is awaiting action in a Senate committee and has the support of Gov. Tom Wolf as he presses lawmakers to pass a package of legislation this fall.

9/26/16

by News Department on 09/26/16

"COPS" Hazleton episode airs...




In its 29th season, the new episode of “Cops” highlighted crime in Hazleton, on its Saturday night episode. 

The reality show follows officers as they respond to emergencies.

 Hazleton’s Police Chief said the show gives people an idea of what law enforcement deals with on a daily basis and that crime has dropped since the show's cameras first appeared. 

This was the first of three episodes featuring the city of Hazleton and its police force on Spike TV.

9/26/16

by News Department on 09/26/16

Drug/Weapons charges...




22 year old Damian Lamont Watson, of Minersville, was jailed Friday after being arrested by police on drug and weapons charges. 

Minersville police charged Watson after a search warrant executed at his Front St. home uncovered a loaded Smith & Wesson SD40 .40-caliber handgun and a 14-round magazine that was reported stolen by Pottsville police on Friday from Giant at 500 Progress Ave., Pottsville.

 Police also discovered methamphetamine along with drug paraphernalia.

 Watson was arraigned by on-call Magisterial District Judge David J. Rossi, Tremont, and committed to Schuylkill County Prison on $50,000 straight cash bail and also on a probation detainer. 

He will now have to appear for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge David A. Plachko, Port Carbon.

9/26/16

by News Department on 09/26/16

Police seek information in OD death...



Schuylkill County Crime Stoppers and state police at Frackville are asking for the public’s help in finding the person who supplied drugs to a woman who subsequently died of an overdose earlier this year.

According to the Republican Herald, 23 year old Alexandria Sienkiewicz, of Tamaqua, died April 2 at her home from an overdose of the pain medication fentanyl. 

Tamaqua police were initially conducting the investigation but turned the case over to the Criminal Investigation Unit at the Frackville barracks on Sept. 1. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 877-847-7472. Callers can also relay their information directly to Trooper Joseph Hall at the state police barracks in Frackville by calling 570-874-5300. 

Schuylkill County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information on the individuals responsible for this or any other unsolved crime in Schuylkill County.


9/23/16

by News Department on 09/23/16

9/23/16

by News Department on 09/23/16

Borough Day...




Schuylkill Haven Borough Day will welcome about 200 vendors and hundreds of visitors for the 28th annual townwide family festival. 

The event is held rain or shine and will feature music, entertainment, games and food, beginning at 7 a.m. with the “bountiful breakfast” at St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church, and conclude with the Borough Day 50/50 raffle drawing at 4 p.m. at the train station.

 Activities will be on Main Street, Parkway, St. John Street and Union Street. One of the highlights of Borough Day are the train excursions. Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad are conducting the trips, which are scheduled for 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.

9/23/16

by News Department on 09/23/16

Sewer increase...




A large increase in sewer rates has been proposed for customers of the Tamaqua Borough Authority, the organization overseeing the operation of the borough’s wastewater treatment facility. 

The request comes on the heels of an engineering review of the treatment facility by the engineering firm of Gannett Fleming that was completed last year. 

The review identified approximately $8.7 million worth of improvements that need to be done to the facility. Additionally, a long-term control plan was updated and submitted to DEP in 2014. The changes and improvements that are required as part of that plan are estimated to cost another $1.3 million, bringing the total amount of funding the authority needs to about $10 million. 

Currently, most homeowners are paying $65 per quarter or $260 annually. The authority is proposing a $20 per quarter increase be enacted for 2017, and then an additional $20 per quarter increase be added in 2018, bringing the quarterly payment to $105 and the annual payment to $420, almost double the current fees.

9/23/16

by News Department on 09/23/16

Guilty verdict...




46 year old Alfonso Picone now faces prison time after a Schuylkill County jury convicted him Thursday of stealing almost $320,000 from an elderly couple.

 Rush Township police charged Picone with stealing $319,501.60 from John W. and Ella E. Burnard, between January and December 2014.

 President Judge William E. Baldwin, who presided over the trial, said he would schedule sentencing at a later date, increased the defendant’s bail to $100,000 straight cash from $100,000 percentage and ordered him to surrender his passport. 

Picone was returned to jail, unable to immediately post bail.

9/23/16

by News Department on 09/23/16

Standoff ends in suicide...




A standoff in a Ringtown home, Thursday afternoon, ended with an apparent suicide. 

The Republican Herald reports that 33 year old David Howard held state police at bay his parents’ home at 303 Spring St. for more than four hours while his 2-year-old child was inside with him. 

Police were called to the scene about 1 p.m. after a report was received that Howard was barricaded inside the residence with his daughter, possibly armed and threatening to commit suicide. 

Authorities kept in contact with Howard, who eventually let the child exit the home unharmed. 

He allegedly took his own life as state police officers, including members of the Special Emergency Response Team, were trying to talk him out of the home of about 4:45 p.m.

9/22/16

by News Department on 09/22/16

9/22/16

by News Department on 09/22/16

Library funding...




Pottsville Free Public Library board members met with Pottsville Area School District board members Wednesday to discuss funding for the library. 

Due to budget cuts, the school board did not include an allocation of $55,000 as part of its 2016-17 budget. 

This is the first time the PASD has not provided some of the funds to the library, which provides a portion of its funding to the other libraries in the Schuylkill County Library System. 

The Minersville Free Public Library receives about $2,000 from the Minersville Area School District and $10,000 from the borough, which also absorbs sewer, water and other costs. 

The Ashland Public Library and Frackville Free Public Library are still expecting annual $5,200 contributions from the North Schuylkill School District this year, while the Mahanoy Area School District accounts for more than a quarter of the Mahanoy City Public Library budget.

9/22/16

by News Department on 09/22/16

Prison numbers down...




About half as many inmates are being housed outside the Schuylkill County prison since the state Department of Corrections had lifted its ban a month ago on the jail accepting newly sentenced criminals.

 According to the Republican Herald, twenty-seven inmates were being housed at other county facilities as of Wednesday at the cost of $60 to $65 a day per inmate.

 The order was given May 4 to prohibit the prison from accepting new inmates serving sentences between six months and five years and was lifted by the DOC in August with the condition that the prison board continues to submit biweekly reports on the inmate census and ensure that it does not exceed its approved capacity of 277 through June 30, 2017. 

The average inmate population at the prison for August was 210, the lowest it has been so far this year.

9/22/16

by News Department on 09/22/16

Hazleton still facing bus issues...





In an effort to save money in this year’s budget, the Hazleton Area School District cut the number of buses going to and from school.

 However, the district is still having issues with picking up and dropping off hundreds of students in a timely manner. 

Craig Butler, superintendent of the Hazleton Area School District said school administrators are also adding bus passes which will ensure that no child is left behind after some incidents since school began, where students returned late from schools while others weren't even picked up. 

Hazleton Area school officials are expecting to unveil the new routes and the bus pass system within the next week.

9/22/16

by News Department on 09/22/16

Booster Seat Recall...


Evenflo is recalling nearly 30,000 combination booster seats because children can loosen the harness without an adult's knowledge. 

The recall covers certain Evolve 3-in-1 seats. Government documents say that if the harness is loose, it could increase the risk of injury in a crash. 

Evenflo says there have been no reports of injuries, but the company has received 27 complaints that children have been able to loosen the harnesses. 

The Ohio company will be notifying registered owners and will provide a remedy kit with a replacement harness adjustment button at no cost. 

The recall is expected to start on Sept. 26.

9/21/16

by News Department on 09/21/16

9/21/16

by News Department on 09/21/16

Car safety...




Butler Township Police Department Lt. Daniel Holderman and North Central Highway Safety Network’s Traffic Safety Coordinator, Carol Alonge visited children at the Fountain Springs Daycare Center and North Schuylkill Elementary School, Tuesday, to present some basic information on how to be and stay safe in a vehicle on Tuesday through the “Sit Back, It’s Elementary” seat belt program. 

According to the Pennsylvania K-12 Traffic Safety Educational Programs page, the program was designed to provide law enforcement officers with tools to educate children about the importance of proper seat belt use, vehicle positioning and general traffic safety. 

Sit Back is the 2013 update to “The Back Is Where It’s At,” the commonwealth’s elementary seat belt program, in use, since 1999. That program reached approximately 36,000 elementary-aged children in more than 80 Pennsylvania elementary schools.

9/21/16

by News Department on 09/21/16

Motor home fire under investigation...




A fire that destroyed four brand-new motor homes parked in East Union Township on Monday night is still under investigation.

 According to the Republican Herald, three motor homes, valued between $300,000 to $400,000 each, were engulfed and the blaze was spreading to a fourth motor home when emergency crews arrived.

 Firefighters were able to save two other motor homes that were parked at 899 Pole Road in Brandonville. 

The motor homes were in reportedly in storage and awaiting delivery.

 A home on the property was not damaged and no one was injured. 

A state police fire marshal was on scene Tuesday investigating the cause.

9/21/16

by News Department on 09/21/16

Bomb threat...




The Walmart along Route 61, in Coal Township, Northumberland County, was reopened as of 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, after being closed for more than three hours due to a bomb threat that was reportedly called in to the store earlier in the afternoon. 

Coal Township Patrolman Chad Yoder said an employee received a call from a male voice, in which he heard the word "bomb" used in relation to the auto center. He relayed this message to someone in the store, who quickly evacuated the building and called police. 

The entrance to Walmart was blocked off after 5 p.m. as police and fire personnel responded with a cursory sweep of the building along with a quick sweep of vehicles and bomb sniffing dogs from Lewisburg were brought in, but police said nothing unusual was found.

9/21/16

by News Department on 09/21/16

Clown sightings in Schuylkill County...




Clowns reportedly harassed some children, in Schuylkill County, Monday night. 

According to Pottsville police Chief Richard Wojciechowsky, two men reportedly dressed as clowns were seen in the Greenwood Hill neighborhood around 7 p.m., yelling at children before they took off in a vehicle. 

Authorities reported that clown sightings are being reported in neighboring areas as well. 

The Frackville Police Department posted pictures of clowns on its website, warning residents that four subjects have been seen wandering in the borough, dressed as clowns, but the post has since been taken down. 

Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to call police.

Live Updates from PennDOT