News

News

4/28/17

by News Department on 04/28/17

4/28/17

by News Department on 04/28/17

Upgrades on the horizon...




Sweet Arrow Lake County Park is getting an upgrade. 

The lake, located in Pine Grove, is attracting approximately 50-thousand tourists yearly and all that foot traffic is putting a strain on resources. 

So the lake is adding a new parking lot, public restrooms, a new pavilion complete with kitchen a pedestrian walkway, and handicapped access to the new amenities. 

The half million dollar project is funded by grants and gifts. 

The goal is to attract more visitors and tourists to the area -- not only to boost rental sales at the lake, but also to give a boost to local businesses. 

The county bought the park in 2001. 

Renovations are expected to take about a year.

4/28/17

by News Department on 04/28/17

Fatal dog attack...




A Lehigh County woman was mauled to death by her own dog Thursday afternoon. 

Police said the woman was attacked by the boxer/pit bull mix at her Upper Macungie Township home around 1:30 p.m. 

The woman, who lived on Spring White Drive, has not yet been publicly identified by officials. Neighbors said the three-and-a-half-year-old dog was unstoppable, even when they tried to distract him to get him.

 According to police, when officers arrived the dog was actively attacking the woman. Authorities managed to secure the dog in the residence and tend to the victim, who suffered severe injuries. She was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital where she later died. 

Officials said the dog was tranquilized on the scene and transported to the Lehigh County Humane Society, where it will be euthanized and tested in an attempt to determine the reason for the attack.

4/28/17

by News Department on 04/28/17

Prison Guard charged...



A prison guard in Schuylkill County has been charged due to her relationship she had with an inmate. 

Traci Williams was charged with institutional sexual assault among other charges after she was found to have been showing affection, as well as giving a cell phone to an inmate at SCI-Mahanoy where she worked as a corrections officer.

4/28/17

by News Department on 04/28/17

Road Rage charges...




A man from Tremont is facing numerous charges after a road rage incident, Wednesday near St. Clair. 

According to Frackville State Police, the incident began and escalated on Route 61 Northbound over the merging between a vehicle driven by 44 year old Christopher Skuczas, and a vehicle driven by Erin Lengle, in which 28 year old Kevin Donton Jr., of Tremont, was a passenger in the front seat. 

At one point, the victim, was able to get in front of Lengle's vehicle. That's when Donton fired one shot into the air in the direction of the victim's vehicle. The shot was reportedly fired from a Smith & Weston .40 caliber handgun owned by Lengle. 

Lengle's vehicle was later stopped on Interstate 81 by PSP Frackville and both Lengle and Donton were taken into custody. 

Donton was arraigned before on call Magisterial District Judge Stephen Bayer, Tamaqua, and committed to Schuylkill County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail.

4/27/17

by News Department on 04/27/17

4/27/17

by News Department on 04/27/17

Death Penalty...




Pike County prosecutors got the death sentence they sought for convicted cop killer Eric Matthew Frein. 

Now comes the challenge of enforcing the penalty. Under Pennsylvania law, the state Supreme Court automatically reviews all death sentences. 

Should the high court uphold the sentence, Frein has multiple options available in state and federal court that likely will take a decade or longer to resolve before a death warrant can be signed. 

Pennsylvania also has a moratorium on executions imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf in February 2015. 

Wolf said he is awaiting a report from a state senate committee tasked with reviewing the state’s imposition of the death penalty before he will decide on whether to lift it. 

Frein joins 171 defendants on Pennsylvania’s death row as of this month.

4/27/17

by News Department on 04/27/17

Burglary charges...




Mahanoy Township police filed charges Wednesday against three people in connection with a burglary at a township home last year.

 Warrants were obtained for 20 year old Dylan J. Clark, 22 year old Matthew J. Kimmel and 22 year old Alec Jackson, all of Mahanoy City. Police Chief Brandon Alexander said the three were charged after a burglary at 417 Roosevelt Drive in the village of New Boston on July 6. 

Homeowner, Antoinette Boyle, said she was outside of her home and found a Pennsylvania identification card belonging to Dylan Clark along with various items of her jewelry lying near an unlocked back window. 

Alexander said arrest warrants were obtained from the office of Magisterial District Judge Anthony J. Kilker, Shenandoah.

4/27/17

by News Department on 04/27/17

Drug Take Back...



Schuylkill County is again participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. 

The event is headed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. People are encouraged to drop off their unwanted, unused or expired medication.

 16 county police departments along with the Schuylkill County Courthouse will be participating in the annual event. Police departments participating are: Ashland, Butler Township, Cass Township, Coaldale, Frackville, Girardville, Mahanoy City, Minersville, Orwigsburg, Pine Grove, Port Carbon, Saint Clair, Schuylkill Haven, Shenandoah, Tamaqua, Tremont and the sheriff’s office.

 The drugs will then be collected by DEA agents and disposed. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is scheduled for this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, Schuylkill County residents do not have to wait until Saturday to drop off the medication. 

During courthouse hours, the medication is accepted at the security area upon entering the courthouse.

4/27/17

by News Department on 04/27/17

Arson charges...




A Minersville woman faces arson charges after starting a fire in the borough Wednesday afternoon, leaving four people homeless.

 According to the Republican Herald, 28 year old Kasha Higgenbotham admitted to starting the fire at 207 Walnut St., by lighting a blanket on fire, adding that she did not think it would get out of control. 

Firefighters were able to contain the majority of the fire to the home where it began but an attached home at 205 Walnut St. sustained fire, smoke and water damage. 

Minersville Assistant Fire Chief James O’Brien said the intense heat also melted the siding on a home at 209 Walnut St.

 Higgenbotham was arraigned Wednesday night by on-call Magisterial District Judge Stephen J. Bayer, Tamaqua, and committed to Schuylkill County Prison unable to post bail.

4/26/17

by News Department on 04/26/17

4/26/17

by News Department on 04/26/17

Unemployment Compensation audit...





Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said today his performance audit of the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Unemployment Compensation Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund (SIIF) found major accounting and oversight problems that must be corrected immediately. 

In January, DePasquale launched an audit of the SIIF, which was created by Act 34 of 2013 to temporarily supplement the decline in federal funding L&I uses to administer the UC program. 

When legislation to extend SIIF funding for 2017 failed in December 2016, L&I cut $57.5 million from its budget, resulting in the closure of three of the eight UC service centers and the furlough of 488 employees.

 Based on L&I’s projections, $159.5 million in additional funding is needed over the next four years to maintain operations, avoid additional service center closings and modernize its computer system.

 L&I’s projections do not forecast reopening all three service centers closed in December 2016 or recalling furloughed staff.

4/26/17

by News Department on 04/26/17

Hours extended...




Schuylkill County Treasurer Linda L. Marchalk, along with Sheriff Joseph G. Groody have announced extended hours for licenses. 

Offices hours will be extended at the court house today for the option to purchase dog licenses, fishing licenses, and to renew or apply for a license to carry firearms. 

Hours today will be extended from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.

4/26/17

by News Department on 04/26/17

Missing...




Authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating a Berks County man that has been missing for 5 days. 

According to State Police, 61 year old Donald Allan Zeh, of Union Twp., Berks County went missing 5 days ago. 

He is described as a white male, standing 5' 8", weighing 140 lbs, with blue eyes and brown hair. He was reported to be driving a 1998 black Audi Cabriolet convertible with PA Registration KBH 4347. 

If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact PSP Reading at 610-378-4011.

4/26/17

by News Department on 04/26/17

Ambulance services to merge...




Three emergency medical services in northern Schuylkill County will soon become one. 

The Shenandoah Community Ambulance Association, operator of Shenandoah ALS, is in the process of merging services with both the Lost Creek Community Ambulance Association and the Ringtown Community Ambulance Association Inc. 

According to the Republican Herald, the three organizations began discussing a merger about a year ago on the heels of an increasing lack of volunteers and also the additional requirements for staffing and training being placed on EMS units by the state Department of Health.

 By joining services, the new association hopes to increase membership, decrease the amount of calls missed due to a lack of staffing and simply better serve the people of the area. 

The merger is expected to take place later this year.

4/25/17

by News Department on 04/25/17

4/25/17

by News Department on 04/25/17

Statewide Blight Task Force...




Members of the Statewide Blight Task Force gathered in the state Capitol Building Monday, to discuss the group’s priorities for the upcoming session and reflect on the numerous recent anti-blight bills that have been signed into law to help revitalize Pennsylvania communities. 

Among other legislative priorities, the group is encouraging the creation of a new law to accelerate the foreclosure of abandoned and vacant properties.

 Under current law, it can take up to a year and a half to complete the foreclosure process. Legislation that has already been introduced in the Senate would reduce that time frame to no more than 240 days, and the House of Representatives’ Urban Affairs Committee is scheduled to consider a similar bill this week. 

Members also expressed a desire to create a uniform legal definition of blight to ensure properties that meet that definition can be dealt with accordingly.

4/25/17

by News Department on 04/25/17

Lay offs coming...




Some people will soon be out of a job in Hazleton. Mayor Jeff Cusat announced the layoffs late last week. 

The streets and parking departments are just two of the offices that will be taking the cuts, effective May 8th. 

The mayor is blaming the cuts on the budget passed by city council and said he hopes the layoffs in Hazleton will only be temporary.

4/25/17

by News Department on 04/25/17

Frein penalty phase...




Court was delayed Monday morning in the penalty phase of the Eric Frein murder trial in Pike County. 

There was no testimony from Frein's defense Monday morning in Pike County court. Instead, there was a delay after Frein entered the courtroom looking disheveled and unable to walk. 

That's when defense attorney Michael Weinstein asked the judge for a competency hearing stating Frein was put on suicide watch and has been acting strangely. 

The request was denied after the judge was played a taped phone conversation between Frien and his mother, proving his competency.

 Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin said it is the prosecutions opinion that this is all Eric Frein trying to delay the proceedings. 

The jury must decide if Eric Frein should receive the death penalty.

4/25/17

by News Department on 04/25/17

Fire destroys home...



Flames severely damaged a home in Schuylkill Township on Monday night. 

According to the Republican Herald, firefighters were called out about 7:10 p.m. to 602 Old Route 209, Newkirk, at the intersection with Cherry Street, and arrived to find the home engulfed in flames. 

Crews worked for about an hour to bring the fire under control but not before flames shot up, eventually causing the roof to collapse.

 Tuscarora Fire Chief Thomas Slane Jr. said, all of the occupants of the home escaped safely. No injuries were reported. 

The identity of the residents was not immediately known. 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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