News

News

3/1/17

by News Department on 03/01/17

3/1/17

by News Department on 03/01/17

Lincoln Dinner...




The Schuylkill County Republican Committee will be hosting its seventy fifth Lincoln Day dinner at the Mountain Valley Golf Course.

 State Senator Scott Wagner, gubernatorial candidate, of York, who announced his candidacy on January 11th will be the event’s keynote speaker. District Attorney Christine Holman will address the audience as she continues her re-election bid to the Schuylkill County District Attorney’s office. State GOP Chairman Val DiGorgio will be speaking on behalf of PA GOP and the statewide judicial candidates. State Senator Dave Argall and State Representatives Jerry Knowles and Michael Tobash will be in attendance, along with all other Schuylkill County officeholders. 

The event will feature a gubernatorial straw poll to gauge county residents’ views on the upcoming race for Governor of Pennsylvania. 

For more information, please contact the Schuylkill GOP at (570) 622-1540 or chairman@schuylkillgop.org

3/1/17

by News Department on 03/01/17

Threats made...



A Schuylkill County Magisterial District Judge has been the target of online threats. 

According to the Republican Herald, Cpl. John Becker, criminal investigations supervisor with the state police in Frackville, confirmed Monday there is an investigation into threats made against Magisterial District Judge Christina E. Hale, Frackville. 

Becker said the investigation is still ongoing and no arrests have been made. 

Schuylkill County Sheriff Joseph G. Groody said his department is in charge of security at the courthouse as well as at all of the district magisterial offices in the county and noted that security has been provided at Hale’s office for quite a few months as the investigation continues.

3/1/17

by News Department on 03/01/17

More stores leave mall...




More tenants are leaving the Schuylkill Mall. 

This and That, a store that sells a variety of merchandise including food, hats and magnets is saying goodbye. REX, a kiosk nearby that sells cellphone accessories, license plates and sunglasses that is owned by the same person is also closing. The kiosk has been in the mall for 10 years, while the store has been there for two.

 FYE also started a liquidation sale Tuesday but isn’t sure if the store is closing. 

Representatives of NorthPoint Development LLC, Riverside, Missouri, who purchased the mall earlier this year for $2.1 million had a meeting with tenants last month at the mall. Tenants said they did not get very many answers from the company on the future of the mall. 

Arby’s closed Feb. 18, and Totally Twisted Pretzels also closed last month. The Shoe Department will close this month.

3/1/17

by News Department on 03/01/17

Drug Testing...




A plan to implement a drug testing program is in the works in one Schuylkill County school district. 

According to a state survey in 2015, 13-percent of Blue Mountain School District students admitted to smoking marijuana, and 25-percent say they've used other illegal drugs. That's why 7th through 12th grade students will now be subject to random drug testing.

 Consent forms were sent to parents. If the forms are not signed, those students will not be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities or student privileges. 

Some organizations, like the American Civil Liberties Union say the policy is an invasion of privacy. 

At Blue Mountain, urine tests will look for marijuana, opioids and other common drugs. 

The drug test results will not be submitted to local police; only the school district and parents will be notified. 

Parents suspecting a drug problem can contact the school to arrange a drug test. 

Drug testing could begin as early as next month.

2/28/17

by News Department on 02/28/17

2/28/17

by News Department on 02/28/17

Sanctuary Bill...




The Pennsylvania Senate is advancing a measure that could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies to cities and counties that don't honor detention requests from federal immigration authorities. 

The Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill targeting sanctuary cities by 37-12. Every Republican voted for the bill, as did three Democrats. Senate staff aides say the subsidies that could get blocked under the bill totaled $1.3 billion last year to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and more than a dozen counties. 

That included law enforcement grants and money meant to protect neglected or troubled children. 

The bill doesn't specify which state agency would determine which municipalities and counties qualify as sanctuary cities, but say as many as 32 counties could qualify.

2/28/17

by News Department on 02/28/17

Drug Expert Training...



State police troopers and municipal officers began the first of a two-day session Monday to become trained drug recognition experts.

 According to the Republican Herald, the training is under the direction of state police Cpl. Thomas Hornung, a drug recognition expert instructor. 

About 30 officers participated in the 16-hour course which is only open to officers and troopers who completed and passed Standard Field Sobriety Test classes certifying them to administer field sobriety tests to impaired drivers. 

The DRE class allows officers to detect the use of a driver impaired by drugs. Hornung said that police, both state and municipal, are seeing an increase of drivers being impaired not by alcohol but by drugs.

 Horning also explained that those certified as DRE can be called to assist any officer who pulls a vehicle over, suspects an impaired driver but also suspects that impairment is from something other than alcohol.

 Represented in these classes were state police troopers from station at Hamburg, Frackville, Jonestown and Reading as well as municipal officers from Schuylkill Haven, Shenandoah and West Mahanoy Township.

2/28/17

by News Department on 02/28/17

Welfare Fraud...




Three Pennsylvania State Senators are advocating for additional investigators within the Office of Inspector General with a sole purpose: find welfare waste, fraud, abuse and misuse. 

Senators David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks), Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York) introduced Senate Bill 425, which would require the Office of Inspector General to hire at least 50 percent additional staff dedicated to finding fraud within public assistance programs administered by the state’s Department of Human Services and Department of Health. 

Each welfare fraud investigator is able to identify over $1.2 million on overpayments or fraudulent activity. The senators say that is a reason why this is a commonsense approach to saving valuable tax dollars.

 Similar legislation was approved by the Senate last session with bipartisan support. 

Anyone who has information regarding welfare fraud is encouraged to call the Office of Inspector General’s toll free welfare fraud tipline at 1-800-932-0582.

2/28/17

by News Department on 02/28/17

Fraud charges...




The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced Monday that 46 year old Scott Capparell, of Drums, has been charged with committing bank fraud. 

Capparell is the former administrator of Heritage Mills Personal Care, Inc., in Tower City. 

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Capparell worked from April 2013 through July 2016 as the administrator of HMPC, which provides personal care services to its residents. During that time period, it is alleged that Capparell diverted $394,517 worth of monthly rent checks from residents to an account at PNC Bank under Capparell’s control, instead of to the HMPC account at Mid Penn Bank.

 Capparell allegedly withdrew all of the diverted funds for his use and the use of other unnamed individuals. 

A date for Capparell’s initial court appearance has not been set. 

The investigation was conducted by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo is prosecuting the case.

2/27/17

by News Department on 02/27/17

2/27/17

by News Department on 02/27/17

Little Tykes recall...




Little Tikes is voluntarily recalling 540,000 toddler swings after 140 reports of the swing breaking, posing a fall hazard. 

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure pink toddler swings. The recall includes swings manufactured in the United States from November 2009 through May 2014 with model number 615573 molded on the back of the seat. 

According to the announcement, affected swings were purchased at Walmart, Toys “R” Us and other stores nationwide and online. Further information can be found at CPSC.gov/recalls or on the Little Tikes recall website. 

There have been 39 reports of injuries, including two children with broken arms. I

f your model meets the recall requirement, contact Little Tikes at 888-284-1903 or visit www.littletikes.com and click on Product Recalls under the At Your Service menu for more information.


2/27/17

by News Department on 02/27/17

Grant sought...





Schuylkill County commissioners have agreed to apply for a $2 million grant to help Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill reconfigure its two merged medical centers. 


County Administrator Gary R. Bender said the application is just a formality, as Lehigh Valley is assured of the money. The county submitted the application for the noncompetitive grant on the hospital’s behalf. 


The money will help offset a $12.8 million renovation project that includes an obstetric/labor and delivery area and a pediatrics section at the East Norwegian Street building. 


Construction will cost about $9 million of the total expense. 


The grant, awarded through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, provides funding for regional, economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects. 


Lehigh Valley partnered with the Schuylkill Health System in April 2016. The hospitals are now called Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill East Norwegian Street, and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill South Jackson Street.


2/27/17

by News Department on 02/27/17

Grant for Drug Court...




Schuylkill officials are hoping their second try will succeed in getting a $400,000 boost for the county’s new drug court. 

County commissioners approved the Adult Probation Department’s request to apply for the grant through the U.S. Department of Justice.

 The county would be required to contribute a 25 percent, or $100,000, match. 

Deputy Chief Probation Officer Neil Stefanisko said his department submitted an application last year, but was turned down. The drug court officially began on Jan. 5 and has five offenders on board with another 10 applications pending. 

Stefanisko said the grant is an implementation grant that will allow the county to hire a full-time probation officer who is completely designated to the drug court. The dedicated staff would get qualifying defendants from the district court level to the drug court in less time, reducing the time it takes to go from arrest to court to 50 days from the typical eight months. 

Last year, the county received a $100,000 state grant for the drug court. Aside from grants, the drug court, over which Judge James P. Goodman presides, is paid for by the county.

2/27/17

by News Department on 02/27/17

Driver wanted for vehicle crash...




State police at Schuylkill Haven are looking for the motorist who crashed a vehicle in North Manheim Township late last week, causing the vehicle to burst into flames. 

According to the Republican Herald, police said the incident occurred February 23 at 6:09 a.m. as the vehicle was traveling south in a wooded area off of Hillside Road and for unknown reasons, the driver drove the vehicle on a dirt road that was blocked by a fence but tried to access Hillside Road by driving through a wooded area and struck several large rocks with the undercarriage of the vehicle, damaging the gas tank. 

Authorities said the vehicle became hung up on the large rocks, and the driver fled through the woods. 

The vehicle caught fire and was fully engulfed within minutes. Anyone with information should call state police.

2/24

by News Department on 02/24/17

2/24/17

by News Department on 02/24/17

Cost for PSP...




It costs $600 million for state troopers to provide full-time police services in nearly 1,300 municipalities, the state police commissioner said Thursday at a Senate budget hearing.

 Commissioner Col. Tyree Blocker broke down the per capita cost at $234 annually for full-time services to 2.5 million Pennsylvania residents living in those municipalities. 

Governor Wolf proposed the $25 fee as part of the next state budget. The proposal would generate $63 million in state revenue. A portion of that revenue would go to train 100 new troopers. Another 400 municipalities rely on state troopers for part-time services. They aren’t affected by the governor’s fee proposal. 

The overall state police budget would be $1.2 billion in fiscal 2017-18. More than $700 million would come from the Motor License Fund built on state gasoline taxes and motorist fees.

2/24/17

by News Department on 02/24/17

Twins headed to LEGOLAND...




A set of 9 year old twins, from Schuylkill County, have been selected as ambassadors for the new Legoland Discovery Center set to open in Pennsylvania this Spring. 

Lorelai and Trinity Davies, of Girardville, who are 4th graders at North Schuylkill, will get the chance to take part in the grand opening, on April 6th, as well be a part of different unique activities, special events, and assist the master Lego model builder. 

The girls' parents, Chuck and Sasha Davies, submitted their daughters’ video entry to the contest and were recently notified that the twins, along with 10 other children were chosen. 

The twins and the rest of the Creative Crew will build and test new Lego models, and share tips on the coolest aspects of the new Legoland Discovery Center, which is set to open at the Plymouth Meeting Mall this spring.

2/24/17

by News Department on 02/24/17

Man wanted for face biting...



Police are investigating an incident where a man reportedly bit a woman's face. 

State Police at Frackville say the incident took place Tuesday evening on Jerry's Road, in Union Township when 59 year old George Beaver, of Ringtown, grabbed his wife, Michelle Beaver, by the face and bit her cheek under her right eye.

 Beaver then fled the scene prior to State Troopers arriving. 

An active arrest warrant has been issued for Beaver and police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of the accused to call 911.

2/24/17

by News Department on 02/24/17

Drug bust...




33 year old Brian James O’Doherty, of Mar Lin, was jailed after a Thursday morning search warrant netted illegal drugs with a street value of more than $63,000 along with a handgun, cash and items of drug paraphernalia. 

According to the Republican Herald, members of the state police Special Emergency Response Team, assisted by the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force and municipal officers, executed the warrant at the O’Doherty home about 6:05 a.m. 

Authorities said the investigation then moved into nearby Minersville where a Kia sedan was seized and searched with investigators found heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. 

Also found and seized were about 12 ounces of marijuana, packaging materials and a digital scale. 

Troopers say the investigation is ongoing and that additional arrests are pending. 

O’Doherty was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge David A. Plachko, Port Carbon, and committed to Schuylkill County Prison unable to post $100,000 straight cash bail.

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