News

News

2/23/17

by News Department on 02/23/17

2/23/17

by News Department on 02/23/17

2/23/17

by News Department on 02/23/17

Burglary charges...



A man has been charged with burglarizing an American Legion.

 According to authorities, on February 19, State Police at Frackville were called to the Girardville American Legion, located on the 100 Block of Main Street for the reports of a burglary that occurred between 4:30pm and 7:30pm.

 An investigation led to police issuing a warrant of arrest for 34 year old Michael Butler, of Ashland. 

He was arrested Wednesday by police in the borough of Frackville and later arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Rossi.


Butler was locked up in Schuylkill County Prison unable to post $25,000 bail.

2/23/17

by News Department on 02/23/17


Warrant...



A woman was jailed and charges are pending against a man after Hegins Township and Tower City police attempted to execute a felony arrest warrant Wednesday morning. 

The Republican Herald reports that officers from both departments, acting under the authority of the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force, went to 57 Horseshoe Road in Upper Mahantongo Township to serve a felony arrest warrant on 38 year old Jared Miller, of Tower City.

 Hegins Township Police Chief Beau Yarmush said Miller has an active warrant for his arrest stemming from a 2016 investigation by the Schuylkill County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force and has been eluding police since the drug task force roundup that encompassed western Schuylkill County in November. 

Recently, Tower City Police received credible information that Miller was hiding out at the address on Horseshoe Road and attempted to apprehend him. Miller’s girlfriend, 35 year old Cara Whiteash, was taken into custody and charged with one felony count of hindering apprehension or prosecution. 

She was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge David Rossi, Tremont, and committed to Schuylkill County Prison unable to post $10,000 straight cash bail.

2/23/17

by News Department on 02/23/17

Centralia off limits...




Centralia has become a popular tourist attraction over the years, but now tourists are being warned to stay out. 

State police have been asked to cite any trespassers, especially those coming to see the ghost town’s most colorful attraction known as “Graffiti Highway.” 

A mine fire has been burning under the borough since 1962. In the late 1980s, a $42 million federal relocation program bought most of the homes and tore them down. 

The state Department of Transportation closed the 0.74-mile section of road more than 20 years ago when it became unsafe for vehicles. Not long after it was closed, the road became a tourist attraction due to its warped pavement and amount of graffiti covering it. 

Authorities say the area is prone to subsidence and firefighters are called at least once a year for a rescue. 

Just last week, police cited eight people for driving ATVs and other vehicles on the road and told about 30 more to leave. 

PennDOT no longer monitors the conditions of the abandoned road and officials say it may be dangerous.

2/23/17

by News Department on 02/23/17

Two more stores close...




Totally Twisted Pretzels and the Shoe Dept. are the latest stores to leave the Schuylkill Mall. 

According to the Republican Herald, the pretzel store closed Wednesday. The Shoe Dept. store will be closing March 5. 

A meeting was held Wednesday with employees of NorthPoint Development LLC, Riverside, Missouri, who purchased the mall earlier this year for $2.1 million. 

William G. Schwab, attorney and bankruptcy trustee said the closing date of the sale is Feb. 28. When the sale closes on the 28th, Schwab said he is no longer responsible regarding what happens with the leases. In buying the mall, the new owners did retain some of the leases for businesses, but have not stated what their intentions for the mall will be. 

Totally Twisted Pretzels is planning to relocate and employees of The Shoe Dept. will be offered jobs at other locations.

2/22/17

by News Department on 02/22/17

2/22/17

by News Department on 02/22/17

AARP offers Tax prep...



Millions of Americans filing taxes this year have to decide between a tax preparer and doing it themselves. 

However, there is now a foundation that now wants to take the tax burden off your shoulders for free. 

AARP is offering a no-charge tax-aid service at more than 5,000 locations across the US. The Foundation says the service is perfect for older or limited income taxpayers, but preparers will help anyone of any age. 

To find the nearest location and a list of what to bring, log onto secure.aarp.org. 

According to the IRS, nearly 153 million returns are expected to be filed this year. You have until April 18th this year to file 2016 returns and pay any taxes due.

https://secure.aarp.org/applications/VMISLocator/searchTaxAideLocations.action

2/22/17

by News Department on 02/22/17

Wolf's Tax  Bill...




A proposed property tax relief bill could have a negative impact on school districts. 

The property tax relief bill (HB/SB 76) is proposed to eliminate property taxes, while increasing both the personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 4.95 percent, and the sales and use tax from 6 to 7 percent. 

Under the new bill, school districts would no longer collect school real estate taxes as funding for school districts would come from the increase in these taxes and districts would receive an amount equal to their current collection rate and may be adjusted yearly at a rate equal to a cost of living increase. 

The bill states that school districts can issue real estate tax bills for current debt they must pay each year, as school district debt are bonds that were issued for school districts and most often are payable over 20 years. 

Only 2 percent of school districts in the state would have no school district real estate property tax bills, and some school districts would continue to receive no reduction in taxes because their yearly school district debt payment is more than their collection of real estate taxes. 

However, this bill is not a total property tax elimination bill, as residents would still continue to receive a real estate tax bill for their county and township/borough taxes. 

School district real estate tax bills are issued July 1 of each year and are payable no later than Dec. 31.

2/22/17

by News Department on 02/22/17

Whooping cough...




Weatherly School Officials have warned parents that their child may have been exposed to pertussis, better known as whooping cough.

 Pertussis affects the airways and is spread through coughing and sneezing. Students are required to get immunized for the infection; however families are allowed to seek a legal exemption from the vaccine mandate for religious reasons. 

The district's nurse contacted parents and posted a message on the district website Tuesday.

2/22/17

by News Department on 02/22/17

Charges dismissed...




All charges against a Tamaqua man accused of attempted murder after a late January knifing in the borough have been withdrawn. 

According to the Republican Herald, borough police and the Schuylkill County District Attorney’s office withdrew the charges against 36 year old Gregorio Flores, after the victim refused to testify or proceed with the case. 

The stabbing occurred Jan. 21 in the unit block of Market Street. Court records state Flores was taken to jail a day after the stabbing, after failing to post $500,000 bail. 

He is still being held in jail, however, on $50,000 bail related to a drug case filed against him by the Pennsylvania State Police Troop L vice/narcotics unit. That case was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Tuesday before Magisterial District Judge Stephen J. Bayer, Tamaqua, as well, but was continued.

2/21/17

by News Department on 02/21/17

2/21/17

by News Department on 02/21/17

VA suffers opoid thefts...




Federal authorities are stepping up investigations at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers due to a sharp increase in opioid theft, missing prescriptions or unauthorized drug use by VA employees since 2009. 

Aggravating the problem is that some VA hospitals have been lax in tracking drug supplies. Congressional auditors said spot checks found four VA hospitals skipped monthly inspections of drug stocks or missed other requirements. 

The VA acknowledges it has had problems keeping up with monthly inspections and said it was taking steps to improve training and requiring hospitals to comply with inspection procedures and develop plans for improvement. Three VA employees were charged this month with conspiring to steal prescription medications including opioids.

 The inspector general's office says a pharmacy technician used his VA access to a medical supplier's web portal to order and divert 4,000 oxycodone pills, 3,300 hydrocodone pills and other drugs at a cost to the VA of $77,700 and a street value of $160,000. 

The drug thefts from the VA also raise the possibility that patients will be denied medication they need or that they will be treated by drug-impaired staff.

2/21/17

by News Department on 02/21/17

Suspect wanted...




The Saint Clair Police Department is seeking assistance identifying a male who allegedly committed a lewd sex act upon himself in a laundromat. 

Police say the incident occurred at the Saint Clair Coin Laundromat Sunday, February 19th, between 4pm-5:30pm. 

Police obtained photos that show the suspect along with the vehicle he drove. 

Anyone with information should contact the Saint Clair Police Department at (570) 429-3050.

2/21/17

by News Department on 02/21/17

Minimum Wage proposal...





Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $12 could have a drastic effect on the seasonal businesses that are key to some Pennsylvania economies. 

The Wolf administration says that the proposal will boost income tax revenues and help close the state’s budget deficit without a tax increase. 

Seasonal businesses contribute directly and indirectly to the local economy. Operators say, young, part-time, seasonal employees making somewhere in the $8 range are key to keeping the business profitable.

 There is currently an exemption in the state’s employment law that allows ski areas to pay under the minimum wage. 

The governor’s proposal needs approval from the Republicans, who have put forth a proposal that would raise the minimum wage about $2.

 The state has until June 30 to pass a budget, assuming it gets done on time.

2/21/17

by News Department on 02/21/17

YMCA Fundraiser set...




The Schuylkill YMCA is observing its 20th anniversary this year and is hoping to raise more than $80,000 at its 15th annual Spirit of the Y Dinner & Auction on Saturday with live and silent auctions. 

Robert J. Oravitz, the organization’s CEO, said the Y is hoping to gross between $80,000 and $85,000 and net between $60,000 and $65,000. The goal is up from the 2016 $60,000 goal.

The money will be used for membership support, program development and continuing the expansion of summer camps. 

The Spirit of the Y Dinner & Auction is the Schuylkill YMCA’s biggest single fundraiser. The event will be held Saturday at the Walk In Art Center, 220 Parkway, Schuylkill Haven. General admission tickets are $80 per person. The VIP reception will begin at 5 p.m. The doors open for all other ticket holders at 6 p.m.

2/20/17

by News Department on 02/20/17

2/20/17

by News Department on 02/20/17

Arby's closes...




For the second time in 3 years, the Arby’s location in the Schuylkill Mall has closed.

 Matthew Lange, owner, said the restaurant closed at 9 p.m. Saturday.

 Lange said that finding enough people willing to work at Arby’s was difficult because of the morale about the mall and the lack of foot traffic making it hard to adequately maintain good customer service with so few employees. 

When Arby’s closed, he had three employees on staff. Employees were told about a month ago of the closure. 

On Sunday morning, a mall worker was taking the sign down at the restaurant stating that it closed without notice. 

Arby's closed in July 2014 but later reopened under new ownership. In late January, the Schuylkill Mall was auctioned off for $2.1 Million to Northpoint Development LLC, from Missouri. 

Tenants of the mall have reported they have received little information on the future of the mall since its purchase.

2/20/17

by News Department on 02/20/17

Kessler faces charges...




A former police chief has been charged with providing inaccurate information when attempting to purchase a firearm. 

According to State Police at Frackville, on May 5, 2016, Former Gilberton Police Chief, 45 year old Mark Kessler, of Frackville attempted to purchase a firearm at Dunham's Store, at the Schuylkill Mall. 

Prior to the purchase he completed paperwork as part of a background check associated with the purchase of a firearm. At that time the transaction was denied and no sale occurred. 

Following this transaction, State Police at Frackville were assigned to conduct follow up investigation into the transaction. 

Then on February 17, 2017, Kessler was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge David Plachko for providing inaccurate information while completing the paperwork associated with the background check. 

Kessler was arraigned and released on $10,000 unsecured bail. 

The case remains open pending a Preliminary Hearing.

2/20/17

by News Department on 02/20/17

Infant thrown from vehicle...




State police say an infant was severely injured after being thrown from a vehicle in a crash in Schuylkill County. 

It happened on Interstate 81 South near the Frackville exit around 7 p.m. Friday. 

According to state police, a minivan was passing a tractor trailer when the truck driver tried to switch lanes. The driver of the van swerved to avoid the truck and lost control, hitting the back of the tractor trailer before traveling into the median. 

A 9-month-old was thrown from the van through a broken side window. 

Investigators said the child was not secured in a child safety seat.The infant and another passenger were flown to a hospital. The driver and a 19-month-old passenger were taken to a hospital by ambulance.

 Troopers said the driver of the tractor trailer was not injured and will be cited for making an unsafe lane change. 

The driver of the van faces a citation for not having the 9-month-old in a child safety seat.

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