News

News

8/7/17

by News Department on 08/07/17

8/7/17

by News Department on 08/07/17

Welfare Fraud...




On Friday, the Office of the Inspector General filed charges against 66 individuals with welfare fraud with at least 3 being from Schuylkill County.

 According to OIG the restitution owed the commonwealth in these cases totals $206,651.38. Additional cost savings will be realized as the defendants will be temporarily disqualified from receiving public benefits in the programs they defrauded.

 If convicted, the maximum penalty they face ranges from 2 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 up to seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000, plus a mandatory disqualification period from the benefits program they defrauded.

8/7/17

by News Department on 08/07/17

Yuengling donates $2.8 million...




During a Pottsville Parking Authority Meeting Friday, it was announced that Dick Yuengling, owner of Yuengling Brewery, would be making a substantial donation for a new parking deck. 

Pottsville City Mayor James Muldowney made the announcement that Dick Yuengling would donate up to $2.8 Million for the replacement project of the Mahantongo Parking Deck. 

In late 2016, the old parking deck's structure was found to be deteriorating and was deemed unsafe. 

During the announcement Friday, Mayor Muldowney stated that donation is the largest in the city's 211 year history.

8/7/17

by News Department on 08/07/17

1 Charged in double shooting...




Two men were shot in Hazleton early Sunday morning. Police were called to the area of Wyoming and Green Streets just before 2 a.m. where officers found two men had been shot. 

Less than two hours later, police took 32 year old Juan Umpierre-Melendez, of Hazleton, into custody. 

Police have not said what led up to the shooting. 

The victims were taken to the hospital and are expected to recover. 

The incident is still under investigation.

8/7/17

by News Department on 08/07/17

Road work causing headaches...



PennDot crews have been working on Schuylkill County roads for about a month, posting "fresh oil and chips" signs all around the County. 

Road crews are addressing issues like potholes, and roads that need to be repaved or re-sealed. 

The seal prevents water from getting into the road, and it restores friction, but it can also be an inconvenience - and even dangerous - for drivers, leading to cracked windshields and stone chips on their cars. Engineers say that can happen when people drive too fast on the freshly repaired roads causing the oil and chips to break up -- resulting in some of the stones getting loose. 

A paved road will last about 10 years. But by using oil and chips, the road can last longer before needing to be re-paved; extending its life three to five years. Engineers say crews will be in Schuylkill County for another three weeks. 

During that time, the excess rocks will be addressed. If your car gets damaged in one of these "oil and chip" zones, you can file a claim at your local PennDot office.


8/4/17

by News Department on 08/04/17

8/4/17

by News Department on 08/04/17

Children &Youth impostor...



A mother from Northumberland County got a scare when a woman posing as a Children and Youth worker tried to take her little girl.

 Jasmine Tucker said the woman did not have an ID badge and refused to give her name, saying only that she was a Northumberland County Children and Youth worker. 

Police say at one point the woman tried to get inside the house to grab the toddler. Tucker says she's never seen the woman who tried to take her daughter but the woman knew the child's name. 

The woman is described as having an average build, 35 to 45 years old, 140 pounds, blonde shoulder-length wavy hair, brown eyes, wearing a red t-shirt and blue jeans. Anyone with information is asked to call police.

8/4/17

by News Department on 08/04/17

Death investigation...

It may be two or three weeks until authorities know what caused the death of a man found Tuesday in the Schuylkill River off Route 183.

 According to the Republican Herald, Schuylkill County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan III said the autopsy on 26 year old Jacob Mendinsky was performed Wednesday at Forensic Pathology Associates, Allentown, with preliminary findings showing that Mendinsky was submerged in water, the same results found during a virtual autopsy done at the Simon Kramer Institute, New Philadelphia, on Tuesday night. 

Moylan said that the water indicates that drowning could be a contributing factor in the man’s death. However, additional toxicology and microscopic tests were also done but getting those results could take two to three weeks. 

Until then, Moylan said he is not making a ruling on the cause and manner of death. 

State police at Schuylkill Haven are investigating the incident and have yet to release details on the incident.

8/4/17

by News Department on 08/04/17

School/Student Success...




State Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera announced Wednesday the commonwealth’s proposed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan is on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) website and is available for public comment. 

The plan builds on an 18-month collaboration between PDE and a diverse group of stakeholders from around the state. 

Public comment will close on August 31, and the Department will submit its Consolidated State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18. 

Initial implementation of the plan will begin in the 2017-18 school year, with full rollout by 2018-19.

8/4/17

by News Department on 08/04/17

Where's the money...




People in part of Schuylkill County raised thousands of dollars to bring doctors' offices back to their rural borough. 

That's when Philadelphia area businessman James Balk announced plans to raise money and bring in a medical center. 

The group's fundraising letter in December 2012 claimed that when it built the facility, "the Geisinger Health System will move in immediately." But five years later the community has nothing to show for it and those who donated are asking, where did the money go?

 A Geisinger spokesman claims it met GAMPC members and in an email said, 'those discussions did not lead to an agreement or contract and we informed those involved in the Girardville Professional Building that we would not commit to being part of this project." 

Joe Chiaretti, the only member of the committee says he believes the group has some money left in the bank but adds the committee has not met in three years. 

Chiaretti wants to find out how much money is left and hopes people and organizations can get back a fraction of what they donated.

8/3/17

by News Department on 08/03/17

8/3/17

by News Department on 08/03/17

Price increase...



State-owned liquor stores are hiking the prices of hundreds of items at the end of August. 

The increase is a result of last year's state law allowing the state liquor control board the authority to raise prices, something the agency hasn't done since the early 1990s. 

Most items will cost a dollar more.

 State officials say they decided on the price hikes after comparing product prices in other states. Those officials say they believe the increases will still leave things competitive.

8/3/17

by News Department on 08/03/17

Charges filed...



A Drums man was sentenced Wednesday to serve more than two years in federal prison for embezzling nearly $400,000 from a personal care services firm. 

According to the Republican Herald, prosecutors said 46 year old Scott Capparell diverted $394,517 from Heritage Mills Personal Care and Memory Assist Center in Tower City, from April 2013 through July 2016, for his and others’ personal use. 

Capparell was ordered to serve 27 months in prison followed by two years of probation for committing bank fraud involving the personal care home for elderly tenants.

 U.S. District Judge Richard P. Conaboy imposed the sentence Wednesday, ordering Capparell to repay the stolen money.

8/3/17

by News Department on 08/03/17

Toll Amnesty...




Time is running out for motorists who have outstanding toll violations with the Pennsylvania Turnpike as a partial toll amnesty program ends Friday at 7 p.m. 

Toll bills and violations newer than 60 days can be settled by paying the outstanding toll amount in full and other fees will be forgiven.

 Violations older than 60 days may be paid in full with a portion of the outstanding fees forgiven. The turnpike commission says 1,645 of its top toll scofflaws have taken advantage of the program since it began on July 5. 

Chronic violators face having their registrations suspended. Violators can pay their tolls by calling 877-736-6727.

8/3/17

by News Department on 08/03/17

Guilty Verdict...




A Mahanoy City woman has been sentenced to prison for the death of a child in Schuylkill County. 

54 year old Pietrina Hoffman was sentenced to 16-32 years in prison for the death of 14-month-old Neveah Doyle in January of 2016.

Doyle was found dead on the floor in Hoffman’s home on West Centre Street in Mahanoy City. 

According to the autopsy, the child was smothered to death while Hoffman was caring for her and the toddler had been dead for hours before police were called. 

Hoffman was found guilty of third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and aggravated assault back in June. 

President Judge William E. Baldwin sentenced her to serve 16 to 32 years in a state correctional institution.

8/2/17

by News Department on 08/02/17

8/2/17

by News Department on 08/02/17

Early Learning in PA...




Pennsylvania is revising its early child care and education programs to make it easier for providers to participate and earn quality ratings. 

Keystone STARS promotes quality improvement among child care and other early childhood education programs through quality standards and targeted supports. Programs currently earn a STAR 1 through STAR 4 rating, with STAR 4 being the highest quality designation, by meeting standards for staff education and professional development, the early learning environment, family engagement practices, and business management. 

The new STARS Performance Standards focus on practices that impact quality services for children and families.

 State leaders hope the changes will allow more Pennsylvania families the opportunity to have access to high-quality services. 

If providers want additional reimbursement, they must achieve up to a STAR 4 status, which requires upgrades like higher education for teachers and healthier environment for kids.

 Changes to the Keystone STARS program took effect August 1, 2017.

8/2/17

by News Department on 08/02/17

National Guard helps with blight...



The National Guard is helping board up blighted properties in Pottsville this month. 

Four abandoned homes in the city have been boarded up so far by the Department of Military Affairs' Counter Drug Task Force as a part of its "Clean and Seal" campaign. 

Pottsville's City Administrator Tom Palamar said out of the 6,500 properties in the city, about 270 of them are blighted properties. 

The city has its own blight task force but is thankful to get help from the National Guard. 

The National Guard task force will be will be back in Pottsville next week boarding up about 15 homes total in the city.

8/2/17

by News Department on 08/02/17

Former Mayor in court...




Former Democratic Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer was due to appear in court in Philadelphia, Tuesday, on federal corruption charges.

 Spencer is accused of engaging in a series of pay-to-play schemes in which he allegedly sold the power of his office in exchange for campaign contributions. 

Prosecutors say he made clear to businesses and individuals that city contracts would be withheld if they didn’t provide sufficient campaign contributions. 

Spencer also is accused of bribing the city council president to repeal an anti-corruption statute. 

The mayor of Allentown pleaded not guilty to similar charges last week. 

Spencer’s lawyer has said he intends to fight the charges.

8/2/17

by News Department on 08/02/17

Body found in river...




An autopsy is planned for today to determine the cause of death of a man found Tuesday morning in the Schuylkill River. 

According to the Republican Herald, Schuylkill County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan III said the autopsy on 26 year old Jacob Mendinsky will be performed at 8 a.m. today at Forensic Pathology Associates, Allentown. 

Moylan said a virtual autopsy conducted Tuesday, on Mendinsky, at the Simon Kramer Institute, New Philadelphia, showed evidence that drowning could be a contributing factor in the man’s death but additional testing will be needed to determine the cause and manner of death. 

State police at Schuylkill Haven are investigating.

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