Centralia... it used to be a robust coal mining community... but now it's deserted... residents chased out and brought out by an ever – going mine fire which burns under the area. And there is a highway... Route 61... now closed and covered with graffiti ... and a dangerous place for you and your toys. Just ask PennDOT's David Thompson. Thompson says a series of “no trespass” signs have been installed to deter folks from going there. Two weeks ago... State Police from Bloomsburg started citing folks who were going there with their SUV's... ATV's and UTV's in an effort to eliminate problems.
Plane Crash Findings
Pilot error has been blamed in a plane crash off the coast of New Zealand that killed a Berwick native and his wife in April 2013. Newspaper reports indicate 58 – year old Eric Hertz... an executive with New Zealand second largest cell phone company had an estimated 38 seconds to discover he was loosing power... and should have taken the plane off of autopilot. Thursday's edition of the Press – Enterprise says Eli Hertz disputes the findings. The former US Navy pilot said an engineering error caused the power failure. Eric Hertz and his wife, 64 – year old Kathy died in the crash.
The state's top auditor had his turn before the senate appropriations committee Wednesday as budget hearings continue under the capitol dome in Harrisburg. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale just started his 2nd term in that office and he says it is a much leaner and more efficient machine these days - with personnel numbers down from 750 to 473, all while completing the same number of audits. DePasquale also says his department has gone from a fleet of 240 vehicles down to 13 or 14. The Auditor General says any further cuts in funding for his office would have to impact personnel and fewer personnel translates to fewer audits...
Problems in Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation system dominated questioning of the state Labor and Industry Secretary as state budget hearings continued on Wednesday. Appearing before the House Appropriations Committee, Labor and Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino said the current unemployment compensation system is operating using, "chewing gum and duct tape." The computer problems were compounded by the loss of 54 million dollars resulting in the closure of three UC call centers. Manderino compared the system to a critically ill patient who is, quote, "bleeding out on the gurney."
The Student leadership Summit conference takes place Saturday on the campus of Bloomsburg University. The Summit is an annual leadership conference presented by BU alumni, faculty, staff and student leaders so says BU's Tom McGuire. The guest speaker Saturday is '81 Graduate David Williams who is currently the president of the Make – A – Wish foundation.
Police in Luzerne County say the guy who they believe secretly used his cell phone to record women in the bathroom at a pizza place turned himself in on Wednesday. Wright Township police in Mountain Top took Juan Prieto to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon on invasion of privacy and child pornography charges. They say he turned himself in around noon after feeling pressure from his family members.
Rate State Government
A new poll shows some familiar numbers when Pennsylvanians are asked to rate their state government. The F&M College poll asked Pennsylvanians how they felt about state government and pollster Terry Madonna says "government and politicians" were cited as the biggest problem facing the state once again. He says it's only been in the past couple years that government and politicians have topped that list. 52% of Pennsylvanians say the state is on "the wrong track" in the F&M poll. Governor Tom Wolf's approval numbers are up 7 points, but that only brings them to 38%
Representative David Millard will offer a concealed carry seminar next month at the Buckhorn Fire Hall. It begins at 6 O'clock on March 7th. District attorney Thomas Leipold and sheriff Tim Chamberlain will be on hand... providing information about the state's concealed carry law... and how to safely interact with police. Reservations are needed due to limited seating. To register for the seminar call Rep. Millard’s Bloomsburg district office.