New Water Plant
We're only days away from opening the valves of a new water treatment plant in Bloomsburg. Suez Water plans to start pumping by the end of the month from it's new 30 – million dollar plant on Irondale Road. The new plant is built above the flood line... and is designed to replace a pumping station that was inundated during the Lee Flood of 2011.
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey was in our area recently pressing the flesh in a hotly contest re – election bid. In his speech to the party faithful... Mr. Toomey said this is the weakest recovery following a recession we've ever experienced. Mr. Toomey is in the fight for his political life with Democrat Katy McGinry. According to the latest polls... both are statically tied.
Barletta / Marino
Two Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania recently participated in a national security round table with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Congressmen Tom Marino and Lou Barletta are both conservatives...but Barletta has gained a reputation for his tough stance on illegal immigration, first as the mayor of Hazleton. Barletta says his experience with the issue will be useful when advising Trump. Barletta has advocated a biometric entrance into the U.S. so people can't overstay their visas. One of Trump's most popular policy proposals is a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
A southern Columbia County borough town made famous by an underground coal fire that destroyed the community will be the site of a pilgrimage for hundreds of Ukrainian Catholics this weekend. Fr. Michael Hutsko, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, says the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church visited the coal regions of PA in November, 2015, to see where the original Ukrainian immigrants settled and built churches. The service begins at 12 noon.
The PA Department of Agriculture is marking a milestone, as the number of farms being preserved for agricultural use only tops the five thousand mark. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was joined by lawmakers and county officials at Smuckerland Farms in Bird-In-Hand, Lancaster County, one of 26 farms added to the preservation rolls. This brings to 5-thousand the number of farms to be preserved under a state program dating back to 1988. In all, more half a million acres will now be used solely for agricultural purposes.
Solutions to Criminal Justice System
Democrats in the state House met in Philadelphia recently to hear testimony and craft solutions for the criminal justice system. The meeting was hosted by Representative Joanna McClinton, who says something must be done to slow down the entry of youth into the criminal justice system... which would also save taxpayers' money. House Democrats are hoping to divert at-risk youth from prison by investing in early childhood education, mental and behavioral health services and rehabilitation efforts.
Police in Hazleton arrested a woman over the weekend for stealing from a home. Officers say Shirley Hill broke into a home along West Magnolia Street... and allegedly stole several hundred dollars worth of items. She was taken into custody earlier this week. Investigators said she admitted selling the stolen items for heroin.
A hearing this week before the state House Transportation Committee focused on a proposal to expand passenger train service in western Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvanian is the lone daily departure between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, and Transportation Committee members heard testimony on a proposal to increase that number to three. Lawmakers heard from Amtrak which operates the service, PennDOT which partially subsidizes it, and Norfolk Southern which owns the tracks. The group Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail spoke out in favor of the increase.
Pennsylvania State police have charged a second person, 32-year-old Danelle Geier in connection with the death of 56-year-old Ronald Bettig... a Penn State professor. Bettig had been reported missing to the State College Police on August 15th. Two days later Bettig's vehicle was located. He was found dead in a quarry by state police. Investigators say 39-year-old George Ishler drove Bettig to the quarry under a ruse and that Ishler pushed Bettig off a ledge. According to state police, Bettig fell approximately 80 feet to his death.