The inclement weather kept folks away from the Bloomsburg Fair grounds in the Thursday morning... with low clouds... and rain kept the attendance down. Only workers were brave enough to spend time.
With Thursday's sketchy weather... Attendance for the day was off somewhat... how 'bout only 21, 761. Last year's attendance for Thursday was 41,000. Whatever the case... the folks who made it onto the fair grounds enjoyed the day... taking in the sights and sounds of the exhibition buildings.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education has advanced negotiations with its faculty union, making some progress toward an agreement. The State System kept on the table more than $159 million in faculty raises in exchange for the union accepting changes to its healthcare plan and other contractual changes needed to help the universities address unprecedented fiscal challenges. The raises proposed by the State System for faculty would range from 7.25 percent to 17.25 percent over the next three years. The teachers union is due to walk out next month if an agreement isn't reached.
A review of public assistance paid by the state Department of Human Services found that more than two-thousand people got benefits... after they passed away. The audit covering one year from July 2013 to June 2014 found that the Department of Human Services paid nearly $700,000 in benefits to deceased recipients.... then failed to detect the use of those dollars. DHS has changed its policy regarding death notifications for benefits recipients, however, it disputes the Auditor General's finding for the total amount paid incorrectly.
Times are starting to get tough in the Marcellus Shale fields of northern Pennsylvania. It seems that some gas companies are allegedly shorting leaseholders of land they're drilling upon. But. House bill 1391 clarify that... so says Representative David Millard of Berwick. In other news... Mr. Mallard says there are eight more days to go in this legislative session... and there are several bills out there to tackle before the session ends.
On the heels of Governor Tom Wolf's speech to a joint session of the state legislature this week, a lot of focus is being directed at the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. A panel of state lawmakers heard about the effects on the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians. The House Children & Youth Committee graveled into session this week for a public hearing on the impact the opioid epidemic is having on newborns and young children. Dr. Kim Costello with St. Luke's University Health System told lawmakers this isn't just about inherited dependency, as a parent's addiction can result in abuse, neglect or other dangers. A recent study revealed a 250% increase in the number of neonatal hospital stays due to substance abuse...
No Contest Plea
A man accused of killing his wife in Northumberland County pleaded no contest Thursday to involuntary manslaughter charges. Robert Thomas of Turbotville first told police that someone broke into his home on Phillips Road in 2012. Thomas claimed that person then shot and killed his wife. Thomas later stated he accidentally killed her when he was handing her a gun.
Turnpike Toll Cheats
Legislation approved this week in the state Senate seeks to crack down on motorists who skip out on tolls along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It's estimated that the Pennsylvania Turnpike loses out on tens of millions of dollars a year from motorists who use the EZ-Pass lanes and fail to pay their toll. The bill passed by the Senate would give PennDOT the authority to suspend a vehicle's registration until the driver pays up. The bill also contains a reciprocity agreement with neighboring states, making it easier to collect outstanding tolls from out of state motorists.
A man is accused of an investment scheme in Luzerne County. Steven Malstrom was charged Thursday with theft. West Pittston police say Malstrom took large amounts of money from people, promising monetary gain but never returned their original investment. Malstrom is charged with theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.
Police have made an arrest in a robbery at a credit union in Kingston. According to authorities, Jonathan Fox of Wilkes-Barre was picked up less than three hours after the UFCW Credit Union on Market Street was held up around noon. Officials say Fox used a BB gun in Thursday's robbery.
Police in Wilkes-Barre say a thief left empty-handed after he tried to hold up a convenience store. Authorities say a man wearing a skull mask waved a gun and demanded money from the clerk at the Turkey Hill on Hazle Street just after 1 AM on Thursday. No one was hurt, and nothing was stolen in Wilkes-Barre.
One jackpot-winning Pennsylvania Lottery Cash 5 ticket worth $600,000 from the Wednesday drawing was sold at the Turkey Hill in Mountain Top... Luzerne County. The ticket correctly matched all five numbers drawn... the retailer will receive a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. Cash 5 winners have one year from the drawing date to claim prizes.
With the help of new technology and testing the Pennsylvania State Police are one step closer to solving nine cold cases, some that go back over 30 years. Police exhumed four bodies in Luzerne County earlier this week so an anthropologist from Florida could do testing and facial reconstruction on the bodies. Police hope they'll finally be able to give families long awaited answers.