Downed trees... toppled over by rain and wind... has caused havoc with power and phone lines. Right now... PPL says they have an estimated 139,026 subscribers across the state without power Monday morning. 3,935 subscribers are in the dark in Columbia County.... with an additional 47 out of juice in Montour County. 5,559 subscribers are with power in neighboring Luzerne County. A PPL spokesman says crews are working around the clock to restore power.
After a weekend of rain and wind... it's time to turn our attention to the Susquehanna. Over the weekend... the Susquehanna at Bloomsburg was just a tick under two feet, but forecasters say the river is expected to rise dramatically... only to crest at 15.6 feet on Wednesday. The action stage in Bloomsburg is 16 feet... with the town having a 19 foot flood stage. We'll be keeping a close eye on the Susquehanna.
There are some roadways still closed due to downed trees.. that will make the commute to work a bit stressful Monday morning. PennDOT telling us that Route 42 between the American Legion and Fairview Drive is closed due to downed power line. However, State Route 487 between Savage Hollow and Pealertown Road in Fishing Creek Township is opened. That road closed Sunday due to power line issues.
Irene Death Toll
The death toll from Hurricane Irene is at four so far Pennsylvania. Two of the fatalities were in our area. In Luzerne County, a man in a camper was killed by a fallen tree. Another man was killed when his car hydroplaned on the Northeast Extension of the turnpike and went over an embankment in Carbon County. Governor Corbett asked FEMA for emergency disaster aid for eleven eastern Pennsylvania counties.
It's been a few days now... and the shock of Columbia County's largest employer closing their doors is settling in. The R-R Donnelley book binding plant on Old Berwick Road will be shuttered in late October. The plant has been a valuable commodity in the Bloomsburg – Berwick economy since the late 60's. Fred Gaffney is the president of the Columbia – Montour Chamber of Commerce telling us the estimated 300 people losing their jobs are our friends and neighbors. Gaffney says those tossed out of work by Donnelley will have an opportunity to find other work by visiting the Job Link Center
One of the candidates seeking the post of Columbia County District Attorney this fall undergoes surgery Monday at the Geisinger Medical Center. Republican candidate... and current assistant D-A... Tom Leipold will be at Geisinger for by-pass surgery... something his cardiologist said must be done now. On a recent edition of the WHLM Morning Buzz... Leipold says he'll be up and around to face Bloomsburg Attorney Leslie Bryden in the race for the District Attorney's job.
A new school year has either started... as in our area... or it soon will begin across the state... along with new state vaccination regulations. The Pennsylvania Health Department is now requiring school students to get a series of three shots for hepatitis-B and an additional dose of the vaccines for mumps and chicken pox. Parents have eight months to get children up to date with shots and can opt out for religious reasons.