President Obama has declared 13 counties in Pennsylvania a disaster area thanks to Hurricane Irene. Two of the counties include neighboring Sullivan and Luzerne. Both counties were hard hit over the weekend by the storm. The declaration clears the way for the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management agency to coordinate all disaster relieve efforts. The 13 counties... in eastern and Southeastern PA were hard hit over the weekend by wind... rain and flooding.
Despite the efforts of Pennsylvania Power and Light... thousands of people in their service area are still without power... thanks to a weekend visit by Hurricane Irene. In Columbia County... just over 2,500 subscribers remain in the dark... while in neighboring Luzerne County... 1,819 customers are without juice. The power has been restored to all of Montour County. Whatever the case... PPL workers... as well as those brought in from out of town... will spend today attempting to restore power to the area.
We're keeping an eye on the Susquehanna River for you. Forecasters say the river will rise to just about 12.9 feet around 2 O'clock this afternoon.... and then rapidly recede. It's all due to the runoff of the rain from Hurricane Irene which inundated the Binghamton, New York - area on Sunday... forcing some evacuations. The 12.9 foot mark is three feet below action stage in Bloomsburg... and well below the 19 foot flood stage.
It's becoming one of the big staples when it comes to tourism across the state. We're talking about Ag Tourism. So much so... that State Representative David Millard of Millville plans to hold an information hearing next month. Appearing on a recent edition of the WHLM Morning Buzz... Millard telling Joe and Norm... events like the upcoming Bloomsburg Fair is ag tourism at its best. By the way... the Fair begins September 24th.
If things go according to plan... we should all be able to tap into the planned 2-1-1 system expected to be rolled out in January. The Berwick United Way's Joy McGinnis says when that happens... and you need information... just pick up the phone and punch in 2-1-1. The 2-1-1 system is expected to free 9-1-1 emergency operators from the thousands of non – emergency calls for information.
The Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble will be on stage next weekend... remembering the lives lost of first responders in New York City. BTE's Monica Johnson says “The Guys...” written by Ann Nelson is about 9-1-1, but not about the event itself, but rather the story of a fire captain attempting to write a eulogy about the men he lost. Ms. Johnson says the play will be presented from September 8th to the 11th at the Alvina Krause Theater in the 200 block of Center Street.
Authorities in the Luzerne County area are looking for seven people... including a woman with a baby... wanted for questioning in the robbery of a West Hazleton convenience store. The robbery went down Monday afternoon when the group entered the West Hazleton Tobacco and Convenience store... and Curry Donuts on East Broad Street. The clerk was distracted... and moments later the business owner said they had taken a large amount of money. The group is described as appearing to be Arabic Descent.
Pine Barn Inn Expansion
Ground will be broken at midday Tuesday for an expansion of the Pine Barn Inn in Danville... near the Geisinger Medical Center. The expansion will lead to a new banquet hall that will seat an estimated 225 people. Officials say the expansion will create some new, badly needed jobs in the area. Ground breaking to be held at 11:30 Tuesday morning.
A Luzerne man has been charged with purchasing alcoholic beverages for a group of teens who attended a party last July. 21 – year old Kenneth Rushinski is accused of buying alcohol at a convenience store. One of the teens allegedly taking advantage of the beer was 16 – year old Adam Fredmund of Fairview Township. He was the driver of a late model sport utility vehicle which crashed in Wright Township... killing 16 – year old Brian Madry. Fredmund is charged with homicide by vehicle.