Utility crews are working at fever pitch to restore electric and phone service to residents in their coverage area. System wide for PPL... 26,000 customers are without power... down from the 236,000 – earlier this week thanks to Hurricane Irene. PPL spokesperson Terri McBride out of the Bloomsburg office says if you don't have power... safety is of essence... such as not running generators inside a confined space... and dealing with electrical boxes that have been underwater in basements. At last check... nearly a thousand PPL subscribers were without juice in Columbia... down from the original 5,000. In Luzerne County... 400 customers were waiting for power... down from 13,000 who were in the dark during the storm.
Irene Death Toll
Authorities say three people have died as the result of Hurricane Irene. In Ross Township... in neighboring Luzerne County... near Hunlock Creek... 41 – year old Richard Shotwell of Wilkes – Barre died when an uprooted tree crashed into his camper at the Hidden Lake Campground. Several people in the camper were injured. Other storm related fatalities taking place in Hellersville... and along the Northeast Extension of the P-A turnpike.
Irene Scam Artists
The Internet Crime Complaint Center is reporting Irene-related scams, and the feds are warning us to be wary about donating to Hurricane Irene relief efforts. The FBI says it is common for scam artists to prey on the unsuspecting following a natural disaster. To avoid being a victim of fraud do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, never provide personal or financial information to anyone soliciting contributions, and donate directly to charities you trust rather than paying a third party collector.
Car Fished From Water
Bloomsburg Police are trying to figure out how a stolen car ended up in the water at the confluence of Fishing Creek and the Susquehanna River. The Press – Enterprise is reporting in Wednesday's edition... the Nissan Altima was reported stolen Tuesday afternoon.... and was spotted hours later the water by someone driving by the area. Once pulled from the water by a wrecker... investigators found the car's radio missing... as well as an interior part of the door. No word yet as to who owns the car.
Ground was broken at mid-day Tuesday for a new banquet facility at the Pine Barn Inn in Danville. Geisinger's Bruce Thomas said the new facility is a commitment to the system's continued growth and expansion. Thomas added that the new facilities 85 – square feet of space is needed. Construction costs for the expansion has been pegged at 2-point-eight million dollars... with the doors scheduled to open in mid - 2012.
The State Department of Labor says unemployment across northeastern Pennsylvania gained three – tenths of a point in July... rising to 9.4 percent. The increase was the third consecutive gain in the Hazleton / Wilkes – Barre / Scranton metro area. The big reason for the increase... according to the state... teachers out of work for the summer... school bus drivers not needed... and a drop in manufacturing workers.
The Columbia-Montour Aging Office are putting the finishing touches on this Sunday's 4th annual Pig Pickin' / Corn Roastin' Good Times fund raising event Sunday at the Catawissa Boat Club. This year's entertainment is former television news anchor and now aspiring Nashville singer Mike Lewis.... so says the agency's Kathy Lynn. Sunday's event is a fund raiser for the agency's in – home services.
Shale Job Creation
How many jobs have been created by the Marcellus shale boom. It may come down to the funding behind the study. Last year's study funded by the Marcellus Shale Coalition found that directly or indirectly, drilling created more than 44,00 jobs in 2009. Now... a state-funded study released this week said 23,500 jobs were created by Marcellus shale drilling that same year. Penn State researches were commissioned for both studies.
Former state House Speaker John Perzel is expected to plead guilty Wednesday to charges brought against him. Purzel is accused in a scheme to allegedly use ten-million dollars in taxpayer money to purchase computer software that would bolster Republican campaigns in the state. The longtime Northeast Philadelphia lawmaker had claimed no wrongdoing in the scandal. Lawyers for Perzel did not indicate to which charges he'd change his plea.