PPL crews continue to restore power to parts of Columbia and Luzerne Counties following last weekend's visit by Hurricane Irene. Early Friday morning... there were 162 PPL subscribers in Columbia County still without power... mostly in the northern townships where downed trees on lines continue to be a problem. That's down from the initial 6,800 homes and businesses that lost juice. In Luzerne County... only 13 homes are still without power in Salem and Nescopeck Townships. System wide... PPL says 3,300 homes are without power... out of the initial 300,000 subscribers last Sunday evening.
Luzerne County Damage
Luzerne County Emergency Management officials say 3.4-million dollars worth of damage was caused to the county last weekend by Hurricane Irene. The preliminary figure will be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency... but it's likely to grow larger once detailed assessments are made by township and city officials. The hardest hit areas... the city of Wilkes – Barre... and the Dallas and the Sweet Valley regions of the Luzerne County.
Irene / Crops
Strong winds from Hurricane Irene last weekend did more than topple trees and cut off power in the region. The Hurricane took a bite out of the state’s fruit crop. The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau reports high winds and heavy rain caused some loss of apples, pears and peaches at the peak of the growing season.
It's going to be a rough and tumble year for the United Way of Columbia County. The organization kicking off their 2011 campaign this week. United Way Executive Director John Thomas says this year's campaign will be challenging since some past contributors may have to use the services of the the United Ways member agencies.
With the arrival of September... comes the anticipation of the Bloomsburg Fair. Over the past couple of months... a new stage has been built.... and a Skyride is in place. But Fair Association President Paul Reichart says this year's event will also feature Civil War reenactors. The re-enactors will show fair visitors what live was like back in the early 1860's. The 157th annual edition of the Fair opens on Saturday, September 24th.
State Police at Bloomsburg are investigating the break – in of a home along Pole Bridge Road in Jackson Township. According to a news release... someone took Power tools... guns and ammunition from the home of 57 – year old Allen Paisley. The incident happening this week while Paisley was not home. If you have information dealing with the burglary... call state police at the Bloomsburg barracks.
The Hazleton School District has a new interim Superintendent. He's deputy superintendent Francis Antonelli. He'll replace Super Samuel Marolo who is on a so – called “leave of absence” for the 2011 – 2012 school year.
Hugo Selenski will now be allowed to represent himself in his upcoming murder trial in Luzerne County. The trial begins September 19th at the Luzerne County Courthouse. Selinski is accused of killing Tammy Fassett and Michael Kerkowski. Their bodies were found in Selinski's back yard eight years ago. Back in 2008... Selinski was cleared in a Luzerne County double murder case.
Investigation into Super Buyouts
Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner is examining the cost-effectiveness and justification of school district contract buyouts. Wagner told the Central Dauphin School District he is investigating the recent reassignment of school superintendent Luis Gonzalez. Last month, the school board voted not to renew Gonzalez's contract and to assign him special projects for the remainder of his current contract. The Auditor General also put the Gettysburg, Allentown, and Philadelphia school districts on notice.
State Police Honored
Governor Corbett tells Pennsylvania State Police who have served in the military since the 9-11 attack that they have ennobled the state police uniform by donning the U.S. Military uniform. The governor was speaking at the first of many ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of 9-11. Former Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was the featured speaker at Thursday's ceremony at the Naval Support Activity Center in Mechanicsburg. More than 300 State Troopers were honored.
Cell Phone Warnings
Whether to put warning labels on cell phones is a topic being bandied about in the State House. Members of Pennsylvania's Democratic Policy Committee held an informal meeting on the Drexel University's campus Thursday. The heard testimony for and against the labels. One of the proponents argued that while he cannot confirm the dangers of cell phones, he certainly could not say they are safe. Despite FDA findings that cell phones pose little or no risk to users, some scientists say the microwave radiation emitted from cell phones is dangerous.
The Bloomsburg University football team opened the season Thursday night against Ashland of Ohio at Redman Stadium. Bloomsburg downing Ashland 27 to 20. A driving force behind the victory was Franklyn Quiteh. The Huskie's next game is September 10th at Clarion.
WHLM's Game of the Week
The 2011 High School football season kicked off Friday night with all area teams in action. In a game heard on Newsradio 930, Bloomsburg beat South Williamsport at Panther Stadium 42-22. In Bulldogs action on 103.5 WHLM-FM Berwick opened their season on the road at Crestwood, falling 19-6.
Other Top Rated Games
In other local games Friday night... it was Southern Columbia over LineMountain 42-25, Danville beat Shikellamy 38-19, Central Columbia lost to Montoursville 14-6 and Columbia - Montour Vo-Tech fell to Sayre 29-8. For more local and regional results check out the WHLM High School Football Scoreboard.