2011-09-16 05:32:00 by Mark Williams / News Director
The sounds you hear on many of the streets of Bloomsburg these days is the sound of heavy equipment. It's the sound of front end loaders and dump trucks... gathering water – soaked belongings place at curbside. It's a process that is slowed by drivers getting in the way of crews. The sound is expected to continue for the next few weeks as crews gather the curbside trash... and haul it to a landfill in Lycoming County.
A sign that the clean up of the homes along West Main Street in Bloomsburg is coming along.... the road between Market Square and the Mall Boulevard interchange is now open to traffic. The decision to open the road was made at mid-afternoon Thursday between Town officials and PennDOT. That means no more checks from the Pennsylvania National Guard at Market Square.
As the clean up continues in the Bloomsburg area from last week's flooding... AGAPE on 7th street has become the clearing house for volunteers. Thus far... 500 are on a list... so says AGAPE's Kathy Lowe. What's desperately needed... according to Lowe... are so – called “mudders.” Ms. Lowe says 'mudders' are sent to certain locations in Bloomsburg twice a day... at 9 AM and 3 PM. If you want to help... show up with your boots and shovels at AGAPE... directly across the street from the Bloomsburg YMCA.
All of us... now have water running through our spigots. United Water crews spending the last five days or so... cleaning and repairing their Irondale Road facility in Bloomsburg... after the waters of Fishing Creek inundated their plant. But despite the return of water... the Utility's Bob Manbeck says we're still under a boil water directive... and there is no time to lift it. Under the mandate... you must bring tap water to a rolling boil for at least a minute.... then cool it before consuming.
A Disaster Relief Center set up by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is up and running in Columbia County. The center opened it's doors earlier this week... and folks from PEMA and FEMA will be there from 10 AM until 7 PM... daily... until they're no longer needed. However, before you show up in person... you must pre – register. You can do so by going on – line and registering at www.FEMA.gov or calling the agency at 1 – 800 – 621 – FEMA.
The 19 Pennsylvania Counties qualifying for FEMA aid also qualifies for federal jobless benefits. Columbia... and Montour Counties come under that banner. Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to residents who are unemployed as a result of last week's flooding. You qualify if you no longer have a job because of the storm, suffered injury or illness, or are unable to get to work. October 14th is the deadline to apply for assistance.
With the dust settling after the Bloomsburg Fair Association Board decided to cancel the 2011 edition due to flooding... it's now trying to arrange things for 2012. Recovery efforts is expected to cost tens... if not.. hundreds of thousands of dollars of the board's bottom line. On Thursday's edition of the WHLM Morning Buzz Fair Board president Paul Reichart was asked by Joe... if the association could go bankrupt. Reichart doubted it since there is a lot of value to the land on which the fair is held.
As Luzerne County residents continue to recover from the flood of 2011... Vice – President Joe Biden will be in the Wyoming Valley Friday. No word where Mr. Biden will end up... since his office hasn't released a specific itinerary. The Vice – President was born and raised in the Scranton area... so he's pretty familiar with the Wyoming Valley and it's people.
Child Abuse Alleged
There was a hearing for a Hazleton woman on Thursday... accused of abusing a 13 month old girl. The arrest of 28 – year old Maria Tula of Alter Street followed a one – year investigation. The investigation was launched after a doctor at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville treated the child for broken bones. Tula was arraigned on a felony charge of endangering the welfare of a child.
Luzerne / FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to inspect damage of last week's flood... starting next week... in Luzerne County. On the list... public property... roads and bridges... as well as other infrastructure. Since Luzerne County has been declared a federal disaster areas... FEMA will reimburse local governments and agency for the cost of emergency response. Yet to be decided if the agency will reimburse public repair and clean up costs. That has been pegged at an estimated 30 – million dollars.
The Panthers of Bloomsburg made their return to play Friday evening with a home field victory against Montoursville on their temporary home field at Redman Stadium. The Panthers won that match 36-7. You can hear all the details with Jonathan Schwab in the WHLM Friday Night Football Update:
Other area teams are in action Saturday. Southern Columbia plays at Shamokin. Berwick is at Dallas in a 1:00 game you can hear on 103.5 WHLM-FM. On Newsradio 930 at 1:00 Columbia Montour Vo-Tech plays at home against East Juniata, and later at 7:00 you can hear Danville at Central Columbia.