Millard / Flood Wall
State Representative David Millard of Mt. Pleasant Township is throwing his support behind the construction of a flood wall on Bloomsburg's west side. Ever since flooding back in 2006... there has been a lot of debate on the issue, but it's intensified since the flood of September. Representative Millard says a flood wall will provide a level of protection. Meantime... it's expected any sort of flood protection for Bloomsburg is years away from fruition... since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers... the agency in the flood protection business... has literally run out of money for any future projects.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is accepting so – called “letters of intent” from those Columbia County Municipalities who plan to apply for a Hazard Mitigation Grant. The municipalities have until November 15th to do so. That word from Larry Lahiff of Columbia County Emergency management. Lahiff says the grant program is a way for municipalities to get federal funding for flood prevention projects which includes property acquisition. Residents who want their property included for consideration should contact their municipal officials.
In Hemlock Township Wednesday... two meetings will be held at the municipal building to get feedback from residents about the application process for the Hazard Mitigation Grant. The meetings will be held at 2 and 6 PM.
Roads damaged by September flooding in Columbia County... are slowly being repaired under emergency contracts. PennDOT's Rick Mason says emergency repairs are underway on Winding Road in Fishing Creek Township... as well as Back Branch Road in Mt. Pleasant Township. Also being repaired under an emergency contract are Green Creek Road... and Charmund and Mt. Pleasant Road. Still not on PennDOT's radar is the replacement of a bridge on Whites Church Road near the intersection of Mt. Pleasant and Back Branch Roads.
If you're driving in Pennsylvania, pay careful attention to your driving - law enforcement will be watching. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or PennDOT announces $2.5 million in federal funding to go towards Pennsylvania State Police, and municipal police. This extra effort is part of the state's Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project. It will help about 300 police departments crack down on aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating, speeding, and running red lights.
Traffic on westbound Interstate 80 came to a slow crawl Tuesday afternoon after a car rear – ended a tractor trailer. State Police at Bloomsburg tell us a '97 Camry driven by 20 – year old Kelly Hummer of Danville plowed into the rear of a tractor – trailer driven by a Connecticut trucker about a mile east of the Lightstreet interchange. Hummer was transported to Geisinger for treatment of minor injuries.
The State Department of Labor says unemployment across Northeastern Pennsylvania is down. The area now has an unemployment rate of 9.3% in September... after checking in at 9.6% in August. Columbia County's unemployment rate increased to 8.6% in September... up two – tenths of a per cent from August. The increase is being blamed on the flood... students not in town... and the cancelation of the Bloomsburg Fair.
There is an urging by state lawmakers on the Department of Department of Environmental Protection to do more to address air pollution caused by Marcellus Shale drilling. Representative Greg Vitali says the DEP needs to increase its air pollution staffing to address the problems. Vitali adds the DEP needs to require drillers to use best available pollution control devices on the machinery used in the drilling process.
Geisinger / Wilkes-Barre
Danville – based Geisinger says it's expanding to a location in downtown Wilkes-Barre... and hiring 75 people in the process. Geisinger Health Plan says they're expanding their health services and wellness services... adding a technology and customer services to it's Wilkes-Barre location. The unit will take over a couple of floors at the former Verizon Building on Public Square.
A Shickshinny man convicted of murdering his girlfriend a year ago has been sentenced to life in prison. 59 – year old John Stone received the sentence Tuesday in Luzerne County court for his conviction of murdering 37 – year old Catherine Tabit of Kingston. The pair was arguing at his Canal Street home when she was hit in the head with a 13 – inch hatchet in late October of 2010.