Oath of Office
The oath of office was administered to nearly two dozen county and municipal officials at the Columbia County Courthouse on Tuesday. Those who raised their right hand... swearing to uphold state laws.... won elections last November. First up was former District Attorney Gary Norton who is now serving his first term on the bench. Judge Norton said he made the transition weeks ago from a prosecutor... to an impartial officer of the court. President Judge Tom James administered the oath to Norton... saying there's a pretty decent generation of people seeking elected office. Norton ran for the open judgeship when then President Judge Scott Naus decided to retire early last year.
After serving the past eight years as first assistant Columbia County District Attorney... Tom Leipold now has his own shop. Leipold was administered the oath of office Tuesday during ceremonies at the Courthouse. He replaces Gary Norton who was sworn – in at the same time as the County's latest judge. Leipold said he had a pretty good teacher in former DA Norton. And in his new job.... Leipold becomes the first full – time district attorney for Columbia County.
There is a new person who now sits as a Columbia County Commissioner. Rich Ridgway of Scott Township... taking the oath of office on Tuesday during ceremonies at the Courthouse in Bloomsburg. Although Ridgway had been a Scott Township supervisor in the past.... being a commissioner is a new experience... and we found him checking at his office at the courthouse annex. Ridgway will join commission veterans Chris Young and David Kovach as they lead Columbia County government through... what many feel... are uncertain times.
Faith – based AGAPE of Bloomsburg is holding a public meeting next Monday to talk about how far the area has come since September flooding. And all though a little more than three months have passed since those dark days. AGAPE's Eileen Chapman says life for the flood victims... as they know it... may never return to normal. Next Monday's meeting will take place at the Bloomsburg Christian Church on Dussen Drive... just off Route 11... west of Bloomsburg.
Still no word from investigators as to what started a fire which destroyed a mobile home early yesterday morning in the Stoney Brook sub division near Lightstreet. Firemen were called to the home of David Dewald at the end of a cul-de-sac... on East Overlook Drive... but there was nothing they could do but protect neighboring homes. Dawald wasn't at his house when the fire broke out.
PSP Holiday Stats
Pennsylvania State Police say 10 people were killed.... and 172 were injured in 552 traffic accidents investigated by the agency over the New Year's Holiday weekend. A PSP spokesperson said during the same holiday a year ago... eleven people died on state highways. Of the 10 people killed... six were not wearing seat belts.
A 40 – year old Sunbury woman is headed to court soon. Paula Clinton is charged with allegedly stealing a shuttle bus from the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville last October. Clinton had just been treated in GMC's Emergency Room... and apparently became impatient... and allegedly swiped the 25 passenger bus.... driving it to a Point Township business. She is free on bail and faces charges of theft... receiving stolen property and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Luzerne County Woes
Times are tough in Luzerne County Government. Interim County Manager Tom Pribula says he'll impose a hiring freeze... rework the 2012 budget adopted just last week by the former county commission... and may have to go as far as to raise property taxes by 4 percent. The former commissions adopted a $121 – million budget... but Pribula says the tax increase is needed to cover debt services and insurance expenses.
The Pennsylvania Lottery says a computer check shows a one million dollar Millionaire Raffle ticket was sold at a Nanticoke – area convenience store... in Luzerne County. The ticket holder has yet to come forward... but it is known that the winning ticket was sold at the Cocoa Hut on Middle Road. The lottery says other one million dollar winning tickets were sold in Erie... Delaware County... as well as Philadelphia.
The boom could be coming down on a Luzerne County bar. State Police from the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement are helping Nanticoke police to determine if the Prospect Cafe is a nuisance... and should be closed. A 30 – year old woman was brutally slashed in the face with a box cutter over the weekend when a brawl broke out. Police are now looking for the woman who allegedly did the slashing.
No Death Penalty
A Luzerne County judge has ruled convicted child killer Michael Bardo will no longer face the death penalty stemming from the 1992 death of his 3 - year old niece. The ruling by judge Patrick Toole comes after Bardo said indicated he wanted to fight the death penalty. Now Toole says a new hearing will be held to determine his punishment.
McAdoo Men to Plead
Two Schuylkill County men accused of harassing Sarah Palin's lawyers in Alaska plan to plead guilty... this time without a plea agreement. 20 – year old Shawn Christy... and his father... Craig... were ordered to stand trial in Anchorage. The pair were arrested last year... after they became upset about a retraining order on behalf of the former Alaska Governor who was also the 2008 Republican Vice – Presidential candidate.
Boys High School Basketball
In boys' high school basketball last night, Central Columbia played unbeaten Loyalsock. WHLM's Jim Doyle says the Lancers were strong all night... as they defeated the Blue Jays 32 to 26. In other boys' games last night... Pittston Area defeated Berwick 69 to 41... it was Saint John Neuman over Benton 67 to 33... Bloomsburg edged Millville 58 to 27... Danville getting by Midd West 79 to 17... And Southern Columbia defeated Warrior Run 67 to 50.
Girls High School Basketball
In girls basketball action from last night... Pittston Area getting by Berwick 48 to 32... and Bloomsburg defeating Columbia Montour Vo Tech 47 to 30...
In college football last night .... Michigan capped an 11-win season with a 23-20 overtime victory in the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech.