Flood Buyout / Breaking News
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, announced Monday afternoon that almost three dozen flood-damaged homes in Columbia County will be bought out at a total project cost of almost $3.8 million. These 34 “substantially damaged” structures will be acquired and demolished to reduce future flood damage, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The total project cost is $3,784,094. The federal share of the buyout is $2,838,070.50. Twenty-three properties are in Fernville, Hemlock Township; the total project cost of the Fernville buyouts is $2,105,003 (with a federal share of $1,578,752.25). Eleven properties are in Bloomsburg; the total project cost of these buyouts is $1,679,091 (with a federal share of $1,259,318.25). FEMA obligates the funding directly to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which then funds the eligible recipients. The buyouts are funded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. “These buyouts are great news for property owners who have been flooded. I’m happy and proud to tell these families that they will no longer have to suffer through repeated flooding and the process of rebuilding their lives,” Rep. Barletta said. “I know many people in these areas suffered greatly during the September floods, and I hope these families will be able to live without worrying about flooding again. I wish them good luck.”
Masser / Budget
The State House will reconvene this week... and top of mind is giving the senate version of the budget a quick once over. During a recent interview... Republican Kurt Masser who represents southern Columbia County... as well as well as Montour and Northumberland said he has some funding concerns especially in the area of health care... and education. Some lawmakers hope to have the budget to Governor Corbett by mid - June... since it must be signed into law by June 30th.
We have a winner in Sunday's First Columbia Bank Teen Star competition. She is Leah Bergstrom... a senior at Benton High School. Ms. Bergstrom was one of a dozen competitors who took the stage at Haas Auditorium on the BU campus Sunday. Dante Green of Bloomsburg finished second... and Carlynn Wolf of Berwick finished third. The 12 finalists were judge by WBRE's Kyla Campbell... Todd Campbell, a BU music professor and American Idol finalist Aaron Kelly of neighboring Sullivan County.
Hazleton police are looking for a purse snatcher who preys on elderly women. The latest incident took place over the weekend at the corner of South Laurel and Hemlock Streets. Police say 67 – year old Maria Rivera was had just left a bank... and was returning home.. when she was accosted by a dark skinned man... and her purse stolen. If you have information dealing with the purse snatching... call Hazleton Police.
That passenger train rail car... once used as part of a diner.. at the Market Square Complex in Wilkes – Barre will soon be a memory. Over the weekend a Blakely recycling dealer purchased the car for $5,000. Now... Jim Williams will have to move it to his business... where it will be cut up and sold for scrap.
Post Office Naming
A Luzerne County Post Office may soon have a new name. U-S Representative Lou Barletta of Hazleton says once President Obama signs legislation he authored... the post office in Pittston will be named after PA State Trooper Joshua Miller. He was shot and killed in the line of duty two years ago while rescuing a 9 – year old kidnapped boy.
If you use Interstate 80... you'll be running into some travel trouble spots this week... as crews continue work on that $50 – million bridge project over the Susquehanna River. PennDOT says starting Monday... and going through Thursday... there will be some daylight lane closures along eastbound I-80 starting at the Mifflinville interchange. The closures will go east to mile marker 243 while paving operations are underway. The paving projects last until 7 PM each day.
State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has been charged will illegally using her taxpayer funded staff in her campaigns for a seat on the state's highest court. Orie Melvin said outside court that she will vigorously defend herself against the nine criminal charges. Although she has been suspended. she remains a supreme court justice... still being paid her $195,000 a year salary.
Track & Field
The Southern Columbia boys track & field team won their first ever District 4 team title on Saturday at Athens High School. Senior Matt Moore won both hurdle races and three other Tigers won gold medals. In the girls competition, Central Columbia sophomore Ellen Shepard set a district record in the 200 meter dash and won four gold medals in helping the Blue Jays to finish second behind Montoursville in the team standings. The High School tack & field season concludes with the state championships starting Friday morning at Shippensburg University.
In Boston Monday night... it's game five of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. That series is tied at two games each. The Miami Heat and Indianapolis Pacers are tied at two game each after the Heat's 101 - 93 win on Sunday.
Philadelphia's Cliff Lee is still searching for his first victory of the season. Lee surrendered five runs in the first three innings on Sunday... as the Boston Red Sox downed the Phil s 5 to 1. The Washington National's come a callin' Monday night at Citizens Bank Park as they begin a three game series with the Phil's.
You can catch all the action starting with the pre-game show Monday night at 6:30... with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 on News Radio 930... 94.7 and 104.3... as well as Berwick's 1280.