Mayoral Candidate Forum
The three Democratic Bloomsburg mayoral candidates squaring off in the May primary election appeared at a forum Monday night at the Moose Exchange. Eric Bower, Sandy Davis and Diane Levan spoke on subjects ranging from flood protection to being a business friendly community. All told WHLM News they got their message out. Davis, Bower and Levan face each other in the May 21st primary. The Columbia – Montour Chamber of Commerce sponsored last night's forum.
A state police investigator says he believes a pre – dawn fire in Shickshinny Monday started at the rear of a home... on the first floor... and spread upward. Randi and Joe Feno... their two kids and pets... made it out of the burning structure at 21 West Butler Street. Firefighters knew they had a tough job on their hands when they arrived at the scene... so they called in mutual aid from Mocanaqua... Salem Township and Berwick.
No one was injured.
The first of three liquor privatization hearings is on tap later today in the state Senate. Supporters called it "historic" when a liquor privatization bill finally passed the House, but things will only get tougher in the Senate. The chairman of the Law & Justice Committee, Chuck McIlhinney, says he supports "smart privatization," and he's scheduled three hearings to help them achieve the goals of privatization, without the unintended consequences.
Several bills in the "Marcellus Works" package of legislation are on the move at the state capitol. It's part of a Republican-led effort. WHLM's Matt Paul, working out of our Harrisburg News Bureau tells us “Marcellus Works" would provide a series of tax credits and loans to spur investment in natural gas-powered vehicles and infrastructure. State Representative Stan Saylor says the technology and energy are here, so it makes sense on multiple levels: both reducing our dependence on foreign oil and creating more private sector jobs. Three of nine bills have already passed the House.
Millard / Pensions
Still no resolution in sight on the Pennsylvania pension crisis. Pensions for current and past state workers are costing the commonwealth billions of dollars a year... and State Representative David Millard of Mt. Pleasant Township is heading up a sub – committee to come up with a solution to the issue. Millard said trying to find a solution is not an easy task... but lawmakers... in his words... “won't kick the can down the road.”
NEPA Gas Prices
The cost of a gallon of self – serve, unleaded regular has dropped somewhat. The latest Triple – A Fuel Gauge report from across northeastern Pennsylvania... including the Columbia – Montour County area... is averaging $3.40 a gallon. More in some locations... less at others. That's down three cents from a week ago... and 21 - cents off from what we were paying a month ago.
A closing of a long time school in McAdoo is etched in stone. McAdoo Catholic Elementary school will close at the end of the year. The decision made after months of study... and due to declining enrollment and not enough money to make ends meet. McAdoo Catholic Elementary has been a fixture in the area for the past 50 years. Students now have the option to transfer to a Catholic School in Tamaqua.
Officials with the Hazleton Area School District are trying to hammer out a contract agreement with the teachers union although the work agreement doesn't expire until August. Health care and pay raises are the two points of contention. While that goes on... two other unions are working under the terms of a contract that expired two years ago... as well as a third union working under the terms of a contract that expired a year ago.
Hit & Run Suspect Held
A Wyoming Valley man is headed to court... charged in the hit and run death of a 5 – year old boy. A magistrate has ruled there is enough evidence to send the case of Thomas Letteer of Plains Township to Luzerne County Court. He's charged with the December death of 5 – year old Kevin Miller of Dallas... who he allegedly hit with his car while the child and his father were crossing North Street in Wilkes – Barre.
Even though they won ten games and made the postseason playoffs, the Bloomsburg University football team struggled on defense last season giving up just under 30 points a game. Interim head coach Paul Darraugh says improvements on defense has been an emphasis this spring. The Huskies will conclude spring drills this week with the annual Maroon & Gold game Friday night at 7 O'clock.
In high school baseball yesterday... Montgomery downed Benton 3 to 1... Sullivan County defeated Bloomsburg 10 – 6... and it was Central Columbia over Lewisburg 11 to 3.
In major league baseball, the Phillies had the night off. They will open a two game series tonight in Cleveland against the Indians. Coverage on the WHLM Stations begins with the pregame show at 6:30.
In games last night... It took 15 innings, but the Miami Marlins got by the New York Mets 4 – 3... the Milwaukee Brewers took the measure of the Pittsburgh Pirates 10 – 4... and the Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees 9 – 1.
In the NBA playoffs last night... Brooklyn rallied past Chicago 110 – 91... Atlanta downed Indiana 102 to 91... and Houston just got by Oklahoma City 105 – 103.