2013-12-04 19:59:00 by Mark Williams / News Director
The proposed $5.3 - million 2014 budget for the Town of Bloomsburg comes up for a vote Monday evening. But, Town Administration Bill Lowthert says the proposal contains a 1 - mil tax hike which equates to $1 - dollar per thousand of assessed valuation... meaning an owner of a home assessed at $100,000 you'll see a hike of $100 dollars on your annual bill. You can see a copy of the proposed spending plan at town hall during business hours.
Speeders / Toys for Tots
They're called “Speeders...” and you'll be able to get a close up look at these former railroad rail cars when they make an appearance along the North Shore Railroad.. as folks collect gifts for Toys for Tots. Larry Maynard will bring out his “speeder” decorated in the holiday spirit. Maynard says the “speeders” are expected in Danville around 9 O'clock Saturday morning... then on to Rupert in Montour Township... Bloomsburg... then it's to Berwick... collecting toys along the way.
Despite a jump in late November, gas prices ended the month about where they started it and AAA says we should see some improvement for the Christmas holiday. The spike in prices heading into Thanksgiving was not due to the holiday. Jenny Robinson of AAA Mid-Atlantic says unexpected refinery problems and tightening supplies, mainly coming out of the Gulf Coast area lead to the uptick in prices. She adds prices are likely to drop 10 to 15 cents a gallon by the end of the year if supplies build as expected due to lower crude oil prices.
Berwick Christmas Boulevard
The Berwick Jaycees are working down to the wire... getting items at the annual Christmas Boulevard in place. The electricity will be supplied to all eleven plots for the first time Saturday night. Brian Powlus is chairing this year's event and says Santa Claus will appear nightly at the intersection of Market and 9th Streets. As in past years... thousands of cars filled with people are expected to make the mile – long trek to see what the Jaycees have come up with this year.
Despite the fact we're into the holiday season... tourism continues to chug along. Otto Kurecian of the Columbia – Montour Visitors Bureau telling us that the main draw continues to be the covered bridges... especially after a snowfall. Another big event taking place in Danville according to Kurecian is the Iron Heritage Holiday House tours which starts December 14th.
Revenues are running slightly ahead of projections... so says the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. In the fifth month of the fiscal year, Pennsylvania collected $1.7 billion in general fund revenue to support its $28.4 billion state budget. That is $800,000 more than was anticipated for November, one of the lowest months in terms of revenue collection, according to the state Department of Revenue.
That brings the fiscal year-to-date collections to $9.9 billion, which is $42.6 million ahead of what Governor Tom Corbett's administration had estimated for this point in time.
Despite financial problems this year... the Luzerne County Council's proposed 2014 budget will be headed for final approval next week. Over the past two months... County Manager Robert Lawton has been torn between increasing taxes and layoff workers in order to fill a 400 – million dollar budget gap. The Council is expected to vote on an eight percent property tax hike... getting concessions from unions... and possible the layoff of up to 200 employees.
Union County Fire
Investigators in Union Country are trying to find the cause of a blaze that gutted a house near Mifflinburg early Tuesday morning. The home is located on Cedar Run Lane. Firefighters say the structure had flames shooting out of every window. Authorities say a couple rented the home.
A Union County Court jury in Lewisburg found Hartleton Police Chief Donald Zerbe guilty of theft by extortion. Police say when Chief Zerbe pulled over a car for a traffic infraction... he would tell the driver of two choices... get a ticket or donate to the Hartleton playground fund instead. Over the past five years... the borough has collected an estimated $5,000 for the playground fund. No word yet when Chief Zerbe will be sentenced.
A Hazleton man is being credited with saving two people from a house fire early Tuesday morning. Ralph Rodriguez and a firefighter pulled a mother and her daughter from their burning home on East Diamond Avenue. Amanda Yanac and her 5 – year old daughter were trapped in their apartment until rescued by Rodriguez and firefighter Brian Madrak. Mother and daughter are being treated in a hospital. Investigators say the fire isn't suspicious... and started in the living room.
The Pennsylvania SPCA has a few words of wisdom for those thinking about giving pets as Christmas gifts. Animal shelters see a surge in surrendered animals in January, often after the owners realize they were not suitable as Christmas gifts. Linda Torelli, of the PA SPCA in Philadelphia says adding a pet should be a family decision. Torelli says it's important that new owners are present and allow time for the new pet to transition to its new surroundings during the holiday season. She also suggests checking out the diversity of animals at shelters before purchasing one.
While the number of uninsured children has been declining nationwide, a new report says Pennsylvania is not sharing in the most recent progress. The report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families says Pennsylvania has started to lag behind after being a model for children's health insurance. Director Joan Alker says the state's rate has stagnated. While she believes the decision to eliminate the waiting period for the CHIP program will help, she says expanding Medicaid coverage to parents would do more.
A man who was supposed to go to trial for a series of thefts from a movie theater box office has pleaded guilty. Sean Flavin said he held up Movies 14 on Northampton Street in Wilkes – Barre last August. He could face up to ten years in state prison when he's sentenced in Luzerne County Court at a later date.
The Huskies Men's and Womens' teams played Cheyney in a double-header at the Nelson Field House on Wednesday night. The Women won 78-35. The Men won 72-57. You can hear the details with Jim Doyle in the WHLM Husky Post-Game Report: