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Thursday / March 20, 2014


PPL Plant

Operators at PPL's Susquehanna Steam Electric station north of Berwick disconnected the Unit 2 reactor from the electrical grid Thursday morning to repair a valve on a non-safety-related water supply pump. That unit came back on line earlier this week after maintenance was preformed on turbine blades. A utility spokesman says shutting down the unit will establish the working conditions needed to perform the required maintenance on this valve. Unit 1 continues to operate at full power.

 

New Bishop

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg has a new Bishop. Installation ceremonies were held Wednesday at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Harrisburg for Bishop Ronald Gainer... originally from Pottsville. He's the 11th Bishop of the Diocese... made up of fifteen counties including Luzerne. Bishop Gainer leads an estimated 250 – thousand parishioners... and replaces Bishop Joseph McFadden who died last May.

 

Drug Program / Kovach

Illicit drugs are everywhere.... from schools... to apartments... to rolling labs going up and down the highways. Now... Columbia County Commissioner David Kovach says he'll be holding a drug education program next week at the Southern Columbia High School. The Kovach drug seminar... held with the help of state representative Kurt Masser... takes place next Wednesday night at the Southern Columbia High School... beginning at 6 O'clock.

 

Renegade Candidate
The renegade candidate trying to challenge Governor Tom Corbett in May's Republican primary is trying to fend off challenges to his petitions and his candidacy. Bob Guzzardi submitted petitions last week to get on the Republican ballot. To be a listed candidate, you need 2,000 signatures, with at least 100 from each of 10 different counties. Guzzardi says he believes his petitions will withstand any scrutiny. He also also failed to file a financial disclosure report, which he says he took care of Wednesday morning. Guzzardi is not fund raising and only plans to spend about $10,000 of his own money on the campaign...

 

Celebrate Berwick

Planning is well underway for the second annual Celebrate Berwick event in early May. Amy Shortledge of the Columbia – Montour Chamber of Commerce says it's a way to place a positive spin on a community that has meant so much to the area. Ms. Shortledge says this year's event will take place Saturday, May 10th.... with businesses up and down Front Street participating.

 

Minimum Wage
The push continues to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, with several bills before the legislature. Raise the Wage PA thinks the minimum should be 10 dollars 10 cents an hour with a cost of living adjustment. The group also opposes a separate minimum wage for tip workers. Senator Christine Tartaglione has replaced her original proposal to match the 10 dollar 10 cent hourly minimum but she still supports a separate tip wage rate of 70 percent of the minimum wage.

 

Merger

Pennsylvania is the only state with separate game and fish commissions, and it's likely to stay that way, says a leading proponent of merging the agencies. Rep. Robert Godshall... a Republican from Montgomery County... says he believes the agencies should merge. Consolidating the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission would save about $5 million annually, according to a detailed report released on Wednesday by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. It's an issue that has been debated periodically for 60 years.

 

Ordinance Consolidation

Further discussions are expected next week... as Luzerne County Government considers placing ordinances and resolutions that date back more than a hundred years on – line. During their meeting this week... the Luzerne County Commission mandate home – rule government calls for the codifying of ordinances. Meantime... the county has received three proposals to do the job.

 

Coughlin Teacher

The dean of students and wrestling coach at Coughlin High School in Wilkes – Barre is accused of having sex with a female student. The incident allegedly happened ten years ago... and now Stephen Stahl was ordered to stand trial on a charge of sex abuse. A district magistrate decided there is evidence for a trial. No date has been set.

 

District Courts

The Freeland – based magisterial district court will be eliminated in early May. That's when Magisterial District Judge Gerald Feissner plans to retire. The court was to phased out in January of 2018. Feissner's retirement will lead to the redistricting of district courts.

 

Police Dog

The state House of Representatives has unanimously passed legislation named for a slain police K-9 that will toughen felony charges against anyone who hurts a police dog. House Bill 2026, also known as “Rocco's Law,” will allow prosecutors to charge anyone who kills a K-9 with a second-degree felony. The penalty would be a maximum fine of $25,000 and 10 years in prison. Current law carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

 

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