Ambulances crews from Columbia, Montour and Northumberland counties got a rude wake up call Monday morning. Authorities say a 48 – passenger bus used in the tourism industry slid down an embankment at the entrance to the eastbound rest area of Interstate 80 in Liberty Township in Montour County. The accident happened around 5:50 Monday morning when... for some unknown reason... the bus went over a 20 foot embankment... coming to rest on it's wheels. An extimated 20 people were transported to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville for treatment and to be reunited with friends. State police from Milton are investigating the accident.
Following Friday's deadly school shooting in Texas, Governor Tom Wolf is renewing his call for state lawmakers to pass gun safety legislation. Following unanimous passage in the State Senate, Governor Wolf is again urging the State House to approve a bill which would give those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or placed under a final Protection from Abuse order 48 hours to turn in their guns The Governor also continues to call on both chambers to approve legislation which would require all gun sales in PA to be subject to a State Police background check. Currently long guns are exempt.
State House Republicans have increased sanctions against a lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct; but the chamber is pointing a finger at the opposition. In a memorandum, the House GOP has outlined sanctions against Delaware County Representative Nick Miccarelli, which include relieving him of committee assignments. The memo also called on Democratic Leader Frank Dermody to see if he would propose similar action for members of his caucus, a move criticized as irrelevant. A House GOP spokesman says Miccarelli is not being considered for expulsion, because no criminal charges have been filed. Miccarelli is under investigation by the Dauphin County DA's Office; he denies the charges.
Pennsylvania farmers plagued by worker shortages have been looking to a federal program for help, but such a move comes with its own set of problems. The H-2A Visa program allows foreign laborers into the US for seasonal work. It was originally designed to preserve jobs for Americans, but those who utilize the visa say they can't find enough Americans willing to perform this type of work. Meanwhile, farmers complain the delays and red tape surrounding H2-A mean many foreign workers don't arrive until well after the harvest, putting crops and livelihoods at risk.
There were plenty of folks in Berwick at the start of the weekend getting knocks at the door. Those rapping were volunteers of the American Red Cross. They distributed smoke alarms to residents who either didn't have the alarms... or replacing them if they were out of date. Jeri Sims is with the Harrisburg chapter.... which includes Berwick... and says the alarms save a lot of lives. The Red Cross received help from the Reliance Fire Company in distributing the smoke alarms.
Police are investigating after a man was found dead in Ashley.. in neighboring Luzerne County following an apparent stabbing. State police say 31 – year old Brian Breymeier was found dead at 144 S. Main Street shortly before noon Sunday. It’s unclear if anyone is in custody in connection with the death. Investigators are being tight lipped about the case. Troopers and borough police are handling the investigation along with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.
Optimistic About Future
Pennsylvania's businesses are quite optimistic about the national and state economies... and the prospects of their own continued success. The latest PNC Economic Outlook Survey shows businesses are feeling good about where the economy is headed, with increased hiring and wage expectations as well. It's the best report in about a decade according to PNC, but while there's a feel-good vibe among Pennsylvania businesses right now, PNC says the state is still a little behind the national barometer.
Child Action Plan
Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services Secretary is weighing in on the State of the Child Action Plan recently released by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller says the Wolf Administration supports the majority of the plan's 28 recommendations to improve the safety of children, adding that it's a good blueprint to help improve the child welfare system. Miller wasn't specific, but says the few recommendations they have concerns about they'll continue to discuss with the Auditor General.
Work continues Monday on wrapping up the final votes for last Tuesday's election. When it was all said and done... Columbia County Chief Registrar Matt Repasky said voter turnout could have been a lot better... checking in at a little more than 26 per cent. Mr. Repasky was a guest on Sunday's Extra Edition on the WHLM Stations.
Trucker in Trouble
A truck driver is facing charges of aggravated assault by a vehicle in Luzerne County. According to police, a trooper saw a white tractor trailer swerve at, and almost hit, a pickup truck while traveling south on Interstate 81 on Friday morning in Butler Township. The pickup had to swerve onto the shoulder and almost crashed into the guard rail. Police say 59 – year old Norman Brown of Connellsville, refused to cooperate and resisted arrest. Brown is locked up in Luzerne County jail.
Under an order filed by the Public Utility Commission, 17 major utility companies across Pennsylvania to decrease their monthly distribution charges. In total, it will save customers $320 million. The PUC voted 5-0 to approve the order. PPL customers will get the lowest savings, just an 0.56% decrease. Earlier this year, 15 State Representatives sent a letter to the PUC requesting the changes, in response to a decrease in the federal corporate tax rate this year.