GRANT MONEY FOR EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) announced today that Evangelical Community Hospital received a $500,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant to modernize its campus in Union County. The Union County Hospital Authority will use the funding to buy and install an 850-ton high-efficiency chiller that will cool a new four-story patient tower designed as part of the campus’s Patient Room Improvement Modernization and Enhancement Initiative (PRIME). The chiller, a key component of the hospital’s Efficiency Initiative, will save $28,000 on yearly utility costs thanks to a 394,075 kWh reduction in energy consumption – the equivalent to powering 32 homes annually. Evangelical Community Hospital staffs 792 residents at its main campus in Kelly Township and more than 1,900 across its healthcare system, serving as Union County’s second largest employer. RACP, a $3.1 billion program administered through the Office of the Budget, provides grants for development projects that boost the economic, civic, cultural, recreational or historical value of the surrounding community.
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING ADDRESSES MULTIPLE CONCERNS
SUICIDE, BULLYING AND MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS WERE BROUGHT TO THE SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD AT THEIR RECENT MEETING. PARENTS AND CONERNS CITIZENS PLEADED THEIR CASE, SAYING “YOU GUYS NEED TO DO something.” According to a South Williamsport Police Crime Investigator, the recent suicide was investigated and bullying was not an issue. The investigation continues into the suicide and Dr. Mark Stamm, District Superintendent reminded guests to the meeting that there are emotional and mental health resources available to students. Relaying the seriousness to the guests, Stamm went on to suggest QPR (Question Persuade Refer) as a source technique to help people to see signs of someone in crisis and warning signs of suicidal ideation, according to SUN Gazette.
LOCAL COVID-19 CASES ON MONDAY
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Tuesday reported new COVID-19 cases, nearly double the amount reported on Monday. Clinton County reported 14 new cases. In Centre County 72 new cases were recorded. Lycoming County added 103 new cases. Tioga County had 19 new COVID cases listed yesterday. In the Valley, there were 112 new infections, including 49 in Northumberland County, 34 in Snyder, 25 in Union and four in Montour.
VIRTUAL DAY DUE TO THREAT AT MILTON AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT
Milton Area School District is on a virtual day today. According to sources, the district received an “active shooter” threat. The school district reported several threats this week and last week. On their website, district officials received a call regarding an active shooter threat against a school. “Out of an abundance of caution and to allow for a complete investigation,” the schools are virtual. The district says questions, concerns, or information to share about the threat should be directed to the Milton Police Department at 570-742-8757. The district says there will be no curbside meal services Wednesday either.
DENIAL TO OVERTURN 2017 CONVICTION
Joseph Scott Rankinen, formerly of Jersey Shore, has again failed in his most recent attempt to overturn his 2017 convictions for rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, terroristic threats and indecent assault of a 12-year-old girl. This time, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the March 2021 decision of Clinton County Court of Common Pleas Judge, Michael F. Salisbury, denying Rankinen a new trial. Rankinen had filed a Post Conviction Relief petition in 2020 asking to vacate his convictions and order a new trial in the case. On March 5, Judge Salisbury denied Rankinen’s petition and request for new trial. Rankinen has not yet begun to serve the 30-year sentence imposed following the verdict as he continues to serve a 20-year sentence imposed for a 2011 sexual assault of a 4-year-old boy.
REDEVEOPMENT ASSISTANCE CAPITAL PROGRAM GRANTS
Sen. Gene Yaw and Rep. Jeff Wheeland announced Lycoming County and Lending Properties, LLC were awarded Redevelopment Assistance Capitol Program (RACP) grants. RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. Lycoming County was awarded $750,000 to repair 35 relief wells across the City of Williamsport, Borough of South Williamsport and a portion of Loyalsock Township. Located in Montgomery Borough, Lending Properties, LLC was awarded $500,000 for a project to improve three aging properties to maximize usable space and upgrading machinery and equipment to facilitate company growth and job creation.
ATV PILOT CONNECTOR PLAN BRIEFING
State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), Majority Chairman, and Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-19), Minority Chairwoman, will hold a briefing of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on today at 10AM to discuss the Tiadaghton State Forest ATV Pilot Connector plan by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, seating is reserved for the presenters. Members of the public can watch the briefing LIVE at https://environmental.pasenategop.com/. The briefing will include a presentation from DCNR, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), and a number of local and regional organizations including the Central Mountains ATV Association, Inc., Pine Creek Preservation Association, Slate Run Sportsmen’s and others.
WATER MAIN PROJECTS
Water main replacement projects were awarded positive recommendations yesterday by the Williamsport City Council Public Works Meeting. The water main replacement for Walnut Street near the UPMC Williamsport campus has the first positive resolution. The Cliffside Drive project is the second resolution. Communication continues on these projects and their progress with the Williamsport City Council and Water Authority.
TWO ALARM BLAZE IN NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY
Several volunteer fire crews are responding to a two-alarm wood shop fire in Delaware Township, Northumberland County. According to emergency communications, the fire was first reported just before 12:20 p.m. Tuesday at a building along Oakes Lane. A second alarm was called minutes later, but crews reported they knocked the fire shortly after. No injuries were reported and everyone got out safely.
Upon their arrival, fire fighters say there was smoke through the roof and there were multiple exposures to attached buildings.
STATE POLICE OFFERS LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING TO OLDER TEENS
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Bureau of Training and Education announced the launch of The Hill Impact Program, a 15-week program for children between the ages of 15 and 18.
The program provides teens who are considering a career in law enforcement with insight on what it takes to be a PSP Trooper. Students will have one-on-one interaction with PSP Troopers while learning about various aspects of law enforcement, including the Pennsylvania crimes code, vehicle code, rules of criminal procedures, principles of law enforcement, and participating in physical fitness.
“Teenagers who are considering a career in law enforcement are encouraged to enroll in this free program,” said Major George Bivens director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Training and Education. “The program is designed to educate and give those in attendance a unique experience showcasing the career of a state trooper.”
The Hill Impact Program will take place at the PSP Academy, commonly known as The Hill, which sits atop one of the highest summits in Hershey and has served as the training grounds for thousands of PSP Troopers since 1960.
There is no charge to attend the 15-week program, which will begin in February 2022. Participants will meet once a week for two hours in the evening and one Saturday a month for three hours.
Any teen who has a serious interest in attending is encouraged to contact Trooper Clint Long no later than January 7, 2022 at [email protected] or 717-497-4577. Class size is limited.
RABBITTRANSIT – MICROTRANSIT EXPANSION TO NORTHERN PA COUNTIES
Rabbittransit has announced a service expansion of their microtransit service, Stop Hopper, to Selinsgrove and Sunbury, PA in Northumberland and Snyder counties effective December 13, 2021. Stop Hopper enables residents to schedule rides on smaller, neighborhood friendly-sized public transit vehicles. Riders can travel anywhere within the designated zone by requesting a ride using the Stop Hopper smartphone app. Following a ride request, the app provides passengers with an estimated pick-up time. Passengers are picked up in nine-person accessible vans and taken where they want to go within the designated zone area. The app also tracks rides in real-time and alerts passengers when their ride is about to reach their desired destination. The Stop Hopper app is available for download from the App Store or Google Play.
LOOKING AT USE OF DEADLY FORCE BY PA’S HIGH COURT
The pending homicide case against a former Philadelphia police officer went before Pennsylvania’s high court on Tuesday, where justices appeared conflicted about whether and when they might change state law on police use of deadly force during arrests. The state Supreme Court appeal was brought by the Philadelphia district attorney’s office on the eve of former officer Ryan Pownall’s trial, with prosecutors arguing that federal standards should trump the Pennsylvania statute. Pownall, 39, is accused of third-degree murder in the shooting death of David Jones after a June 2017 confrontation over Jones riding a dirt bike on a Philadelphia street.
DICKEY ELEMENTARY OFFERED TO LOCK HAVEN CITY
$1 could get the City of Lock Haven the former Dickey Elementary School property. Robert Maguire and Micah Clausen offered to sell the property to the municipality for $1 at the end of 2022. Lock Haven City Council voted to pass the proposal and sent it to the city’s redevelopment authority for consideration. According to therecordonline.com, in March 2020, council considered a possible $1.6 million renovation of the facility. Renovations would include, but are not limited to roof and structure repair, gutters and downspouts, windows, exterior and interior doors.