By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - A late afternoon accident Wednesday claimed the life of a 13-year-old on Shenandoah's west end.
Police say Scott Ort, of 407 West Cherry Street, was struck by a minivan at the intersection of West Centre Street and Gilbert Street around 5:15pm.
Ort suffered a severe head injury and was treated at the scene by Shenandoah Community Ambulance, and transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital - Schuylkill, and subsequently flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest in Allentown, Lehigh County. There, he was pronounced dead at 3:18am early Thursday morning.
According to police, Ort was travelling northbound on Gilbert Street, down the South Gilbert Street hill, and proceeded into the intersection with West Centre Street, where he was struck by the minivan, driven by a Lansford, Carbon County woman, who was on her way to her daughter's basketball game at the Shenandoah Valley High School gymnasium
Police say no charges are pending against the Lansford woman at this time.
Assisting Shenandoah Police and Shenandoah EMS at the scene were the Shenandoah Fire Department and Shenandoah Ambulance.
By Kaylee Lindenmuth
HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY – Governor Tom Wolf, the Department of Labor & Industry, and Team Pennsylvania recently announced that $270,000 in Career Readiness Mini-Grants were awarded to 64 school districts across the commonwealth, including one in our area.
The North Schuylkill School District was named a recipient of one of the grants, which are intended to support an assortment of activities for students to learn about career opportunities, and to build stronger connections between schools and employers.
“These grants will enhance the collaborative efforts between the Pennsylvania education and workforce development systems, and help to create the bridge between school and real-world workplace experiences,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “We need to allow our students to explore their career options early, so that they are prepared and informed as they transition into the workforce and post-secondary education.”
By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - Ahead of Lithuania's centennial in 2018, the Eastern European republic is sending a team of researchers to Schuylkill County.
Their project, entitled "Destination - America", sets out to create an online, interactive map of Lithuanian heritage sites in the U.S.
Set to arrive on Wednesday, September 27, project leader Augustinas Žemaitis noted in a press release "the Anthracite Region has an exceptional Lithuanian heritage. In fact, the first Lithuanian-language novel in the entire world has been published in Shenandoah."
Žemaitis also noted that the world's first Lithuanian brass band was formed in nearby Mahanoy City, and added that the region featured nearly 40 Lithuanian churches and cemeteries.
Žemaitis, who has searched for Lithuanian heritage sites across the globe for five years, hopes that the project will make information on sites such as those in Schuylkill County more widespread and accessible.
"Currently, very little information is available online about many of the sites, making it nearly impossible for Lithuanians or Lithuanian-Americans who visit New York or Philadelphia to also come to Schuylkill (County) on an independent heritage-searching trip. We plan to change this," Žemaitis said.
"While the existence of minority heritage in the USA may surprise nobody, the prevalence of Lithuanian heritage in Coal Region is surprising due to the fact that Lithuania itself is a country of merely 3 million inhabitants," a press release noted.
According to U.S. Census data from the year 2000, the last census to include a question regarding ancestry, 5% of Schuylkill County residents reported having Lithuanian origins, the highest percentage of any county in the country.
By Kaylee Lindenmuth
(Editor's Note: Our thoughts and prayers go out to those injured in the incident.
Ashley was someone I knew, and to hear about this is heartbreaking to say the least. Hoping for the best ~ Kaylee Lindenmuth)
MAHANOY CITY - A Mahanoy City man is in custody on DUI and Aggravated Assault charges after hitting two pedestrians in the borough early Sunday morning.
Police say the accident occurred around 2:15am in the 1100 block of East Mahanoy Avenue, when Francis T. Green, 33, of 334 West Centre Street, struck Ashley Yakimovich, 17, and Rachel Hillman, 19, both of Mahanoy City.
Both pedestrians were flown to area hospitals via Air Medical, Yakimovich with life threatening injuries, and Hillman with less serious injuries,
Witnesses near the scene told police they saw the suspect's sedan driving at a high rate of speed, hitting the two pedestrians.
According to Police, Green attempted to flee the scene via vehicle, but was unable to do so. He then fled on foot.
Police then tracked Green down at his home, where he attempted to flee onto the roof through a second floor window, where, after a brief struggle, Green was taken into custody.
Green was arraigned Sunday morning by on-call Magisterial District Judge Anthony J. Kilker, Shenandoah, on felony charges including aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence.
Green was committed to Schuylkill County Prison unable to post $25,000 straight cash bail.
Submitted Press Release
HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN CTY. - Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards today warned oversight chairs in the House and Senate that a recently unveiled House Republican plan to cut transportation funding from dedicated sources is based on misleading information and would lead to transit services cuts in small and large systems, and delay or deny assistance to important transportation infrastructure.
“Most of these funds are not available, they are actually contractually
obligated for current and pending projects,” Sec. Richards wrote. “This could have been conveyed to House Republicans had the department been contacted prior to the release of this plan.
“Moving $357 million from the Pennsylvania Public Transit Trust Fund would mean a 35 percent reduction in operating subsidies this fiscal year for the state’s 37 fixed route transit agencies. That could translate into more than 30 percent service reductions and fare increases.
“The loss of $120 million from the Multimodal fund will deny much needed assistance to communities, rail freight lines and airports around the state. Communities have limited resources for transportation improvements and increasingly rely on state funding to fill the gap and meet important needs, such as safety improvements to intersections and safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists.”
The letter lays out the impacts of cutting $357 million from the Pennsylvania Public Transit Trust Fund, $120 million from the Multimodal Transportation Fund and $30 million from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank, totaling more than half a billion dollars in funding cuts to infrastructure and transportation in Pennsylvania.
Cuts to transit agencies would be cataclysmic, particularly those located in smaller, more rural areas of the commonwealth, who are reliant upon the state for a majority of their operating subsidies. For example, a 35-percent reduction would translate to:
• A more than $580,000 reduction for the Indiana County Transit Authority;
• $1.7 million less for the Area Transportation Authority in the north central region;
• $2.4 million less for the Central Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (rabbittransit);
• $2.4 million less for the Red Rose Transit Authority;
• $3.2 million less for the Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority;
• $3.4 million less for the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority; and
• $6 million less for the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority.
Cuts to the Multimodal Transportation Fund would put in jeopardy projects from across the state which are seeking investment and are aimed at improving safety and connectivity while modernizing infrastructure.
The $30 million in the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank supports a variety of local transportation improvements that simply would be unable to proceed without this low-interest-rate loan program. In fact, more than $20 million of this funding is already committed or in the approval process for projects improving community roadways. Examples of projects impacted by cutting this funding include:
• $500,000 for public street and drainage reconstruction projects in North Manheim Township, Schuylkill County;
• $26,000 for street improvements in Stillwater Borough, Columbia County; and
• $263,000 for street and drainage improvements in Beaver Meadows Borough, Carbon County.
A copy of the full letter can be found here.
By David Lindenmuth
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - Schuylkill County residents and businesses will be making a sizable donation to the Alzheimer's Association in 2017.
In advance of the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer's, to be held at Schuylkill Haven's Bubeck Park Saturday morning, over $40,000 has been raised, through donations to the event and through a golf tournament held in August at Barnesville's Mountain Valley Golf Course.
As of 5:08pm Friday, $40,307.61 had been raised, according to the walk's website.
Registration for the event begins Saturday at 9:00am, with a ceremony at 10:00am, and the walk beginning at 10:20am.
As of 5:08pm Friday, 180 participants with 48 teams were signed up for the event.
By David Lindenmuth
EAST UNION TOWNSHIP - Police are searching for a man after an assault in the area of Phineyville Road and Girard Manor Road in East Union Township.
The assault occurred on Wednesday, August 30, when State Troopers out of Frackville responded to a residence in the area around 2:00am for reports of an assault.
Troopers arrived to find a woman bleeding from the head, suffering from facial wounds near her eyes, her forehead, and at the back of the head, while her hair and clothing were covered with dried blood.
Troopers say the victim was transported to the location by Anthony Michael Romano and an unknown female passenger.
Shortly after arrival, Romano reportedly began assaulting the victim, striking her in the head with a metal object.
According to troopers, Romano stole an unknown amount of cash, an Apple iPhone, iPad, and Lenovo Tablet from the victim, assisted b the unknown female.
The two fled the scene in a white sedan, leaving the victim to wander the roadway for help.
Two hours later, the victim reached the residence police responded to, requesting assistance from the resident.
The victim was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital - Schuylkill - East Norwegian Street in Pottsville for treatment.
Anthony Michael Romano is currently wanted on charges of Aggravated Assault, Robbery, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property, Unlawful Restraint, Simple Assault, Terroristic Threats and Reckless Endangering Another Person.
Romano is believed to be in northern Schuylkill County, in the area of Shenandoah or Frackville, according to Troopers.
Anyone with information is asked to call State Police at Frackville at 570-874-5300 or dial 911.
SHENANDOAH - A Shenandoah Valley parent attended Wednesday's board meeting to question extracurricular activity buyouts in the district.
Renee Buchanan, the mother of two students in the district, both of whom are involved in extracurricular activities, says some buyouts for activity fundraisers can cost as much as $250.
"It's very difficult for me, with two children, and I don't think they should have to feel the stress of what I'm feeling in order to participate in these sports." Buchanan said.
Buchanan's daughter Alyssa, a sophomore, is involved in the Drama Club, Cheerleading, Volleyball, Basketball, Student Council, Cross Country, and Track.
In discussion between the board and Buchanan during the public portion, one potential conclusion drawn is the purchase of "extras" - bags, jackets, fan buses, and other items not necessary for the activity.
By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - The Shenandoah Police Department has announced parking restrictions for this weekend's Heritage Day festival in the borough.
No parking will be allowed on Saturday, August 26 for the following streets at the following times:
Vehicles parked in the no-parking zones will be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense.
By David Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - During its regular meeting on Monday, the Shenandoah Borough Council approved a resolution "approving a request for qualifications and indication of interest relating to a potential sale and/or other disposition of water or sewer systems..."
"What this is is basically putting the water and sewage plant and its assets out for an appraisal on potential sale, management by an outside source, or potential leasing the operations to them." Council President Leo Pietkiewicz explained. "In no way is council obligated to do anything with this. This is just to find out the values... We are not obligated in any way to sell or sublease or anything like that."
Pietkiewicz also noted that the resolution comes from a recommendation from the Pennsylvania Economy League.
When asked by a resident if there were issues at the sewer plant, Pietkiewicz responded "When the PA Economy League came in, they looked at the overall infrastructure of the borough and its lifespan. (Our sewer plant) is 40 years old. It's operational, but we've been looking at filing for grants to build a brand new sewer plant, but there's not a problem with it, it's upkept. Actually, when I sat with DEP in Wilkes-Barre, they were extremely commendable of our sewer department, because they were quite impressed that a plant 40 years old is still operational. The life expectancy of a sewer plant is only 20-25 years."