Senate Okays State Budget
On a vote of 32 to 17... the Pennsylvania Senate gave final approval Friday afternoon to a $27.7 – billion state budget. It provides funding for basic and higher education at 2011 levels, cuts county-run human services programs... and end a long standing state welfare program. The proposed budget is $370 – million more than the current spending plan without any new taxes or fees. State Senate passage comes a day after the PA House approved the measure The bill now goes to Governor Corbett for his signature by midnight Saturday.
American Red Cross officials... here in Columbia County... as well as across the nation are making a plea for blood donations. Sue Norton of the Bloomsburg Chapter of the American Red Cross says the issue is critical. Nationwide the amount of readily available blood is roughly half of what it was this time last year. Meantime... there are blood drives throughout the area. Just go to our community calendar here on the website to find out where they are.
Many of us will be getting out of Columbia and Montour County for a long awaited summer vacation this weekend. It comes as we celebrate the 4th of July next Wednesday. The Triple – A's Jenny Robinson says gas prices are roughly 15 - cents a gallon lower on average compared to last year at this time. The Triple A says 5 per cent more people will be traveling over the 4th of July holiday.
Fresh Air Kids
About a half – dozen New York City – area kids are getting a chance to get out into the a prominently rural setting the next two weeks. They arrived at Bloomsburg Town Park by bus Thursday afternoon... and were warmly greeted. Rebecca Shappell of Danville... and her husband, Fred, have been a host family for the past eight years. Ms. Shappell says the kids will be involved in a lot of activities over the next couple of weeks... such as swimming and going to area amusement parks... doing things that aren't available in the city.
The final phase of the United Way of Columbia County 2011 campaign has come to an end. The organization handing out $370,000 to 15 local member agencies. The biggest outlay of nearly $129,000 went to the Bloomsburg Chapter of the American Red Cross... the Salvation Army Service Units... and the Women's Center. The 2011 drive collected $543,000... down somewhat from the $560,000 raised in 2010.
There is reaction to the U-S Supreme Court's decision upholding President Obama's health care plan. The latest coming from Congressman Lou Barletta... who represents Columbia County and most of northeastern Pennsylvania. He says the high court's decision is a defeat for individual freedom. In a news release sent to media outlets... Barletta says he has voted against Obamacare as it made it's way through the house... and will continue to do so. Barletta went on to say that senior citizens will be hurt the most because the law cuts $500 – million from Medicare.
As expected... the Hazleton Area School Board placed their stamp of approval on their 2012 – 2013 school budget Thursday evening. Under the plan... property owners in Luzerne County will see a tax increase of 4.6%. Lower tax increases are expected in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties. The so – called “Option C” plan would place the renovations at Drums and Maple Manor on the back burner for at least a year... and would create a surplus of nearly $600,000.
The Luzerne County Community College is no longer on probation. That... following a meeting Thursday by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The school was placed on probation a year ago... when the commission alleged L-C-C-C did not meet some standards for accreditation.
Mt. Carmel Celebrates
A lot of celebrating this weekend in Mount Carmel... in Northumberland County. The borough will celebrate it's 150th anniversary on Saturday... and the Six – County Firemen's Association Convention began Thursday. The convention and the celebration come together Saturday when a joint parade will be held, beginning at 2 O'clock. Emergency apparatus will be grouped in eight divisions, with marching bands and antique cars.
Briar Creek Bridge
PennDOT has launched a construction project aimed at replacing a 33 – foot, structurally deficit bridge which carries Evansville Road over the East Branch of Briar Creek... near Berwick. The agency's Rick Mason says crews will remove the existing bridge and install a new box culvert... then they'll reconstruct the roadway approaches and preform other necessary work. Detours are in place... with the new bridge set to open in Briar Creek Township by late summer.
A PennDOT maintenance crew in Northumberland County will patch a section of Route 11 in Northumberland Borough Friday. The work will be performed between Route 147 and the Union County line near the railroad underpass, just north of the Barry King Bridge. The southbound lane of Route 11 will be worked on. Traffic flow will be controlled with flagmen. Expect delays or use an alternate route.
A number of area high school football players will be playing for the South squad in tonight's District 4 All Star game. The game will be played at Rodney K. Morgans field in South Williamsport. It kicks off at 7 o'clock.
After giving up five first-inning runs, Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick tossed six scoreless innings, but a late rally fell short. At the end of the 9th inning.... the Pittsburgh Pirates had defeated the Phillies 5 to 4. The Phil's finishing a ten game home stand with a disappointing record of five and five. The Phillies are in South Florida to take on the Miami Marlins Friday night. You can catch all the action with the pre – game show at 6:35... with the first pitch at 7:10 on News Radio 930, 94.7, 104.3 & Berwick's 1280.