A longtime Walmart greeter's job description is being changed by the retail giant and because of his cerebral palsy, he may have to find a new place to work. Adam Catlin has been a greeter at the Walmart in Selinsgrove for about 10 years and he is customer favorite. But on Saturday, Adam says he was told that due to a change in corporate policy, his job description will change. He must now stand for his entire eight-hour shift and lift up to 25 pounds. He says those tasks are impossible for him to do because of his cerebral palsy. Adam tells our news partner Newswatch 16 that he has until April 26th to comply with the new job description or he no longer has a job. Adam’s mother posted about the situation on social media and the post was shared thousands of times. Responses to the post shows that many people are outraged. And, a coworker has started an online petition in the hopes that Adam will get to keep his job. A manager at the Walmart told Newswatch 16 he was unable to comment.
A threat reporting system now required for all Pennsylvania schools fielded nearly 5,000 tips in its first month, about a third of them were considered serious enough to pass along to local police and school officials. The goal of the “Safe 2 Say Something” program, which funnels tips to an around-the-clock call center at the attorney general’s headquarters in Harrisburg, is to respond to troubling behavior, unsafe school situations, and anything else tipsters deem appropriate to report. The program encompasses all K-12 students in Pennsylvania, including charter, private and vocational-technical schools. The reports come in through phone calls, by email, and via an app.
The state Department of Revenue is offering advice when it comes to tax refund anticipation loans. A tax refund anticipation loan is made when a state or federal income tax refund is expected. While its a way to get money right away the PA Department of Revenue says beware of interest and high fees which may be associated with such a loan. The department also says to read the fine print carefully and understand that you may be required to pay off the entire loan, even if your refund is lower than anticipated.
This is a special month for lovers of "Man's Best Friend." A Proclamation signed by Gov. Tom Wolf recognizes February as Love Your Dog Month in Pennsylvania, serving as a reminder that all dogs in the state should be licensed. Dog licenses are available at county treasurers' offices, and in some cases through a veterinarian's office or online. The fine for each unlicensed dog could run as high as $300.
Crews have started filling in a large sinkhole that opened up in Columbia County. The roughly 100-foot-deep hole was discovered last week off Route 61 in Centralia. The state Department of Environmental Protection says the sinkhole has nothing to do with the mine fire that's been burning in Centralia since the 1960s. DEP officials say the sinkhole was likely caused by a mine subsidence. DEP workers aren't sure how long the hole has been there but say they found no evidence that it is expanding. Officials tell our news partner Newswatch 16 large rocks and boulders are being used to fill the giant hole in Centralia.
The Columbia Mall will lose another store. Payless ShoeSource has announced it will be closing its 2,100 stores in the US and Puerto Rico and that includes the store in the mall at Buckhorn. Liquidation sales began on Sunday. Payless says it expect all stores to remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May.
Investigators know why a house went up in flames Sunday night in Columbia County. According to the Greenwood Township fire chief, it started as a kitchen fire and it took off from there. Firefighters were called to the home at 616 Rohrsburg Road just outside of Millville around 8:30 Sunday night. The home is believed to be a total loss.
Pennsylvania's Independent Fiscal Office is casting doubt on the effectiveness of a long standing tax credit.
The Job Creation Tax Credit, first established in 1996, provides employers one thousand dollars for each job created, and 25 hundred for hiring veterans or the unemployed. A study by the Independent Fiscal Office suggested the credit isn't having the intended effect, but the Dept. of Community and Economic Development disagrees, with an official saying the credit may need to be adjusted but should remain in place.
A lawsuit challenging a school district's policy allowing teachers to carry firearms has been put on hold. The lawsuit, filed by teachers in the Tamaqua Area School District in Schuylkill County, claims the gun policy puts teachers in danger because it doesn't provide enough training. A county judge has delayed the lawsuit, challenging whether the union has standing to sue. The union has 20 days to file an appeal. A similar suit has been filed by parents in the district. No school staff are currently armed while the suits are pending.
Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg has been holding a series of listening sessions throughout the Diocese in January and February. He will hold two sessions this week in our area. Bishop Gainer will be at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Berwick on Wednesday, February 20th and at the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Elysburg on Thursday, February 21st. Both sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. The visits come in wake of last summer’s Grand Jury Report on child sexual abuse by clergy. Each session will include opening remarks from Bishop Gainer and retired Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Janet McNeal, who was recently hired to oversee youth protection efforts of the Diocese. The floor will be open for questions following those remarks.
Montour County Commissioner Ken Holdren who had initially said he would not seek another four-year term in office says he has had a change of heart and will now seek re-election. Holdren says after his announcement that he wouldn’t run for another term he received so much support and encouragement from residents to run again that he has changed his mind. He says there’s unfinished business he wants to see get done in another term.
Governor Tom Wolf's proposal to raise the state's minimum wage was a hot topic during the state Labor and Industry Secretary's appearance before the House Appropriations Committee last week. Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak says raising the state's minimum wage will have a positive impact on the PA economy. But state Representative Fred Keller disagrees, saying doing so will hurt the people its intended to help. But Oleksiak says the last time the state raised its minimum wage in 2009 total employment increased and there was no decline in the total number of small or large businesses.
Every few years lawmakers in Washington come up with a national Farm Bill, but now there's a similar plan created exclusively for Pennsylvania. The 24 million dollar proposal includes a number of goals, such as removing regulatory burdens to strengthen the farming business climate, developing new resources for planning and succession, and creating more processing capability for dairy products. Gov. Tom Wolf says it’s about providing more opportunities for farmers by creating more jobs, more income, and in his words, more hope.
A new report by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale indicates that about 1-in-5 school districts have failed to comply with updated child abuse reporting guidelines in Pennsylvania. One of the non-complaint districts is in our area. In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, school districts in Pennsylvania had four years to update their child abuse reporting guidelines with language requiring staff to report suspected abuse directly to the state child abuse hotline, known as ChildLine. Locally, the Berwick Area School District is on the Auditor General's list of non-compliant school districts as of February 1st. The full list of non-compliant districts can be found on the Auditor General's web site.
An Bloomsburg teenager apologized as he was lead in district court Thursday to be arraigned on charges in connection with crime spree last month at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. Police say 18-year-old Jerry Derr along with a 17-year-old boy, both of Bloomsburg are responsible for burglary and vandalism of the Old Schoolhouse and the Barton House at the fairgrounds as well as vandalism of SkyRide. Investigators say the pair committed the crimes because they were bored. Officials believe the total cost for repairs could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Danville Pharmacy on Mill Street in the borough closed its doors as a retail pharmacy this week and will now transition to a closed-door long-term care pharmacy offering specialized pharmacy services to area nursing homes, small group homes, prisons, and other facilities. The retail pharmacy portion of the business has been purchased by CVS pharmacy in Danville and prescriptions have been transferred there. A post on the Danville Pharmacy Facebook page announced the change and thanked customers and the community for supporting the independent pharmacy over the eight-and-a-half years it has been open.
Measles outbreaks in Washington, New York, and Texas have Pennsylvania health officials calling on state residents to make sure their immunizations are up to date. Measles is a highly contagious disease with cold-like symptoms, but it can cause serious complications. It's easily preventable with a vaccine known as MMR, which guards against measles, mumps and rubella. The MMR immunization rate among Pennsylvania kindergartners is over 96 percent. That's above the threshold for so-called herd immunity.
A Central Pennsylvania lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would create separate playoffs for public schools and private schools. Centre County State Representative Scott Conklin is scheduled to discuss the bill tonight in State College. Some public school leaders say the current system is unfair because private schools aren’t confined by geographic boundaries to recruit top players, while public schools must stay within their own area. As a result, some private school programs have emerged as powerhouses that are dominating state playoffs.
Some Bloomsburg business owners are hoping the start of a new promotion will entice some new shoppers to head downtown. Participating businesses will give away $20 gift certificates to random customers every Monday through Friday for the rest of this year. More than two dozen businesses are involved. The promotion was made possible by a $5,000 donation from the Duane and Susan Greenly Foundation to Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. The promotion runs through the end of this year and no purchase is necessary.
The leader of Pennsylvania’s state-owned university system promised lawmakers a transformation amid declining enrollments and rising costs during a budget hearing before the House Appropriations Committee this week in Harrisburg. Fall enrollment at the State System of Higher Education fell below 100,000 for the first time since 2001. Daniel Greenstein, Chancellor of the State System, freely acknowledged that Pennsylvania has an overabundance of higher education. Still, Greenstein rejected the idea of closing one of the 14 state-owned universities. Greenstein said he hopes to overhaul the system into one where the universities share administrative resources, avoid duplication in offerings, and provide courses more neatly aligned to demand. Enrollment growth, Greenstein suggested, could come from serving adults who need to retrain or want to upgrade their skills in a competitive economy.
Pennsylvania's Treasurer had some good news and bad news on the state of Pennsylvania's finances during budget hearings this week. During testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, state Treasurer and Berwick native Joe Torsella said the state deposited 22 million dollars into its Rainy Day Fund last year, the first such cash infusion in more than a decade. He added, though, that the state needs at least ten times that amount to weather a recession, and even though the state is running a budget surplus, that could change partly due to continued borrowing.
Police have arrested two teenagers in connection with a crime spree in early January that caused thousands of dollars in damage at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. Bloomsburg Police say 18-year-old Jerry Lee Derr, III and a 17-year-old boy are charged in connection with the burglary and vandalism of the Old Schoolhouse and the Barton House at the fairgrounds as well as the vandalism of the SkyRide. Derr and his 17-year-old accomplice, both of Bloomsburg, are facing burglary, theft, criminal trespass and criminal mischief charges. Derr is also charged with corruption of a minor.
People who were sexually abused by priests from the Diocese of Harrisburg can now apply to receive financial compensation from the diocese. The diocese--which includes parishes in Columbia, Montour, and Northumberland counties--launched a compensation program on Tuesday for victims of sexual abuse by priests. Officials say funding will come in the form of a loan from the Priest's Retirement Fund, other existing diocesan assets, and possibly insurance funds. To participate in the program, a claimant must have previously identified themselves to the Diocese on or before February 11th, 2019. The claims period will run for 90 days, from February 12th through May 13th. More information on filing a claim for compensation is available by calling 1-800-540-2624 or by clicking here.
Lt. Governor John Fetterman plans to visit all 67 counties in Pennsylvania to gauge public opinion on legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Fetterman was joined by State Representative Patty Kim at the first stop in Harrisburg. More than a hundred people were in attendance, with most speaking in favor of legalization. Thirty-three states, including Pennsylvania permit use of medical marijuana, and ten have legalized the drug for recreational purposes.
A state lawmaker is re-introducing a bill to make driving safer in wintry conditions. The bill would require all motorists to clear snow and ice from the top of their vehicles before taking to the roads. It's known as "Christine's Law," named for Christine Lambert who was killed on Christmas Day 2005 when a chunk of ice flew off a truck and slammed into her vehicle, killing her instantly. The bill passed the Senate unanimously last session but fell short in the House.
The Bloomsburg Rotary Club is helping out the local food pantry as a part of the celebration of the club’s 100th anniversary. The Bloomsburg Rotary wants to collect 2,019 jars of peanut butter and donate them to the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard at Winona on Center Street in town. "It's the most expensive item at the Food Cupboard. It's more expensive than meat," said Bloomsburg Rotary Club President Amanda Mortimer. You can help in the effort by dropping off plastic jars of peanut butter at the Bloomsburg YMCA, St. Columba Church, Wesley united Methodist Church, and here at the WHLM studios at 124 East Main Street in Bloomsburg. The Bloomsburg Rotary Club hopes to collect the 2,019 jars of peanut butter by February 15, the club's 100th anniversary.
A former Geisinger doctor accused of kissing a 16-year-old girl and gnawing on her ear has pleaded guilty to 2 counts of harassment. 67-year-old Dr. Abraham Layon of Lewisburg was immediately sentenced to10 days in prison, $1,300 in fines, and a year of court supervision following time in prison. The plea on Monday came just one day before jury selection was set to begin in the court case against the doctor who was accused of inappropriate contact with the student who was part of volunteer program the doctor was overseeing at Geisinger back in 2017. Geisinger fired Layon not long after the accusations surfaced.
PennDOT says motorists in Columbia County are advised there will be a lane restriction this Thursday, February 14, on Interstate 80 westbound so a contractor can clean up a diesel fuel spill. Work will be performed at Mile 243, just east of Mifflinville in Mifflin Township. The left (passing) lane of I-80 westbound will be closed from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists are urged to be alert and drive with caution through the work zone.
PennDOT has announced commercial vehicle bans for certain roadways in anticipation of the incoming severe winter weather.
Beginning at 12 am Tuesday, PennDOT will enact a FULL COMMERCIAL BAN on I-99 and I-70 in Fulton and Bedford Counties. Beginning at 6am the FULL COMMERCIAL BAN will include the following roadways: I-80 (east of I-79), I-81 (North of I-78), I-84, I-180, I-380, and The PA Turnpike I-476 (North of Allentown, PA).
At 6am Tuesday, Commercial Vehicles with empty or double trailers will be banned on the following roadways: I-76, I-78, I-81 (South of I-78), I-83, I-95, I-176, I-283, I-295, I-476 (South of Allentown PA), I-676, US-22 (From I-78 to New Jersey), PA-33, & PA-Turnpike I-276.
For more details visit 511PA.com
A Riverside man has been charged with having indecent contact with a 12-year-old girl last summer. State Police have charged 58-year-old Michael McCarthy of 181 South D&H Avenue with corruption of a minor and indecent assault for allegedly touching the girl inappropriately as she slept at his home on July 11th, 2018. McCarthy was locked-up in the Northumberland County Prison on $35,000 cash bail following his arrest.