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January 2013

Local firefighter installed as Pres. of firefighters' assoc.

Thursday, January 31, 2013
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS

Dave Wertman, a 30-year member of the American Hose Company in Tamaqua, was installed as the 2013 President of the Schuylkill County Volunteer Firefighters' Association. Newly installed SCVFA officers from front left are trustee, Todd Troup, Friendship Fire Co., Englewood Fire Co.; trustee Michael Wasko, Polish American Fire Co., Shenandoah; trustee Christian Alexis, New Ringgold Community Fire Co., New Ringgold; trustee Thomas Slane, Tuscarora Fire Company, Tuscarora; and trustee Eric Eichenberg, Minersville Fire and Rescue.

DEP announces temporary reactivation of Sunshine Solar Rebate Program

Thursday, January 31, 2013
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS This home along Catawissa Road in Schuylkill Township utilizes a solar panel array to help subsidize their electric bill.
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS This home along Catawissa Road in Schuylkill Township utilizes a solar panel array to help subsidize their electric bill.

The Department of Environmental Protection in Harrisburg announced that it has received $7.25 million in funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority to complete the agency's Sunshine Solar Program. It added that funding is available for a limited time for previously submitted and future projects. The program had been in a waiting-list phase since August 2011 because the demand exceeded available funds.

Holiday Educare Program spreads Christmas cheer

Thursday, January 31, 2013
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Prior to their Christmas Eve journeys, eight of Santa's helpers stopped by the home of Mildred Koons to surprise her with a floral arrangement as a gesture of appreciation for her and her late husband's dedication to the Lehighton Area School District Holiday Educare Program. Pictured with Koons are Monroe Cressley; Jeff Kirsch; Chuck Laviolette; Melvin Muffley; Bob Schaeffer; Mike Solt; Tom Williams; and Jon Yenser.
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Prior to their Christmas Eve journeys, eight of Santa's helpers stopped by the home of Mildred Koons to surprise her with a floral arrangement as a gesture of appreciation for her and her late husband's dedication to the Lehighton Area School District Holiday Educare Program. Pictured with Koons are Monroe Cressley; Jeff Kirsch; Chuck Laviolette; Melvin Muffley; Bob Schaeffer; Mike Solt; Tom Williams; and Jon Yenser.

At the Lehighton Area School Board meeting on Tuesday evening, Gretchen Laviolette reported that this year marked the 24th time that Lehighton Area School District Holiday Educare Program helped to make the Christmas Season brighter for struggling families throughout the district.

According to Laviolette, "It is an honor to be considered the 'chair' of this program. However, it truly is a team effort." In addition to serving as Chairperson of LASD Holiday Educare Program, Laviolette is a math teacher at Lehighton Area High School .

Deer causeof Schuylkill crash

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A deer entering a road in front of a vehicle was blamed for a crash that occurred about 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in Schuylkill County.

State police at Frackville said Lisa Fernandez-Espinosa, 21, of Mahanoy City, was driving a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am southbound on the Burma Road in Blythe Township, and negotiating a curve when a deer entered the road. She applied her brakes and swerved to the right to avoid the animal. She then over-corrected, troopers said, and traveled back across both lanes. The car then went onto the berm and struck a tree.

Thirteen first time offenders placed in probation program

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thirteen first time offenders in the criminal justice system were placed in Carbon County's Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) probation program this week by county judges.

If a person successfully completes all conditions of the program their record is wiped clean. However, if they fail to complete the program, or are revoked from it, they would face trial on all pending charges. A person does not admit guilt in entering the program.

All were placed for a year, unless otherwise noted.

Placed by Judge Steven R. Serfass were:

Mahoning to Carbon Commissioners: 'Stop blaming others'

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The opinions of Carbon County Commissioners following the Carbon County court decision to uphold Mahoning Township's ordinances, which prevented the county from overruling the township's authority with regard to the ordinances governing the Packerton Yards project and its sidewalks, were answered by supervisors on Monday evening.

Slatington Public Library news briefs

Thursday, January 31, 2013

February is heart health month. Even though deaths from cardiovascular disease have declined 33 percent from 1999 to 2009, it takes the lives of 2,150 Americans each day. That is an average of one death every 40 seconds.

As a community service, the Slatington Public Library, 650 Main Street, Slatington, is hosting a wellness lecture entitled "Keeping Your Heart Healthy", on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. It is sponsored by Bechtel's Pharmacy, 302 Main Street, Slatington.

Depth plays key role for unbeaten Tigers

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Northwestern girls' basketball coach Chris Deutsch readily admits that he has one of the deepest teams he has ever coached.

That depth fits perfect into the Tigers' head coach's game plan of running an up tempo type of game.

The 10th-year Tigers' mentor said the bench is "one of the critical factors" in helping his team roll through opponent after opponent this season.

"One girl down. One girl in foul trouble. One sick. Whatever, the next girl comes in and gets the job done," Deutsch said. "Having the type of depth we have makes a big difference in our game plan."

Prison board approves hiring of a lieutenant

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Creating another position of lieutenant on the correctional officers staff was approved by the Schuylkill County Prison Board, which held a special meeting Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville. The position will be filed by the county commissioners.

Warden Eugene Berdanier commented this will increase the number of lieutenants on the staff to six and will bring the staff up to standard.

Commissioner Gary Hess, a member of the board, said the position will also serve to replace an officer on medical leave which will save the cost of overtime pay.

Couple steals 180 Oxycodone tablets

Thursday, January 31, 2013
LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Police in Carbon and Schuylkill counties are looking for two individuals involved in a strong armed robbery at the First National Pharmacy along North First Street in Lehighton. The incident occurred about 4 p.m. Wednesday when some 180 Oxycodone tablets were grabbed in the pharmacy. The two, a male and female drove from the scene in a vintage pickup truck of which some witnesses were able to record the registration plate. The plate came back to a couple from Shenandoah.

Lehighton school contracts – one down, one to go

Thursday, January 31, 2013
MICHAEL A. HEERY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS On Tuesday evening, Lehighton Area School Board unanimously approved the contract between the school district and Lehighton Area Educational Support Personnel Association. Officially signing the new contract are LAESPA President Julie Willet, seated left, and school board President Rocky Ahner, seated right. Looking on, from left, are LASD secretary Connie Ahner and school board members William Hill Jr. and Wayne Wentz.
MICHAEL A. HEERY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS On Tuesday evening, Lehighton Area School Board unanimously approved the contract between the school district and Lehighton Area Educational Support Personnel Association. Officially signing the new contract are LAESPA President Julie Willet, seated left, and school board President Rocky Ahner, seated right. Looking on, from left, are LASD secretary Connie Ahner and school board members William Hill Jr. and Wayne Wentz.

By a unanimous vote, Lehighton Area School Board approved the contract between the school district and Lehighton Area Educational Support Personnel Association on Tuesday evening.

"This contract incorporated a rational wage increase with the removal of unclear language," said school board President Rocky Ahner. "For example, one grievance could cost the district approximately $5,000."

The contract period covers July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2016. Terms of the new contract have not been disclosed.

Gov. Corbett announces liquor privatization plan

Thursday, January 31, 2013

PITTSBURGH - Governor Tom Corbett, joined by Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, today announced his plan to privatize the liquor system in Pennsylvania and committed $1 billion in proceeds from the process to education funding.

Corbett said that the $1 billion will be used to create the Passport for Learning Block Grant, which will provide flexibility to schools, allowing our public schools, instead of Harrisburg, to decide what their students need.

Polk column

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Polk Township supervisors' meeting

The Jan. 28 Polk Township supervisors' meeting has been changed due to the weather.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m. at the Polk Township Volunteer Fire Co.

Carbon court news

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Divorces granted

The following divorce decrees have been signed by the county court.

Brian K. Schleicher, 353 N. Sixth St., Lehighton, from Jennifer A. Schleicher, 1308 E. Mark St., Allentown.

Elaine Balch, 1166-3 Germans Rd., Lehighton, from John Joseph Balch, 112 W. Fourth St., Kaukauna, Wis.

Rebeka Lauren Seyfried, 220 Mecksville Rd., Albrightsville, from Christopher Seyfried, 813 Grandview Blvd., Erie.

Robin L. Hughes, 606 N. Sixth St., Allentown, from Charles W. Hughes, 71 Princeton Ave., Palmerton.

JTHS principal announces students attaining honors list

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jim Thorpe High School Principal Thomas W. Lesisko has announced the names of students on the honor roll for the second marking period of 2012-2013 school year:

PRINCIPAL'S LIST: A GPA weighted average greater than or equal to 93; at least 5 grades greater or equal to 93; no grade lower than 85.

Blue Mountain Home Health Care addresses critical need

Thursday, January 31, 2013
MICHAEL A. HEERY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Staff members of Blue Mountain Home Health Care are currently conducting an "in house" food collection for a patient in critical need. Pictured with some of the donations are – left to right – Michael Batovsky, Social Services; Kelly Valent, RN; Roseann Cser, Medical Records; and Inge Allen, Director.
MICHAEL A. HEERY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Staff members of Blue Mountain Home Health Care are currently conducting an "in house" food collection for a patient in critical need. Pictured with some of the donations are – left to right – Michael Batovsky, Social Services; Kelly Valent, RN; Roseann Cser, Medical Records; and Inge Allen, Director.

While visiting a patient in his home, nurses of Blue Mountain Home Health Care identified a basic critical need – food – and are working to address it.

This particular patient lives alone and literally had no food in the house for himself – or for his cat. So, one of the nurses went to the supermarket to buy some food for both him and his furry friend.

Upon hearing about this situation, the staff of the program decided to conduct an "in house" collection. In addition to the food, they have been collecting cat food – and some cash. Only the staff has been contributing.

ON THIS DATE

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31, 1978 A balanced attack by Slatington allows the Bulldogs to pull out a 67-63 Centennial League win over East Stroudsburg. Dave Oertner leads five players in double figures with 19 points, 10 of them coming in the third quarter. Marc Benninger tallies 15 for Slatington while Mike Fisher adds 12 and Bruce Kemmerer chips in with 11. The Bulldogs, coached by Glenn Rissmiller, also receive 10 points from Ron Breiner.

Raider wrestlers fall

Thursday, January 31, 2013
Raider wrestlers fall
Copyright 2013

Tamaqua wrestlers fell to Tri-Valley in scholastic sports action on Wednesday.

WRESTLING

Tri-Valley-Tamaqua

Tri-Valley dropped Tamaqua for a 45-24 victory.

Steven Matukonis was the lone Blue Raider to score a pin for a win.

TRI-VALLEY 45, Tamaqua 24

195 - Mason White (TV) won by forfeit

220 - Double forfeit

285 - Luke Matsago (T) won by forfeit

106 - Kyle Stephen (TV) won by forfeit

113 - Double forfeit

120 - Caleb Bordner (TV) pinned Ty Hinkle in 4:53.

126 - Steven Matukonis (T) pinned Tanner Reed in :55.

Lehighton man charged with setting sister's house on fire

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Police have charged a 44-year-old Lehighton man with deliberately starting one of two fires which broke out in the borough Wednesday morning.

Russell Young, of 231 Carbon St., was charged by Lehighton Police Officer Brian Biechy with setting the rear porch of his sister's house at 357 North Third St. on fire.

IRS begins processing 2012 income tax returns

Thursday, January 31, 2013

WASHINGTON The Internal Revenue Service today opened the 2013 filing season by announcing a variety of enhanced products and services to help taxpayers prepare and file their tax returns by the April 15 deadline.

New and expanded services for taxpayers this year include a redesigned IRS.gov web site that's easier to navigate and improved service options, including more video-conferencing assistance sites and additional social media tools. In addition, the IRS has stepped up its enforcement efforts to protect taxpayers from refund fraud and identity theft.

New Ringgold man pleads to arson fires; is sentenced

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Ringgold man pleaded guilty to setting three arson fires in West Penn Township and received a jail sentence and face a high restitution bill in the Schuylkill County prison.

High winds, no power

Thursday, January 31, 2013
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Emergency lights at the front door of the Hometown Wal-Mart were the only lights visible around 6 a.m. this morning at the Hometown Commons. 89 customers were without power this morning in Rush Township.
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Emergency lights at the front door of the Hometown Wal-Mart were the only lights visible around 6 a.m. this morning at the Hometown Commons. 89 customers were without power this morning in Rush Township.

High winds last night into this morning resulted in many power outages throughout our area.

As of 6:30 a.m. today, more than 10,300 PPL customers in Eastern Pennsylvania were without power, according to their website. This number included 3,534 customers in the following counties Monroe, 1,901 in Berks, 1,532 in Cumberland, 894 in Pike, 522 in Bucks, 386 in Carbon, 357 in Lehigh, 148 in Northampton, 108 in Schuylkill and 102 in Snyder.

BMHS offers talk

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blue Mountain Health System will offer a talk, "Medical Imaging Exams: Non-invasive, But Are They Safe?" on Wed., Feb. 6, at 11 a.m. in the community room at the Gnaden Huetten campus, 211 N. 12th St. in Lehighton.

State, county officials speak with firefighters

Thursday, January 31, 2013
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Talking with Dave Wertman, center, newly installed President of the SCVFA and firefighter with the American Hose Company in Tamaqua, are, from left, Schuylkill County Commissioner Gary Hess, Senator Argall, Representative Knowles and Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage.
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Talking with Dave Wertman, center, newly installed President of the SCVFA and firefighter with the American Hose Company in Tamaqua, are, from left, Schuylkill County Commissioner Gary Hess, Senator Argall, Representative Knowles and Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage.

A number of county and state officials spoke with volunteer firefighters from all parts of Schuylkill County at the Schuylkill County Volunteer Firefighters' Association (SCVFA) quarterly meeting in Frackville Sunday afternoon.

Gathered in Friendship Fire Company, the elected officials discussed a number of issues significant to the county's first responders.

"We are all here to say thank you for what you do and listen to your concerns," said Senator David Argall (R-29).

Palmerton man waives preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges

Thursday, January 31, 2013
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS  Herman Hollenbach of Palmerton is shown being escorted to the office of District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton Wednesday morning. Hollenbach waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Herman Hollenbach of Palmerton is shown being escorted to the office of District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton Wednesday morning. Hollenbach waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

A Palmerton man alleged to have sexually assaulted a minor will have his case heard in Carbon County Court.

Herman Hollenbach, 55, of Palmerton, was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton on Wednesday.

Instead, Hollenbach opted to waive his right to the hearing, and will appear before the county Court of Common Pleas for a pretrial status conference on Feb. 28.

Two local Rotary Clubs hold joint meeting

Thursday, January 31, 2013
MICHAEL A. HEERY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Lehighton and Slatington Rotary Clubs held a joint meeting last Thursday evening at Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton. Seated front row, left to right, are Sal Somma, Barbara Belon, Becky Wanamaker, Susan Lovejoy, Abbey Sauerwine, Monica Sellers and Michael O'Brien. Standing second row, left to right, are John Hanosek, Phyllis Morgan, Leon Morgan, Clarence Smith, Nick Smith, Charles Breidinger, Tim Silliman, Charles Uhler, Ron Williams and Ryan Van Norman. Standing back row, left to right, are Paul Steckel, Frank Potoczak and Gary Fedorcha.
MICHAEL A. HEERY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Lehighton and Slatington Rotary Clubs held a joint meeting last Thursday evening at Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton. Seated front row, left to right, are Sal Somma, Barbara Belon, Becky Wanamaker, Susan Lovejoy, Abbey Sauerwine, Monica Sellers and Michael O'Brien. Standing second row, left to right, are John Hanosek, Phyllis Morgan, Leon Morgan, Clarence Smith, Nick Smith, Charles Breidinger, Tim Silliman, Charles Uhler, Ron Williams and Ryan Van Norman. Standing back row, left to right, are Paul Steckel, Frank Potoczak and Gary Fedorcha.

Lehighton and Slatington Rotary Clubs held a joint meeting last Thursday evening at Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton.

"It's great that we can get together like this, meet new people, and share ideas," said Slatington Rotary Club President Ryan Van Norman.

Susan Lovejoy of Blue Mountain Business Connections was the guest speaker for the meeting. She explained that the organization is comprised of local business people in the Lehighton area – and beyond.

This business referral group meets Tuesday mornings at 7:15 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lehighton.

Mischief incident being probed

Thursday, January 31, 2013

State police at Schuylkill Haven are investigating a criminal mischief incident that occurred at a Schuylkill County site.

Corinne M. Wensel, 25, of 513 Market St., Auburn, reported someone broke the rear window on her 2010 Ford Escape while parked at her residence. The incident occurred sometime between noon on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Damages were estimated at $386.95.

Panthers roar past Spartans

Thursday, January 31, 2013
bob ford/times news Hunter Davidyock (top) of Panthers Valley has North Schuylkill's Lorenzo Fisher in trouble during their at 132 pound bout. Davidyock went on to record a fall.
bob ford/times news Hunter Davidyock (top) of Panthers Valley has North Schuylkill's Lorenzo Fisher in trouble during their at 132 pound bout. Davidyock went on to record a fall.

On a night where the Panther Valley wrestling team honored the past, it also showed how bright the future is.

The Panthers (10-6) earned a tightly contested, 36-31 victory over Schuylkill League rival North Schuylkill on Alumni Night, assuring itself a spot in District Duals this coming weekend.

The contest went back-and-forth form the very beginning, with neither team winning more than two consecutive bouts through the first 10 matches. Both teams knew each point was crucial.

Fifth annual Policeman'sBall benefits scholarship fund, food banks

Thursday, January 31, 2013
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Jim Thorpe Policeman's Ball Committee members gathered in the lobby of Memorial Hall just prior to the start of their fifth annual event are, from left, Louise McClafferty, Police Chief Joseph Schatz, Tammy Lombardo, Councilwoman Joanne Klitsch, Detective Lee Marzen and Jamie Solomon. Missing from the photo is Betsy Arner, Jim Thorpe Borough Council president.
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Jim Thorpe Policeman's Ball Committee members gathered in the lobby of Memorial Hall just prior to the start of their fifth annual event are, from left, Louise McClafferty, Police Chief Joseph Schatz, Tammy Lombardo, Councilwoman Joanne Klitsch, Detective Lee Marzen and Jamie Solomon. Missing from the photo is Betsy Arner, Jim Thorpe Borough Council president.

Memorial Hall on East 10th Street in Jim Thorpe was the setting last Saturday evening for the fifth annual Policeman's Ball, which was hosted by the Jim Thorpe Police Department.

The emcees for this year's event were Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael Sofranko and Police Chief Joseph Schatz.

"I'd like to thank the committee for an outstanding job," Sofranko said of the ball. "They've done a fine job here once again this year."

Sofranko also expressed his gratitude to the borough council, residents and those in law enforcement who attended the ball.

Lehighton woman waives hearing on drug charges

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Lehighton woman found to be in possession of heroin in front of her son has waived her right to a preliminary hearing.

Shannon Ahner, 29, of 418 Fritz Drive, was scheduled to go before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton on Wednesday.

Instead, Ahner waived her right to the hearing, and will seek admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) program.

Ahner has been charged with one count each of possession of controlled substance, corruption of minors, and endangering the welfare of children.

How foggy was it?

Thursday, January 31, 2013
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

The damp, rainy days of late have produced periods of heavy fog in some locations such as the fog obscuring these monuments in a local cemetery.