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Local News

Friday, March 28, 2014

Police are warning people of a tax season scam that is making the rounds.

Coaldale Criminal Investigator Todd Weiss said he has had three reports of older people getting phone calls from someone claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service. The man tells the victims they are being investigated for tax fraud or tax evasion.

He then asks for their Social Security numbers and tells them to send money to an address. If they fail to send the money, the caller says they will be picked up by a sheriff's deputy and taken to jail.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Schuylkill County commissioners on Wednesday approved a number of personnel moves.

At the county nursing home at Rest Haven in Schuylkill Haven, commissioners accepted the retirement of full-time licensed practical nurse Patricia Howerter of Mount Carmel; approved the termination of full-time LPN Miriah Whitaker of Pottsville; appointed Angela Detweiler of Schuylkill Haven as a part-time nurses' aide; and transferred Monica Wolfgang of Lavelle from a part-time nurses' aide to full time.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A 22-year-old Walnutport woman faces charges of kidnapping a boy in Northumberland borough.

Katie Partridge, a senior at Bloomsburg University, grabbed a child off his bike last week and ran off with him in front of a large crowd.

Partridge is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. April 8, before Northumberland County Magisterial District Judge Benjamin Apfelbaum.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Jim Thorpe man accused of sexually assaulting two children has withdrawn his guilty plea in Schuylkill County court.

President Judge William Baldwin on March 19 agreed to allow Michael Christopher Gallagher, 33, of 85 W. 13th St., to withdraw the plea. The case may now go to trial.

According to testimony at a preliminary hearing in March 2013, the case stems from two series of incidents. The first incidents happened between May 1, 2009 and March 1, 2011. The second case occurred between Oct. 10, 2010, to March 2011.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Beltzville State Park will be hosting a basic boating course instructed by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission on April 7 and 9. The course will be held from 6-10 p.m. each day.

There is no charge for the course. All participants must preregister and must attend both sessions.

Call Beltzville State Park at 610-377-0045 to register.

The course is designed to supply boaters with practical information so they can make better-informed decisions on the water.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Coaldale man charged with operating a methamphetamine lab at his home is free on reduced bail.

Schuylkill County Judge Charles M. Miller on March 21 agreed to reduce Jason John Shiffert's $50,000 straight cash bail to $500 percentage cash bail.

But Shiffert must abide by a set of conditions. He must live with his mother at 9 E. Ruddle St., Coaldale, and must not relocate without written permission from the district attorney's office.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Panther Valley School Board named a new superintendent of schools during its monthly meeting Thursday.

Dennis Kergick Sr., currently supervisor of curriculum and federal programs for the North Schuylkill School District, was awarded a three-year contract effective July 1.

Kergick will receive the annual salary of $97,000.

He succeeds Rosemary Porembo, who is retiring at the end of this school year after serving the district for the past seven years. She was originally hired as an elementary teacher in the district in 1977, advancing to her superintendent position.

Friday, March 28, 2014
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Dennis Kergick Sr., left, presently employed in the North Schuylkill School District, was named superintendent of the Panther Valley School District effective July 1. He is introduced during a school board meeting by board President Jeff Markovich.

The Panther Valley School Board hired a new superintendent Thursday.

Dennis Kergick Sr., who serves as the supervisor of curriculum and federal programs in the North Schuylkill School District, begins his duties at Panther Valley on July 1.

The school board unanimously agreed to the appointment, offering Kergick a three-year contract and an annual salary of $97,000.

The new school official succeeds Rosemary Porembo, who has been the superintendent since 2007.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Nesquehoning Council is looking to lower the rates for handicap parking spots in the borough.

During the council's monthly meeting on Wednesday, Councilman Michael Sniscak Jr. asked if the borough collects fees for handicap parking spots because even though the person applies for the spot, any disabled person can park in the spot, causing problems because that person is not the one paying for it.

RoniSue Ahner, borough secretary, said that currently, people pay $25 for the application and $100 for the annual maintenance.

Friday, March 28, 2014
KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS

Tamaqua residents began noticing the smell of heavy wood smoke before 8 a.m., spurring them to check their homes and businesses to see if their properties were on fire. One resident on Pine Street was so concerned, he called the Schuylkill County Communications Center shortly before 9 a.m. to report the odor. Firefighters from the American Hose Company responded, checked out the house, then told dispatchers the smell was coming from the controlled burn of a large brush fire on property owned by the Borough of Tamaqua, next to the Tamaqua Sewage Treatment Plant.