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Local News

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Schuylkill County prison is once again bulging at the seams.

According to a report by Warden Eugene Berdanier, the population as of Wednesday stood at 306, with 37 inmates sharing cells with two others. That's down from a peak of 352 in November.

In September, the prison housed an average of 308 inmates.

The population has been rising steadily since January, when the prison housed 264 inmates. There were 275 in February, 279 in March, 279 in April, 281 in May, 294 in June, 276 in July and 292 in August.

The prison, built in 1851, should house up to 240 inmates.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Carbon County commissioners on Thursday moved swiftly through their public meeting agenda, with colleague Thomas Gerhard participating by telephone.

Gerhard, who is recovering at his Packer Township home from bypass surgery, was mentioned in the traditional opening prayer by Commissioner William O'Gurek. Gerhard later thanked his co-workers, friends and family for their caring, support and encouragement during his illness.

He said he is doing well, exercising daily and looking forward to returning to work.

"I'm just glad to be here," he said.

Saturday, December 13, 2014
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS MacKenzie Reed, 8, left, talks to Santa in Lehighton, Friday night, while her sister, Rebekah Reed, 2, sits on Mrs. Claus's lap and isn't very happy about it. About 175 children, accompanied by parents and other adults, attended Christmas in the Park in Lehighton, which was sponsored by The Young Professionals Council of the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corporation.

It was an event especially for children in Lehighton, Friday night.

Girl Scouts decorated a Christmas tree with ornaments edible to birds. Hot chocolate was served. There were gifts. The Lehighton Band played a large selection of popular Christmas songs such as "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night."

And, of course, Santa was there, arriving in style on the back of a fire truck.

"Christmas in the Park" which included the borough's Christmas tree lighting was held by The Young Professionals Council of the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corporation.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Charges against a Lehigh County man accused of operating a meth lab have been bound over for court.

Joseph Giles, 28, of Slatington, was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton.

Instead, Giles waived his right to the hearing and will appear next month for a pretrial status conference in the district attorney's office at the Carbon County Courthouse in Jim Thorpe.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) – The IRS paid at least $6 billion in child tax credits in 2013 to people who weren't eligible to receive them, a government investigator said Tuesday.

Payments went to families that mistakenly claimed the tax credit or claimed the wrong amount, as well as taxpayers who committed fraud, according to an audit by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

The audit highlights problems with a tax credit that President Barack Obama has championed as a way to help low-income working families.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lansford Borough Council received a letter from the local fire department seeking an appeal from construction regulations.

The fire department has nearly completed construction of a new garage. The letter to council asks that the borough exonerate the fire company from requiring a sprinkler system, which will make the construction project more expensive.

But the appeal is moot, council members said. The borough doesn't have a Unified Construction Code Board of Appeals.

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Corkery

Former Coaldale Mayor Richard Corkery had his bail revoked Friday morning by a county judge and was ordered to report to the county prison at 9 a.m. Monday to begin serving his state prison term on child pornography charges.

Judge Steven R. Serfass revoked Corkery's bail following a hearing on a petition he filed for relief from the costs of wearing an ankle bracelet while on bail.

Corkery owes $16,485 in monitoring fees, according to his probation officer Clifford Eckert of the adult probation office.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Coaldale Borough Council came a step closer to providing police protection to the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, after discussing a draft agreement at last night's council meeting. Two members of the coal firm were also in attendance.

Under the plan, the borough would hire additional police officers to patrol LC&N property, which has been the recent target of vandals and all terrain vehicle riders.

The agreement is expected to be formally approved during a special Dec. 22 meeting.

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Sharon Stanley/Special to the Times News Walnutport resident Tim Dennis expresses his concerns that taxes are "so high" within the borough.

In addition to passing its 2015 final borough budget with no tax increase, Walnutport Borough Council voted down an ordinance that would have signified its intention to organize a regional recreation authority with both Slatington and Washington Township.

After a lengthy, and sometimes heated, discussion first with Advanced Disposal, the borough's waste collectors, council opened the floor to the audience in regard to the hearing about the regional recreation authority ordinance that was up for adoption.

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Special to the times news

Penn Kidder Lions President Manuel DaCosta gives Jacquelin DePue, music teacher at the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band hall, a check for $200 toward the halls bathroom project. The hall has plans of putting in three bathrooms.