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Local News

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lansford property owners will likely pay 1 mill more in real estate tax this year, but they have been relived of occupational and per capita levies.

The four members of borough council who met on Friday evening all agreed on a $1,506,184 budget that calls for the tax increase.

The boost brings the property tax levy to 33.47 mills. That means the owner of a home assessed at $25,000 would pay $836.75 this year, up from $811.75 last year.

Saturday, February 4, 2012
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS

Serendipity is an adult female presently being housed at Carbon County Friends of Animals in Jim Thorpe. She is a black and tan tabby, and is described as very friendly and a good lap cat. To learn more about Serendipity, or any of the other cats at Friends of Animals, call them at (570) 325-9400, or visit them. They are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Faith Alive Church, 678 Pine St., Bowmanstown, is offering a seven-week children's group, called Kid's Honor Club, beginning from 7 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22, during Lent.

The curriculum includes Bible lessons, crafts, activities and snacks. The group will meet for six Wednesdays and one Thursday.

There is no cost.

Parents who want their child to attend should contact Faith Alive Church at 610-852-2805 or email fasgm@ptd.net.

Saturday, February 4, 2012
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Thomas "Tom" C. Gerhard, left, was a Carbon County Commissioner from 1992 to 2003. His son, Thomas J. Gerhard, is currently a Carbon County Commissioner, having been elected in November. It's the first time a father and son had held commissioner seats in Carbon County.

Back in 2003, when Thomas "Tom" C. Gerhard fulfilled his third term as a Carbon County Commissioner and opted not to seek re-election, he asked his son, Thomas J. Gerhard, to run for the office.

"I wasn't ready," the younger Gerhard said.

In March 2010, the son was asked again to run for the commissioner post, this time by Wayne Nothstein who was seeking re-election and needed a running mate. This time Gerhard responded affirmatively.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Summit Hill man was sentenced Friday in Carbon County court to serve 18 to 36 years in a state prison for setting 16 brush fires in the spring of 2008 in the lower end of the county.

Frank Duane Swartz, 45, was sentenced to the term by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II on 60 counts of arson and related offenses. A county jury of 11 women and one man found Swartz guilty of setting the fires in Lower Towamensing and Franklin townships and Parryville during a period of March 17 to April 18, 2007.

He was found not guilty of just six counts.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A brutal storm struck the area, beginning at about 10 p.m. yesterday and continuing into most of today. About 10 inches of snow fell, but the storm was accompanied by high winds and cold temperatures. A peak wind of 47 miles per hour was measured in Allentown. The National Weather Service said wind chills tonight could reach as low as 30-to-40 degrees below zero, although the actual farenheit reading won't be that bad.

Saturday, February 4, 2012
CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Gary Wentz, Administrator of Carbon County Workforce Training at CareerLink in Jim Thorpe, watches as Diane Fritzinger of PrimeTech Training teaches Tim Snyder of Palmerton and Michelle Turner of Albrightsville how to look for jobs via the Internet.

A life-long hard worker, Scott Pompa now lies awake at night, worrying about how he'll be able to support his wife and two young children.

The Jim Thorpe man was laid off from his management-level job when his company downsized in Sept. 2010, and despite his best efforts, has yet to find another full-time job that pays enough to make a living.

"Unemployment is a pretty damn depressing thing. If I can't support my family, what am I going to do?" he says.

Pompa, 50, isn't alone.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Carbon County ranks third highest and Schuylkill fifth among Pennsylvania's 67 counties in unemployment rates as of December, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Here is a list in descending order:

Cameron: 11.5

Philadelphia: 10.6

Carbon:10.4

Pike: 9.8

Schuylkill: 9.2

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Huntingdon: 9.1

Luzerne: 9.1

Monroe: 9.1

Bedford:8.9

Fulton: 8.9

Fayette: 8.6

Lackawanna: 8.6

Northumberland: 8.5

Clarion: 8.4

Clearfield:8.4

Forest: 8.4

Lehigh: 8.4

Saturday, February 4, 2012
Bernard Pheiffer, Lehighton "No snow. With the snow it costs you a whole lot more than a winter with no snow.

Do you favor a winter with no snow, or one with lots of snow? Why?

Friday, February 3, 2012
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Jason Bankes, 19, of Tamaqua and Mary D, is taken into custody along the Little Schuylkill River near Boyer's Market in Tamaqua. Handcuffing Bankes are Rush Township Officer Corey Herring and Tamaqua Police Officer Mike Hobbs.

Yesterday afternoon, police officers from Tamaqua, Rush Township and Coaldale were quick to chase down and capture a burglary suspect, who ran away while officers were executing one of two search warrants related to a burglary committed on Jan. 29 at the White Birch Golf Course in Barnesville, Rush Township.

The items that were stolen were lottery tickets.

While Rush Township police, assisted by Tamaqua police, were executing a search warrant at 3 p.m. at 322 Hazle St. in Tamaqua, when Jason Bankes, who turned 19 on Sunday, ran out of the home towards downtown Tamaqua.