James V. Brown Library to Transition to No Fee Policy
The James V. Brown Public Libraries board of trustees held a meeting via zoom, stating that one of their goals for the coming new year was to be fine free. According to the sun gazette, Barbara S. McGary, the libraries executive director said that there are so many people in the community that have racked up 20 to 40 dollars in late fees, barring many from ever using their services, essentially harming many families and children. They hope their transition will encourage the other 6 libraries in the community will follow suit, as many within the system believe this move will help uplift more impoverished people in the long run. The Library will be reaching out to those with late fee’s, to welcome them back in the future. She notes that patrons, who are responsible for damaging or losing any books, will still be held responsible for reimbursement.
UPMC Donates $5,000 Dollars to Food Bank
UPMC has made a 5,000 dollar contribution to the central Pennsyllvanian Food Bank’s Health Innovations Program. The intent of the health innovations program is to connect those served by this program with members of the health commuty to promote healthy lifestyles. According to the sun gazette, Chief Medical Officer David Lopatofsky says that the contribution is a symbol of their appreciation for the providers and members of the program that continue to reshape healthcare delivery and build a brighter future in the region.
UPMC Start Phase 1 of Pfizer Vaccine Distribution
Medical Staff at UPMC’s Williamsport hospital are receiving their first rounds of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, with front line workers being the first recipients due to their increased contact with the virus. As time marches on, and more vaccines are produced, hospital staff will begin to more broadly distribute it among their ranks. As of now, 390 vials are in the hands of the hospital, giving them around 1, 950 doses to work with. Statewide, a massive 97,500 doses have been distributed, in phase one of three. According to the PA department of health, after front line workers are vaccinated, next comes populations deemed as high risk, with the general population receiving the last rounds in phase 3.
2 Charged For Heroin Distribution
2 people were charged for allegedly selling heroin to a confidential informant in union county and face a felony charge if convicted. Daniel Engleman, a 30year old man of sunbury, and Miranda Bingaman, a 23 year old female of Watsontown are being pursued by prosecutors for manufacturing, delivering and possession with intent to deliver, along with various other misdemeanor charges stemming from the arrest. The confidential informant is cited to have bought 100$ of product 2 separate times. Charges were filed on December 9th.
City Council Finalizes Budget (Sort Of)
After weeks of negotiations, city council has finally moved forward with the budget proposals, approving mayor Derek slaughters $29 million 2021 budget, with a plan to not set anything in stone. Council members will be attempting to reopen the budget as January approaches to gauge how well the budget will be working, as well as analyzing it further to see if they can cut funding even further. As of now, if the council wanted to have a 0$ tax increase they would need to cut an additional $434,000. In a perfect world, many within the council would prefer a 0$ tax increase due to the hardships many business’ have gone through this, but want to avoid cutting to much to cover unseen expenses that may rise to the occasion as the new year approaches.
COVID-19 Induced Bureaucracy
Yvonne Newkirk found herself in a bureaucratic nightmare, after her brother Edward ball, an inmate of the Luzerne County corrections facility, was hospitalized with covid during his sentence, eventually passing away due to the virus. According to the sun gazette, Newkirk was a frequent visitor to her brother at the facility, and was very concerned when 3 weeks passed with 0 contact with him. Newkirk tried to contact him, but kept getting bounced back and forth between the hospital housing him and the prison, both citing HIPAA, a federal act meant to protect the privacy of medical records. She was unable to be with her brother before his passing, and was very upset with the lack of involvement with her despite her being power of attorney. As covid ravages prison populations the problematic limbo caused by HIPAA and the prison guidelines continue to cause grief to family members of the incarcerated.
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant, has denounced a lawsuit from her mother claiming she is owed years of pay for working as an unpaid assistant and support promised by the basketball legend, who was killed in a helicopter crash in January.The 48-page lawsuit filed by Sofia Urbieta Laine, 68, claims that Kobe Bryant “promised to take care” of her for life.”going on to accuse Vanessa Bryant of taking each and every step she could to void and cancel all of Kobe’s promises,” the lawsuit claims, asserting that Vanessa Bryant never intended to honor any of his wishes.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed right-hander Michael Wacha to a one-year, $3 million contract, the team announced Friday, filling a void in the rotation left by the departure of Charlie Morton.
Lycoming college will be adding some additions to their athletics department in the 2022 -23 school year, after the school board of trustees granted its approval on Thursday. The warriors will be adding womens field hockey, and baseball in a move to stabilize enrollment numbers. Over the last decade enrollment has fallen for private institutions across the board with Lycoming college being no exception. Adding these new programs will hopefully encourage more athletes to attend in the coming years. As of now the school plans to search for coaches over the next year.