BACKYARD BROADCASTING LOCAL NEWS, SEPTEMBER 8, 2021

PENNSYLVANIA FARM BILL

Governor Tom Wolf today called for U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to implement a $737 million Chesapeake Bay Resilient Farms Initiative to support Pennsylvania farmers in their desire to take a stand against climate change by implementing on-farm efforts for more sustainable agriculture practices that reduce nitrogen output, improve water quality, and effectively decrease negative impacts of climate change on agriculture. Through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, Governor Wolf has invested funds from the commonwealth’s budget to support sustainable agriculture practices and assist farmers in achieving their conservation goals. Since signed into law in 2019, Wolf has committed $15 million through the PA Farm Bill’s Conservation Excellence Grant Program and expanded funding for the state’s Resource Enhancement and Protection tax credit program.

PA STATE SOAR PROGRAM

The PA state program SOAR, is helping students to gain college credits before graduating High School. The Pennsylvania State program, SOAR, is helping to prepare students for life beyond high school. SOAR stands for Students Occupationally and Academically Ready. This program is extremely beneficial to high school students looking for challenging coursework that will prepare them for high priority occupations. High priority occupations are those that are in high demand, have higher skill needs, and are likely to provide family-sustaining wages. SOAR works to align high school courses to a college program in order to complete a degree, diploma, or certificate. After successfully completing relevant coursework students are eligible to receive free college credits from Lackawanna College. Those credits are offered to students with completed articulations in, Accounting Technology/Technician Bookkeeping, Administrative Assistant/Secretarial Science, Criminal Justice/Police Science, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services.

HIGH-TENSION CABLE BARRIER REPLACEMENT PROJECT

A High-Tension Cable Barrier Replacement Project continues this week on Interstate 180 between the Route 87 interchange in Fairfield Township and the Route 15 interchange in the City of Williamsport, Lycoming County. On Tuesday, September 7, through Friday, September 10, the contractor, Penn Line Service, Inc., will replace the existing cable barrier system in the median between the Route 87 interchange in Fairfield Township and the Route 15 interchange in the City of Williamsport. Work will be performed from 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Motorists can expect the left (passing) lane to be closed where work is being performed. No work will be performed during the weekend. Motorists should be alert, slow down, watch for slow or stopped vehicles, expect lane changes, expect travel delays, and drive with caution through the work zone.

PARENT PROTESTS IN MONTOURSVILLE

Parents took to the streets of Montoursville yesterday morning to protest the state Department of Health’s order that required children to be masked in class or risk being sent home. About 40 Montoursville Area School District parents marched along Broad Street in the borough carrying signs. They proceeded down Arch Street to Montoursville Area High School and then on to McCall Middle School before ending at the District Office where the group began breaking up about mid-morning. According to SUN Gazette, at one point, borough police were called because protesters were blocking entrances to the high school, but the marchers were told twice at different locations to move to the sidewalk and each time they complied. There was no property damage and no arrests, police said.

MASK MANDATE TO BE TAKEN TO COURT

The Republican leader of the state Senate and a group of parents filed the lawsuit Friday seeking to overturn the Wolf administration’s new mask mandate for Pennsylvania schools. The governor’s spokesperson dismissed what she called the GOP’s “effort at undermining public heath.” According to a media outlet, the suit, filed in Commonwealth Court, asserts that Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam failed to comply with state law when she ordered masks to be worn in all Pennsylvania public and private schools, as well as child care facilities. The masking order isn’t valid because it didn’t go through the state’s regulatory review process, the lawsuit said. It also accused the Wolf administration of trying to circumvent newly approved constitutional amendments limiting a governor’s emergency powers.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve Kelsey I. Dowling for the vacant position of administrative specialist in the controller’s office, an action that Controller Krista Rogers claimed violates county code. The violation involved personnel action taken by commissioners within an elected officials’ office, she contended. The county code, she said, gives hiring, discharging and supervisory authority only to the elected official, which in this case would be her.“All hiring actions are vested with me,” she told commissioners.Commissioners disagreed. According to SUN Gazette, Mirabito later told the Sun-Gazette he felt commissioners are being transparent and complying with the law. “She is certainly entitled to another opinion,” he said.

2021 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT FUNDING IN LYCOMING COUNTY

Lycoming County commissioners approved $607,455 in 2021 Community Development Block Grant funding for projects during their regular weekly meeting. According to a media source, the dollars will be allocated for the following projects: Brooke Street water main replacement in Montgomery, $291,230; curb cuts, Jersey Shore, $97,210; homes in need, Montoursville, $99,959; and Habitat for Humanity acquisition, South Williamsport, $119,056. Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the funding following a brief public hearing.

COVID-19 DASHBOARD RESULTS TUESDAY

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed In Clinton County nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday. Centre County saw an increase of 39  Lycoming County increased by 26. 25 in Northumberland County. Union County reported three new cases and there was one new case in Montour County. There were no new cases in Snyder County, the first time since Aug. 15 without a case.

MURDER CASE GOING TO COURT IN UNION COUNTY

The 2018 homicide case against Myrle Miller, 76, of Winfield, is now heading to Union County Court of Common Pleas.  Miller’s preliminary hearing on yesterday was held for court, according to District Judge Jeffrey Mensch’s office. Miller was charged in May with first-degree murder, perjury, and felony fraud insurance theft for the death of her husband, John W. Nichols, 76, of Millmont. According to northcentralpa.com, he died at the couple’s home on Lamey Road on April 14, 2018. Miller’s formal arraignment in front of Union County President Judge Michael T. Hudock is set for Oct. 25.

LYCOMING COUNTY LOOKING FOR INPUT … VIRTUAL MEETING

The Northern Section of Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) is now in its fourth and final contract for construction, according to Maggie Baker, spokesperson for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). It’s a four-lane limited access highway from Route 15 south of Winfield at the Snyder/Union County line to Route 147 south of Montandon in Northumberland County. According to a media source, Lycoming County is inviting public feedback on the potential transportation and land use impacts of the new CSVT project along the Interstate 180 (I-180), US 15, and PA 147 corridors. A virtual meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13.

The dial-in information for the Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 virtual meeting is  below:

Dial-in Number: 1 (267) 332-8737

Conference Code: 926 689 24#

For more information on how to connect to the virtual public meeting, the meeting  agenda, and for information on planning efforts related to CSVT, please visit http://www.lyco.org/CSVT.

GLENN O HAWBAKER OF STATE COLLEGE TO BE SANCTIONED

Pennsylvania’s highway agency wants to prevent a major heavy equipment contractor from doing state work for up to three years because it pleaded no contest to theft after being accused of illegally diverting money and other benefits from its workers.  A media outlet reported, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Friday asked an administrative hearing officer to sanction Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. of State College. The agency says Hawbaker’s status as a prequalified contractor can be suspended for theft. Hawbaker pleaded no contest last month and is on probation for five years. The attorney general’s office accused Hawbaker of stealing from workers’ fringe benefits such as retirement and health insurance and using that money to pad its profits, undercut competitors and pay for internal projects and company bonuses.

WILLIAMSPORT CITY POLICE CHIEF’S VOTE TO PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR DELAYED

Mayor Derek Slaughter’s proposal before City Council’s finance committee yesterday to have city Chief of Police Justin Snyder named as public safety director led to a vote by three of its members giving no recommendation. According to SUN Gazette, the no recommendation vote, however, was arrived at before a lengthy discussion on what appeared to be movement by city administration and council to revisit changes to the administrative code. “I do think that a person in charge of police and public safety should not hold the two positions,” Councilwoman Bonnie Katz, who serves as chairwoman of public safety and public works committees, said. “Is it absolutely necessary to have a public safety director?” she asked. Katz also wondered what comes with the public safety director job. “It appears council agrees with me that it wants the city to revisit the administrative code,” Slaughter said.

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