BACKYARD BROADCASTING LOCAL NEWS SEPTEMBER 14, 2021

DA GARDNER DENIES PROSECUTION OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN FOR MASKS

There will be no prosecution of parents or children for refusing to wear a mask at school. According to District Attorney Ryan Gardner in a statement last Friday, explaining the office had no business with the prosecution in these cases. “The Department of Health’s Order of Aug. 31, 2021 is ambiguous with respect to enforcement,” Gardner said. “The decision whether to mask any child in school is best made between the parent and members of the school’s administration and not the Governor, law enforcement or the District Attorney’s Office.” According to a media source, however, Gardner also stated the school district’s ability to give detention, suspend students or expel them from school, is still present without his prosecution. Gardner encouraged parents and students to remain composed, and that law enforcement may become involved for applicable criminal offenses.

LYCOMING COUNTY COVID VACCINATION RATES

Lycoming County still sits in the high level of community virus transmission, and its case numbers and  a vaccination rate of 45.2%, in the past week Lycoming County has had 258.61 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, with a test positivity rate of 11.9%. Meanwhile, Union County, with a vaccination rate of 50.9 percent, has in the past week reported 282.71 new cases per 100,000 people, and has a test positivity rate of 10.1 percent. Finally, Clinton County, with a vaccination rate of 37.2%, shows in the past week 188.96 new cases per 100,000 people and a test-positivity rate of 7.03%. The state currently leads the nation with a 56% vaccination rate compared to a 53.8% vaccination rate. However, the state’s 7-day total for COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people is 207.7 to the nation’s 286.2. The state’s week-long test positivity rate for COVID-19 is 9.1% to the nation’s 9.14%.

SECOND WORK SESSION FOR WILLIAMSPORT CITY  ADMINISTRATION

The Williamsport City Administration and Williamsport City Council will hold a second work session on the American Rescue Plan funding at 7 p.m. Sept. 30. The meeting will be held at the Trade and Transit Centre II third floor in the Michael Ross meeting room, 100 W. Third St. According to Mayor Derek Slaughter, the city received $25.4 million, half of which it received in May, and the other half expected next spring. According to a media outlet, the money is specifically to be used for relief associated with losses from COVID-19 and, according to the U.S. Treasury Department rules, the rescue funds cannot be used to lower debt or reduce pension costs.

HIRING OF ACCESSIBILITY COMPLIANCE SPECIALISTS

City Council recently agreed to the hiring of two accessibility compliance specialists. Janetta Green was appointed coordinator for accessibility compliance and Mark Derry, accessibility building consultant. The city has about $20,000 reserved in the budget for their expenses, said Liz Miele, council vice president. According to SUN Gazette, once Green and Derry accomplish their work, Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator, will be certified as accessibility coordinator. Green and Derry’s hirings are part of the commitment by the city to meet the consent decree it has agreed to in U.S. Middle District Court, to avoid a federal lawsuit.

SMALL COMMUNITY AIR SERVICE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM GRANT

A Small Community Air Service Development Program grant, in the amount of $950,000 was approved by the Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority at the last meeting. As was reported by SUN Gazette, the grants, awarded in August to small municipal airports, are utilized for funding air service and airfare issues. Airport officials are hopeful the money allocation will allow for improvements to attract another commercial provider to the area. In addition,  the Authority approved a one-year agreement with Midwest ATC, who covers the labor costs for traffic control service. The contract covers the airport’s labor costs for traffic control service. According to airport executive director Richard Howell the airport received $128,675 in CARES Act funding in August, bringing CARES funding to $1.35 million for the year and $3.4 million in overall allocations.

WOLF AND HIS MASKS MAY BE GOING TO COURT

The union that represents corrections officers in Pennsylvania prisons wants a state court to intervene over the governor’s recent mandate that they all get coronavirus vaccines or submit to weekly testing.The six-page Commonwealth Court complaint requests that the court issue a preliminary injunction to end mandatory testing unless inmates, visitors and outside vendors are also subject to the requirement. In addition to the Corrections Department, it applies to state hospitals, veterans’ homes, community health centers and homes for those with intellectual disabilities. Wolf press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit but called the union’s opposition to the pandemic mitigation “extremely disappointing.”

RETIRING NUMBERS AT THE WILLIAMSPORT AREA  HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

A few pieces of history keep the Williamsport Area High School football alive in the hearts of young and old. Three retired jerseys, Larry Kelly (31), Gary Brown (28) and Natt Neenan (78) were joined by another on Friday night. Williamsport football welcomed Darrell Blackman to the field at halftime during a home game against Mifflin County. As reported by a media outlet, the 2003 Williamsport graduate — who currently holds the all-time rushing title for the Millionaires at 6,761 career yards — had his No. 2 jersey placed high among the elite four. An ovation from a packed stadium was for Blackman, who stood with the red board and his family. According to Blackman, “I’m proud of it, that’s a big accomplishment,” He continued.  “Now, forever, they’ll see that name ‘Blackman,’ that No. 2 jersey that’s sitting in the rafters.”

SCREAMING FOR HELP OVER THE TELEPHONE

Williamsport Police responded to a 911 call with a person allegedly screaming for help into the phone near the 2500 block of Federal Avenue on Sept 1. Police identified, Ciera Aaliyah Johnson, 21, of Williamsport as one of the women. Johnson allegedly punched the elderly woman in the face after she refused to take garbage outside. Johnson then began “beating” on the elderly woman. According to northcentralpa.com, Johnson was charged with multiple charges including felonies. Johnson is held at the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $50,000 monetary bail an upcoming preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 21.

DANVILLE POLICE RESPONDING TO POSSIBLE DEMONSTRATION

In a Facebook post made by the Danville Police Department yesterday, the department said it has received word of a potential demonstration in the Danville area today. “We appreciate everyone’s right to gather and air their grievances; however EVERYBODY’s rights must be protected;” the post said. According to comments made in the post, demonstration in opposition to the vaccine mandate at Geisinger is planned by employees.  According to a media source, today’s planned demonstration will likely disrupt the regular flow of traffic in Danville. The police department has offered tips for participants and community members: Parking violators will be ticketed and /or towed, do not interfere with emergency vehicles or block roadways, either impeding vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

STATE POLICE IN MILTON ARE LOOKING FOR THE SUSPECT WHO CAUSED DAMAGE TO A VALLEY RESTAURANT.

An unknown suspect caused damaged and cut power to a Valley Township business last week. According to State Police in Milton, a suspect went to the Hilltop Bar & Grill restaurant on Liberty Valley Road early the morning of Sept. 8, cut a phone wire and pulled apart a power meter base mounted to the exterior wall. Video surveillance cameras appeared to be tampered with during the incident, according to state police. There was no sign of forced entry at the building. According to SUN Gazette, anyone with information is urged to contact State Police in Milton.

CITY OF WILLIAMSPORT TREASURER AND TAX OFFICE MOVED TO 100 W THIRD ST

According to a news release from Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter, the City of Williamsport Treasurer and Tax Office has relocated to 100 W. Third Street at the corner of Pine Street and Third Street. The move stems from the water and air quality issues at City Hall, said the mayor. The new office entrance is on Pine Street directly across from the Court House Fountains. The office was previously the location of Sterns Café, The Transit Scoop, and most recently Derone’s Dynamite Dogs. The office has fifteen-minute parking available along Third Street directly across from the M&T Bank Building. According to a media source, the office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Office can be reached by phone at 570-327-7520.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Monday reported new COVID-19 cases across the state, Clinton County nine new cases, Centre County saw an increase of 20, Lycoming County has 57, 45 in Northumberland County, nine in Union and six in Montour and Snyder counties.

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