BACKYARD BROADCASTING, LOCAL NEWS SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

SENATOR YAW SUPPORTING FIREFIGHTERS 

A bill establishing statewide uniform requirements restricting the use of “Class B” firefighting foams containing added (PFAS) for training purposes and testing … was approved today by the full Senate, according to prime sponsor Sen. Gene Yaw, Chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. According to Senator Yaw, “Firefighters can face an extremely higher level of PFAS exposure compared to other emergency responders.” “This bill will undoubtedly protect firefighters moving forward, while also safeguarding our ground and surface water from contamination.” If approved, Pennsylvania would follow Colorado, Kentucky, Virginia and Washington that have enacted laws banning the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams.  The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

PENNDOT TALK BACK PLAN

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced the launch of a Public Comment Period for the draft 2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and Freight Movement Plan (FMP). The plans are available for review through October 19, 2021. According to PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We need Pennsylvanians to join this conversation to help us make these plans even more responsive to future public needs. Whether we are speaking about more efficient freight movement, modernized public transit, reduced highway congestion or increased options for bicyclists and pedestrians, these improvements are only possible with a public commitment to a sustained level of investment for years to come,” All information is available online under Tell Us What You Think at penndot.gov/planning.

GEISINGER VISITOR RESTRICTIONS

Beginning today, Geisinger’s updated visitation policy will go into effect for all hospital locations. Changes include: Admitted patients will be allowed two designated visitors through the duration of a hospital stay, meaning visitors may not switch out with other visitors. Emergency room patients will be permitted one visitor for the duration of their stay once the patient is in the treatment area. Emergency room patients who are positive for COVID-19 or who are suspected of having COVID-19 are not permitted visitors. Geisinger encourages alternate means of visiting with a loved one in the hospital, including phone calls and virtual visits through Facetime, Skype or other means.

GEISINGER VISITOR RESTRICTIONS

Beginning today, Geisinger’s updated visitation policy will go into effect for all hospital and outpatient locations. At all outpatient locations, changes include: No visitors are permitted during outpatient appointments, unless medically necessary. Outpatient appointments include certain surgeries, mental or behavioral health, primary care and others. Geisinger encourages alternate means of visiting with a loved one in the hospital, including phone calls and virtual visits through Facetime, Skype or other means.

BENNINGHOFF SUPPORTS EXTENSION OF IDA DISASTER EMERGENCY DECLARATION

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff yesterday voted in support of House Resolution 139, which would extend the provisions of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Aug. 31 disaster emergency declaration relative to the aftereffects of Tropical Storm Ida. “When Pennsylvania voters approved two constitutional amendments in May giving the Legislature a greater say in the management of disaster emergency situations, this is the exact type of cooperative management they expected,” Benninghoff said. “Tropical Storm Ida had a serious impact on many communities across Pennsylvania. As that extensive recovery effort continues, renewing the disaster declaration is clearly necessary.” House Resolution 139 would extend the disaster emergency declaration until Oct. 27, 2021.

BENNINGHOFF VOTES FOR GREATER INFORMATION SHARING TO HELP COMBAT OPIOID EPIDEMIC

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff yesterday voted in support of an amendment to House Bill 1774 that would allow for increased information sharing between departments of material from the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as a tool to help the Commonwealth combat the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic. This legislative fix was identified by Gov. Tom Wolf as a helpful component of the opioid disaster emergency declaration, which expired in August after being renewed 15 different times by the governor. “Cooperative government means that when a disaster declaration is extended 15 times, maybe it is time for permanent solutions, instead of a permanent emergency. That is the essence of what we are doing today: We are providing a permanent fix to help combat the opioid addiction epidemic in Pennsylvania,” Benninghoff said.

BENNINGHOFF SUPPORTS WARD RESOLUTION ON PRISONER REALLOCATION

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff yesterday morning voted in support of a resolution offered by Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward during a meeting of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission that would put additional guidelines on how prisoner reallocation data is to be compiled and counted by, among other things, ensuring that individuals incarcerated to a minimum sentence expiring after April 1, 2030, will be counted at the prison at which they reside. The resolution further fleshes out the decision by the commission at its last meeting to adopt a prisoner reallocation proposal that changes the long-standing practice of having state inmates counted where they eat, sleep and live at the time of the census—like every other Pennsylvanian—and instead counts them where they resided prior to incarceration.

STRIPE OUT GAME 

Contest with the Hoosiers on Oct. 2 is a Stripe Out Penn State Football’s contest against Indiana on Oct. 2 will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on ABC, it was announced Monday. The game will also be available on the Penn State Sports Network (6 p.m. airtime) and GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions hold a 22-2 all-time record vs. Indiana, with Indiana winning last year’s matchup 36-35 in overtime. Penn State faces off with Villanova in Beaver Stadium on Saturday at noon ET on Big Ten Network. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 28-20 victory over Auburn.

GOVERNOR WOLF AND IT’S ON US

Continuing his commitment to combatting campus sexual assault, Governor Tom Wolf announced that $1 million in It’s On Us PA grants are available to colleges, universities, and other postsecondary schools in Pennsylvania. Since 2016, the Wolf Administration has awarded over 190 It’s On Us PA grants totaling nearly $5 million to more than 75 postsecondary institutions, including public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. The Pennsylvania Department of Education will accept applications for grants of up to $30,000 through October 20, 2021. Grant applications are available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website.

PROSECUTION IN MURDER TRIAL

In the prosecution’s opening statement on Tuesday in the Criminal Homicide trial of I-Keem Damont Fogan, 23, District Attorney Martin Wade told the jury the story of a “robbery executed very poorly.”  Wade walked the jury through the night of August 4, 2019, showing still images of the shooting that occurred at the Uni-Mart, 1944 W. Fourth St., that injured JoBeth Wetzel, the cashier on duty that night, and took the life of Rhonda McPeak, a customer in the store. In her opening statement, public defender Nicole Spring drew attention to the potential trauma the jurors may experience while serving at the trial,  acknowledging the shocking crime that took place the night of Aug. 4, 2019. They would, she said, have to witness surveillance footage of the two women being shot, a difficult thing to bear.The trial continues this morning in the Lycoming County Courthouse.

COVID-19 LOCAL UPDATE

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Tuesday reported new COVID-19 cases statewide. In Clinton County six new cases were reported on Tuesday, Centre County saw an increase of 40, Lycoming County increased by 49, 41 in Northumberland County, 14 in Union County, 21 in Snyder, and four in Montour.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STOLEN

State Police at Montoursville are investigating a burglary in Fairfield Township in which medical marijuana was stolen. The residence, on O’Dell Road, was entered sometime during the day on Sept 7th.  The suspects took upwards of $60 in medical marijuana and fled the scene. If you have any information, please contact the State Police in Montoursville.

THEFT IN MIFFLINBURG

A victim is out $850 after a Union County man allegedly stole parts from an auto he was expected to repair. David Walls, 47, of Mifflinburg, is accused of stealing more than $1,000 worth of parts from the victim’s vehicle and keeping the $850 she paid for repairs, according to State Police at Milton. The vehicle was taken to Walls’ residence to make the agreed repairs, after several months the vehicle was not returned. The victim went to get her vehicle and realized several parts were missing.  Items missing included; the transmission, battery, catalytic converter, and starter, according to state police. According to northcentralpa.com, charges against Walls are being filed at the office of District Judge Jeffrey Mensch.

MONTOURSVILLE grad gets Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division Football Co-Offensive Athlete of the week

Shippensburg University red shirt junior quarterback Brycen Mussina was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division Football Co-Offensive Athlete of the week after equaling a career high with five touchdown passes in Saturday’s victory at Clarion. Mussina, a Montoursville graduate, was 23 of 37 for 350 yards and equaled a career high with five touchdown passes before he was relieved in the fourth quarter. As reported by SUN Gazette,  it was the first time a Shippensburg player has been named the PSAC Eastern Division Football Offensive Athlete of the Week since Mussina was recognized during his redshirt freshman season on October 22, 2018.. it is Mussina’s second career PSAC weekly award.

MURDER TRIAL IN WILLIAMSPORT

On Tuesday in the Criminal Homicide trial of I-Keem Damont Fogan, public defender Nicole Spring, in her opening statement, drew attention to the potential trauma the jurors may experience while serving at the trial,  acknowledging the shocking crime that took place the night of Aug. 4, 2019. They would, she said, have to witness surveillance footage of the two women being shot, a difficult thing to bear. According to the SUN Gazette, the trial continues this morning in the Lycoming County Courthouse.

MANDATED MINIMUM CONTRIBUTION FOR WILLIAMSPORT PUBLIC SAFETY

The Williamsport City’s mandated minimum contribution to police, fire and employees’ pension funds is $4.1 million.  According to city officials  $1 million less than the previous obligation. On their regular meeting, Williamsport’s City Council’s Finance Committee gave the minimum municipal obligation a positive recommendation.  Broken down, contributions for police are $1.8 million; fire, $1.1 million and officers and employees, $1.1 million, this according to city interim finance director, Joseph Paw Lak, who goes on to say the city must approve the obligation to pay pensions by Sept 30, as reported by SUN Gazette.

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN FUNDS FOR TREE REPLACEMENT 

The city may be able to use a portion of the $25.4 million in American Rescue Plan funds to replant trees removed when the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reconstructed West Fourth Street in Newberry two years ago. In total, 51 trees were taken out overnight in an area less than a mile in length, leading to outrage from West End residents impacted who are asking for 40-plus trees.  Chad Eckert, city forester, said if the funds are approved for the replacements, there are a variety of tree species that might work. However, PennDOT reported it will not be able to return to the project until 2028. According to a media outlet, a second work session on the use of the American Rescue Plan funds is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 30. The meeting will be held remotely on YouTube and accessible on the city website.

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