CLEAN WATER ACTION PLAN
Lycoming County’s Clean Water Action Plan offers a way to proactively address flooding and pollution that affects county farms and homes with increasing occurrences. The price tag, however, is $36.7 million. According to Eve Adrian, the county’s natural resources planner and the plan’s coordinator, the cost of resources needed to implement the plan is grant-funded. Adrian did present the plan to the Lycoming County Commissioners at their meeting yesterday. Adrian stressed Lycoming County has endured severe rainfalls over several decades, “the unfortunate reality is that without mitigation, farmers pay the cost of these intense rain events because soil has value.” According to SUN Gazette, the plan is being implemented, set to start this month and run through 2025.
UPMC HOSPITALS AFFECTED BY COVID
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the country, hospitals are seeing spikes in cases of patients being admitted because of pre-existing conditions, many of which have gone without medical care over the course of the pandemic. According to SUN Gazette, Dr. Michael C. Gerst, chief medical officer of emergency services for the North Central Region, UPMC says,“We have a population that was concerned and frightened to come to the hospital, to perhaps go see their doctor, or come to the E.R. when they were experiencing certain symptoms, so they put it off,” he said. “Putting it off has allowed that disease process to progress and become more significant and by the time they must come to the E.R., they are very, very sick.”
UPMC HOSPITALS REPORTING EMERGENCY ROOMS BUSY
According to Sun Gazette, Dr. Michael C. Gerst, chief medical officer of emergency services for the North Central Region, UPMC, stresses the emergency room is not a “convenience.” “One of the things we would really appreciate in the emergency department… (is) responsibility in seeking out these services. They are time consuming, they are expensive and we are currently managing a lot of sick people,” Gerst said. “So if you can get the same at your private care physician or an urgent care, that would be optimal versus going to the E.R. where we are taking care of the sickest of the sick in the community currently.”
RETAINING WALL DELAY
The state Department of Transportation says a retaining wall project along Little Pine Creek Road in Cummings Township has delays. The project began April of 2021 and is located along Pine Creek Road. As reported by SUN Gazette, less than a mile north of the intersection of Route 44 and Little Pine Creek Road, are unforeseeable delays. These delays are due to subsurface rock quality conditions, a news release from PennDOT said, and will delay the completion until September of 2022.
MURDER DENIED MOTIONS
I-Keem Fogan, convicted murderer, was denied multiple motions by Judge Marc Lovecchio which could have granted him a new trial in Lycoming County Court. Fogan’s public defender, Nicole Spring, reported an appeal is set to be filed on Fogan’s behalf within the 30-day time frame. Fogan, convicted of the 2019 killing of a woman during an attempted robbery of a Newberry convenience store, had a trial, which started in late September and concluded in early October and ended with a life sentence and no possibility of parole.
DERR RETURNS FOR COURT
Ex-Williamsport City police officer Eric Derr was back in court yesterday, arguing an omnibus motion before a Sr. Judge. Derr, charged with 28 felonies in connection to his alleged use of the police’s JNET system, and also accused of running upwards of 93 illegitimate searches of an alleged 28 different women from the dates of June of 2015 through December of 2019. Today’s motion centered around whether or not Derr “exceeded his authority” in terms of his use of the JNET system and whether or not a police officer was deemed a “public employee.” According to northcentralpa.com, Derr is due to return to court December 14, for a criminal pre-trial hearing.
COVID-19 NUMBERS IN OUR AREA FROM TUESDAY
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Tuesday reported new COVID-19 cases statewide. In Clinton County 11 new cases were reported, Centre County saw an increase of 22, while Lycoming County increased by 39, 17 new cases in Northumberland County, six in Union, and five in Snyder and Montour counties.
POSTING CURRICULUM ONLINE IS SET FOR A VOTE
The Center Square is reporting….. A bill that would require school districts to post curriculum online received approval from a key Senate panel on Monday. The Senate Education Committee voted along party lines to advance House Bill 1332 to the chamber floor for consideration. According to a representative from Gettysburg, “[The bill] allows parents to play a greater and more active role in the oversight of what their children are being taught and that giving online access to the course information will help “restore trust.” But Democrats on the committee warned that unfunded mandate will further burden school staff and invite unwarranted criticism. “The curriculum plan, including textbooks, needs to be online for parents to review at any time, and those websites need to be updated each time the curriculum is revised,” he said. “Too many parents have no idea what is being taught until they see their children’s homework.
RIVER VALLEY TRANSIT BOOKEEPING ISSUES
A “shell game” may have been played by prior management of River Valley Transit located in Williamsport and the use of state and federal grants for non-transportation purchases may have occurred, based on what auditors discovered in the fiscal books maintained by prior bus service management. According to SUN Gazette, a draft audit by RKL, the firm which was hired by Mayor Derek Slaughter, and shared yesterday at the Williamsport City Council’s finance committee. It spanned the dates of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 and included the notation of an “adverse opinion.”
LAWSUIT THROWN OUT REGARDING PRISON GUARDS AND VACCINE-OR-TEST
Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports…. A state appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit challenging Gov. Tom Wolf’s vaccine-or-test requirement for prison guards, among thousands of other state employees in congregate settings. In a Sept. 28 decision, a three-judge panel of the Commonwealth Court dismissed the challenge, brought by the Pennsylvania State Correctional Officers Association, which represents 11,000 prison workers, on technical grounds. The union had requested an injunction to block the policy. According to PSCOA President John Eckenrode, “We’re disappointed and disagree with the court’s decision.” It applies to 25,000 state employees who work in state prisons, hospitals, centers for people with disabilities, and other similar facilities.
STATE GRANTS REPORTED TO RVT
PA state grants received between 2009 and 2019, showing River Valley Transit, received $64,735,716 in department grants. According to SUN Gazette, for example, when the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) would provide a grant, those funds are recorded as a liability until they are used for specific grant purposes and they require a local match. This is where problems were found throughout the books. Williamsport City wrote RVT a check, they then needed to get localities to pay them. The whole idea was to for RVT to provide the state with a match for the grant. RVT either went to localities and they didn’t bill them or they didn’t follow up to collect funds, which went against the state requirements for the grant.
HEARING AIDS TO MORE THAN JUST THE ELDERLY
Hearing problems are not just an elderly issue; in fact, upwards of 37 million Americans experience symptoms of hearing loss. New technologies are available to help those who want to get a hearing aid without official physician approval. According to SUN Gazette, this builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to expand access to high-quality health care and lower medical care costs for the American public.