IMPROVE YOUR WILDLIFE HABITAT
It’s not too early for landowners to begin making plans to improve wildlife habitat this spring and into the future by planting tree and shrub species offered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Howard Nursery. The 2022 seedling order form is available online, and sales began Monday. The Howard Nursery, located in Centre County, grows tree and shrub seedlings for use on State Game Lands, Hunter Access properties, the Seedling for Schools program, and other Game Commission conservation partners. Any remaining surplus is available to Pennsylvania residents for purchase. Seedlings are sold in units of 25. The order form is available at www.pgc.pa.gov. There is a link under Quick Clicks.
GAME COMMISSION ASKING FOR HELP TO FIND TURKEYS
The Game Commission is asking for the public’s help finding turkeys to trap for ongoing and new turkey projects. The agency is encouraging Pennsylvanians to report the location of any turkey flocks they see between now and March 15. Information is being collected online at https://pgcdatacollection.pa.gov/TurkeyBroodSurvey. Visitors to that webpage will be asked to provide the date of the sighting, the location, and the type of land (public, private or unknown) where birds are seen, among other things. Game Commission crews will assess sites for the potential to trap turkeys. Turkeys will not be moved; they’ll simply be leg banded and released on site. In four Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) a sampling also will be outfitted with GPS transmitters, then be released back on site, to be monitored over time.
STANDOFF WITH PINE CREEK TOWNSHIP MAN
A Pine Creek Township man was served with a Protection From Abuse order by the Clinton County Sheriff’s office yesterday. Later the same day, Daniel Harold Mikitko allegedly called the victim upwards of a dozen times. The victim contacted the state police and Mikitko refused to exit his residence, instead threatening troopers and other local police. The Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team was activated around 10 pm. Mikitko continued to threaten officers with a firearm until 5 am when he was taken into custody with less lethal force with no injuries to Mikitko or the police. Multiple charges, including terroristic threats and resisting arrest, have been filed.
REGIONAL REGIONAL GREENHOUSE GAS INITIATIVE
Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) said the Department of Environmental Protection must address skyrocketing clearing prices set during recent Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auctions. Yaw, as chairman of Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, in a letter sent Thursday, encouraged DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell to reconsider his invitation to testify at the panel’s Jan. 18 hearing to discuss the issue. Yaw and 161 other state lawmakers oppose RGGI because it will spike electricity rates, force plant closures, cost thousands of jobs, threaten the power grid’s reliability and derail future economic investment.
FUNDING WILL AID HOMEOWNERS FACING COVID-19 PANDEMIC-RELATED FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS
Governor Tom Wolf announced the statewide launch of the Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund, or PAHAF, administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. PHFA’s plan for administration of the PAHAF has been approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. PAHAF applications will open to eligible Pennsylvania homeowners beginning February 1. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was awarded more than $350 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds through the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF). The fund supports Pennsylvania homeowners whose household income is at or below 150% of the area median income (AMI) that now must grapple with additional unforeseen financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. PAHAF will use these funds to provide eligible Pennsylvania homeowners with much-needed assistance to prevent and/or ease mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, displacement and utility disconnection.
MASKING IN MONTOURSVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT
The requirement to mask in the Montoursville Area School District was rejected by the school board at its meeting this week. According to SUN Gazette, the board considered a masking requirement until transmission levels decreased across Lycoming County. However, discussion from interested members of the community and a genuine disinterest in tabling the issue led to the vote. The next board meeting is set for Tuesday, January 25.
A Montoursville man allegedly led police on a high-speed chase through the city. According to police, Michael Powell had an active warrant out for his arrest. Police reported Powell slipped out of handcuffs in city hall following his arrest for drug charges. Last month when police attempted to stop his vehicle, Powell allegedly fled north on Almond Street, at high speeds. He was apprehended and appeared in front of District Judge Christian Fry with multiple charges including fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and recklessly endangering. Without the $300,000 for three cases against him, he was remanded to the Lycoming County Jail.
COVID CASES LOCALLY
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday reported new COVID-19 cases. Clinton County reported 74 new cases. In Centre County 308 were recorded. Lycoming County added 225. Northumberland County registered 200 new cases. Montour County registered 53 cases, just off the record of 59 set in December 2020. Snyder County added 60 cases, along with 59 in Union. Tioga County added 51.
NO TAX INCREASE PICTURE
They are working towards a no-tax-hike budget for next year in the Keystone Central School District. The school board’s voting session meeting with the bulk of the session focusing on budget-related matters. In fact, the “5-Year Financial Picture has a NO TAX INCREASE” with an $82 million budget for the current school year and a comparably sized budget ($82,670, 408) for 2022-23. According to therecordonline.com, the new budget will be unveiled in May with a final vote in June.
STABBING IN SUNBURY
An early morning stabbing in Memorial Acres sent one person to the hospital in serious condition. According to Sunbury Police, one person is in custody following the domestic disturbance call at 2 am. As reported by the Daily Item, a male was found on the ground when police arrived. Police are not releasing any further information at this time.
VACCINATION REQUIREMENT FOR BUSINESSES WITH AT LEAST 100 EMPLOYEES DEEMED AN OVERSTEP
The Supreme Court has stopped a major push by the Biden administration to boost the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, a requirement that employees at large businesses get a vaccine or test regularly and wear a mask on the job. At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S. The court’s orders Thursday came during a spike in coronavirus cases caused by the omicron variant. The court’s conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected and OSHA had estimated that the rule would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months.