SUNDAY EVENING GARAGE FIRE
Fire ripped through a garage in South Williamsport around 6 p.m. Sunday evening. The garage, located on the 400 block of Winthrop Street was under control by 6:25 pm. South Williamsport Fire Chief reported the fire was in the garage and did not spread to nearby buildings. Multiple fire companies worked with the South Williamsport Fire Department to battle the blaze, including Loyalsock, Montoursville, DuBoistown and Nisbet. With no injuries reported, according to SUN Gazette, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
COVID CASES FOR SUNDAY
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Sunday reported new cases. Clinton County reported 25 new cases. In Centre County 111 new cases were recorded. Lycoming County added 86 and Tioga added 21. There were 114 new cases in the Susquehanna Valley counties: 59 in Northumberland County, 33 in Union County, 14 in Snyder and eight in Montour County.
WASD EDUCATION FOUNDATION GRANTS $4,708 TO SUPPORT PROGRAM ENHANCEMENTS
In its latest grant round, the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation (WASDEF) recently awarded $4,708 to support three program enhancements across the district. $2,200 was granted to district social workers Megan Hunter and Heather Way to support the purchase of Find Your Anchor suicide prevention kids. And, $1,500 was given to special education teacher Caitlin McClain at Jackson Primary School and $1,008 to Williamsport Area High School social studies teacher Matthew DeWire. So far this school year, WASDEF has directly supported 13 projects, programs and initiatives totaling $119,326.
GRANT MONEY FOR WASD
WASD Education Foundation recently facilitated the receipt of more than $37,000 in grant funding to support three programs via the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania through Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) donations: $13,538 was approved to help support this year’s return of the district’s #MillionairesRead summer reading program. $12,200 was approved to support the purchase of new projection and sound systems for the Blackbox Theatre at WAHS for Marie Fox’s Drama classes. In addition, $12,105 was approved to support enhancements to music teachers Meghan Louder and Sam Robinson’s Hip-Hop, Rap and Rock course at WAHS..
STATE POLICE ANNOUNCE QUARTERLY FIREARMS PURCHASE DENIAL INVESTIGATIONS
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) announced the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) conducted 337,911 background checks during the fourth quarter, which is an 11% increase from the previous quarter. In addition, PSP released the number of firearms purchase denials, subsequent investigations, and arrests that resulted from investigations for the fourth quarter of 2021. In the fourth quarter of 2021, 5,330 people were denied. In total, 1,380 denials were referred to law enforcement agencies and 13 arrests were made with a warrant at point of purchase. In Pennsylvania, a person commits a felony of the third degree if they make a false oral or written statement on any federal or state agency form or if they willfully present false identification that is likely to deceive a firearm seller, licensed dealer, or licensed manufacturer.
EARNED INCOME TAX CREDITS
United Ways across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and United Way of Pennsylvania are calling for state legislators to join 28 other states that currently offer individual working taxpayers some tax relief in the form of an Earned Income Tax Credit. A new economic impact study commissioned by United Way of Pennsylvania and released today shows that for every one dollar in cost to the state budget, a refundable EITC will generate a return of seven dollars from additional state and local tax income, business revenue and reduced spending on public assistance. Ron Frick, President of the Lycoming County United Way said, “A refundable EITC helps the individual and the economy so passage of this legislation is a win-win-win for the Commonwealth, the economy and residents in the counties we serve.”
Arriving just hours after a Pennsylvania bridge collapse, President Joe Biden stared into the cratered muddy earth where the aging span fell early Friday, striking evidence supporting the $1 trillion infrastructure law he already had planned to tout on his trip to Pittsburgh. Standing before concrete barriers papered with yellow police tape, Biden craned his neck to look out over the gaping expanse left by the crumbled bridge, as the smell of gas from a nearby leak filled the air. The infrastructure law signed by Biden has earmarked about $1.6 billion for Pennsylvania bridge maintenance, with tens of billions more for public transit, highway maintenance and broadband internet expansion in the state.
LYCOMING COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY
Section 8 programs will highlight the Lycoming County Housing Authority booth at the West Branch Susquehanna Builder’ Home Show, scheduled April 1 through the 3 at the Lycoming Mall. According to SUN Gazette, the tenant-based program is a section 8 housing choice designed so that the assistance follows the program participant, according to information on the authority’s website. Under the program, tenants pay between 30 and 40% of their adjusted gross monthly income in rent and the Lycoming Housing Authority pays the remainder of the negotiated rent directly to the landlord under a Housing Assistance Payments Program.
GUN LEGISLATION BILL
Pennsylvania’s state Senate recently approved veto-destined legislation to help gun owners and gun-rights organizations collect damages in court from cities that passed firearms restrictions that were found to violate state law. Despite the veto threat by Gov. Tom Wolf, the bill passed the Republican-controlled chamber, 32-17, with three Democrats joining every Republican in support of it. The bill passed the Republican-controlled House in June and goes to Wolf’s desk, the latest in a long-running disagreement with the Democrat over how to deal with gun violence. Under the bill, a gun owner or a gun-rights organization would have standing in court to sue municipalities over firearms ordinances that they contend are more restrictive than state law. A city whose gun ordinance is struck down in court could be ordered to pay damages.
ASSAULT AT UPMC WILLIAMSPORT
A Williamsport man faces charges after he assaulted two nurses and damaging parts of the triage room at UPMC Williamsport. According to reports Chaz Turner was yelling obscenities and issuing threats to hospital staff on Jan 3 around 10:20 pm. Turner became combative, smashing a computer stand and other items as he attempted to resist arrest. Turner was arraigned before District Judge Aaron Beak Lee with multiple charges including aggravated and simple assault. Turner has been released on $50,000 bail.
FELONY CHARGES FOR WATSONTOWN WOMAN
A Watsontown woman allegedly gave her boyfriend, Earnest Lee Sharr Jr. the fatal dose of drugs that eventually ended his life on Sept 24. has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Februrary. Samatha Jo Acy, is scheduled to appear in front of District Judge Michael Diehl. She is charged with multiple counts including felony drug delivery in death. According to daily item, she remains incarcerated in Northumberland County jail in lieu of $125,000 bail.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
According to the Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter, the elephant in the room is the condemned City Hall. The newly formed Williamsport City Council wrestles with options as they are looking at upwards of $20 million dollars to repair, replace and return city employees to offices in the historic building known as City Hall. Fortunately, the Trade and Transit I and II centers are reliable and convenient homes to city offices and departments as the important decisions are made.