Big Spring Distillery Soft Opening Helps Prepare For Grander Version In Bellefonte

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The distillery movement is really starting to take off in Pennsylvania.  I keep running across these popping up around our great state.

Vana Dainty sat down with Kevin Lloyd to help him coordinate the final details of the grand opening for his Bellefonte distillery in two weeks.

Dainty, the borough’s Keystone Community development coordinator, said the Match Factory distillery, named Big Spring Spirits, will be good for the borough.

“Kevin has been a delight to work with, and this should really be a great part of Bellefonte that brings in new tourists and a part of the turning point for our economy,” Dainty said. “It’s different than anything else in Centre County.”

Lloyd said he has seen the value of a helping hand not only from Dainty, but from dozens of others as he opens his new business.

Speed Limit To Rise To 70 Mph On Stretch Of I-380

English: Interstate 380 northbound at the Inte...

English: Interstate 380 northbound at the Interstate 84 split south of Scranton. Picture taken by Chris Wilson on February 18th, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG — A stretch of Interstate 380 becomes an experiment next month when state transportation officials boost the maximum speed limit to 70 mph.

Another pilot will raise the speed limit to 70 mph on a 100-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in southcentral Pennsylvania. If all goes well, the rest of the 550-mile toll road system, including the Northeast Extension, could follow suit next spring, said Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton at a press conference on Wednesday.

On I-380, a 21-mile section selected for the pilot program will extend from the Interstate 84 junction in Lackawanna County to Exit 3 (Pocono Pines/Mount Pocono) in Monroe County.

“It’s about time,” said Elwood “Butch” Perry, a 60-year-old independent trucker who lives in Dupont. “They built the interstate system so you can run, not so you can crawl. … We live in a fast-paced society now. Everything has to be there yesterday.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/speed-limit-to-rise-to-70-mph-on-stretch-of-i-380-1.1723951

State College Borough Council OKs Neighborhood Plan

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

— Council unanimously voted Monday to approve the borough’s neighborhood plan, bringing almost two years of work and planning to a successful conclusion.

The plan was presented to the board by borough planner Meagan Tuttle. Tuttle had previously presented the plan to the board during the July 14 work session.

She explained that following board feedback, the planning staff looked into the borough’s role in realizing several of the goals presented. Some changes were made from the version presented on July 14 that moved the borough to a leadership position, and the council would see those changes on the final draft.

Red Alert For A Green Thumb: Volunteer Needed To Help Maintain State College Community Garden

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — The community garden on East College Avenue at University Drive has gone untouched this summer as the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy struggles to find a volunteer for its upkeep.

With only seven staff members and 132 gardens to monitor, the conservancy relies on volunteers to make the gardens possible.

“Our office is in Pittsburgh, and we have some gardens that are far away in Erie, North Huntingdon, Altoona, State College and even farther away in Harrisburg,” said Lynne McGuire-Olzack, the conservancy’s volunteer coordinator. “This is the first time we don’t have a volunteer in State College.”

Proactive Policing Prevents Problems At Arts Fest

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Being proactive is always better than reactive. Especially in law enforcement.  A certain borough in Western Montgomery County springs to mind for always taking a reactive approach to crime.  Maybe a field trip to State College is in order. Apparently, they got the memo up there.

 — The crime numbers over the weekend of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts show a dip in some areas but an increase in others.

State College police Lt. Chris Fishel compared the activity to a football weekend as he unveiled the numbers to members of the media Monday.

“This is actually a good thing,” he said. Fishel said it could point to more proactive involvement of officers making self-initiated stops rather than constantly responding to dispatched calls.

The total number of police calls in 2014 came in at 235, up from 171 in 2013.

Weather Will Be A Bit Cooler Next Week, But Nowhere Near Icy

The logo of the United States National Weather...

The logo of the United States National Weather Service. The source page states that is not an “official” version but it looks very close to the version used on NWS’s website. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The term “polar vortex” has crept back into the news as a mass of cooler air threatens to descend on the Great Lakes and farther south. But experts are dismissing that talk as so much, uh, hot air.

If the long-range forecasts hold true — and they often don’t — it’ll be a bit cooler than normal and you won’t have to run the air conditioner. That’s about it.

“I would shy away from using the term polar vortex,” said Tim Axford, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Pittsburgh. “Over the past six months that term has been used a lot and gotten a lot of media buzz for something that happens quite often.”

What may happen is a dip in the air currents that will send cooler air from Canada, giving us a few days of high and low temperatures about 10 degrees below normal, Mr. Axford said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/07/12/Weather-will-be-a-bit-cooler-next-week-not-nowhere-near-icy/stories/201407120015#ixzz37GuhWCLC

Tornado Confirmed Near New Albany: Over 1,000 Customers Remained Without Power Wednesday

Map of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, USA with...

Map of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, USA with township and municipal bondaries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down near New Albany Tuesday evening.

Tuesday’s storms blew a mobile home on Marsh Road off its foundation, collapsed a barn across the street, knocked down trees and power lines in several areas and caused the loss of power to thousands of electric customers, over 1,000 of whom were still without power Wednesday.

Downed trees and other storm damage was also reported in Overton Township, in the Wyalusing area and in Sullivan County.

A National Weather Service storm survey team confirmed Wednesday that a tornado occurred Tuesday in the New Albany area with damage of EF-1 magnitude, according to the NWS at Binghamton, N.Y. An EF-1 tornado has wind speeds of 86 to 110 miles per hour.

Read more: http://thedailyreview.com/news/tornado-confirmed-near-new-albany-over-1-000-customers-remained-without-power-wednesday-1.1716593

Festival Prep Kicks Into High Gear

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Setup for large events like the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and Philipsburg Heritage Days can create nail-biting situations.

Heritage Days Chairman Jim Pollock watched several years ago as a trailer traveled down Front Street facing the wrong direction. No damage was done, but it could have ended in disaster.

“He was a new vendor, and when he first pulled in, he would have been serving toward the sidewalk instead of the street,” Pollock said. “We tried to tell him how to pull out and come back, but he came down wrong and could have taken out several trailers.”

That was a challenge, Pollock said, “so we have to be clear in our direction, especially for new vendors each year when everyone wants to hook up at the same time with over 100 trailers. You have to keep your composure.”

Four Nabbed In Canton Heroin Delivery Bust

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bradford County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bradford County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suspect says she supplies ‘all of the kids,’ police say

TROY, PA – Four Canton residents have been jailed following a heroin delivery bust in the Canton area by the Bradford County Drug Task Force.

One of the women who was charged, Barbara Kennedy of Canton, told a police officer that she was the biggest heroin dealer in the area and supplied “all of the kids in the area,” according to court papers filed with the office of Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Wilcox of Troy.

Those charged include the following individuals:

- Barbara Christine Kennedy, 45, of East Tioga Street, Canton

- Samantha Lynn Laudenslager, 22, of East Tioga Street, Canton

- Thomas Rice, 58, of North Center Street, Canton

- Bobbi Rice, no age given, of North Center Street, Canton

Read more: http://thedailyreview.com/news/four-nabbed-in-canton-heroin-delivery-bust-1.1713141

York Lawmaker: CRIZ Decision A ‘Setback’

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United State...

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chance that York City will get a shot at a City Revitalization Improvement Zone designation this year just got much slimmer.

During the debate over the state’s 2014-15 spending plan, lawmakers nixed a proposal that would have opened the next round of CRIZ applications to more cities earlier than originally planned.

The version of the fiscal code approved by the state Senate included three new CRIZ designations in 2014 and two more in 2015, said state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City.

But, Schreiber said, Republican members of the House Rules Committee voted to remove “anything having to do with CRIZ” from its version of the fiscal code, a companion bill to the state’s annual budget.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26094527/york-lawmaker-criz-decision-setback

Geisinger Health System Freezes Open Positions

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montour County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montour County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Geisinger Health System this spring temporarily froze about 400 open positions, bracing for an estimated $50 million reduction in profitability in fiscal year 2015.

The decision reflects cuts in federal reimbursement payments and the health system’s effort to extensively evaluate each opening, officials said.

About 225 positions remain unfilled, with about 30 percent of those jobs located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, said chief human resource officer Amy Brayford in an emailed statement.

She said the openings span the entire health system, which serves more than 2.6 million residents across 44 counties in central and Northeastern Pennsylvania. Most of the positions do not provide direct patient care.

Geisinger Health System employs about 21,000 people.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/geisinger-freezes-open-positions-1.1714049

Get Ready To Whine About The Weather — Again

Summertime, and the livin’‍ is … steamy?

Welcome to Summer 2014 as The Old Farmer’s Almanac and its rival publication, the Farmers’‍ Almanac, forecast it.

Summer, which officially began at 6:51 a.m. today will be scorching hot and unbearably humid with thunderstorms soaking here and throughout the entire eastern section of the United States, the publications predict.

Wait. You don’t like that? Then perhaps you’‍d prefer the National Weather Service’s more temperate long-range prediction. Its forecast says the Pittsburgh region likely will have a typical summer for temperature and precipitation.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/06/21/Get-ready-to-whine-about-the-weather-again/stories/201406170159#ixzz35I0aT5Er

Pennsylvania’s Stagnant 2013 Growth Has Political Repercussions

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’‍s economy stalled last year, according to a report from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Pennsylvania’‍s real gross domestic product, an indicator of general economic conditions, grew just 0.7 percent in 2013. Only three states and Washington, D.C., saw slower growth.

Pennsylvania was also out-performed by its neighbors, West Virginia and Ohio, which saw 5.1 and 1.8 percent growth respectively. West Virginia has now outgrown Pennsylvania for six straight years, and Ohio has for two. Even struggling New Jersey beat out the Keystone State, posting 1.1 percent growth.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/06/19/Pennsylvania-s-stagnant-2013-growth-has-political-repercussions/stories/201406190114#ixzz356R8ZzWX

Local Services Tax Could Triple Under Act 47 Plan

HARRISBURG — People who work in Scranton and other distressed municipalities could see a $52 annual tax triple under a new Senate amendment.

Lawmakers want to steer Act 47 municipalities to levy a higher local services tax as an alternative to a commuter tax.

The distressed cities legislation cleared a first Senate hurdle Wednesday with a comprehensive amendment added by the Local Government Committee.

The committee’s action is the latest step in an effort to overhaul the Act 47 program for fiscally distressed municipalities. Scranton, Nanticoke, West Hazleton and Plymouth Twp. have Act 47 status. Shamokin is seeking to enter the program.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/tax-could-triple-under-act-47-plan-1.1705643

20 Face Charges In Drug Sweep In Tamaqua

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TAMAQUA, PA – Arrest papers and pictures of suspects in hand, officers knocked on doors in the Tamaqua area Monday morning, taking more than a dozen people into custody on drug charges.

At least one defendant was arrested for drug possession, while most of the defendants are accused of actually selling drugs, according to Schuylkill County District Attorney Christine Holman, who along with Tamaqua police Chief Rick Weaver and members of the county drug task force orchestrated the effort.

In total, 17 warrants were served, though 20 are facing charges. The arrests came after months of police investigations involving undercover and controlled drug purchases of narcotics, some of which involved video-recorded purchases for the sale of methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

Holman, who sat through all of Monday’s arraignments, personally asked that each person be held on high bail, stating over and over again that her office and law enforcement are taking a tough stance on drugs in the county and considers those dealing to be a danger to the community.

Read more: http://republicanherald.com/news/20-face-charges-in-drug-sweep-in-tamaqua-1.1704236

Cross-State Cost On Pennsylvania Turnpike In 2015: $46.05

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrenda...

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrendale (30) Toll Stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will increase 5 percent in 2015, effective Jan. 4.

The decision by the Turnpike Commission Tuesday to hike tolls for the seventh year in a row means the cash toll to drive from the Ohio border to the New Jersey border will be $46.05 for passenger cars, up from the current $43.85

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140618_Cross-state_cost_on_Pa__Turnpike_in_2015___46_05.html#oMutHh3mv0r47KXy.99

‘Devastating For Our Industry’: Pig Virus Affects Local Farmers, Market Prices, Grange Fair

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Charlie Hall sells pigs, customers never set foot on his Unionville-area farm.

“We actually meet them half a mile away and transfer the pigs directly from one trailer to another,” Hall said.

The threat of a growing pig disease has local farmers embracing biosecurity measures to protect their farms and livelihoods.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, is pushing up pork prices and prompting action on the national level.

Feds Raid Asian Restaurants In State College For Undocumented Workers

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Local, state and federal law enforcement are raiding a number of Asian restaurants Thursday in State College, and at least 13 people have been detained in what one federal official says is an investigation of undocumented workers.

Investigators at one scene said the activity is part of a targeted federal investigation, but declined further comment.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security truck is at the State College police department and officials there referred questions to immigration and customs enforcement investigators.

State Attorney General’s office investigators are also reported to be involved.

‘One Of The Most Special Places On Earth’: Raystown Lake Celebrates 40 Years With Weekend Events

English: The dam and spillway at Raystown Lake...

English: The dam and spillway at Raystown Lake on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, USA. The dam was constructed in 1978 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and hydroelectric power generation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This weekend, Huntingdon County will celebrate four decades of life on the water as Raystown Lake hits the big four-zero. The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau has an array of activities and entertainment planned all weekend to celebrate the popular recreation destination. Featuring behind-the-scenes tours of the dam, a Battle of the Bands, various demonstrations, cruises and fireworks, it is all but guaranteed that this will be one birthday bash that will not be soon forgotten.

“June 6 marks the 40th anniversary of the day Vice President Gerald Ford dedicated the dam that forms Raystown Lake in 1974,” said Matt Price, the executive director of the HCVB. “The lake’s history goes back more than 60 years, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers first proposed constructing a high-level dam in the valley of the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in the late 1940s.”

The largest lake entirely set within the commonwealth, the sheer size of Raystown is impressive and is more than capable of accommodating everything the HCVB has in store for the weekend.

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