Ashland Christmas Tree Returns After Two Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

ASHLAND, PA — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Ashland with the return of the borough tree during the weekend.

The tree was not placed for the past two holidays due to safety concerns after high wind caused two trees to fall — fortunately, without injuries.

The tree placement is sponsored by the Ashland Rotary Club.

The Christmas tree is a major part of the holiday décor of the downtown, joining the many lighted decorations and Christmas banners placed by the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Christmas tree project, along with the annual Santa Claus visit and parade, was a long-standing tradition of the Ashland Kiwanis Club. When the Kiwanis disbanded in 2007, the Rotary club picked up the tree and parade projects.

Read more: http://republicanherald.com/news/ashland-christmas-tree-returns-after-two-years-1.1792596

Judges Affirm Rejection Of Hazleton Area International Cargo Airport

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

A Commonwealth Court panel dealt another blow Thursday to a proposed international cargo airport in the Hazleton area, as it upheld Schuylkill County Court’s rejection of a special exception for the facility.

In a 19-page opinion, the panel affirmed county Judge James P. Goodman’s determination that Gladstone Partners LLC, Pittsburgh, had not satisfied the necessary conditions for a special exception.

“The application as submitted did not meet the objective requirements of … (the county zoning ordinance),” President Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote in the panel’s opinion.

As a result, barring a successful appeal by Gladstone Partners to the full Commonwealth Court or the state Supreme Court, plans for the airport have ground to a halt.

Read more: http://republicanherald.com/news/judges-affirm-rejection-of-airport-1.1776451

Three Birdsboro Residents Arrested In Drug Ring Investigation

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

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

HARRISBURG, PA — A joint investigation between state and local officials uncovered a large-scale drug ring that spanned three counties.

The results of the year-long “Operation Tourniquet” lead to the arrests of “48 mid- and street-level drug dealers,” a press release from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office said.

The dealers, the release said, “were part of two organizations, who were loosely tied and responsible for distributing drugs throughout at least three counties including Berks, Lancaster, and Schuylkill.”

Three Birdsboro residents where among the alleged “street-level” dealers who were arrested.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20140624/three-birdsboro-residents-arrested-in-drug-ring-investigation

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

Women Admit To Meth Production In Pottsville, Police Say

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two women were in jail Tuesday on charges they were producing methamphetamine in a Pottsville home.

Margaret Ney, 61, of 218 N. 12th St., Pottsville, was arraigned on felony charges of possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, conspiracy, risking a catastrophe and liquefied ammonia gas-precursors and chemicals, along with misdemeanor offenses of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

Jada McClure, 28, of 626 Wyoming St., Box 142, Tuscarora, was arraigned on felony charges of possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance and liquefied ammonia gas-precursors and chemicals; and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

Pottsville police Chief Richard F. Wojciechowsky said the arrests result from an active investigation officers were involved in, both criminal and for city code violations, including no electricity and no running water, at Ney’s home

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/women-admit-to-meth-production-in-pottsville-police-say-1.1686377

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Pottsville Mayor Describes City’s Challenge To Fix Streets

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While giving his first State of the City address Thursday night, Pottsville Mayor James T. Muldowney deviated from his 11-page speech only once.

Before giving the crowd of more than 75 in council chambers an update on streets and public improvements, Muldowney, 56, said: “My wife told me I should ad lib a little bit. So, God bless you, Ron. And you too, Dan.”

He was referring to Councilman Ronald J. Moser, who heads up the city’s streets and public improvements department, and the challenge Moser and city officials, including Superintendent of Streets Daniel E. Kelly, will face as a result of the wicked winter.

“Dan Kelly and the men that work in this department have the skills and determination to help our residents brave the worst of weather,” Muldowney said.

Read more: http://republicanherald.com/news/mayor-describes-city-s-challenge-to-fix-streets-1.1638282

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Known For Its Beer, Yuengling Brings Back Its … Ice Cream

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

People have been screaming for the ice cream, and Yuengling‘s Ice Cream listened.

On Thursday, the ice cream with the same name as the Pottsville-based brewery began its first run of batches after a 29-year hiatus. The company, based in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County, originally intended to start production in March, but it moved up the date in response to strong demand from retailers that wanted to get it on shelves sooner.

“I think we have one of the most popular nonexistent products on the market,” said David Yuengling, 51, president of the company and second cousin of brewery owner Dick Yuengling.

The 1-quart containers of Yuengling’s Ice Cream are being produced at Leiby’s Dairy Inc. in Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, and they are expected to be on shelves by mid-Feburary at Weis Markets, Acme Markets and select independent grocery stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_24933307/known-its-beer-yuengling-brings-back-its-ice

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Termination Hearing For YouTubing Gilberton Police Chief Continued After Gun Falls From Supporter’s Holster

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

GILBERTON, PA – The termination hearing of Gilberton police Chief Mark Kessler, whose curse-riddled YouTube videos about gun rights have gone viral, was stopped Thursday after a loaded handgun fell from a bystander’s holster onto the concrete floor.

The gun did not go off, but Kessler’s attorney, Joseph Nahas, directed that person to leave the room packed with 40 people. After a short private meeting, officials announced that the hearing would be reconvened at a later date at a larger room at the Schuylkill County Courthouse.

“We’re in a very small room. It’s made of concrete. If a gun were to be chambered and land on concrete, like it just did, someone can be injured,” Nahas said.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-gilberton-pa-police-chief-guns-termination-20131010,0,4249276.story#ixzz2hRDYfE6A
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Schuylkill County Police Chief’s Suspension Extended

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

GILBERTON, PA – The suspension of a Schuylkill County police chief was extended indefinitely Friday.  Gilberton Chief Mark Kessler is accused of posting online videos in which he fired borough-owned automatic weapons while shouting obscenities.

The Gilberton Borough Council had been scheduled to hold a disciplinary hearing but had to postpone it because of a scheduling conflict, Kessler’s attorney said.

Attorney Joseph Nahas said Kessler’s disciplinary hearing will most likely be held next week.  The indefinite suspension is expected to remain in place until both sides can meet.

Nahas and Kessler himself have both said they expect the chief to be fired.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=505474

Unions Call For Yuengling Boycott After Owner’s Support Of Right-To-Work Law

English: Finished bottles of Traditional Lager...

English: Finished bottles of Traditional Lager being placed into cases at Yuengling Brewery, Pottsville, PA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In response to a statement made Monday by the head of D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. calling for a “right-to-work” law, a local labor union leader is calling for a Yuengling boycott.

“We’re against anyone who’s for a right-to-work law in this state,” Gary Martin, Pottsville, vice president of Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, said Thursday.

Richard L. “Dick” Yuengling, president and owner of the Pottsville-based brewery, made the statement Monday at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon at the Harrisburg Hilton, according to The Associated Press.

Yuengling said Monday the state would attract more business if it adopted a right-to-work policy that would make it more difficult for unions to organize, according to the AP.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-yuengling-boycott-unions-right-to-work-20130830,0,113793.story#ixzz2dTUro2mu
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Blaze Destroys Mahanoy City Firetruck, Guts Fire Station

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

A fire that broke out this morning in Mahanoy City destroyed an aerial truck and gutted the historic fire station, hours before a parade of 485 vehicles was to commence in celebration of the community’s 150th anniversary and annual firefighters convention.

The fire broke out at about 4:35 a.m. at Washington Hook and Ladder Co., producing heavy, black smoke and extensive damage to the brick structure in Schuylkill County.  The aerial truck, which The Pottsville Republican Herald reports cost $249,500 in 2011, also was destroyed.

Two firefighters sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene, fire officials said Saturday morning.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-mahanoy-city-fire-truck-blaze-20130824,0,7659768.story#ixzz2ctxxU37N 
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Gilberton Suspends Police Chief Kessler For 30 Days Over YouTube Video

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

GILBERTON, Schuylkill County — If Mark Kessler wants to make any more bombastic YouTube videos, he has time to work on them.

Thirty days, to be exact.

That’s how long he’ll be off the job as Gilberton police chief for using the tiny coal town’s guns in a profanity-laced video that went viral after he posted it on the Web.

With people outside carrying semiautomatic guns and heckling one another over gun rights, Borough Council voted Wednesday night to suspend Kessler without pay.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-gilberton-police-chief-council-20130731,0,4092001.story#ixzz2agR6Yg3L
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North Schuylkill Distances Itself From Gilberton Police Chief Over YouTube Videos

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

The North Schuylkill Board of Education issued a statement late Thursday it does not “condone or agree” with the YouTube video of board member and Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler shooting restricted guns in a profanity-laced tirade.

“His thoughts and feelings portrayed in the content of the videos are not shared by any other member of this Board, the North Schuylkill School District, its administration and faculty and are his and his alone,” the statement said.

The one-paragraph statement, emailed by Board President Charles Hepler, indicated the board or district will not make any more comments and referred questions to Kessler and his attorney.

Kessler could not be reached for comment.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-gilberton-police-chief-north-schuylkill-respons-20130726,0,6158934.story

87 People Paddle Down The Schuylkill River For The Annual Sojourn

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — Nearly 90 people dragged their kayaks and canoes into the Schuylkill River around 9 a.m. Wednesday as they started the fifth day of the 15th Schuylkill River Sojourn.

The group camped out Tuesday night at Riverfront Park in the borough before paddling 17.8 miles to Mont Clare on Wednesday.

The 112-mile guided kayak and canoe trip started in 1999 after the Schuylkill River was named River of the Year buy the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

According to the group’s website, it takes seven days to reach the Philadelphia Boathouse Row from their launch site in Schuylkill Haven. The canoeists and kayakers paddle between 14 and 18 miles a day, stopping for lunch, then camping overnight.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130606/NEWS01/130609563/87-people-paddle-down-the-schuylkill-river-for-the-annual-sojourn#full_story

4 Kids, 2 Adults Die In Pottsville House Fire

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Six people are dead after flames tore through a single home in Pottsville around midnight Sunday.

Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner Joseph Pothering identified those killed as Eric Brown, 30, and his children Joy Brown, 8; Jeremiah Brown, 7; Emily Brown, 3; and, Elijah Brown, 2.

Also killed was Christina Thomas, 26, the children’s aunt and sister-in-law of Eric Brown.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/4-kids-2-adults-die-in-pottsville-house-fire-1.1488375

Yuengling Fights Back Over Philly Lawsuit

After D.G. Yuengling and Son became the biggest American-owned brewery, the Pottsville company celebrated last year with a “Here’s to you, Philly,” promotion during which it offered a free serving of its signature lager to bar patrons around Philadelphia.

The company said beer drinkers in the City of Brotherly Love helped revive the popularity of its historic brand, which has become one of the fastest-growing brews in the country.

So it seems fitting that the company’s fifth-generation owner, Dick Yuengling, said he was “the happiest guy in the beer business” until he found out the city he chose to celebrate his company’s success with has slapped the brewery with a lawsuit seeking more than $6 million.

The lawsuit stems from a disagreement between the city and Yuengling about whether the company has to pay Philadelphia’s business income and receipts tax, which is assessed on companies doing business in the city.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-yuengling-fires-back-20130207,0,3754013.story

Police Union, Pottsville City Council Share Ideas In Effort To Avoid Officer Layoffs

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following a one-hour, closed-door meeting Thursday night, members of Pottsville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 44 and the city council have come up with a few concepts that might save jobs, according to FOP President Brian Kotzmoyer.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Kotzmoyer said.

“Both sides realized we’re doing our best to try to avoid layoffs. The officers put forth some ideas about cost-savings initiatives and some things they can do to generate more revenue on our end,” said Councilman Mark Atkinson, who chairs the council’s public safety committee.

When asked for his thoughts after the meeting, Councilman Michael P. Halcovage, who chairs the finance committee, said: “We’re just throwing around ideas.  I can’t give you any specifics.”

Read more:  http://republicanherald.com/news/police-union-pottsville-council-share-ideas-in-effort-to-avoid-officer-layoffs-1.1413124

Photographer To Release Shenandoah Documentary This Fall

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer was on his way to the coal region to scout ideas for a film about working-class America, all hell was breaking loose in Shenandoah.

David Turnley remembered the call he received en route from New York City to Schuylkill County.

“As I was heading to the coal region, a friend of mine called and said, ‘You should go to Shenandoah, Pa., where four of the town’s star sons, all straight-A students and football players, have been charged with killing an undocumented Mexican immigrant,” Turnley recalled. “I thought, ‘Well, I guess I should go to Shenandoah.’ “

He stayed two years, filming, shooting photographs and documenting the events surrounding the beating death of Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala.

Read more: http://republicanherald.com/news/photographer-to-release-shenandoah-documentary-this-fall-1.1355046

Transit Bus Bursts Into Flames As It Enters Tamaqua; No One Hurt

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

Editor’s note:  Here’s something you don’t see every day!

A Schuylkill County public transit bus burst into flames Friday afternoon as it entered Tamaqua to pick up passengers, authorities said.

No one was injured. The Schuylkill Transportation System bus was empty except for the driver, and he jumped out at Broad and Swatara streets before the flames spread.

he 2:05 p.m. fire gutted the bus down to its seat frames. It was a charred shell after South Ward firefighters put out the flames.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/police/mc-f-tamaqua-transit-bus-gutted-in-fire-20120805,0,7069613.story

No Wegmans Stores On The Horizon For Berks County

Wegmans Food Markets

Wegmans Food Markets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County is in the cross hairs of grocery retailer Wegmans, but somehow the ninth-largest county in Pennsylvania has never been the target.

Now Berks falls between a new distribution hub in Schuylkill County and some of its stores.

This spring, the Rochester, N.Y., upscale grocer opened the $70 million warehouse in Cass and Foster townships, Wegmans’ third and largest warehouse in Schuylkill.

The company said in May that the move completes a distribution hub for fresh and frozen foods. More than 200 new employees were hired to staff it. The distribution hub was subsidized with state incentives of $731,650 in opportunity zone and job training money and job creation tax credits.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=394286