To Stay Open, Hotel Brunswick Must Meet 21 Conditions

2114_57086842791_2010_nIt’s time for the Hotel Brunswick in downtown Lancaster to clean up its act, according to a judge’s order signed this morning.

Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright approved a series of agreements between the city and hotel owners that would essentially clean up numerous ongoing issues at 151 N. Queen St.

Wright ordered that 21 specific improvements be made or ownership risks a future court hearing that could shutter the hotel, deemed a “nuisance” last year.

The city and district attorney’s office each filed complaints last year alleging the hotel as a site of drug use, brawls and underage drinking.

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As Honey Bee Numbers Drop, U.S. Sees Threat To Food Supply

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts...

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts nectar from an Aster flower using its proboscis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Honey bees, which play a key role in pollinating a wide variety of food crops, are in sharp decline in the United States, due to parasites, disease and pesticides, said a federal report released on Thursday.

Genetics and poor nutrition are also hurting the species, which help farmers produce crops worth some $20 billion to $30 billion a year.

Honey bee colonies have been dying and the number of colonies has more than halved since 1947, said the report by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department.

The decline raises doubt about whether honey bees can fulfill their crucial role in pollinating crops that play a role in about one-third of all food and beverages sold in the United States, the report said.

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U.S. Employers Add 165,000 Jobs; Rate Falls To 7.5 Percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, and hiring was much stronger in the previous two months than the government first estimated.  The job increases helped reduce the unemployment rate from 7.6 percent to a four-year low of 7.5 percent.

The report today from the Labor Department was a reassuring sign that the U.S. job market is improving despite higher taxes and government spending cuts that took effect this year.

The government revised up its estimate of job gains in February and March by a combined 114,000.  It now says employers added 332,000 jobs in February and 138,000 in March.  The economy has created an average of 208,000 jobs a month from November through April — above the 138,000 added in the previous six months.

The number of unemployed fell 83,000 to 11.7 million.

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Studies On 2 Berks Highways To Shape Work Plans

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Studies to find out what it would take to make two of Berks County’s most-congested highways a quicker go are now underway.

PennDOT consultants are examining the seven-mile stretch of Route 222 between the Kutztown Bypass in Maxatawny Township and the Trexlertown Bypass in Lehigh County to see how much it would cost to widen it to four lanes.

At the same time, another team is looking at the West Shore Bypass between Wyomissing and Exeter Township to determine what changes could improve traffic flow.

Both studies were discussed Thursday during a meeting of the Reading Area Transportation Study, the panel that plans how state and federal transportation funds are spent in Berks.

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Crews Prepare Berks County Courthouse, Services Center For Renovations

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with ...

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with Berks County courthouse on left; July 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The crew of five men put one piece of pipe after another into fittings on other pipes, building a framework of heavy duty steel on a parapet 19 stories above ground level.

They have been working on it since Monday. By the end of next week, steel I-beams will be attached securely to the framework, known as swing-stage scaffolding.  The I-beams will jut horizontally from the very top of the Berks County Courthouse.

Soon afterward workers will begin descending in baskets attached to the I-beams to give the building a $6.9 million face-lift.

The courthouse was completed in 1932. Parts of the exterior were refurbished in the 1970s and in 1992.  But this is believed to be the first total overhaul of the building’s skin.

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