Study: Poor Health Habits Prevalent In Northeast Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A project aimed at establishing a benchmark of regional residents’ health reinforced something already known — Northeastern Pennsylvania residents, generally speaking, are not very healthy.

The study, conducted by the Scranton-based Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, was done so the effects of the Marcellus Shale industry on the region’s health can be gauged in the future.

“We wanted to create a baseline on the health of the community to use as a benchmark against future studies to see what effects, if any, and to what extent the industry will have had on the region’s health,” said Bob Durkin, president of the Cancer Institute.

Dr. Samuel Lesko, principal investigator for the survey, said a variety of issues related to “fracking” and other processes used to produce natural gas have contributed to community concerns about potential adverse health outcomes.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/405891/Study:-Poor-health-habits-prevalent-in-region

One Dead, Thousands Without Power; Roads Remain Closed In NEPA

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8-year-old Susquehanna County boy died Monday when wind from superstorm Sandy knocked a tree limb onto him north of Montrose, authorities said.

And while widespread power outages have left nearly 150,000 in the dark, Northeast Pennsylvania, for the most part, escaped the devastation Sandy left in many other areas.

“We can report back that everything is in really good shape,” Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien said at a 6 a.m. briefing.

In Lackawanna County, eleven 911 dispatchers and two supervisors handled 1,313 calls from 3 p.m. Monday through 6 this morning, with downed power lines being the main source of problems.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/one-dead-thousands-without-power-roads-remain-closed-1.1395736

State Extends Deadline For Scranton Recovery Plan After PEL Raises Concerns

Hours after receiving a “rejection” of its revised recovery plan by a state-appointed recovery coordinator, Scranton City Council on Thursday forged ahead with introducing the plan anyway.

The council voted 3-1 to introduce an ordinance to implement the revised plan that was agreed upon last Friday by Mayor Chris Doherty, council President Janet Evans and council finance chairman Frank Joyce.

The plan then was sent for review to the city’s Act 47 recovery coordinator, Pennsylvania Economy League, which also would have to OK the plan before it would take effect.

On Thursday, shortly before the council’s meeting, PEL issued a letter to the city detailing numerous concerns about the recovery plan, chiefly that much of its revenue sources that are alternatives to real estate taxes – such as a commuter tax and sales taxes and significantly increased voluntary donations from nonprofits – are not guaranteed to occur. PEL wants to the city to identify backup revenues sources should speculative revenue sources never materialize.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/state-extends-deadline-for-scranton-recovery-plan-after-pel-raises-concerns-1.1353735

Default Looms For Scranton Parking Authority As City Council Refuses To Pay SPA’s $1.4 Million Debt

Default is looming for the Scranton Parking Authority as city council refuses to release $1.4 million the authority needs by June 1 to pay debt, officials said.

SPA notified the council last fall it would have a budget deficit in 2012 and would need council to fill the gap. Council set the funds aside in a contingency account that only council can release, thus forcing SPA and Mayor Chris Doherty’s administration to come back to council for the funds.

As the city backs the SPA debt in question – and with the June 1 deadline fast approaching – the administration on May 10 requested emergency legislation from the council for the $1.4 million.

But the council refused and demanded that SPA executive director Robert Scopelliti and city Business Administrator Ryan McGowan first appear before council on May 17 to explain why the funds are needed. Councilman Pat Rogan and council Solicitor Boyd Hughes went so far as to say SPA should be allowed to go into default.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/default-looms-for-scranton-parking-authority-as-city-council-refuses-to-pay-spa-s-1-4-million-debt-1.1318104