Pains To Bring Gains: Berks Road Project Soon To End

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

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

When George Zeppos opened his restaurant, The Hitching Post, on Route 183 in Bern Township two years ago, there was a perpetual traffic jam between the bulk of Berks County‘s population and his dining room.

The interchange with Route 222 a little more than a half-mile south of the restaurant had been prone to backups for years.  But the usual turmoil was aggravated by construction on a new overpass and highway ramps.

PennDOT expects to be finished with the project by the end of this month, a big relief to the thousands of drivers who have sat in backups on Routes 183 and 222 since it started in April 2010.

Zeppos said business has been good despite the construction, but he’s bracing for growth when it’s over.  Crews did a great job moving traffic through, he said, but perception is tough to fight.

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Violence Prevention Program Targets Reading’s Northeast

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A joint effort to reduce youth violence is targeting the northeast section of the city, an area where most Reading kids will end up attending school.

For members of the Reading Youth Violence Prevention Project, who recently met at Albright College to discuss goals for 2013, the logic was simple.

Northeast Reading is home to Reading High and the Citadel intermediate high school.  There’s also Northeast Middle School, CHOR Day Academy, I-LEAD Charter School and four elementary schools.

“The northeast sector is not considered the neediest per se, but there are perhaps more assets to build upon,” said Laura M. Welliver, project coordinator at St. Joseph Medical Center.  “There are more opportunities to stabilize, using the schools as anchors.”

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Reading Weighs Accepting Grant For More Firefighters

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We can’t predict the future. Take the money, hire the people and hope for the best!

Spending a $4 million federal grant to the city is not as easy as it seems.

The problem is not what the grant would do – hire 30 new and badly needed firefighters for the next two years, adding more personnel to each truck – but what happens to those firefighters when the grant expires.

Fire Chief David Hollinger and City Council labored over the issues Monday night.

On the positive side, the grant does not require the city to keep the grant-paid firefighters after the grant runs out in March 2015.

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Berks Hospitals Get High Ratings

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Medical treatment available at Reading Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center is as good as or better than any other hospital in Pennsylvania.

But the cost of that treatment is more expensive at Reading Hospital, 16 percent more expensive on average.

The Hospital Performance Report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council measures the in-hospital death and readmission rate of all hospitals in the state in 2011.  A readmission is defined as being admitted to the hospital within 30 days of being hospitalized for the same condition.

It also measures the average cost for treating some common medical conditions.

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