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News Briefs

  • A special election will be held Tuesday, Jan. 31, to replace state Sen. John Gordner.Gordner, a republican, represented the 27th State Senate District, which covers Columbia, Northumberland, Luzerne, Montour and Snyder counties.Republican Lynda Schlegel Culver is facing Democrat Patricia Lawton for the seat.Gordner resigned to become counsel to Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward.Culver has represented the 108th District, which covers Northumberland and Snyder counties, in the state House since 2011.Lawton is a speech pathologist from Columbia County.
  • The Scranton Rail Restoration Coalition is asking supporters of restoring passenger train service between Scranton and New York City to sign a petition.The petition closes on Tuesday, Jan. 31. The coalition plans to send it to the Federal Railroad Administration. That department chooses what projects will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes billions for rail service.As of Friday, Jan. 27, the petition had 6,839 signatures — or 88% of the organization’s goal.To sign the petition, visit scrantonrail.com.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection lifted a drought watch for five counties.The counties are Carbon, Luzerne, Northampton, Potter and Schuylkill counties.Palmerton Municipal Water Authority in Carbon County remains on voluntary restrictions. However, groundwater indicators for that county have returned to normal and precipitation has been sufficient to support groundwater recharge, the department said. The office – known as DEP – also says hydrologic conditions are normal statewide.
  • The City of Scranton has issued a code blue for two nights and will have an emergency shelter open.Due to the forecast of overnight temperatures dropping below 20 degrees with windchill and inclement weather, the city will be under a code blue on Sunday, Jan. 22 and Monday, Jan. 23.Weston Field House at 982 Providence Road will be open as an emergency shelter from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m. each night and will be run by Keystone Mission.
  • Reading-based Alvernia University unveiled a new location in downtown Pottsville this week.Pottsville CollegeTowne at 500 Progress Avenue spans 17,000 square feet of classroom, office, lab and community space.The location offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs along with certification programs. According to a statement from the university, Alvernia’s School of Graduate and Adult Education will use the Pottsville campus to address the needs of Schuykill County’s adult student population, including 23.5% of county residents over the age of 25 who started college but did not earn a bachelor’s degree and the 12.6% of residents who started college and did not earn any degree.
  • On Jan. 18, the Lackawanna County Commissioners approved a contract to expand internet access in low-income housing developments. Icon Technologies, an IT and internet company in Carbondale, was awarded $620,445.20 for the “Housing Authority Wi-Fi Project.” The goal is to increase internet access to residents at housing developments across Lackawanna County. The Community Development Block Grant is expected to fund construction of internet access points.
  • A fundraiser for a Lycoming County school nonprofit will take place next month. The Harlem Wizards will be playing to support the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. The basketball team, which has been performing since 1962, will show off their talent with acrobatics and trick plays. The fundraiser benefit game will be held at Williamsport Area High School. Tickets and more information can be found at WASDeducationfoundation.org.
  • The City of Scranton is asking the community for input on the future of Nay Aug Park.Those interested can voice their ideas at a public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Nay Aug Community Room at 600 Arthur Avenue. The meeting is hosted by the city’s Parks & Recreation department.The Hill Neighborhood Association will also discuss outdoor equity at the gathering.
  • A man incarcerated in a state prison in Northeast Pennsylvania died last week. The institution announced his death Tuesday. Thirty-seven-year-old Matthew Boyer was found unresponsive in his cell at State Correctional Institution Dallas on Jan. 13, according to the Department of Corrections. In a release, prison superintendent Kevin Ransom reported that Boyer had been at Dallas in Luzerne County since August 2021 on a third-degree murder conviction. The DOC said state police have been notified and will conduct an investigation, and the Luzerne County Coroner's Office will determine the cause of death.
  • Pike County Children & Youth is seeking Foster Parents, now known as resource parents.Resource Parents provide a family life experience in an approved household for children who temporarily cannot remain in their homes. Children placed in resource homes come from different cultural backgrounds and situations.Resource parents must be at least 21 years of age and a U.S. Citizen. Those interested have to obtain criminal history, child abuse and FBI clearances as well as pass a physical examination, among other requirements. Six hours of training is also required.For more information, contact Carla Brown, Pike County’s Resource Parent Coordinator, at cbrown@sam-inc.org or 570-296-3446.
  • The City of Scranton has issued a code blue for two nights and will have an emergency shelter open.Due to the forecast of overnight temperatures dropping below 20 degrees with windchill and inclement weather, the city will be under a code blue overnight on Friday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 14.Weston Field House at 982 Providence Road will be open as an emergency shelter from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m. each night and will be run by Keystone Mission.
  • A few craft breweries in the region won awards at the Pennsylvania Farm Show over the weekend. Beer-makers in Schuylkill, Wayne and Northampton counties all won categories in Harrisburg. Stoker’s Brewery in Tamaqua won first place in the Belgian ale category for their Divine Belgian Golden Ale. In the darker lager category, Wallenpaupack Brewery in Hawley took home first prize for their Munich-Style Dunkel, For the Love of Lager. Lost Tavern Brewing in Bethlehem topped the stout category for their Slashing Pumpkins Stout. For the full list of winners, visit: 2023 Farm Show beer winners.