PennDOT allows public to view funding plan

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has released a website to the public that compares competing plans to spend billions of dollars in new transportation money, three days after The Associated Press reported it had limited the information to just lawmakers. The department made it public Friday. That’s more than two weeks after lawmakers got access to a password-protected website showing projects it expects to complete with the new money. It had refused numerous AP requests for the same information over that period. PennDOT’s website shows highway and bridge projects that would be completed under two plans: a $2.5 billion-a-year Senate plan the House is considering and a $1.8 billion-a-year plan that…

Geisinger directors approve Lewistown merger

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DANVILLE — Geisinger Health System is expanding its presence in central Pennsylvania. The Geisinger Health System Foundation’s Board of Directors approved a merger Thursday with Lewistown Hospital. The Sentinel of Lewistown  reports that terms of the agreement call for Geisinger to keep Lewistown Hospital open as an acute care facility. Investing more than $50 million in capital improvements and keeping the School of Nursing open are among other terms of the deal. Geisinger president Glenn Steele Jr. says the system is looking forward to building on its long presence in the Lewistown market. The merger must now be approved by state health officials and the attorney general’s office. The deal is expected to be finalized…

Union: Privatizing liquor not a good idea

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  HARRISBURG – There are several plans pending in Harrisburg which would privatize the state’s liquor stores. Neither, are a good idea, according to Wendell Young, the head of the state’s local of the United Food and Commercial Workers. In a telephone interview, he told Newsradio 1070 WKOK Friday that the state’s liquor control system is a classic example of trying to fix something that is not broken.   He said the stores, “Provide for safer communities, better outcomes, lots of stories with good selection, and most importantly, benefits all Pennsylvanian’s, because its very profitable over and above all expenses; it delivers hunderds of millions of dollars to the benefit of the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.”…

Search for chamber president to start local

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SELINSGROVE — The new interim president of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce says he looks forward to working with the staff, making the transition a smooth one. Jim Barbarich is a long-time board member and current board of directors’ chairman.  He lives in Danville and is President and CEO of MC Federal Credit Union in Danville.  “The board felt that it would be good to place me with this additional responsibility so we can have continuity in the plans we have set forth for the chamber.” He became the interim president Monday after former president Charlie Ross announced his resignation.  Ross, who came to The Valley from Western Maryland, had been president of…

Water main break keeps lanes closed on Route 15

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LEWISBURG — One lane is closed in each direction along Route 15 while crews continue to work on a water main break south of Lewisburg.  The water main break happened Wednesday afternoon near North Armory Boulevard. One lane southbound and one lane northbound remain open to traffic.  The closure is expected to last until the evening.  Closure of the center lane is expected to be in place through Saturday. (Sara Bartlett)   Follow

Valley air pollution alert issued

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – An air pollution alert is in effect for five Pennsylvania regions.   The Department of Environmental Protection says in a release that a Code Orange ozone alert is in effect Friday for the Lehigh Valley, Liberty-Clairton, Pittsburgh, the Susquehanna Valley, and Mercer County.   Young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems such as asthma should limit outdoor activities. Ground-level ozone, or smog, forms during warm weather when pollution from vehicles, power plants and other sources heats up, making it hard for some people to breathe.   The alert system uses colors to report air quality. Green signifies good; yellow is moderate; orange means unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and…

Shikellamy school taxes going up…again

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SUNBURY– An increase in real estate tax and cuts to classroom aides–that’s the bottom line the 2013-2014 Shikellamy budget. During Thursday night’s meeting, the board voted 7 to 2 in favor of the $39.5 million budget which includes a nearly 4% real estate tax increase, that will mean about $50 more for the average real estate tax payer. At the meeting, so called ‘paraeducators’ talked about the cuts they’ve faced lately. Their hours are reduced from 6.5 to 5.7 hours per day. Chloe Osman, Para educator for Shikellamy middle school spoke about her concerns for students saying, “The kids are the ones who are going to suffer.” She said, “They’re not thinking about what is…