FIRST CONFIRMED CASE IN PENNSYLVANIA
Health officials reported the first confirmed case of the omicron variant in Pennsylvania on Friday, a man in his 30s from Philadelphia. The health department said the variant’s arrival was “not unexpected” in Philadelphia and that residents should “seriously reconsider” plans for indoor holiday gatherings. Much remains unknown about the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it can thwart vaccines and whether it makes people as sick as the original strain. People in at least five other states have tested positive for omicron, including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York. Word of Philadelphia’s omicron case came as Pennsylvania reports sharp increases in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
CHECKS AND BALANCES
A Transit Oversight Committee was created by Williamsport City Council and has been set to expand the legislative accountability of both River Valley Transit and city government. The ordinance, passed on second reading, last night received a unanimous vote. In layman’s terms, the ordinance is a series of checks and balances on River Valley Transit’s operations, a sore topic in Williamsport for some time. In fact, according to SUN Gazette, the years between 2009 and 2019 are under investigation by State Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the most recent audit failed to show much improvement. The ordinance takes effect Dec. 22 with the committee including three members of council, the mayor, the city controller, and the city’s director of finance.
UPDATED COVID-19 CASES LOCALLY
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Friday reported new COVID-19 cases. Clinton County reported 40 new cases. In Centre County 141 new cases were recorded. Lycoming County added 137 new cases. Northumberland County with 108 new cases, 32 in Snyder County ;34 in Union County and 11 in Montour.
LOCAL HOSPITAL PUSHED TO LIMITS
With numbers as nearly high as last December, Evangelical Community Hospital is full again with the current COVID surge, according to President and CEO Kendra Aucker. With patients who waited to get care, due to high volumes of people and long wait times at doctors and hospitals, they are now sicker than ever. Aucker reported their resources, staffing and even beds are pushed to their limits. To help the surge, Evangelical Community Hospital has created an ED surge clinic. According to an online media outlet, staffing shortages have also hurt the hospital. With the hospital reaching daily higher COVID numbers, Aucker stresses, “It’s important to get vaccinated, boosted, and do your part.”
LONG RANGE SNOW PREDICTION
AccuWeather’s white Christmas forecast looks ahead at the chances of a white Christmas across the contiguous U.S. AccuWeather’s team of long-range forecasters, looked to key patterns that could favor snow in time for the holidays this winter. Included in the snow prediction effort is La Nina, which is the phase in which sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean drop to lower-than-average levels for an extended period of time. Due to the La Niña storm track, however, they are two states most likely to have a higher-than-normal chance of a white Christmas, along with western Idaho and portions of Northern California and Nevada. The chances of snow on or around Christmas are lower for us, across the mid-Atlantic, as temperatures just may not be cold enough for snow to fall and remain on the ground.
VETO SUPPORT FOR PA GOVERNOR
Following Governor Tom Wolf’s veto of Senate Bill 565 yesterday, nearly a dozen law enforcement, domestic violence, minority and family advocacy organizations have expressed their support for the veto to strike down legislation that would have made it easier for concealed weapons to be carried throughout Pennsylvania by unvetted gun-holders.
LEFT OVER BUTTER SUGGESTION
Now that Thanksgiving is over, what are you going to do with your leftover 5 pounds of butter? For a second year, the Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania Farm Show invite Pennsylvanians to Butter Up! and try their hands at crafting a do-it-yourself butter sculpture. The contest, conducted on social media, will be open for submissions through Friday, December 17, 2021 at 12:00 PM. “Every year, millions tune in to see the unveiling of a 1,000-pound sculpture to kick off our annual Pennsylvania Farm Show,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “The Butter Up! contest is a perfect opportunity to engage the public in one of the most beloved traditions of the Pennsylvania Farm Show. In September, Redding unveiled the 2022 Farm Show theme, Harvesting More.
2022 PA FARM SHOW IN JANUARY
The 2022 Pennsylvania Farm Show will feature a return of fan-favorites like the 1,000-pound butter sculpture, famous Farm Show Food Court, bunny hopping and sheep shearing competitions (among hundreds of other competitive agricultural events), cooking demonstrations at the PA Preferred® Culinary Connection, and more than one million square feet of hands-on agriculture education opportunities and chances to engage with the people who power Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry.
FARRANDSVILLE ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
The Pa Department of Transportation will soon hold an Open House/Public Plans Display for the Farrandsville Road Improvement Project. This information meet will present the revised plans for future improvements to Farrandsville Road in Clinton County. The displays for the Farrandsville Road Retaining Wall with Pedestrian Facility incorporate development of the alignment based on environmental contrants constructability concepts, and engineering requirements. Right-of-way impacts will be available for review and comment. The meeting is set for Tuesday, December 14 at the Dunnstown Firehall on Route 150 from 5 pm to 7 pm.
GRANT MONEY FOR SUNBURY MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY
A $1 million state grant has been awarded to the Sunbury Municipal Authority with the help from Senator John Gordner and State Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver. The Sunbury Transfer Station will get a much needed upgrade to increase daily operation levels, according to the Daily Item. According to city officials, the upgrade will allow the facilities to accept 300,000 thereby allowing local waste collectors use of the facilities, as well.