Mayor in hot water after arrest

Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz is making more headlines for all the wrong reasons. The unpopular mayor was involved in a car accident on Saturday afternoon. Petykiewicz was under the influence of alcohol and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of causing deadly harm by intoxicated use of motor vehicle.

The incident occurred Saturday shortly after 1 p.m. at the intersection of State Highway 117 and Fonebone Rd. in Frontenac, Schuylkill County. Petekiewicz was seen by witness Alice Q. Margarian, 33, to hesitate at the westbound stop sign and proceed into the intersection, striking a 1997 Buick Le Sabre on the drivers’s side.

The driver of the Buick has been identified as 42-year-old Robert Doane of Kittatinny.

Doane suffered a head wound that caused severe bleeding, broken ribs, a broken jaw, and several abrasions and contusions to the head, chest and neck. It was feared by paramedics that Doane might have sustained spinal trauma. A Flight For Life helicopter was summoned to the scene. Doane was flown to Northeast Pennsylvania Hospital and Trauma Center in Wilkes-Barre.

Doane remains in satisfactory condition according to a nursing supervisor at NPHTC.

Petykiewicz, 56, was driving a 2006 Ford Explorer that sustained heavy damage in the crash. Police approached the vehicle they found Petykiewicz conscious but disoriented. He did not suffer any severe injuries

Futher inspection found Petykiewicz to have slurred speech and a half-empty bottle of vodka on the passenger’s side floor. The smell of alcohol permeated from the car and the driver’s breath.

Police asked the mayor if he had been drinking, he responded

“You’d be drinking too, if you were me.” He then said, “Do you think we cold just keep this quiet? I’m the mayor of Kittatinny.”

Petykiewicz consented to a breath test. His results indicated a .14 blood alcohol content, almost twice the legal limit. Police issued a field sobriety test soon after, where he stumbled and fell over multiple times.

Petyciewicz was examined by paramedics and soon placed under arrest and transported to the Schuykill County Jail. He was booked and processed for criminal charges. He exercised his right to remain silent and did not wish to call and attorney. His wife Gloria in cash posted his $500 bail later shortly after 3 p.m.

A preliminary hearing for the incident has been set for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Schuylkill County District Court. The mayor could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty according to the Schuylkill County District Attorney Robert J. Morgenthau.

Mayor Petykiewicz and his wife have been unavailable for comment since the incident.

Jobs Speech Wows Graduates

Steve Jobs delivered a heartfelt and inspiring commencement speech the graduates of Stanford University today.  The ironic part is that Jobs himself never actaually graduated college.

“Truth be told, I never graduated from college,” Jobs said. “This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.”

Jobs is the co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc., one of the most profitable and recognizable companies in America.

Jobs speech included a small portion of his days as a young college student at Reed College, unsure about his future and worried about the financial toll his education was taking on his parents.

Jobs later dropped out of college but sat in on classes for the next 18 months, it was during this time he was able to attend classes that interested him. He sat in on a calligraphy class, which he would use later on the first Macintosh computer.

“It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle, in a way that science can’t capture.” Jobs said.

Jobs with co-creator Steve Wozniak introduced the original Macintosh personal computer to the public in 1984.

Jobs would later talk about the ups and downs he experienced in his life.

Jobs was fired from Apple in the 1985, after disputing the direction of the company with former CEO John Sculley.

“I was out, and very publically out,” Jobs said. “What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.”

This opened new doors for Jobs, he went on to create a new company called NeXt, created another company called Pixar, and married the love of his life Laureen Powell.

Jobs was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he discussed how that moment in his life motivated and showed him that you have to live everyday day like it could be your last.

“Remebering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose,” Jobs said.

Jobs message to the young and optimistic crowd is to find what your passionate about and do not settle. There will be trails and tribulations along the way, but without challenge there is no success.

“Stay Hungry, stay foolish,” Jobs said.

The Wonder Wizard of Oz

We’re off to see the Wizard! The Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson is currently putting on a live performance of the timeless classic, “The Wizard of Oz”.

The Fireside Dinner Theatre attracts patrons from all around the area to their live shows. Many come from out of state in busses to see them. Showing a range of shows weekly for about 2 months, the Fireside is one of Fort Atkinson’s most well known attractions.

The production of “The Wizard of Oz” will be shown from February 26 to April 19.

“The Wizard of Oz” is one of the most well known films of all time and the Fireside puts the wonder of the movie onto the stage. All of the well-known songs and scenes from the film are there. It is a show that caters to audiences of all ages.

With such a recognizable name, employees of the Fireside hope that people will continue to show strong support.

“It’s such a well known movie, we’re expecting a steady crowd for most of the showings,” Fireside employee Justin Scroggins said.

People arrived by busload to attend Thursday evenings show. The play is performed twice on Thursdays, with one showing at 1:30 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m.

The sets and sounds of the play really reminded me of the original film. Though the scale was much smaller, they really captured the essence of the original.

All of the well-known characters were there. With professionally done costume design, the actors were transformed into the characters that you know and love.

Boasting a full cast of talented and experienced actors and actresses, the production was well preformed by all involved. All of the beloved songs from the film were there to enjoy.

The Fireside Dinner Theatre will also dine you while you watch a show. The reason they are called a “dinner theatre”.

Loraine Carbonetti attended the show with her niece and her niece’s children.

“Enjoying some good food and watching a show with family was very special for me,” Carbonetti said. “I remember watching the movie when I was a little girl, and this brings back good memories.”

The show is aimed for audiences of all ages. People who grew up watching the film are able to sing along to the songs, while younger audiences are shown something new that they might have never seen before.

Overall, the show seemed to delight the audience and people appeared to have a good time. Sometimes people do not see a play as something to look forward to. With such a familiar production, it may have eased the minds of the audience who didn’t particularly enjoy live theatre.

The Fireside will continue to show “The Wizard of Oz” through the middle of April. With the hopes that many more people come to see it.

New budget brings questions

The mayor released his proposed budget for 2016 and it has many residents of Kittatinny asking questions. The hot topics in the budget are an increase in taxes, a cut in police protection, and new fees for garbage pickup.

Mayor Petykeiwicz revealed next years proposed budget at a press conference on Thursday. He acknowledged that citizens would have some quarrels with some items on the budget. Something had to be done after the city had been rocked financially with the unrest at Susquehanna Steel Corp.

The mayor commented on the city was in financial crisis and the weight of his actions in the proposed budget.

“These are not actions I take lightly,” he said.

The budget, which will now be presented to the city council for changes includes:

  • A city tax rate increase from 4 mills to 4.3 mills. This increase means that a home levyed at $100,000 will see an increase of about $30 per year.
  • Eliminating the 4 a.m. to noon police shift and laying off two full-time police officers. This shift will no longer be covered by the Kittantinny Police Department; rather will be handled on a contract basis by the Schuylkill County Sheriffs Dept. This will save the city about $75,000
  • Garbage pick-up will be taken off the tax levy and charged to residents water bills. This creates a separate charge for garbage pickup, which will be around $30 dollars per household.
  • Layoffs of two unionized employees at City Hall
  • The Mayor will have his wages frozen at $54,000 per year. This goes for all other nonunion employees at City Hall.

 

These items are on the proposed budget as damage control in response to the Susquehanna Steel Corp. closing their Blast Furnace 1. This saw nearly over one third of the company’s 1,600 employees without jobs. The job losses caused nearly a $100 million loss in the city’s industrial tax base.

The city’s overall tax base will see about a 10 percent decrease than in 2015. One increase in the commercial tax base comes with the building of the Tohiekon Creek Plaza, which is expecting to bring in around $20 million in commercial taxes.

Police Chief Roman Hruska was one of the first to be critical of the new budget.

“I can’t stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of regular police protection for a third of each day,” he said.

This was in response to the proposed layoff of two officers and no local police protection from 4 a.m. to noon.

Chief Hruska has offered to take a 10 percent pay cut of his $62,000 dollar salary. He added that he encourages the mayor and others in city hall do the same.

Increased parking citations and a increase in parking fees from 10 cents to 25 cents per hour are included in the budget as well. This proposal is to help in the losses in the tax base in other areas.

Bjarne Westhoof, the president of Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34, the officers union, commented that the police chief and mayor were not seeing eye-to-eye on the budget.

Westhoof also echoed what others have said and stated that the idea of taking concessions is a necessary step in these troubled times.

“I am betting that we will open up our contract and take concessions,” he said.

Local 644 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees represents many city workers.

Martha Mittengrabben, the president of the local stated that workers might be willing to reopen their contract when it expires.

“We will reopen our contract and take concessions IF everyone else does,” she said.

The budget has already got the attention of City Council President Denelda Penoyer. Who questioned spending money on a weed removal machine when the money could be used somewhere else.

“My biggest concern is police protection,” she said. “Our number one priority is getting police back.”

She also floated the idea of the city increasing its tax levy to 5 mills. This would increase to around $70 dollars on a house assessed at $100,000.

Penoyer stated that there will be public meetings in the future to discuss the budget. The budget must be completed and signed into law by December 1.