Mayor Charged with Drunk Driving

The mayor of Kittatinny could face up to 10 years in prison after driving intoxicated and causing bodily harm to another driver in a car accident on Saturday afternoon.

Mayor Gustavus G. Petykiewicz, 56, crashed into Robert H. Doane, 42, at the intersection of State Highway 117 and Fonebone Road. Petykiewicz was arrested after he failed a sobriety test with a blood alcohol content of .14, which is almost double the legal limit in Pennsylvania.

Witness Alice Q. Magarian, 33, was driving a few car lengths behind Doane’s Buick on State Highway 117 where he was following the speed limit, traveling at about 55 miles per hour.

Magarian said she saw Petykiewicz hesitate at the stop sign on Fonebone Road. She said Petykiewicz turned his Ford Explorer into the intersection and crashed into the driver’s side of Doane’s vehicle, which did not have an airbag.

Doane was flown by a Flight for Life helicopter to Northeast Pennsylvania Hospital and Trauma Center after he was freed from the passenger-side door and examined by paramedics. He remains in stable condition at the hospital but has several broken ribs, and a broken jaw along with contusions to the head, abdominal area and chest.

Petykiewicz appeared to be disoriented after the accident. He was conscious and did not receive any injuries, although he was not wearing a seatbelt. The front and side airbags in his Ford Explorer were deployed, and both of the vehicles involved were inoperable due to severe damage and were later towed.

Deputy Gordon J. Slivovitz arrived at the scene not long after the accident occurred around 1 p.m. During inspection, the smell of alcohol flooded Petykiewicz’s Ford Explorer and Slivovitz noticed the half-empty bottle of Fleischmann’s vodka on the passenger-side floor. He proceeded to question Petykiewicz about driving under the influence.

“You’d be drinking too, if you were me,” responded Petykiewicz with slurred speech. He then asked, “Do you think we could just keep this quiet? I’m the mayor of Kittatinny.”

Petykiewicz has felt the pressures and stress of being mayor while trying to rebuild the town of Kittatinny after their largest employer, Susquehanna Steel Corporation, shut down Unit 1 earlier this year.

After Petykiewicz was arrested, he was taken to the Schuylkill County Jail. He did not call an attorney, but he decided to remain silent through the process of fingerprinting and taking mug shots.

Gustavus G. Petykiewicz arrested for intoxcated use of motor vehicle.

Gustavus G. Petykiewicz arrested for intoxcated use of motor vehicle.

Gloria Petykiewicz, wife of the mayor, arrived at the jail later in the afternoon. She posted a cash bail of $500 and her husband was released into her custody.

Both the mayor and his wife refused to give any comment about the incident later in the day when they received a phone call and a knock at their front door.

Robert J. Morgenthau, the Schuylkill County District attorney, has announced that the preliminary hearing for the accident is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

Steve Jobs Speaks at Stanford

steve-jobs-speech-stanfordThe brilliant man who introduced us to a world filled with revolutionary technology shared remarkable advice in his speech to Stanford’s graduating class of 2005 today.

Steve Jobs, 50, shared three stories from his past. Each story revealed an important lesson that guided Jobs into becoming the successful creator of Apple Computer Inc.

The stories that explained Jobs rollercoaster of ups and downs in life started with connecting the dots, love and loss, and death.

Jobs believed connecting the dots meant looking backwards to realize everything happens for a reason. He said his story started before birth. Jobs was put up for adoption by his mother, an unwed college student. She signed the adoption papers only after his adoptive parents assured his biological mother that Jobs would attend college.

He did go to college. However, he dropped out of Reed College after six months. Jobs said he was unsure of what he wanted to do in life, and he didn’t see the point in wasting his parents’ life savings to figure it out.

From there, Jobs trusted his instincts and believed everything would fall into place. Because he dropped out, he only attend classes that interested him. Although dropping in on classes left Jobs with nowhere to live, he explained how his intuition lead him into the right direction.

The calligraphy on posters around campus fascinated Jobs. His decision to attend a calligraphy class changed his life. At the time, Jobs never thought the class would apply to him. However, ten years later, he knows the knowledge from class made a significant impact on the Macintosh computer. He said that if he never attended, computer typography would not be what it is today.

Jobs college experience is proof that the dots in life eventually connect. “You have to trust in something; your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path,” stated Jobs.

His second story was about love and loss. At age 20, Jobs said he found what he loved to do with the help of electronic whiz kid and neighbor, Steve Wozniak. Together they created Apple, and in ten years the computer that started in a garage transformed into a company worth billions.

When Jobs was 30, the Macintosh was released. Jobs hired a man who he thought would be a great partner. After a year, disappointing sales and different visions for the future caused their working relationship to deteriorate. The Board of Directors decided against Jobs, and he was fired from his own company.

Jobs was devastated and felt like he let other entrepreneurs down when it was his turn to be a success. He contemplated leaving Silicon Valley, the home to many high tech corporations. He said he stayed because although he felt like a failure, he still loved what he did.

The events at Apple motivated Jobs to start over. He lost his job, but he never lost passion. Jobs said that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have happened. If he hadn’t been fired, he wouldn’t have met his wife Laurene. He also would never have created his company NeXT or Pixar, the most successful animation studio in the world.

Jobs said he became successful because he had a love for his work, and he never gave up. Apple ended up buying NeXT, and Jobs returned to Apple with new technological developments that are crucial to Apple’s current success.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it,” stated Jobs.

Jobs love and loss story revealed how important it is to find something you love because it will motivate you to get through difficult times.

His final story was about death. A year ago, Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given less than six months to live. However, when he had a biopsy, doctors collected cells from the tumor and discovered that he had a rare form of cancer. It was curable, and he fully recovered.

Facing death made Jobs break away from the preconceived notions about success because he believes all expectations and pride fade away when we die, only leaving what’s important.

Jobs shared that we must not follow other people, only our instincts. “Time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” said Jobs.

The class of 2005 gave Jobs a round of applause after hearing his three stories full of wisdom. He ended his speech by sharing a message he wishes for both himself and the graduates: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

Eating Disorder Awareness

If you or someone you know is experiencing dangerous eating patterns, do not be afraid to get help.

If you or someone you know is experiencing dangerous eating patterns, do not be afraid to get help.

Students left the Summers Auditorium with confidence and knowledge after University of Wisconsin Whitewater held a “Being-You-Nique” well chat on Feb. 26 to promote positive body images.

Feb. 22-28 was National Eating Disorder Awareness week. Gwen Hering, a counselor at Whitewater’s Health Center, helped spread awareness by educating students about the heartbreaking eating disorders that affect millions of women and men each year. *

Hering emphasized the importance of loving your body despite what the media portrays as beautiful. Examples of photo shopped images were displayed to help students realize that the bodies of many models are unrealistic. Technology has the power to make people doubt themselves because advertisements strive for perfection, she explained.

Students were asked to compare the before and after photo shopped images of celebrities, and it helped them realize that the changes made to men and women’s bodies hid every so called “flaw” that makes them unique and beautiful.

The chat continued with Hering telling students how crucial it is that they do not resort to unhealthy behaviors to match models because photo shopped bodies are unattainable.

This lead discussion to the popular television show, “The Biggest Loser.” Contestant Kai Hubbard lost 118 pounds in just 12 weeks by using harmful techniques on the show, which caused her to develop an eating disorder. Many students expressed how “The Biggest Loser” encourages viewers to believe being skinny is the only way to be happy and attractive.

Hering, who does not support the show, agreed with students and explained that many Americans debate that the show was created because society is not accepting of those who are overweight.

“No matter what size you are, you are the still the same person and that is what’s important,” stated Hering.

Negative thoughts fled from students minds and were replaced with big smiles and inspiration when the projector presented very touching advertisements that promoted positive body images.

Whitewater student, Jessica Berg, loved the Special K jeans commercial. Women shopped in a store where the jeans had no size, so they would not be defined by the number on the tag, she explained.  The only measurements were positive qualities that fit their personalities and had nothing to do with their bodies.

“The women looked so happy and had such freedom when they didn’t focus on their size and just embraced how confident and comfortable they felt in the jeans,” said Berg.

An untouched photo of 49-year-old Cindy Crawford was also displayed, showing Crawford’s natural beauty. Her blemishes weren’t covered, her stomach wasn’t flattened, and she looked absolutely gorgeous.

Colleen Seefeldt, Whitewater student, said it was extremely inspiring to see a not flawless image of someone who is so confident with themselves. It made so many students realize that imperfections make us who we are, and we are all beautiful.

The well chat continued focusing only on positive body image examples to generate positive self-talk. Hering stressed that we need to accept who we are and be comfortable in our own skin because we all deserve to love ourselves and take care of our bodies.

Crisis in Kittatinny

Gustavus G. Petykiewicz, mayor of Kittatinny, released his proposed budget for 2016. These potential spending changes raises concerns for residents.

Kittatinny, located in Schuylkill County is facing economic catastrophe after its major employer, Susquehanna Steel Corporation, shut down Blast Furnace Unit 1 earlier this year. The decommission has put 600 out of 1,600 employees out of work and decreased industrial value 24 percent.

Petykiewicz is in touch with Congress to find out if the steel workers who lost their jobs may be eligible for Trade Readjustment Allowance. However, nothing is guaranteed. Even with job opportunities opening up at the new Tohickon Creek Plaza strip mall and a 10 percent increase in commercial value, steel workers will not be paid as much as they were at Susquehanna, and Kittatinny will still suffer.

The proposed budget for 2016 states what Petykiewicz believes will benefit Kittatinny and help rebuild the economy due to this crisis.

Petykiewicz suggests slightly increasing the city tax rate by $30. “I do not want to impose a burden on those who lost their jobs,” states Petykiewicz. But, he has also taken garbage pickup off the tax levy. This could create a new burden for residents who will have to pay $360 a year for waste-disposal.

He proposes city staff salaries to be at a pay freeze. However, Petykiewicz claims he is willing to take a 10 percent pay cut if other staff does as well.

The budget shows big changes for Kittatinny police and community safety. Petykiewicz believes spending $54,000 on a new police cruiser is necessary. However, he has put forward the idea to cut the 4 a.m. to noon shift for Kittatinny officers. This would force two officers to be fired, and it would leave Schuylkill County sheriffs to handle all emergency calls.

A 25 percent equipment increase to purchase a weed removal vehicle for White Deer Lake is also included in the budget. Petykiewicz thinks this could create a tourism measure to attract people to Kittatinny and potentially rebuild the tax base to move the economy forward.

City Council President Denelda Penoyer is opposed to cutting the police shift. She is willing to take a pay cut and suggests a $100 increase on taxes instead of $30 to save officers jobs. Penoyer believes Petykiewicz should not increase equipment spending. She feels the weed removal vehicle is not necessary right now because the community needs to be saved from falling apart.

Roman Hruska, chief of police, also disagrees with the mayor. “I cannot stand by and watch a city of this size be deprived of police protection,” states Hruska. He is extremely worried about response times. A county the size of Schuylkill could take sheriffs a half hour to respond to calls depending on location.

Hruska is also willing to take a pay cut for the community. He believes the 4 a.m. to noon shift can face dangerous situations because domestic violence can happen anytime, and potential crime in Kittatinny may increase if houses are abandoned due to job losses.

Bjarne Westhoff, president of Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34 agrees with the safety concerns. Westhoff is in favor of a pay cut, and he encourages the other Kittatinny officers to consider reopening their contracts to save the two officers jobs and keep the city safe.

Police officers and steel workers are not the only ones facing potential job loss. Martha Mittengrabben, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 644 expresses employees concerns as Petykiewicz proposes a 3.6 percent decrease in AFSCME wages. The new figure assumes the layoff of two AFSCME office workers. Mittengrabben explains that if everyone shares the sacrifice of taking a pay cut, then there is potential that AFSCME members will vote in favor of taking concessions to avoid layoffs.

Kittatinny is facing major changes and tough decisions. There are plans for the city to have public hearings for residents to express their opinions because this catastrophe is affecting everyone. It is clear that the city has a lot to figure out in order to get through the difficult time, and the community is hopeful to save the city so many people call home.

Life Changes and Diabetes

After thinking she was just going to the doctor for a simple bladder infection, Jaime Kohnke, at age 18, received a diagnosis that would change her life forever.

 She was told that she has Type 1 diabetes. The causes of Type 1 are unknown. A Type 2 diabetic produces too much insulin, whereas a Type 1 diabetic does not produce enough. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented and controlled with lifestyle changes, while Type 1 cannot. Kohnke’s reactions to her unexpected diagnosis included sadness and disbelief.

 The reality of living with diabetes set in as she learned about using insulin. She worried about using needles to check her sugar, something she needs to do to avoid complications.

 “I cried the first time I had to give myself insulin. Basically stabbing myself with needles was very hard to get used to,” explained Kohnke. blog

She was diagnosed just months before heading off to college. Instead of being excited for the future, Kohnke worried about daily struggles and how diabetes would affect her social life.

She feared others would think of her as different from everyone else and did not want people to think diabetes made her incapable of living a normal life.

 Kohnke also faced the challenge of learning to balance diabetes with being a college athlete. She has been swimming since she was 4 years old.

Diabetes has affected her swimming career. The adrenalin rushes before a big race make her sugar levels rise, causing her to lose energy before she swims. This puts her at a huge disadvantage against competitors.

 Now 19-years-old and a sophomore at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, Kohnke has adjusted well to college and living with Type 1 diabetes. Her social life has never suffered, and she is now comfortable using insulin.

She is used to the needles and checking her sugars. This has helped her learn when to use insulin to have more energy, greatly improving her swim performances.

 Learning to live with Type 1 diabetes was a major life change for Kohnke. However, she now has a new outlook on life.

  “I learned things could always be worse. Either I can let diabetes control me, or I could keep it under control. Other people are not as lucky to have that option,” explained Kohnke, as she is grateful to live a happy and healthy life with diabetes.