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Our Lady of Lourdes announces top 5 new grads

COAL TOWNSHIP — Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School has announced its list of the top five graduating seniors for 2019. They are:

• Valedictorian — Frances Czeponis, of 319 West Ave., Mount Carmel, is a daughter of Ann and Larry Czeponis and granddaughter of Judith and the late Edward Polites and Lawrence Sr. and the late Jacqueline Czeponis. A parishioner of the Divine Redeemer Church, Czeponis volunteers at church picnics and with the youth group. She also volunteers with Mount Carmel Downtown Inc., St. Cyril’s community picnic and with the Brady Fire Co.’s Easter egg hunt in Ranshaw. In school, Czeponis served as captain of the varsity basketball and volleyball teams; was a member of the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group, Respect Life club, Girls Action League; and served as vice president of student council and secretary of the National Honor Society. She also was a student ambassador. Czeponis works at Masser’s Farm Market and plans to study business administration at Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove.

• Salutatorian — Melissa (Huong) Nguyen, of 623 Mill St., Danville, is a daughter of Johany Nguyen and Hoa Nguyen. She is a parishioner of St. Joseph’s, Danville. In school, Nguyen was president of student council, vice president of the senior class and vice president of the National Honor Society. She also was a member of SADD, the Respect Life club and Girls Action League and participated in yearbook club and cheerleading. Among the community activities she participated in was a mission trip with the St. Pius X parish of Selinsgrove in August 2016. Nguyen works at Geisinger Medical Center’s food service division and plans to major in biology at Duquesne University.

• Jared Stewart, of 2361 Mile Post Road, Sunbury, is the son of William and Karen Stewart and the grandson of Richard and Verna Kenner and William Sr. and Ellen Stewart. He volunteers as an altar server at St. Monica Church in Sunbury. In school, Stewart was president of the National Honor Society and president of the business club and participated in the French National Honor Society, SADD, Boy’s Service Club, Respect Life and robotics club. He was a member of chorus, school band, football, basketball and track and field. In his community, Stewart was active in 4-H and Karen Gronsky School of Dance. He volunteered with the Little Eddie Griffith’s pig roast in Mount Carmel and with Special Olympics. Stewart, who owns and operates Farmer Bill’s Produce in Shamokin, also works at Kenny Stehr and Sons Produce. He plans to attend West Virginia University to pursue a degree in economics.

• Madison Margaret Mengel, of 16 East Ave., Mount Carmel, is the daughter of Stephanie Huber and the granddaughter of Louise Gudonis. As a member of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, she was worked at the church picnic. She also volunteered for Think BIG and coached a T-ball team. In school, Mengel was a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Respect Life, SADD, Girls Action League and yearbook club. She works at Knoebels Amusement Resort and plans to major in biology at St. Vincent College.

• Thomas Schultz, of 211 S. Vine St., Mount Carmel, is the son of TJ and Michelle Schultz and the grandson of Mary Ann and the late Robert Balonis, Thomas E. Schultz and Mary Lou Schultz. He has volunteered with Holy Angels Church’s picnic and also with youth basketball and baseball camps. Schultz played basketball, baseball and golf in school. He plans to attend Vanderbilt University.

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Boy Scout paints large map of United States at Annex

SHAMOKIN — A Boy Scout on track to earn the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America has brightened a recreational area at the Shamokin Annex.

Sixteen-year-old Jameson Kramer, of Troop 254, Shamokin, recently completed a project to paint a colorful map of the United States on the macadam of the school as part of his Eagle Scout requirements.

It took 10 to 12 hours for Kramer, his parents, Scoutmaster Jason Kramer and Cubmaster Megan Baumgartner, and about eight fellow scouts to mark and then paint the map, which is about 25 feet at its greatest length.

The senior at Shamokin Area said the idea originated from his mother, a former history teacher at Shamokin Area Middle/High School, who suggested a large map be painted for children to enjoy.

Kramer approached Superintendent Chris Venna about the project, who advised him that the Annex would be an ideal location. Once approval was obtained, Kramer purchased a pattern of the map that consisted of multiple large pieces of paper with dots outlining the state borders.

Kramer and his group of volunteers went over the dots with spray paint, then removed the paper and connected the dots with chalk. They then painted the states in red, green, orange, blue and yellow and chose white for the borders.

“We had to strategize from the beginning. For instance, we couldn’t paint the border states first, because you have to walk to the inside,” he said. “We had to go over a few states more than once with the paint. The cracks (in the asphalt) were difficult. We had to slap a lot of paint in them.”

Wendi Schleig, kindergarten grade-level coordinator at the Annex, said the timing of the project meshed well because students were involved in a Reading Wonders curriculum, which centered around objects, such as monuments, in the United States.

“It kind of worked out well, because they could see the map of the United States,” she said. “It was nice to see that huge map.”

She added that students often see the map during recess and have taken a liking to it.

Students, Kramer said, have already started to point out various states, such as Texas and Florida, where “Walt Disney World is” located. He hopes teachers continue to use the map to teach geography.

Kramer said he expects to achieve at least two more merit badges before appearing in front of an Eagle Scout review board, noting he will be the first Eagle Scout from Troop 254 in several years.

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Line Mountain seats filled by write-in candidates; four of whom are incumbents

SUNBURY — Four of five open seats on the Line Mountain School Board were filled Tuesday by write-in candidates, four of whom are incumbents who chose not to run for re-election.

There were no candidates on the ballot for the five seats.

Incumbent Ronald Neidig captured 31 write-in votes, including 15 as a Democrat and 16 as a Republican in Region 1, which encompasses the Borough of Herndon and Little Mahanoy, Lower Augusta, Washington and Upper Mahanoy townships.

Incumbents Lauren Hackenburg and Troy Laudenslager tallied 15 and 13 write-in votes, respectively as Democrats, and 98 and 93 votes, respectively, as Republicans, to earn seats in Region 2 that includes Jackson, Jordan and Lower Mahanoy townships.

Incumbent Marlin Yeager Jr. garnered 10 write-in votes as a Democrat and eight as a Republican in Region 3, which covers West Cameron and Zerbe townships.

Another seat remains open in Region 3 as nobody received at least 10 write-in votes in the primary. Incumbent Paul Kolody chose not to seek re-election for that seat.

County positions

Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz, Sheriff Robert Wolfe and Treasurer Kevin Gilroy, who are all Republicans, faced no opposition in the primary.

Matulewicz won 7,308 votes as a Republican and 262 write-in votes from Democrats.

Wolfe captured 7,666 votes as a Republican and tallied 241 write-in votes from Democrats. Gilroy collected 6,798 votes as a Republican and obtained 12 write-in votes from Democrats.

Matulewicz and Wolfe earned double nominations because they tallied 100 or more write-in votes. Gilroy only won on the Republican ticket because he obtained fewer than 100 write-in votes.

Voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election was 27%.

All vote totals are unofficial until the final count is completed Tuesday.

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Brianna Maciejewski, Hampton earn double nominations for Southern Columbia Area School Board

CATAWISSA RR — Newcomers Brianna Maciejewski and Drew Hampton won double nominations to four-year terms on the Southern Columbia Area School Board in Tuesday’s primary election.

Evan Gajkowski and James Levan earned nominations in the Democratic race while incumbents Gregory Klebon and Timothy Vought advanced to the general election on the Republican ticket.

Three incumbents — James Rosenberger, John Yocum and Kaye Keller — as well as Chadd Sober, Eli Yemzow and Chase Urban failed to earn nominations as either a Democrat or Republican.

The six who earned nominations Tuesday will vie for four seats on the general election ballot.

The term for boardmember Joseph Klebon, who will compete for one of three spots for Northumberland County commissioner, will expire in December 2021.

In the Democratic race, Maciejewski had the highest combined votes between Northumberland and Columbia counties with 265 (99 and 166); followed by Hampton’s 203 (53 and 150); Gajkowski, 181 (64 and 117); and Levan, 177 (48 and 129).

On the Republican side, Maciejewski had 551 votes (208 and 343); Hampton, 534 (182 and 352); Vought, 371 (246 and 125); and Klebon, 369 (244 and 125).

Joshua Maciejewski will run uncontested in the general election for a two-year seat on the board, having earned a double nomination against Vought.

In the Democratic race, he received 299 (98 and 201) votes against Vought’s 188 (100 and 88). On the Republican side, Maciejewski received 715 (238 and 477) against Vought’s 373 (228 and 145).

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Dollar General Corporation acquires facility in Highridge Business Park, expected to create 100 jobs

POTTSVILLE — Dollar General Corp., which desires to operate a new store in Shamokin, has acquired a new cold storage facility in Highridge Business Park, off Interstate 81, in Schuylkill County.

Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced that the project is expected to support the creation of 100 full-time jobs over the next three years. He applauded the company for expanding its operation in Pennsylvania and for bringing “significant” investments and jobs into the area.

Dollar General’s expansion in Schuylkill County is part of the company’s new initiative toward a strategic shift to the self-distribution of perishable goods sold in its stores. The cold storage facility distributes to about 300 stores in the Northeast.

The project includes the company’s purchase of a 148,000-square-foot building.

“Dollar General is excited to expand in Pennsylvania through the collaboration with Gov. Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED),” Mike Kindy, Dollar General’s executive vice president of global supply chain, was quoted in a press release. “As Dollar General embarks on our DG Fresh initiative, we sincerely appreciate the partnership from state and local leaders on this project and look forward to a longstanding presence throughout Pennsylvania.”

Dollar General received a funding proposal from DCED, which included $200,000 in job-creation tax credits to be distributed upon the creation of new jobs and a $45,000 workforce development grant to help the company train employees.

The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, a group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania. Additional coordination was provided by Schuylkill County Economic Development Corp.

Dollar General operates a distribution center in Berks County and about 745 stores in Pennsylvania, employing more than 6,500 individuals throughout the Keystone State.

Founded in 1939, Dollar General operates more than 15,400 stores in 44 states, which provide everyday items including food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, family apparel, housewares, seasonal items, paper products and more from trusted brands and products, along with Dollar General’s high-quality private brands.

There are six Dollar Generals owned and operated by various parties within a 15-mile radius of Shamokin, including a store at 30 E. Independence St. Other stores are at state Route 61 in the Anthra Plaza in Coal Township, 174 S. Market St. in Elysburg, 853 Trevorton Road in Zerbe Township, 2443 Route 61 in Rockefeller Township and 240 S. Market St. in Mount Carmel.

Shamokin City Council unanimously approved on Sept. 10 the sale of the city-owned parking lot at 5-7 W. Independence St. for $101,000 to GBT Realty Corp., which has built various storefronts for Dollar General.

In January, Bob Gage, senior vice president of net lease development for the company, made a presentation to the city’s planning commission, which then approved preliminary plans for a new store near the northwest corner of Independence and Eighth streets.

A preliminary design called for a 9,100 square-foot building measuring about 130 feet along Eighth Street and 70 feet along Independence Street. There will be a dozen 9-by-20 foot parking stalls and two handicap parking stalls abutting Eighth Street.

The stalls will be diagonal and will not have meters, since they will be on private property.