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December 10. 2013 11:38PM

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Bill would exempt fire

companies from mandate

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, on Tuesday introduced the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act to exempt volunteer firefighters and volunteers providing emergency medical services from the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act.

Barletta has been concerned that since the Internal Revenue Service views volunteer firefighters as employees, fire companies and municipalities could be forced to provide health insurance or pay a fine, saddling them with financial burdens and threatening public safety. Barletta sent the IRS a letter in November requesting a clarification, but the correspondence went unanswered, his office said.

The legislation is supported by the National Volunteer Fire Council and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Under the employer mandate provision, employers with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance or pay penalties.

Fire companies could exceed the 50-employee threshold by themselves based on size or by being part of a municipality that has 50 or more public employees, Barletta has said.


Neighborhood Watch

meeting tonight

The Nanticoke Neighborhood Watch Committee will meet at 7 p.m. today at the Nanticoke Municipal Building, 15 E. Ridge Road.

For more information, call 570-735-7571.


MU sets Saturday

for commencement

Misericordia University will hold its third annual winter commencement at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Anderson Sports Center on campus with 319 students eligible to graduate.

The ceremony will recognize 319 graduates who hail from 13 states as well as Turkey. It will mark a historic moment as students in Misericordia’s first class of the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program will earn their degrees.


Geisinger restricts

visits by children

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center has issued restrictions temporarily prohibiting children under the age of 5 from visiting children’s and women’s inpatient units because of the seasonal increase in pediatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases.

Dr. Michael Ryan said young patients have vulnerable immune systems and may not be able to fight off this potentially dangerous virus. Age-related visitation restrictions serve as a protective measure to eliminate the threat of exposure from other children who are often a primary carrier.

RSV is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. While most healthy people recover from RSV infection, it can be severe in infants. Winter is an especially harsh time for this illness. In the United States, RSV infections generally occur from November to April.


Bridge reopens

with restrictions

The Station Hill Road Bridge opened today at 1 p.m. The bridge will be posted at 28 tons, 34 combination with a single lane and two stop signs.

PennDOT advises motorists to use caution when traveling in the area.


Land Trust seeking

donations in appeal

The North Branch Land Trust is seeking donations from members and supporters during its 2013 Annual Appeal to help support ongoing efforts to conserve northeastern Pennsylvania’s beautiful natural landscapes and promote responsible development strategies.

Go online to to make a tax deductible, end-of-year gift before Dec. 31.

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