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Chief Calls Schuylkill County Fire 'Suspicious'

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a massive fire Friday night in Schuylkill County. The fire chief is calling the fire suspicious.

Crews were back on scene Saturday afternoon after flames destroyed a home near Minersville.

Russell Dalton took pictures showing massive flames shooting from a home along Route 901, also known as Sunbury Road, in Cass Township.

The blaze started just after 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Dalton was driving past when he noticed the flames. The Pottsville firefighter sprang into action and called 911.

"The first thing was just to assess, make sure the place was vacant and there was no entrapment. Other than that it was just making the call. Obviously with no proper gear, I couldn`t do much anyway," said Russell Dalton of Berry's Grove.

Hours later, firefighters were called back to the scene for insulation that was burning.

The fire chief said the fire is suspicious.

Kickball Making a Comeback

Do you ever long for simpler times? When your biggest worries were about pop quizzes and homework.

Well, we can't send you back in time, but we can send you to Schuylkill County, where some grown-ups are bringing back a game you probably haven't played since you were in school.

Want a chance to re-live your childhood?

Kickball is making a comeback in Schuylkill County. Specifically, at West Brunswick Recreation Park in Orwigsburg.

“In high school I did, but it was always in gym class,” said player Amanda Paradiso.

The league organizer said he got the idea from a recent charity kickball tournament that had a great turnout.

“I thought, I'd like to have something like this more consistent around here. And so I looked around, and there's actually adult kickball leagues around. I thought I'd see what I can do to bring something like this to our area,” said league organizer Mike Rodnick.

Kickball Making a Comeback

Do you ever long for simpler times when your biggest worries were about pop quizzes and homework?

Well, we can’t send you back in time, but we can send you to Schuylkill County, where some grown-ups are bringing back a game you probably haven’t played since you were in school.

Want a chance to re-live your childhood?

Kickball is making a comeback in Schuylkill County. Specifically, at West Brunswick Recreation Park in Orwigsburg.

“In high school I did, but it was always in gym class,” said player Amanda Paradiso.

The league organizer said he got the idea from a recent charity kickball tournament that had a great turnout.

“I thought, I’d like to have something like this more consistent around here, and so I looked around, and there’s actually adult kickball leagues around. I thought I’d see what I can do to bring something like this to our area,” said league organizer Mike Rodnick.

Lawnmower Businesses Busy

Many people are hoping the unseasonably warm weather we have been having will stick around.

People in Schuylkill County are getting a jump start on outdoor chores.

Ron Winrich of Lehighton is looking for a new riding mower. The warm and unseasonable temperatures pushed him into action.

"I came in a little bit earlier because the weather is going to have the grass grow and before everybody starts buying things I want to try and get ahead of the schedule a little bit," Winrich said.

Tood Miller was busy servicing a long line of lawnmowers at M and S Hardware.

"We have already seen an increase in mowers coming in and also people coming in inquiring about purchasing mowers and things like that. I would say we are about three weeks ahead of schedule," Miller said.

In Pottsville lawn and riding mowers are unloaded at Centre Street Hardare. They are getting tuned up and ready for their owners.

Students Kick Butts in Pottsville

Students left the classrooms Wednesday and marched in Schuylkill County to remind people to stop smoking.

Government statistics show one out of five people use tobacco products in Pennsylvania.

Teens from seven school districts gathered in Pottsville to discourage residents from using tobacco for the annual Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Schuylkill County Tobacco Free Youth Coalition.

"These kids do a real good job. Every year they show people why they're passionate about the topic about tobacco use and how they want to create a tobacco-free future," said Angela Morgan of the Tobacco Free Coalition.

The teens carried signs and shoes. The shoes symbolize people who have died from tobacco-related disease. Some of the young people know the emotional pain of losing someone.

"I lost a family member that I should show everybody else that smoking is bad and they shouldn't do it," said Joshua Cromyak of Cumbola.

Accused Arsonist in Court

A volunteer firefighter in Schuylkill County accused of arson Tuesday gave up his right to a hearing.

But fire victims and his family showed up to court, some to support him others to see the man who is accused of setting two fires.

Supporters of David Berk describe someone who loved being a firefighter in Auburn. Police said that changed when Berk set two fires in his community. His arrest came as a shock to some.

"I just dropped to my knees and started praying. I didn't know what to think. I actually didn't get to talk to him as to what happened," said friend Jim Folwieler.

Berk is accused of setting fire to the back porch of a house in Auburn and to the Miller family's garage which was filled with tools and other equipment

"It kind of makes me raw because I saved all these years for getting ready to retire," said Harold Miller.

Deep Cuts for Shenandoah Valley School Budget

Shenandoah Valley School officials describe next year's budget as bleak.

The school board has ordered wide-ranging cuts in some educational programs to make up a $2.6 million deficit.

Shenandoah Valley School District students will see fewer teachers around next school year.

The school board decided to lay off 28 teachers and eliminate or reduce some educational programs and eliminate school bus stops in Shenandoah.  Also students would have to pay fees to be part of the district's sports programs.

Getting rid of those bus stops seemed to get the most reaction from taxpayers.

"Kids can't walk that far. I don't know how they are going to do it," said Ron Kaplaska of Lost Creek.

"They need the buses. They will probably have to walk from one end of town to the other. That's not right for them," said Aurele Bonleer of Shenandoah.