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20 January
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19 January
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Hegins Township police chief set to retire

HEGINS — The first year Steven S. Lohr became chief of Hegins Township police he remembers it was also the last year of the Fred Coleman Memorial Labor Day Pigeon Shoot at Hegins Park. Lohr, 64, who’s retiring Friday, reflected on the challenges of working in law enforcement, from what he describes as a “lenient judicial system,” to policing the park and overcoming injury.

Becoming a police officer wasn’t Lohr’s initial career path. A son of the late George and Elsie Lohr, Hubley Township, Lohr formerly ran a timber business with his father and encouraged him to launch a motorcycle business, called Tri-Valley Cycle Sales.

“When I was a teenager, we started that up. I was never really big on cars. We did car repairs, too, but I was more into motorcycles,” he said. He also competed in motocross cycle racing in Leck Kill and Pine Grove.

Lohr was a 1970 Tri-Valley High School graduate, and participated in wrestling, football and gymnastics, competing in the floor exercise, rings and uneven bars. He attended what was then Lock Haven State College, majoring in health and physical education, with thoughts of becoming a gym teacher or health teacher.

“I went three and a half years, then I quit. The cycle shop was getting too big, and dad couldn’t handle it, and I made that decision,” he said.

Hubley stint

At that time, Glenn Miller, a Hubley Township policeman, was leaving, so Lohr applied for the job, and Hubley Township hired him. He got his Act 120 training in 1982.

In 1990, Jeff Bowman was leaving the Hegins Township police force, and the supervisors had asked if Lohr would be interested in serving there. He started in February 1990 as a sergeant, then eventually became Hegins Township police chief when Melvin Stutzman retired as chief in 1992.

Pigeon shoot

Providing police coverage at the Fred Coleman Memorial Labor Day Pigeon Shoot at Hegins Park was among Lohr’s most challenging. In 1992, which turned out to be the last year for the shoot, Lohr was told the day before that his department would be handling the actual park grounds, while state police would be in charge of the surrounding areas.

“The pigeon shoot was the worst event to cover. The year I became chief, in 1992, the state pulled their presence back from the park. Our department handled the park area itself; and they handled everything around the park. That was the year the protesters surrounded themselves in barrels up on Main Street (Route 25).

“Everybody was so mad at me, but that was not our responsibility. We had our order, this is your area, you are in charge of that and we will handle everything else. If you don’t follow the plan, it all goes to crap. All the locals were mad, because we would not leave the park,” he said. “That was bad that year. I was so glad when that year was over, but it all turned out.”

Consuming challenges

The most difficult part of his job, he said, is dealing with fatalities.

“Probably the murders we had were the worst and the most time-consuming. It just consumes you. The Smith murder, up on Main Street, that happened the day before Christmas, and by New Year’s Eve, we had an arrest. You live the job until it’s done. There were no holidays that year.”

“I’d say the suicides, and making the death notifications. It’s hard because I know everybody and grew up with everybody. It’s never easy, but it’s hard telling someone their son or daughter, or mom has died.”

Retirement

Several factors indicated it was time for him to retire, Lohr said.

“Especially, since I broke my leg three years ago, it’s not the same. I always felt confident in myself, physically. But, it’s not the same. I just don’t feel I can do the job. My shifts get tougher. You reach a time where you just can’t do it anymore without the wear and tear. It’s not fair to your other officers, if you get into a (fight), and you can’t hold up your end anymore. I think it was a combination of age, and frustration with the leniency of the system.”

Broken leg

Lohr was on an EMS call and was assisting loading a patient in the back of the ambulance when the gurney kicked back and landed on his right leg, breaking it. A plate and eight screws were needed to repair it and he couldn’t drive for eight or ten weeks.

Transition

Throughout the years, Lohr has had 23 “bosses,” as supervisors have come and gone. He’s also worked with several former county sheriffs, including Paul Sheers, Tim Holden, Francis McAndrew and Dan Grow, as well as current Sheriff Joseph Groody.

Schuylkill County Detective Dennis Clark worked with Lohr for nearly a decade, from when Clark entered the Hegins Township force in 1992, and has known the chief for years. He said Lohr had a good rapport with his staff and was “always there for the public.”

“He always had the staff’s respect,” Clark said. “He did his work and tried to get as much done as he could. He’s a good guy who deserves his retirement. The years have worn on him.”

Initially, there were three part-time officers in Hegins Township, then in 1995, Lohr got a grant. Then they had three full-time and six part-time officers.

“I had got a few grants for three or four years. We had a contract with Hubley Township to provide police services. And then there were grants available, because we had an inter-municipal agreement. So there was extra money available for that. Back in 1995, we got a COPS grant, which paid for an additional, full-time officer for three years,” he said.

Hegins Township paid to have the full-time officer on for one more year after the grant, but then ended the contract with Hubley Township and dropped the extra full-timer in 1999. Today, there are two full-time police officers, including Lohr, and four part-time. Sgt. Beau Yarmush was named the new chief, upon Lohr’s retirement. The township still hasn’t found a replacement for Yarmush’s position.

Vicious cycle

“Municipalities just keep cutting back and cutting manpower. The biggest change has been with the judicial system. They keep trying to get more and more out of police with less money and less benefits. Between budget cuts and the judicial system, you can see what’s happening with society. The less hours you’re out on the street, the more things happen. It is just a vicious cycle. Then with our liberal court system and the laws anymore, it’s just a revolving door, and there’s very little deterrent anymore.

“We can enforce the law, but what happens after that is out of our control. People’s attitudes have changed. Everybody thinks they’re entitled. It used to not be that way. People were appreciative when you’d help them out. Most times, you’re dealing with all the bad news. Everybody looks for us for an answer, and we don’t have an answer for everything.

“More things have become civil, rather than criminal. And I really think it’s a convenience to keep processing them through. You make drug arrests, and they end up with a disorderly conduct, and a slap on the wrist. They talk about the heroin epidemic. They keep giving them Narcan and bringing them back, over and over and over. They make it easier for them to use drugs. Hopefully, the taxpayers are getting tired of it. It costs a lot of money. You’ve seen the past two years with our drug round-ups how many people were caught. We’re talking felony sales of hard drugs, but there’s no punishment, with bail and so forth,” Lohr said.

He said people are often released on their own recognizance, with not a penny posted; or unsecured bail, with zero going back into the system.

Lohr said the central booking used in the county has helped with processing efficiency, but does have its downside.

“It saved time, but, in the same token, it was an opportunity to spend some time with these people, after you arrested them. Maybe you had a DUI and a drunk. Most times with a domestic, one or both of them were drunk. You got to see them a week or two later when they came in to get fingerprinted, and then you got to hold their hand. When you get up close, and you’re fingerprinting somebody, your talking with them, and you try to find out what’s going on. A lot of times, people are still friends with me today who I took through the process. I tried to treat them all the same. Things happen in their lives and things get out of hand. Especially this time of year; and a month after Christmas when all the credit cards come due. End of January, beginning of February, domestics rise.

“It took some of the personal side of policing away by having them do it. It does work, it does save us some time, but you’re losing that personal contact. Your central booking is your fingerprinting. Before that came to be, they had to come in here, call and make an appointment. You physically fingerprinted them here. It gave you maybe 45 minutes or an hour with the person. They’re coming in sober now, and you were dealing with them when they were drunk. Most come in and they’re ashamed and apologetic. I see it all the time. You didn’t know what you were saying. You just don’t take things personally, because a drunk is a drunk is a drunk. They’re going to say ugly things.”

Dealing with the youth in the community has been the most rewarding aspect of his job, Lohr said.

“They are our future. Saturday night, I came out and did the Santa parade. That was kind of my thing all these years. If we went shopping, or whatever, I always had to be back for the Santa parade. It was a must for me. The young kids, if I stopped at Top Star or in town, all the young kids wave at me and say, ‘Hi, Stevie.’ A couple of young ones up in Hegins stepped out on the road and yelled, ‘Stevie, Stevie.’ I just really enjoy working with the young kids.”

Lohr, and his wife, Patti, have one daughter, Brittany, and live in the Schuylkill County’s west end. He said in his retirement, he’ll be catching up on projects on his farm.

14 January
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Headache-free new school year

MANY parents will be busy in the next couple of weeks preparing for their young ones to enter school for the first time. There are many things to do, from buying necessities to registration.

They also need to mentally and psychologically prepare their children. Of concern is how to ensure they wake up on time in the morning. When is the right time to train them for this challenging change in routine?

14 January
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Paul Lambert looking out for next big Wolves star

Lambert hasn’t hesitated to make use of Wolves’ highly-regarded academy prospects, handing debuts to Connor Ronan and Harry Burgoyne and starting Bright Enobakhare twice in his six matches in charge.

And the head coach expects ‘one or two’ more to come through before the end of the campaign.

“I’d be disappointed if one or two more didn’t come through before the end of the season,” he said.

“I think they’re a really good group. When you play young ones you get no fear factor.

“They seem to play without fear. Yes, they need older ones alongside them to help them, but I’d be disappointed if more didn’t come through.

“They will have seen what Connor, Bright and Harry have done and think ‘well if they can do it then we can push’.”

Attacking midfielder and England youth international Morgan Gibbs-White, aged just 16, is thought of as the pick of the next generation coming through, while it’s believed striker Niall Ennis would be in and around the first team now had he not broken his leg last month.

Midfielder Christian Herc and defender Connor Johnson are just two of many others thought to have a bright future.

12 January
Comments Off on Zeroes And (Young)Ones: The Future Of Technology In The Classroom

Zeroes And (Young)Ones: The Future Of Technology In The Classroom

By Claire Stead, Online Safety Ambassador at Smoothwall

The days of chalkboards and dusty textbooks in classrooms are long gone. Over the past two decades, technology has slowly crept into the classroom, changing the way students study and access information, and also opened up a whole new world of resources for teachers to utilise.

So what lies instore in the year ahead for schools? What are going to be the key players that advance the classroom and the way students learn in the year to come?

11 January
Comments Off on Malawi’s flag flying high at the BBC, all because of Joab Chakhaza

Malawi’s flag flying high at the BBC, all because of Joab Chakhaza

Normally when talking on radio I do not think about the multitudes that are listening. I just aim to be at my best. The best approach when on air is to imagine you are talking to your best friend. That will help calm your nerves and speak naturally, said Chakhaza

His work placement began on 5th September this year and will end on 4th January next year. So far he has enjoyed regular time in reading news briefs during Focus on Africa news programmes on BBC Radio. He follows in the footsteps of another renowned Malawian media personality, Chakuchanya Harawa, who has been with BBC for a long time.

Chipliliro Kansilanga is another Malawian journalist who was considered work placement together with Joab Frank Chakhaza, having also impressed academically. However Kansilanga is associated with BBC media action in East London.

Chakhaza advises the youth to follow their dreams if excellence in life is to be guaranteed. He argues that parents should not impose dreams on children but the young ones should decide on their own.

Work hard and do something you are passionate about. Most youth do things to either impress their friends or on instruction from their parents.

In my view, it is much easier to do something you love or are passionate about. So if you love music then sing. If you like helping the sick then be a doctor. But most of the time young people pursue careers because My dad wants me to be a lawyer etc, he said.

10 January
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Let children ‘play more’

The sporting administrator told the SATURDAY SUN that mobile and other electronic devices were creating a level of obesity among children and parents needed to take charge of their young ones and have them engage in physical activity.

Our young people are caught up too much on the commercial side of life at the expense of their personal health. Our young ones are too obese and statistics reveal that our society has one of the highest overweight ratios in the Western Hemisphere. This can be traits of our young people neglecting physical activity and have now gone into all sorts of games, whether on their mobile phones, tablets, or hand-held games.

Too many of our young people are not engaging in any form of physical activity, and those parents who at this time would prefer to give their children these gadgets for recreational purposes are the ones to blame. Why cant the parent instead give a ball, a racquet, a skateboard, a bicycle, or a pair of soft shoes for their children to engage in needed physical activity? he said. (RA)

05 January
Comments Off on Do today’s kids only play in digital snow?

Do today’s kids only play in digital snow?

In our childhood we looked at snow as a day with no school, hot chocolate and bags inside our snow boots to keep our socks dry.

Logging in more hours outside than the best day of summer, we looked at our snow-globe world with amazement. As we got older we were allowed to explore the neighborhood to build forts, have snowball fights, and go ice skating. We hoped#xa0;that school would be canceled again to continue our play.

Now we have aged and look at snow as a nuisance. The roads become impassable, and our busy schedules are interrupted. If we can get out of our driveways we need to find a sitter for the young ones. Our days of remembering our childhood delights#xa0;are far outweighed by the realities#xa0;of#xa0;everyday life.

In our current society, when that blustery storm does come, the kids dont go out. They dont even know what snowboots are or if they do, they have never worn a pair. You see, the kids today only need to have a computer or iPhone or tablet and they will never make a peep. Winter weather does not affect the internet. But if it does, and the web goes down, they may just have to learn the double-glove trick.

K. Patrick Passero

East Lyme

03 January
Comments Off on Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort unveils New Year’s Eve packages

Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort unveils New Year’s Eve packages

Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort, a leading tourism destination in Morocco, has unveiled attractive packages for New Years Eve.

Luxury tourism in Morocco offers best deals for families. Mazagan Beach amp; Golf Resort has been recognised as a leading tourist destination suitable for families and young tourists, offering all elements of luxury tourism, said Scott Lundahl, director of Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort.

We at Mazagan Beach Resort amp; Golf Resort assure unforgettable moments of fun and discovery, with a variety of things to do in Casablanca in particular and Morocco in general. We offer Cooking class, visits to nearby places and direct transport to Casablanca.

The resort also offers a roaring time for the young ones in three different clubs: Baby Club, Kids Club and Rush Club, in addition to opportunities to participate in entertainment and family activities, such as fitness, tennis and others.

These offers are available on most superior rooms at the resort, including Pool View, Partial Ocean View, Ocean View, Prime Ocean View, Ocean Mazagan Suite and Prime Ocean Mazagan Suite, said a statement.

The resort is a unique place for vacation, where visitors can enjoy spectacular views as it overlooks the ocean, lakes, gardens and swimming pool, as well as indulge in an international culinary feast at a wide variety of restaurants, it said.

As a leading tourism hub in the world, Morocco combines a rich culture, wealth of natural beauty, and an exceptional year-round climate. As a key leader in the hospitality industry in the kingdom, Mazagan Beach amp; Golf Resort is one of the preferred destinations worldwide as it offers unmatched packages that can cater to the expectations of each family member, the statement added. TradeArabia News Service

26 December
Comments Off on AbRam, Ahil, Hridhaan, Hrehaan: Merry Christmas From The Little Ones In Bollywood

AbRam, Ahil, Hridhaan, Hrehaan: Merry Christmas From The Little Ones In Bollywood

While the grown-ups in Bollywood celebrated Christmas to the hilt, even the young ones had their share of blast. We came across a picture of little AbRam and we could not help gush at how cute the child looks in the click as he admires the Christmas tree.