The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

December 21, 2013

News briefs from Dec. 21, 2013

Herald staff

- — No tax increase for Wheatland residents

WHEATLAND – Wheatland borough residents won’t see a tax increase next year. Council adopted a $528,964 budget Friday that leaves real estate taxes unchanged at 23.25 mills.

Of that amount, revenue from 1.33 mills pays for street lighting and .50 mills goes towards the pension costs related to borough employees.

There will be no changes in rates for water, sewers, street lights or fire protection.

Waste Management will be the borough’s new garbage and recycling hauler for next year. Rates will decrease $26.25 a year, bringing charges to $14.04 monthly or $42.12 per quarter. These prices include weekly garbage, bi-weekly recycling and leaf pick-up.

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of a home’s assessed value; assessments in Mercer County are the 1970 value. In West Middlesex, a home assessed at $20,000 would carry a real estate tax bill of $465.

Judge orders probation for Hempfield woman

GREENVILLE AREA – A Hempfield Township woman walked out of the Mercer County Courthouse Friday “on paper” for two years – slang for on probation – but a judge told her she had better keep better company or state prison will be in her future.

Meanwhile, Ashley Dillen’s co-defendant in one case, Shane Patterson, didn’t show up for sentencing, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Dillen, 21, formerly of Jamestown, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and Patterson to possession of heroin, marijuana and drug paraphernalia in connection to what initially was described as the Feb. 21 discovery of a methamphetamine laboratory at their home, 289 S. Mercer St. – across the street from the Hempfield Township police station.

Dillen also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor retail theft for stealing 14 DVDs Feb. 14 from Walmart in Hempfield, and another theft in Greenville.

The prosecution agreed to a recommendation of probation.

“I appreciate probation,” Dillen said. “I will do great.”

She told Dobson she has no relationship with Patterson, 30.

Dobson also ordered Dillen to be evaluated for a drug and alcohol problem, perform 25 hours’ community service and pay $175 restitution to Walmart.

Gas company offers advice during flooding

ERIE -- National Fuel advises natural gas customers to get qualified help if their basements should flood:

• If flooding affects gas appliances such as furnaces or hot water tanks, customers should not relight the pilot lights. If the appliances’ controls were submerged, water could have caused damage that could affect the safe operation of the equipment. Consumers should call a qualified contractor to inspect the appliances.

• Do not attempt to adjust any gas equipment or gas meters while the basement is flooded.

• Customers should not turn on any gas valve that has been turned off by National Fuel or emergency personnel when flooding has occurred. Once the water has subsided, contact National Fuel at 1-800-365-3234 and the company will test and restore service at no charge to its customers. Appliances affected by floodwater will remain turned off and the customer will be required to contact a heating contractor or plumber to verify that the equipment will operate safely.

• As always, if a gas odor is present, the customer should open a window for ventilation, leave the premises and call National Fuel at 1-800-444-3130 immediately. Do not use any appliances or operate any electrical switches if a gas odor is present. Representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive emergency calls.

To learn more about natural gas safety, visit