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Human Interest - Bristol Borough

Bucks Opportunity Council Free Tax Help Begins in February

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The Bucks County Opportunity Council will be offering free income tax preparation assistance to low income residents through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) again this year beginning in February.

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Trained and certified volunteers will start up beginning the first of the month with the effort lasting through April 15, in five locations throughout the county: Bristol Township, Warminster, Quakertown, Newtown and Doylestown.

Office hours at each location vary, but include Saturday, weekday, and  evenings with  services are provided on a first come, first serve basis.

Lower Bucks tax preparation hours in Bristol are Tuesdays 5:30 pm to 8 pm and Saturdays till 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at BCOC’s 721 Veterans Highway location.

Individuals and families with a combined income of $56,000 or less are eligible for the program.

 

Credit: Rhiannon Cullaton

BCOC volunteers have helped over 12,400 families save over $23.5 million in refunds, tax credits and fees in the last 15 years. Money saved stays in the local economy as low income families generally spend returns on essentials such as food, clothing and school supplies, for example, officials say.

The program supports BCOC’s overall mission to reduce poverty and partner with the community to promote economic self-sufficiency.

Millions of dollars in tax credits go unclaimed each year because many people don’t know about them or don’t know how to apply for them. According to the IRS, many individuals qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), but cannot afford professional tax assistance to help them file their taxes correctly.

Over 50 volunteers make this program possible through BCOC. Tax preparers receive training and need to pass an exam to be certified. Other volunteers assist in support roles such as greeting visitors and scheduling. The program is sponsored by the IRS, and supported locally by Bucks County Foundation, First National Bank & Trust Co. of Newtown, and BB&T.

To be a volunteer contact Eileen Albillar at 215-345-8175, or ealbillar@bcoc.org.

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bristol Township

Randall Ave Bridge Restoration Project to Begin Next Week

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The long awaited and much anticipated work to the Randall Avenue Bridge in Bristol Township will begin in earnest next week, township manager Randee J. Mazur said Thursday.

We have an executed agreement with Haines and Kibblehouse based in Chalfont H & K) in the amount of  $1,085,260.00. The project was originally planned to start June 21st and was pushed back a week by Amtrak to now begin Friday, June 28th,” she said.

Mobilization for the work began earlier today, with  setting up the construction laydown areas. They plan to use a portion of Pitt Avenue that is closed and will set up temporary chain link fence with a lock to secure all materials and equipment, officials said.

The Project Schedule is as follows:

6/28/24 to 7/1/24 – 55 Hour Outage on Track 3 with nighttime outage on Track 2

7/12/24 to 7/15/24 – 55 Hour Outage on Track 2 with nighttime outage on Track 3

7/26/24 to 7/29/24 – 55 Hour Outage on Track 1 with nighttime outage on Track 2

The bridge work, with no delays to the schedule, should be completed by the end of July, Mazur said.

Randal Ave Bridge Closed
Credit: Lower Bucks Source

“Gilmore and Associates is finalizing the abutment project bid and details, should be completed early July and then we will solicit bids for this work.”

If the abutments are ready for work, then with contract awarded, this work could start as early as July or August and is estimated to take three months. The abutments are what is required for the 3.5-ton limit and there is discussion with the work being done that it may be able to be increased once completed. The township manager said, our police department was advised we will need truck enforcement for the bridge to enforce whatever weight limit there is while we continue to work on design and funding for a full bridge replacement.

The 169-foot span bridge in the Edgely section of the township has been closed since February of 2023 after chunks of the bridge fell onto the ground and onto the Amtrak and SEPTA rail lines below. For 14 months Township officials have worked feverishly reviewing solutions, applying for grants, speaking, and meeting with  civil construction companies and leveraging county, state, and federal officials seeking help.

The project has gone back to using hi rail equipment for some of the work. H&K has their hi rail inspection scheduled for June 26th. H&K is planning to mobilize today and start setting up the construction laydown areas today and tomorrow (6/20 & 6/21). They plan to use a portion of Pitt Ave that is closed and will set up temporary chain link fence with a lock to secure all materials/equipment.

A community meeting held by the township in January involving officials from state, federal, and Amtrak offices seems to have put the project in motion. For almost a year there was little to no movement on what exactly should be done, due in part to Amtrak’s specific guidelines and requirements, one official, who asked not be identified said.

 

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bristol Township

Bristol Woman Charged for Pulling Fire Alarm, Shutting Power at Village Lodge Motel

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A Bristol woman with a long history of mental health issues and convictions walked into a local motel grabbed a fire extinguisher, discharged its contents and subsequently pulled its fire alarm leading to her arrest early Thursday morning.

According to police, Chrystal Brewington, 33 walked into the Villager Lodge Motel located on the 5300 block of Bristol Pike at just after 4 a.m., Thursday, June 20. She grabbed the fire extinguisher from the wall and discharged its contents in the parking lot. A motel employee implored her to leave the premises immediately. Brewington, not following directions,  returned to the hotel lobby and pulled the fire alarm which led to police and the Third District Fire Company being dispatched to the motel.

Brewington was told to leave again by the establishment’s overnight clerk.

She walked  outside, returning moments later, headed for the breaker panel and shut off the electricity in the motel, the criminal complaint alleges.

Police noted the senselessness of Brewington’s actions since there was no actual fire at the motel.

A second motel employee told police Brewington damaged the alarm system with needed repairs costing $700.00.

She was charged with three misdemeanor offenses- false alarm, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, She was jailed with bond set at 10 percent of $20,000 and tentatively scheduled for preliminary hearing on July 3.

Prior to this incident Brewington was involved in an incident at the Rodeway Hotel in which Alfred Camp allegedly stabbed her in the leg. 

His preliminary hearing was scheduled for today, however case information has yet to be updated online.

 

 

 

 

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Health - Bensalem Township

THE Giant Co. & Customers Raise More Than $400,000 For Healing Our Planet Initiatives

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Through its Healing Our Planet initiative, The GIANT Company today announced it raised $403,360 in partnership with its customers to support Planet Bee Foundation™ and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful™. During the month of May, customers at GIANT, MARTIN’S and GIANT Heirloom Market stores were invited to round up their grocery purchases to the nearest dollar to support each organization.

“Action inspires action and small changes such as tree plantings and pollinator awareness can make a big difference when it comes to helping our planet, so thank you to our customers who rounded up at the register to support these green initiatives,” said Courtney Hopcraft, manager of charitable giving and community relations, The GIANT Company. “Over the four years of our Healing the Planet campaign, more than $6 million has been raised to grow health and sustainability initiatives centric to creating healthier communities and a more sustainable future.”

Announced earlier this month, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful in partnership with The GIANT Company announced it will award Healing the Planet grants later this summer to local community organizations for tree plantings across Pennsylvania. Additional funding from The GIANT Company will support Pick Up Pennsylvania and local clean up, recycling and greening events.

“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is grateful to The GIANT Company for their support of native tree planting in their operating areas in Pennsylvania. Funding will also support our Pick Up Pennsylvania program, so we can continue to meet the needs of families, friends, neighbors, civic groups, nonprofits and municipalities working towards a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania,” said Shannon Reiter, president, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “Cleaning and beautifying communities tends to reduce littering and other illegal behaviors, making it a better place for all residents and providing a foundation for community and economic development.”

Credit: Submitted

Planet Bee Foundation drives awareness for pollinators and the importance of bees as a pathway to STEM, conservation, and innovations in agriculture. Funding raised by The GIANT Company will support local beekeepers, research programs, and school and community programs.

“On behalf of Planet Bee Foundation, I wish to extend our deepest gratitude to The GIANT Company for their donation, which has educated and impacted over 109,000 youth. Their generosity has sponsored STEM and Agriculture Education programs in schools, provided supplies to teachers, offered grants to local beekeepers, provided education at public events, and maintained beehives in community gardens, exemplifying their commitment to local communities,” said Debra Tomaszewski, founder and executive director, Planet Bee Foundation. “We are humbled and inspired by The GIANT Company’s commitment to sustainability, the health of our planet, and the well-being of the families they serve.”

For more information on The GIANT Company’s Healing Our Planet initiative, click here please.

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