October 22nd, 2009

October 22, 2009

WILLIAMSPORT - Police pick up an arsonist in Lycoming County after she told an officer she was going to set something on fire. According to a criminal complaint 22-year old Autumne Burkhart of Williamsport spoke with an officer at city hall telling the officer she was going to set something on fire and she wanted to go to jail as a deterrent to setting a fire. The officer said she could be taken into custody for a mental health examination. She took back her comments and left. Burkhart is now charged with arson and several related counts including causing or risking a catastrophe for setting a fire in a large metal garbage can at the rear of the Williamsport Trade and Transit Center on West Third Street not long after speaking with the officer around eleven o'-clock last night. Police say video surveillance camera footage clearly shows Burkhart setting the fire. She was taken into custody at the scene and did have a lighter in her possession. A bystander called in the fire and then pulled the flaming can away from the building avoiding the potential of a much larger blaze. Police do not say wether they suspect Burkhart in other recent arson fires although she told the officer that she had set other fires. Burkhart is jailed unable to post $15,000 bail.
John Callahan (WGRC)

TAMAQUA - A fast-moving fire destroyed at least one home in Schuylkill County this morning. Fire crews were called to the home at 132 Orwigsburg Street in Tamaqua just before 5:30 this morning and were met with a fully involved house fire. Crews from Tamaqua, Coaldale and Summit Hill battled the blaze that was finally declared under control about 8 a.m. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Reports are that fire officials believe everyone got out of the home safely.
(WGRC)   

AVIS - A tough break for a man chased from his home in Avis, Tuesday night during a fire. State Police now say sometime between 3:30 Tuesday morning and two Wednesday morning someone stole a gun from 31-year-old Craig Fantaski of Avis. Fantaski along with his girlfriend and her daughter were chased from the burning home at Nine West Highland Street, around 11:30 Tuesday night. Police are continuing their investigation into the theft and fire.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - A Lock Haven man is jailed in the Clinton County prison on $15-thousand dollars bail on terroristic threat charges. Police say around Noon Tuesday 37-year-old William Gonzales the Third attacked a 30-year-old woman at a home at 36 Eagle Hollow in Gallagher Township. Police say Gonzales and the woman were involved in an argument when Gonzales hit the woman, threw her against a wall and then to the floor where he kicked her.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)
   
MILL HALL - A gun and scanner stolen from a vehicle in Clinton County. Troopers say someone got inside a truck owned by 81-year old Robert Sterrett Junior as it was parked at his residence on West Church Street in Mill Hall sometime between eight last Saturday night and seven Sunday morning. The thief made off with a .22 caliber Baretta pistol and a scanner. Anyone with information about this theft is asked to call State Police at Lamar.
John Callahan (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The Department of Environmental Protection and Mallard Contracting of Mt. Carmel, Northumberland County, have reached an agreement on the final cleanup requirements for a 63,000 gallon gasoline spill that occurred in May 2007 in Coal Township. The spill occurred when a Mallard-owned bulldozer punctured a Sunoco gasoline transmission pipeline. The bulldozer was doing road maintenance work along a coal access road on the south side of Big Mountain in Coal Township. The new agreement requires Mallard to submit cleanup reports to DEP by March 31, 2010 that will include the technical information necessary to demonstrate attainment of the non-residential use statewide health standard. Mallard also agreed to pay a $45,000 civil penalty for pollution caused by the spill. The company has already paid $15,000 and the remaining $30,000 will be paid in $5,000 monthly installments for the next six months.
John Callahan (WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - Schuylkill County corrections officials continue to encounter issues about the prison pre-release center planned for a Ryan Township site. At Wednesday's prison board meeting, Judge Baldwin questioned statements made by the Department of General Services about the county not being able to connect to the sewer system at the state prison, potentially jacking the cost up by $200-thousand dollars to the county. The state has okayed the purchase of the land by Schuylkill County for $48-thousand dollars, but total cost of the project is unclear at this point. Schuylkill County could walk away from the deal if the project cost is too high.                                                                                                                             
WPPA
   
DANVILLE - Fifty-two Geisinger Health System physicians in 24 medical specialties have been included on the national Best Doctors list for 2009-2010. The biennial Best Doctors database is highly selective, recognizing only 5 percent of all doctors in America. Honorees are determined through impartial scoring and a validated peer review process. More than 40,000 U.S. physicians were polled. For almost 20 years, Best Doctors Inc. has been a highly respected resource for identifying the very best doctors in the nation.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Theatre arts students at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in Columbia County will benefit from the Michael Collins Theatre Scholarship. Established in memory of Collins, a theatre arts professor who died last July, the scholarship will be awarded to students who are committed to theatre as a multi-disciplinary pursuit, possess a collaborative spirit and leadership qualities and demonstrate a positive, willing attitude and work ethic.  To be eligible, a student should have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 overall and 3.5 in theatre courses.  The application process will include an essay, audition or portfolio review, interview and resume outlining theatrical experience.
John Callahan (WGRC)

PICTURE ROCKS - A fire at a lumber mill in Lycoming County has crews
from seven area companies out to battle the blaze. The fire was
reported just before three Wednesday afternoon at Lewis Lumber Products
in Picture Rocks. The fire reportedly started in a sawdust silo. Crews
remained on the scene of that smoky fire until around 8:30 last night.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

AVIS - A fire which displaced three people in Clinton County late
Tuesday night caused about $70-thousand dollars in damaged to the
two-story home in Avis. The fire on West Highland Street started just
after eleven p.m. at the home of 43-year-old Kathy Neal, her daughter
Stephanie and Neal's friend 31-year-old Craig Fantaski. All three
escaped the burning building. The American Red Cross is helping the
three who are staying with neighbors. No word yet on a cause.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY - In Northumberland County Court Wednesday the defendants in three murder cases went before President Judge Robert Sacavage for various proceedings. Richard Curran, already convicted of killing his wife in 2005, went before the judge to appeal his conviction and demand a new trial and new attorney. A hearing was held for Michael Harrell, accused of a double murder in Sunbury in February 2008, was also in Sacavage's Courtroom during a hearing on evidence that would be presented at his trial. And Steven Wolfgang, accused of killing his wife in 2007 in Mount Carmel and dumping her body in a stream in Schuylkill County learn his trial will be in March. The Shamokin News Item reports, long-time personnel at the courthouse, including the judge, couldn't recall an instance where three accused murderers were brought before the court on the same day.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - Two have been arrested in Northumberland County for causing over  $21-hundred dollars in damage to surveillance cameras at a 9-1-1 radio tower. The damaged happened August 2nd at the tower located on Boyer's Knob along Route 125 in East Cameron Township. State Police have charged 23-year-old Julian Ross of Mount Carmel and 22-year-old Casey Ross of Northumberland with criminal mischief for damaging the cameras.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

NEWPORT - In Perry County police are looking for a couple wanted on burglary and theft charges. 28-year-old Ryan Benner and 19-year-old Tiana Garman both of Duncannon are being sought for numerous burglaries and thefts throughout Perry County. Anyone with information on their whereabouts are being asked to contact state police.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DANVILLE - Despite an ongoing investigation into missing money, the fired Montour County deputy treasurer is eligible for unemployment pay. That was determined by an arbitrator in the case of Anne Dewald. The Press Enterprise reports, the arbitrator found that Montour County's treasurer Kim Schooley did not prove deputy Anne Dewald deliberately violated work rules or procedures, or that she was even the one who failed to follow procedures. The county plans to appeal the decision. Dewald was suspended and then terminated by Schooley in January after some hunting and dog licenses sold through the office were never reported to the state, and the fees paid for them remain unaccounted for. The amount missing is less than $3,000.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

UNITYVILLE - A Watsontown man was arrested and jailed Wednesday afternoon on more than 100 felony counts of sexual abuse of children for allegedly possessing 120 child pornographic images on a home computer. Police say 28-year-old Jason Musser downloaded the images in 2004 and 2005 when he was living with Melissa Newman. Newman handed the computer over to police when she discovered the pictures. Musser is jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on $125,000 bail.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Lycoming County Sheriff Charles Brewer was named local Law Enforcement Officer of the Year on Wednesday. Accepting the award before a crowd of nearly 200 gathered at the Dr. Creighton Hale Grove in the Little League International complex, Brewer said he's honored to be added to the list of honored officers that's been accumulating since the first award was bestowed in 1973 to the late Charles Croft, a former city policeman. Brewer is retiring after this year. The Officer of the Year Award, is presented by the Travelers Protective Association of America Post W - Williamsport. The "Officer of the Year" award, wasn't the only accolade bestowed upon Brewer Wednesday. Citations from state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township; state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy and Gov. Ed Rendell were also presented to Brewer for his years of dedicated service.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - One hospital in the region has put restrictions in place so as to cut down on instances of the flu. Lewistown Hospital has seen a dramatic increase in flu cases over the last week and is concerned about protecting their patients, staff and visitors. For several weeks the hospital has asked that people with active flu symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose refrain from visiting patients. The hospital is now taking an additional step of restricting visits by children under eighteen. Children are at greater risk of contracting and spreading H1N1. The Hospital states, young people are at greater risk for the H1N1 strain of the flu because those over the age of 60 may have some resistance built up from earlier exposure in a vaccination or virus. The PA Department of Health recently released figures showing that 64% of all cases of H1N1 in September were found in patients under age 19. The new visiting policy will be in effect until further notice.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DANVILLE - Geisinger Medical Center says they have also been seeing an increase in influenza cases. Geisinger officials say they have had about 400 confirmed cases over the last two weeks and out of those 400 cases 15 patients had to be hospitalized. Geisinger encourages people to visit their Web site "Geisinger.org" and then click on the H1N1 icon for more information on the flu. The medical center has also set up a hotline at 570-214-4636 that gives basic information on when to visit a doctor when you're sick with the flu, and how to care for a sick family member.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Community Nursing Service in Lock Haven Clinton County has just received a shipment of H1N1 vaccine and will hold a public flu shot clinic Friday. The clinic will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at Covenant United Methodist Church, 44 West Main Street, near the post office. The vaccine may be given only to those who are eligible, Community Nursing must follow the strict guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - A case of "possible meningitis" involving a student at North Schuylkill Elementary School has, in fact, been diagnosed as bacterial meningitis. School officials learned of the possible meningitis case Monday, and in turn sent letters home with the students informing parents of the situation. On Tuesday school officials learned the student was not contagious. The student was taken to Geisinger Medical Center and treated with antibiotics and was sent home.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)    

BERWICK - In Columbia County, visitors to Berwick schools now have to bring a photo ID so the district can do a quick background check before letting them in. The Press Enterprise reports, a new computer system in every building lets receptionists scan driver's licenses and other IDs, then checks a national database to see if the person is listed as a sexual offender. The V-Soft Program can also be programmed locally to include people with custody orders, restraining orders or other problems school personnel should know about. If such a person shows up, the computer sends a text message and photo to administrators and the district's two police officers. It all happens so quickly and quietly, visitors shouldn't know there's a problem until someone shows up to investigate. The program cost more than $10,000 to install and was provided for  by a grant from the Berwick Health and Wellness Fund of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)    

MILTON - This Saturday, October 24th 2 men Justin Jarret and Kylar Krebs will complete a 2 month long trip bicycling across the United States. The journey started in Los Angeles, California and it will end in Milton, Pennsylvania. The two are riding for a friend that passed away this past January, Aaron Klinger of Milton. Klinger was an alumni of Milton Area High School and was about the graduate from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. In the short 9 months since his death his friends and family have worked non-stop to establish a scholarship fund in his name. In order to raise enough funds for the scholarship to become self-sustaining For Aaron: The Documentary was born. The Documentary which features the cross country journey, interviews and testimonials from friends and family and home video of Klinger himself will be shopped around film festivals sometime in 2010. Along their journey the Jarret, Krebs, and their two man film crew have been filmed by news stations in Kansas City and have been on the front page of the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch. Jarret and Krebs invite you to become a part of the filming of For Aaron: The Documentary by joining them Saturday October 24th at the Milton High School at 3:30 p.m.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SCRANTON - More than 12 million pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped into the Susquehanna River or its tributaries in 2007, making it one of the 20 rivers in the country most inundated by industrial releases. Those numbers, compiled by PennEnvironment in a report released Wednesday, reveal a bleak picture of the sources of pollution that continue to burden state rivers already tainted by centuries of industrial use. The Scranton Times reports, the federal data provides a snapshot of industrial pollution at its source in a specific waterway, but it does not account for historical pollution in the rivers or the accumulation of pollution across a river basin. Historical pollution includes acid mine drainage and old municipal sewage treatment plants.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)    

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