April 20, 2012

April 20, 2012

MINGOVILLE – A chicken coop burns this morning in Centre County.  Fire crews were called to 907 Nittany Valley Drive in Walker Township just after 10 this morning for a building fire.  First responders said a 20 by 20 chicken coop at what was said to be the Kerstetter Farm was fully engulfed in flames.  Crews were on the scene for around 2 hours.  There’s no word on how many chickens, if any, perished in the blaze. 
John Callahan (WGRC)

NEWBERRY – A vehicle crashes into a bank this afternoon in Lycoming County.  Rescue crews were called to the Woodlands Bank at 1980 West Fourth Street in the Newberry section of Williamsport just before 3 this afternoon for a vehicle into a structure.  The driver was able to get out of the vehicle under their own power.  There were no other reports of injuries.
John Callahan (WGRC)

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN – Traffic tied up this morning by an oversized load in Schuylkill County.  State Police say an oversized load was travelling along Route 61 in North Manheim Township when it was unable to successfully avoid the traffic light at Route 183 bringing the light down.  The incident happened just before 8:30 this morning.  Traffic was tied up as a fire crew worked to free the traffic light.  The truck hauling a 110,000 pound chemical tank then continued on along Route 61. 
John Callahan (WGRC)

MILTON – A store burglarized in Northumberland County overnight.  State Police are investigating a burglary at Jack Knelly’s Indoor/Outdoor Furniture along Route 405 in Turbot Township.  The culprits gained access to the business and were able to open a locked safe and make off with around $30,000.  The theft happened between 5:15 yesterday afternoon and 8:50 this morning.   Anyone with information should call State Police at Milton.
John Callahan (WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Police in Clinton County are investigating an alleged strong-arm robbery.  The incident happened early yesterday morning in the parking lot of the Dunkin Donuts along Bellefonte Avenue in Lock Haven.  Two victims told police they were approached by the assailants and an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen. Police tell the Express this morning that the suspects have been identified, but no charges had been filed. Police declined to release their names pending completion of the investigation.  The suspects - three males and one female - made their escape in a white sport utility vehicle or van.
(WGRC)

TOWER CITY – A registered sex offender already jailed for having inappropriate contact with a teen girl in Schuylkill County is hit with more charges related to the same incident.  State Police say a 14-year old girl from Williamstown, Dauphin County,  told them 26-year old Christopher Romberger of Tower City,  touched her inappropriately in a wooded area off of North Bellas Street in Tower City between 8 and 9 the night of April 7th.  Romberger is a registered sex offender.  He was taken into custody at his home and was placed behind bars.  Romberger was arraigned today on additional charges related to his involvement with the victim.   He remains jailed.
John Callahan (WGRC)

ASHLAND – A two vehicle crash in Schuylkill County yesterday evening sent one person to the hospital. The crash happened just before six p.m. on Route 901 and Deep Creek Road in Barry Township. Police say 61-year-old Charles Scherer of Frackville pulled out in front of a car driven by 59-year-old Francis Padula of Ranshaw. Police say Scherer suffered injuries to his head and arms and was flown from the scene to Geisinger Medical Center. Padula was not injured.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SALONA – Three people were taken to the hospital following that pile-up on Interstate 80 Eastbound in Clinton County yesterday morning. The crash happened around 10:30 a.m. near mile marker 180. Troopers say a tractor trailer driven by 52-year-old Erwin Adams of Hempstead, New York, slammed into a slow moving rig driven by 63-year-old Collin Edwards of St. Albans, New York. Police say Adam’s load of coiled steel slid off his semi and landed on the highway and car driven by Carol Diamond of Pittsburgh hit some of the coiled steel. Both Adams and a passenger in Diamond’s vehicle suffered moderate injuries. The highway was re-opened to traffic around 5:15 last evening.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - City police are investigating an alleged strong-arm robbery that occurred early Thursday morning in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts along Bellefonte Avenue in Lock Haven. Two victims told police they were approached by the suspects who stole cash from the victims. Police do have suspects in custody but no charges have yet been filed. The suspects, three males and one female, made their escape in a white sport utility vehicle or van.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – A Sunbury couple has been charged with endangering the welfare of their two boys ages two and three. Police say City Codes officers stopped by the home of Johnny McDaniel and his wife Samantha, both 25-years-old at 27 John Street for a garbage complaint. When the Codes officials arrived they found one child standing in a two story window leaning against the glass of the window. Another child was inside the home both only clothed in a diaper. Police were called and finally Mr. McDaniel opened the door and told police he had been napping at the time. Inside the homes Codes officials found rooms filled with dirty diapers, garbage, dirty dishes, the children’s beds were soiled with urine and feces, and flies and black bugs were everywhere. Police also found drug items in the home. Police arrested both parents and both are jailed in the Northumberland County Prison on $50,000 bail. The children are in the custody of Northumberland County Children and Youth Services.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WATSONTOWN— There is a reason for the silence of state troopers investigating the shooting death nearly a week ago of a 64-year-old Northumberland County woman. That reason is to make sure what happened in the home is accurate before any charges are filed if they are filed at all. Patricia Thomas, of 1060 Phillips Road, Turbot Township, was shot and killed around 1 a.m. Saturday. Police said her husband, 64-year-old Robert Thomas, 64, reported that someone broke into their home and he was hit on the head with a blunt object, but not before he was able to retrieve a gun. Police initially labeled the incident as a criminal homicide and robbery. Fewer than 24 hours later, they changed the report and said they were no longer searching for an intruder. Troopers have said nothing further since then. But reports from those who knew the couple say the couple had been experiencing unusual happenings at the home and both had a weapon by their bedside. He a gun she a baseball bat. Unconfirmed reports are that Robert left the bedroom before Patrica and that they met up inside the dark house and thought each other was the intruder. She hit him over the head but not before he fired the fatal shot.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MARION HEIGHTS - A Kulpmont man and his live-in girlfriend have been charged with multiple offenses, including aggravated assault, in connection with April 1 incidents in which a man was assaulted and hit by a car near Marion Heights Cemetery. Police have charged 21-year-old Steven Randall, and 19-year-old Cynthia Sidden. Police have charged the two with hitting Shane Brosious of Coal Run with a car along Route 2026 near Marion Heights Cemetery. Both are jailed in the Northumberland County Prison. Police also are attempting to locate two other men allegedly involved with the assault. Police say Brosious suffered head and back injuries and was taken to Geisinger Medical Center where he underwent emergency room treatment before being released.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE – Twenty-four-year-old David Reed sexually assaulted a teenage girl last September in Tamaqua, and will pay for it by going to state prison for at least 56 months. Schuylkill County Judge John Domalakes handed down that sentence Wednesday. Reed, of Tamaqua, must serve 56 to 112 months in a state prison for the assault on the 14-year-old girl in September in a home on Center Street in Tamaqua. Reed will also be subject to Megan's Law due to a Delaware conviction for third-degree rape.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE – An undercover state police trooper and the father of an attempted murder testified during the trial for 39-year-old Randall Brooks of Howard, yesterday. The trooper told of how Brooks’ father Daniel Brooks received a phone call in May 2011 from a man claiming he did favors for his incarcerated son and was looking for his promised reward. The senior Brooks meanwhile told of the phone call made by the undercover officer. Randall Brooks appeared to take exception to prosecutors playing the recorded conversations his father had with the undercover officer. Brooks, acting as his own attorney in the trial, questioned his father Thursday under cross-examination. He had already come face-to-face with his ex-girlfriend and her former lover, 26-year-old Matthew Ross, the man police said Brooks shot and tried to kill in 2009. The prosecution rested its case late Thursday evening. Brooks called his first witnesses around 7:30 p.m. The trial is scheduled to continue today with the jury expected to receive the case someone this afternoon.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – A bridge spanning Route 15 in Old Lycoming Township, Lycoming County was named yesterday in honor of State Trooper Gary Rosenberger who was shot and killed over 40 years ago during a narcotics investigation. State police and other active and retired law enforcement officials, community leaders and family members of Rosenberger gathered to make something else quite clear: the fallen trooper did not die in vain. State Senator  Eugene Yaw, the chief sponsor of legislation to have the bridge spanning Mill Lane named the Gary Rosenberger Memorial Bridge, recalled he was a law student when the trooper was slain. The legislation to dedicate the bridge in his memory later passed both Houses unanimously before being signed by Governor Tom Corbett.
(WGRC)

PORT CARBON - A Saint Clair man sits in Schuylkill County Prison after sending his charges on to Schuylkill County Court stemming from six burglaries, with thefts of copper pipes, he allegedly committed this year in his hometown. Police say 30-year-old Anthony Sekula, was charged with six cases of burglary and theft between January and March. He remains jailed on $50,000 straight cash bail pending further court action.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY — More than 250 residents packed Sunbury City Hall on Thursday night, the vast majority so vocal in their opposition to a proposal to isolate the Hill Neighborhood with extra services for a cost. The crowd never gave Bill Fontana, executive director of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, a chance to guide audience members through his presentation on the proposed Improvement District. Many from the crowd hollered “We don’t want this,” and “We vote no.” The proposal was to have Hill Neighborhood residents pay for more street lighting, snow removal, parking, sidewalk improvements, and possibly their own police officer. As the majority of audience members applauded every time another would yell to shut the meeting down, Sunbury Mayor David Persing just stood against a wall and listened.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Bloomsburg Police officers are bracing for this weekend's annual block party along the Town's streets. From the raucous event a couple of years ago it's now toned down due to heavy handed enforcement. Police Chief Leo Sokoloski says his officers and those from out of town will be keeping a close eye on the festivities to make sure things don't get out of hand.
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN — A bid to develop a charter school in the borough of New Berlin is being postponed as organizers revamp plans to make the school available to families in other Valley school districts, including Selinsgrove and Lewisburg. Last month the Mifflinburg Area School Distirct board of directors rejected the idea of having a charter school in the borough. But Members of the New Berlin Charter School hopes to submit a new application that would encompass a greater area outside the Mifflinburg School District. If approved the school could be open for the 2013-2014 school year.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - Over 100 students, teachers, parents and community members gathered for a public solidarity rally on Thursday evening at the Mifflin County School District administration building. The rally was sponsored by the Mifflin County Coalition for Public Education, in response to Governor Corbett's proposed education budget. Their message, “Enough is Enough,” referring to the state cuts to public education and the increase those cuts bring to residents in the form of property tax increases. According to a press release, Mifflin County public school funding will have been slashed by $3.5 million dollars since 2010 if the budget is passed. In recent years, budget cuts have meant larger class sizes for students and the elimination of some student programs. The message in Mifflin County is hoped to spread elsewhere as those at the rally hope to encourage everyone to talk to their state legislators and let them know how important public school programs and education funding is to area communities.
(WGRC)

PAXINOS - Shamokin Area first-grade teacher and teachers union treasurer Mary Yohe considers the invitation-only, $1,000 per couple fundraising dinner on behalf of state Representative Kurt Masser this evening inappropriate in the wake of 21 school staff being furloughed last week. That's why she has organized a rally and invited five other school districts to join Shamokin Area in protesting Governor Tom Corbett's visit to the event, to be held at Indians Hills Golf and Tennis Club near Paxinos. Masser says he feels comfortable with the governor coming, despite the uproar related to public education funding. Masser says the changes in education funding that have prompted drastic changes at Shamokin Area and other districts has to do with the loss of federal stimulus dollars and districts' failure to prepare for that.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY — It seems a recent restaurant tab racked up by Northumberland County’s District Attorney and his staff is being picked at and labeled government waste by County Commissioner Vinny Clausi. Two weeks after an assistant district attorney was eliminated from his staff due to Northumberland County budget cuts, District Attorney Anthony Rosini and three staff members dined out on filet mignon and creme brulee paid for by taxpayers. The dinner was enjoyed by Rosini and his prosecuting staff during a three-day district attorney conference in Philadelphia on Valentine’s Day. Most of the $414 meal tab, $300, in fact, was pre-approved by the county commissioners and picked up by county taxpayers. All of the money granted by the county for meals during the three-day conference was spent on the one dinner. Clausi is now wondering why Rosini spent all the money on one meal. Clausi tells the Daily Item, “Why did we have to pay $45 for a steak? He makes $170,000 a year, nearly $200,000 with benefits and charges taxpayers for a $300 meal.”
(WGRC)

AVIS - Efforts to build an access road in South Avis in order to relieve truck traffic to and from the railroad yard there through residential areas has SEDA-COG applying for one million dollars in funding through Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure Development Program. Plans call for 2,500 feet of improved roadway from the existing Woodward Avenue into the rail yard with a direct connection off of Route 220. Total cost for the project is expected to be $1.2 million dollars with South Avis Realty which owns the rail yard paying the rest.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Phase two of the cleanup along the Loyalsock Creek will take place at the end of this month. Some 420 participants removed more than 62 tons of debris left by September flooding from along the creek back on March 24th. There is still a large amount of debris left along the creek banks and the next cleanup will take place on Saturday April 28th and will be put on by Clinton County Cleanscapes with funding assistance from the Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania and the Lycoming County Disaster Relief fund. Volunteers are needed and can register until April 25th by calling 726-3511 or by email at clintoncountycleanscapes@yahoo.com.  
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - A Penn State assistant athletic director who briefly took over the reins of the athletic department in November has been dismissed. Mark Sherburne was fired Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately clear why Sherburne was discharged from the job. Sherburne was acting athletic director when then-Athletic Director Tim Curley stepped down in November amid charges he lied to a grand jury investigating Jerry Sandusky. Sherburne resumed his role when university trustee and orthopedic surgeon Dave Joyner was appointed as acting athletic director.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - At their meeting on Wednesday, the Schuylkill County Commissioners enacted a county-wide burn ban that takes effect immediately, and will last until noon on Sunday May 20. The dry conditions that the area has been experiencing recently have raised the danger of wildfires, and that prompted the County Emergency Management Agency to ask for the ban. Under this regulation, residents are forbidden from any outdoor burning. Grilling in proper containers is still permitted; however the ban forbids lighting fires in outdoor burn barrels or fire rings. A first offense will bring a $100 fine, then $200 for a second offense, and $300 for each subsequent offense. Should a resident have an illegal fire, and it starts a wildfire, the resident will be charged with all costs associated with extinguishing the wildfire. If conditions improve, DCNR may lift the ban before May 20.
(WPPA)

HARRISBURG - Penn State says it provided Joe Paterno's estate with more than $5.5 million in payments and benefits Thursday to settle his employment contract. School spokesman Bill Mahon says the university and Paterno's estate finalized the remaining payments that were due to the longtime coach, who was fired in November in the wake of former assistant Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child sexual abuse charges. Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85. The deal also pledges payments to the coach's widow, Sue Paterno, of $1,000 a month for life, and gives her on-campus parking and access to university hydrotherapy equipment.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG  – Governor Tom Corbett Thursday announced that 17 environmental projects from across the state will receive the 2012 Environmental Excellence Award. Governor Corbett and the DEP urged any Pennsylvania business, school, government agency, trade organization, non-profit organization or agribusiness involved in efforts to promote environmental stewardship and economic development to apply for the award. Among those winning awards in the WGRC listening area include: In Centre County, the Bald Eagle Area School District located in the Wingate Complex Renovation with Solar, Geothermal and Environmental Center. Also in Clinton County, Trout Unlimited has been awarded for their work on the Susquehanna West Branch Recovery Benchmark Project.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Due to extremely low streamflows throughout the Susquehanna basin, 17 separate water withdrawals approved by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission have been temporarily suspended, as of Wednesday. Three of those suspensions affect natural gas companies working in Lycoming County. Because of the low streamflows, EXCO Resources must stop withdrawing water from Muncy Creek, Keystone Clearwater Solutions at Lycoming Creek, and XTO Energy at Lick Run and Little Muncy Creek. Hughesville-Wolf Township Joint Municipal Authority is also affected for wastewater.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTON D.C. - For the first time the federal government is getting involved with regulating natural gas drilling. The regulation has to do with air pollution. This first regulation from the federal government deals with the gasses that escape into the air during natural gas production. It is known as a burn off at a natural gas wells. It is how many companies currently deal with the natural gas and other gasses that escape right after a well is first drilled and fracked. The EPA said the flares used at wells are fine, for now, but the federal government will soon require companies to use equipment to capture those gasses and make good use of them. The federal regulations goes into effect in 2015, but until then, the federal government will require natural gas drillers to burn off the excess gasses or start capturing them now.
(WNEP)

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