May 1, 2012

May 1, 2012

LEWISBURG – In Union County, Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village along Fairground Road in Buffalo Township broke ground this afternoon on a nursing care center to replace the village’s current health care facility that was constructed in 1968.  The new $14 million facility is expected to be finished within a year. The new facility will have the same number of beds, 102, that the current building has.  The new building will feature what is called a modified neighborhood concept.   Diacon Lutheran Social Ministries is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
John Callahan (WGRC)

MCALISTERVILLE – A Union County man was flown to Hershey Medical Center following a crash in Juniata County Monday. The crash happened around 7:30 a.m. on Route 235 just north of McAllisterville. Police say 30-year-old Kevin Miller of Millmont suffered major injuries when he lost control on a curve and went down into a ditch slamming into a utility pole. Miller remains at Hershey in serious condition.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

THOMPSONTOWN – Two people were taken to Lewistown Hospital following a crash Saturday afternoon. The crash happened just after three p.m. on Route 22 near Thompsontown. Police say 26-year-old Joel Sickler of Lewistown fell asleep at the wheel of his car and slammed into the rear of a minivan driven by 75-year-old Donald Hoffman of Mifflin. A passenger in Sickler’s vehicle 26-year-old Linette Sickler and Donald Hoffman were both taken to the hospital with what police called moderate injuries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS – The fire that destroyed a Schuylkill County home used by The ReDCo Group as a group home Monday afternoon was determined to be electrical in nature and is being labeled an accidental fire. No one was in the home at the time of the fire near Fountain Springs and no injuries were reported. The fire reported around 12:30 Monday afternoon took about an hour to bring under control. A portion of Route 61 near the fire was closed for more than two hours while the blaze was extinguished and equipment packed up and removed from the area.
(WGRC)

BERWICK — An apartment fire in Berwick Monday afternoon left a man badly burned and black from head to toe. The man was alone in the upper-floor apartment at 622 Green Street when his downstairs neighbors, Barry and Barbara Hartman, heard a thump and then smelled cleaning fluid. Around 12:30 p.m., their apartment began to fill with smoke. They rushed outside, grabbing their 18-month-old son, Jason. Firefighter found the man collapsed in the dining room of his apartment and brought him out on a stretcher. The Press Enterprise reports, the man was then flown to the Lehigh Valley Burn Center. It's not clear what started the fire and a State Police fire marshal is investigating. Officials have not released the name of the man.
(WGRC)

HUGHESVILLE – State Police in Lycoming County are investigating two burglaries last week in Lycoming County. The first happened Tuesday or Wednesday at a home at 170 Pine Crest drive in Eldred Township. There police say the bandits there took several items from the home and fled undetected. The second break-in happened sometime Wednesday or Thursday at the home at 2045 Pine Run Road in Wolf Township. There thieves took an undisclosed amount of cash from the home. Anyone with information on either burglary is asked to call state police, Montoursville.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT - Last week, South Williamsport police arrested a borough man accused of using bath salts and possessing illegal weapons.  Yesterday that man sent his charges on to Lycoming County Court. Guy Schaffer is accused of calling South Williamsport police to his apartment numerous times over the past few months for what he says were people trying to break into his residence. On April 24th, police searched the apartment and found not only the suspected bath salts which they say may be contributing to his erratic behavior, but also weapons of which he is not allowed to possess due to a previous conviction. He was jailed in lieu of $100,000 dollars bail.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE — A Clinton County school district is asking the judge overseeing Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse case to throw out a defense subpoena seeking information about one of the alleged victims of the former Penn State assistant football coach. The motion filed Monday by Lock Haven-based Keystone Central School District argued that the subpoena wasn't lawful and asked Judge John Cleland to either invalidate it or issue a protective order. State prosecutors say Sandusky's lawyers are improperly issuing subpoenas and using them for a fishing expedition. Cleland is giving Sandusky's lawyers until Thursday to respond to the prosecution's objections. The motion by Keystone Central School District says much of what Sandusky is seeking is confidential under state law.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - An investigation by state police into a heroin distribution ring operating in State College has culminated in drug charges against a Johnstown man. Twenty-seven year-old Jamel Felder was arrested in Philipsburg on Monday on charges of delivery and possession of a controlled substance. State police from the vice and narcotics division began investigating the drug ring in December 2011. They discovered heroin was being transported to Centre and Cambria counties from New Jersey. Police made several controlled buys from Felder. Felder remains jailed on $40,000.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Northumberland County Salary Board unanimously eliminated three positions Monday, including a county detective, while reinstating a secretary's position in the district attorney's office it eliminated two weeks ago. The board also agreed to eliminate a mapper position in the engineer's office and a record clerk I post in the tax assessment office. All the moves became effective Monday. District Attorney Tony Rosini and the four permanent salary board members reached an agreement last week to eliminate the detective's position held by Andrew Orzehowski in exchange for reinstating a secretary. All motions were approved by Rosini, the commissioners and Controller Tony Phillips. Rosini thanked the commissioners and Phillips for agreeing to maintain the secretary's post. The three cuts would save Northumberland County about $78,000.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Northumberland County Commissioner Stephen Bridy has accused veteran coroner James Kelley of a possible conflict of interest for submitting a bill to the county for funeral expenses for a 16-year-old boy who was in foster care when he died in January. Kelley, who requested the payment on behalf of James Kelley Funeral Home, Coal Township, of which he is director, maintains he did nothing wrong and was instructed by Children and Youth Services Director Jennifer Willard to submit the $5,700 bill to Northumberland County. Bridy says the county plans to file a complaint with the state ethics commission about the bill because it may constitute a conflict of interest since Kelley serves as county coroner. Kelly says while Northumberland County agencies worked with the teen, the death actually occurred in Union County. The News Item reports, Kelly says he was not performing his coroner duties in the case. Bridy claims Kelley could be guilty of committing a misdemeanor under the county code that would require him to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than one year.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG — Roadway milling and paving starts today on the stretch of Route 45 between Route 15 and Fairground Road, and is expected to slow traffic between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. for about three weeks. On Monday, officers of the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department canvassed the area, posting notes on doors of residents and businesses to be aware of the activity. Drivers that regularly use this Market Street route are advised there will be detour signs posted at both entry points; however, traffic will be allowed through, but likely will be down to an alternating single lane during work hours. The work will be done at night with the hope of lessening the impact on daytime traffic. The work is part of a $1.8 million contract and is scheduled to be completed by mid-August.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Only a handful of the 64 federally funded road and bridge projects planned for the next four years in Lycoming County are new. That was revealed Monday during a meeting of the Williamsport Area Transportation Study Technical Committee. Most of the work, worth an estimated $74 million, will focus on maintaining existing roads and bridges. County Transportation Planner Mark Murawski, tells the Sun Gazette, Monday's meeting focused on federal fiscal years 2013 to 2016. The organization also updates a long-term plan that shows potential projects over 20 years. One of the new projects is a study of access points along the Route 220 corridor between Williamsport and Jersey Shore. Traffic congestion in the corridor has been a problem for a long time, and has become more severe due to truck traffic from natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. The entire plan can be viewed on the county website at www.lyco.org.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY — The debut of the long-awaited $11 million Sunbury riverfront project is less than 30 days away. The nearly three-year project had some glitches, but most everyone on Sunbury City Council is thrilled that it will soon be complete. It took several months for state officials to okay the plans for the Riverfront Project. Yet to be completed is about a mile of paving work for a walking trail on the river side of the wall, as well as a service road for maintenance. The Daily Item reports, more than 300 yards of the wall was redone in precast concrete and more than $500,000 has been spent on trees and gardens throughout the reconstructed area, which stretches more than a mile. The new fishing pier is getting a railing, and a new boat dock that will be located near Chestnut Street is just about complete.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – The Department of Environmental Protection invites residential code enforcement officials, builders, contractors and designers to a Thursday, May 3, training workshop in Williamsport, Lycoming County, on the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. The workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn at 100 Pine St. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and breakfast and lunch will be provided as part of the $40 registration fee. For more information or to register, visit dep.state.pa.us.  
(WGRC)

SUNBURY — The Northumberland County Hometown Veterans Banners program will hold an opening ceremony on Saturday with a slew of guest speakers. The program started several weeks ago and became an instant hit as about 78 banners were sold. Cameron Park, in Sunbury, with be the site of the initial ceremony and maps will be given to people to view where the banners are being hung. The event takes place at 10 a.m. rain or shine. The banners will be hung on light posts on Market Street and around Cameron Park and will include the soldier’s name, era and branch of service, photo, hometown and sponsor name. Lock Haven does a similar project each year along the Susquehanna River and the dyke that protects the City from flood waters.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Volunteers are being asked to show up and work for a few hours at the Williamsport parks this summer. Mayor Gabriel Campana tells the Sun Gazette, "We're reaching out to the public." Recreation Director Justin Simpson came up with the idea to seek volunteer support to clean up the five city parks in May and June. Trash bags, gloves, rakes and shovels will be provided, he said, but volunteers should bring their own water. The dates and parks to be cleaned-up can be obtained by calling the City’s recreation authority.
(WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - The Shamokin Area School Board will consider cutting its athletic budget by 28 percent. The board's athletic committee met Monday and recommended the school board approve cutting nearly $157,000 from the $550,000 budget. The proposed cuts include eliminating 13 coaching positions, reducing coaching salaries across the board by 35 percent and requiring district athletes to purchase their own uniforms. It will take a majority of the nine-member school board to vote in favor of the recommendations in order to enact the cuts. This recommendation comes on the heels of last month's decision by the board to furlough 21 staff members, including 19 teachers in the elementary and middle schools.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - One empty Mifflin County school has a buyer, but the other does not. The closed Buchanan Elementary School in Lewistown received a top bid of $90,000 at an auction Saturday. The Sentinel reports, during a second auction Saturday, the empty Armagh Elementary School in Milroy did not receive a bid that met the required amount set by the school board. The school board will have to determine the future of that building.
(WGRC)

MILLVILLE - The Millville and Benton school districts are discussing all sorts of possible ways to share services and cut costs, including the possible merger of sports teams. The two school boards have also discussed sharing special education classes, transportation routes and alternative education programs for students who misbehave. The possibility of combining administrative staffs for departments like buildings and grounds, special education, food service and transportation also came up. The Press Enterprise reports, the talks continue and no final decisions have been made on sharing services.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Diversity and accessibility were two central points in Dr. Michael Fiorentino, Jr.'s inauguration speech at Lock Haven University as the university's 14th president on Sunday. He emphasized diversity as strength. He invited everyone to join him in "taking this university to the next level." Guido Pichini, chairman, board of governors of Lock Haven University, swore Fiorentino into office.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN DAM — A special event to educate people about common ploys used by con artists will be held today in Snyder County. Sponsored by the Shamokin Dam Police Department, this Senior Crime Prevention University program is geared toward making citizens aware of all kinds of scams including foreign lottery schemes, telemarketing fraud, sweepstakes scams and home improvement rip-offs. The public is invited to attend this free program which will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Stayman Park Apartments near the Orchard Hills shopping plaza.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Trout Unlimited's Eastern Abandoned Mine Program was awarded with Pennsylvania's 2012 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence, given to an individual or organization involved in efforts to promote environmental stewardship and economic development. Once thought to be lifeless and uninhabitable for fish and wildlife, the West Branch Susquehanna River has again illustrated its resilience and proves that abandoned mine drainage reclamation efforts are good for the river and good for Pennsylvania. Trout Unlimited launched the West Branch Recovery Benchmark Project in 2009 to document and provide sound, science-based documentation that the West Branch Susquehanna River and many of its tributaries have experienced significant water quality and fishery improvements over the past 25 years. Trout Unlimited and over a dozen organizations, including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission participated in the project. The award was presented in Harrisburg on April 18.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – May is National Dog Bite Prevention Month and the U.S. Postal Service is asking dog owners to take responsibility to prevent dog bites. The Postal service reports that last year about 3000 mail carriers were bitten by dogs and about 4.7 million people suffered dog bites nationally with children being the majority of victims. The Postal Service is asking dog owners to properly restrain dogs to help prevent bites.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The future of the commonwealth's recently passed voter ID law may be decided in the courtroom. The American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP are among the groups suing to halt the measure. Their lawsuit, slated to be filed today, argues that requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is unconstitutional. The groups are asking Commonwealth Court to block the law’s enforcement before the November election. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports, voter ID laws have been challenged and upheld in several states.
(WGRC)

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