June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012

ELYSBURG – A 47-year-old woman was taken to Geisinger Medical Center following a near head-on crash on Route 61 in Shamokin Township. The crash was reported just before eleven Wednesday morning in front of Masser’s Restaurant. Police say a car pulled out from the restaurant into the path of an oncoming pick-up truck. The driver of the car Jill Klinger of Elysburg suffered moderate injuires in the crash and was taken to the hospital. The driver of the truck, 32-year-old Jason O’Conner of Northumberland and three children ages three, seven, and ten were not hurt.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

CATAWISSA - A 13-year-old Southern Columbia Area student was injured when his dirt bike struck the front of a vehicle Wednesday around noon. The boy, who police did not identify because of his age, was taken to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, with injuries he suffered when the dirt bike he was operating struck the front of a car on a dirt field road, off of South Campbell Road. The driver of the vehicle, Pam Harvey, of Catawissa, was not hurt. Locust Township Police say the boy, who was wearing a helmet, suffered non-life threatening injuries.
(WGRC)

ORANGEVILLE - A Benton man managed to phone his girlfriend for help while injured and upside down in his car after it overturned along Savage Hill Road in Orange Township, Columbia County, Wednesday. Twenty-year-old Kyle Richardson was conscious when rescuers got to him shortly after 1 p.m. Richardson was trapped inside his car and had to be cut free. He was taken to an area hospital by ambulance. The Press Enterprise reports, his car plunged down a slight hill and overturned on thick brushy undergrowth after smashing through guard rails. State Police at Bloomsburg are investigating.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A Williamsport woman was taken to Williamsport Hospital for treatment and Old Lycoming Township police are looking for the driver of a hit and run vehicle involved in that accident yesterday afternoon. The crash was reported around 1pm at Lycoming Creek Road and Vesta Avenue as a vehicle driven by Anna Howlett was hit by a pick-up truck. The truck took off. A two-year-old child riding in a safety seat in the back was not hurt. Police are asking anyone with information regarding the truck to give them a call.
(WGRC)

MONTGOMERY - Fire broke out at a barn near Montgomery in Lycoming County yesterday afternoon. The fire was reported around 3pm in a hay barn owned by Ed Dewalt along McNett Road in Clinton Township. The barn with its more than 500 bales of hay inside was totally destroyed. No one was hurt, and the cause of the fire is not known and is under investigation. There were no injuries.
(WGRC)

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia - A Selinsgrove Area High School graduate who converted to Islam has been sentenced to 11 1/2 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal charges that a website he founded had posted online threats against the creators of the “South Park” television show and others he deemed enemies of Islam. The Daily Item reports, the sentence came Friday after 33-year-old Jesse Morton, offered an apology for his conduct, saying he “contributed to a clash of civilizations” by espousing a violent ideology. Morton founded the now-defunct Revolution Muslim website. He said he wanted the site to offer a forum for nuanced dialogue on relations between the Muslim world and the West and that he thought his website was protected by the First Amendment. However, he admitted that the website devolved into coarse calls for violent jihad, and that he crossed the line by posting the al-Qaida magazine Inspire on the site. In court documents, federal prosecutors argued that “true threats” are not protected speech under the First Amendment and that Morton’s actions constituted true threats of violence. Morton and and an associate named Zachary Chesser used the website to deliver thinly veiled threats against the creators of the “South Park” television show for perceived insults to the prophet Muhammad. Chesser earlier received a 25-year sentence, but he also tried to travel to Somalia to join the al-Shabab terrorist group.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – A Muncy couple is facing a slew of felony charges for selling synthetic marijuana at two shops, one in Lewisburg and one in State College. Those charges include selling a controlled substance and money laundering as well as possession prescription pills. Police have charged 42-year-old Kurt Reichenbach and his wife 40-year-old Kristine with running the Grasshopper Gift Shops on Market Street in Lewisburg and East College Avenue in State College. Police say they made numerous controlled buys of synthetic drugs from the couple. A search warrant by police of a car owned by the couple and the store in Lewisburg May third turned up nearly 200 pills, 19 different kinds of painkillers in all and over 1100 packages of synthetic drugs and over 1100 other drug items. Plus the couple is being charged with money laundering. The charges follow an investigation by Buffalo Valley Regional Police, State Police and the State Attorney Genreral’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation between October 2011 and May 2012.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG – A former Winfield man is being charged with felony insurance fraud and theft by deception charges plus other minor charges after trying to bilk his car insurance out of over ten thousand dollars two years ago. Court records report 30-year-old Dustin White left his car insurance run out July 2010.  Police say on August 28th 2010 White fell asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle and crashed it in Cambria County. The next day White renewed his insurance policy and two days later reported the crash as happening on the 29th to claim over $10-thousand dollars to fix the wrecked vehicle. An investigation found White had lied and that the crash happened a day before White renewed his insurance policy. He now faces charges filed by the State Attorney General’s insurance fraud office. He was also fined at the time of the crash by state police3 in Cambria County with not having insurance on his vehicle and other traffic violations. He has a preliminary hearing on the charges set for July 24th.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A Schuylkill County man sought on a warrant for 15 years for stealing a man's truck and $760 of tools in Locust Township was in court Wednesday pleading guilty to receiving stolen property. "Where have you been? ... Just out of curiosity," President Judge Thomas James asked 36-year-old David Keiser of Pottsville. Keiser explained he has been living in Pottsville for 13 years since breaking up with a girlfriend in Shenandoah and moving from his last known address. The Press Enterprise reports, Keiser was 21-years-old when he and three others, including a 17-year-old boy, stole a pickup belonging to Steve Stauffer of rural Catawissa near the Helwig farm along Ringtown Mountain Road in May 1997. After accepting his plea, James sentenced him immediately to time served under an agreement with prosecutors to seek no more jail time.
(WGRC)

CUMBOLA – Police in Schuylkill County are on the look-out for a man wanted on aggravated assault charges. Police say around three Wednesday morning 29-year-old Gabriel Thomas of Cumbola assaulted his girlfriend. Police say Thomas also had a knife during the assault and threatened the woman. Thomas fled the scene before police arrived. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call state police, Frackville.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MAHANOY CITY - An 18-year-old Barnesville man who led police on a foot chase after the vehicle he was in was involved in a high-speed chase Tuesday night was jailed hours later in Schuylkill County. Mahanoy Township Police say Michael Harning, the passenger was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, as well as a summary charge of purchase, consumption or possession of alcohol. Harning is jailed in the Schuylkill County Prison on $25,000. The chase began around nine Tuesday night after clocking the vehicle going 70 in a 35 mile-per-hour zone. The driver failed to stop and fled but stopped the vehicle behind a home about 2 ½ miles away where Harning and the driver jumped out and fled on foot into a wooded area. The name of the driver will be released as soon as charges are filed.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Even after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys and facing a life sentence in prison, Jerry Sandusky has a decent chance of retaining his $59,000 annual state pension. This is because Pennsylvania’s pension-forfeiture laws are aimed more at the state’s long legacy of public corruption than crimes of violence. Public employees and officials can lose a pension when committing one of 22 crimes in the course of their duties. But child sex crimes are not among those in the list of crimes applicable. The Sandusky situation represents a quandary for lawmakers and pension system officials. The pension checks are not likely to be easy money for Sandusky’s family. Jerry Sandusky could be ordered to pay hefty fines and court costs through his sentence on 45 counts of sex abuse crimes later this year. He will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. He also faces the legal fees from his defense against the criminal case, the anticipated appeals and additional civil litigation. The victims might seek civil damages. Nonetheless, several lawmakers think the prospect of a convicted pedophile taking any public benefit points to a need for changes to the system. A bill introduced last year, before Sandusky was charged, is now one of six bills introduced this session that would expand the current list of crimes that could cost public employees their pension.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - Attorneys for three alleged abuse victims are asking a judge not to allow the Second Mile to transfer millions of dollars to a Texas organization. The charity founded by Jerry Sandusky is seeking court approval to transfer many programs to Arrow Child and Family Ministries. The attorneys argue that the court’s first priority should be to preserve the charity’s assets so it can pay current and future liabilities. Meanwhile, the state Senate has passed a bill that would require school personnel to be trained in recognizing the signs of child abuse. The training would cover recognition of signs of abuse and sexual misconduct, among other provisions. The bill now goes to Governor Corbett, who is expected to sign it into law.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Pedestrians in Bloomsburg are reminded that the Double-Track Bridge over Fishing Creek, just north of the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds, is no longer safe to cross. The contractor has begun the demolition of the bridge. However, despite the presence of "no trespassing" signs and orange fencing to restrict access, some pedestrians are choosing to endanger themselves and cross the bridge. PennDOT warns all to stay clear of the bridge for their own safety. Police have been notified of the recent violations.
(WGRC)

CENTRALIA - A federal court of appeals has affirmed a lower court's decision to deny an injunction that would stop eminent domain proceedings against most of the residents of Centralia who do not want to leave their homes despite the mine fire burning underneath. In an opinion handed down Tuesday, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petition of eight residents for a preliminary injunction and reconsideration and affirmed the U.S. District Court decision handed down March 11, 2011. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition by the same group, who had their properties condemned due to eminent domain proceedings. In their complaints, the residents say the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority, the Department of Community and Economic Development and Blaschak Coal Corporation have conspired to remove them from the properties so coal, and associated revenues, underneath the town can be exploited. They also say the underground fire was never a threat.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Years of escalating rate increases for customers of the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authorities may be coming to an end. The Sun Gazette reports, budgets for fiscal year 2013 were adopted in separate votes taken Wednesday by the authorities. The rate increases over the past five years have been imposed to fund about $125 million upgrades to wastewater treatment plants, mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce nutrients from entering the Chesapeake Bay watershed and reduce combined sewer overflows. Now that the funding is in place, the Authority officials say they are looking at rates remaining stable. On average, a household using 52,000 gallons a year, pays just a little over $800 annually.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A consensus was reached Wednesday by three members of Williamsport City Council to explore whether to make changes on regulations of what buildings can be demolished. An ad hoc committee chaired by Councilwoman Liz Miele and attended by Councilmen Jonathan Williamson and N. Clifford Smith reached agreement that it wants to explore making demolitions less problematic to residential neighborhoods. It also wants to balance the need for city growth and spare the bulldozer when appropriate. The committee will have city attorney’s look into what other communities are doing with "conditional use" properties. That basically means anyone who wants to demolish a structure would have to give a reason that falls under the criteria for conditional use. The Sun Gazette reports, City officials say there are seven criteria for granting or not granting demolition. The concept is in no relation to tonight's vote on a request by Lycoming College to raze three houses on Union Avenue for parking.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The integration of Bloomsburg Hospital and its affiliates into Geisinger Health System has received final approval from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s antitrust division and the federal court. This Sunday July 1, has been set as the official date for the transition to the new Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital and Geisinger-Bloomsburg Health Care Center. Soon after the transition, Geisinger is expected to invest $10 million dollars right away to make upgrades to Bloomsburg Hospital. Geisinger is committed to employing the Bloomsburg workforce, and employees in good standing at Bloomsburg Health System will become Geisinger employees. The hospital will continue to provide acute care services including 24/7 emergency care, and the Bloomsburg Hospital Board of Directors will become an Advisory Council for the new Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital.
(WGRC)

ESPY — In Columbia County, Scott Township has surrendered its fight to keep college students out of the Lion's Gate apartments. Now, as many as five students may move into a single unit at the complex. Township supervisors and the deep-pocketed developers behind Lion's Gate recently finalized a settlement that effectively gives Lion's Gate all it wanted: Freedom to lease hundreds of three-bedroom apartments to Bloomsburg University students. In return, the township avoids a potentially costly legal bill. The Press Enterprise reports, taxpayers spent $5,000 on court disputes with Lion's Gate. That's the amount of the deductible the township paid its liability insurer to fight the development. Lawyers for the insurance company negotiated the settlement. Residents opposed to students living at Lion's Gate also ended a court fight against the developers in January.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – A small group of New York City children arrive in Lewisburg to spend summer vacations with volunteer host families in Millmont, Mifflinburg, Middleburg, Potts Grove, New Berlin, Lewisburg, and Mifflinburg. The kids are part of the Fresh Air Fund of North Central Pennsylvania. The group will be arriving at the Lewisburg Middle School around six tonight. Volunteer host families share their summers for up to two weeks with Fresh Air children, ages six to 18, who leave behind the city streets to run barefoot in the grass or see the stars at night. Some youngsters are leaving home for the first time, while others are returning to visit the same host families for consecutive summers. The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency that has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each summer, over 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL – In Mount Carmel in Northumberland County, a celebration of the borough's 150th anniversary will be held Saturday, and organizers are crediting another event for making the sesquicentennial festivities a possibility. The Six-County Firemen's Association Convention, a three-day event, begins today in Mount Carmel. The borough had hosted it in 2007, and not long afterward, organizers applied to again host the convention to bolster plans for an anniversary celebration. The convention and the celebration come together Saturday when a joint parade will be held, beginning at 2 p.m. Emergency apparatus will be grouped in eight divisions, with marching bands, antique cars, Victorian High Wheelers and members of Motor Maids Incorporated, a women's motorcycling organization.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – The Lewisburg Borough office will be closed On July Fourth for the Holiday. The Borough reminds Borough residents that Wednesday refuse pick-up will be picked-up with Thursday’s normally scheduled pick-ups.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE — The flags in front of Saint Ann’s Cathedral in Pottsville are new. The old American and Palestinian flags were damaged by vandals sometime Sunday night. Church leaders say the flags were torn to the ground. Saint Ann’s is an Arabic Catholic church. It has been located in Pottsville for about a year. Back in April, he said the other Arabic Catholic church, Our Lady of Fatima in Mount Carmel, was vandalized as well. A sign out front was smashed with something heavy, and then broken off its base. Parishioners pray this is not a hate crime and the vandalism stops. Police have been notified of the vandalism.
(WNEP)

BELLEFONTE - Property owners in the Bellefonte Area School District will see their tax bills go up by 2.2 percent in the 2012-13 fiscal year. On Tuesday, Bellefonte school directors approved a $42.6 million budget that called for the tax increase to close the deficit. The district had pulled $1.36 million from its fund balance to help cover the shortfall. The average taxpayer will see a tax increase of about $50. No programs were cut and the district didn’t furlough employees.
(WGRC)

SPRING MILLS - The Penns Valley area school board passed their 2012-2013 budget along with tax increases that will cover the rising costs of retirement and other expenses. The school board approved a budget last week that includes a property tax increase of 3.65 percent. The increase will cost the average homeowner about $60 a year. The final spending plan comes in at $23.14 million. The board avoided major cuts to services, instead saving money by refinancing debt.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State is hoping appropriations to the state-related schools will remain steady. Governor Corbett had proposed cutting funding for Penn State, Pitt and Temple by 30 percent in the upcoming fiscal year. The university has said that it will keep tuition increases for in-state students at or below the rate of inflation if state support is flat, which is what the state Senate had proposed. Penn State will set tuition at its upcoming July 13 board of trustees meeting.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Democrats on Wednesday attacked a newly unveiled $27.7 billion state spending plan written by majority Republicans, calling it a gift to big business that will lock in this year’s deep cuts in aid to public schools while forcing longer waits for people who need services such as treatment for mental illness or addiction. The Associated Press reports, the legislation, made public four days before the new fiscal year begins, passed the House Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote Wednesday morning after two hours of debate. The House adjourned Wednesday without action on the bill, and floor debate was expected to begin this morning. The plan will need Senate approval after that.
(WGRC)

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