September 13, 2012

September 13, 2012

MILROY – A barn is destroyed by fire this morning in Mifflin County.  Fire crews were called out just after 9 this morning to fight a barn fire at 45 Siglerville Pike in Armagh Township.  First responders said flames were showing when they arrived.  Milroy Hose Company Chief Jason Wolfgang says the vacant barn was a total loss.  He believes the fire was accidental.  A fire marshal is investigating to try and determine a cause.   There were no injuries.  Fire crews were on the scene until around 11:30 this morning.  This fire is not far from a blaze early yesterday morning at a saw mill on Cedar Grove Lane that the owners of that mill consider suspicious.
Jim Diehl/John Callahan (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is once again listed as one of the best universities in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of U.S. colleges and universities.  In data released this week, U.S. News lists BU as number 104 of the Best Regional Universities for the northern region, tied with Buffalo State College – SUNY, Touro College of New York and William Paterson University of New Jersey. Additionally, Bloomsburg is fifth among institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Best Regional Universities ranks institutions that offer a full range of undergraduate degrees and some master’s degree programs but few, if any, doctoral degrees.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - Firefighters prevented a blaze from spreading throughout a row of seven homes Wednesday in the 100 block of North Locust Street in Mount Carmel. The two-alarm fire broke out just after six last evening in the second floor of 119 North Locust Street. Mount Carmel Fire Chief Jack Williams says firefighters initiated an aggressive interior attack, with some running a hose into the structure to douse the flames while others cut ventilation holes into the roof. The fire was put out in about 30 minutes. The home; however, is a total loss and left five people homeless. One firefighter experienced shortness of breath and chest pains. He was treated at the scene and transported to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital for evaluation. An unoccupied home at 117 North Locust Street sustained minimal fire damage to its second floor and also sustained smoke and water damage. The remainder of the homes sustained varying degree of smoke damage. The cause and exact point of origin of the fire have yet to be determined, and a state police fire marshal is expected to investigate.
(WGRC)

MILROY - Two of the three owners of a sawmill at 200 Ceder Grove Lane in Armagh Township Mifflin County say the fire that leveled their 90-foot-by-60-foot building strikes them as suspicious. Owner Christian Speigher says he just thankful nobody got hurt. The fire reported around three Wednesday morning and both Speicher and co-owner D.J. Peachey say no equipment was operating at the time of the blaze. The building was fully engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived.  The owners say they plan to rebuild. The saw mill has about a dozen employees and cuts railroad ties for several companies. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - Mifflin County Coroner Daniel Lynch has ruled the death of a Lewistown man whose body was discovered in the parking lot of the Lewistown Giant Store as an accidental overdose. Thirty-one-year-old Dustin Mountz died of a severe cardiorespiratory depression due to a morphine overdose. The results of the death came back following toxicology tests. Police said Mountz was found at 10 p.m. July 30, in the back seat of his girlfriend's car.
(WGRC)

MEXICO - A McClure man was found in a field near where he crashed his car after he struck two guide rails and a telephone pole early Sunday morning in Walker Township. Police say 38-year-old Marlin Henry was traveling north on Route 75 around 4:30 a.m. when he struck guard rails on both sides of the road before slamming into a utility pole. Police said upon arrival Henry had left the scene and he was not located after a search of the area. Police said at around 8:30 a.m. Henry was found in a field near the crash and was taken to Lewistown Hospital.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - While employed by Susquehanna Transit Company in Williamsport as a bus ticket saleswoman 34-year-old Chantel Woods allegedly pocketed $17,000 of the company's money. Police say Woods admitted stealing the money from the transit company on West Church Street between August 2011 and January. Police say after a bus ticket was sold, Woods would void the sale and put the cash from the sale in her pocketbook. Woods was terminated from her position. She was jailed but has since been freed on bail.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Prosecutors in the Jerry Sandusky case want to have the convicted pedophile classified as a sexually violent predator under Megan’s Law. The Attorney General’s Office filed paperwork Wednesday asking Senior Judge John Cleland for a hearing where prosecutors would present testimony to support their request. If declared a sexually violent predator, Sandusky would have to register his address and job with state police as a sex offender upon being released from prison. That may be moot. The 68-year-old Sandusky could spend the rest of his life behind bars in a state prison because he was convicted on 45 counts of child abuse.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN – Twenty-nine-year-old Domenique Wilson, who was sentenced to 70 to 196 years in state prison for assaulting three Lock Haven University women in February of 2009, was back in Clinton County Court this week, seeking a new trial. Wilson, formerly of Philadelphia and who’s now locked-up in state prison, submitted a Post Conviction Collateral Relief petition to the court, claiming among other things, that his attorneys erred in his defense, and that a brief comment made by the prosecutor was prejudicial to his case and unduly impacted on jury deliberations. He also suggested that the recording of statements he made voluntarily after asking for an attorney after his arrest violated his rights to self incrimination. Last December the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the decision of a Clinton County Court judge in connection with the severity of the state prison sentence. Wilson had challenged the penalty, which was handed down by Clinton County Judge Craig Miller.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Hundreds of Army National Guard soldiers are getting ready for deployment for an unspecified mission that includes about nine months of service in Kuwait. About 250 soldiers attached to the 3rd Battalion of the 103rd Armor at Williamsport Armed Forces Reserve Center, 1307 Grove St., will be part of a ceremony October 7th, before leaving for two to three months of training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, before their overseas mission. It is a mission that will take the soldiers away from their homes during the holiday season and bring them home shortly before the holidays next year. The soldiers will be in a security operation in Kuwait. About 2000 soldiers from across the state will be deployed.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – The City of Williamsport’s ad-hoc committee which is addressing demolitions in Williamsport has come up with some recommendations which give the city more power regarding what is going to be torn down and which buildings are to remain. The committee suggested giving codes personnel resources so buildings don't reach the point of having to be razed and ensuring enforcement of rules against those who don't maintain properties. The committee also is interested in the best use of properties and in protecting a small group of the most historically significant buildings that nobody on council wants to see razed. Several criteria exist in the demolition application process. Applicants must receive a permit issued and approved either by council or the Board of Health. The individual also must give his or her name, address, date of the property acquisition and reasons why the property should be torn down and not rehabilitated, reused or sold. Whenever applicable, council's review includes asking what the future use of the property will be and getting details on the construction plan ahead of time. The Sun Gazette reports, council might be able to review the final recommendations of the committee on September 27th.
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN – An approved sale of the New Berlin Elementary School in Union County is being put on hold after Mifflinburg School Board members voted this week to entertain an offer from the Borough of New Berlin. New Berlin Borough in late August filed a $244,000 offer for the elementary school that closed in June. The School District had been looking to sell the property to New Story a private chain that provides schooling for children with educational and behavioral challenges. The New Story group made an offer of $240,000 on the property.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG — A year after the Lee flood ruined Kidsburg, in Bloomsburg, Town Park leaders are still waiting for someone to step up and spearhead the effort to build a new playground. A committee of interested residents has begun to form. But in the meantime, the Town Park Improvement Association will spend about $20,000 in recently donated and reserve money to get some equipment into the park by next summer. Park officials say it will cost between $150,000 and $200,000 to replace Kidsburg. The Press Enterprise reports, organizers say they plan to meet this week to draw up a fundraising plan. While the association is looking for volunteers to lead the planning and fundraising efforts to rebuild Kidsburg, it has decided on a location. It's across Market Street from the old spot, at the site of the old tennis courts and they plan on calling it “Kidsburg 2.0.”
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - Residents of Hilltop mobile home park in State College have been given a February deadline to move out. The Centre Daily Times reports, certified letters were sent out Friday to residents who were told to be out by February 23, 2013. Earlier this month, the residents received a letter from Hilltop owners Kenneth Mayes and his sister, Sharon Mayes, informing them the park had been sold and would be closing. It was the second time in two months that residents of a State College-area mobile home park have been told to find new homes. Residents of the Penn State mobile home park on North Atherton Street in Patton Township were told in August they have a year to find alternative living arrangements. Residents are trying to organize a community meeting next week at Calvary Baptist Church.
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN– Plans for the New Berlin Charter School are moving forward and a public hearing is planned for Tuesday, September 18th. Held in the Mifflinburg High School auditorium at 7:00p.m., it will be a combined hearing with the school boards of Lewisburg, Selinsgrove and Mifflinburg. A coalition of parents, educators and community leaders are working to create the area’s first charter school, which will offer grades K-4 in its first year. The school plans to use an integrated curriculum; using a mix of art, math, science and history, for example. In addition, the school will focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. For more about the proposed charter school visit www.newberlincharterschool.org.
(WGRC)

McELHATTAN - While the Clinton County Correctional Facility faces dwindling revenues and increasing costs, the prison board on Wednesday continued its push toward fiscal responsibility at the prison. The board unanimously agreed to solicit proposals to have an outside firm run the prison's medical, psychiatric and dental services starting the first of next year in an effort to possibly save money. This would be a change from the current procedure where the prison contracts out with a firm, currently Clinton Medical Associates, to provide nurses at the facility for 16 hours a day. However, the prison is then responsible for all the costs, such as medical visits, and dental and psychiatric services.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Throughout the month, three detours will affect roads in Lycoming County - Arch Street in Williamsport, Route 220 in Piatt Township near Jersey Shore and Silver Bridge over Pine Creek near Jersey Shore. Traffic was switched yesterday for traffic using the new $18 million DuBoistown Bridge, which will affect those going to Susquehanna State Park and the Hiawatha paddle boat. The new bridge will be available for traffic later in November. In Jersey Shore, the historic Silver Bridge over Pine Creek will be closed from ten a.m. till noon next Wednesday for a routine inspection from the PennDOT bridge inspection crew. Also in Jersey Shore, a PennDOT maintenance crew will perform base repairs on Route 220 on September 26th for routine maintenance. If a second day is needed, work will continue Sept. 27. The work will take place in both the north- and southbound lanes from just west of the railroad overpass to the Route 287 interchange.
(WGRC)

MILTON - Norfolk Southern Railway Company plans to replace its at-grade railroad crossing along Route 254 in Milton, in Northumberland County starting today. The work will be done by Norfolk Southern. A signed detour, using Route 405, Mahoning Street and Route 147, will be in place starting that morning. The work is expected to be completed by September 28th.
(WGRC)

HOWARD - The Centre County West Nile virus program will conduct mosquito spraying in Howard tonight in response to mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile virus. Officials expect the spraying to occur between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. with a rain date of Monday. Residents are asked to do their part by emptying any standing water on their properties where mosquitoes breed.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG - The 2012 Central Susquehanna Valley Heart and Stroke Walk is being sponsored in-part by Evangelical Community Hospital with President/CEO Michael O’Keefe serving as this year’s Chair of the Event. The walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere event that brings communities together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against this country’s number one and number four killers, heart disease and stroke. The event is being held Sunday, September 16 with registration at noon and the walk beginning at 1 pm at the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail at Mifflinburg Community Park, Mifflinburg. The goal is to raise $85,000 by the day of the walk. Walkers who raise a minimum of $100 will receive a Heart Walk t-shirt with the opportunity to receive even more prizes based on fundraising levels. The heart and stroke walk is designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living. If you are interested in participating in the walk or making a donation, visit www.heart.org/csvwalk.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Join the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership on Saturday, September 15 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Moose Exchange, 203 West Main Street in Bloomsburg, for the "Images of the Susquehanna" photo gallery reception featuring the winning images from last year’s photo contest. Enjoy a casual and fun evening featuring stunning photography, light refreshments and river-themed readings. This event is free and open to the public. Doug Brubaker, of Looking Back Studio, will present his professional landscape photography and provide simple tips for improving your own outdoor photos. Local authors and poets, Melanie Simms and David Bowman, will share river-related poetry and readings that will inspire budding photographers and river enthusiasts alike. Learn about the Susquehanna Greenway --the largest greenway in PA-- from the Partnership’s Board members and staff.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Veterans Plaza, a gift of the Class of 2011, will be dedicated in a public ceremony to be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, on the patio of Old Main, on the University Park campus. The plaza will honor all Penn State veterans, including the late Lieutenant Michael Murphy, the only Penn State alumnus to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Construction of the plaza, located near the intersection of Pollock Road and the Henderson Mall, off the northeast corner of Old Main, is in its final stages and is expected to be completed prior to the ceremony. More than 3,200 donors contributed to the project, surpassing $260,000, the largest amount ever raised for a class gift at Penn State.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - There has been a resurgence of pertussis, or whooping cough, statewide and nationwide this year and in Pennsylvania alone, there have been three times as many pertussis cases reported in 2012 as in 2011. Holli Senior, deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health says As of September 1st there have been over 1,300 cases of whooping cough reported statewide. Pertussis is caused by a bacteria that infects the lungs and respiratory system, rather than a viral infection which causes the common cold. Pertussis is passed from person-to-person through the cough. Infants are the most at risk from Pertussis as they are more at risk for complications and hospitalization. Most young children are vaccinated against pertussis in a series of shots combined with tetanus and diphtheria.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's highest court is taking another look at the state's legislative redistricting. The state Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing in Philadelphia today on the latest plan for realigning the boundaries of the 50 Senate districts and 203 House districts to conform to the 2010 census. The court rejected the first plan in January by a 4-3 vote, forcing this year's elections to be based on decade-old maps. Republicans who control the state redistricting panel say they've tried to address the justices' concerns. But some challengers say the new plan does not go far enough to minimize the number of communities split into multiple districts.
(WGRC)