September 19, 2012

September 19, 2012

ORWIGSBURG — Two men will spend time behind bars for a Schuylkill County bank robbery.  Justin Smith and Quamaine Tisdale, both from Reading, were sentenced Tuesday by a judge in Schuylkill County to five years in prison.  Authorities said the pair, along with another man, used a gun to hold up the Union Bank and Trust in Orwigsburg in April 2011.  The three robbers pleaded guilty in June.
(WNEP)

ELYSBURG – While the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for parts of the WGRC listening area during yesterday’s storm, none were observed; however there were quite a few without power and there was also some roads closed due to flooding. The hardest hit areas in the WGRC listening region included Northumberland and Schuylkill Counties. A downed tree fell onto a power line in Ralpho Township and halted electric service to 1,300 homes and businesses in the Paxinos and Elysburg areas Tuesday. More than 1,200 homes in Schuylkill County were without power. Reports of downed trees were keeping emergency personnel busy throughout the region. PPL reported more than 12,000 customers in 21 counties were without power. Winds topped out at 31 mph in Selinsgrove, and nearly three inches of rain fell in parts of the region causing flash flood warnings in Schuylkill County. Routes 309 and 895 in West Penn Township, Schuylkill County were closed due to localized flooding.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - Two recent fires in the borough of Mount Carmel have been ruled accidental. Fire Chief Jack Williams Jr. reported on Tuesday that the two-alarm fire on September 12th that affected properties in the 100 block of North Locust Street was electrical in nature. A state police fire marshal investigated the blaze and found that the fire originated near a medicine cabinet on the second floor of 119 North Locust Street and is believed to be electrical in nature. On August 31st, a fire on East Seventh Street near the corner of South Apple Street destroyed a three-bay garage and three vehicles parked inside. An investigation by state police revealed the fire originated near an electrical panel box.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - The contents of a cylinder found in a creek in Clinton County that killed fish was identified by the Department of Environmental Protection Monday. The DEP discovered the container held the chemical ammonia. An investigation began because dozens of fish were found dead over the weekend in Harvey’s Run. Investigators believe the cylinder was possibly used in the making of methamphetamine.
(WNEP)

MIFFLINVILLE – A crash this morning on Interstate 80 Eastbound at the Mifflinville River Bridge blocked Interstate traffic. The crash was reported just after nine a.m. on the eastbound lanes in South Centre Township. Reports were that a car overturned on the Interstate and was then hit by a tractor trailer truck. Eastbound traffic was backed up and detoured as crews worked to clear the scene of the crash.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

REEDSVILLE - A Mount Union man is in serious condition as a result of a crash in Reedsville, Tuesday morning. A nursing supervisor at Penn State Hershey Medical Center says 21-year-old Seth Clemens remains in serious condition at the hospital. Mifflin County Regional Police say Clemens, lost control of his car just after nine a.m. on Old U.S. 322. Clemens hit a utility pole. Clemens had to be cut free from the wreckage after being trapped inside the vehicle for a long time.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT - A two vehicle head-on crash on Route 15 just south of South Williamsport yesterday sent three people to the hospital. The crash happened around 11 a.m. in a construction zone, near the scenic lookout in Armstrong Township. Police say 42-year-old Marc Shuart of Bath New York and 29-year-old Brandon Warner of Watsontown collided in a driving rainstorm. Both drivers and a passenger in Warner's car, 53-year-old Michael Martins of Watsontown were all taken to Williamsport Regional Medical Center. Southbound traffic on Route 15 was detoured for more than two hours following the crash.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN – A seven-year-old child was thrown from a vehicle during a crash and taken to Hershey Medical Center. Mifflin County Regional Police say the crash happened around 5:30 yesterday afternoon at the Route 22 exit of Route 322 near Lewistown. Police say 31-year-old Kami Bowman had three children in her vehicle when she crashed. The two other children and Bowman were not injured. Police say Bowman faces several traffic citations following the crash. Police believe the seven-year-old suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY - Five people, including two young children, were taken to a hospital after a two-vehicle crash on South Front Street in Sunbury just after 5 p.m. Tuesday that slowed traffic during rush hour. A witness at the scene said a car crossed into the oncoming lane in the 400 block of South Front and slammed into a vehicle that was carrying the two children. All five occupants were taken to Sunbury Community Hospital for treatment. The crash remains under investigation.
(WGRC)

FREEBURG – A crash in Snyder County sends a Phillipsburg man to the hospital. The crash happened just before noon Tuesday on Creek Mountain Road in Washington Township. Police say 23-year-old Matthew Rosenbarker was taken to Sunbury Hospital with injuries following the crash. Police say Rosenbarker was driving a delivery van that went off the roadway, down over an embankment, and into a tree. State Police are continuing their investigation into the crash.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

JERSEY SHORE - A bridge near Jersey Shore in Lycoming County will be closed for a short time today as inspectors take a look at it. The historic Silver Bridge over Pine Creek will be closed this morning between 10am and noon as Penn DOT bridge inspectors use a crane to get a close look at the bridge. Drivers will be asked to follow the same detour route that was in place during the bridge’s recent rehabilitation.  
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN – PennDOT and several area organizations are teaming up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Burger King Restaurant on High Street in Lock Haven, to make sure that old child safety seats are taken out of circulation. The seat collection, or “bounty,” is being held during National Child Passenger Safety Week to heighten awareness of seat-belt use and occupant protection. Burger King is offering one $5 Burger King® gift card for each seat turned in during the bounty while the cards last.  
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Bridge safety is a top priority in Lycoming County. And, Lycoming County soon will have at its fingertips bridge inspection data unparalleled by any other county in Pennsylvania. On Thursday, the county commissioners will consider an agreement with Bassett Engineering, of Montoursville, to enter inspection data on 100 small county bridges into the state Department of Transportation's bridge inspection database. The agreement calls for the firm, which is the county's alternate engineer, to be paid nearly $18,000 for the work. County Transportation Planner Mark Murawski, says the firm conducted the inspections of small bridges as a first-of-its-kind pilot program in the state. The federal government requires all bridges more than 20 feet long to be inspected every two years. If they are under 20 feet-long, the feds don't require an inspection. Murawski says, “In Pennsylvania, Lycoming County is the only county inspecting bridges under 20 feet-long." Murawski tells the Sun Gazette, "Once the data is entered into PennDOT's database, Lycoming County will have the best bridge data in the state."
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG – An 18-year-old Mifflinburg man is being charged with Felony forgery, theft and related counts after stealing a purse from a car and using the woman’s credit cards to make purchases for video games online. Police say Zeth Hoey stole the purse from a car parked outside the Mifflinburg Post Office back in June. He’s also accused of stealing an MP3 player from another vehicle near the Post Office around the same time.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

PLEASANT GAP - A Pleasant Gap woman is accused of withholding food from and hitting her boyfriend’s young daughter. The charges against 19-year-old Gabriela Mojica stem from an investigation by Spring Township police into the alleged assault on the girl by her father. Police said the girl’s father, 29-year-old Matthew Shuey, punched and choked her because she forgot to bring a towel to sit on during the fireworks on the Fourth of July. Both Mojica and Shuey face charges of child endangerment and simple assault. Police said their investigation showed that Mojica withheld food from the girl or did other things to her as punishment. Mojica is in jail on $50,000 bail Shuey was released on $25,000 bail in July, and is awaiting trial.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – A man is being charged with felony aggravated assault and other charges after hitting a hospital security guard at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg. Police have charged 28-year-old Kyle Brown of Lewisburg for the incident at the hospital back in August. Police were called to a home on South Fourth Street where Brown was found intoxicated. He eventually passed out in the rear of the police car and was taken to Evangelical Community Hospital for treatment of alcohol poisoning. While at the hospital Brown became combative and struck the hospital guard several times while being restrained by eight hospital staff and guards. He also attempted to hit police and bite them and was tased by police without effect. Hospital personnel were eventually able to give Brown medication to calm him down and treat him and he was kept at the hospital for observation.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG – A man and woman from Watsontown have been charged with felony retail theft after stealing items from the Lewisburg Wal-Mart, both having had prior retail theft convictions. Police have charged Mary and Michael Martini both 58-year-olds for the incident at the store September 7th. Police say the two tried to get away with over $200 of unpaid merchandise. Police say Michael has four previous retail theft convictions while Mary has two.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DANVILLE - The Montour County Courthouse as well as a number of homes were evacuated Tuesday because of a gas leak in Danville. The leak started on Mill Street around 1:30 p.m. Officials said a contractor working in the area cut into the gas line, starting the leak. Sixty people were evacuated from the courthouse and the surrounding homes for an hour as fire crews fixed the gas leak. The courthouse remained closed for the remainder of Tuesday because the employees had been let go for the day.
(WNEP)

SUNBURY - A Shamokin man, jailed at the Northumberland County Prison, is seeking more than a $1 million in damages claiming he was savagely attacked and spit on by correctional officers before being cast into solitary confinement. One of the corrections officers named in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday, has since been dismissed from the prison. All of the other prison employees named in the lawsuit remain on the job. The Daily Item reports, 20-year-old Jeffrey Adams, of Shamokin, who is serving a time in prison for receiving stolen property and discharging a firearm into a occupied structure, filed the lawsuit in the Pennsylvania Middle District Court in Scranton. Adams claims on September 9th, one of the guards accused him and other inmates of throwing water. Adams became involved in an argument with one of the guards who then left and returned with five other guards who beat Adams and threw him into solitary confinement. Warden Roy Johnson would not comment on the pending lawsuit.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - The first phase of a project to upgrade security measures at the Juniata County Courthouse is about to get under way. On Tuesday, the Juniata County Commissioners approved a motion to allow Alexander Brothers Glass Company, to install a 3-foot-by-7-foot aluminum door and frame, which will be prepped for electronic entry at a cost of $9,700. The door will be installed on the main floor of the courthouse near the foot of the stairwell across from the voter registration office. The security door will be removable, should the need arise to move large or awkwardly shaped objects in that particular area. Also part of the first phase of the project will be the installation of a security camera system. Commissioners hope the first phase of the courthouse security project will be finished in December.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG - Area school board members questioned the application for the proposed New Berlin Regional Charter School for more than three hours during a public hearing Tuesday night. Lewisburg, Mifflinburg and Selinsgrove school districts were all represented at the meeting held at Mifflinburg Area Senior High School before an audience of about 40. The K-4 public charter school must win approval from all three districts in order to form. “Offering a choice to a child can never be a bad thing,” said Vincent Stoops, of Selinsgrove, a member of the charter school coalition, which he said was a group of concerned parents, teachers and others who feel an alternative in public education in the Valley is viable. Kathy Swope, Lewisburg’s school board president, was disturbed over what she called discrepancies in the application. The Daily Item reports, Swope asked the charter school board to clarify the number of teachers it proposed beginning with, how they would be paid, increasing the budget for more teachers and standards for teacher evaluations, among other concerns she had. Swope was concerned the charter school idea included nothing about student achievement. A decision is due from each school board within 75 days of the meeting.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A month after supporting the spending of $95,000 for full-time economic development director for the city of Williamsport, Mayor Gabriel Campana pulled the plug on the idea because of budgetary concerns. He placed the blame on rising health care insurance and retirees' pensions. Council President Bill Hall wanted to see creation of the department, saying it would provide a central office developers could turn to and market city assets. Hall said he wanted to see money put aside in the 2013 budget for the economic development director position. But Campana said he would continue to manage economic development with the help of John Grado, director of community and economic development, and William Nichols, director of city finance. Campana also said he will consider further cost-cutting measures should the unions representing city employees not concede on city employees contributing to their health care and benefits packages.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Mount Nittany Medical Center is expanding again, with a hospital addition and an outpatient center in the works. On Tuesday, the Centre County Board of Commissioners approved Mount Nittany’s plan to issue as much as $130 million in bonds. Much of the new money will be used to pay for a four-story, 60,000- square-foot addition at the hospital and an outpatient center in the medical building at Old Gatesburg Road and Blue Course Drive in Ferguson Township. Steve Brown, Mount Nittany president and CEO, tells the Centre Daily Times the hospital expansion will provide five new operating rooms, a larger post-surgical area and additional pre-surgery care areas. Plans for the outpatient center call for Mount Nittany to move its pain management clinic to the Ferguson Township location. The center also will feature outpatient imaging and lab services. The projects, plus new equipment, are expected to cost about $42 million. The rest of the money from the bonds — an estimated $68 million — will be used to refinance a 2009 bond. By taking advantage of historically low interest rates Mount Nittany stands to save $4.9 million, or more than $700,000 a year.
(WGRC)

ATLANTA – An unusual strain of a common childhood disease is hitting children and adults alike. Hand, foot and mouth disease, or HFMD, is a common childhood virus that pediatricians, day care centers and preschools see throughout summer and early fall. It causes fevers, rashes on hands and feet and blister-like sores in the mouth, which can make drinking and eating extremely uncomfortable. It usually clears up on its own in about a week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that an unusual version has hit the country, with more severe fevers and rashes, some leading to hospitalization for dehydration and pain. The unusual form of the coxsackievirus is being reported across the country. The disease is spread through saliva, mucus, fluid from the blisters and stool. Researchers don't know if the new wave has peaked with the end of summer, so they're unsure whether the new school year will cause a spike in cases. The unusual form of the disease causes more severe rashes up the legs, around the mouth and, especially for toddlers, on the buttocks. In some cases, after the rash has gone away, the skin can peel and the fingernails and toenails can fall off, but the nails eventually grow back. Also, more adults than usual seem to be catching the new strain. Virtually all of the adults who have caught it have small children or work in day care centers or schools. Researchers hypothesize that the disease started circulating out of season due to last year's mild winter, the fourth-warmest U.S. winter on record. Treatment for the disease is similar to the flu: rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for the fever. Prevention includes good hygiene, frequent hand washing, and cleaning shared toys and surfaces. If someone is sick, they should stay home until both the fever and the sores clear up.
(WGRC)

SELINSGROVE - Licensed social worker Mindy Lewis will speak on infant loss in “Forget Me Not: Does Moving Forward Mean Forgetting?” The meeting will be held September 20th at 7 p.m. in Susquehanna University’s Degenstein Campus Center, Shearer Dining Rooms 2 and 3. The event is sponsored by the Susquehanna University Medical Humanities Initiative and is free and open to the public. Lewis will explore pregnancy and infant loss and share how she helps parents through infant bereavement. Lewis is the administrative coordinator/perinatal social worker for the Center for Prenatal Pediatrics at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK – Two Penn State University students are organizing the second annual Blue Out at Penn State on September 22nd at Beaver Stadium during the Nittany Lions football game against Temple University to show solidarity with victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. The event is in collaboration with One Heart: Penn State Students Against the Sexual Abuse of Children. Proceeds raised from the sale of t-shirts and merchandise will benefit the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. It also shows that members of the student-body support a change in the culture at Penn State. The first Blue Out at the November 11th, 2012 Penn State vs.  Nebraska game raised approximately $47,000 for child abuse prevention charities. Donations will be accepted at the gates and through the purchase of event T-shirts and sunglasses, available at local retailers and online at blueout.org/merchandise.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK — At least 25 percent of the $60 million Penn State is paying in NCAA sanctions will stay in Pennsylvania. The NCAA said Tuesday it has charged an independent task force with developing the blueprint for how the money should be distributed. The $60 million fund will be created by fines levied against Penn State as part of major sanctions after the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal and the Freeh report, which alleges a cover-up involving former top university administrators. An NCAA statement said all money from the fine will flow to programs designed to prevent child sexual abuse or to assist victims nationwide.
(WGRC)

HYNER - Despite the rainy and windy conditions Tuesday afternoon, dozens of state and local officials huddled under a tent for the official unveiling of a life-size bronze statue of a Civilian Conservation Corps Worker at Hyner View State Park in Clinton County. The unveiling was a years-long project by Joe Weidemer of Altoona to memorialize the corps and its work to transform the state forests, parks and natural areas of Pennsylvania and the nation. The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men ages 17- to 23. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin Roosevelt, it provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The Corps was designed to provide employment for young men in relief families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. At one time 2.5 million young men participated in what were known as CCC camps, which provided the men with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families.)
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania’s highest court on Tuesday told a lower court judge to stop a tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification from taking effect in this year’s presidential election if he finds voters cannot easily get ID cards or if he thinks they will be disenfranchised. The 4-2 decision by the state Supreme Court sends the case back to a Commonwealth Court judge who initially said the divisive law could go forward. The high court asked the judge, Robert Simpson, for his opinion by October 2nd. If Simpson finds there will be no voter disenfranchisement and that IDs are easily obtained, then the 6-month-old law can stand.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - As Pennsylvania moves closer to its first execution since 1999, a state Senate task force is studying the death penalty law. The panel is conducting a comprehensive review of capital punishment in Pennsylvania; mere weeks before the scheduled October third execution of convicted murderer Terrance Williams. Democrats are asking Governor Corbett for a temporary moratorium on executions until the report is complete. The state Pardons Board denied Williams' request for clemency earlier this week. Tomorrow, a Philadelphia judge is slated to consider new evidence in the case.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission is warning motorists to slow down after sundown and before sunrise to reduce their risk of having a close encounter with a white-tailed deer. Deer collisions are an annual occurrence that will continue through Thanksgiving week and begin to slow down in mid-December. For the sake of public safety, the Game Commission is urging motorists to drive cautiously after dark for the next several months. The deer mating season which comes toward the end of October often has deer preoccupied with finding the opposite sex and naively wander into troublesome predicaments, including in front of vehicles. Other activities pushing deer onto roadways include farmers harvesting crops and hunters combing the woods sometime flushing deer onto highways.
(WGRC)

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