September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012

SUNBURY - A special meeting of the Northumberland County Board of Commissioners scheduled for today was canceled after concerns were raised about its legality. Commissioner Rick Shoch said he was not properly notified about the meeting and no valid votes could be taken if it were convened. Shoch was not present in the meeting room, but released a statement to news organizations. Gary Steffen, chief clerk, announced the meeting's cancellation. On the agenda were issues related to the proposed Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, including discussion about temporarily banning the public from the site because of the discovery of a wooden booby trap there. The Daily Item reports, the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area issues will be discussed at the commissioners' next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 2nd.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE – A three alarm fire in Bellefonte this morning is under investigation. The fire was reported just after four this morning to the rear of the Dollar General Store at 141 South Spring Street. When crews first arrived they found a garage fully engulfed in flames. The blaze destroyed the metal building.  The fire is under investigation.  There were no reports of injuries.
Jim Diehl/John Callahan (WGRC)

PLEASANT GROVE – A tractor trailer roll over blocked a portion of roadway in Union County this morning. The incident happened just before seven a.m. near the intersection of Pleasant Grove Road and Moll Road in Lewis Township. Union County 9-1-1 says no one was hurt. The rig was hauling chickens at the time of the crash.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BELLEFONTE – Fire crews rushed out this morning to a three alarm fire in Bellefonte. The fire was reported just after four this morning to the rear of the Dollar General Store at 141 South Spring Street. When crews first arrived they found a garage fully engulfed in flames. No word at this time on what sparked the blaze.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILROY – Fire crews in Mifflin County were kept busy early this morning battling a house fire in Milroy. The fire was reported just after two a.m. at 29 Ryan’s Circle in Armaugh Township. Mifflin County 9-1-1 tells us there were no injuries reported and that fire is under investigation.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Three people were taken to the hospital following a Loyalsock Township crash yesterday morning. That crash happened at Lycoming Creek and Log Run Roads around eight a.m. as a mini-van and two other vehicles collided.  Three people riding in the van were taken to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center. Their conditions were not reported. It’s not believed anyone else was injured in the crash which is under investigation.
(WGRC)

MILTON — A Maryland man remains in fair condition following a motorcycle crash near Milton. State police are investigating that crash Saturday afternoon involving a motorcycle and a Jeep. 62-year-old Charles Gantz of Maryland was traveling south along Route 405 on his motorcycle when he was struck from behind by a woman driving a Jeep. Gantz was taken to Geisinger Medical Center. The woman in the Jeep wasn’t hurt.
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN - A Middleburg man was hurt in a motorcycle crash near New Berlin on Saturday. Police say 48-year-old John Seely was traveling on Wildwood Road in Limestone Township around 4 p.m. and tried to pass a large mower, which then turned in front of him. Seely was thrown off the bike and taken to Geisinger Medical Center where he was discharged on Sunday. The driver of the mower, 77-year-old Floyd Snook of Mifflinburg, was not hurt.
(WGRC)

PLEASANT GAP - A 19-year-old Pleasant Gap man faces DUI and felony fleeing from police charges after an early Sunday morning pursuit in Centre County. Police say Drew Kotzur led police on a high-speed pursuit that started around two a.m. on state Route 26 in Howard. The 30-mile chase ended when police were able to force Kotzur’s vehicle off the road on Route 64 in Walker Township. In addition to two felony counts of fleeing from police and misdemeanor charges of DUI and resisting arrest, he faces 92 summary traffic violations. He was jailed in the Centre County Jail on $75, 000 bail.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - A Shamokin man is facing charges after police say he intentionally knocked over a baby stroller. The News Item reports, on July 10th, 22-year-old Michael Wolfe was riding his bicycle near the intersection of Lincoln and Liberty Streets in Shamokin when he intentionally pushed the baby stroller over. The baby fell onto the sidewalk and was injured and taken to Geisinger-Shamokin Hospital for treatment. Wolfe is accused of providing police with two different versions of the incident when questioned. He is also charged with assault, disorderly conduct and other counts.  
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE  - A Bellefonte man was charged early Sunday morning with firing a handgun at a woman after an alleged domestic dispute. State police say 32-year-old Dennis Fetters Jr., fired a round into the ground at a woman’s feet after the dispute. Police said Fetters and the woman were arguing just after six a.m. at a home on Dixon Road in Benner Township when she threw a cup of coffee on Fetters. Fetters then retrieved a 9 mm handgun and fired a round near her feet. Fetters is charged with aggravated assault and related counts and jailed in the Centre County Prison.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A Lycoming County burglary netted the thief a wallet and a credit cards which they used to ring up more than $4,000 dollars in purchases.  State police say that last week, someone entered the Ritter Ridge Road home of Scott Brown in Franklin Township and took his wallet. The used credit cards and racked up the purchases both on line and at local business. Also inside the wallet was a retired state police badge, as well as other cards and ID. Anyone with information into the theft is asked to get in touch with state police, Montoursville.
(WGRC)

MILLMONT – Thieves grab various tractor parts from a Union County property. Police say sometime between 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 1:30 Saturday afternoon the thieves entered the property of John Rovenolt on Millheim Road in Lewis Township. The thieves took six car batteries, logging chains, numerous tractor weights, and other items from the property. Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call state police, Milton.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG — Nine separate cases have a Milton man facing 52 charges for his alleged role in a rash of copper thefts in Lewisburg borough in late July. Thirty-four-year-old Nicholas Norman, was brought before District Judge Leo Armbruster and taken to Union County Prison. All told, Norman is facing 52 charges, 27 of them felonies. Norman is the second person charged in the spree of 13 burglaries in Lewisburg reported between July 23 and 29 in a four-block radius of South Sixth and South Seventh streets. The homes primarily are rented to Bucknell University students. On July 30th, 41-year-old Dennis Russell, of Milton. It was during the investigation of that Milton burglary and copper theft, where Russell was apprehended, that he told police he did the burglaries with Norman, who would call Russell to help him and then gave Russell $150 for his work. Police say Norman confessed to Buffalo Valley Regional Police his involvement with Russell in the Lewisburg thefts.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - An arranged drug sale turned into an armed robbery in the 900 block of Vine Avenue in Williamsport early Wednesday morning. Police say 19-year-old Pasquale Soto and 27-year-old Joshua Devaughn, allegedly robbed Christopher Nelson, "a friend" of Devaughn's, about 12:45 a.m. Police say Soto  pulled a gun on Nelson after Devaughn "set up a deal where Soto could buy marijuana from Nelson." Devaughn and Soto are both jailed in the Lycoming County Prison.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE — The man charged with robbing four teenagers and threatening to kill them on Centre Hall Mountain in May pleaded guilty Friday. 19-year-old Richard Martinez, entered an open plea to all the counts and will avoid trial, which had been scheduled for this week. Police say four 14-year-old boys were chased by Martinez after they came upon him during a hike May 5th. The boys say Martinez forced them to the ground, kicked one of them in the head and went through their pockets, stealing three iPods and a bottle of water from their backpacks. Police said Martinez allegedly held a box cutter to one boy’s throat and threatened to kill them. Martinez is scheduled for sentencing October 30th.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - PennDOT is putting off all roadwork on Interstate 80 in Columbia County this week to avoid interfering with traffic during the Bloomsburg Fair. That means no lane closures in the work zone around Mifflinville on the highway or any other roads connected to that project. Meanwhile, a PennDOT contractor doing bridge preservation work on the interstate is focusing on bridges in Northumberland County this week rather than working on the one over Fishing Creek. Workers will be working on bridges near the Milton and Williamsport exits.  
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Geisinger has put its first stamp on Bloomsburg Hospital since taking it over. Beginning January 1st, no smoking will be allowed on hospital property. The medical center also says it will no longer hire smokers or users of smokeless tobacco, and applicants for jobs at Bloomsburg Hospital may be screened for tobacco use, just as they are at other Geisinger-run hospitals and clinics. Geisinger is also hoping to encourage healthier lifestyles among the hospital's 400 or so employees by setting up an exercise gym inside the facility. It has done the same thing at other Geisinger owned facilities.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE — Geisinger Health System posted a $154.3 million profit last year as it continued to take over smaller, financially struggling hospitals. It actually represents a setback compared to Geisinger's $181 million finish the previous year. The $154.3 million surplus gave the health system a 5.3 percent operating margin on revenue of $2.9 billion for the year that ended June 30.Geisinger has not yet released figures showing how its individual hospitals performed, so it's unclear how its recent takeovers of Shamokin Hospital and Community Medical Center in Scranton shaped its bottom line. Bloomsburg Hospital did not become part of the Geisinger system until July 1.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - Shelter Services of Lewistown is undergoing a total renovation of the second and third floor dormitories due to bedbug infestations. All of the beds, mattresses, furniture and carpeting have been thrown out, costing the shelter $25,000 to fully replace everything, paint the walls and install new flooring. Wilda Fisher, director of Shelter Services tells the Sentinel the shelter is asking the community to donate any money, time or materials they can spare.as the shelter has no money in its budget for the emergency repairs. The extermination process already cost the shelter $5,000 and new beds are expected to cost $15,000. Fisher is hoping to have the renovation finished before the cold weather sets in and demand for beds increases. In the meantime, Red Cross has donated a number of cots and blankets for the shelter to use. Monetary donations can be sent to Shelter Services at 13 Depot Street, Lewistown. Those interested in donating their time to paint or lay flooring are asked to contact Wilda Fisher at 248-0102.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - The Blue Out, held to raise awareness of child sex abuse and donate funds to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, provided the backdrop for Saturday’s Penn State football game against visiting Temple. The Nittany Lions won 24-13 in the second Blue Out game since child abuse allegations against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky surfaced last November. Almost 94,000 people attended Saturday’s game, many wearing blue to support the cause. Blue Out organizers will continue to sell T-shirts for the remainder of the football season, so final fundraising numbers are not available.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - If the City of Shamokin wants to share potential revenue created by the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, they would have to be willing to share potential losses, those were the words of Northumberland County Commissioner Steven Bridy. A letter signed by Mayor George Rozinskie Jr. asks that Northumberland County commissioners provide a permanent seat for a city representative on the newly created AOAA authority board. The authority was created earlier this month and will be the decision-making body for the 6,500-acre county-owned property being developed for off-road vehicles and non-motorized activities. Appointments are expected before the year's end, and if the city has its way, council would be afforded voting power. A successful recreation area with portions in the mountains just south of the city line would invigorate economic activity in Shamokin and its downtown. A substantial increase in visitors to the Shamokin area, however, would also put a greater burden on infrastructure and public services at a time when city finances remain on shaky ground. There has been no explanation by the county on revenue sharing or how the county will assist the city with increased costs of daily operations due to the opening of the park. That’s why Shamokin wants a seat on the Authority so that the City can have direct input to the operation of the park, and the associated impacts it will have on the City of Shamokin.
(WGRC)

BURNSIDE - More than two dozen people gathered in protest Sunday at the proposed Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area. Their reasons for opposition of the county's development of the recreation area varied, citing restricted access for locals, potential impact on county taxpayers and questionable stewardship of the land. They were, however, unified in working to raise awareness that opposition exists, regardless of how low-key their efforts were. Dave Kaleta is a longtime local conservationist who was barred from the county-owned AOAA site earlier this month and organized Sunday's protest. He believes the banishment came about because he has questioned the environmental impact the area's development has had on the 6,500-acre property. Kaleta wants to see environmental studies done before cutting any trails, and allowing hunting for the primary game season from October through February, instead of just a few weeks out of the year.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - Bad news for residents living along Shamokin Creek in Mount Carmel: The flood control project will, once again, be delayed. David Grey, project coordinator of community development with SEDA-Council of Governments informed Mount Carmel Borough Council that the state Department of General Services, which is in charge of the project, rejected all bids for the Shamokin Creek Flood Control Project because the winning bid did not comply with Section 3, a provision of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968. The project paper work will be re-filed with the requirements under Section 3 and then sent out for re-bids.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Close to 50 church members paddled down a five-mile stretch of the Susquehanna River on Sunday in the seventh annual “Grove Float.” About 30 kayaks loaded with members of Grove Presbyterian Church set off from Danville’s Fish Commission boat launch, on Market Street, at 2:30 p.m. While there were foot-high waves during part of the journey, everyone made it to their destination safely. The event was started when members decided they wanted an intergenerational activity for parishioners. Last year’s float was canceled due to the flooding brought on by Tropical Storm Lee. Sunday’s trip ended about two hours later at the Point Township home of some parishioners where a picnic was held.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Ask someone where the center of Newberry in Williamsport is, and chances are that they'll say it's the monument at the intersection of Arch and West Fourth streets in the city. That place, known as monument square, is home to the Light of Liberty statue, which memorializes those who served in World War I. The landmark was rededicated and celebrated Sunday with about 200 citizens and elected officials for its 90th anniversary. A 21-gun salute and taps ended the ceremony as a wreath was placed at the monument's base bearing the words "freedom is rarely free."
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The second and final day of 16th Susquehanna 500 Mini-Indy racing action wrapped up Sunday in Brandon Park just before brief rain showers hit the area. Racers strapped themselves into go-karts and negotiated the twists and turns of the park all while helping to raise money for the Northcentral Pennsylvania Red Cross, which covers Lycoming, Clinton and Tioga counties. The event serves as the organization's main fundraiser. Over $17,000 was raised by the race. The Red Cross held a make-up Mini-Indy race in April because last September's flooding canceled the 2011 race. Plans already are under way for the 2013 race for next September, weather permitting.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The Salvation Army of Williamsport, located at 457 Market Street, has scheduled an Open House and Volunteer Appreciation Night on Tuesday, September 25th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The evening will include: Special Recognition of Salvation Army Volunteers; Introduction of Commanding Officers Captains Chas&Debbie Engel by Divisional Commander Lieutenant Colonel Donald Lance; a special message from the Engel’s and music by a Salvation Army Brass Ensemble. This event is open to both volunteers of The Salvation Army as well as our friends of the civic, business and community.  
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG — Results of the 2011-2012 Pennsylvania System of School Assessments were released Friday, showing that about a third of the Susquehanna Valley’s school districts failed to make adequate yearly progress. Mifflinburg, Milton, Mount Carmel and Shikellamy all failed to make AYP in 2012. Because the school districts overall made AYP in 2011, but not in 2012, the four districts are all on “warning” status, which means no corrective action will be taken. Schools in the “warning” category” should examine, and where necessary, modify their improvement strategies so they will meet targets next year.” Danville, Lewisburg, Midd-West, Selinsgrove, Danville, Line Mountain, Shamokin and Warrior Run all made AYP in 2012. Adequate Yearly Progress is based on a number of factors including graduation rate, attendance, PSSA test scores and test participation rate. In 2012, to meet the AYP scoring requirements, 78 percent of students were required to score at proficient or higher in mathematics and 81 percent of students were required to score at proficient or higher in reading. Statewide, 75.7 percent of students performed at-or-above grade level in math and 71.9 percent of students performed at-or-above grade level in reading. Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis says these numbers are down about one percentage point from last year, due to a greater focus on limiting cheating. Each school district in Northumberland, Union, Snyder and Montour counties had at least one school that failed to meet AYP. Of the 25 schools in Northumberland County, 10 failed to make AYP, including Milton, Mount Carmel, Warrior Run, Shikellamy and Shamokin high schools and Line Mountain Junior-Senior High School. In Snyder County, Selinsgrove High School, Middleburg Elementary School and Midd-West High School all failed to make AYP. In Union County, Donald Eichhorn Middle School, Mifflinburg Senior High School and Mifflinburg Area Intermediate School failed to make AYP. In Montour County, only Liberty Valley Elementary School failed to make AYP.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The state's jobless rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.1 percent between July and August, matching the U.S. unemployment number. State Department of Labor&Industry officials noted that the state jobless figure matches that of August 2011. It marks the 70th consecutive month the state has either mirrored or been below the national rate.
(WGRC)

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