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June 20, 2011

MINERSVILLE - A fire this morning left eight people homeless in Schuylkill County. The fire was reported just after two this morning in the vacant half of a double home at 233 South Delaware Avenue in Minersville and soon went to two alarms as the fire spread to the other half of that double home and then to two other homes. Minersville Fire Chief Eric Eichenberg tells the Republican Herald there were no injuries. Eichenberg and a state police fire marshal are continuing to investigate to try and determine a cause to the fire that heavily damaged the homes.
Jim Diehl/John Callahan (WGRC)   

LEWISBURG - A two vehicle crash involving a school bus sends a man to the hospital this morning in Union County. State Police say a school bus driven by 68-year old Alfred Powell Junior of Mifflinburg was stopped to make a turn off of Route 192 onto Bull Run Crossing in Buffalo Township around 7:30 this morning when the bus was hit from behind by a truck driven by 26-year old Frank Hort Junior of Northumberland. Hort suffered what police say was a moderate injury and was taken to Evangelical Community Hospital. Powell and the four children on the school bus were not hurt.
John Callahan (WGRC)   

MIFFLINVILLE - Some traffic changes for a work-zone on Interstate 80 in Columbia County this week.
PennDOT says the eastbound driving and westbound passing lanes betweenthe Lime Ridge/Berwick exit and the Mifflinville exit will take place today through Wednesday, June 22. No lane closures are anticipated on Thursday, June 23 and Friday, June 24. PennDOT reminds motorists to lower their speed and take caution entering work areas.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEPORT - A Schuylkill County man is jailed for running over two 17-year olds with his pick-up truck, and for also hurting two others. State Police say 38-year old George Klipola of Middleport became involved in a fight with several people at a gathering in a wooded area in Blythe Township just off Kaska Street near Middleport in the early morning hours Saturday. Klipola allegedly drove his truck into the group of people after the fight, actually running over two 17-year old boys, one from New Philadelphia and the other from Valley View.  The two were seriously hurt in taken to Lehigh Valley Medical Center.
18-year old Joseph Rolenaites of Middleport was hit but thrown clear of the truck and suffered what police say was a moderate injury. A 17-year old from Pottsville was hurt during the fight. Klipola is jailed in lieu of $75,000 straight cash bail charged with aggravated and simple assault. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact State Police at Frackville.
John Callahan (WGRC)
   
DANVILLE - Geisinger Medical Center's Hospital for Advanced Medicine was the backdrop for a surprise wedding Memorial Day Weekend between two longtime Geisinger employees. Registered Nurse Jeffrey Persavage, and desk clerk Debbie Persavage, both of Trevorton, had been dating for 6 years when Jeffrey, suffering from a life-limiting hereditary disease, was hospitalized. Shortly before his hospitalization, Debbie was diagnosed with a serious illness as well. Unsure of the amount of time they had left together, the two told their co-workers how much they wished they could be married before they became too ill. With Jeffrey's condition serious, the couple's colleagues immediately went to work. Within 24 hours, the lobby of the seventh floor was transformed into a small wedding chapel, complete with decorations quickly fashioned out of hospital bed sheets. Nurses also secretly contacted as many of Jeffrey's and Debbie's family members as they could, who were at the hospital to see the couple recite their vows in front of Danville Mayor Ed Coleman. As no wedding is complete without a reception, the nurses also supplied food and brought gifts for the newlyweds. Though Jeffrey and Debbie are currently unable to work, Jeffrey was recently released from the hospital and is holding his own, as is Debbie.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Geisinger Health System and Bloomsburg Health System announced today the signing of a non-binding letter of intent to explore the potential merger of Bloomsburg Health System into Geisinger Health System. Bloomsburg Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Regis Cabonor said the Bloomsburg hospital faces a healthcare climate with challenging financial pressures for small organizations. Both organizations stressed they are in the early stages of exploring possibilities. No timetable has been set to complete the process.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - On behalf of PennDOT, selected municipal police officers from Columbia, Montour, Northumberland and Union counties will be honored for their outstanding participation in PennDOT's Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project, which PennDOT funds. The awards will be presented at a meeting in the Mahoning Township Building near Danville tomorrow at 10 a.m. This presentation is done in cooperation with the North Central Highway Safety Network and is part of PennDOT's Drive Safe PA initiative. Aggressive-driving crashes on targeted roadways dropped four percent in 2010. The next enforcement wave is planned for July 18th through August 28th.
(WGRC)

MINERSVILLE - Fire crews were called out early this morning to battle a blaze in Minersville. The fire was reported just after two this morning at 233 South Delaware Avenue and soon went to two alarms. Schuylkill County 9-1-1 reports that four homes are involved in that fire. There have been no injuries reported. Three people are without a place to stay due to that fire. A state police fire marshal is investigating.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MUNCY - A family of four in Muncy were chased from their home at 15 North Washington Street Saturday night, after a fire broke out in the kitchen of the home. Muncy Area fire Chief Scott Delany tells the Sun Gazette a stove fire got out of control around 8:00 p.m. at the home.  Firefighters limited fire damage to the kitchen, and with smoke damage throughout the rest of the home. Damages are estimated at $10,000.
(WGRC)

FORKSVILLE - State Police in Sullivan County have identified the victim of Wednesday's deadly fire near Forksville as a 50-year-old Michael Kuzma of Largo, Florida. Kuzma was found inside a cabin he owned, off Route 154 in Elkland Township early Wednesday morning as fire crews arrived on the scene to find the cabin fully engulfed in flames. The fire destroyed the structure. Kuzma was identified following an autopsy Friday at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - Fire personnel evacuated six homes Sunday afternoon on Chestnut Ridge Drive in State College due to a gas leak. Crews were called to the scene at about 3:30 p.m. after a worker struck a gas line while trying to unclog a sewer line in the street. The Centre Daily Times reports, gas crews arrived and had to dig up the street to get to the gas line, and crimp it to stop the flow.
(WGRC)

BARBOURS - A Bradford County woman is killed in a motorcycle crash in Lycoming County. The crash happened around four Sunday afternoon on Route 87 near Barbours in Plunketts Creek Township. State Police say 54-year-old Karen Gowin of New Albany lost control of her motorcycle on a curve and slid into the path on an oncoming vehicle driven by 78-year-old Andrew McNally also of New Albany. No one in McNally's vehicle were hurt. Police say Gowin was thrown from the motorcycle up against some guardrails and died at the scene.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A 17-year-old seriously injured in a crash in Columbia County over the weekend. The Press Enterprise reports, Alexandria Allen may be paralyzed for life after being thrown from her boyfriend's car as it crashed at the bottom of River Hill just after one Sunday morning. The Mahoning Township girl was discovered in a streambed alongside Route 487 as police looked to arrest driver 19-year-old Patrick Dillon of Bloomsburg, who ran away before officers arrived. Police believe a combination of alcohol and speed led to the crash. Dillon was spotted running up River Hill, and jumped over a rail  into a small creek that runs alongside the roadway before he was caught. Charges against Dillon are pending. Allen remains in critical condition at Geisinger Medical Center.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SNOW SHOE - A 16-year-old girl from Snow Shoe was seriously hurt in a crash in Centre County Saturday morning. That crash happened just after nine a.m. on Route 144 at Fountain Road in Snow Shoe Township. Police say the 16-year-old pulled out in front of an oncoming vehicle and was trapped inside the wreckage before being freed and taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center. No one in the other vehicle was hurt.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Gunfire erupted in the Cherry Street area and a stabbing wounded a person in another section of Williamsport in two violent crimes Friday. City police are investigating and several suspects were detained. Police say no one was injured in the report of multiple shots fired just before 1:30 p.m. Officers were observed in the afternoon escorting at least one person out of a 924 Cherry St. home, and several other people were handcuffed by police at the adjacent intersection of Brandon Avenue and Cherry Street. One of these suspects was turned over to the county department of probation and parole for a possible violation. Police say a house in the area was struck by gunfire, and bullet holes were discovered in vehicles nearby. Shell casings and a hand gun were retrieved as evidence. In the city's Newberry section shortly after 5:35 p.m., someone was reportedly stabbed in the Glynn Avenue area. Police say a man was taken to an area hospital for treatment, and police have a man in custody believed to have been involved in the stabbing.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - For more than three years, 35-year-old Hector Rivera ran from charges that he participated in a methamphetamine ring in Schuylkill County. His flight ended Friday afternoon when U.S. Marshals arrested him in New Jersey. He was picked up at a restaurant around one p.m. Friday in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Rivera will be held in custody pending federal court proceedings in New Jersey. On April 8, 2008, a federal grand jury indicted Rivera and his brother, Juan Rivera, Shoemakersville, for their roles in a methamphetamine trafficking ring operating in Schuylkill County. Investigators believe The Rivera brothers got methamphetamine from suppliers in Las Vegas, and brought it to, Schuylkill County where they distributed it. Shortly after the indictment, Juan Rivera was arrested in Berks County. Hector Rivera's whereabouts were unknown and he was declared a fugitive. On October 16, 2008, the fugitive's brother, Juan Rivera, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Scranton  and is serving a nearly 16 year federal prison sentence.
(WGRC)

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - A Schuylkill Haven man is jailed on assault charges. Police say overnight Friday and Saturday morning Christopher Pate would not let a woman leave his mobile home at Sammy's Mobile Home Park in North Manheim Township. Police say Pate beat the woman and threatened to kill her if she left. Pate is jailed in the Schuylkill County Prison on 35,000 bail.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

TROUT RUN - An Arkansas man is jailed in the Lycoming County jail after trashing a gas pipe line that he was hired to build. Police say 44-year-old Henry Benton of Bradford, Arkansas is jailed on $75,000 bail on felony criminal mischief charges. Police say on Wednesday morning he uncovered and damaged a pipeline that had already been installed in the area of Coal Mine Road in Cogan House Township. Police say damages to the pipeline were nearly $100,000 dollars. Police say the pipeline was ready to be pressure tested on Thursday and had officials not discovered the damage the pipeline would have ruptured.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - A 21-year-old Spring Mills woman is facing charges that she sold crack cocaine to a police informant in May and earlier this month. State College police have charged Jessica Tressler, for selling the drug to police twice in May and once on June first of this year. The first of those sales occurred at the Imperial Motor Inn on South Atherton Street, the second at the Northland Motel, on Martin Street, and the third at the Happy Valley Motel, on South Atherton Street. Tressler was also found to owe more than $600 for a long-term stay at the Imperial Motor Inn between April and May. She will face charges of three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and one count of theft of services.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - A Lykens man is facing child sex charges in Centre County. Police say 34-year-old Conrad Shutt, will face charges he had indecent contact with a 5-year-old girl in 2002 at a home at 145 West Branch Road in State College. Shutt is free after posting $25,000 bail.
(WGRC)

REEDSVILLE - Police in Mifflin County are reminding residents to lock their vehicles and take all valuables out of them when not occupying them. This comes after several vehicles were entered overnight Saturday and cash and other valuable items were taken. Most of the thefts happened on Church and Walnut Street in Reedsville. Anyone with information on the car break-ins is asked to call Mifflin County Regional Police.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DALMATIA - Several bags of clothing and metal chair and throw rug were taken from a home in Northumberland County sometime between four Friday afternoon and ten Saturday morning. Those items were taken from two homes at 1975 and 1979 George Street in Dalmatia.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - A wooden bridge and garden furniture has been taken from a business in Schuylkill County. The item were taken around 4:30 Friday morning from Martins Farm and Garden Center in Schuylkill Haven. Police say witnesses spotted a light colored mini-van near the business along Route 183, and two people removing the items. Anyone with information is asked to call state police.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

RAVEN RUN - Water customers served in most areas by the Shenandoah Municipal Authority in Schuylkill County will be under a boil advisory this week because of work being done on the water distribution system. The work scheduled for today will be the connection of a new 12-inch water main about 600 feet long located on Locust Mountain between the water filtration plant near Raven Run and the Glover's Hill section of Shenandoah. Authority customers living in Shenandoah, Shenandoah Heights, Weston Place, Turkey Run and Brownsville will be under a boil water advisory starting Monday and will continue until further notice. Water must be boiled for drinking purposes. Customers may also experience low pressure, dirty water and possibly no water at times.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Geisinger Medical Center will hold an open house for their newly renovated House of Care in Danville. The renovations were made to create a more welcoming and patient-focused environment. The House of Care provides convenient low-cost lodging for adult cancer patients and their families. The open house will be held at one p.m. Tuesday at the House of Care in Danville.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Columbia County will borrow nearly $6 million to upgrade heating systems and replace roofs at county-owned buildings, but officials say a tax hike won't be necessary to pay for the projects. The Press Enterprise reports, a "facilities management" firm has guaranteed the county will be able to fund that debt with $160,000 per year in projected savings in energy costs. If the county does not see those promised savings, The Linc Group, which claims $1.5 billion in assets, would be on the hook to cover any shortfall. Commissioners Bill Soberick and Dave Kovach voted in favor of taking on the debt, while Chris Young opposed it. The work would take about nine months to complete, and it may get started as soon as July or August.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MONTANDON - Minuteman Spill Response, a Mifflinville-based chemical spill-cleaning company, has scrapped plans to move to a 15-acre parcel in West Chillisquaque Township, Northumberland County noting strong opposition from citizens who feared its operations posed an environmental hazard to the community. The Daily Item reports, withdrawal comes two weeks after 60 people attended a local zoning hearing board meeting to express their alarm over the plans, and the company's move takes with it about 80 jobs Minuteman would have brought to the region. The Milton Area Industrial Development Association board was informed Thursday of Minuteman's decision. Minuteman was looking to put its headquarters at the Milton Industrial Park off Lawton Lane.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Engines revved and hundreds showed up this past weekend to watch cars, trucks and motorcycles stream through downtown Bellefonte. Classic cars, trucks and motorcycles as well as street rods and some unusual vehicles took part in the event in Centre County Friday and Saturday. The Centre Daily Times reports, participants says it's more like a reunion of friends and family. In the 1960s and '70s, all the kids would spend their Fridays and Saturday nights driving around town. People driving in opposite directions would just stop and chat. It was often how boys and girls would meet. Those days died out after police cracked down on cruising in the '70s and '80s. The Bellefonte Cruise began in 1988 after police gave a group of self-described "motorheads" permission to cruise for one day a year, allowing them to lawfully relive the glory days of their youth. As part of the event, organizers began to collect money for local charities, raising on average between $5,000 and $15,000 annually. The event has morphed into one of Bellefonte's busiest days of the year, attracting thousands of people to the downtown area from as far away as Florida.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Four years ago, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission was a little agency, rarely in the spotlight, known primarily for helping to forecast the severity of flooding. But since the boom of natural gas drilling in the states central and northeast region the Commission is now on the front lines of the controversy swirling around drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. The commission regulates water withdrawals, and Executive Director Paul Swartz says the rapid growth of drilling in the Marcellus has transformed the agency. Swartz tells the Patriot News the size of the commission staff has doubled to 65 employees and its budget has tripled from $4 million a year to $12 million. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission has even opened a satellite office in the northern tier and is looking for new office space in Harrisburg because it has outgrown its Front Street complex. The commission has expanded its existing water quality monitoring activities so it can detect whether drilling is having an impact on water quality of the River and its tributaries. It has deployed 44 remote water quality monitoring stations in small streams throughout the watershed that continuously test the temperature, oxygen, acidity, clarity and conductivity of the water. And it's all published on the Internet in real time on the Commission's website, so anyone can watch what's going on in the monitored streams. The drilling industry is helping to fund the monitoring program. If all indications are that a spill has occurred, they alert the Department of Environmental Protection. Commission officials say that hasn't happened yet.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HARRISBURG - A bill to maintain emergency unemployment benefits for 45,000 Pennsylvanians is headed to the desk of Governor Tom Corbett. In a rare Friday voting session, senators voted unanimously to pass the measure. The Pennsylvania House  approved the bill Thursday. The Republican governor is expected to sign the measure. The legislation not only preserves emergency federal benefits for the 45,000 already receiving them, but ensures that an estimated 90,000 others can also qualify for the extra 13 weeks of benefits. The bill includes provisions to reduce the cost of the unemployment compensation system in Pennsylvania. They include limits on future increases in the maximum payment and a requirement that recipients look for work as a condition of receiving benefits. The bill also includes a provision that allows employers to reduce employee work hours by 20 percent and enables those employees to collect partial  unemployment compensation benefits. Senator John Gordner, R-Columbia County, said this provision could help employers avoid massive layoffs while assuring employees of income to help offset those lost wages from lost work hours.
(WGRC)