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February 22, 2012

BERWICK- Fire crews rushed to the scene of a fire this afternoon in Columbia County. The fire was reported around 2:30 this afternoon at 421 East Eighth Street in Berwick. We are told all the occupants of the building were evacuated as fire spread throughout the structure.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

KREAMER – A Snyder County farmer was flown to Geisinger Medical Center yesterday afternoon after he was pinned against a barn by a 1300 pound bull. Robert Waite was gored by the bull around two Tuesday afternoon at the farm along Oak Lane in Middlecreek Township. Waite suffered severe chest injuries including broken ribs and collapsed lungs and remains in Geisinger in critical condition.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY -  Two Sunbury men involved in a stabbing and assault that left two people in need of medical attention, including a woman who was nine months' pregnant, are now facing charges for another assault back in December. Sunbury police Tuesday charged 28-year-old Christopher Atanasio, and 31-year-old Nelson Navarro, with the December 27th assault on a man outside a bar in the 100 block of South Third Street. Police said both waited outside the bar for the victim and jumped him, knocking him to the ground. He was later taken to Sunbury Community Hospital by a family member.  Both are jailed in the Northumberland Count y Prison on $75,000 bail.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Three victims of an alleged New Year’s Eve ax attack in Williamsport testified against their assailant during his preliminary hearing yesterday. The three testified that Lane Johnson III became enraged during a card game at his home, grabbed an ax and began going after them, swinging it wildly.  Following the testimony, District Judge James Carn held charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and related counts for court. Johnson remains jailed in Lycoming County without bail.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY- Some delays in traffic on a bridge crossing the Susquehanna River between Northumberland and Snyder Counties today. Motorists crossing the Route 61 Veterans' Memorial Bridge from Sunbury into Shamokin Dam are advised to be alert for lane closures today. PennDOT is removing flood debris from around the bridge piers, and has closed the northbound shoulder and right lane for that work. One northbound lane remains open to traffic. Southbound lanes will not be involved. The lane restriction is expected to be in place until early evening.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - The man who was a visionary for Geisinger Medical Center in Danville has died. Dr. Henry Hood passed away over the weekend in Exeter, New Hampshire. The expansion of Geisinger Health System, as we know it, began in the mid–70’s when Dr. Hood became president and CEO of Geisinger. The Press Enterprise says Geisinger is planning a memorial for Dr. Hood sometime in the future.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - A month after losing his job as a Northumberland County assistant district attorney, John Muncer will begin new duties as the county's assistant solicitor. Muncer accepted the job offer Tuesday from the Northumberland County Commissioners. Muncer will assume his new duties in the part-time, $34,000-a-year position March 1. He's filling the seat held by James Rosini, a former county judge and district attorney who died in a February 8th car crash in Florida.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - Earlier this year Juniata County received a grant to update security at the Juniata County Courthouse, but just what those updates will be remains to be seen. On Tuesday, the commissioners began the process of hiring a security consultant to work on the grant. County Grant writer Lisa Stalnaker told the Commissioners the consultant position originally was not part of the $154,000 grant. A consultant was in the works because Commissioners did not think county staff had the expertise or manpower to take on the project. The Commissioners will look for a consultant that will work with county officials and vendors on various aspects of the security project.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG — Leaders of Penn State, Pitt and Temple warned the state House Appropriations Committee today not to go along with Governor Tom Corbett's second straight proposal for deep cuts in state aid to the universities, suggesting that the in-state students who could least afford it would be hurt the most. The heads of the schools are renewing the campaign they mounted last year to defend the value of their institutions to improving Pennsylvania's availability of higher education to lower-income students. Corbett's hold-the-line budget plan of $27.1 billion would slash about 30 percent, or almost $150 million, from the three schools. The Associated Press reports, Corbett's budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1 also would cut business taxes and slash funding for a range of services for the poor, elderly and disabled.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Legislative Reapportionment Commission has been tasked by the state Supreme Court to re-draw districts for state House and Senate members after the Court threw out a map agreed to last December by the Commission.  The Court said that map unnecessarily divided too many counties, cities and boroughs in its re-drawing of the legislative districts that had been set up in 2001 following the 2000 census. The Commission met briefly today in Harrisburg.  Retired Justice Stephen McEwen, Chairman of the Committee, said the Commission was close to a new set of maps, but needed more time to finish them. The commission will meet again on February 28th, at which time a vote might be taken. 
(WGRC)

SELINSGROVE – A Snyder County school district will cut 17 teachers in an effort to fight a budget deficit.  The Selinsgrove School District board approved a plan last night that will cut 17 teacher positions reducing expenses by about $790,000.  The plan allows the district to keep all of its educational programs while providing a common planning time for teachers and restructuring the school day as the board struggles to close a $1 million shortfall in its tentative $36.29 million 2012-13 budget.  The Daily Item reports, the plan already carries the maximum tax increase allowed by the state, 2.3 mills.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A proposed budget would see staff reductions at each grade level in a Lycoming County school district.  At Tuesday's board meeting the Williamsport Area School District took another step closer to balancing its budget.  The district will seek approval from the state Department of Education on staff changes that were outlined February 7th and at last night’s meeting. A 6-3 vote gave the district's administration permission to present proposed furloughs and alterations of staff to the state.  Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Kelley, again presented a proposal that would see staff reductions at each grade level, special education, and maintenance and security.  After deciding not to replace positions vacated by retirements, the deficit shrunk to about $3.6 million. Cuts to special education, maintenance and security, and the district service center would bring the deficit down to about $315,000.  The $78.7 million dollar budget proposal also includes a 2.4 percent property tax increase.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN DAM – The Snyder County Department of Emergency Services reports a water man break in Shamokin Dam.  Crews are working to fix the break on Helen Street that was discovered last night.  Authorities say Helen Street between 7th and 8th Avenues in Shamokin Dam should have water service restored before Noon today.
John Callahan (WGRC)

SORADOVILLE – A crash in Mifflin County had a road closed this morning.  Reports say a one vehicle crash happened just before 7 this morning at 6170 Route 522 in Decatur Township between Soradoville and the Snyder County line.  Reports said live wires were down in the area of the crash and that there may have been entrapment.  First responders also reported icy conditions on the roadway in that area.  The road is currently shut down between Mail Pouch Road and Alfarata Road was expected re-open around 10:30 this morning.
John Callahan (WGRC)

SHAMOKIN DAM – A woman escapes serious injury in a wild hit and run crash yesterday afternoon in Snyder County.  Troopers say 32-year old Christina Major of Sunbury was driving along Routes 11 and 15 South in Monroe Township near County Line Road just before 3 yesterday afternoon when she was cut off by another vehicle.  Major swerved her pick-up truck onto the shoulder to avoid a collision, lost control and hit an embankment.  Her truck then rolled four times stopping back on its wheels beside the highway.  Police say Major, who was wearing a seat belt, suffered only a minor injury and was taken to Sunbury Hospital.  The other driver fled.
John Callahan (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A mentally disturbed man is sentenced to prison in Columbia County for an assault last summer.  37-year old Benjamin Wolff of Millville is accused of brutally assaulting 55-year old Keith Gordner, also of Millville, while he worked on plumbing at the former Pen-Col Dairy near Millville last August.  Wolff was off prescribed medication at the time of the attack.  The Press-Enterprise reports, a judge yesterday sentenced Wolff to prison for eight to 23 months for the assault.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE – A Schuylkill County man is sentenced for molesting a young girl.  32-year old Kim May of Pottsville admitted to molesting an 8-year-old girl in 2009 and 2010 in Pottsville, and must forfeit at least 10 years of his freedom.  The Republican Herald reports, a judge sentenced him to serve to 10 to 20 years in a state correctional institution, plus an additional six years on probation and lifetime Megan's Law sanctions.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG  - A retired Columbia County college professor will now be extradited to face charges in Oklahoma.  Retired Bloomsburg University professor 65-year old Gary Doby will be taken to Oklahoma to face charges for allegedly conspiring with a third-grade teacher to produce kiddie porn.  Both Doby, and 48-year old Kimberly Ann Crain of Shawnee, Oklahoma are charged in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. The Press-Enterprise reports, Doby has been locked up in lieu of $500,000 bail since his arrest by State Police on a fugitive warrant near his home in Beaver Township on December 15th. He faces nine felony counts. Crain was jailed in lieu of $1 million bail and faces 23 felonies. She resigned in November as an elementary school teacher. The two communicated via Skype video calls.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE – A convenience store robbed last night in Centre County.  On State College Police responded to the report of a robbery at the Nano Mart in the 100 block of Locust Lane just after 6:30 last night.  The clerk told police, a man walked into the store and said he needed the money.  He had his hand in his pocket but did not show a weapon.  The clerk handed over an undisclosed amount of money and the man fled.  He is described as a college age white male about 5 feet 7 inches tall with a heavy build.  He was wearing a brown winter hat with the eyes cut out covering most of his face; a red coat with hood and gray sweatpants.  Anyone with information on this robbery is asked to contact the State College Police.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE – A State College area man was sentenced Tuesday in Centre County Court on Robbery, Burglary and related counts for his part in ring of bandits that hit numerous homes and businesses often at gunpoint. Alexei Semionov was sentenced to 36 to 72 years in prison on 12 cases in a crime spree along with co-defendants Maskim Illarionov, Dmitry Litvinov, and Anatoliy Veretnov. District Attorney Stacey Parks Miller says she is satisfied with the sentence and is looking forward to trying the other defendants and putting the cases to rest.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL – A Mount Carmel man was convicted in Northumberland County Court. Jason Bozarth was convicted of assault in a case in Mount Carmel in August 2010. Bozarth was handed down that conviction Friday following a two day trial and the jury deliberating for four hours. Bozarth was charged with aggravated assault and related counts after seriously injuring the victim at the intersection of Market and Sixth Streets in Mount Carmel. The victim was taken to Geisinger Medical Center and required surgery. Following his conviction Bozarth was sent back to the Northumberland County Jail on an increased $100,000 bail.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The Midd-West School District in Snyder County is arguing that a federal judge should throw out a lawsuit filed by a couple who allege the district did not do enough to accommodate their son's potentially fatal peanut allergy. The school maintains that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the boy is not enrolled as a student in Midd-West. The parents maintain in court documents that their boy is not enrolled because district administrators have given no indication that they will make the necessary accommodations for the boy's allergies. The Daily Item reports, the defendants seek dismissal of the first count of the suit filed by the boy and his parents because the plaintiffs are not identified by name and the student is not enrolled in the district.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – In Lycoming County, Susquehanna Health yesterday officially opened its Susquehanna Tower at the Williamsport Regional Medical Center. The six-year, $150 million expansion project features a new emergency department, imaging center, five surgical suites, including a cardiac operating room, joint replacement and spine unit, "Birthplace" maternity unit and an educational and conference center. Nearly 400 pieces of artwork created by regional artists are displayed throughout the facility. The Daily Item reports, the 242,000-square-foot expansion marks the largest of all renovation projects to date in Susquehanna Health's $250 million "Project 2012" construction initiative at all three of its hospitals.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - A California company hopes to surf the wave of natural gas development by building and operating a series of natural gas fueling facilities across the United States - including one at the local Flying J travel plaza in Porter Township. The Express reports, the Clinton County Planning Commission reviewed the concept Tuesday evening and gave enthusiastically positive support of the project. It still faces review by the Porter Township Planning Commission in the near future before being forwarded to the township supervisors for their consideration in early March. According to a spokesman for Clean Energy Fuels Corp. representative Monica Ultreras, the company is seeking to support the growing demand for natural gas-fueled trucking in the United States.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Legislative Reapportionment Commission is preparing to hold its first meeting since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the proposed General Assembly maps based on the 2010 census. The commission's agenda for this afternoons meeting in the state Capitol didn't indicate whether the five-member commission will vote, but said only that there will be a discussion about the status of new proposed plans. The once-a-decade process was thrown into chaos last month by the court's 4-3 ruling saying that the commission's work product split too many municipalities and counties and that some districts weren't compact enough. The Associated Press reports, the redistricting process is designed to divide the state to take into account population shifts over time. There are 50 districts in the state Senate and 203 in the House.
(WGRC)