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September 21, 2012

BELLEFONTE – In Centre County, Dmitriy Litvinov, one of the men whose spree of violent robberies and burglaries shook the community in 2009 and 2010, was sentenced today to almost 40 years in a state prison.  Litvinov and two others – Maksim Illarionov and Anatoliy Veretnov - were convicted in June on almost all counts in the spree.  The Centre Daily Times reports, Litvinov was the last to be sentenced. He was given a total of 39 years and eight months to 79 years and four months. Litvinov will get credit for 934 days he’s spent in the Centre County Correctional Facility.  Illarionov, who authorities have said was the ring leader of the crime spree, was sentenced earlier this summer to 37 years and three months. Veretnov was given 30 to 61 years in state prison and is asking a judge for a new trial.
(WGRC)

NEWPORT – Two believed responsible for several burglaries and thefts are taken into custody in Perry County.  State Police say 20-year old Dillon Boreman and a 17-year old girl robbed several homes, businesses and vehicles recently.  Police searched Boreman’s apartment in Newport today after receiving a tip.  There they found many of the stolen items. Police have been able to link Boreman and the girl to dozens of thefts and burglaries from Newport to Millerstown.
John Callahan (WGRC)

SNOW SHOE – Crews from Centre County rushed out to battle a fire this morning in Snow Shoe Township. The fire was reported just after three this morning at 250 Gordon Road. When crews arrived on the scene the home was fully involved. Centre County says all living in the home made it out safely.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

YEAGERTOWN - No one was injured in an early-morning fire Thursday that burned a double home on North Mann Avenue in Yeagertown. Yeagertown Fire Chief Jim Treaster says the cause of the blaze is still under investigation. Treaster says houses on both sides of the burned home sustained fire damage. No one was home in the double house when the blaze broke out around three a.m.
(WGRC)

RENOVO – After an eight and-a-half hour search for a missing three year-old in Clinton County’s northern woods rescuers found him. The 3-year-old boy went missing yesterday around 1 p.m. in the East Keating area and was found at about 9:25 p.m. last night. State police and the Clinton County Communications Center did not state the physical condition of the child, where he was found or other information last night. The search involved more man power being called at 5:15 p.m. along with a thermal camera, and a K-9 unit. State police at Lamar said the case was under the Bureau of Forestry's command and state police wqere assiting along with the South Renovo Fire Department, and some units from Centre and Clearfield counties.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A New York state man faces theft-related charges for allegedly selling stolen silver bars and coins to Blair Brothers Goldsmith, located on East Third Street in Williamsport. The Sun Gazette reports, the Loyalsock Township jewelry business had no idea that the silver bars and coins 24-year-old Nicholas Rathbun, of Cortland, New York, sold at the store in mid-March 2011 were stolen in a burglary in a small community east of Rathbun's home. Rathbun is free on bail awaiting a preliminary hearing in Lycoming County.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG - A preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday for two men charged with murder has been delayed. 37-year-old Herbert Tiebout, formerly of Lewisburg, and 28-year-old Justin Richard, formerly of Mifflinburg are accused in connection with murder of Randy Sampsell in June. They were expected in court on charges of second and third degree murder, robbery and other counts, but the hearing was postponed. The men are also accused of robbing a man from Millmont, prior to Sampsell’s murder. They both claim they did not shoot Sampsell, but will not tell police who did. Meanwhile, two other suspects in the case await court hearings. 26-year-old Amanda Kratzer of Lewisburg is charged with criminal conspiracy and receiving stolen property and 24-year-old Michael Shetterly II of Mifflinburg is charged with receiving stolen property.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – A second inmate has filed a lawsuit against the Northumberland County Prison following a severe beating at the prison over a water throwing incident. Erick Trometter of Herndon has filed the federal lawsuit. Two witnesses have come forward backing up the September ninth incident. Tometter and Jeffery Adams have filed the suit against Warden Roy Johnson and six others working at the prison.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State is bringing in Ken Feinberg, An Attorney who's handled some of the biggest civil settlements ever. The university is hoping he can help avoid trials with each individual victim in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case. Feinberg is renowned worldwide for multi-million dollar claim settlements. He handled settlements for victims from the 9/11 terrorists attacks, the Virginia Tech massacre and the BP Oil spill.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Following a harrowing year in which floodwaters effectively shut down the Bloomsburg Fair, the fair is back and ready to roll. The 157th Bloomsburg fair begins today with a fair preview and will then officially open up on Saturday and run through next Saturday the 29th of September. The fair draws about 400,000 people during its run and last year was cancelled after floodwaters in early September devastated not only the fairgrounds, but much of the Bloomsburg Community. Damage totaled about $2.5 million dollars all together and a large cleanup and repair effort was put into place. The price to get in has been increased from $5 to $8 dollars in order for fair organizers to recoup some of the money spent on the clean-up.  
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy admitted Thursday that they no longer accept e-mails from Commissioner Rick Shoch. But they say it's because Shoch berates and manipulates them, and never has anything positive to say about improving the county. Shoch, who revealed earlier in the day that his fellow commissioners have "blocked" his e-mails since early August, believes it enables Bridy and Clausi to deny ever receiving information from him. Shoch challenged Bridy or Clausi to produce any e-mails in which he berated or manipulated them. Clausi and Bridy both say if Shoch has something to talk to them about he can come to their offices and speak with them face to face. Meanwhile a letter to the Editor in today’s Daily Item from Commissioner Clausi claims District Attorney Tony Rosini does nothing and that his assistants are overloaded because of Rosini’s laziness. The letter was in response to an article that several hundred thousand dollars in drug forfeiture monies lie useless because a judge needs to sign off on the money at the request of the District Attorney. Rosini claims the money sits in wait as most of it cannot be released until court prosecution in each respective case involving the cash is passed through the courts.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The city of Williamsport faces an increase of $1.7 million to meet its minimum pension obligation. The total pension cost is $3.8 million. Council, and Mayor Gabriel Campana and his administration, discussed solutions on how to provide for the pension fund but also reported that the city faces more increased expenses - such as an estimated $500,000 more for health care. Earlier this week, the Sun Gazette reported Campana said to meet rising city expenses he would consider outsourcing positions and would find other ways to cut costs. Campana said city health care costs are expected to increase by as much as 11 percent and unions remain unwilling to concede on the slightest bit of deductible.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - The City of Lock Haven is looking into whether it would be feasible to move its city garages and police force to make more room for both. The Lock Haven Police Department has 14 full-time officer positions and operates out of a small set of cramped offices in one end of City Hall. City Council has an opportunity to expand the police offices and consolidate vehicles and other equipment in one place by purchasing the former PennDOT garage on Second Avenue. The current public works lot, at East Walnut and Park streets, would move up the hill to the 2.4-acre property where indoor garage space is plentiful, allowing the city to sell its vehicle lot to an individual or business. Such a sale would put the lot back on the tax roll.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN The Susquehanna River Basin Commission on Thursday approved 22 water withdrawal requests, mostly for the Marcellus Shale gas industry. Among the 22, one approval was given for a site in Clinton County, one in Centre County, and three in Lycoming County. Six were tabled for further review. In Clinton County, Enerplus Resources was given approval to withdraw water from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in East Keating Township. It grants peak withdrawal of four million gallons per day.  
(WGRC)

GOOD SPRING - A Canadian company planning to operate a power plant in Schuylkill County has awarded the contract to build it. It won't use coal, but it is better for the environment and it will create jobs. Frank Zukas, president of Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation says the new wave of gas power plants supports a healthier and more sustainable job market opportunity for the commonwealth. EmberClear Corporation announced Wednesday that SK E&C USA will handle the engineering, procurement and construction of the $800 million-plus power plant in Good Spring. The Good Spring power plant will supply enough electricity for about 300,000 households. The plant will also employ about 500 construction workers for two years, then about 100 full-time positions for plant operations. It is expected to put more than $1 billion into the local economy over 15 years.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - The superintendent of the Shikellamy School District said three of the six schools have not met requirements of the Pennsylvania Adequate Yearly Progress assessment test, and that’s a problem. However, Superintendent Pat Kelley is already taking action. Shikellamy High School now has not meet test requirements for the second consecutive year and is under state corrective action. The district will have to submit a plan to the state Department of Education on how the problem will be fixed. The Chief Shikellamy Elementary School, the Shikellamy Middle School, and Shikellamy High School did not meet requirements and have been put on warning, but the state also will require corrective plans for all three. Test scores will be released at the September 27th District Meeting.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - After the announcement last month that several Mifflin County schools fell "far" and "significantly" below state benchmarks in the 2011 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors on Thursday heard presentations from three secondary school principals on their plans to improve the next time the tests are administered. Superintendent James Estep said preliminary results from last year's tests showed that the district has "quite a bit of work ahead." With that in mind, Estep said he set up meetings with the various principals on all levels and asked them to work on devising a strategy to improve student performance on the tests. The Sentinel reports, the principles of the Mifflin County Schools met yesterday to hash out a plan to raise student performance at the Mifflin County Junior High School, Mifflin County Middle School and the Mifflin County High School.
(WGRC)

BERWICK - A new school will replace Orange Street and 14th Street elementaries in Berwick, if plans approved by school directors go through. At a special meeting Thursday, directors unanimously agreed to submit a proposal to the state that would close Berwick's two aging schools. Under the plan, the new school would be built on the West End, possibly on the site of the current Orange Street Elementary. Fifth-graders would be sent to the middle school, where they and sixth-graders would be kept in a program strictly segregated from the older students. The Press Enterprise reports, the proposed project will be sent to the Department of Education, where school officials hope it will win approval for state funding.
(WGRC)

TAMAQUA - Each time a discovery is made in the search for why an unusually large number of residents are developing a rare form of cancer it generates more questions than answers. There are no answers yet, but the research continues. Laura Werner, a senior regional representative of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the state Department of Health, spoke to about 50 residents who gathered at the Tamaqua Public Library on Thursday for an update on the research into the high number of polycythemia vera cancers in the tri-county area of Schuylkill, Luzerne and Carbon counties. She said there are 18 different paths of research under way, each aimed at unraveling questions into why the high cancer rate exists locally. The cancer cluster was confirmed by the state Department of Health in 2004. Ground zero for the cluster appears to center around Ben Titus Road off state Route 309 between McAdoo and the Ryan Township community of Hometown. Eight agencies including Universities, Medical research centers, environmental groups and state agencies have been armed with a nearly $8 million in federal funds to study the disease. Werner said the investigators who are out in the communities collecting data will complete their field work by the end of the month. Each agency is expected to compile the information into individual reports that will be submitted for a review process.
(WGRC)

STONINGTON – The State Police at Stonington are participating in the National Child Passenger Safety week by holding a child safety seat check. The event will be held this Saturday morning from seven to ten at the state police barracks located along Route 61 in Stonington. If you have questions regarding your child safety seat and its proper installation, you’re asked to stop by the barracks for a check this Saturday.
(WGRC)

SELINSGROVE – Live music, over 100 food and craft vendors, pottery making, pony rides, a petting zoo and so much more, it’s all part of Selinsgrove’s annual Market Street Festival this Saturday in Selinsgrove. Event chairwoman Elaine Herrold says, the event will be kicked off by the Selinsgrove Area High School marching band. A farmer’s market will be located in the Selinsgrove Commons along with high school students from Selinsgrove making a special mural that will be hung in the new Selinsgrove Library.
(WGRC)

SELINSGROVE – The Kidsgrove Park and playground in Selinsgrove is celebrating their 15th anniversary and the public is invited to come to a party.  Megan Will, a Selinsgrove parks and recreation commission member, says Kidsgrove will have a 15-year celebration on Sunday. The event will be held from two till four p.m. at Kidsgrove to offer the community a time to come and celebrate. The Kidsgrove 15-year anniversary celebration is open to the public and will feature live music, hot dogs, and cupcakes.  
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - It’s racing at Brandon Park in Williamsport. The North central Chapter of the American Red Cross will put on its Susquehanna 500 Mini-Indy Race at Brandon Park in Williamsport tomorrow and Sunday. Area businesses and organizations have once again bought and will race mini-Indy racers through the park for trophies and prizes. The annual fundraiser will begin with heats tomorrow and consolation and championship races will be run on Sunday in different categories. The public is invited to watch. The race last year was cancelled due to the Red Cross’ dealings with area flooding.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Williamsport City Police Officer Jason Bolt will present "The Back Is Where It's At" to students at Cochran Elementary School on Cherry Street in Williamsport this morning at 10 a.m. in recognition of National Child Passenger Safety Week. Bolt, a member of Safe Kids Lycoming County, will use a variety of demonstrations and teaching tools to show how seatbelts protect in a crash. "The Back Is Where It's At" educates young students on safe riding behaviors, including riding in the back seat until age 13, and focuses on the importance of proper seatbelt/booster seat use which can lay the foundation for a lifetime of good seatbelt habits. The program also encourages students to remind all family members and other passengers to buckle up every trip, every time. The program will be presented in cooperation with PennDOT and the Community Traffic Safety Project.
(WGRC)

BURNHAM - On September 29th, participants of the second community Walk to End Alzheimer's in Mifflin County will be picking blue, yellow, purple or orange flowers as they lead their team in the walk around Derry Township Community Park. The flowers, part of the newly designed Promise Garden, represent each walker's relationship to the disease and the promise to continue fighting for research. Blue is the color for those living with Alzheimer's, yellow for those supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer's, purple for those who have lost someone to Alzheimer's and orange for those who support the cause. Last year the Walk to End Alzheimer's had 147 registered walkers and raised $15,000, the goal this year is to have 200 walkers and raise $20,000. Though people can register to walk in-person at the event, organizers recommend registering as a team or individual ahead of time on the Mifflin-Juniata Walk to End Alzheimer's website at act.alz.org/mifflinjuniatacounties2012.
(WGRC)    

HARRISBURG – With summer quickly slipping by, many Pennsylvanians may have forgotten about problems caused by black bears in the spring, when nuisance bear activity typically peaks. However, black bear activity also tends to increase during the fall, and Pennsylvania Game Commission officials remind homeowners that steps taken now can minimize problems with bears during the next few weeks and months. Mark Ternent, Game Commission black bear biologist, noted that, as fall progresses, bears will begin to increase their food intake to prepare for the upcoming denning season, which begins in mid- to late-November. For some bears, the search for food may lead them closer to people or homes. Since 2003, it has been illegal to intentionally feed bears in Pennsylvania. Unintentional feeding of bears, such as bird feeders, which results in nuisance bear activity also can result in a written warning that, if ignored, may lead to a citation and fine. The Game Commission recommends not feeding birds between late November and late March. Don’t place garbage outside until pick-up day; don’t throw table scraps out for animals to eat; don't add fruit or vegetable wastes to your compost pile; and clean your barbecue grill regularly.  If you feed pets outdoors, consider placing food dishes inside overnight.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch Thursday lauded the efforts of the more than 141,000 volunteers who cleaned nearly 13,600 miles of roads, trails and shorelines in this year's Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania, which lasted from March 1 through May 31. There were over 4,400 reported cleanup events statewide. Volunteers in PennDOT's Adopt-A-Highway program accounted for 3.6 million of the 6.7 million total pounds of trash collected during the cleanup. According to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, PennDOT's partner in the cleanup effort, the effort has yielded nearly 26 million pounds of collected litter and cleaned over 44,000 miles of roadway with the help of over 480,000 volunteers over the past three years.
(WGRC)