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September 25, 2012

POTTSGROVE – A barn fire reported this afternoon in Northumberland County.  Fire fighters were called to a barn fire along Route 642 in East Chilisquaque Township just before 2 this afternoon.  The barn was said to be near the Northumberland and Montour County line.
John Callahan (WGRC)

ALFARATA – A garage explodes injuring a man this morning in Mifflin County.   Fire crews were called to 4116 Route 522 North in Decatur Township for a garage explosion just before Noon today.  Reports from the scene said the garage was fully involved and that one person was injured.  That person was flown to the Lehigh Valley Burn Center.  There’s no word on what may have caused the explosion.
John Callahan (WGRC)

SALLADASBURG - Fire destroyed a mobile home early this morning in Lycoming County.  It happened around midnight in the Rummings Trailer Park along Route 287 in Mifflin Township.  Fire officials say, the woman who lived there was able to get out safely with her three-year-old son.  Authorities have not yet determined a cause.
(WNEP)

BELLEFONTE – The Centre County man convicted of killing another man at the behest of his wife has his appeal denied.  The State Supreme Court has denied Ronald Heichel’s appeal of his conviction in the shooting death of Samuel Boob in 2009 at Boob’s Potter Township home.  Heichel conspired with Mirinda Boob to kill her husband.  Both were sentenced last year and are serving life sentences. 
John Callahan (WGRC)

HERNDON – Crews from Northumberland and Dauphin County rushed out to a garage fire in Jordan Township, Northumberland County this morning. The fire was reported just after 4:30 a.m. near 615 Meeting House Road. When crews arrived at the scene they found the garage fully involved. An investigation into that fire is underway.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - A vehicle traveling east on Park Avenue collided with a bicycle at about 6:30 this morning on the Penn State University Campus. The crash happened between Bigler Road and University Drive near the intramural fields. The Centre Daily Times reports, the rider of the bicycle was taken by Life Flight to Altoona Regional Hospital. State College Police investigated the scene, and Park Avenue was closed for about two hours but reopened just before nine this morning.
(WGRC)

RICHFIELD – A motorcycle crash Saturday in Juniata County sends one person to the hospital. The crash happened just before two p.m. on Route 35 near Richfield. Police say 31-year-old Caleb Shellenberger of McAllisterville was riding motorcycle and was going to pass a car driven by Linda McFadden of Beavertown.  Shellenberger didn’t realize McFadden was turning into a driveway and slammed into the side of McFadden’s car. Shellenberger was thrown from his motorcycle. He was flown to Hershey Medical Center where he remains ion fair condition. Mcfadden was not hurt.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SHAMOKIN DAM - Traffic was tied up on Routes 11-15 in Snyder County for about an hour Monday after a tractor-trailer rammed the rear of a van. The crash happened just before eight p.m. about 100 yards south of the K-Mart store in Monroe Township. There was minimal damage to both vehicles, but six passengers in the van were taken by ambulance to local hospitals for observation. The driver of the rig from Ontario, Canada was not hurt. Traffic was shut down on both northbound lanes from the accident scene to the K-Mart entrance along Route 15.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - A Bellefonte man was charged with arson and criminal mischief after a three-alarm, early-morning fire Monday that destroyed a warehouse behind the Mattress World store at 114 South Spring Street. Bellefonte Police filed charges against 22-0year-old Jeffrey Karg. Karg was charged with starting the fire that demolished the warehouse that started just after four a.m. behind the Dollar General store. The mattress-filled warehouse, 93 feet by 43 feet, was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene and was heavily damaged. Bellefonte Police say they are not speculating if Karg was involved in the previous fires in the borough, which are still under investigation. He’s jailed on $150,000 bail.
(WGRC)

CENTRE HALL - A Milesburg man who police said lied about being the driver in a fatal crash on Benner Pike now faces homicide by vehicle charges in the death of his wife. State College police filed charges Monday against 49-year-old David Bartley, alleging he was under the influence of prescription pills when he lost control of his Jeep in July and crashed into a telephone pole killing his wife, 43-year-old Susan Bartley. Bartley initially claimed his wife was driving, telling officers at the scene she threw herself across him to save him. He confessed later in July, explaining his wife asked him to drive because she was not feeling well. Toxicology tests showed David Bartley was under the influence of oxycodone, a narcotic painkiller, and alprazolam, used to treat anxiety. Susan Bartley did not have drugs or alcohol in her system. Witnesses say Bartley was driving erratically just before the crash. Bartley appeared before District Judge Thomas Jordan and sent to Centre County prison on $50,000 bail.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport police have arrested a city man on various drug counts. On Thursday evening police took 24-year-old Jamal White into custody in the 700 block of Rural Avenue. He is accused of trying to deliver marijuana, as well as cocaine and a prescription drug.  He is jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on $100,000 dollars bail.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A Paxinos man who formerly owned a pool hall in Shamokin raided for illegal gambling six years ago will spend three months in prison for evading federal income taxes and failing to report to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board his earned income as required because he is on disability from the railroad. The Daily Item reports, 54-year-old Robert Kehler was sentenced Monday by U.S. Middle District Judge John Jones who deferred the start of the jail sentence to January 7th because the defendant’s wife is battling cancer. The jail sentence will be followed by a three-year period of supervised release, the first three months of which Kehler will be confined to home arrest. Kehler must also make restitution of $132,000 to the retirement board and forfeitures of a 2011 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a 1994 Ford truck, cash totaling nearly $46,000 and 31 video gaming devices. Kehler pleaded guilty in March to charges of tax evasion and theft of public money.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMPSORT – A Jersey Shore man was sentenced for stealing medical benefits. Thirty-year-old Joshua Rogers, received 12 months Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition and ordered to pay back more than $9,300 for medical fraud, forgery and theft by deception. Rogers was charged by the state Attorney General's office with submitting false claims to Community Service Group of Lycoming and Clinton counties, where he worked as a therapeutic support staff worker. Court records indicate Rogers falsified work hours, documented work he didn't do and forged signatures on documents to get paid between August 2008 and October 2010. Investigators said Rogers billed his employer more than a dozen times for hours worked when clients he was supposed to help were absent. Lycoming County Judge Nancy Butts, who also ordered him to serve 50 hours of community service.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – State Police are looking for the thieves that took nearly $4300 dollars in hunting equipment and power tools from the front porch of a home near Middleburg. That happened sometime between six a.m. and 3:30 p.m. yesterday at the home of Carl Baker in Franklin Township, Snyder County. Anyone with information is asked to call state Police, Selinsgrove.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

FORKSVILLE – Police are looking for the vandals that caused over $350,000 in damages to equipment at a natural gas pipeline in Sullivan County. Police say sometime between seven p.m. Saturday and seven a.m. Monday someone started an excavator and used it to damage three more excavators and two side booms owned by Precision Pipeline of Eau Claire, Wisconsin at a site near Hill Road and State Route 4008 in Elkland Township. Anyone with information on who might have been involved in the incident is asked to call state police, Laporte.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - A group of volunteers pitched in to clean up tire marks, dirt and shoeprints left behind at the new Veterans Plaza at Penn State Monday afternoon. The Class of 2011 raised $260,000 for the memorial near Old Main, in honor of veterans who attended Penn State. Anyone with information about the damage to the Veterans Plaza is urged to call Penn State University Park Police.  
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN - Students attending the SUN Area Technical Institute might have to take the bus instead of driving to the New Berlin school. That’s one possible action from the September 14th speeding crash that claimed the life of 16-year-old Travis Tillett of Northumberland, a Shikellamy High School student. School officials are looking for ideas as they deal with the aftermath of the crash along Route 304 outside of New Berlin. Administrative Director Dennis Hain says, “We will discuss if we need to make riding the bus mandatory.” It wasn’t known when SUN Tech officials and officials of the five Valley school districts that send students there will meet again. Hain estimated that there are about a dozen traffic accidents a year involving students at SUN Tech, which this year has an enrollment of more than 200. Driving to SUN Tech is considered a privilege. To do it, students must fill out an application that their parents or guardians must sign. SUN Tech students caught speeding or recklessly driving lose driving rights to the school for the rest of the year and must take the bus.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE — The Borough of Danville now owns the lot that was once home to the Doc’s Shoe Repair and Sales building. In a deal struck in a secret meeting, Danville council agreed to forgive the $98,000 that owner Mike Barsh owed for demolition. Council approved the deal Monday with no discussion or details, saying only it was acquiring the lot next door to the borough building in exchange for forgiving the debt, and that it met in executive session prior to a special meeting Monday. The Press Enterprise reports, the state Sunshine Law says agencies may meet privately to consider the purchase or lease of property.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – The answering of police calls was a major topic of discussion at the Sunbury City Council meeting Monday. Councilman Joe Bartello said he is more interested in the city figuring out why the police department is only answering 70 percent of calls as opposed to worrying about a new contract. Bartello wants to add more officers to the 13 on the police force already. Bartello also criticized Mayor David Persing for failing in his oversight of the police department. Persing says the City can’t afford three more officers. The Daily Item reports, the discussion comes two weeks before the city and members of the Sunbury Police Association are to sit down to negotiate a new contract.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport Mayor Gabriel Campana said he will explore all options to help the city meet rising expenses caused by increasing pension and health care costs, including a 2-mill tax hike, layoffs and outsourcing of services. The mayor used a news conference in his office Monday to point out what he thinks is the seriousness of the city's fiscal picture. He made it clear that the city's five unions must be willing to come through with concessions to help bring about a balanced budget next year. The city reportedly faces an increase of $1.7 million to meet its minimum pension obligation. Campana says the City’s fire and police departments comprise 68 percent of all city expenses. But it's the high costs for health care and pension benefits of those departments that simply cannot continue. The Mayor believes all city employees should contribute to their health insurance. Campana said he has tried without success the past few years to reach out to the unions in hopes of negotiating some concessions. Campania says a 2-mill tax hike to 12.5 mills would not be out of the question. And while he conceded the city's revenues are increasing, they are simply failing to keep pace with expenses.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - The Northumberland County commissioners attempted to hold an emergency meeting Monday to discuss concerns about a booby trap found in the Anthracite Adventure Outdoor Area, but the session was canceled at the last minute after Commissioner Rick Shoch said the scheduling of the meeting violated open-meetings laws. Shoch said he objected because he had not been informed in writing about the session, even though the meeting had been advertised in the three daily newspapers. Shoch said he was not made aware of the meeting and he had no idea why the commissioners were meeting. Commissioners Steve Bridy and Vinny Clausi said Shoch’s boycott of the meeting put county residents at risk because one of the items on the agenda involved approving new signs to warn people that the county-owned tract of 600 acres is off-limits. The county was getting ready to vote on spending money to replace stolen or lost “no-trespassing signs.” A piece of wood with several nails and metal sticking out of it was found in the park and turned over to the Coal Township Police Department for investigation in late August. The county had decreed the property off-limits to anyone without special permission from the planning office. Trespassers can be cited and fined, but over the years, all of the signs warning trespassers have disappeared.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Jerome Alex, who was appointed Northumberland County public safety director February 1st, plans to resign for health reasons and be transferred back to his former position with Behavioral Health and Intellectual Services. A motion to appoint operations and training officer Stephen Jeffery as acting emergency management coordinator in connection with Alex's resignation was listed on the agenda for Monday's special meeting. But that meeting was canceled because it was deemed illegal since the county commissioners were not notified about what business was on the agenda at least 24 hours before the session. Alex's resignation as public safety director and Jeffery's new appointment are scheduled to become official at next week's commissioners' meeting. The commissioner said plans call for the county not to replace the public safety director's position, a move that he claims will save approximately $50,000.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – Danville Borough council on Monday approved a variance that will allow Danville Middle School to be refurbished with less costly flood-proofing work and possibly reopen by next school year. But council also revealed the school will be unprotected from flooding next year because the levee around it must be replaced. After getting more information from the district about the reason for the variance, council reversed an earlier decision to deny the request. The variance will allow water to pass through the building, and is expected to cost about $7 million to $8 million. A total flood-proofing — making the school water-tight — would have cost $25 million or more, and school officiasl would not have considered that and would have likely looked for another property to build a middle school.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - Achievement rates are down locally for the 2011-2012 school year as schools continue to struggle to meet adequate yearly progress goals set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. PSSA results released Friday report warnings for both Juniata and Mifflin county school districts. According to information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, a warning means the district did not meet yearly progress measures but has another year to achieve them before corrective action is taken. In Juniata County, five schools failed to reach required goals: East Juniata High School, Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School, Juniata High School, Lack-Tuscarora Elementary School and Tuscarora Junior High School. Six schools in Mifflin County did not meet targets: Indian Valley Intermediate School, Lewistown Elementary School, Lewistown Intermediate School, Mifflin County High School, Mifflin County Junior High School and Mifflin County Middle School. Middleburg Elementary School and Midd-West High School in Snyder County also failed to meet targets. For a school to meet AYP measures, students in the school must achieve goals in attendance, academic performance and test participation.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Lock Haven University is giving their students a chance to vote on November 6th by providing new student photo ID cards with expiration dates on them, according to Linda Koch, vice president of Student Affairs at LHU. New students automatically received the new cards, while returning students may request a new student ID with an expiration date so they can vote in any election. In order to receive the new ID to vote, however, students must prove they are registered to vote.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Hunters who are successful in the upcoming deer hunting seasons in Pennsylvania are encouraged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to consider participating in the state's Hunters Sharing the Harvest program. The program channels donations of venison to local food banks, soup kitchens and needy families. Pennsylvania's HSH program is recognized as one of the most successful among similar programs in about 40 states. Started in 1991, HSH has developed into a refined support service for organizations that assist the Commonwealth's needy. Each year, Hunters Sharing the Harvest helps to deliver almost 200,000 meals to food banks, churches and social services feeding programs for meals provided to needy Pennsylvanians. As part of the program, hunters are encouraged to take a deer to a participating meat processor and identify how much of their deer meat - from an entire deer to several pounds - that is to be donated to HSH. If the hunter is donating an entire deer, they are asked to make a $15 tax-deductible co-pay, and HSH will cover the remaining processing fees. To learn more about the program and obtain a list of participating meat processors and county coordinators, visit the Game Commission's website pgc.state.pa.us and click on "Hunters Sharing the Harvest" in the "Quick Clicks" box in the right-hand column of the homepage, or go to the HSH website (www.sharedeer.org).
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Governor Tom Corbett Monday cut the ribbon officially welcoming Weis Markets as the newest sponsor of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. The complex entered into a $750,000 sponsorship agreement with Weis Markets for naming rights to the Expo Hall, the location of the famous Farm Show Food Court. This marks the latest innovation from the Corbett Administration to build a stable and reliable financial future for Pennsylvania.
(WGRC)