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September 26, 2012

RAMSEY - In Lycoming County, Route 44 is closed at the scene of a truck crash in the 5000 block, a short distance north of Route 973 near Ramsey in Watson Township.  Route 44 may be closed into tonight while emergency responders work at the crash site.  The truck, which overturned, was hauling water but authorities aren’t sure if it’s frac water or clean water.  DEP personnel are at the scene.  Traffic is being detoured using Routes 973, 287 and Little Pine Creek Road.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – A van attempts to cross a busy roadway at a flashing red light and slams into a car sending two people the Geisinger Medical Center. That happened just after eleven last night at the intersection of Continental Boulevard and Old Valley School road in Valley Township, Montour County. Police say the van driven by 48-year-old David Carranza of Dallas Texas was trying to cross Continental Boulevard and hit the car driven by 67-year-odl Kathleen Nordmann of Kingston. Police say both Nordmann and her passenger 66-year-old Peter Nordmann were taken to Geisinger with moderate injuries. No one in the van was hurt.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

RIVERSIDE – Two men were taken to Geisinger Medical Center following a crash involving two pick-up trucks near Riverside in Northumberland County. The crash happened around five p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Route 54 and Boyd Station Road in Rush Township. Police say 28-year-old Robert Tegge of Sunbury ran a stop sign and was hit by a pick-up truck driven by 46-year-old Irvin Reiner of Coal Township. Both were treated and released at Geisinger.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - A Penn State police officer on bicycle patrol was injured Tuesday when a car struck her around 6:30 a.m. on Park Avenue. Twenty-seven-year-old Jennifer Williams, was flown to Altoona Regional Hospital where she is recovering from her injuries. Williams remains in serious condition at the hospital. The driver of the car, 56-year-old Walter Browne, of Bellefonte, was not injured. Browne was not ticketed and he showed no signs of drugs or alcohol impairment.  Police did have an accident reconstructionist on the scene and Park Avenue was closed for about two hours.
(WGRC)

GRANVILLE - A two-vehicle crash around 4:30 yesterday afternoon in Mifflin County sends a woman to the hospital. The crash happened on state Route 103 in Granville Township. Police say 19-year-old Taylor Habbershon, of Lewistown, was traveling south when his vehicle crossed the center line and hit a car driven by 31-year-old Katie Pearson, of Lewistown. Police said Pearson was taken to Lewistown Hospital for treatment. She was later released. Police say they are continuing their investigation into the crash.
(WGRC)

McCLURE - A Decatur Township man in Mifflin County is in critical condition, at the Lehigh Valley Burn Center, after an incident involving a propane tank caused an explosion just before noon on Tuesday inside his garage in Decatur Township. Fire Investigators say Harry Bleyer, suffered second or third degree burns over 70 to 80 percent of his body. Bleyer was taken to the Decatur Fire Company grounds by ambulance, and then flown to Lehigh. Fire officials say Bleyer was trying to remove a valve from a propane cylinder when the explosion occurred. Bleyer is a scrap-hauler and had several cylinders in the garage. The force of the explosion blew the overhead door off the garage, blew off the man door and caused one side of the garage to buckle out about eight inches.
(WGRC)

POTTS GROVE — A trash fire set in an open, dilapidated stone structure on the Montour-Northumberland County line shot out of control Tuesday, forcing volunteers from several fire companies to respond to extinguish the blaze. The fire was reported around two p.m. Fire officials say the fire got out of control and burned some of the surrounding brush. The stone structure is near a cornfield, about 100 yards off Route 642 in Liberty Township. There were no injuries. Traffic on Route 642 was reduced to one lane during the fire fight.
(WGRC)

JERSEY SHORE – The cause of a fire that destroyed a mobile home in Jersey Shore early Tuesday morning is believed to have started from an electric space heater. The rear of the home, in the Rummings Trailer Park in Mifflin Township along Route 287, was fully involved when firefighters arrived. The fire at the home of John and Ashley Cagle and their young son destroyed the mobile home. No injuries were reported.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG - An 18-year-old Middleburg man will be tried in Snyder County on six felony burglary charges related to break-ins at several churches this year. John Shaffer told police he was looking for a place to stay when he broke into six churches between May and June, causing damage and stealing several hundred dollars worth of items from the churches. Shaffer appeared before District Judge Lori Hackenberg in Middleburg Tuesday and sent all his charges onto Snyder County Court. Since April around 18 churches in Snyder, Union, Northumberland and Juniata counties had become the victim of break-ins. Shaffer has been linked to six of them and was caught after selling a stolen computer from one of the churches to an acquaintance who then told police. Shaffer was caught in Florida in late August and is being held in the Snyder County Prison on $50,000.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A third man has been arrested in the robbery and brutal beating of Noor Ford who was assaulted in his guest room at the Econo Lodge, on East Third Street in Williamsport on the morning of June 19. State Police have filed charges against 22-year-old Terence Forshyte, of Philadelphia, who was arrested last week on charges of aggravated and simple assault, robbery, and related counts for his alleged involvement in the break-in and assault. Forshyte allegedly conspired with 35-year-old Kenneth Martin, also of Philadelphia, and 23-year-old Michael Willis, of Williamsport. Forshyte is now jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on $200,000 bail. The two other men were arrested earlier this year.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - A Bellefonte man will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, a judge ruled Tuesday. The Centre Daily Times reports, 30-year-old Onyx Mojica, was in court for sentencing and sex offender hearings Tuesday after he pleaded no contest to indecent assault charges in June. Judge Bradley Lunsford declared Mojica a sexually violent predator after he heard expert testimony from a psychologist on the state’s Sexual Offender Assessment Board. Mojica has been in the county jail since his arrest in January after a 12-year-old girl told police that he molested her over a period of four years, starting when she was 6. He pleaded no contest to charges.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - A 28-year-old Richfield man pleaded no contest to several charges stemming from the physical abuse of his infant son. A jury trial was scheduled to start this morning for Joshua Sheaffer; however, yesterday, defense attorney Shawn Dorward and Juniata County District Attorney Cory Snook worked out a plea agreement. Sheaffer pleaded no contest to simple assault, endangering the welfare of a child and terroristic threats. Under the plea agreement, Sheaffer would serve no more than two years at the Mifflin County Prison. His sentencing date is scheduled for November 15th, the same day a co-defendant, the mother of the infant child, is expected to be accepted into the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program for not reporting the alleged abuse. Also under the plea agreement for Sheaffer is a no-contact clause pertaining to his son. Sheaffer remains free on bail pending sentencing.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – National Limestone Quarry near Middleburg in Snyder County was broken into and several pieces of equipment stolen. The break-in happened sometime between 4:30 Monday afternoon and 6:30 Tuesday morning at the quarry in Franklin Township. State Police say several tools including two saws and two grinders were taken when the bandit entered a building by prying open a door and breaking a lock. Anyone with information on the break-in is asked to call State Police, Selinsgrove.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY - About 30 employees lost their jobs last week at the Bimbo Bakeries plant in Sunbury. A spokesman for Bimbo Bakeries did not have further information about the layoffs Tuesday afternoon. Mexico-based Grupo Bimbo, the world's largest bread maker, bought the former Butter-Krust bakery in 2011 as part of its $959 million acquisition of Butter-Krust parent company Sara Lee's bakery business. At the time of the sale, the bakery had about 200 employees. The Sunbury factory was one of 75 bakery plants that were included in the sale.
(WGRC)

WELLSBORO - The integration of Laurel Health System and its affiliates into Susquehanna Health received regulatory approval September 1st. The consolidation is more of a "partnership" and an "affliliation" than a consolidation, said Steven P. Johnson, president and CEO of Susquehanna Health. Patients of both systems can expect better and more services as a result. The Sun Gazette reports, Laurel Health - which includes Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital, the Green Home and other services - joined with Williamsport Regional Medical Center, Divine Providence Hospital, Muncy Valley Hospital and the Susquehanna Health Medical Group, all of which are under the "umbrella" of Susquehanna Health. No staff layoffs are expected, Chief Business Development Officer Ron Butler said during a media open house at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital on Tuesday. Butler also is president and CEO of Laurel Health Systems.
(WGRC)

KULPMONT - The congressman who represents Montour and Northumberland County got a firsthand look at a program for seniors run by Geisinger Health System. Life Geisinger in Kulpmont provides alternatives to nursing home living. Representative Tom Marino says seniors in a four county area including Columbia has a pretty good place to go to during the day and get the required health care they need. Funding for the program comes from the federal and state governments with Geisinger working closely with senior programs in Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, and Schuylkill County's.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – The Middleburg Police in conjunction with the Midd-West School District will be holding a drug take-back day Saturday from ten a.m. till two p.m. at the Midd-West Middle School in Middleburg. Area residents are asked to bring any unwanted, expired, or unused medications to the Middle School for proper disposal. This is just one of several Drug Take-Back days being held on National Drug Take-Back Day, September 29th.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISTOWN – A Drug-Take-Back day is being held Saturday in Mifflin County. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Giant Supermarket in Lewistown. Residents are being asked to dispose of their unused or expired prescription medications of any kind: liquids, creams, pills, even pet medications, in a safe, convenient way. The event is free, no questions asked and no I.D. required. The event is being sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Lewistown Police Department.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Lock Haven Hospital and Bucktail Medical Center in Renovo will team with Advocates for a Drug Free Tomorrow by serving as drop off locations for the Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Unused medications can be taken to either hospital from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. These two sites are the only designated collection locations. Community members will have the opportunity to drop off accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs and to safely dispose of those medications.
(WGRC)

JERSEY SHORE - A PennDOT maintenance crew in Lycoming County is scheduled to perform base repairs on Route 220 in Piatt Township near Jersey Shore. The work will take place in both the northbound and southbound lanes from just west of the railroad overpass to the Route 287 interchange. The work is scheduled for today, and if a second day is needed will continue tomorrow. The northbound Route 220 turning lane to Route 287 north will be closed at 7 a.m. and reopened at 3 p.m. During the turning-lane closure, traffic heading north on Route 220 wanting to go north on Route 287 will be directed to the West Fourth Street Exit in Williamsport, then to Route 220 southbound in order to access Route 287.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Demolition crews were out Tuesday as the city of Sunbury is getting ready to break a 120-month lag in new-home construction. Mayor David Persing commandeered a blighted property that sat on the corner of Washington Avenue and now is set on building the first new home in the city in 10 years. Persing in June took a hard line on blighted properties in Sunbury, saying if properties weren’t cleaned up, he’d clean them up permanently. After the announcement, the city released a list of 40 blighted or vacant houses targeted to be cleaned or razed; 24 owners scrambled to fix properties. That list shrunk until a new list of properties was recently added. Sunbury has acquired at least five houses and has demolished two. The property at 202 Washington Ave., vacant since 2004, is in the process of being torn down. The home, whose construction will be funded entirely by a grant, will sit on the 50-foot-wide corner lot and is being sold for $150,000. Demolition at the Washington Avenue site will cost the city $12,000. Persing tells the Daily Item, “When the house sells, the $150,000 will go to the redevelopment authority, and they will have money for the next one,” he said. “This is something we are planning to do more often.”
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - It took a bit longer than expected to complete, but those on hand Tuesday for the unveiling of a sculpture on the Susquehanna River Walk said it was worth the wait. Oval-based artist Michael Patterson created the 35-foot-wide, stainless steel sculpture, which depicts nine fish native to the Susquehanna River. The piece is titled "What Lives in There." The sculpture was installed just downstream from the Maynard Street Bridge on the concrete floodwall on the South Williamsport side of the river. The piece was commissioned by local art advocacy group PublicARTWORKS, a subcommittee of the Lycoming County Celebrates the Arts Alliance. When Patterson pulled down the plastic tarp covering the sculpture, a collective "wow" emanated from the large crowd assembled before it. They broke into spontaneous applause. Patterson pointed to each fish in the sculpture: musky, shad, carp, smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish, sucker, sunfish and eel. PublicARTWORKS plans to commission a piece of public art each year for the next 10 years and have them installed along the river walk. Patterson was the first to have his art installed by the committee. His piece joins Muncy artist Pam Madai Barner's lumber-era "woodhick," which is on the north side of the river west of the Market Street Bridge.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - The Alzheimer’s Association’s annual Mifflin-Juniata Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place on September 29th, 2012 at Derry Park in Lewistown. Families, friends and individuals touched by Alzheimer’s from surrounding areas are invited to participate in this year’s event to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and the Walk begins at 10:30 a.m. The Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research programs. Held annually in hundreds of communities across the country, this inspiring event calls on volunteers of all ages to become Champions and raise funds to support the fight against Alzheimer’s.  
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation and State Tuesday announced voters can choose to receive either secure PennDOT IDs, or Department of State voting-only ID cards, when visiting a PennDOT driver license center to obtain photo ID to vote under the state’s new voter ID law. The agencies also announced that, in order to get the voter ID card, an individual need only give his name, date of birth, social security number, and address; however, proof of residence is not required. PennDOT will then, while the individual is at the driver license center, confirm with the Department of State that the applicant is a registered voter. Upon confirmation, the applicant will get a voter ID card. If an applicant’s voter registration or information cannot be confirmed while he is at PennDOT, that applicant will not have to return to PennDOT to get the other ID card once the voter registration or information is confirmed. The Department of State will mail the voter ID card to the applicant.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The total number of reported crimes in Pennsylvania fell by less than 1 percent last year, to just over 927,000, the state police announced Tuesday. The Associated Press reports, Uniform Crime Reporting System figures for 2011 showed murders fell from 653 to 638, a drop that was accompanied by an overall decrease in violent crime, which reached its the lowest level since 2003. On the other hand, burglary, larceny and theft increased, part of an overall 2.6 percent jump in property crimes. Arsons were down nearly 13 percent. Arrests for driving under the influence were down 1.5 percent to nearly 52,000. Violent crime, a category that includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, fell from 46,363 in 2010 to 45,967. Vandalism fell by 7.4 percent to just under 100,000 incidents, while drug crimes were down fractionally, to about 52,000. The reporting system draws together crime numbers collected from law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Protesters are urging state lawmakers to eliminate the property taxes that fund public schools, as the Legislature heads into the home stretch of its two-year session. The Associated Press reports, the focus of attention Tuesday was a bill that would replace property taxes with higher income and sales taxes. The state income tax, now 3.07 percent, would rise by about 1 percentage point. The sales tax would go from 6 percent to 7 percent, and exceptions would be eliminated. Prior efforts to replace property taxes with higher sales taxes have run into stiff opposition in the General Assembly.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Departments of Aging and Health today hosted a joint event to raise awareness of falls prevention programs. Falls are the leading causes of injuries and fatalities for Pennsylvanians age 65 and older. The two departments joined to emphasize the importance of uniting professionals, older adults, caregivers and family members to help raise awareness to prevent falls in the older adult population. The chances of falling and of being seriously injured increases with age. Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population. Experts recommend:
•    Exercising regularly for balance, strength training and flexibility;
•    Consulting with a health professional about getting a falls risk assessment;
•    Having medications reviewed periodically;
•    Getting eyes checked annually; and
•    Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.  
(WGRC)