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October 5, 2012

MIFFLINTOWN – A State Trooper is hurt in a crash involving a car and the motorcycle he was riding this afternoon in Juniata County.  State Police say Trooper Jason Holland of the Lewistown barracks was driving a motorcycle along Route 35 near the Sheetz store in Fermanagh Township just before 12:30 this afternoon. Police say 84-year old Edna Lighter of York pulled into Trooper Holland’s path.  Holland slammed into the car and was thrown over it landing in the roadway. Holland was taken to Lewistown Hospital while Lighter was treated at the scene.
John Callahan (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – A man is arrested on his birthday for selling heroin in Lycoming County.  Old Lycoming Township Police say 28-year old Anthony Monroe of Williamsport sold 43 packets of heroin to an undercover police officer and confidential informants in the area of Memorial Park around 5:30 last night.  He was taken into custody after a short foot chase through the park.  Monroe also had outstanding warrants for his arrest from Williamsport and Monroe County.  Monroe is jailed on $200,000 bail.
John Callahan (WGRC)

MONTANDON – A store is robbed in Northumberland County.  State Police say someone gained entry to the store at Dreis Orchards along Route 405 in West Chilisquaque Township overnight and made off with various food items including canned goods, pies, potatoes, apple dumplings and baskets.  Police say the crooks got inside by cutting a hole in a greenhouse wall, and then cutting a lock off of a rear door.  The value of the items stolen and damage estimate is around $100.  Anyone with information about this theft is asked to call State Police at Milton.
John Callahan (WGRC)

PHILIPSBURG – In Centre County, one person was injured in a massive fire that burned one Philipsburg house, spread to another and caused the evacuation of a nearby school Thursday afternoon. Witnesses said Wendy Sharpless walked out of the home at 613 East Pine Street and crossed the street to the parking lot of Philipsburg-Osceola Junior High where she collapsed. Sharpless was believed to have been flown from the site by a medical helicopter. An explosion was reported by multiple witnesses, one of whom told police that it blew a power line off the building. The fire was reported just after one p.m. destroying the home. The junior high was evacuated, and students were moved to the Moshannon Valley YMCA.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - Pottsville police are on the trail of thieves who stole three flat-screen TVs from the Rite Aid at 500 North Claude A. Lord Boulevard in Pottsville on Thursday morning. Police say the investigation is ongoing and has already provided credible information to help identify at least four people involved in the incident. Police were dispatched to the Rite Aid just after ten a.m. and learned the thieves stole the three TVs from the store and fled north on Route 61 in a silver Hyundai. No weapons were displayed and no employees or customers were threatened or endangered during the crime. Anyone with information is asked to call Pottsville police.
(WGRC)

THOMPSONTOWN - A Thompsontown woman faces up to 50 years in jail and $1.5 million in fines. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania says 56-year-old Sally Berry was charged Wednesday with one count of bank fraud and two counts of passing counterfeit checks. Berry allegedly deposited two counterfeit checks totaling almost $75,000 into a newly opened business account in the name of the Always Hope Adult Day Care and then made withdrawals of more than $42,000 before the bank discovered the checks were counterfeit.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - When state parole officers approached the front door of parolee Kareem Blackman's home on Second Street in Williamsport late Wednesday night, they immediately detected a very strong odor of marijuana. The officers were doing a routine "house check" on the 29-year-old man about 10 p.m. when they smelled marijuana coming from the house in the 600 block of Second Street. Realizing he was caught, Blackman showed the officers where he was stashing 68 bags of marijuana. Automatically jailed on a parole violation, Blackman was taken before District Judge Jon Kemp on one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and jailed on $200,000 bail.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A Bloomsburg man described as a wounded Iraqi war veteran was sentenced to up to 23 months in prison Thursday for several crimes which the defense blamed on drug addiction and heavy drinking. 33-year-old Kevin Blunck is an ex-Marine. Due to the time he's already spent in prison, he could be eligible for parole in about a month. The Press Enterprise reports, Blunck served three tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan where he suffered a stab wound. In court, Blunck admitted trying to stab Brian Stolz during a late-night confrontation while trespassing in Sones Coal Yard on East Street in Bloomsburg in October 2009, cutting Stolz's hand during a tussle inside the business. Blunck was also sentenced for heroin possession and driving drunk in other incidents. He had 45 packets of heroin when police nabbed him following a break-in at the office of Tennytown Motel in Scott Township on January 18th. Blunck, who has already spent just shy of seven months in prison, also has a detainer lodged against him by authorities in South Carolina for a felony trespassing offense there. It's expected he will be taken to South Carolina once he gets paroled from Columbia County Prison.
(WGRC)

MONTGOMERY – A Hughesville woman has been charged with stealing $1,900 worth of jewelry from her stepmother. 21-year-old Katie Kissinger of Hughesville, has been charged with theft and receiving stolen property from the home of Stacie Kissinger, near Montgomery. Police say the thefts happened between mid-June and mid-August. Kissinger has admitted to the theft and told police she pawned the jewelry for $100.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A Columbia County man was in Court Thursday where he was sentenced on charges of stealing an estimated $20,000 worth of farm equipment. David Lodewyks was ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution and serve probation. Police say Lodewyks and Michael Albert made off with oil tanks and other items from the Pet Dome earlier this year then turned around selling them to a scrapyard.
(WNEP)

BELLEFONTE – In Centre County, a Curtin Township man who hit a man with hammer, put a smoking napkin in his SUV’s gas tank opening, threatened to kill him then fired a gun at him received state prison time for the episode this spring. 27-year-old Eric Yarrison, was sentenced Thursday to one-and-a-half to three years behind bars by Judge Pamela Ruest plus a year of probation. Yarrison pleaded guilty in August as part of a plea deal in which prosecutors withdrew counts of arson, criminal mischief and simple assault. The assault stemmed from a confrontation in April when Yarrison assaulted 34-year-old Justin Hinds with a hammer and lit a napkin stuffed in Hinds’ SUV’s gas tank, over a disputed debt. Yarrison has been in the county jail since this summer, when he was sentenced to at least 30 days for conspiring to steal a check from his grandmother. Judge Ruest made Yarrison eligible for boot camp in the state prison system.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE — A Snow Shoe man will spend at least nine months behind bars for breaking into a mobile home in Moshannon in March and stealing $2,500 in video games, jewelry, electronics and more. 26-year-old Matthew Lucas was sentenced Thursday by Centre County Judge Pamela Ruest on felony burglary, and lesser charges were withdrawn as part of a plea agreement. Ruest said Lucas’s maximum sentence will be 23 1/2 months in the county jail, and she gave him credit for eight days he already served. Lucas will be eligible for work release.
(WGRC)

PICTURE ROCKS – In Lycoming County, a Penn Township couple have been charged with cruelty to animals for allegedly ill treating and neglecting two horses, three dogs and a cat at their property. Charges against 45-year-old Teresa Walburn and her husband 56-year-old Roger Walburn were filed by the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals. All the animals were seized by the SPCA on August 15th after the agency obtained a search warrant. The two horses "were emaciated with hip bones, back bones and rib cages all protruding. While the SPCA took over care for the domestic animals, the horses were now receiving care under the Appalachian Horse Help and Rescue program.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY — A former county commissioner is blasting Commissioner Rich Shoch and defending Northumberland County’s choice when facing a transportation dilemma. Faced with a $500,000 loss for providing mostly free rides to county residents, leaders had no choice but to use a York County provider, says Merle Phillips, a former county commissioner and 30-year state representative. Phillips was responding to Shoch’s October 2nd letter to the editor in the Daily Item in which he wrote that poor planning from the county was to blame it having to use Rabbittransit, which coordinates shared-ride services in Northumberland, York and Adams counties.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN – It’s getting close to that time of year when counties take a look at their upcoming yearly budgets. The Clinton County commissioners, who are walking into the first stages of the budget process for 2013, were provided with a fiscal photograph of the county government's present financial status Thursday. The report showed mixed figures suggesting an unexpectedly higher tax revenues, but also unexpectedly high expenses. The previous board approved a $30.2 million 2012 budget with no tax increase. The figure represented a $640,000 draw-down on the $1 million fund balance over the previous year, a move the former board characterized as an effort to "soften the blow" of economic adversity for the county's taxpayers. The 2012 financial analysis offered a twist by removing the Children and Youth and Human Services budgets from the equation, and then focusing solely on the general government expenses and assets. Commissioner Pete Smeltz said some aspects of the report present a "challenge," especially in the area of state funding cutbacks for mandated services. As Governor Tom Corbett made significant cuts in funding for human service agencies during his 2012 budget.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Lycoming County Commissioners have given approval to the final piece of a flood buyout grant totaling $1.3 million dollars. During their meeting yesterday commissioners approved the purchase of a property in Shrewsbury Township. The property along with others in Plunketts Creek and Lewis Townships will be bought and demolished with the properties turned into green space, or for public use, in an effort to alleviate future flooding in those areas.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A Mechanicsburg-based consulting firm has come up with an economic development strategy meant to make the city of Williamsport a more desirable destination. Officials with Delta Development Group, of Mechanicsburg, Thursday night provided a first-look to City Council of the strategy, handing each member a thick packet they had not been privy to beforehand. A glimpse of the proposal indicates five goals. Among them: Creation of Destination 2014, finishing Reach Road at the Industrial Park, finding multiple uses for Bowman Field, expansion of compressed natural gas use for industrial fleets and the public and options for additional parking. Destination 2014 is a vision to find an adaptive re-use of the existing YMCA along West Fourth Street as it builds anew south of Williamsport Regional Medical Center. It includes a proposed anchor-sports arena, created by the expansion or retrofitting of Pickelner Arena, using the space for a mixed-use parking garage and small shop retail or residential areas. The project also includes possible creation of the "Williamsport Green," which is expected to foster special community gatherings and festivals. City Finance Director William E. Nichols Jr. said to make these projects a reality the city plans to develop a three-year capital investment strategy for Council to consider.
(WGRC)

BERWICK - PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick has reduced electricity output on both of its generating units and is preparing for a planned shutdown of the Unit 1 reactor later this month for additional turbine inspection, as the company looks to confirm data provided by new instrumentation that could lead to finalization of a plan to resolve the issue of turbine blade cracking that was first identified in 2011. Pending the outcome of the Unit 1 inspection, PPL Susquehanna will determine whether a similar inspection of the Unit 2 turbine is warranted.  During the upcoming Unit 1 outage, workers will inspect turbine blades for any indications of cracking similar to what had been discovered previously on the Unit 1 and 2 turbines. PPL Susquehanna will begin to implement turbine modifications that are designed to resolve the turbine blade cracking issue during future scheduled refueling and maintenance outages starting in the spring of 2013.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The state Senate has unanimously approved a resolution authored by Senator John Gordner that declares October 7-13 as 4-H Week and also recognizes the group's 100th anniversary in Pennsylvania. Gordner quoted a recent study by Tufts University indicating that young people who take part in 4-H are three times more likely to positively contribute to their communities than youth who do not participate. In 1912 in Mercer County, the first 4-H meeting was held in Pennsylvania. Today, more than 200,000 young Pennsylvanians take part in 4-H activities, the release notes. The program is open to boys and girls ages 5-18.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - As 4-H marks 100 years in Pennsylvania this year, Clinton County 4-H is holding a 4-H Celebration and Open House at the Lock Haven YMCA from 6 to 8:30 p.m. today. The celebration is a great opportunity for potential 4-H members to learn more about 4-H and to have some fun. There will be 4-H displays and information for prospective members along with many fun activities for everyone - swimming, bounce house, mini golf and games. The 4-H program began with just a few seeds being distributed for youth to grow in their gardens. But it has flourished into a program that provides a wide variety of opportunities for youth. One of the major programs offered through Penn State Extension, Pennsylvania 4-H still serves a large amount of rural youth, but it has also reached out to include projects and activities relevant for all youth in the state. Aside from the traditional livestock projects, 4-H offers projects in robotics, shooting sports, rocketry, gardening, sewing, cooking, babysitting, pet care, insects, wildlife, leadership, computer skills and much more. Additionally, youth have opportunities to participate in activities promoting life skills development like public speaking, citizenship, health and nutrition, and career exploration.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG – This Saturday, October 13, beginning at 11 a.m., traffic will be detoured in the town of Bloomsburg from Lightstreet Road, Main Street and Market Street for the combined Bloomsburg High School and Bloomsburg University Homecoming Parade. The detour will be in effect until approximately 11:30 a.m. or when the paraded ends. Signs and uniformed fire police will detour traffic around the parade route.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Since 1997, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania has been home to the famously wacky Woolly Worm Festival. Held each year in Hufnagle Park, the festival attracts hundreds of eager spectators who gather in excitement and urgency for the Winter Weather Prognostication. At this time, a team of highly skilled worm readers garbed in lab coats measure, poke, and nudge the furry little creatures in an effort to predict the oncoming winter. This year’s event will be held October 6th from nine a.m. till 4 p.m. Folks can enjoy music starting with the Lewisburg High School Marching Band at 9:30 a.m. The Woolly Worm Weather Prognostication Ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m.
(WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - An ATV ride to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network is being planned at the new Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in the coal region. The ride is being planned for Sunday, October 7th at 11 a.m. with registration beginning at 9 a.m. It will be an easy ride for all members of the family. To find out more or to download a registration form, you can go to www.anthraciteadventure.com. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Elizabeth Smart will tell her story of abduction and survival next week in Sunbury. It is part of Sunbury Community Hospital’s 6th annual Healthy Woman Anniversary Event. Smart will share the much publicized story of her nine month abduction. Prior to speech, there will be a healthy woman’s expo involving local physicians, Mary Kay, the Lemongrass Spa and much more. All are invited to the event which will be held at the Shikellamy High School auditorium Tuesday.  The health expo is from five to six p.m. and Elizabeth Smart will then speak.  Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased at the door.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - The wife of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is getting back the $50,000 she put up for his bail before his conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. A judge on Thursday granted Sandusky's request to refund the bail to Dottie Sandusky and to release the court's hold on their home, which had been put up as $200,000 collateral. The Associated Press reports, the 68-year-old Sandusky has been in a county jail since his June conviction on sexually abusing 10 boys, some on campus. Before that, he'd been on house arrest to await trial. He's expected to get a lengthy state prison term when sentenced next week, but he maintains his innocence and plans to appeal.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Eli Avila stepped down Thursday from Governor Tom Corbett's Cabinet. Avila wants to pursue other interests and spend more time with his wife and children, who were unable to relocate and have continued to live in Albany, New York, since he took the helm of Health Department in Harrisburg early last year, the governor said in a statement. Avila supervised the department's 1,700 employees and $1 billion budget. The Associated Press reports, Michael Wolf, the department's current executive deputy secretary, was named as acting secretary until a full-time successor is named.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe today issued the following statement after a jury in Adams County sentenced Christopher Johnson to death for the first-degree murder of Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove. “We believe that justice has been served with these jury decisions,” Roe said. “We offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner and Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele for their prosecution of this case, and to the Pennsylvania State Police who conducted an exemplary investigation of this murder. Wildlife Conservation Officer 31-year-old David Grove was shot and killed in the line of duty while on patrol around 10:30 p.m., on November 11, 2010, along Shrivers Road in Freedom Township, Adams County where he was investigating reports of possible poaching activity.
(WGRC)