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October 11, 2012

SUNBURY – In Northumberland County, Sunbury Fire Chief Mike Rhoads confirmed today that Battalion Chief Richard Sinko, of the Rescue Hose Company, in Sunbury has been suspended from the fire company for life.  Rhoads tells the Daily Item, he received a letter from the Rescue Hose Company that Sinko has been suspended and put on a leave of absence and cannot participate as a city official in any manner.  Rhoads did not give an explanation as to why the suspension occurred, but said it is now a Sunbury City Council issue to investigate. Councilman Jim Eister confirmed that Sinko was suspended, although he said he did not receive any documents as of yet.  Sunbury Mayor David Persing said he as well did not receive a letter, but was aware there was one on the way.
(WGRC)

FRACKVILLE - One person was taken to a hospital after a three-vehicle crash at Route 61 and Altamont Boulevard in West Mahanoy Township, Schuylkill County last night. West Mahanoy Township police say the crash happened as Patricia Mualada, of Frackville, exited the Hess Express gas station just after seven p.m. and entered the southbound lanes of Route 61. Police say Mualada drove into the path of a Jeep driven by Jeremy Langlois, Frackville. The vehicle collided almost head-on, Langlois' vehicle then crossed into the northbound lanes of Route 61 and collided head-on with a heavy duty pickup truck driven by Eugene Coolbaugh, of Lost Creek. Langlois was taken to a Pottsville hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries while Mualada and Coolbaugh were not hurt. The crash shut down both lanes of Route 61 while police completed their investigation, the vehicles were towed and the debris removed.
(WGRC)

WATSONTOWN - Watsontown Police are searching for two people on the run.  30-year-old Emily Fitzgerald and 33-year-old Douglas Humphries fled Watsontown in August after each faced a number of charges. Fitzgerald is charged with 40 felony counts including forgery, identity theft and more. Police say she allegedly stole both of her parent’s identities, including all of their personal ID information, and opened nine credit card accounts. She then charged over $42,000 on the cards between January and August. She is also facing charges for retail theft and driving with a suspended license. Humphries, Fitzgerald’s boyfriend, is facing numerous warrants for his arrest as well. Police say the two may be traveling with their 2-year-old son and may be in or near the Lancaster County area. Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call their local 911 center.
(WGRC)

SELINSGROVE - A 21-year-old Herndon man was jailed Wednesday on $15,000 bail for allegedly breaking into his former girlfriend’s Selinsgrove apartment, stealing her car keys and taking off with her vehicle. Selinsgrove Police say Virgil Jamison got into an argument with his ex-girlfriend on October 3rd near her North Market Street apartment as he was removing items from her vehicle. The woman claims Jamison assaulted her outside the apartment. She got up and ran inside and locked herself inside. She says she hid in a bedroom closet and Jamison forced his way into the home and stole her car keys and took off with her vehicle. Jamison is being held in the Snyder County Jail on felony burglary, and related charges.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL TOWNSHIP - A 17-year-old girl at Mount Carmel Area High School, who wanted a day off school and didn't believe police would catch her, has been charged with making three bomb threats Tuesday morning to the school district, which forced the evacuation of approximately 1,800 students, teachers and staff. Police took Crystal Clark, of Mount Carmel, into custody at about 5 p.m. yesterday, one day after she allegedly made three bomb threats within a four-minute period. Clark, a freshman who moved to Mount Carmel with her family about five months ago from Baltimore, is charged with two felony counts of threats to use weapons of mass destruction, felonies of terroristic threats and causing or risking a catastrophe, and related counts. After admitting to making the bomb threats during a 90-minute interview with police Wednesday afternoon, Clark was turned over to Northumberland County juvenile probation officers and sent to a juvenile detention facility in Lycoming County.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Police in Columbia County said four people were caught trying to sell stolen jewelry and coins at a pawn shop Wednesday morning in Bloomsburg. Bloomsburg Police said the items were stolen by those same four people the day before from another pawn shop just down the street. 18-year-old Justin Lindsay, 25-year-old Ryan Lee, 25, and two juveniles were arrested for a break-in which took place at Bob`s Coins Pawn Shop on East Street around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Police notified other pawn shops about the theft. The owner of a nearby pawn shop said she came to work Wednesday morning and found a group of young men waiting for her. She called police. Police recovered the items from the suspects and said they were worth around $3,000. Both Lee and Lindsay are jailed on theft related charges. The juveniles were released to their parents and are facing action in Juvenile court.
(WNEP)

MIDDLEBURG – Conman Kurt Keiper is back in Snyder County, months after he jumped bail and fled to Colorado. Keiper was back in court on Wednesday, and a judge wanted to make sure he would not be getting out of jail any time soon. The judge set bail for Kurt Kepier at $4.5 million. The Snyder County District Attorney said it’s the highest bail he’s ever seen. Keiper fled to Colorado earlier this year after pleading guilty to scamming several people out of almost $350,000. On Sunday, authorities brought him back to Snyder County. Earlier this year, Keiper pleaded guilty to theft and fraud charges. Keiper faces at least 10 years in prison, when he is sentenced in Snyder County.
(WNEP)

WILLIAMSPORT - A Virginia teacher who engaged in an online relationship and eventually traveled to South Williamsport to meet with an underage girl was sentenced Wednesday in Lycoming County court to time already served in prison along with six years of supervised probation in his hometown of Henrico County, Virginia. 49-year-old Ty Levy, was found guilty on several counts of sexual offenses after a non-jury trial June 25th by Judge Dudley Anderson. He was convicted of unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of a minor and related counts. Levy must also register on the Megan's Law sex offenders list for the next 10 years. Levy is expected to be released from the Lycoming County Prison, in about 13 days, where he has been held since June, 2011.
(WGRC)

SCRANTON - For the next 12 years, former Saint Clair Elementary/Middle School teacher 27-year-old Todd Evans will lose his freedom because of his fondness for child pornography. Evans, of Saint Clair, must serve 12 years in a federal prison after Senior U.S. District Judge James Munley sentenced him Wednesday in Scranton for trafficking in child porn. Munley also sentenced Evans to pay a $500 fine and a $100 special assessment, spend the rest of his life on supervised release after he completes his prison term, register as a sex offender and comply with the terms of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. Evans pleaded guilty July 10 to receiving and distributing child pornography through computer between October 2011 and December 2011.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's public employee pension system said Wednesday it will revoke Jerry Sandusky's $59,000 annual pension in the wake of his conviction and sentence in the child sexual abuse scandal. The State Employees' Retirement System notified Sandusky by letter that his crimes triggered forfeiture of his pension. The former Penn State assistant football coach was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison for molesting 10 boys. The retirement system told Sandusky he will no longer receive his $5,000 monthly annuity and informed his wife, Dottie, she is no longer entitled to a survivor's benefit. The Associated Press reports, Sandusky's lawyer, Karl Rominger, contended the agency has no legal grounds for revoking the pension and said Sandusky will fight any attempt to do so.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - The mayor of Shamokin is asking the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for help in the city's effort to have representation on the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area authority, while at the same time blaming the state agency in part for creating controversy about the park. George Rozinskie Jr. says Northumberland County Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy are ignoring municipal representation while they "push blindly forward" to create a "hand-picked" five-member board. Such actions are "very distressing, clearly showing the lack of oversight by the commonwealth." The mayor, who had sent a letter to the county on September 12th requesting a seat on the authority, says there has been no response from the board majority, and therefore is asking DCNR to intervene in arranging a meeting. The News Item reports, the Mayor says If a meeting can't be arranged, the city's "only alternative would be to proceed with legal action. Meanwhile, Commissioner Vinny Clausi says a special meeting Monday's at which five authority members will be named is on schedule. The county has a deadline the next day to file articles of incorporation with the state as part of the authority formation process. Clausi claims the city of Shamokin hasn’t been able to manage money and therefore declines to add them as a member of the authority.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - The Penn House Commons project in East Buffalo Township has hit another snag as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation rejected a requested exception from the developer’s engineer to keep shoulder widths for North 15th Street as they are despite not meeting federal highway recommendations. Howard Schlesinger, principal with Meridian Development Partners, tells the Daily Item, a meeting is being planned for Meridian, PennDOT and township officials toward the end of October “to discuss the issue and see what alternatives and creative solutions they can come up with, together.” At issue are the shoulder widths for North 15th Street in the planned Penn House Commons project. As drawn, they do not meet federal highway recommendations and, therefore, federal money could not be used for the project. The township supervisors haven’t signed any final contract agreements on the Penn House Commons project, which was proposed four years ago and would convert roughly 42 acres of the former Pennsylvania House land into commercial and residential properties. The supervisors voted within the last month to rezone the property for this purpose. Supervisors say that if the exception wasn’t granted, the most likely thing to happen would be to make improvements to 15th Street without using federal funds. Township officials do not want to exert eminent domain over the property along 15th Street, acquiring and demolishing homes for the sake of the sidewalks.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Police officers didn’t get the retirement health care they wanted, but after about 10 months of negotiation, a contract was signed Wednesday night by the police union and commission members of the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department. At issue for the regional police department, which began operating as one February 6th, was that officers of the former East Buffalo Township force had received, and will continue to get, health care as a retirement benefit. They are half of the Buffalo Valley force. Former Lewisburg borough officers and new hires will not receive that benefit. The new contract goes into effect January 1, 2013. The union has been negotiating with the police commission since December. The commission needs to take further action on the pension, including adopting an ordinance under state recommendations, to merge the accounts and to choose an investment plan. Chief Paul Yost tells the Daily Item, he’s happy the contract has been signed and the department can focus on functioning as a solid law enforcement agency.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - A high-rise in Shamokin will receive more than $200,000 in federal grant money to help keep elderly residents and those with disabilities living independently. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday that Lincoln Towers apartment building will receive the grant through the agency's Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program. Lincoln Towers's grant was part of $1.8 million awarded to seven properties in Pennsylvania. The grants were awarded to eligible owners of private housing developments who receive rental subsidies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to house low-income individuals. The grant is designed for an initial three-year period to allow eligible owners of multifamily housing for the elderly or disabled to hire and support a service coordinator. It's a service Lincoln Towers has already had in place and had been working on the grant application since early March.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - A Baker Hughes representative said last night they are looking into developing green technology for the fracturing process of Marcellus Shale natural gas, and as they come closer to completing construction of their new complex in the Lamar Township Business Park, in Clinton County they will hire many local people to work at the facility. John Fishell, with Baker Hughes, gave an overview of the corporation's services at last night's Clinton County Economic Partnership's annual dinner at Lock Haven University. He specified that while the corporation does not operate natural gas and oil wells, they provide services for the well operations. Fishell tells the Express, Baker Hughes plans to open their $40 million regional headquarters January 1, 2013 on the 37-acre parcel that will house the site in the Lamar Township Business Park in Mackeyville.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - The local effort to bring a community college to Mifflin County has not been without setbacks, but organizers continue to press on toward their goal of providing Juniata Valley residents with access to higher education. That opportunity could come as early as fall of 2013. Walter Asonevich, president of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, says “…providing transferable education and job training at an affordable rate offers more students the opportunity for higher education.” Asonevich addressed a group Wednesday at the Lewistown Country Club. The Sentinel reports, the results of a feasibility and market study illustrated that Mifflin County could also support a community college. Asonevich says the county already has vacant space in the CareerLink building that can be utilized as three classrooms and a reception area. Local community college coordinators say starting costs would total $400,000 for the first three years of operation. The program would be large enough to offer general studies, business administration, criminal justice, nursing and teacher education. Benefits to a community college begin as early as high school where students can begin classes as freshmen and earn enough credits to obtain an associate degree by high school graduation. The Pennsylvania Highlands Community College has already committed to providing that service to Mifflin County. Local and state funding and support will determine how quickly the college can get up and running. Classes could possibly begin as early as fall 2013, or early January 2014.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – On Wednesday, the Geisinger Center for Aesthetics and Cosmetic Surgery unveiled the new $2.4 million facility within the Geisinger Medical Center Outpatient Surgery Center at the Geisinger-Woodbine Outpatient Facility, 115 Woodbine Lane. Moving from Geisinger Medical Center’s main campus, the Center for Aesthetics and Cosmetic Surgery occupies 6,700 square feet at Geisinger-Woodbine. The new center offers a state-of-the-art Ambulatory Surgery Center, two laser rooms, three exam rooms, a private consultation office , and convenient parking.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Great strides have been made in the medical community over the past decade in terms of early detection, treatment and survival rates for those diagnosed with breast cancer. That was the positive information shared outside Williamsport City Hall Wednesday night by Dr. Linda Myers, of the Kathryn Candor Lundy Breast Health Center at Divine Providence Hospital. City Hall was illuminated in pink lights as about 40 people gathered along West Fourth Street to remember those battling, those who have died, and to provide further education about breast cancer. Survivors of breast cancer and families of those who fought hard, but lost the battle to the disease, watched as a pink lantern with a flame inside was sent skyward. Mayor Gabriel Campana attended in support of Christy Haberstroh, his executive assistant who is battling Stage 4 breast cancer. Haberstroh's cancer is not curable but she is getting treatments and the worst seems to be in remission. Campana says, “She’s getting healthier through good medical help and prayer." Campana made a proclamation last night that in Williamsport, October known as Breast Cancer Awareness month, would be known as, "Christy Haberstroh Breast Cancer Awareness Month."
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG - The Herr Memorial Library Dinner&Auction is set for Saturday, October 13th at the Carriage Corner Restaurant in Mifflinburg. Dinner will be at 6 p.m. followed by a live auction. Kelly Walter, library director, says some of the items to be auctioned off include a week stay vacation at Treasure Lake in Pennsylvania, tickets to Reptiland and Knoebel’s, handmade furniture, quilts and a sailing trip on the Chesapeake Bay for a weekend. Tickets for the dinner and auction are $30 and benefit the Herr Memorial Library in Mifflinburg. For more information, call 966-0831.
(WGRC)

PLEASANT GAP - Pleasant Gap Fire Company is inviting the public to an open house from noon until 4 p.m. on October 13th at the Pleasant Gap Emergency Services Building, 475 Robinson Lane, for the initiation of a new fire engine. The company’s new Engine/Rescue 814 will be christened in a traditional fire service wetdown and housing ceremony at 3 p.m. Engine/Rescue 814 is a 2012 Pierce Arrow XT PUC Pumper. Other open house activities include fire safety education, tours of the station and bucket rides in an aerial apparatus provided by Alpha Fire Company. Life Flight is also scheduled to have a helicopter available for tours at 1 p.m.
(WGRC)

CARISLE - Giant Food Stores, following a recall by General Mills, announced it removed from sale Cascadian Farm Organic Peanut Butter Chip Granola Bars due to possible salmonella contamination in the peanut butter. For more information, call 800-624-4123.(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Department of Environmental Protection has issued an air quality plan approval to Moxie Liberty of Vienna, Virginia, to build the first new power plant in Pennsylvania to run at least partially on locally produced Marcellus Shale gas. The plant, which will generate up to 936 megawatts of electricity, will be built in Asylum Township, Bradford County, and create 500 construction jobs at its start.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Libertarian Party's candidates will stay on Pennsylvania's ballot. A state judge has ruled in favor of the party, ending a nearly eight-week review of petition signatures that was forced by a challenge backed by the state Republican Party. Commonwealth Court Senior Judge James Gardner Colins says lawyers for both sides agreed the Libertarians have 129 more valid signatures on their petition than the law requires. The ruling keeps Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson on the Pennsylvania ballot, as well as its candidates for U.S. Senate and the three state row offices.
(WGRC)