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October 12, 2012

WILLIAMSPORT — Police in Lycoming County are searching for a man who robbed a convenience store late this morning. Investigators said the man entered the Uni-Mart on West Fourth Street in Williamsport just before noon.  He threatened the clerk with a gun and demanded cash.  Authorities said the man got away with an undetermined amount of money.  No one was hurt.
(WNEP)

PORT CARBON - A Schuylkill County woman charged with stealing more than $50,000 over a three-year period while employed by the Goodwill Fire Company and Minersville EMS surrendered to authorities this afternoon.  47-year old Brenda Shuman of Pottsville was charged with two felony counts of forgery, and a host of related counts.  The Republican Herald reports, Shuman was arraigned and released on $50,000 unsecured bail pending her preliminary hearing scheduled for 9:30 Thursday morning in Port Carbon.
(WGRC)

WEST MILTON - A multi vehicle crash was reported on Route 15 in Kelly Township, Union County yesterday afternoon. The southbound lanes of Route 15 were closed for a time and a detour was in place. The crash happened at the intersection of Route 15 southbound and Colonel John Kelly Road. Traffic was detoured at West Milton. State Police have not released information on that crash.
(WGRC)

MUNCY – We now know the identity of the man injured when the cement mixer he was driving crashed along Interstate 180 in Lycoming County on Tuesday. Police say 26-year-old Walton Hunsinger of Berwick suffered major injuries in the crash which closed down the westbound lanes of the Interstate. Hunsinger was flown to Geisinger Medical Center where he remains in serious condition.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILLHEIM - A 23-year-old Burnham man was recently charged in connection with the death of a friend who died in a violent car crash. Police said Kyle Reigle had been drinking with his friends, on September 30th, 2011 and wrecked his car on the Siglerville-Millheim Pike. One of Reigle's passengers, David Culver, had been hanging out the window moments before the crash and was tossed from the car. Culver died at the scene, while Reigle and two other men were taken to the hospital. None of the men had been wearing seatbelts. Reigle told police he had been driving "entirely way too fast." Police said Reigle's blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit. Reigle was arraigned at District Judge Thomas Jordan's office in Centre Hall and charged with accidents involving death or personal injury, driving under the influence and other related charges. Reigle remains free on bail.
(WGRC)

PHILIPSBURG – In Centre County, state police said a Port Matilda woman reported missing Wednesday was found dead yesterday in her car along a road in Rush Township. Mary Houck was reported missing by her husband after she left in her car and didn't return home. She was located Thursday just after eleven a.m. Police said the cause of death is unknown and being investigated. However, they say there are no suspicious circumstances present in the case.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Two men have been jailed on charges of allegedly beating a man unconscious in the 300 block of Rural Avenue during the early morning hours of October 5th. Williamsport police say Tysean Schell and Paul Early Jr., both 22 and of Philadelphia, have been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering for punching and kicking 38-year-old Shawn Brown about 40 times in the head face until he went unconscious. Both Shell, who faces an additional charge of resisting arrest, and Early were taken into custody at the scene. Brown was taken to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center. Police did not say what prompted the brutal attack. Both are jailed in the Lycoming County Prison.
(WGRC)

NEW RINGGOLD – Police in Schuylkill County are looking for the gunman on an ATV that shot at a security guard at an auto salvage yard. That happened just before two Thursday morning at Joe’s Used Auto Parts along Summer Valley Road near New Ringgold. Police say someone on an ATV shot three shots at security guard 36-year-old Jeremy Talanca of Berwick. Talanca wasn’t hurt. After firing the three shots the ATV rider took off. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call state police, Frackville.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A high school bowling coach pleaded guilty Thursday to "sexting" messages to a 16-year-old female student. 47-year-old Michael Nearhoof, of Bloomsburg, is facing up to five years in prison for corruption and producing "obscene materials," a charge that was added following his arrest last spring. Nearhoof volunteered as a bowling coach at Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech. The Press Enterprise reports, he no longer coaches at Vo-Tech or any other area school.
(WGRC)

CATAWISSA - A 17-year-old boy confessed to leaving a bomb threat in a restroom at Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech that emptied the school Wednesday. The Press Enterprise reports, the junior had emerged as a suspect while police were investigating the scare. When Principal David Bacher called him in to talk about it, the teen admitted writing the note. The teen is being charged through juvenile court with making terroristic threats, threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and reckless endangerment.
(WGRC)

WILKES-BARRE - An Auburn man will spend most of the next five years behind federal prison bars after being sentenced Thursday in Wilkes-Barre for being part of a drug trafficking ring in and around Schuylkill County. 33-year-old Scott Murphy, must serve 57 months in a federal prison, Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo ruled. Caputo also sentenced Murphy to spend four years on supervised release following his prison term. Murphy pleaded guilty on July 2 to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana and Percocet. He had been indicted February 28th by a federal grand jury. Federal prosecutors say Murphy got the drugs from Reading, Philadelphia, and New York and distributed the drugs between January 2010 and February 2012, in and around Schuylkill County.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Three archery hunters used bait to attract deer on a West Hemlock Township property, in Montour County. Wildlife conservation officers filed charges against 26-year-old Curtis Jones, of Montandon, and 76-year-old Frank Baylor, of Danville, for hunting less than 45 yards from a mineral block on a property off Kashner Road. The third hunter, 22-year-old Christopher Rump, of Milton, was cited four times. Game Commission officers say Rump possessed two cans of spray acorn bombs, which he was hunting over. Game law states, hunting over or near any item that is an attractant that even imitates a food source, is illegal. Another hunter, 22-year-old Travis Biddinger, of Riverside, was charged with two counts of harvesting deer and not tagging and reporting them within 10 days. He also received a written warning for not carrying his hunting license with him. He was cited October 1st.  Statewide, archery season started September 29th and continues through November 12th.
(WGRC)

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 says Sinko has been suspended and put on a leave of absence and cannot participate as a city official in any manner. The Daily Item reports, Sinko was banned from the volunteer force after Rescue Hose Company officials and Sunbury Police initiated an investigation. Fire Company officials say the investigation involves improper behavior over the past two months concerning Sinko and a female bartender, who is his girlfriend, and improper behavior involving finances. The girlfriend also received a lifetime ban from the fire company.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - The attorney representing Northumberland County Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy and the county in a lawsuit filed against them by David Kaleta, of Shamokin, is seeking the dismissal of the complaint with prejudice in federal court. Attorneys for the County filed a motion Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania requesting the suit be dismissed because Kaleta doesn't state a viable First Amendment retaliation claim in the complaint. The motion also claims that Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor erred by granting a preliminary injunction that allows Kaleta access to the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, while also ruling that Bridy and Clausi violated the Sunshine Act by taking action to ban him from the property. The motion requests Judge John Jones and Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson to hear the defendants' claims in federal court. The News Item reports, Kaleta's two-count complaint was filed in the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas on September 17th and removed to federal court October 3rd on a violation of First Amendment Rights. Bridy and Clausi have publicly criticized Northumberland County Judge Saylor for his ruling and believe the judge should have recused himself from the case. Kaleta's suit claims the action against him represents First Amendment retaliation because he has been critical of the off-highway vehicle park's development.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Lycoming County Commissioners yesterday took another step towards alleviating overcrowding at the county prison in Williamsport. During their meeting, commissioners approved a deal to enable overflow inmates to be held in Montour County at a cost of $60 dollars per day. It is the fourth such agreement with area counties. Others have already been made with Clinton, Centre, and Tioga Counties to house inmates from Lycoming County as needed.
(WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - A zoning amendment approved by Coal Township commissioners Thursday will allow a group home for pregnant women to be established in the township's west end despite opposition from several residents. The amendment adds to the definition of a group home, allowing for homes for pregnant women or new mothers along with the already established allowances of homes for the elderly and mentally and physically handicapped. Residents opposed to the home in the 1600 block of West Lynn Street were concerned with how such a home would change the atmosphere of the quiet, residential neighborhood. Central Susquehanna Opportunities and Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit have jointly applied for a federal grant to fund operations of the home, which has already been purchased and is under renovation. That grant application is still pending. The News Item reports, Pinnacle Place is intended to house up to four pregnant women between 18 and 22 years of age, along with their newborns, for a limited period of time in a strictly monitored environment. Counseling services in parenthood and career training would be provided on site.
(WGRC)

MONTGOMERY - PPL Renewable Energy and the Lycoming County Commissioners unveiled a new landfill gas-to-energy facility today at the Lycoming County Resource Management Services landfill in Montgomery. The new 6-megawatt facility, which includes two 3-megawatt power plants, will capture methane from decomposing trash and use it to generate up to 50 million kilowatt-hours per year of electricity. That’s enough to power 4,000 homes. The plant will supply power to the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex and to the region’s electric grid. The county will use heat from the power plant’s engines to heat county facilities. The Lycoming County facility is expected to prevent up to 34,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, or about the same amount as removing 6,700 cars from the road. Lycoming County Resource Management Services, a division of Lycoming County government, has been operating the landfill since 1978 under a permit granted in 1973. The 513-acre site is located on property owned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons adjacent to the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex. This regional site serves Lycoming County as well as Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Columbia and Union counties. More information is available at www.lyco.org.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN – Unlike the City of Williamsport, the City of Lock Haven can handle its pension obligations this year. Both the Police Pension Fund and the City Employees Retirement Fund are healthy. City Manager Richard Marcinkevage however says a long-term view of pension funding shows the city is one of many municipalities in Pennsylvania under "financial stress." Nearly all third-class Pennsylvania cities are officially "financially stressed" due to their pension plans, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development's definition. And the majority of counties in the state have at least one municipality in the same boat.
(WGRC)

CARISLE - Giant Food Stores is recalling several products due to contaminents. Following a recall by Talenti Foods, Giant announced it removed from sale chocolate peanut butter cup gelato due to possible salmonella contamination in the peanut butter. Giant is also recalling two kinds of Tyson Foods Boneless Chicken Wyngz due to undeclared milk, egg, and soy on the ingredient label. Both Tyson Boneless Chicken Wyngz Buffalo Style, and Tyson Boneless Chicken Wyngz Honey BBQ Flavored, have been removed from store shelves. For more information, visit giantfoodstores.com.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Geisinger Health System has finalized a deal to provide heart surgeries for Walmart employees from Pennsylvania and out of state. Geisinger officials say Geisinger Medical Center in Danville "will be the preferred East Coast destination for Walmart associates and dependents" in need of heart surgery. Geisinger spokesman Mike Ferlazzo says Geisinger will recommend that Walmart employees traveling here for surgery stay at the Geisinger-owned Pine Barn Inn on the Medical Center’s campus. Geisinger bought the Pine Barn in 2007, and it recently completed a $5 million expansion of the hotel. Walmart announced yesterday that employees who have health insurance and choose GMC for heart procedures won't be billed an out-of-pocket deductible, and their travel, lodging and meals will be paid for during their trip to Danville.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG - The second weekend in October means one thing in Mifflinburg: It’s time for the Kelsey’s Dream Fall Festival. Now in its Sixth year, the festival, which raises funds to create comfort packages for children suffering with cancer, is bigger than ever. The event will be held at the Mifflinburg Veterans of Foreign Wars fairgrounds this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. New to the festival this year are magician Brent Kessler, a petting zoo and pony rides. There will be plenty of games and other fun, and no festival is complete without the food. And for this festival, that includes the traditional apple-butter boil, the event that started the whole thing six years ago. The festival is among the main fundraisers for the Kelsey’s Dream Foundation, the charity Kylie founded in honor of her sister Kelsey, who died in 2005 at 12 after a several-year battle with leukemia.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – The Sunbury Fire Department is hosting their annual Memorial Service on Sunday. Each year the service follows Fire Prevention Week. The event kicks off with a parade through Sunbury at 1:30 p.m. that will end at Cameron Park. The Fire Department’s Memorial Service will then follow at Cameron Park with guest speakers.  
(WGRC)

FRACKVILLE - Venue4Him, and outreach of Frackville Four Square Church, in conjunction with Schuylkill Mall and Schuylkill Mall Theatres’ “Movie on the Mountain”, will be hosting Fire on the Mountain this Saturday, October 13th. The event will take place outside at the Movies on the Mountain drive-in lot. The night will kick-off with a concert of contemporary Christian music, beginning at five p.m. Following the concert, a double feature will be shown on the digital drive in screen, beginning at seven p.m. The movies featured will include “October Baby”, and ‘Courageous”. The event is free and open to the public.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania public employee retirement system says Jerry Sandusky will get to keep more than $900,000 in state pension payments he received after his 1999 retirement from Penn State University. A spokesman for the State Employees' Retirement System said Thursday it won't seek repayment of the money Sandusky received from 1999 to September 2012 because the money was paid to Sandusky prior to his conviction. However, the agency notified Sandusky he will no longer receive his $59,000 annual pension following his conviction and sentence in the child sexual abuse scandal. Sandusky was sentenced this week to at least 30 years in prison for sexually molesting 10 boys.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania is entering the peak season for colorful fall foliage. Trees like sugar maple, black gums, red maples, and birch are beginning to change in the mid-state; while vibrant colors are already visible in the state's northern tier. State Bureau of Forestry botanist Ed Dix says recent weather has created ideal conditions for fall colors. "If you have bright, sunny days and cool nights, which promote those chemical changes in the leaves which then show their best colors. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provides weekly reports on fall foliage.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The apparent dismissal of Pennsylvania's state parks director is raising questions about whether Governor Tom Corbett is making plans to allow mining, quarrying or timbering on or below the lands. Corbett administration officials have not said whether or why they wanted John Norbeck out of the job he has held since 2006. The Associated Press reports officials with the DCNR says the Department does not plan to make any changes to policies related to commercial timbering or mining on state park lands. The Department does not allow anyone to cut timber solely for revenue generation on state park lands. And, it does not allow surface mining where it controls the mineral rights. Norbeck told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday that he received a termination letter on October 1st from the state's human resources office, telling him that his last day would be today unless he offered to resign. Norbeck said he was told by an executive assistant to DCNR Secretary Richard Allan only that the "administration has decided to go in a different direction." Norbeck has opposed requests by Butler-based Amerikohl Mining, to mine limestone beneath Laurel Ridge State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania's Somerset County and objected to discussion by DCNR's deputy secretary for parks and forestry, Ellen Ferretti, about allowing commercial timbering operations in state parks. Norbeck originally was hired by Governor Ed Rendell.
(WGRC)