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November 6, 2012

UNDATED – Pennsylvania voter turn-out said to be high.  With the first sunny day in quite a while for most of Pennsylvania voters are making their way to polling places and casting their ballots.  Reports from around the state say, voter turn-out has been high this election day.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – In Union County, voters in Lewisburg reported a problem with a machine at an East Buffalo Township polling place, when the machine was not properly selecting candidates.  Susan Travis, the judge of elections for the Union County polling location tells the Daily Item, the touchscreen system on one of the electronic voting machines at Elmcroft Senior Living Community was not properly marking the chosen candidates.  After several complaints, the machine - one of five at the polling location-was shut down.  Most people who were affected by the malfunction were able to select their chosen candidate.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE - PennDOT celebrated the opening of the new Route 973 Slabtown Bridge this afternoon. The old bridge over Loyalsock Creek approximately four miles north of Montoursville was destroyed in the September 2011 Tropical Storm Lee flooding. A ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by the crossing of the first vehicle over the bridge the Eldred Township Ambulance. The Ambulace was the last vehicle to cross the old bridge during last year's major flooding. When the bridge went out it caused an eleven mile detour for residents and rescue vehicle from Warrensville to Montoursville.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - If local registration numbers and absentee ballots are any indication, county voters might just turn out in record-breaking numbers today. The weather should cooperate as well. On the ballots will be a list of state races, and, of course, the main event — the race for the nation’s top office between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Last week, Romney and his supporters upped their TV advertising in Pennsylvania which has voted heavily Democratic since 1988. Pennsylvania holds 20 electoral votes; 270 is the key to the Oval Office. The polls remain open until eight tonight. Don’t miss all the election coverage here on WGRC starting at seven p.m.
(WGRC)

ALLENTOWN - A Branchdale teenager injured in an October 19th crash in Frailey Township Schuylkill County died Friday at the Lehigh Valley Hospital where he’s been a patient since the crash. 15-year-old Kyle Bender, a student at Minersville Area High School, was seriously injured when the pickup truck in which he was riding was involved in a head-on crash on Route 125 near Donaldson. State police at Schuylkill Haven said Bender was a front-seat passenger in the truck driven by 34-year-old Ryan Donmoyer, of Donaldson. Police said Donmoyer was driving south on Route 125 when a pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center line of the road and collided with his truck head-on. The driver of the other truck, 47-year-old Wayne Kimmel, along with his passenger, 19-year-old Clair Kimmel, both of Donaldson, suffered minor injuries while Donmoyer suffered severe injuries. Police said Kimmel will be cited as a result of the crash.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Fire crews were called out to battle a working structure fire at a house in Williamsport last night. The fire was reported around ten p.m. at 819 Park Avenue in the city. Williamsport Fire officials tell us the fire at a three unit apartment building left three people homeless. There were no injuries and all the residents made it out safely. The fire is under investigation. Crews remained on the scene until just after one this morning fighting that fire.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - An apartment fire on Bloomsburg's Main Street early this morning. The fire department responding to a second story apartment at 134 West Main Street around midnight when smoke alarms sounded and someone spotted smoke coming from the building. Fire was found in one apartment and a man escaped the fire but his pet cat did not. Deputy Bloomsburg Fire Chief Scott McBride called for a second alarm. Cause of the fire remains under investigation but is labeled an accident.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Police arrested a man last week, who is accused of assaulting a police officer. Police were called to a Lycoming Creek Road apartment in Loyalsock Township where 23-year-old Joshua Smith had reportedly overdosed. When they arrived, emergency personnel were trying to get Smith into an ambulance to take him in for evaluation, when Smith became unruly and punched an officer several times. He is charged with felony aggravated assault, and other counts and was jailed on $20,000 dollars bail.
(WGRC)

MILTON – Police in Milton are still looking for the son of a woman who’s death is being called suspicious. Milton Police are looking for 55-year-old Mark Boyles. Family members have told the Daily Item that Mark has been known to go on rampages and that it’s not the first time police have responded to the Boyles home because of his actions. On Sunday Police found the body of 80-year-old Vennie Boyles at her home at Eight Park Lane. Famoly say Mark was possibly trying to scare his mother into moving into a retirement home so he could have her home to himself. An autopsy on Boyles body will be performed today in Allentown. Anyone with information on Mark Boyles whereabouts is asked to call police.
(WGRC)

LIVERPOOL – State Police are investigating the robbery of an adult bookstore in Perry County on Monday. Police say the Adult World along Routes 11 and 15 near Liverpool was held up by a white man with a medium build dress all in black. Police say the man was believed to have a weapon during the hold-up just after midnight. Anyone with information on the robber is asked to call state police, Newport.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BEAVER SPRINGS – Middleburg and State Police are still looking for the man who walked into the Swineford National Bank office in Beaver Springs yesterday morning, announced that it was a robbery, demanded money, then fled with an undetermined amount of cash. That happened after a previous attempt yesterday at the Mifflin County Savings Bank location in McClure which locked its doors when it saw the masked man enter the foyer of the bank. No weapons were displayed during the 9:30 a.m. holdup and no one was injured. The suspect is a white man in his 40s, about 6 feet tall, wearing a camouflage coat with hood and blue jeans. He fled in a white Ford Escort which may have been stolen in Mifflin County. Police said the Snyder County robbery might be related to two other previous bank robberies in Juniata County and possibly another heist in Mifflin County. Anyone with any information is asked to contact state police at Selinsgrove.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE – Police in State College are looking into the possibility of alcohol playing a possible role the night a Penn State cheerleader fell from a fifth-floor window last month. State College Police said 19-year-old Paige Raque, of Louisville, Kentucky, was in an apartment at Caulder Commons when she fell through a screen, out an open window and landed onto the pavement the night of October 13th. Reports say Raque broke her pelvis and suffered extensive head trauma, but was recently released from the intensive care unit in Altoona and is slowly recovering. A search warrant filed in the Centre County Courthouse indicates that investigators are looking to obtain Raque's blood-alcohol content from the night that she was taken to the hospital. Court documents also report police found that alcohol was being served at the apartment party and that officers are trying to figure out who furnished alcohol to minors.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Sunbury police have charged a Sunbury man with raping a 17-year old girl he met on Facebook. Police say 25-year-old Eric Harrington after the girl told police she met Harrinton on Facebook and began messaging and text messaging back and forth with him. The girl arraigned to meet Harrington at his home where the assault took place. Harrington is charged with felony rape, and relatred counts and is jailed in the Northumberland County Prison on $300,000 cash bail.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - Penn State's president says the school has been strengthened by improvements to compliance and governance in the year since former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sex abuse charges. Rodney Erickson says the past year has been difficult, but that Penn State is a better university. He says the school remains a diverse institution focused on academics, research and service. Erickson spoke to The Associated Press on Monday, part of a series of interviews with media outlets held a year to the day that Sandusky's arrest ignited the sweeping scandal that led to the ouster of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE – A murder trial began yesterday in Centre County Court for a man accused of stabbing another man to death in Lemont over a $20 drug debt. Prosecutors say 21-year-old Tyler Marlatt acted as judge, jury and executioner, delivering a death penalty to a 20-year-old Tyler Struble. Marlatt’s defense attorney says his client acted in self-defense when he killed Tyler Struble after a drug deal gone wrong in January. Marlatt, is facing charges of first-, second- and third-degree murder and other counts for the January 16th, 2011 incident. Details of Struble’s autopsy were presented yesterday aligning with what police say happened. The trial is set to continue this morning in Bellefonte.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A Shickshinny area man who slashed the throat of a Berwick scrap-yard worker he'd robbed and beaten in early 2011 pleaded "no contest" to charges Monday. 40-year-old Kim Roquet Jr. faces at least 16-20 years for attempted murder and robbery for the vicious attack on Bernardo DiGirolamo at Decker's Scrap Yard on January 8, 2011. The Press Enterprise reports, Roquet blames heavy methamphetamine use at the time for his actions.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY — Two Northumberland County commissioners have asked the FBI to investigate the county district attorney’s office and the Point Township Police Department because they fear the county is going to be sued for millions of dollars over what they called a serious ethics issue. Commissioners Steve Bridy and Vinny Clausi held a press conference at the commissioner’s office on Monday asking District Attorney Tony Rosini, Assistant District Attorney Ann Targonski and Point Township Police Chief Josh VanKirk to relinquish their roles in a controversial rape case. Romantic and family ties may jeopardize the prosecution of the case investigated by Point Township policeman Wade Lytle, who became romantically involved with the alleged victim, who is a cousin of VanKirk. The township supervisors fired Lytle on Monday night. Lytle in March arrested 34-year-old Benjamin Scheller, of Sunbury. The officer reported that Scheller brandished a silver semi-automatic handgun, tied the woman to a chair and sexually assaulted her. Commissioners Bridy and Clausi are asking ivestigations be done on Targonski, VanKirk, Rosini, Point Township supervisors and their solicitor, Rick Shoch, who is also a Northumberland County Commissioner.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport Mayor Gabriel Campana held a news conference yesterday about his proposed $21 million budget inside City Council chambers. First, the mayor said he would ask council to approve a budget that does not replace three police positions next year. It also will not replace two vacancies on the Streets and Parks Department. Second, he asked council to look at his plan to restructure the city fire department in 2015, reducing staff by as many as 10 paid firefighters. He said he would do this by asking council to study the cost-to-benefit ratio and to create an ordinance. A question then would be prepared, calling on voters to consider by referendum whether they would accept the department dropping from 30 to 20, with a chief and an assistant chief on it. The department would be supplemented by on-call individuals who are trained to respond and are paid when they do. Campana says his plan will save the City about 2.5 mills of tax a year or about $2.2 million dollars. Campana also cautioned council that without the proposed adjustments, the city will face financial peril and is facing $55 million in legacy costs because of the inability to keep paying full benefits, particularly pensions and health care costs. With the changes, Campana said, taxpayers still face a real estate tax increase of about $85 more per year for a home assessed at $100,000. Meanwhile, the proposed outline of the budget goes to council Wednesday for its review.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN – In the City of Lock Haven, landlords will be held accountable for the state of their sidewalks, beginning next year. The city hasn't enforced its sidewalk ordinance since 1974, and it shows. City Council is encouraging everyone to fix their walks before enforcement begins again, offering grants to residents who can't afford the repairs and low-interest loans to other residents. Enforcement for everyone could begin as soon as next year. On Monday, council voted to extend the low-interest sidewalk loans to landlords who don't live in their building, and to include sidewalks in the mandatory five-year inspection of each rental unit. The Sidewalk Repair Program started in 2011 with $105,000 available for grants and $250,000 for the revolving loan program.
(WGRC)

COBURN - A grant of $500,000 has been awarded to Penn Township, Centre County from the Commonwealth to upgrade the water system serving the village of Coburn. A portion of the system is malfunctioning and must be repaired; new valves and other controls will also be installed. The system, which serves 84 families, has experienced several ruptures over the last few years, each time resulting in a temporary shutdown and the loss of 20,000 to 40,000 gallons of water. As is the case in much of rural Central Pennsylvania, portions of Coburn’s system are over a hundred years old and constructed of iron, which will be replaced with PVC pipe.  As part of the system upgrade, household water meters will be installed to facilitate billing and help reduce water usage. The project will take place during the 2013 construction season. The total cost of the project is $595,000, of which $75,000 has been provided by the County and $20,000 by the Township.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - Saint Catherine Medical Center Fountain Springs' trustee asked a federal judge Monday to rule that the hospital building and the land on which it sits are actually the bankrupt company's property. In a seven-page complaint that could mean a lot more money for the hospital's creditors and former employees, William Schwab, of Lehighton, alleged that the bankrupt company that operated the hospital - Saint Catherine Hospital of Pennsylvania  and the firm that owned the property - Saint Catherine Healthcare of Pennsylvania are really one entity. Therefore, the building and the land on which it sits should be considered part of the bankruptcy estate, according to Schwab, who asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Thomas to rule in that manner. If Thomas were to rule that Saint Catherine Hospital is the true owner of the building and land, those would become part of the bankruptcy estate and would be sold by Schwab. Proceeds from that sale would be paid to the hospital's creditors and former employees.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - If you’d like to help out the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, the Assembly of God Church in Lewistown is collecting a truckload of relief items for that purpose. They need non-perishable food items, baby food, diapers, cleaning supplies, and especially batteries of all kinds. The items can be dropped off at the church today until two this afternoon. They will be taken to New Jersey on Wednesday. The Assembly of God Church is located at 160 Summit Drive in the Pleasant Acres section of Lewistown.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The Salvation Army is seeking community organizations and businesses to participate in this year’s popular Festival of Trees event set to begin November 18, 2012. For 3 weeks at the Lycoming Mall shoppers can view and vote for their favorite holiday tree for a small donation. The popular tree decorating contest concludes with a public auction with all proceeds benefiting the operations of The Salvation Army. For an application to enter your company, group or organization into the Festival of Trees or have general questions about Salvation Army programs, call 570-326-9187.  
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN - With the General Election finally here, most of us will finally be relieved to say goodbye to the non-stop telephone ringing the past few days with automated messages from election candidates and political groups. Also known as "robocalls," these automated messages are made by political parties as well as unaffiliated campaigns, 527 organizations, unions and individual citizens. Most of the calls start out with your name, pause, then a recorded message plays asking for your vote. Some of the voices on the other end have been from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, his vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, and even game show host Bob Barker. Political calls are actually exempt from the do-not-call registry along with those from charities, surveyors, insurance companies and other organizations with a pre-existing relationship, such as phone companies or banks. These examples are excluded from the Federal Trade Commission's definition of "telemarketer" as they do not try to sell a service or product. For many families caller ID has been a blessing the past few weeks as many people see a foreign number and decide not to answer it. For this reporter yesterday I thanked calls from Governor Tom Corbett and Mitt Romney for interrupting me while gathering up leaves in the yard, and providing me a break for a large cool glass of water.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)