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November 9, 2012

MAHANOY CITY – One man was killed when the pickup truck he was driving crashed on Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County.  State Police say 70-year old James Kelly of Girardville lost control of his pick-up near the bridge that travels over the Burma Road in Mahanoy Township. The truck went airborne near a construction site, spun, and landed wedged between the bridge and a steep embankment that leads to the Burma Road. Kelly was found dead at the bottom of the embankment.  Police say the accident happened between 7:30 last night and 6:40 this morning.
(WGRC)

FAIRVIEW – Police looked for two men in Lycoming County this afternoon.  Radio reports indicated that several police agencies were looking for two men involved in some kind of crime this afternoon.  One of the men was taken into custody in Old Lycoming Township in the area of Beauty’s Run Road and Colvin Road just after 3p.m.  The man still on the loose was said to be armed, possibly with more than one weapon.  Police were continuing to look for that man as of about 4:45 as night started to close in.
John Callahan (WGRC)

MILTON – The son of a woman whose death is being labeled suspicious was found yesterday questioned by police and then let go. Police took 55-year-old Mark Boyles into custody then released him on Thursday. Boyles was wanted for questioning in the death of his 80-year-old mother Vennie Boyles who was found dead in the home they shared at 8 Park Lane, Milton. Boyles was spotted inside a Lewisburg area Dunkin Donuts late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning and picked up by police. Police say that Boyles was released following questioning as they didn’t have enough evidence to hold him.
(WGRC)

BEAVER SPRINGS – Police in Snyder and Mifflin Counties are continuing their search for a bank robber and have released details on a vehicle possibly related to the crimes. The latest bank robbery happened Monday afternoon around 2:30 at the Swineford National Bank in Beaver Springs. Police are looking for a maroon Ford Extended cab Pick-up truck that was seen picking up the bank robber Along Arch Rock Road near Route 322 in Mifflin County. The bandit is described as a white man in his 20’s and wearing a dark jacket or camouflage jacket. The suspect is also sought in the robbery of the First National Bank Thompsontown and the Juniata Valley Bank Port Royal. Anyone with information on the suspect or the truck in question is asked to call state police.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DUBOISTOWN - After allegedly getting high on heroin at her home, a DuBoistown woman fled from emergency responders last week and jumped into the Susquehanna River. Old Lycoming Township police say 27-year-old Meghan Packard walked out into the river until the water was chest high and she refused, at first, to return to shore. The incident began about 4:30 p.m. Saturday when township police, along with paramedics and emergency medical technicians, responded to the woman's home on Euclid Avenue to investigate a drug overdose. Rescue boats from the city and South Williamsport were called to assist. However, as the boats drew closer to Packard, the woman ran back to shore, where she was held by police so paramedics could treat her. She was taken to Williamsport Hospital and then jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on a probation violation.
(WGRC)

ROCKVIEW - A federal appeals court has stayed the execution for a York County man who was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Thursday at Rockview state prison. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday stayed the execution of 56-year-old Hubert Michael. The court sent the case back to a district court for additional proceedings. Michael would have been the first inmate to be put to death in Pennsylvania in 13 years. Executions are conducted at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview. He was convicted in 1993 for the murder of a 16-year-old girl walking to work in Dillsburg.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG — A Berwick man has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for holding a gun to his wife's head and threatening to "slaughter" her during a violent domestic fight last spring. 23-year-old Robert Shamp, also grabbed his wife by the throat and slammed her into a wall after she confronted him about texting another woman. The woman got away after grabbing a picture off the wall and smashing it over his head. Police say Shamp then went upstairs to get a handgun and putting it to her head before a neighbor entered the home and police arrived. The incident happened May 22. Shamp faces 10 to 20 years on the felony assault charge.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN – A Doctors office was broken into sometime last weekend, and money and checks were stolen. Police say the office of Dr. Guy Schenker located along CJEMS Road in Juniata County’s Fermagh Township. Anyone with information on the break-in is asked to call state police, Lewistown.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - A 32-year-old man who sustained serious injuries as the result of a shootout with police was recently declared incompetent to stand trial by a doctor hired to perform a mental health evaluation. Attorney Brian Ulmer, who represents Brian Janson, recently filed a petition in the Juniata County Court of Common Pleas, in which he asks the court to find his client incompetent to stand trial based on a psychological evaluation. Janson sustained serious injuries, including a gunshot wound to the head, which destroyed one of his eyes. Police opened fire on Janson on August 17, 2010, after he pointed a gun at several officers, following a chase and eventually being cornered at a home in Juniata County. Juniata County District Attorney Cory Snook is also looking to possibly have an examination done. The decision to find Janson incompetent ultimately rests in the hands of a judge or jury. Janson is charged with several counts of attempted homicide, attempted assault of a law enforcement officer, and a list of other charges. Janson remains free on bail and was previously released to the custody of his sister who lives in New Jersey.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG – Two people were taken to Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg following a crash Wednesday. State Police say 37-year-old Rose Trego of Mifflinburg suffered moderate injuries when she pulled onto Furnace Road in Buffalo Township into the path of another vehicle driven by 43-year-old Richard Heckert of Sunbury who suffered minor injuries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

McCLURE – Alcohol or drugs may be to blame for a crash Tuesday in which a McClure woman was flown to Hershey Medical Center. Police say 41-year-old Ranee Booher of McClure suffered major injuries in the crash just after nine p.m. on Route 522 in Decatur Township, Mifflin County. Booher was a passenger in a car driven by 41-year-old Joey Booher also of McClure. Police say their vehicle left the roadway snapped off a utility pole before flipping onto its roof sliding across the roadway. Joey Booher refused treatment for moderate injuries at the scene. Police say charges are pending test results from Booher.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL – In Northumberland County, Wednesday morning's accidental fire in the 200 block of East Second Street in Mount Carmel that destroyed three homes, damaged three others and left 10 people homeless started near a coal stove on the first floor of one of the homes. After inspecting the fire-ravaged buildings for more than three hours Thursday, fire officials determined that the blaze began on the first floor of 244 East Second Street and quickly spread to an adjoining home and other properties. Mount Carmel Fire Chief Jack Williams tells the News Item a flue pipe attached to a coal stove was too close to a wall, causing heat to build up and spread into the wall. Williams said the heat near the stove built up over time, drying the wood studs out, before causing a fire to ignite inside the wall. Williams estimated overall damage, to well exceed $300,000.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - Ongoing concerns in the Borough of Mount Carmel in Northumberland County, about water pressure in the east end of the borough have been heightened by the fire that damaged or destroyed six homes on the 200 block of East Second Street on Wednesday. Six leaks were reportedly located and at least five of them fixed two weeks ago, following complaints of sporadic water pressure.  Council members are concerned that there would not be enough water pressure to adequately battle two fires at different locations in the borough. The latest concerns prompted an emergency meeting among officials from the borough and Aqua Pennsylvania, Roaring Creek Division, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Officials with Aqua Pennsylvania say the company will continue to monitor the situation and check for additional problems. Borough Council members say if the situation does not improve another meeting will be held with Aqua, but this time the residents will be invited.
(WGRC)

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - Dozens of people clapped Thursday night in Schuylkill County after hearing the borough of Schuylkill Haven and North Manheim Township were willing to work together to iron out a new fire protection agreement. Representatives from North Manheim Township and Schuylkill Haven Borough met at Schuylkill Hose Company No. 2 to discuss the agreement that automatically renews for a year unless a municipality gives notice it wants to opt out. The current agreement divided the township's fire protection fund equally among those municipalities as annual compensation for the municipalities' fire companies responding to emergency fire calls in the township. The three Schuylkill Haven fire companies are responsible for most of North Manheim Township, according to a map of the assigned coverage areas. As a result, the borough fire companies respond to substantially more calls each year but are paid the same as the other fire companies. The Republican Herald reports, fire chiefs have met and discussed the possibility of a fee-for-service arrangement; however, no agreement has been reached by all the municipalities in the borough and township.
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN – The room broke out into applause when Michael Wolfberg postmaster at the Selinsgrove Post Office told a group of about 40 residents in the New Berlin Fire Company social hall that their post office would not be closing. However as a concession to help reduce an eleven billion dollar deficit to the Postal Service retirement fund, New Berlin’s Post Office hours will be cut from eight hours a day to six. The lobby hours will not change, only those hours where a postal employee will be available for person to person business. Postal customers in New Berlin were sent a survey detailing options from lowering post office hours to discontinuance all together. Wolfberg says 30,000 post offices across the country are slated for hourly cuts and discontinuance. Wolfberg says the Postal Service is looking for half a billion dollars a year in savings across the country by lowering office hours or closing rural post offices.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BERWICK - Operators at PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant safely shut down the Unit 2 reactor this morning because a computer system that controls the reactor's water level was not functioning properly. Operators manually shut down the reactor when they identified the malfunction and plant systems responded as designed. Susquehanna employees are investigating the reason for the loss of the computer system. While the unit is shut down, employees will address the control system malfunction and begin a previously announced turbine blade inspection as part of ongoing efforts to address turbine blade cracking as the plant finalizes long-term solutions. Unit 1 is operating safely and is unaffected by the loss of the system on Unit 2.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE - Impact fees paid from natural gas drillers operating in Lycoming County's Marcellus Shale formation will help pay for a new terminal building at the Williamsport Regional Airport. Members of the Williamsport Regional Airport Authority approved an agreement Thursday evening that will bring $1 million in impact fees that would be used for feasibility studies and design work for an updated, larger terminal facility. The Sun Gazette reports, Mark Murawski, authority chairman, said the money was offered to the airport authority by the Lycoming County commissioners. Murawski added that funding the airport terminal project with natural gas drilling impact fees makes sense because almost half of the airport and fixed-based operator's traffic is from Marcellus Shale business.
(WGRC)

BUCKHORN - Geisinger Health System recently spent $4 million for just over 41-and-a-half acres near its Buckhorn office building adjacent to Home Depot. The health system purchased the vacant lot for "long-term development needs," and Geisinger has not announced any specific plans for the site. The Press Enterprise reports, no development plans have been filed for the property. Geisinger spent nearly $96,000 per acre for the land, which had been owned by Health Properties. Geisinger already has an office in that neighborhood on 12.5 acres across Mall Boulevard from the Columbia Mall. And the health system finished an $8 million addition to the Buckhorn building this summer. Geisinger's newly acquired property is to the west of the current office.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN -The Clinton County commissioners are staring into the face of a $3.2 million budget increase in 2013 which translates into increased taxes. Commissioner Joel Long offered the figure as a "first run" of budget calculations at Thursday's meeting of the board. He joined with Commissioners Pete Smeltz and Jeff Snyder in cautioning this particular figure might change, but all three board members signaled that some sort of tax increase is likely for 2013. The commissioners, who began to hold meetings with row officers and department heads in early October in preparation for what's expected to be a difficult budget process, expressed little surprise at the bottom line given at yesterday's commissioners' meeting.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - The assessed property value of Schuylkill County increased about $37 million from 2012, a result that could mean higher taxes for owners as the county commissioners prepare next year's budget. County Commissioner Gary Hess tells the Republican Herald, all three commissioners want to hold the line on taxes as they prepare the 2013 budget. The Commissioners have asked all row offices in the county to be realistic and prudent as they prepare for their office budgets for 2013.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG — Volunteers in Bloomsburg have torn down their first attempt at rebuilding the skatepark, but they hope to spend the winter drawing up a more lasting plan. Meanwhile, the town says the demolition has damaged shrubs and a fence. Volunteers spent about $6,500 buying the materials and renting equipment needed to build a new skating bowl. They planned to build the bowl within a frame of 8-foot-high cement block walls, but had to stop construction when two of those walls began cracking and failing in September. For everyone's safety, volunteers decided to take all the walls down. Volunteers also plan to clean up at the park and are trying to salvage as much of the concrete block as they can, either to use at the skatepark or donate to non-profits. Organizers hope rebuilding could begin by spring. The biggest concern would be finding enough money to pay for a rebuild. The Press Enterprise reports, the group has about $4,000 in the bank, and it's continuing to raise money.
(WGRC)

MONTGOMERY - Although it's not encouraged for most to sleep while at school, Montgomery Elementary School students were excited to see their teachers and administrators do so last Thursday night. But the 12 educators upped the ante a bit by dozing on the school's roof. The school sleep over was as a reward for students because they surpassed their goal of raising $6,000 at a recent walk-a-thon fundraiser for the school's parent-teacher organization. The PTO wanted to motivate the students to reach the goal, so it asked teachers to sleep on the roof if the target was reached. The students raised about $6,300 during the event.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - The final numbers are in and the Pregnancy Care Center, 150 South Market Street in Shamokin, raised nearly four thousand dollars over its goal of $40,000 dollars this year. The Center held its third annual fundraising banquet October 16th at Masser's Banquet Hall, with 230 people present. At the banquet donors were assured all donations went to services including confidential self-administered pregnancy tests to peer counseling for men and women in parenting skills, to relationship counseling for sexual wholeness and pre- and post-adoption counseling and post-abortion counseling and material assistance. The Christian-based ministry is supported solely by churches, businesses and individuals, with no government funding.
(WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – Work continues on renovations at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum. This Sunday a Fall Ball Festival, is planned and the goal is to raise $5,000 for the Dugout makeover. The original mascot costume, designed by Walt Disney, will be placed on display in the renovated museum. The festival will be held on the concourse of the Little League International complex in South Williamsport and include a variety of carnival-type games, prizes and refreshments. All proceeds will benefit the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, is now accepting applications for this winter. Eligibility is based on income and household size. For example, a family of four would qualify if their income is less than $34,000. Applications are available at local county assistance offices. For helpful tips on how to keep your home warm throughout the winter, while saving money on utility costs, you can go on the web to energysavers.gov.
(WGRC)