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November 14, 2012

BLOOMSBURG - Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s nursing program received a grant totaling more than $638,000 to educate nurse practitioners who can provide primary care and preventive services within a rural, 10-county region of Pennsylvania. The funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Program will provide support to 54 nurses over the next two years.  The grant covers the costs of tuition scholarships, fees and textbooks for students studying to become adult nurse practitioners.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – Admitted conman 41-year old Kurt J. Keiper was sentenced today to 12 to 78 years in a state prison and ordered to pay back more than $500,000 in restitution to 17 former customers.  Union-Snyder President Judge Michael Sholley told the former Middleburg resident that state parole will not be recommended following his minimum 12 years in prison unless restitution has been made to victims of his business dealings.  On the eve of trial early this year, Keiper admitted his guilt in bilking 12 customers across the U.S. and in Canada of about $300,000 they paid him for vehicles that were never delivered.  Keiper was scheduled to be sentenced on April 5, but failed to show up. The Daily Item reports, he remained on the lam until September, when he was caught living in Durango, Colorado under an assumed name.  He has been held in the Snyder County Jail in lieu of $4.5 million bail since being returned to the area to face judgment.
(WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – Fire crews in Lycoming County were called out around 3:30 this morning to fight a fire in a log cabin home in Armstrong Township just south of South Williamsport. The fire was located at 1936 Route 15 Highway. Crews had a difficult time reaching the structure due to the long, steep driveway and water had to be trucked from a fire hydrant at the McDonald restaurant in South Williamsport to a fill site at the base of the driveway near Route 15. The water was then piped through hoses to the fire scene. The fire was reported to be out around 4:30 and no injuries were reported. A cause is being investigated.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY - Northumberland County will celebrate its third annual “Adoption Day,” sponsored by Northumberland County Children and Youth Services, today. Starting at 10:00 a.m., the children will enjoy arts and crafts, snacks, and entertainment at the courthouse. Furthermore, in the afternoon some of these amazing young children will have their adoptions finalized by Judge William Harvey Wiest. This event is designed to help celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month, which is celebrated annually in the month of November. Since 1990, National Adoption Awareness Month helps to increase the number of families willing to consider foster care adoption and celebrates the unique joys of creating families through such adoptions. For more information visit NationalAdoptionDay.org.
(WGRC)

DUBOISTOWN - The DuBoistown Bridge is expected to be open to unrestricted traffic flow this Friday, following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony. Demolition of the old structure took place with workers removing parts of the deck and then blowing up the rest of the structure will be done in two phases. The first phase will remove the three spans on the DuBoistown side of the river later this month. Following that, demolition will move to the Williamsport side for the remaining four spans. Meanwhile, State Senator Eugene Yaw has offered to name the new bridge to honor U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Abram Howard, of Williamsport, who died July 27, 2010, at the age of 21 from injuries suffered in an ambush while on patrol in Afghanistan. If approved by the state legislature, the bridge will be designated as Lance Corporal Abram Howard Memorial Bridge.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Drivers should expect delays today on Route 26 in the area of the Bellefonte/161 interchange of I-80 as crews work on the bridges spanning I-80. Route 26 near the 161 interchange will be reduced to a single lane, with an alternating traffic pattern through most of the day.
(WGRC)

DANIVLLE - Geisinger Health System will be celebrating the grand opening of their new Geisinger Careworks Walk-In Clinic, in Danville. The grand opening will be held at nine this morning at the facility located in the Weis Market Plaza, 604 Continental Boulevard. The $450,000 walk-in clinic occupies 1,200 square feet and features two exam rooms, an X-ray, lab and a reception/waiting area. Its six-person staff includes a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, two X-ray technicians, and two licensed practical nurses. The facility is designed to treat acute illnesses and minor injuries helping patients avoid unnecessary emergency room visits. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and no appointment is necessary.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – The Lycoming County Commissioners is making a portion of funding from the Natural Gas impact fees available to any lawful organization or program which will benefit Lycoming County. The County will make the money available after it has used what’s available to fix or reimburse the County to any projects directly related to the gas industry. The County is offering the finds on a matching grant basis and the organization or project must pass at least four criteria for consideration. The criteria include: project justification, project impact, project strength and two miscellaneous factors. The Commissioners also stressed that applicants will be expected to show how the requested County funds will be used to leverage funds which the applicant is prepared to “bring to the table.” Those wishing to submit an application for consideration, or those with questions relating to the application process, or for further information please contact Bill Kelly, Deputy Director for Lycoming County Planning and Community Development at 570-320-2130 (w), 570-419-9833 (c)or at bkelly@lyco.org.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - The Northumberland County commissioners say they may be giving state constables and municipalities notice on Tuesday that as of January 1, they will no longer be paid by the county until an inmate is the responsibility of the county. Commissioners Steve Bridy and Vinny Clausi said they were to meet with members of the Criminal Justice Advisory Board by the end of September to hear what they had to say about inmate escort and transportation, but they have not received notification of any plans. So they are sick of waiting and are taking action. It is projected the county will pay close to $150,000 this year, providing constable transport for prisoners. Bridy tells the Daily Item the County is looking at using police officers in municipalities to transport criminals. Meanwhile Sunbury Mayor David Persing has been in contact with other County municipalities and says, “This could blow up budgets come June. There will be times we will not have officers to do what we want, and protecting the lives of people is our first concern.” Persing says, “It is like the federal government telling us what we have to do. I truly believe the county is responsible to transport the prisoners. So if one of these commissioners says they are saving taxes, they are shifting taxes from the county level to the municipal level, and we will have to raise taxes to cover that.” Bridy and Clausi said they will have to see what happens on Tuesday when they take a vote, but research has shown that Northumberland County is one of 15 counties out of the 67 in Pennsylvania that still use constables for prisoner transportation. In the other counties, police officers handle the chore.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG - The Mifflinburg Area School District became the second local district to deny the application of a group that sought to start an environmentally oriented regional charter school in the New Berlin area. The decision to deny was approved by a 5-0 vote Tuesday night, with four school directors absent. Superintendent Daniel Lichtel explained that for the charter school application to meet Pennsylvania Department of Education guidelines, sustainable support would be needed. It would also have to offer unique educational programming and meet other criteria. Lichtel said there were 40 letters of support for the regional school, which seeks to attract students from the Mifflinburg, Lewisburg and Selinsgrove districts. He noted that the number was not many more than were submitted last year for a charter school. The Lewisburg School District had previously rejected the idea of a charter school in New Berlin.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – Residents in the Borough of Danville in Montour County got some good news last night, no increase in sewer rates for 2013, however real estate taxes will be going up. The Borough is looking to increase real estate taxes by .25 mills. That means about $25 dollars more per home in property taxes than last year. Council approved the preliminary $2.10 million dollar budget for the Borough at last night’s meeting.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – Big news for Lewisburg area residents, no increase in property taxes for 2013. Lewisburg Borough Council will approve a tentative budget next Tuesday during regular Council meeting. The announcement of no increase in property taxes came at a work session last night. The Borough currently has a $380,000 cash balance going into 2013.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE – Three municipalities in Lycoming County release budget figures for 2013. Montoursville Borough Council Tuesday night approved a $1.72 million preliminary budget for 2013 that holds the line on real estate taxes. Under the plan the borough would use $203,000 from the water budget to balance expenses and revenues. Overall, the budget would be nearly $200,000 less than this year's plan. The Old Lycoming Township supervisors proposed a balanced budget for 2013 at their Tuesday night meeting. No tax increase is proposed with the budget, which will be on display for public review in the township building beginning on Friday. Montgomery Borough Council Tuesday adopted a $464,000 budget for 2013 that includes a 0.5-mill real estate tax increase. The increase equates to $50 more per year for a house assessed at $100,000. The increase millage is expected to bring in $22,000.
(WGRC)

KULPMONT - The borough of Kulpmont in Northumberland County set a tentative 2013 budget.  Kulpmont Borough Council approved the first draft of next year's $2.1 million dollar spending plan Tuesday night on a 6-0 vote. The tentative budget will not require raising taxes in 2013; however, taxes are expected to go up in 2014 if the borough receives a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the design and construction of a new borough building and garage. To start the ball rolling, the council unanimously approved an agreement with Shaffer Design Associates, of Gettysburg, to design the new building, giving them a $3,500 down payment for the work.
(WGRC)

BERWICK - Illegal drugs pervasive in our society these days and they're showing up more and more in Columbia County. That was a message of a meeting Tuesday night at the Berwick High School organized by Columbia County Commissioner David Kovach. Columbia – Montour President Judge Tom James was on hand and he said society needs a new national drug policy. Other high profile speakers were on hand for the program including Berwick Police Chief Ken Strish and Columbia County District Attorney Tom Leipold.
(WGRC)

GOOD SPRING - A Canadian power developer is planning to build a second 300-megawatt generation plant in Schuylkill County on a site where it had once envisioned a plant fueled by coal. EmberClear Corporation, a publicly traded company and energy developer specializing in low emission commercial scale projects worldwide, is focused primarily on natural gas in the United States as an input to create electricity, industrial chemicals or transportation fuels. It owns about 560 acres in the Porter Township village of Good Spring. The company has one project, Good Spring NGCC 1 electricity plant in Porter Township, that's tentatively ready to begin construction in 2013. It announced plans Tuesday to build a similar second plant, Good Spring NGCC 2, a natural gas combined cycle electricity plant also capable of serving 300,000 or more households in the northeastern U.S.  James Palumbo, president of EmberClear, say they are” …looking forward to extending the years of continued community and regulatory support for our efforts with this new project."
(WGRC)

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - Schuylkill Haven water customers are well aware that there is a distinct odor and taste in the tap water for the last few weeks. Borough officials have attributed the problem to Hurricane Sandy, and say the water is safe to drink and the problem will clear up. Pennsylvania DEP officials have confirmed those facts. The report from DEP indicates that when Schuylkill Haven’s water department topped off the reservoir tanks before Sandy hit, there was an algae growth on the Tumbling Run dams, which created the bad taste and odor in the water in the tanks. DEP confirmed that in tests conducted, and both the borough and the department believe that it will work itself out shortly. The DEP says that algae is not uncommon.   
(WPPA)

POTTSVILLE - The Pottsville Business Association has kicked off their Because We Care Food to Share drive. In an effort to help restock local food pantries during the busy holiday season the Pottsville Business Association asks for residents assistance in helping to feed those in need.  Nonperishable food can be dropped off at the following locations numerous locations in Pottsville and the surrounding area. Cash or check donations can be made to Pottsville Business Association, One South Second Street, Pottsville, PA, 17901.
(WGRC)

HERSHEY - Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center cut a paper doll ribbon Tuesday as hospital, government and community representatives dedicated the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Work began on the freestanding children’s hospital building in November 2009. The new hospital is six floors and 263,000 square feet of space designed to meet the needs of sick children and their families, according to a hospital release. It also includes areas focused on wellness and prevention. The new Children’s hospital plans to open its doors to patients in January.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Officials with the Center in Williamsport are looking for a new home with which to continue their mission within the community. It was announced yesterday that the Center has been given until December 1st to vacate the building that they are in at 600 Campbell Street as the owner; the Lycoming Housing Authority has put the structure up for sale. Center officials say that they want to continue with their mission to mentor kids within the community as well as provide other services for residents whether it is in the building there or elsewhere and will release more information regarding their plans within the next week or so.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - East College Avenue in downtown State College has an array of great restaurants and cafes where people can buy a good cup of coffee. But only one spot on Tuesday was a coffee spot where the patrons could receive great coffee and give kids the chance to fight a terminal disease. Virginia Buck, a 9-year-old from Tyrone, came up with the idea of raising money for juvenile Huntington's disease by selling coffee in front of the State Theatre. Buck, who suffers from the disease, teamed up with Rotary members and the State Theatre for "Coffee for a Cure." Virginia hoped to fill a water jug with spare change from passers-by or those seeking a free cup of coffee.  Throughout the morning, business people, shoppers and college students stopped at the colorfully decorated table to talked with Virginia and her friends — and to support her cause by dropping coins, five, tens, twenties, even a fifty dollar bill was dropped into an empty water cooler jug. The event will be held again today from 8:30 to 6 p.m. and raises money for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at the University of Iowa, the only university conducting research for the juvenile strand of the disease.
(WGRC)

LIGHTSTREET - State Representative David Millard of Millville will hold another in a series of caregiver forums Thursday night near Lightstreet. The forums are designed to provide information dealing with end of life care or just the care of an elderly person. A panel will be on hand not to give legal advice but point out who to turn to in the time of need. The forum will be held at the Columbia – Montour Office of Aging on Sawmill Road near Lightstreet.
(WGRC)

TREVORTON – Six were taken to Geisinger-Shamokin Area hospital yesterday evening following a chain reaction crash in Trevorton. The crash happened around six last night on Route 225 in Zerbe Township. Police say an SUV driven by 49-year-old Cathy Shingara of Sunbury slammed into the rear of another SUV driven by 32-year-old Tanya Hamilton of Shamokin. Hamilton’s vehicle was then pushed into a pick-up truck operated by 34-year-old Timothy Kantz of Trevorton who was stopped to make a turn off Route 225. Police say Hamilton and a seven-year-old boy in her vehicle along with Shingara and three children in her vehicle were all taken to the hospital with what were thought to be non-life-threatening injuries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A New York City Couple have been arrested in Ohio after fleeing Lycoming County on 88 felony charges involving fraud and access device fraud. On Tuesday Old Lycoming Township Police traveled to Sandusky County, Ohio to pick up Oshane Thompson and Katisha Armour, both 22-year-olds. Police say both have been charged with using multiple counterfeit American Express cards at various businesses in Old Lycoming Township from August 2012 through October 2012. The counterfeit cards had stolen credit card numbers imprinted on them. The couple was arrested in Woodville, Ohio for speeding and marijuana possession. Both are jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on $250,000.00 bail. Both had moved to Lycoming County from Queens, New York back in August.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY - A former clerk at Shamokin Police Department charged with stealing $575 in parking ticket fines and payments for no-parking signs was admitted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program Tuesday morning. If she successfully completes the program, 55-year-old Susan Witmer, will have her criminal charges expunged. Witmer's placement in the ARD program was approved by Northumberland County President Judge Robert Sacavage. An order issued by Sacavage that admits Witmer to the program requires the defendant to serve nine months probation and pay costs and fines.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Police took a 13-year-old girl into custody Tuesday after she pulled a knife on a teacher at Bloomsburg Middle School. No one was injured in the 1 p.m. incident. The girl, whom police did not identify because of her age, will now face criminal charges in juvenile court and will likely face possible expulsion from school. The Press Enterprise reports, if a student is caught with a knife in Bloomsburg schools, "an out-of-school suspension or expulsion is recommended," according to district policy.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Although fugitive 18-year-old Gage Michael Wood eluded law enforcement once again on Tuesday by jumping out of his girlfriend's moving car, city police nabbed the 18-year-old woman and charged her with hindering apprehension and prosecution - a felony. McKenzie Morean showed no emotion during her arraignment at city police headquarters until District Judge Jon Kemp set her bail at $75,000. Police say Wood's second escape was a "volatile situation" because the man is believed to be armed with stolen firearms that were taken in a burglary last week in Old Lycoming Township. The latest unfolded about 1:30 p.m. when police spotted Wood in a car being driven by Morean in the 600 block of Campbell Street. Woods is wanted for breaking into a home on Deckman Hollow Road in the township on Friday.  Morean spotted the cruiser, and tried to get away eventually making her way to the 800 block of Memorial Avenue, where Wood jumped out. Other officers swarmed into the neighborhood and began an extensive effort to locate the fugitive, but were unsuccessful. Wood, who also is wanted on a felony drug warrant, is believed to be armed and dangerous. Anyone who knows his whereabouts is asked to call police at 329-4060.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - A 73-year-old, retired Lock Haven university professor accused of growing marijuana plants may have been involved in a drug enterprise with state, national and even international connections, Clinton County's chief prosecutor said. Lawrence Lebin, of Lock Haven, was slated for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, but it was delayed to allow District Attorney Michael Salisbury to be sworn in as a special deputy attorney to help head a state-county legal team to prosecute the case. Lebin, who taught at Lock Haven University for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2002, was arrested in September after law enforcement officials searched his property off Route 120 north of the city and allegedly seized more than 130 marijuana plants, guns, cash and more. The move by the District Attorney opens up a number of opportunities for the prosecution, including the convening of a statewide grand jury to uncover additional suspects or defendants in connection with the case.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - Apologizing for his crime did not save Joseph Pinelle from a state prison sentence, as a Schuylkill County judge on Tuesday ordered him to spend one to two years behind bars for leaving his girlfriend's body in his apartment in June 2011 while he fled to New England. Judge Charles Miller handed down that sentence Tuesday to the 61-year-old Pinelle and ordered him to pay costs and restitution exceeding $3,400.  Pinelle, of Pottsville, pleaded guilty to a charge of abuse of a corpse, after leaving the body of 45-year-old Ruth Ann Golden, of Pottsville, at his Mahantongo Street apartment following a struggle with Golden who had attacked him. During the fight in June 2011 Golden went limp and died. Police say Pinelle covered her body with a blanket and fled to his sister's home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but returned to Pottsville and contacted authorities June 7th.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - A Lewistown man charged in connection two separate rapes, pleaded no contest to lesser charges in both cases on the day one of the cases was to be heard by a jury. Tuesday's jury trial for 42-year-old Michael Terry, was all set to begin at 8:30 a.m., but a plea agreement was hashed out and Terry pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault and serve six to 12 years in a state prison. Prosecutors offered the plea deal to spare the victims from having to testify in court. Those victims an 18-year-old woman who said she was abused when she was 10 and 11-years-old and a 24-year-old woman who said she was abused when she was 11-years-old.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Governor Corbett has signed an execution warrant for a man convicted of murdering four people including a Schuylkill County woman back in 1995. The murder spree of 41-year-old Mark Spotz included killing his brother, June Olinger of Schuylkill County, a woman in York County, and a woman in Cumberland County. The Spotz execution is scheduled to take place in early January.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The preliminary hearing for the three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up child abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky has been set for next month. Court officials announced Tuesday that ex-president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and retired senior vice president Gary Schultz will be in court December 13th. The hearing will start at 9 a.m. in Dauphin County Courthouse and will continue to the next day if more time is needed. Spanier, Curley and Schultz were indicted November 1st in what state Attorney General Linda Kelly called a “conspiracy of silence.” The charges stemmed from evidence turned up in former FBI director Louis Freeh’s probe into how the university handled allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001. Freeh turned up emails that suggest the three leaders discussed the Sandusky incidents, and a confidential file on Sandusky was found in Schultz’s office. The attorneys for the three men have maintained that their clients are innocent and vowed to fight the charges. Curley and Schultz are scheduled for trial in January in Harrisburg on the perjury and failure to report charges that came from the first indictment in November 2011. Penn State has spent almost $21 million on legal fees, public relations firms and consultants as it has responded to the Sandusky scandal’s fallout.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - A man charged with robbing four teenagers and threatening to kill them on Centre Hall Mountain in May will now face eight to sixteen years behind state prison bars. 19-year-old Richard Martinez, pleaded guilty in September, avoiding a trial that had been scheduled for the following week. Spring Township police said four 14-year-old boys encountered Martinez while returning from a hike in the Big Rock area of mountain May 5th. Martinez forced them to the ground, kicked one of them in the head and stole three iPods and a bottle of water from the backpacks. Police said Martinez allegedly held a box cutter to one boy’s throat and threatened to kill them. Judge Pamela Ruest handed down that sentence in Centre County Court, Tuesday.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG - Several victims of conman Kurt Keiper are expected to attend his sentencing this morning in Snyder County Court on multiple felony theft charges. The hearing was delayed more than seven months because the 41-year-old Keiper, of Middleburg, fled the state to avoid punishment. On the eve of trial early this year, Keiper admitted his guilt in bilking 12 customers across the U.S. and in Canada of about $340,000 they paid him for vehicles that were never delivered. Keiper was scheduled to be sentenced on April 5, but failed to show up. He remained on the lam until September, when he was caught living in Durango, Colorado. He has been held in the Snyder County Jail in lieu of $4.5 million bail since being returned to the area to face judgment. Days after Keiper was brought back, state police filed 11 more counts of theft and deceptive business practices against him for allegedly victimizing five more individuals and businesses across the country.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - The defense team for convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky says it needs more time to submit legal briefs the judge wants to have as he considers the former Penn State coach’s request for a new trial. Attorney Joe Amendola wrote in court papers filed Tuesday that the lead attorney handling the post-conviction legal defense has been recovering from a heart attack and could not work. Amendola said the new attorney, Norris Gelman, has many materials to review and a lot of research to do before filing the legal brief in support of the post-sentence motions from a month ago. Senior Judge John Cleland previously set the deadline for Friday.
(WGRC)

MILTON - State police said they are investigating break-ins at a pair of businesses near Milton late Sunday or early Monday. Troopers said someone took a 2-foot by 4-foot rolling combination safe from the Martin’s Chips warehouse at the Ben Franklin Plaza on Carpenter Street in Milton, sometime between 5 p.m., Sunday, and 8:30 a.m., Monday. Over the same period, the burglars are believed to have entered the neighboring Ben Franklin store offices, but nothing was taken.
(WGRC)