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November 15, 2012

2058 Duke Street Point Township Fire

NORTHUMBERLAND – A fire late this morning destroyed a Northumberland County home.  Fire crews were called to 2058 Duke Street in Point Township just before 11:30 this morning for a reported structure fire.  Lieutenant George Geise of the Tuckahoe Fire Company who had command at the scene tells us there was little they could do when they arrived.  The home was fully engulfed in flames and they could only fight the fire from the outside.  The home of Bob Whary is a total loss.  He made it outside with his dog.  A pet bird perished in the blaze.  A cause has yet to be determined, although Geise said they have a good idea where the fire started.
John Callahan (WGRC)

MONTANDON - A truck fire closed part of a road in Northumberland County for about 8 hours today.  The incident happened around 7:30 this morning on Route 147 in West Chillisquaque Township near the intersection with Route 405.  Emergency crews said the truck had brake problems before it caught fire.  The rig was hauling cartons of milk.  The northbound lane of Route 147 re-opened not long after crews arrived, but the southbound lane remained closed until just before 2:30 this afternoon as crews worked to clean up the mess.
(WNEP/WGRC)

AVIS – Rescue crews and the Life-Flight helicopter was called to respond to a two vehicle crash with injuries near the Clinton/Lycoming County Line this morning. The crash near the Avis exit on Route 220 North happened shortly after 6:30 this morning. We are told two people were injured and trapped in that crash in Lycoming County’s Pine Creek Township. At least one of those injured in the crash, a man in his 20’s, was flown to Geisinger Medical Center with leg and facial injuries. One lane of Route 220 in the area of the crash will be closed until sometime this afternoon, due to crash clean-up.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

NORTHUMBERLAND - Route 147 just north of Route 405 in Point Township Northumberland County is closed this morning due to a tractor trailer fire. Traffic is being detoured via Routes 405 and 45 in West Chillisquaque Township. It was not immediately known how long Route 147 would be closed. No injuries were reported.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY – Fire crews were called out to fight a fire in Sunbury this morning. The fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. in a garage attached to a home at 452 North Seventh Street. There were reports of possible entrapment in that garage fire but Northumberland County 9-1-1 tells us there were no injuries and no one was found in the burning building. Police were on the scene and looking for Tammy Rowe whose belongings were found outside the blazing garage. Early reports say an intoxicated woman was seen in the area of the smoky fire and it was thought Rowe was inside the burning garage. But again fire crews found no evidence of anyone being inside the burning structure.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK – A small commercial plane had to make an emergency landing at the University Park Airport yesterday. No one was hurt. Airport officials said United Airways Express Flight 5017 had just taken off from the airport and was heading to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., when it encountered a problem with its landing gear which would not retract. The pilots checked the plane’s equipment and found it would be safe to land. They requested to turn around and come back to the airport. The plane was carrying 36 passengers. Emergency crews were called to the scene shortly after 2 p.m. as the plane was circling to land. After the plane touched down passengers had to disembark near the runway and the plane to be towed to a hanger. It’s the second time a small plane has made an emergency landing at the airport in two months.
(WGRC)

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - A 25-year-old Ashland man died when the car in which he was a passenger struck a mail delivery van, a parked pickup truck and a house on Route 61 around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in Schuylkill County. Sean Harris died at the scene of the crash. The driver of the car, Jack Harris, also of Ashland was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. A woman delivering mail for the United States Postal Service whose vehicle was struck by the Harris car was taken to Shamokin Hospital for observation. No one in the house was injured. A portion of Route 61 was closed for several hours while police investigated the crash.
(WGRC)

MUNCY – A Pennsdale woman was injured and taken to Muncy Valley Hospital following a crash Tuesday near Muncy. The crash happened around 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Route 442 and 405 in Muncy Creek Township. Police say a vehicle driven by 59-year-old Bernadette Williams had her vehicle out into the intersection she came to a stop. Her vehicle was hit by another driven by 32-year-old Michele Medler of Muncy. Williams was taken to the hospital with what police called moderate injuries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY - Motorists in downtown Sunbury are advised of a road maintenance project scheduled for a section of Market Street, today. PennDOT reports, milling operations will take place on Market Street between Third Street and Seventh Street between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Parking along this section of Market Street will be prohibited during those hours.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Scott Binsack, remains at large, a day after agents raided his Shamokin home in their search for the fugitive who has been taunting law enforcement on YouTube videos. On Wednesday, a man claiming to be Binsack called The Daily Item and says he is on the run because he fears for his life. He added that if U.S. Marshals want him, he’s in Costa Rica, where he has had a house for over a decade. U.S. Marshals in Williamsport said Binsack is still wanted on parole violations, though they did not indicate whether they believe he is actually in Costa Rica. Binsack said he wanted to contact the media to let them know that recent reports about him are false and that he will be surrendering soon if he is granted an appearance before a federal judge.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The man charged with providing heroin to overdose victim 23-year-old Trichelle Grove of Catawissa expressed remorse after a court hearing Wednesday. 30-year-old Nathan Steimling, of Bloomsburg sent felony drug delivery charges on to Columbia County Court during a hearing yesterday. The Press Enterprise reports Steimling faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. Grove died in the back seat of a car shortly after injecting heroin in the bathroom of the McDonal’s Restaurant in Bloomsburg. Steimling and another woman took her to Bloomsburg Hospital where she was pronounced dead at the emergency room. Steimling remains jailed on $150,000 bail.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - While arresting a Coal Township man who in May allegedly broke another man’s eye sockets, nose and ribs, state parole agents on Wednesday found that suspect 33-year-old Ronald Bowman had recently been stabbed in the chest. Bowman, was caught in a Coal Township home and was taken to Shamokin Community Hospital following an appearance before District Judge John Gembic on Wednesday morning. Bowman was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor simple assault filed by Zerbe Township police. Bowman had been on the run for approximately six months after a warrant was issued for his arrest in the alleged May 26th assault of 47-year-old Brian Kitchen, of Coal Township, in Trevorton. Police say Kitchen suffered injuries to his face and two broken ribs that required hospital treatment. Bowman claimed to have been stabbed in the lung area by another man Monday and said he took care of the stab wound himself.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - Crystal Nicole Clark, who is accused of attacking her boyfriend with a knife last week after being released from a juvenile shelter, was ordered to appear for a pre-trial conference in January after sending her charges onto Northumberland County Court before District Judge Hugh Jones. The 17-year-old Mount Carmel resident will now wait to see if her attorney, Paige Rosini, is successful in having the adult case transferred to juvenile court. Rosini is expected to file a petition with Judge Charles Saylor to transfer the case to juvenile court before her client's pre-trial conference scheduled for January 4th. Clark was charged as an adult by Mount Carmel Police with two felony counts of aggravated assault, and related counts for the attack during the afternoon of November 5th at 44 West Second Street in Mount Carmel. On October 12th, Clark was found guilty by Judge Saylor on charges of terroristic threats, and related counts for allegedly calling in three bomb threats to Mount Carmel Area School District on October 9th. She served time at a juvenile detention center in Lycoming County and was on probation when she allegedly attacked her boyfriend.
(WGRC)

NEW COLUMBIA - State police discovered a pound a marijuana in the trunk of a vehicle after stopping the man driving for speeding. The 21-year-old from Williamsport was stopped on Route 15 in White Deer Township on Monday night. Troopers say the man gave a false name and date of birth and they searched his vehicle finding the marijuana and $2000 in suspected drug money. The driver will be charged with possession with the intent to deliver marijuana. Police have not released the man’s name.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG - A 26-year-old Middleburg man allegedly shot a 310-pound rodeo bull that wandered into his grandmother’s garden. Andrew Hestor’s tale of guarding his grandmother’s produce was undermined by the fact that after the animal died, he took the carcass to a butcher and tried to get it processed. The butcher called the animal’s owner, Roger Moyer, of Beavertown, who reported the incident to police. Hestor was charged with theft and animal cruelty. The incident happened in late August.
(WGRC)

MUNCY - The owner of a Lycoming County trucking company, along with two of his employees, has been charged with dumping thousands of gallons of gas drilling waste water onto the company's grounds without first getting the required state permits. The facility is part of the Muncy Industrial Park complex. 55-year-old James Stolte, the owner of Clark Trucking and Excavating, in Muncy Creek Township; along with 38-year-old Andrew Miller, the company's manager; and company dispatcher 30-year-old James Kinnard, have been charged with three misdemeanor counts of violating the state's solid waste management act. The charges were filed by officials with the Environmental Crimes Section of the state attorney general's office. Former employees tell the Sun Gazette on at least a dozen times, Kinnard was seen empting frack water storage tanks by opening rear valves "so that when waste water was put into the tanks, it flowed out onto the ground." Tanks were also dumped out along rural roadways. Most of the alleged incidents occurred between June 2010 and June 2011.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The state attorney general's office as well as law enforcement in Columbia County has formed a meth lab task force. District Attorney Tom Leipold says the mission of the task force is to stop meth labs in their tracks and there has been some in-roads made thus far. The state attorney general's office has provided some manpower while local law enforcement know where the bad guys are cooking up the drug.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - The Schuylkill County commissioners presented their 2013 preliminary budget Wednesday, avoiding a tax increase for the ninth consecutive year despite a $2 million shortfall. The preliminary budget has an expected expenditure of $47.6 million from the county general fund and revenue of $45.4 million. The $2 million shortfall will be paid with funds from the county general fund. The 2013 fund revenue is only $73,000 more than the 2012 original budget.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Lycoming County's proposed budget that holds property tax rates steady for the ninth consecutive year goes on public display today. The preliminary spending plan includes $96.2 million in expenses - $1.65 million more than last year - and $86.1 million in revenues - $6.6 million more than last year. The $10.1 million difference between expenses and revenues will be balanced by the county's available fund balance. Commissioners said the budget routinely is balanced with money set aside for such purposes. Commissioner Jeff Wheeland said more than six months of work goes into creating a new budget. He said that's made even more difficult when the county doesn't always know how much revenue to expect. Increased revenues for the 2013 budget are expected from Act 13 natural gas drilling impact fees that will add about $4 million. Commissioners said that money wasn't counted on when preparing the budget. Public comments on the proposed budget will be accepted at 10 a.m. December 6th during a commissioners' meeting. Changes in the budget could be made up to December 13th when it is expected to be adopted. The proposed budget will be on display at the commissioners' office; the James V. Brown Library; and online at lyco.org.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – Just over $50,000 was generated through the sale of 19 properties at a Northumberland County judicial sale Wednesday. Northumberland County Tax The sale, which started at 10 a.m. in the public meeting room at the county administration center, lasted only 40 minutes with 22 bidders. Northumberland County Commissioner Vinny Clausi, in his usual fashion during the sales, acted as auctioneer. The properties sold were located in Shamokin, Coal Township, Mount Carmel, Mount Carmel Township and Milton. The next judicial sale will be held in May 2013.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – The Lewisburg Recreational Authority has set a $605,000 budget for 2013. The Authority says it expects $30,000 in profit in 2013 as it did in 2012. About 80 percent of the Authority’s budget comes from fees charged for programs and services in Lewisburg and East Buffalo Township. Authority board Chairman , Jim Mathias tells the Daily Item the Authority is working hard to make sure they earn the trust of the municipalities and taxpayers they serve following a checkered past with shortcomings.
 (WGRC)

LEWISBURG – The Buffalo Valley Regional Police board of Commissioner approved the department’s 2013 budget at their meeting last night. The $2 million budget is the first for the Department that officially got off the ground in February. The Department’s budget placed no increases on East Buffalo Township and Lewisburg, the two municipalities it serves.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - A 30-inch natural gas line project, starting in Sullivan County, will cross through parts of Montour County. Valley Township supervisors Vice Chairman Walt Rupert said he got a call recently from a township resident about the pipeline. Rupert did further research and found that the pipeline will be in the area of Sugar Camp Road in the township. Commonwealth Pipeline, which Rupert was told is state-owned, will install the line. It is expected to be placed 10 feet underground. Township solicitor Robert Buehner Jr. was told the pipeline will be built in the Strawberry Ridge area near the PPL Montour Plant, will cross Steffens and Hillside roads in Derry Township, Sugar Camp Road, continue west in the Mausdale area, go over Bald Top mountain and into Mahoning Township to the Susquehanna River. Eventually, it is expected to extend to the Philadelphia suburbs.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - The same conversations that have dominated the Clinton County Prison Board meetings for over half a year were resolved yesterday. The board hired a new medical service to provide health care to inmates, and hired a new law firm to represent the prison's legal interests. The meeting was also marked by an extensive discussion of budget issues and a much more brief examination of the search for a new prison warden after Warden Tom Duran was released recently. The board is expecting a substantial increase in the prison's financial burden to county government in 2013, mostly due to a reduction in revenue and number of inmates the county prison receives for housing state inmates. In 2012, the prison was expected to cost the county about $1.77 million. In 2013, that figure is expected to increase to about $3.16 million.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE - Plans to reconstruct the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority’s Loyalsock Creek Bridge will be presented and discussed at a public meeting in Montoursville on Tuesday, November 20th.  The original bridge, located between Montoursville and Williamsport, was heavily damaged during last year’s flood resulting from Tropical Storm Lee.  It was subsequently demolished and the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority took steps to expedite its replacement.   The meeting will be held at the Borough Office Building, 617 North Loyalsock Avenue, beginning at 7:00 pm. Joint Rail Authority officials say, there will be no traffic delays during construction and, when the bridge is complete, it will not block the Loyalsock Creek in the case of future high water situations or floods. The Rail Authority expects to put the project out for bid in December and award a construction contract in January. The estimated cost of the project is $14 million and completion is anticipated by the end of 2013.  
(WGRC)

READING - Big changes are coming to Boscov’s department stores. The stores will soon no longer sell major appliances and electronics. Boscov’s is known as a chain that sells a bit of everything, but after the holidays TVs, refrigerators, washers and dryers will not be on that list. Boscov’s employees said a circular in this Sunday’s paper will tell more about the phasing out of the major appliance and electronics department and any sale information. The department will be gone after Christmas.
(WNEP)

MIFFLINTOWN - The Juniata County Food Pantry is celebrating 30 years of operation and service to families throughout the county. Since opening its doors for the first time in 1982, the pantry has grown in size, support, food options and community donations. Kathy Queitzsch, executive director for the Juniata County Food Pantry says when the pantry first started it was originally operated by volunteers from four churches of the Mifflintown and Mifflin boroughs, serving an average of 7.5 families a month. Now, more than 70 churches support the pantry with more than 400 hours of service a month while providing for 850 individuals a month at a cost of less than $16 each. One thing, however, has remained the same since 1982, people in Juniata County are still struggling to make a living and many, over 2,500 according to the 2010 census, are living below the poverty level, unable to afford food, clothing and shelter. The Juniata County Food Pantry is now collecting donations for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, including turkeys, hams, cranberry sauce, stuffing, canned sweet potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, gravy mix packets and dessert mixes. However, the pantry is always looking for non-perishable foods like baby care, personal care, cleaning and paper supplies. The food pantry, located at 114 N. Main Street Mifflintown, will be accepting food donations during the operating hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. each Saturday. Non-perishable donations may be left at any time. Cash, check or gift card donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 44, Mifflintown, 17059.
(WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - Kickoff for the annual Salvation Army Kettle Drive will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, Route 61 in Coal Township. Major Tina Streck, commanding officer of the local Salvation Army, with headquarters at 1400 W. Spruce Street, said arrangements have been made with Councilman R. Craig Rhoades, Shamokin City Public Safety Director and fire official, to have a city fire engine at the kickoff, along with some firefighters to help man the kettle. In addition, students from the Shamokin Area Elementary will man the kettles during the kickoff. Although Saturday is the official kickoff, kettles may be at several locations as early as today. Streck issued a plea to area individuals, businesses, service clubs, church groups and anyone else interested in assisting to contact the Salvation Army at 644-0486 and offer their help in this year of great need. Streck said volunteers can offer to man the kettle, take one or more "Angel" tags from the tree at the Wal-Mart, Route 61, adopt a family or purchase a ham, turkey or chicken for a Christmas basket. Families in the Lower Northumberland County region have until Tuesday, November 27th, to apply, by appointment, for Christmas assistance. The Salvation Army is also helping families affected by super-storm Sandy.
(WGRC)

NORTHUMBERLAND - A special toy drive is planned to remember 3-year-old Mayson Mahaffey, who died in a car accident with his father Kirk on July 17th along the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge. Toys are now being collected, which will be donated as holiday gifts for the children being treated at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital at Geisinger Medical Center. Mayson’s mother is Ashley Brown, who is happy about the toy drive to remember her son. Brown is also glad to know each toy will have a tag on it in memory of Mayson. She said that will help keep his memory alive. New and unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Sunbury American Legion or at Manor Care Nursing Home. There is also an account for donations in honor of Mayson at the Keystone Federal Credit Union.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG- Senate Republicans on Wednesday elected their leadership team for the 2013-14 legislative session, including re-electing Senator Jake Corman, of Bellefonte, as the Majority Appropriations Chairman. The Appropriations Committee reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact on the Commonwealth and plays a crucial role in developing the state budget. Corman says, "We face challenging economic times in the future. I remain committed to holding the line on spending and seeking long-term solutions to the fiscal issues impacting the Commonwealth."
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Penn State should overhaul its governing structure in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal, with the most important step being removal of the university president as a voting trustee. Pennsylvania's auditor general made that recommendation yesterday. Auditor General Jack Wagner had called in July for that and some of the other recommended changes, but the new report elaborates on them and extends into new areas, including board term limits, the granting of emeritus status and the ability of university employees to become trustees. Wagner says, "Real and substantive reform of the governance structure is still presently not occurring." "It's time for the General Assembly, the governor and the Board of Trustees to step up." He argued that the 32-member board is too large and the Right-to-Know Law should fully extend to Penn State and the three other "state-related" schools. The state Public Official and Ethics Act also should apply to Penn State. He said some of the rules that direct how Penn State operates — including having the governor vote on board matters — dates to an 1855 law that helped establish it. He would shrink the board from 32 members to 21 plus a nonvoting governor, and increase the number needed for a voting quorum from 13 to a majority of members. The Associated Press reports, Wagner made the recommendations known at a Capitol news conference Tuesday.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Top executives of the power companies hit hardest by super-storm Sandy are defending their response to power outages across eastern Pennsylvania. Executives from PPL, PECO and FirstEnergy told a Senate panel Wednesday that Sandy caused more damage than Hurricane Irene and other storms that struck the state last year, leaving 1.2 million customers without power at its peak. The Associated Press reports, It took nine days to restore power, but the officials said it might have been worse if they had not heeded the lessons of 2011. They cited improved planning, better communication with customers and increased cooperation with state agencies.
(WGRC)