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November 19, 2012

MILROY – A mobile home is destroyed by fire this morning in Mifflin County.  Fire fighters were called to a structure fire at 10 White Birch Drive in Armagh Township around 9:30 this morning.  A fire official tells us flames were showing when they arrived.  One person was taken to a hospital for treatment of burns.  He says the trailer is a total loss.  A State Police Fire Marshal will investigate to try and determine how the fire started.  Fire crews were on the scene for about two and a half hours.
John Callahan (WGRC)

SAINT CLAIR - Police in Schuylkill County arrested two people Monday morning after chasing them through a wooded area near Darkwater. They were pursuing the pair in connection with a retail theft at the Walmart store in Saint Clair. A supervisor at the Schuylkill County 9-1-1 Center said three people fled in a vehicle after the 10:07 incident this morning and one was taken into custody a short time later. Two others jumped from the vehicle and fled on foot.  The Republican Herald reports, their identities have yet to be released.
(WGRC)

BARNESVILLE - The body of a McAdoo man was found Sunday afternoon in the waters of Tuscarora State Park, in Rush Township, Schuylkill County. Police say 22-year-old Kamil Sposob was pronounced dead at the scene just after five p.m. by the Schuylkill County Coroner’s office. An autopsy on Sposob will be performed at Lehigh Valley Hospital. McAdoo police said Sunday afternoon that Sposob was reported missing around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday by his stepfather. Police found his vehicle Wednesday at the park.  Sposob was entered as a missing person on Friday, two days after officers ticketed the vehicle. Searchers were called to the lake after the man's clothing was found on the edge of the water near the boat rental facility. Members of the Ryan Township dive team found the body of Sposob in the water about 15 to 20 feet from where his belongings were found. It’s believed Sposob’s death is an accidental drowning.
(WGRC)

ACHIAS, Maine - The body of a retired school teacher and coach from Riverside was found by Maine game wardens in a remote area on Thursday, hours after Eugene Koehler was reported missing. Koehler of Riverside was reported missing Wednesday night when he failed to meet the friend with whom he was hunting. Game wardens searched throughout the night and found his body just after six Thursday morning. The incident remains under investigation but authorities say natural causes are suspected in the death of the 73-year-old Koehler. Koehler had been a driver’s education teacher for 30 years in the Montgomery, Selinsgrove and Benton school districts. While working in the schools, Koehler had also served as a football and basketball coach.
(WGRC)

CENTRE HALL- Five members of a Spring Mills family were injured in a rollover crash Sunday morning on state Route 144 in Potter Township. State police at Rockview say 48-year-old Craig and Suzette Done and five children, ages 11 to 17, were traveling in the vehicle. Police say Craig Done was driving when the station wagon drifted off the roadway around nine a.m. Done lost control of the vehicle which went into a ditch and rolled. Police say three passengers were trapped and had to be pulled from the vehicle. One of the children was flown from the scene to Geisinger Medical Center. The other children and the couple were taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for treatment. Suzette Done and two 11-year-old boys suffered what police called moderate injuries. A 17-year-old girl and 15-year-old girl suffered minor injuries. Craig Done and a 15-year-old girl escaped unharmed.
(WGRC)

McELHATTAN - A crash on Route 220 in Wayne Township, Clinton County resulted in serious injuries to the driver and a massive emergency response. Volunteers from Wayne Township, Avis, Woolrich and Jersey Shore fire companies responded to the crash just before three a.m. Sunday. Police say 20-year-old Robert Chapman, of Jersey Shore drifted onto the center median and crashed into a culvert before rolling end over end. Chapman was thrown from the car and had it land on top of him. Chapman was flown to Geisinger Medical Center then transferred to the Lehigh Valley Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

FRACKVILLE - The treasurer of the Schuylkill Historical Fire Society was seriously injured when the van he was driving crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer Friday on Route 924 in Frackville. Frackville police said John Kelly, of Port Carbon, was trapped inside his van for a brief time before being rescued and flown to Geisinger Medical Center. Kelly remains in serious condition at Geisinger. The driver of the truck was identified as Joseph Dolan, of Gilbertsville. Police say Dolan was not injured. The crash happened just before one Friday afternoon.
(WGRC)

MONTGOMERY – A 62-year-old Montgomery man was flown from the scene of a crash on Route 405 in Lycoming County Thursday. The crash happened around 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of Route 405 and Brick Church Road in Clinton Township. Police say Kerry Mausteller went off the roadway into a ditch hitting a culvert causing his truck to become airborne and land in another ditch across Brick Church Road. He had to be cut free from the wreckage and flown to Geisinger where he remains in serious condition.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SHAMOKIN DAM – A Coal Township man was taken to Geisinger Hospital following a crash in Snyder County. The crash happened just before two Saturday afternoon on the Old Trail in Shamokin Dam. Police say 31-year-old Brian Leshinskie suffered moderate injuries when he drifted across the roadway and hit two parked vehicles on the other side. Geisinger officials say Leshinski was discharged Sunday.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HEGINS – A 17-year-old Klingerstown boy was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center following a crash just after Noon, Sunday. The crash happened on Fearnot Road in Hubley Township, Schuylkill County. Police say the teen lost control of his vehicle and began fish-tailing when he went into a ditch. It’s thought the teen suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG — The man wanted for robbing the Swineford National Bank in Beaver Springs along with two other robberies is now in custody. 38-year-old Richard Lockett of Harrisburg was taken into custody on Friday and will be formally charged today. State Police say Lockett is charged with the bank robbery in Beaver Springs on November 5th along with two other robberies in Port Royal and Thompsontown. He is also suspected of the attempted robbery at a bank in McClure on November 5th. Lockett is being held in the Mifflin County Prison on a probation violation.
(WGRC)

MILTON — State police are looking for a man who tried to rob a convenience store in Milton on Saturday afternoon. Troopers say the man walked into the Sunoco store on Route 254, in Turbot Township around 2:15 p.m. the man demanded money from the store’s register. The store clerk activated the panic alarm and the man fled towards Milton on foot. No weapons were seen by the clerk. The man is described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds. He had dark brown hair, brown eyes and short facial hair. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call state police at Milton.
(WGRC)

MAHANOY CITY – Two Mahanoy City men are facing burglary charges after sneaking onto private property and trying to steal metal pipe. That happened Thursday afternoon just after noon. Police say 31-year-old Bobby Carnell and 33-year-old Jeffery Reimard snuck onto the Schuylkill Energy Resources, Yatesville co-generation plant and attempted to take two steel pipes when they were caught by plant security. Security held the two in custody until state police arrived.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MUNCY - A 42-year-old Muncy man is behind bars on $50,000 bail following a high-speed chase which led police through four counties on Saturday. State police tried to stop 42-year-old Robert Steele, but he sped away in his vehicle and led police on a chase through Lycoming, Columbia, Montour and Northumberland Counties. Police say they were finally able to stop Steele after about 35 miles. Steele was arrested and will be charged with felony fleeing and eluding and DUI charges.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

NORTH CENTRE TOWNSHIP - An 18-year-old man is in prison, charged with breaking three bones in his baby daughter's leg. Police say Andrew Hess "twisted the child's leg in an attempt to stop her from crying." The infant, Elvira Hess, was admitted to Geisinger Medical Center, November 9th, about 10 to 14 days after parts of her leg were first fractured. Police say the girl had a fractured right femur, tibia and fibula, which are the three major bones of the leg. Charged with endangering the welfare of children and three counts of simple assault, Hess was locked up Friday in the Columbia County jail with bail set at $75,000. The child is now in foster care.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - In Schuylkill County, a 35-year-old man and a 13-year-old girl jumped from the third floor of a house that was on fire in Pottsville Saturday. Flames were visible from the rear first floor of the house at 101 North 16th Street and heavy smoke could be seen coming from the structure. Pottsville Fire Chief Todd March says if they wouldn't have jumped they probably would not have made it out of the fire alive." Both Brian Dunlap and Brianna Parks were flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital following that fire which broke out just after eleven a.m.  Dunlap remains in stable condition at the hospital while no condition report was available for Parks.
(WGRC)

BERWICK - A 17-year-old boy has admitted to setting two recent fires on Vine Street, in Berwick in Columbia County. But officers are continuing to investigate if others were involved. The fires destroyed two vacant houses in seven days. The teen's description of how the blazes started matched what investigators found at the scenes. The boy, who has been in trouble before, was turned over to juvenile probation.
(WGRC)

BARNESVILLE - Flames tore through the night sky Sunday as they destroyed a large garage in Schuylkill County. Crews were called about 8 p.m. to the garage owned by John Maddis at 413 Back Road in Ryan Township. Fire officials said the garage, located near the intersection with State Road, was completely engulfed in flames when they arrived. Several explosions could be heard coming from inside the structure. Firefighters at the scene said the explosions were probably caused by propane tanks that were stored inside. Ryan Township fire officials said it was too early to determine what sparked the fire and that the investigation is continuing.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Fire fighters were called out in Loyalsock Township early on Saturday evening for a fire at an apartment unit at Penn Vale.  Firefighters were called to 1834 Hazel Drive just before six Saturday evening when fire broke out in the kitchen of a unit occupied by Latoya Fogan and her two children. It’s believed that an unattended pan left on the stove started the fire which then spread to the wall of the kitchen doing about $30,000 dollars in damage. No one was injured, and Fogan and her two children are temporarily displaced.
(WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT - A fire that broke out early Wednesday morning at 1936 Route 15 in Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, caused more than $200,000 in damage and left the sole male occupant homeless for several weeks. Williamsport fire investigators say the fire was accidental and caused by a wood burner. The home owner, whose identity was not released, was awakened by smoke and managed to get out of the house on his own. The owner has fire insurance. Fire investigators say the owner had no smoke alarms in the house, and encouraged everyone to have working alarms in their homes.
(WGRC)

SELINSGROVE - The owner of Arby’s Restaurant in Selinsgrove and West Hazleton who is accused of not reporting or paying sales tax for more than two years, owes the state more than $160,000 in sales and withholding taxes. 56-year-old Joseph Bissol, of Hazle Township, was charged last week with 39 counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 20 counts of failure to file sales tax returns and three counts of failure to file employer withholding tax returns. Bissol served as the manager of the Arby’s in the Susquehanna Valley Mall, which was opened by his family in 1990. The Daily Item reported, Bissol’s business, JPB Associates, which owns Arby’s in Selinsgrove and West Hazleton, did not pay over $141,000 in sales tax owed to the state Department of Revenue between February 2010 and July 2012. A complaint against Bisol was filed by the state Attorney General’s Office. Bissol is free on $10,000 unsecured bail pending a preliminary hearing.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - Scott Binsack's attorney said Friday he plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Williamsport this morning involving his client's allegations of corruption in the city. The News Item reports, Frank Kepner, of Berwick, who said he has served as Binsack's lawyer for a couple weeks, would not say who would be named as defendants, but Binsack has been especially critical of city Police Chief Ed Griffiths and city clerk Steve Bartos. Binsack, co-creator of the "Something's Smokin in Shamokin" website and Facebook page that have generated much curiosity, failed to appear for a parole meeting in late October and remains on the run from federal marshals and state probation and parole agents. Binsack alleges Griffiths has conspired with the parole board to have him taken into custody without cause. Kepner said he does not know Binsack's whereabouts, and said he believed even if he did, that information would be protected under attorney/client privilege. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the U.S. marshals at their toll-free anonymous tip line, 866-437-9847.
(WGRC)

MUNCY - A Muncy man was arrested after a high-speed chase with police through four counties on Saturday. State police tried to stop 42-year-old Robert Steele, but he sped away in his vehicle and led police on a chase through Lycoming, Columbia, Montour and Northumberland Counties. Police say they were finally able to stop Steele after about 35 miles. Steele was arrested and will be charged with felony fleeing and eluding and DUI charges.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Sunbury Mayor David Persing and City Council members are pushing the Rescue Hose Fire Company to grant a hearing to a Sunbury firefighter the station banned for life. Rick Sinko told City Council he was quitting the fire department that he served for more than 30 years. He blamed Persing for not taking his phone calls related to the ban handed down October 9th. A panel of Rescue members accused Sinko of mishandling funds. No charges have been filed against the former third assistant chief, who has demanded he be allowed to continue fighting fires, assisting the department or be granted a transfer to another station. Three times, Sinko told City Council, he has requested hearings with the Rescue Hose Company, and three times he has been denied. The Daily Item reports, City Council has agreed the Sinko should get a hearing and say they would ask Persing to demand answers from the Rescue Hose Company.
(WGRC)

ALTOONA — Geisinger is in the running with a pair of western Pennsylvania health care companies to take over the 380-bed Altoona Regional Hospital. Geisinger officials made their proposal to Altoona's directors in late October.  The Press Enterprise reports, Highmark and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are the other two in the running. Highmark, the state's biggest health insurance company, is creating a $1 billion health system to compete with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Altoona Regional finished its year ending June 30th with a $6.4 million profit after finishing the previous year with $14.7 million in losses. Frank Trembulak, Geisinger's chief operating officer, confirmed in September that Geisinger was looking to expand westward into Altoona, but described those prospects as "on the back burner."
(WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - Mountain View: A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northumberland County has reportedly laid off employees involved in housekeeping and laundry duties. A relative of a worker who lost her job contacted The News-Item about the layoffs, which apparently were announced Thursday. Representatives at the Coal Township facility directed questions to Edward Bulliet, vice president of operations for Complete Healthcare Resources, which owns the facility. Bulliet says the company is in the process of writing up a news release today. Medicaid funding cuts have been a major concern for nursing homes. They said the cuts were the reason behind many nursing homes in Pennsylvania being forced to lay off workers.
(WGRC)

RENOVO - In Clinton County, barring a completely unseen last hour compromise, the Renovo Police Department will no longer cover South Renovo borough, effective January 1, 2013. That means state police from the Lamar barracks will be serving South Renovo residents. Renovo and South Renovo boroughs have not been able to agree on a contract, as neither side has accepted the terms of new proposals after a several months of negotiations. The contract, which is signed annually, became an issue in late September when Renovo Borough asked for an increase in the cost of the monthly bill from $900 in 2012 to $1,500 starting in 2013. South Renovo balked at the offer and the two sides had a heated exchange during the October 2012 Renovo Council meeting.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - More than three years after former U.S. Representative Chris Carney announced a $200,000 grant for surveillance cameras for Sunbury, the city is about to begin placing the technology around town. Sunbury Councilman Todd Snyder said the grant will provide for the use of 200 cameras. Fifty stationary cameras will be online by January 1st. Until then, Sunbury will use 12 mobile cameras for surveillance. Snyder tells the Daily item after the beginning of the year, the city will be “adding more cameras with the help of local businesses.”
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - There were plenty of broken hearts this week at The Center, in Williamsport with the announcement from the Lycoming County Housing Authority that the tenants must vacate the premises by month's end. A few of them who gathered for the final weeks of activity talked about how much they would miss seeing children in after-school programs, watching boys skirt around the court in a pickup game of basketball and more importantly - see hungry families served emergency food supplies. John Kiernan, a member of the Campbell Street Family, Youth and Community Center Association board tells the Sun Gazette, they were told by the authority that they have until Dec. 1 to leave the premises. Mayor Gabriel Campana said as a boy he learned a lot from programs when the building was on Park Avenue. When asked if he would get involved in the loss of a decades-old facility, Campana said he would remain out of the decision-making.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - "The Center in Williamsport which was closed over the weekend, was intended to be used as a community center and should continue operating as such - no matter whose hands it ends up in," those were the words of former director, Hank Mitchell, whose late father P.D. Mitchell served as the patriarchal figure and guiding hand of the organization when it was known as the Bethune Douglass Community Center. Mitchell tells the Sun Gazette, The Center served the city well - as a gathering place for people, especially youths who've learned valuable life lessons there. "This is needed for the city," he said. "The city should take it over." The deed for the Center specifies that the facility must be used for a community center should it ever be sold. City officials reportedly agreed to the property swap in order to take advantage of federal funding sources available for the upkeep and improvement of the park and The Center. Deed restrictions - that The Center and park remain open to the public for social, recreational and educational services - prevent the authority from selling the land without city approval and allow the city to retake the land if those restrictions are not honored.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - Due to declining enrollment, the Diocese of Allentown has commissioned a study to determine the future of Nativity BVM High School, Pottsville. Diocesan Communications Director Matt Kerr made that announcement Friday. The diocese has contracted Tweed-Weber of Reading, a research and strategic planning firm, to do the study. The study was announced in a letter sent home with Nativity students Friday. The study can begin as early as this week and the firm has been instructed to report back to the diocese with results during the first quarter of 2013.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - The Gillingham Charter School will be canceling its contracted food services with Tassone's Catering, Port Carbon, after a November 6th inspection by the state Department of Agriculture revealed 15 violations of the regulations governing the handling of food in Pennsylvania. On Friday, a representative from the charter school responded to the violations and the contract cancellation. Lori Quinn, vice president of Gillingham's board of trustees and director of public relations and marketing says it was for the safety of the children. The Republican Herald reports there were 15 violations. The report states that the inspection was in response to a complaint made by a parent of a child attending the charter school.
(WGRC)

DUBOISTOWN - State Department of Transportation officials marked Friday as a milestone with the reopening of the new DuBoistown Bridge, the last of the replacement river spans that carry passengers to and from the city of Williamsport in Lycoming County. The bridge, also known as the Arch Street Bridge, later this month will officially be named after Marine Lance Corporal Abarm L. Howard, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. Gov. Tom Corbett signed the law late last month to rename the bridge. The legislation was supported by local state legislators. Sandy Tosca, PennDOT district executive, says the replacement of the old bridge - which was determined to be structurally deficient - was completed on an "aggressive" time schedule. She said replacement of all the river spans - Market, Maynard and the DuBoistown bridges - was "something we've been striving for since the 1980s." The $18 million-project replaces a structure built in 1922. Tosca said the new bridge is expected to last nearly 100 years.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE — Penn State President Rodney Erickson says an accreditation warning has been lifted for the university. Erickson told school trustees that the Philadelphia-based Middle States Commission said Friday the university was in full compliance with all of its requirements, and that the commission has determined the school responded appropriately to the challenges that arose from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Middle States had issued a warning in August based on the fallout from the scandal. Evaluators visited campus last month. According to Erickson, Middle States said it was impressed by how the Penn State community responded to the scandal in emphasizing "unity and positive change over recrimination." Erickson said Middle States was also impressed with changes in Board of Trustees structure, and the replacement of key leaders.
(WGRC)

ANTES FORT - The Antes Fort Fire Hall saw a number of hunters and those interested in the outdoors as it kicked off the first day of bear rifle season Saturday. As the day went on, pickup truck after pickup truck backed into the designated stall for the state Game Commission to be able to weigh, tag and gather other information about the bear. But as the hunters brought their kills in one after the other, their arrivals were not without fanfare. Community members gathered along the sides of the weigh station and sat on bleachers to see what was brought in. The 2012 bear season continues today throughout the state.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - U.S. Representative Tom Marino, of Cogan Station, will be the featured speaker at tonight’s meeting of the Susquehanna Valley Conservatives. The meeting takes place in the Baylor East Conference Room at the Best Western Country Cupboard Inn, Lewisburg. Marino will discuss the election results and the impact they will have on our nation during the next four years. There will be time for questions from the audience.
(WGRC)

SELINSGROVE – The State Police Selinsgrove will be hosting a child safety seat checks this week. The checks will be held at the Selinsgrove State Police Barracks on Tuesday between 11:00 a.m. and three p.m. and then again Wednesday from three till seven p.m. The child safety checks are part of the National Highway Safety Administration’s “Click–it-or-Ticket,” campaign which runs through Sunday December second. The safety seat checks take about 15 to 20 minutes, and appointments can be made by calling the police barracks.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE – State Police in Centre County will be holding a child safety seat check on Tuesday. The check will be held at the Faith United Methodist Church, 512 Hughes Street in Bellefonte. The safety seat check is free and will be held from three to six p.m.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – The Sunbury YMCA will be holding its seventh annual coat giveaway today. People in need of coats may go to the Degenstein Youth Center at the North Fourth Street TMCA between four and eight p.m. today. Coats and accessories for infants, children and adults will be given away on a first-come, first-serve basis. Coats will also be available Tuesday from ten a.m. till seven p.m. and eight to ten a.m. Wednesday.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN -There's a drug abuse crisis in Clinton County - and part of it is probably hiding in your medicine cabinet. That's a large message from a small group of local professionals, and they're saying it because it's true - and because prescription drug abuse has become an increasing social woe locally, statewide and nationally. So large is the problem, health-care providers, drug rehabilitation, education professionals and more are inviting you -the public-to a special community forum. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 5th, in Ulmer Planetarium on the campus of Lock Haven University. The forum comes amid an effort by area doctors, educators, counselors and others who deal with drug abuse, including law enforcement, who met earlier this fall at Lock Haven Hospital to address what they call a "crisis" in prescription drug abuse in this area, across the state and nation. Prescription drugs - and the explosion in their abuse locally and on a national level- was the focus of a well attended presentation at the hospital recently.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG – Thanksgiving will soon be here and along with getting together with family and celebrating with “Thanks,” residents in the Susquehanna Valley are encouraged to register now for the annual Turkey Trot 5K in Mifflinburg. Susan Chlebowski helps organize the event. She said, “The idea is to burn some calories on Thanksgiving Day, before you eat all of those calories later in the day. During the race, your goal is to beat the “Turkey”. Each year there is a celebrity “Turkey.” Last year it was Mifflinburg Mayor David Cooley. If you can beat the turkey, you get a special stamp on your t-shirt. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Mifflinburg lacrosse club. To register, go online to www.fitforfunds.com.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - A law that takes effect later this year aims to improve the quality of gasoline at Pennsylvania's pumps. The measure requires random, unannounced testing of octane levels at gas stations statewide. AAA Mid Atlantic spokeswoman Jenny Robinson says the commonwealth was one of only three states in the union without a gas testing law. Robinson says the state or county weights and measures seal on a gas pump only certifies that it dispenses the correct amount of fuel. Those departments do not currently check the quality of gas. Governor Corbett signed the bill last week.
(WGRC)