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December 4, 2012

MILLVILLE – Fire fighters are on the scene of a house fire in Columbia County.  Fire crews were called to a working house fire at 214 Legion Road in Madison Township around 4 this afternoon.  Fire fighters remained on the scene of that fire as of 5:30 pm.
John Callahan (WGRC)

HEGINS – A man is dead after a crash this morning in Schuylkill County.  State Police say 46-year old Robert Taylor of Scranton was killed when he lost control of his truck on Route 25 in Hegins Township just before 6 this morning.  A passenger, 34-year old Paul Frisbie, also of Scranton, suffered a minor injury.  51-year old Clinton Otto of Hegins was able to avoid hitting Taylor’s truck but his car went off the roadway and into a drainage ditch.  Otto was not hurt.  Taylor’s box truck drifted off the roadway and he overcorrected going back and forth across the road as he tried to regain control.  The truck finally went off the road, up and embankment and head on into a tree, before drifting back across Route 25 and into a fence near the Camp-A- While campground.  Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene.
John Callahan (WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – No one seriously injured in a crash involving a school bus this morning in Snyder County.  State Police say 48-year old Irene Walter of Middleburg pulled out from Dock Hill Road onto Route 522 and into the path of a school bus driven by 27-year old David Crossgrove of Middleburg.  The accident happened just after 7:30 this morning in Franklin Township.  Police say Walter had a minor injury, as did one of the 11 students on the school bus.  Crossgrove was not hurt.
John Callahan (WGRC)

LEWISTOWN  –  Geisinger Health System  and Lewistown Hospital have announced that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent to explore ways the organizations can work together to benefit health care in Lewistown and the surrounding area.  With the signing of the letter of intent, Lewistown Hospital and Geisinger can now move into a due diligence process and explore the possibilities of working together in greater detail. This process could take several months.

POTTSVILLE – In Schuylkill County, the City of Pottsville is planning to let five full-time workers go, according to the preliminary 2013 budget unveiled November 29th.  Three police officers, a street worker and a tax office employee could lose their jobs. City and union officials are expected to meet this week to discuss the matter, the city's budget woes and if they're unable to come up with better solutions, the layoffs.  City solicitor Thomas Pellish tells the Republican Herald, seniority usually determines which employees will be affected.  That will be the case regarding the contracts the city has with Pottsville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 44 and District Council 89 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 13. 

(Harrisburg) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker says he’s frustrated over reports that some insurance companies are dropping worker’s compensation coverage for volunteer fire fighter as a result of a new state law that guarantees benefits to those who become ill with cancer caused by exposure to carcinogens at a fire or hazardous materials accident.  After signing off on the bill, some insurers now want municipalities to pay higher premiums or are simply refusing to offer coverage, and that has state senator Tim Solobay upset.  Since the law took effect in 2011 67 firefighters statewide have filed for worker’s compensation.

(Harrisburg) – Schuylkill County State Senator David Argall says he will reconvene the Pennsylvania Blight Task Force in an effort to continue the fight against blight and abandonment.  Argall made the announcement as he spoke to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania’s Homes Within Reach Conference.  Argall says he plans to discuss areas to improve on current laws in place to aid with community revitalization, as well as upcoming legislative priorities including a potential tax on landlords.  The Blight Task Force was established by Argall’s predecessor, the late Senator James Rhoades.

(Undated) – In six consecutive presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has won the electoral votes in Pennsylvania.  Now there is a proposal that would award the state’s electoral votes proportionally to reflect the will of the people more fairly.  Pennsylvania is a blue state that is overwhelmingly red when you look at it county-by-county.  Professor of Political Science at Franklin&Marshall College, Terry Madonna says the idea would better reflect the intentions of the voters of the state.  The Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burns says, however, that the idea is nothing more than sour grapes.

(Williamsport) – The Pennsylvania Department of Environment will hold a public meeting and hearing on Thursday, January 3 to discuss a proposed air quality plan approval for Moxie Patriot for a new 936-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant to be constructed in Clinton Township, Lycoming County.  The 6:30 PM meeting will be held at the Clinton Township Fire Company Route 54, Montgomery.  DEP North-Central Regional Director Marcus Kohl says the staff of DEP’s Air Quality program will explain the application review process, Moxie Patriot officials will review the project with the audience, and then there will be a question and answer session.

(Montoursville) -- Another very mild day today in Central PA as the warmth out of the Mississippi Valley continues its eastward trek.  The mild temperatures have skiers and snowmobilers a bit antsy, but it is December, and the weather can change quickly.  In fact colder weather is on the way for later this week, but what about snow?  Whenever it arrives the Pennsylvania Department of Highways is ready according to spokesman Rick Mason. Winter driving information is available online at <d-o-t.state.pa.us>.

(Saint Clair) – Two Pottsville men are in prison after being arrested Monday for allegedly breaking into a Saint Clair home and stealing money and guns.  Police say 53-year-old Raymond Acker, Sr. and 35-year-old Tim Reed both of 622 Mahantongo Street are accused of breaking into the house at 53 South Front Street in Saint Clair at least twice between October 24th and November 20th.  According to the Pottsville Republican newspaper that in the process of arresting Acker and Reed, police discovered a house full of items stolen from homes in Saint Clair and Pottsville.  Acker and Reed both were unable to post bail and are now in jail.

(Williamsport) – A bank robbery in Williamsport Monday afternoon.  Police say the robbery happened at the M&T Bank located at 2001 West 4th Street in the Newberry section.  A man described as black, and between 5 feet 8 inches and six feet  made off with an undisclosed amount of money.  The suspect was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt with the name Hollister on it, a dark ski mask and white gloves.  Police say that there was no weapon involved in the robbery.

(Coudersport) – The 53-year-old organist who was gunned down by her former husband Sunday during a morning worship service in Coudersport, Potter County was a native of Benton in Columbia County.  Darlene Sitler was a 1977 graduate of Benton High School, and taught music at the Northern Potter Children’s School for 30 years.  Her ex-husband, 52-year-old Gregory Eldred taught music in the Coudersport School District for 25 years.  Sitler is survived by her mother Martha who lives in Orangeville, and two brothers Arden and Marlin who also live in the area.