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December 5, 2012

LEWISTOWN - A tractor-trailer containing boxes of cereal crashed last night in Mifflin County. The accident happened around 9:15 last night near the Route 322 east on-ramp at Shaw Avenue in Lewistown. Lewistown Police Department tells the Sentinel, the driver, who was traveling east near the ramp, said a blown tire caused the crash.   The driver was not hurt.
(WGRC)

MILLVILLE – A fire damages a home in Columbia County yesterday afternoon.  Fire fighters were called to 214 Legion Road in Madison Township just after 4 yesterday afternoon.  Todd Johnson, who rents the home from his brother in law, Jake Reifendifer, said he left for work not long before a neighbor saw smoke coming from the eves of the home and called 9-1-1.  The Press-Enterprise reports, the accidental fire started in the kitchen, but fire officials are not sure how.  The home suffered significant fire, smoke and water damage.  Fire authorities said it was too early to tell last night whether the home is beyond repair.  Reifendifer has insurance on the home, but Johnson does not have renters insurance.  A fire fighter had breathing issues and was taken to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Three Clinton County teenagers charged in connection with the drug overdose death of another teen are making their way through the local legal process.  18-year old Wade Merrill of Lock Haven, waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday in Clinton County Central District Court.  His co-defendant, Joseph M. Dicello III, was granted a continuance in central court until December 18th.  Last week, the hearing for 18-year old Nathan Tasselli was scheduled for December 11th.  The Express reports, the three teenagers and a minor have been charged in connection with the death of 18-year old Robert Wise, who was found unconscious in downtown Lock Haven last May 23rd after smoking gel from the prescription drug, Fentanyl.  Wise died two days later.
(WGRC)

MILLVILLE – A fire damages a home in Columbia County yesterday afternoon.  Fire fighters were called to 214 Legion Road in Madison Township just after 4 yesterday afternoon.  Todd Johnson, who rents the home from his brother in law, Jake Reifendifer, said he left for work not long before a neighbor saw smoke coming from the eves of the home and called 9-1-1.  The Press-Enterprise reports, the accidental fire started in the kitchen, but fire officials are not sure how.  The home suffered significant fire, smoke and water damage.  Fire authorities said it was too early to tell last night whether the home is beyond repair.  Reifendifer has insurance on the home, but Johnson does not have renters insurance.  A fire fighter had breathing issues and was taken to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment.
(WGRC)

(Middleburg;Danville) – Property taxes will go up a bit in Snyder County if a preliminary budget of over $16 million dollars gets final approval by County Commissioners.  The tentative budget has a $238,000 deficit, and will be covered by a one mill hike in property taxes.   Snyder County Commissioners, Joe Kantz, Malcolm Derk and Peggy Chamberlain will adopt a final spending plan December 27.  Meanwhile, in Montour County, Commissioners have given tentative approval to their 2013 budget without raising property taxes.  Under the proposed budget, county employees will receive a two percent cost of living raise.  There was no raise for Montour County employees in 2012.

(Bloomsburg) – Senator John Gordner has announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is accepting applications for the Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program.  Gordner, who represent the 27th Senatoral District, says the money is available as part the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Bill to purchase and convert fleet vehicles from gasoline or diesel to natural gas.  Under Act 13 up to $20 million dollars will be available over the next three years, and grants will cover up to one half the cost for each vehicle.  Grant applications are available at <d-e-p-dot-state-dot-pa-dot us>

(Snow Shoe) – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania DUI Association will be hosting the DUI Victims’ Moving Memorial from 10 AM to 2 PM on Friday, December 7th the eastbound Interstate 80 Snow Shoe rest area.  The moving memorial highlights the consequences of impaired driving, and is housed in a 30-foot trailer and includes a 25-foot wall printed with the names of people who have been killed by drunk drivers.  The moving memorial is a replica of the permanent DUI Victims Memorial Garden in Harrisburg. 

(Montoursville) – PennDot has announced that police in Central Pennsylvania will be enforcing aggressive driving laws as part of Operation Safe Holidays beginning Friday, December 7th.  The enforcement will continue through the holidays.  Bob Schaeffer is a traffic safety specialist with the North Central Highway Safety Network and he says aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, making careless lane changes and passing in no-passing zones.

(Harrisburg) – Pennsylvania Democratic leaders in Harrisburg say on the first day of the new legislative session in January they will introduce 39 pieces of legislation designed to put Pennsylvanians back to work.  Senator Jay Costa says as part of the plan the state needs to fully fund education. And Costa says all this can be accomplished without raising taxes.
    
(Harrisburg) -- State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby briefed legislative leaders on the status of the state budget yesterday.  After the meeting Speaker of the House, Republican Sam Smith, said that despite an increase in revenue the outlook is not rosy because most of the revenue growth will go to medical assistance and public employee pensions.  Revenue figures were not released yesterday, but last month a report by the Independent Fiscal Office said the revenue growth would amount to $832 million, but $500 million of it would go to increases in pensions and another $100 million in increases in medical assistance.

(Harrisburg) – Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are urging state wildlife enthusiasts to join the tens of thousands of volunteers nationwide for the Audubon Society’s 114th Annual Christmas Bird Count which will take place December 14 through January 5.  Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Division Director Dan Brauning says “each year, volunteers brave the cold, snow, wind or rain to take part in the Christmas Bird Count which makes an enormous contribution to bird conservation.  To participate checkout <pa-birds-dot-org>

(Middleburg) – Property owners in Snyder County can expect an increase in their taxes of one mill in 2013.  That’s because the County 2013 budget of over $16 million has a shortfall of $238,000.  At the same time property owners in Montour County will see no tax increase as the Commissioners work to finalize their 2013 budget.

(Harrisburg) -- For the first time since the 1980s the state capitol has a Christmas tree on the front steps, and Governor Tom Corbett hopes it will mark the renewal of that tradition.  The tree on the capitol steps and one inside the capitol rotunda were lit yesterday by the Governor and his wife Susan.  Corbett said his administration decided to put a tree outside to express the spirit of peace and friendship with the people of the state capital and the visitors who go to Harrisburg.

(Lewistown) – With the announcement yesterday that the Geisinger Health System and the Lewistown Hospital entered into a non-binding agreement, the Concerned Physicians and Practitioners of Mifflin and Juniata Counties met last night to express their opposition to the plan.  The group says it opposes any merger with Geisinger because of a number of issues including transparency, potential loss of jobs, the creation of a health care monopoly , displacement of patients and an increase in patient co-pays.