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December 12, 2012

WILBURTON – Police take a man and woman into custody this morning in Columbia County after a lengthy search.  Police were looking for a stolen S-U-V whose occupants were said to be a man, his girlfriend and a very young child.  The pursuit started as early as 3 a.m. and included back roads in the Mount Carmel and Wilburton areas.  Police located the S-U-V in front of a home at 10 Front Street in Wilburton.  Police took 20-year old David A. Pavloski, the 2nd who lives at the home, and 21-year old Courtney Klemick , also of Wilburton, into custody just after 11 this morning after they forced entry into the home.  Klemick’s 9-month old son was with them and was placed in the custody of his grandfather at the scene.  The truck was taken from a friend of Klemick’s in Shamokin last night.  Pavloski has been in trouble with the law in the past, stealing a golf cart from Knoebel’s in 2010 and this past March for motor vehicle violations, including D-U-I and driving with a suspended license, related to an incident when he was driving a truck that wasn’t roadworthy. 
(WGRC/News-Item)

HARRISBURG – Governor Tom Corbett says Pennsylvania won’t set up its own health care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.   Corbett announced the decision today, saying the planning had been haphazard and setting up an exchange would be irresponsible. He says federal authorities haven’t adequately responded to questions about cost and other issues.   Many Democratic lawmakers, insurers and hospitals wanted Corbett to set up a state-run system.  The new insurance exchanges will allow households and small businesses to buy a private health plan, and many will get help from the government to pay their premiums. Under the law, states that can’t or won’t set up exchanges will have theirs run by the federal government.  The Associated Press reports, states considering a partnership have until mid-February to make a decision.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN – Fire crews were called out this morning to fight a fire in Clinton County. The fire was called out just after four this morning at 142 East Bald Eagle Street in Lock Haven. When crews arrived they discovered fire in the walls of the home. A quick response had the fire out in about an hour. No injuries were reported.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

ORANGEVILLE - A Milton man remains in serious condition following a crash Monday night on Route 487 in Columbia County. Police say 65-year-old Harold Reiner drifted into the opposite lane and slammed head-on into a vehicle driven by Waldemar Lysk of Benton. Both Reiner and Lysk were taken to Geisinger Medical Center. Lysk was treated and released.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – Accused killer 35-year-old Joel Snider’s continuance of writing letters and complaining about his defense attorneys prompted a closed door hearing yesterday in the Union County Courthouse. Snider of Saint Louis, Missouri is facing life in prison for the July 2010 murder of 70-year-old Sudharman, also known as Joe Fenton, a yoga instructor at the Yoga Center in New Berlin. Frank Fina with the State Attorney General’s office is handling the prosecution and says he’s received numerous letters from Snider as has Union County judge Michael Huddock. The letters complain about his current defense attorney Edward Rymsza of Williamsport. The hearing yesterday was to address the issue of effective council by Rymsza before trial started. Fina says the county could face additional expenses if new defense council has to be brought in this late stage.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE – In Schuylkill County a Palo Alto woman who was convicted back in October of running over another woman with her vehicle in Saint Clair and not reporting the incident is headed to prison. 63-year-old Joan Trayah was sentenced to 23 months behind bars by Schuylkill County Judge Charles Miller. The Judge also ordered Trayah to pay over $234,000 in fines and restitution. Saint Clair police had charged Trayah with striking Ho Ching Lan of Saint Clair in December 2011, while Lan was on the sidewalk at the entrance to The Buckhorn Cafe where Trayah had worked. After hitting Lan, Trayah took off and did not report the accident.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG – In Columbia County a Berwick man jailed for 16 months after being accused by a former girlfriend of sexually exploiting two children was cleared at trial Tuesday by a judge who found her story less than believable. President Judge Thomas James Jr. found 28-year-old Daniel Galindo not guilty on all charges. He was implicated last year by 24-year-old Christina Allen after she was questioned by police. Allen faces the same exploitation charges and changed her story several times on the stand at yesterday’s trial. The Press Enterprise reports, the children in the case also testified that Galindo had no part and that Allen was the perpetrator.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - A Mount Carmel woman is in Northumberland County Prison on charges she stole more than $4,500 worth of jewelry from a home and then tried to sell it to a local coin shop. Mount Carmel Police charged 38-year-old Sherry Wright with theft following the investigation into the August 23rd jewelry theft from the home on East Second Street. Wright was brought before District Judge Hugh Jones, of Mount Carmel and jailed on $20,000 bail.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A former high school bowling coach must spend three months in jail for “sexting” a female student earlier this year. 48-year-old Michael Nearhoof, of Bloomsburg, had pleaded guilty to corrupting a minor and sending images of himself to a girl. He had coached her while volunteering with the bowling team at Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech. The Press Enterprise reports, Judge Gary Norton imposed a three-to-12-month term that was at the high end of the sentencing range. Nearhoof will also remain on supervision for nine months when he is released from Columbia County Prison.
(WGRC)

MINERSVILLE - A 27-year-old Minersville woman is facing charges of cruelty to animals after borough police visited the home she was renting and finding the home in deplorable condition. Police were called to 449 Carbon Street to check on a report of animals being kept in inhabitable living conditions. Two dogs were found in the home without food and water and malnourished. Police had to kick the door of the home down to get inside where they found the dogs and a cat living in their own waste and filth of the home. The woman who rented the home, April Beckford, is now facing charges of cruelty to animals and related offenses.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Northumberland County Prison, in Sunbury, has agreed to pay a former deputy prison warden and his wife $87,000 as part of a settlement reached before a trial that was scheduled for January began in U.S. Middle District Court. John Conrad and his wife, Leslie, sued the county government and the county prison board after Conrad was fired in 2009 for what he claimed was retaliation for reporting abuses at the prison and for tesifying in depositions before a state grand jury. As part of the settlement, the county acknowledged no wrongdoing in firing Conrad.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - While Lycoming County commissioners are set to approve a $97.1 million 2013 operating budget at their meeting Thursday, one line item has had a dramatic increase. Since the proposed 2013 budget was unveiled on November 15, a $200,000 expense for housing county inmates at neighboring prisons has been added. That's on top of $400,000 that already was included as the prison and pre-release center are at near capacity. Although Act 13 natural gas impact fee funding could technically be used to pay for such costs, county officials say not using it allows that money to be spent on road, bridge and other infrastructure improvements. Inmate housing presently costs the county about $50,000 a month - a dramatic increase from the $12,500 a year budgeted by the county just last year. With no end in sight, the County has budgeted $600,000 for 2013, for housing prisoners. The budget, expected to be approved Thursday by commissioners, marks the ninth year in a row without a tax increase.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Columbia County Commissioners are expected to adopt a $21 – million dollar budget for 2013 when they meet Thursday. The proposed spending plan does have a small tax hike. Two reasons for the hike are cuts in state money coming into the county and the loss of flood damaged properties eliminated from the tax rolls.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - The Centre County Board of Commissioners will make a decision regarding the future of the county’s jury commissioner positions before the end of the month. If abolished, Centre County would follow more than 15 other counties that have abolished the position in 2012 after legislation was passed giving that power to county commissioners. The elimination of the positions would free up about $30,000 not including health benefits. The commissioners must act on the item before the end of the month and will add the proposed ordinance to an agenda of a subsequent meeting.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - Local business leaders were addressed by Dr. Glenn Steele Jr., Geisinger president and CEO, and Kay Hamilton, Lewistown Hospital president and CEO, during a Tuesday meeting to answer community questions regarding the merger of the hospitals. The choice to merge was not made because Lewistown Hospital is doing poorly, Steele said, but rather the hospital is looking to grow in ways the current budget cannot finance. With the help of Geisinger, Lewistown Hospital can thrive in a time of health care uncertainty, he said. Steele says the key, though, to completing this merger and continuing into the future successfully, is the support of the community. The future of the hospital depends on the community sharing what they think is done right and done wrong. The hospital will continue striving for an open relationship with the Lewistown residents, he said. The Sentinel reports, Hamilton added that the meeting was held as part of a larger communication plan created to keep the community informed as the definitive agreement, or final contract, is developed. Similar meetings and outreach will continue as the merger moves forward.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – A picture of the Sunbury flood wall project, finished this fall, is on the cover of a 2013 calendar of an international company that will be distributed to 2,000 people worldwide. Redi-Rock, of Charlevoix, Michigan, voted unanimously to feature Sunbury on their globally distributed calendar. Redi-Rock, which manufactures the pre-made rock that supports Sunbury’s floodwall, was so impressed with the efforts of the city; it used a picture of the project on the front page of the calendar.
(WGRC)

HUGHESVILLE - Landowners facing the prospect of natural gas pipelines on their properties were advised to know some of their legal rights. About two dozen people who attended the Penn State Extension Office's workshop at the Hughesville Volunteer Fire Hall Tuesday night got an idea of what they might face regarding right-of-way agreements, eminent domain and other related issues with pipelines. John Shoemaker, an attorney with Greevy&Associates, told the group, a property owner has a say in where the pipeline can go on the land. Beyond that, a landowner can negotiate to obtain fair market value on property where gas lines are located. Dave Messersmith, of the Penn State Extension Office, said natural gas production is expected to double in the state over the next five years. The 120-mile interstate pipeline, he said, will extend from Lycoming County through Montour and Northumberland Counties and run south to Chester County. Construction of the pipeline is expected to begin in 2014 before going into service the following year.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Crumbling, slanted, bumpy sidewalks were the topic of Lock Haven City Council Monday night. Deteriorated walks are in violation of the city's code, whether at a rental unit, a business or a private home. But now, the state of the public sidewalk leading to a rental unit will be part of that unit's required five-year inspection. City Council took the second of two votes to lock the new requirement into its Rental Inspection Program. The program mandates that landlords hire an inspector and file the results of the inspection with the city. The program goes ward by ward, and since the city has five wards, landlords must have their units inspected every five years. Owners of rentals may turn to the city's new Sidewalk Repair Program for help and apply for low-interest loans of up to $3,000 to fix their walks.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The town of Bloomsburg and Columbia Aircraft have reached a temporary deal to keep the company at the town airport. At its Monday meeting, council unanimously approved a deal that would forgive the engine-overhaul firm’s $3,500 monthly rent from October 2011 until March 2012, when it couldn’t use the airport due to the Lee flood. The $31,000 in rent owed would be taken from flood-relief funding from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Another $9,700 in funds would go to Columbia Aircraft Services itself. The Press Enterprise reports, company officials have said they want the town to make some progress in building new space. The town is in the process of hiring an architect to design a new terminal.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – The number of children in foster care in the Susquehanna Valley has jumped to nearly 20 percent. The Daily Item reports, the numbers jumped from 2010 to 2011. Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children data shows that the children are staying in foster care longer. Pennsylvania’s approach to foster care emphasizes placing children in family settings-preferably with relatives- rather than relying on institutionalized care. Meanwhile the length of time kids stayed in foster care fell from an average of 14 months in 2011 to just over 12 months this year.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - Penn State’s board of trustees would shrink by 10 seats and the university’s president would not be one who keeps a spot, according to legislation proposed Tuesday by a state lawmaker who wants to reform how the university governs itself. State Representative Scott Conklin, said his bills will make the trustees and university more accountable and transparent and more in line with how other universities are run. The legislation comes on the heels of recommendations of outgoing state Auditor General Jack Wagner, who called on the legislature to take on reforming Penn State’s old way of governance. The biggest proposed change is whittling down the board from 32 members to 22. Three alumni seats would be gone, as would the president’s seat. The governor would still keep his seat, but that post would be stripped of its voting power. The proposed legislation would subject Penn State to the state’s Right-to-Know law. It would include the University of Pittsburgh as well as Temple and Lincoln universities. Penn State spokesman David La Torre said the university welcomes Conklin’s ideas and will review his proposal in the coming months.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - The U.S. Department of the Interior recently chose the Lewisburg Area High School Chorus Lewisburg to perform at the 2012 National Christmas Tree Music Program at a park adjacent to the White House tonight at eight p.m. Choral Director David Jennings says being chosen to perform is very exciting. They took three buses to D.C., to carry the 100 students within the chorus, as well as the 57 parents that volunteered to go along. Lewisburg will be representing Pennsylvania as they perform along with groups from across the country.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s staff will hold a casework day in Pottsville from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, December 13th. During the casework day at state Senator David Argall's office, Senator Toomey's staff will be available to help constituents who are having problems with federal agencies and programs. Constituents are encouraged to bring documents they have received from federal agencies related to their issues. Marta Gabriel, Senator Toomey's Lehigh Valley regional manager, will be on hand to help area residents at the casework day. Argall’s office is located at 100 North Centre Street in Pottsville.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Department of Health today reported there has been a significant rise in influenza activity across Pennsylvania since Thanksgiving. The Department of Health is reporting flu activity has increased from sporadic to widespread throughout the state meaning at least half of the state’s regions are experiencing outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like illness. The flu made an appearance earlier this year than in most flu seasons, as widespread activity is usually not seen until January. The number of cases reported to the department more than doubled in the past week. The Department of Health recommends the flu vaccine for everyone over the age of 6 months. But the vaccine is especially important for the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions that place them at increased risk of complications from the flu.
(WGRC)