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December 14, 2012

ELYSBURG – About 65 defendants in the southern end of Northumberland County were being rounded up this morning in a drug bust conducted by the Northumberland-Montour Drug Task Force.  Among the defendants were three juveniles.  A command center was established in the Ralpho Township gym to process the defendants before they were taken for arraignment.  The drug bust is part of a countywide sweep. The News-Item reports, an additional 25 defendants were being rounded up in the northern part of the county.  The roundup began around 7 this morning.
(WGRC)

LAURELTON –Crews were called to the scene of a tractor trailer crash on a winding portion of Route 45 in Union County. Union County 9-1-1 tells us the crash happened just before six this morning on Route 45 near the Hairy John’s State Park. The rig involving a dump trailer overturned on the roadway. No serious injuries have been reported. Crews from Mifflinburg and Millheim were called to the scene.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BOALSBURG – At least one person was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center following a two vehicle crash last night on Route 45 near Boalsburg in Centre County. The crash happened at the exit of Route 322 and Route 45 just before ten p.m. Police say a car lost control on the off ramp of Route 322 and then crossed the center of Route 45 slamming into a truck. Rescue crews had to cut the driver of the car free of the wreckage, who was then taken to the hospital. There were two people in the truck but police did not say if they were hurt.
(WGRC)

MILL HALL - Firefighters and rescue crews worked to remove the victim of a two vehicle crash in Clinton County yesterday afternoon. The crash happened around 1:30 p.m. on Hogan Boulevard near the Sheetz store in Mill Hall. Reports say there were several injuries in the crash.
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN – A school bus full of Sun Tech students and vehicle collide at the Union/Snyder County border yesterday morning. The crash happened around eight yesterday morning at the intersection of the New Berlin, Vine Street Bridge over Penns Creek and Route 204 in Jackson Township, Snyder County. Police say none of the 34 students on the bus, or either of the drivers was injured. Police say the bus driver, 64-year-old Paul Scholl of Middleburg pulled into the path of a Pick-up truck driven by 58-year-old Linda Troup of Higins. Police say Scholl will be charged with the crash.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BERWICK - Fire ripped through a mobile home in Berwick yesterday, killing the family’s pet Labrador retriever and nearly setting trailers on either side ablaze. The fire began just before five p.m. at the mobile home owned by 23-year-old Nicholas Haubner, and his mother Kimberly Young, at 1120 West Front Street. Neither was home at the time of the fire which was called in by a passer-by. Berwick fire Chief Bill Coolbaugh tells the Press Enterprise, the blaze was started by an electric heater in a bedroom too close to a mattress.
(WGRC)

SHENANDOAH - A fire that damaged a Shenandoah area home Wednesday afternoon started with a Christmas tree and has been determined accidental. The fire at the 1200 West Coal Street left Freddie Morales, Maria Colon and three children homeless. One pet cat perished in the fire. No injuries were reported.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - A Centre County store owner is charged with selling illegal synthetic drugs in State College last year. Police said John O'Keefe, owner of Dragon Chasers Emporium and Nirvana's Closet, sold so-called "bath salts" to undercover police officers between August 2011 and February 2012. Authorities seized drug paraphernalia and cash from both stores and froze assets totaling $900,000 in O'Keefe's bank account.
(WGRC)

JUNIATA TERRACE - A Burnham man was arrested on Wednesday afternoon on charges relating to the sexual abuse of a now 13-year-old girl. 43-year-old John Loner, was taken into custody at a home on Terrace Boulevard in Juniata Terrace. Charges were filed against Loner after a counselor from the Children's Resource Center interviewed the alleged victim. The alleged victim reported the abuse began when she was 5- years-old and lasted through this past May. Loner remains jailed in the Mifflin County Prison on $100,000 bail.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Jerry Sandusky’s defense attorneys are seeking a hearing to support claims that they did not have enough time to prepare for Sandusky’s trial in June. In a court document filed Thursday, in Centre County Court, defense attorney Joe Amendola requested a hearing before trial Judge John Cleland to present testimony and exhibits that support the defense’s claims. The 68-year-old Sandusky, who was convicted of sexually abusing 10 young boys and sometimes on the Penn State campus, is serving 30 to 60 years in state prison. Sandusky maintains his innocence.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE – Police in State College are asking the public for their help in finding the man responsible for the knife attack on a Penn State grad student earlier this week. Police continue to search for a man who attacked a woman on the Overlook Heights bike trail Wednesday afternoon and cut her throat. The 40-year-old woman was able to get away from her attacker after biting his hand. The woman was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center, where she was treated and released. Police say there were about a dozen possible sightings of the suspect overnight, Wednesday. Police are tracking down those leads. The attacker is described as a white male in his 20s or 30s, about 5-foot, 8-inches tall, with facial hair that may come to a point on his chin. He has a slim to medium build and may have a noticeable bite mark on his hand, which may be bandaged. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call State College Police.
(WGRC)

BELLFONTE - Scott Binsack had a hearing Thursday before state parole officials, who will determine over the next few weeks whether the Shamokin man violated his parole. The hearing was held at the State Prison at Rockview in Centre County. Leo Dunn, spokesman with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, says the outcome of Binsack's hearing will not be made public until at least next week, and Binsack remains imprisoned at Rockview. Binsack, a former homebuilder, became a household name in the Shamokin area in a matter of months starting in August when he presented a $13 million investment plan to city council. When his criminal history dating to 1999 from New York state and Lackawanna and Monroe counties became public knowledge, his involvement in the financial undertaking, which centered on renovation and construction of local homes and businesses, drew the attention of Pennsylvania securities officials. Binsack is limited in what financial dealings he was allowed to take part in following theft and bad check charges in Monroe County. In late October, Binsack failed to show up for a scheduled meeting with his parole officer and fled the state. He continued to post taunting messages to law enforcement on the Internet while on the lam, and was caught November 20th by U.S. Marshals in Bath, New York.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK – A group of about 30 Penn State university students and faculty marched silently through campus Thursday afternoon, from East Halls to Old Main to denounce racism, stereotyping, and host of other intolerance concerns that have been raised at Penn State, and they announced they are asking Penn State administrators to consider ways to improve their experience at the university. The march was in protest against a Penn State Sorority that has come under fire for a picture that went viral of some members dressed in Mexican garb holding signs the made racial slurs. The photo was a catalyst for the march by the group, called Penn State For All Student Equality. The group ended their march at Old Main, hanging signs like “education not marginalization” and “integration not segregation” on-site. The group presented a list of requests they would like the university to consider regarding the Latino community on Penn State. University spokeswoman Lisa Powers says, Penn State administrators will consider the items and meet with the students to discuss their ideas, university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – It’s official, Williamsport City Council reluctantly raised taxes by 1 mill Thursday night and adopted a $21 million budget. Council members said that those who are upset by the increased costs and three fewer police officers and one less Streets and Parks employee should tell their representatives in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. The tax increase means that people who own a house with an assessed value of $100,000 will pay $100 more per year in property taxes. The budget reduces the police department by three officers and the Streets and Parks by one employee.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – There will be no increase in taxes for Lycoming County residents. Lycoming County's 2013 $97 million operating budget keeps taxes steady for the ninth consecutive year. The budget was formally adopted by the Lycoming County commissioners Thursday. The budget, which is being balanced by using nearly $10 million of the county's available fund balance, includes about $4 million in Act 13 natural gas impact fees.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - The next warden of the Clinton County Correctional Facility could be in place by Wednesday next week. At Thursday's meeting of the Clinton County commissioners, Jeff Snyder announced that an executive meeting was held by the Prison Board earlier in the morning, and he was authorized to make an offer to the top candidate. If the offer proves acceptable, the hiring of the new warden will occur at a special meeting Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the office of Clinton County Commissioner Jeff Snyder. A subcommittee of the prison board interviewed four of 15 applicants. Commissioners declined to identify who the next warden may be ahead of next week’s meeting.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN -The Clinton County commissioners signed off on the preliminary design of a new 911 emergency communications center Thursday. The board plans to move the county's present 911 center out of the basement of the county-owned Susque-View building next to Lock Haven Hospital and into the former Flemington Elementary School after renovations are complete. The county bought the facility from the district for $1 and some considerations, including storage space for the district and maintenance of the district's tax office while the county's plans move forward.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - The owners of the Hotel Do De and Garman Theatre, heavily damaged by arson fire in September, will have to decide on the immediate futures of the buildings soon. Bellefonte Borough has sent letters to the owners of both structures explaining that they need to be stabilized or knocked down. Bellefonte Borough Manager Ralph Stewart thinks repairs will take place at the Do De, but there hasn’t been word on any decision by the owners of the Garman. Stewart says Do De owner John Dann has been in contact with a prospective buyer who likely would turn the space into workforce housing.  Borough Council has expressed their support of anyone who would be interested in revitalizing the properties.
(WGRC)

BERWICK - Berwick Hospital Center hopes to break ground on a $4 million renovation to its medical and surgical area by the end of this year. When it’s finished, doctors and nurses will have new systems to monitor patients. CEO Ronald Beer says the improvements at the hospital include four new private rooms. All the floors and ceilings in the area will be upgraded, and the swing televisions in patient rooms will be replaced with flat screen TVs. The state Department of Health has approved the plans. A date hasn’t been set for the groundbreaking. The Press Enterprise reports, the changes come after another year of growth for the hospital. Last year, it added 12 doctors to its staff. Meanwhile, the associated Berwick Medical Professionals added two new providers, bringing the total to 19 in 10 different locations.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Evangelical Community Hospital’s Pediatric Unit recently received a gift of thirteen handmade blankets in Christmas designs to be given to children who have to spend some or all of their holidays in the Hospital. The ladies of the Comforting Hands group of Selinsgrove Church of the Nazarene made the cuddler-size blankets to bring comfort and a touch of holiday spirit to children.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The campaign to rebuild Kidsburg in the town of Bloomsburg has gotten a jump start: three corporate donations totalling $80,000, nearly a third of its $250,000 goal. News of the latest, and largest, donation so far came this week, as First Columbia Bank and Trust announced it would give $50,000. A week earlier, Kawneer officials said the Alcoa Foundation would give $20,000. And Deb Huckans, head of the Kidsburg 2.0 committee, said members have been told the Mitrani Foundation plans to contribute $10,000. This flood of support in a span of just two weeks has left the committee excited about the major donors. The Press Enterprsie reports, the Town Park Improvement Association and council have agreed that the new playground will be built on the east side of Market Street, where once were tennis courts. It’s higher ground than the spot west of Market where the first Kidsburg was built and destroyed by flooding.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Mayor David Persing will put on his auctioneer hat Saturday as the first new home in Sunbury in a decade will be auctioned off. The new home is at 202 Washington Avenue and the starting bid is expected to be $100,000. Persing says the sale will be the first of, what I hope to be many, sales that the city is going to have. Persing said they got a redevelopment grant to pay for demolition of the previous structure and the building of the new home, so proceeds from the sale will go to the Redevelopment Authority. Persing hopes next year, a similar project can be done. An open house is today from four to seven p.m. and bidding begins Saturday at 10 a.m. The home is about 2,100 square feet and features 1 and half baths, stainless steel appliances, two gas furnaces and a large basement.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT –U.S. Senator Pat Toomey will be in Williamsport today to discuss the Clothe a Homeless Hero Act. This bipartisan bill requires the Transportation Security Administration to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and local charities to distribute unclaimed clothing left at airport security checkpoints to homeless and needy vets and their families. Sen. Toomey introduced a similar version of the Clothe a Homeless Hero Act on November 28th, and he was a sponsor of the final legislation which passed the Senate Tuesday. State Senator Gene Yaw, Lycoming County commissioners, and veterans advocates will join Senator Toomey at 11:30 a.m. in the Lycoming County Commissioner’s board room in the Executive Plaza Building. According to the Veteran’s Administration, about 75,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and about 20,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been homeless within the last five years.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - It is known as the oldest citizens’ science program in the world.  The Audubon puts on the Christmas Bird Count where hundreds of thousands of birders around the world keep track of the birds they see. The count runs from today through January 5th. Vice President of the local Seven Mountains Audubon Allen Schweinsberg says they will be doing their count Saturday. He says the data collected helps monitor early winter bird populations and gives an indication about the health of the environment. For more information visit sevenmountainsaudubon.org or audubon.org. The next meeting of the Seven Mountains Audubon is Wednesday in the Kelly Township Municipal Building in Union County.
(WGRC)