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December 17, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK – Several hundred Penn State students stood in silence last night as they gathered for a vigil to remember those killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. Penn State senior Ryan Brown, who organized the rally, felt the need to reach out. When he saw the news, he first thought of his young nephew. His mind then turned to his fellow students. Brown and his fellow organizers read aloud the names and ages of the shooting victims. He asked the crowd to remember those who were lost.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - The former Higher Hope Ministries church, known now as H2church, held a prayer vigil Friday night in Cameron Park in Sunbury. From 5:30 to 6 p.m., they prayed for victims, families and others affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Several dozen people were in the park as the group sang, held hands, and discussed the Connecticut school shooting.
(WGRC)

MILLHEIM - When Millheim resident Beth Hochsprung Ewaskiewicz heard about the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings, she rushed to be with her father. Hochsprung Ewaskiewicz's father, George Hochsprung, is the husband of Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Dawn Hochsprung was fatally shot during the rampage that claimed the lives of 20 children and seven adults Friday. The Associated Press reports, Dawn Hochsprung was killed while trying to overtake suspected shooter.  
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - On October 2, 2006, a man entered an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Lancaster County, and shot dead five schoolgirls and wounded six others. That incident prompted the state Auditor General’s Office to institute annual reviews of safety procedures at Pennsylvania’s more than 700 public school districts, private and charter schools and vocational-technical centers in an effort to help those schools protect their students. After Friday’s mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., Jack Wagner said he hopes all school officials will review their safety procedures, and also recommit themselves to making security of students their top priority. “I don’t think we’re where we need to be,” Wagner said, “especially when something happens such as the tragedy in Connecticut. Wagner said school safety measures have improved since 2007, but his office still sees a disparity across districts concerning the lengths to which they have gone to provide security. Wagner said he has seen “a genuine interest in making schools safer,” but added: “It remains an issue we should all be talking about.”
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – In light of the shootings at the Shady Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on Friday, we asked Psychologist Ina McArdle with Laurel Creek Counseling in Lewisburg which provides behavioral health services for children, what parents should do when trying to answer their child’s questions in regard to the recent tragedy. She says it’s critical to listen to your child to find out exactly what their anxieties are and to reassure them that adults are doing their best to keep them safe. McArdle says when dealing with particularly small children, a parent must guard against passing on the anxiety we may face in regards to why and how these tragedies occur as a parent models the healthiest coping responses to our children. She says don’t go into great detail about the incident but be reassuring and loving to your child. She says it’s okay to be honest and tell your child that you don’t have all the answers to questions, but reassure them that adults are doing everything they can to keep everybody safe. For parents, she says remember you need to realize that these types of instances are very rare when looking at the thousands of schools across the nation, and what happens day after day, year after year.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)
LAVELLE - A Hegins man died when the car he was driving slammed into a tree Saturday morning in Barry Township, Schuylkill County. Police say 35-year-old Eric French, was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash happened just before 9:30 a.m. at the "Y" intersection of Airport and Taylorsville roads.
(WGRC)

MILLVILLE – The body of a man was found Friday in the parking lot of an oil company in Columbia County. Police say 57-year-old Julian Bixler, of Millville, was found dead in a bus parking lot behind Woolcock Oil, in Millville. Police say there were no signs of apparent foul play but an autopsy will be done to determine the manner of death.
(WGRC)

GOWEN CITY – A crash near Gowen City Saturday morning sent one person to Geisinger hospital by helicopter. The crash just after two a.m. happened on Route 125 in East Cameron Township, Northumberland County. Police say the car went off the road and hit a pole. Troopers say 38-year-old James Edmondson of Ashland was flown to Geisinger.
(WGRC)

PICTURE ROCKS – Two people were hurt in a two vehicle crash Thursday in Lycoming County. The crash happened on Route 220 in Shrewsbury Township. Police say 21-year-old Jared Whitmoyer of Hughesville and the other driver 63-year-old Nancy Spencer also of Hughesville suffered minor to moderate injuries. Police say Whitmoyer was round a curve when he came upon Spencer who was backing out of her driveway. Whitmoyer hit the rear of Spencer’s vehicle and then hit a mailbox a utility pole and a tree. He was taken to Muncy Valley Hospital for treatment.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILTON — A Milton man who was hurt in an ATV accident on Thursday in Northumberland County has been released from Geisinger Medical Center. 51-year-old Jay Boyer was traveling on Cemetery Road in Turbot Township on the ATV when he lost control of the vehicle and struck a guiderail. Boyer was thrown from the ATV, which rolled several times. He was taken to Geisinger Medical Center with major injuries and was hospitalized until Saturday, when he was discharged.
(WGRC)

MILESBURG - A single-car accident at mile marker 154 on Interstate 80 northwest of Milesburg closed down two lanes of traffic early Friday afternoon. State Police say the driver of a car heading west on I-80 lost control of the car, drove off the left side of the highway and flipped over. Two people were in the car, and both were unconscious and had to be cut free of the wreckage. Both were flown to Altoona Hospital. The crash in Centre County between Milesburg and Snow Shoe, backed up traffic for at least 5 miles.
(WGRC)

NORTH BEND - A Mill Hall man involved in a crash Friday evening was allegedly trying to smoke marijuana while driving. State police say 44-year-old Keith Eldred was driving south on Route 120 just before eight p.m. Police say he lost control of his pick-up truck and slammed into a tractor trailer. Troopers say two passengers 19-year-old Tiffany Holtzapple, of Renovo, and a 17-year-old Beech Creek boy, were also smoking pot in the vehicle just before the collision. Eldred was taken to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville for moderate injuries, and both the passengers were transported to the Lock Haven Hospital Emergency Room for minor injuries.
(WGRC)

BERWICK - Firefighters were able to save five sacks of Christmas presents from a burning house Friday morning, but it seems the family that lived there lost all other belongings. Neither 32-year-old Amanda James, nor her three children, were at the house they rented at 1132 Fifth Avenue when the blaze there began. Investigators believe the fire was electrical in nature and started in a bedroom on the second floor of the home. The family’s pet snake and two iguanas perished in the fire.
(WGRC)

WATSONTOWN - An early-morning house fire was quickly contained and extinguished Sunday by the Warrior Run Fire Department. The fire broke out just after six p.m. at 9 Meadow Drive in Watsontown. The fire was contained to the living room of the home. Two adults and two dogs escaped the home without injury. A cause of the fire was not reported.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Police in Lycoming County are looking for the man that robbed a convenience store. Police say the armed robbery walked into the store on Northway Road in Loyalsock Township Saturday night just before eight. Witnesses say a thin man wearing a ski mask held up the business at gunpoint taking money from the clerk and then fled the scene.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE – A 70-year-old woman was robbed of her purse in the parking lot of the Boscov’s store at the Fairlane Village Mall Saturday night. Police say the Pottsville woman was making her way to her car when a man pushed her from behind and told her to get inside her vehicle. The woman refused and that’s when the man grabbed the woman’s purse and took off. The bandit got in a maroon colored Toyota Celica type vehicle which was badly dented. Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call state police, Schuylkill Haven.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

TOWER CITY – A business in Schuylkill County was broken into last night and thieves got away with a cash register containing around $200. That happened sometime after nine p.m. at the Brown Jug Bar in Tower City. Police say the bandit pried open a window to get inside and took one cash register and tried to take another.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY - A Sunbury man was charged with breaking into the PA. Dutch Market on Market Street in Sunbury, Sunday afternoon. Police say around 2:30 p.m. 38-year-old Chad Wolfe was spotted in the back of the store which was closed at the time. Police found a window had been broken and arrested Wolfe shortly thereafter. He’s jailed on $75,000 in the Northumberland County Prison.  
(WGRC)

AUBURN – A Schuylkill County man is being charged with aggravated assault and burglary. State Police say 37-year-old Cory Lutz, of Bethel, was spotted by two Game Commission officers stealing goods from a storage shed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Auburn around 11:30 Saturday night. The game wardens confronted Lutz who then tried to run over one of the wardens with his vehicle. Lutz’s vehicle went down over an embankment and got stuck. State Police arrived and had to forcefully pull Lutz from his vehicle. Lutz faces a long list of charges following the incident.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILLHEIM - A Millheim man was severely injured after a Bellefonte man attacked him Sunday. Police say that incident happened around 4:30 a.m. when 18-year-old Derek Fetters, of Bellefonte, allegedly followed 22-year-old Jeffrey Smith, of Millheim, to a parking area off Mills Street after a confrontation at a party earlier that evening. Fetters allegedly physically assaulted Smith, causing severe injuries. Fetters was taken to the Centre County Jail on charges of aggravated assault.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - DNA tests are needed to confirm the identity of a person found burned in a car last week, but the investigation is pointing to a missing Danville man. Montour County Coroner Scott Lynn says, “The probability is high” that it’s 25-year-old Brandon Strausser. Lynn says, “Certainly our focus is toward him since he is missing and hasn’t been seen since.” But Lynn said the results from a DNA test, which is still needed for confirmation, will take weeks, and he cautioned that there’s still a slight chance it could have been someone else in the car.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – When all was said and done Friday in Northumberland County nearly 100 people were rounded up and placed in handcuffs by the Northumberland Montour Drug Task Force. In a scheduled drug roundup, 70 people were nabbed, some unexpectedly as they arrived at their jobs. Several juveniles were also arrested. Command centers were established in the Ralpho Township gymnasium and the Sunbury Municipal Building, for processing before they were taken to the district judge’s offices. The roundup began around 7 a.m. and continued throughout the day. Some of the individuals were placed in the Northumberland County Jail. Others were released from police custody to face court action later.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Andre Eason, who sold heroin, cocaine, crack and guns in parking lots in Columbia, Montour and Luzerne counties, will serve more than 15 years in prison. A federal judge handed down that ruling in U.S. District Court in Williamsport last week. The 28-year-old Eason pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin and crack and dealing firearms without a license. He has been in prison since he was arrested in February by half a dozen officers in the Rite Aid parking lot in Berwick.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - A 13-year-old Centre County boy went a little too far in pretending on Thursday. The Julian area teenager faces juvenile charges for stealing a car and impersonating a federal agent at the Wal-Mart store off North Atherton Street in Patton Township. Police say the boy, dressed in camouflage fatigues with a badge, a duty belt and a pistol, the boy told police and store employees that he was with Naval Criminal Investigative Services and was looking into the death of a naval officer. When the boy asked for store video surveillance tapes, store employees called the police. Police say the teen “was very convincing in his terminology and lingo” and had an official-looking identification badge and business cards. But officers noticed irregularities in his uniform and peacefully disarmed him, discovering the weapon was a BB gun. The boy told officers he had commandeered the car from a Julian home, telling the owner that he needed it “by authority of the Secretary of the Navy,” before driving to the store. Police did not identify the boy or explain his motivation for the charade. He was released to a family member, and juvenile probation authorities were notified.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - A 33-year-old Mifflintown man was arrested by State Police on charges related to the alleged sexual assault of a now 9-year-old girl. Osman Turcios is alleged to have had inappropriate contact with the girl when she was eight years old, on several occasions. Turcios remains jailed in the Mifflin County Prison on $75,000 bail.
(WGRC)

MINERSVILLE – In Schuylkill County a Minersville woman is facing 13 counts of cruelty to animals' after an incident in the borough on Friday. Minersville police say they were called to the home of 50-year-old Karen Kershner, after responding to a complaint of a large amount of garbage and debris both on the porch and in front of the house. Police found 13 cats and dogs in the home which smelled of animal waste and garbage and animal waste strewn throughout. The animals were released to the SPCA. The home was also posted unfit for human habitation.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – Two Sunbury police officers on Friday unexpectedly helped Laura Drumheller deliver a premature baby, resuscitated the infant, and then commandeered an ambulance to race to Geisinger Medical Center. Sunbury officers Travis Bremigen and Corporal Brad Hare were on patrol early Friday when a 911 dispatch alerted them to a woman in labor. Because the officers were only a block or two away, they decided to assist Americus Ambulance Company, which responded to the call. The officers arrived first delivering the baby and then took the ambulance to the hospital. Another ambulance was called in to help the mother. The baby girl is doing fine and breathing on her own thanks to the quick work of the officers, and Drumheller says she expects the child to come home in January. Officer Bremigen tells the Daily Item, “This was honestly the most awesome experience I have ever had as an officer.”
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – Sunbury City Council will meet tonight to try and hold a tax increase in the upcoming 2013 budget for the City. The 2013 budget is about $4 million dollars and City Council is posed with the task of closing a $52,000 shortfall. Sunbury residents could face a half-mill tax increase to fill the gap. Council is looking to make cuts and have told City employees not to expect a wage increase.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – No bids were given on the first brand new house in Sunbury at an auction Saturday. City officials were starting the bidding on the home at 202 Washington Avenue at $150,000, but no one placed a bid. About 20 people attended the auction on Saturday morning. Mayor David Persing was hoping to make a profit on the sale of the city owned home, so that similar projects could be done in the future through Sunbury’s Redevelopment Authority and more new homes could be built in the city. The city used a grant to tear down the previous home and build a new 2,100 square foot home.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Clinton, Lycoming and Centre counties will receive more than $1.5 million from the state to improve the availability and affordability of housing in the Marcellus Shale region of the state. The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency approved the recipients of the funding for projects on Thursday. The funding for 25 housing projects is being made available through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund and Marcellus Shale impact fees. A total of $7.6 million is being distributed to organizations in 19 Pennsylvania counties. Locally, Clinton County will receive $300,000 for the Homeowner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program. Lycoming County will receive a total of $1.1 million: $500,000 for Memorial Homes, $400,000 for Grove Street Commons and $200,000 for Brodart Neighborhood Improvement District, all in Williamsport. In Centre County, it will receive $150,000 to the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Rental Assistance Program.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey made a brief stop in Williamsport Friday touting legislation passed by the Senate Tuesday that aims to help clothe veterans. Toomey introduced a version of the Clothe a Homeless Hero Act back in November and was a sponsor of final legislation that passed the Senate. The bipartisan bill requires the Transportation Security Administration to distribute unclaimed clothing left at airport security checkpoints to local veterans organizations. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 75,000 vets are homeless on any given night, and about 20,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets have been homeless within the last five years. Toomey also said that he has introduced legislation - the idea of which came from veterans themselves - that will help match veterans' job skills with employer needs. He said that all too often, veterans have a difficult time finding the right work when they return from duty. The senator said a website will be created in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where veterans can input their skills to be matched with employer needs. He said the legislation has passed in the Senate and he is hopeful for passage in the House of Representatives.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - The regionally recognized, highly successful Hometown Heroes Banner Program in the City of Lock Haven is bringing in the new year with another set of heroes to honor - police officers, firemen and women and those involved in medical and rescue services. In the past, the banner program has concentrated on honoring the military veterans from the area. Over 2,000 veterans have been honored with banners since the program began. Dawn Snyder, manager of Downtown Lock Haven tells the express, Downtown Lock Haven also wishes to acknowledge those heroes that we see every day doing their jobs to keep the community safe. They are the men and women who jump in their vehicles at a moment's notice to help fight a fire, respond to a traffic accident or transport an ill or injured person to the hospital. Most of these folks are volunteers. All of these people are heroes and need to be honored. The banners cost $200 and applications are available at the Main Street office of Downtown Lock Haven or online at their website, Lockhaven.org.
(WGRC)

BERWICK - Unit 2 at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant automatically shut down early Sunday morning during routine testing of a valve on the unit's main turbine system. Operators have confirmed all systems responded as expected and the reactor is in a safe and stable condition. Susquehanna employees are investigating why the testing caused the shutdown. Unit 1 is operating safely at full power.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The number of health care-associated infections continues to decrease across the state, according to an annual report by the state Department of Health. Acting Secretary of Health Michael Wolf says, "The findings in this report highlight the continued progress Pennsylvania is making in improving the quality of care in hospitals across the state." Infections obtained while receiving medical care decreased more than 3 percent, according to the 2011 report released on November 28th. In addition to the overall decrease in healthcare associated infections, the study showed decreases reaching as high as 4 percent. The Department of Health said these results show better patient outcomes and reduced health-care costs.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – If you’re looking to fill up, your vehicle’s gas tank now’s the time to do it. Gas prices are expected to drop to the lowest level of the year. By today, the national average should fall below $3.27 cents a gallon. The drop comes on the heels of what’s expected to be the busiest Christmas travel season in six years.
(WGRC)