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December 31, 2012

McVEYTOWN - A 19-year-old man was struck by a Norfolk Southern train around noon Sunday on tracks near Horningford and River roads in McVeytown. Fire Chief Barry Sunderland says the 19-year-old was flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center.  Sunderland says the man suffered serious injuries but was up walking around when emergency crews got there. Pennsylvania State Police Lewistown issued a report stating Norfolk Southern Police are handling the investigation and state police have no information to release.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE - A Montoursville man died Sunday afternoon as a result of injuries he suffered when he was hit by a vehicle while attempting to cross Broad Street in the borough on Friday evening. Police say 65-year-old Gary Shaffer was attempting to cross the street in the 900 block around 7:30 p.m.  Shaffer was struck by a vehicle, allegedly driven by William Cohick, of Scott Township. Shaffer was unconscious when emergency personnel arrived on the scene. He was taken to the Williamsport Regional Airport, and then flown to Geisinger Medical Center.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – Snowy weather causes some jack-knifed tractor trailers and road closures on Saturday. A jack-knifed tractor trailer reduced a section of Interstate 80 to a single lane. No one was injured in the crash, which took place around 12:30 p.m. in Liberty Township Montour County. The westbound lanes of the Interstate remained down to a single lane six hours later. In Northumberland County Irish Valley Road was closed for about two hours on Saturday afternoon due to a jackknifed tractor-trailer. PennDOT reported both lanes of Irish Valley Road were closed around 3 p.m. in Shamokin Township following that crash. Snow on the road contributed to the crash.
(WGRC)

MILTON – Two from Milton were taken to Evangelical Community Hospital following a crash on Interstate 80 Saturday in Northumberland County. The crash happened just before one p.m. on the eastbound lanes in Turbot Township. Police say a car driven by 89-year-old Dick Smith pulled onto the interstate into the path of a rig driven by 47-year-old Michael Neupaur of Williamsport. Both Smith and his passenger 87-year-old Joy Smith were taken to the hospital with moderate injuries. Neupaur wasn’t hurt.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIDDLEPORT – Two people were taken to hospitals after a crash where one vehicle ended up into a house in Schuylkill County. The crash happened just before four p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Union and Washington Streets in Middleport Borough. Police say a pick-up truck driven by 69-year-old Mary Kristoff of Middleport collided with a car driven by 36-year-old Mark Pelton of Bethlehem. Pelton’s car then went through the property of the Middleport Post office and then struck a home beside the post office, damaging the foundation of the structure.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HERNDON - A Herndon teen wasn’t hurt though an icy road led him to pay an unexpected visit to a Herndon homeowner on Sunday afternoon when his car struck the Jordan Township house. Police say 19-year-old Connor Laudenslager, lost control of his car going downhill on Route 3013. His car went off the roadway just before two p.m. His car hit another car causing minor damage before plowing into the home of Terry Kissinger.
(WGRC)

ASHLAND – A 21-year-old Mahanoy City woman was taken to the Schuylkill Medical Center following a crash yesterday in Schuylkill County. The crash happened around ten a.m. on High Road in Butler Township. Police say Lauren Lorent lost control of her SUV on the slush covered highway and went down over an embankment and hit a tree. Police say Lorent suffered injuries to her arms in the crash.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTONVILLE – A man was left homeless when fire destroyed the house he was renting Sunday night. The two-story farmhouse, at 2194 Washingtonville Road in Derry Township, was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. The man suffered minor injuries in breaking glass on a door to get out. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment of minor cuts. Fire officials believed the fire to be an accident and started near a wood stove. The home was destroyed in the blaze.
(WGRC)

MOUNT PLEASANT MILLS — Flames tore through a church in Snyder County on Sunday. The fire at Arbogast Lutheran Church in Mount Pleasant Mills began around 8:30 a.m. Fire officials tell us no one was inside at the time, and no one got hurt. Investigators said the fire was accidental. The fire chief believes the fire started due to an electrical problem in the furnace at the church.
(WNEP)

WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport Police were helped nabbing a bank robbery suspect when some patrons of the bank jumped the would-be burglar and held him till police arrived. That happened around four Friday afternoon at the M&T Bank on 4th Street in Williamsport. Upon arrival, police found several people holding down the man wearing a ski mask over his face and money tossed around the entrance to the bank. Police have charged 27-year-old Antwone Cormier of Williamsport with the bank robbery. Cormier attempted to take a total of $425.00, all of which was recovered. Cormier is jailed on $200,000 bail. It is the second robbery that has occurred at the Newberry branch of M&T Bank this month. No arrests have been made in connection to the first robbery, December 4th. Police declined to comment on whether the two cases are related.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE – Police acting on a tip from a concerned citizen arrested two suspected burglars in Lycoming County. Police say the citizen heard a man brag about stealing from a restaurant. 20-year-old Colin Snyder, of Montoursville, and 20-year-old Dakota Patchen, of Muncy, have both been charged with felony counts of burglary and criminal trespassing, among other counts. The two are charged with the September theft of money from the register of the Family Wok in Montoursville. When interviewed by police, Snyder allegedly admitted to stealing over $200 dollars from the restaurant’s cash register along with a bag of loose change. Both men are free on $25,000 bail each.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – Fresh fallen snow help Buffalo Valley regional police track some bandits down for an arrest in Lewisburg. Buffalo Valley Regional Police followed shoe prints in the snow from one targeted house to another on Wednesday night. They eventually apprehended the men at a convenience store. Police have not yet released the names of the men, who authorities say entered five homes and tried to enter a sixth.
(WGRC)
 
PORT CARBON – Police are looking for the thieves that broke into a heating oil company in Schuylkill County. The break-in happened sometime between two a.m. Christmas morning and 6:30 a.m. December 26th at the Liberty Oil Company in Port Carbon. There a chain link fence was cut to get inside the compound. The bandits tried to get inside the office building, but were unable to do so. They then rummaged through several trucks owned by Everdale Trucking taking several items including five heavy duty copper electrical cables. The perpetrators also tried to open a valve on a 20,000 gallon oil tank but were unsuccessful.  Anyone with information on the break-in is asked to call state police, Schuylkill Haven.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BERWICK – An 18-year-old Berwick man accused of twisting and breaking a baby’s leg, sent his charges on to Columbia County Court on Friday. Andrew Hess is accused of breaking his 6-week-old daughter’s leg, in three places back in November. Hess has allegedly admitted to twisting the little girl’s leg when he couldn’t get her to stop crying. Hess faces a felony count of endangering a child’s welfare.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - Thirteen alleged drug dealers were arrested throughout Schuylkill County on Friday. Starting at 6 a.m. and lasting until early afternoon, detectives from the district attorney's office and its drug task force, executed felony warrants. Those arrested were taken before a District Judge and jailed in the Schuylkill County Prison.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A 2010 stop for speeding on Interstate 80 has put a New York man in federal prison for 46 months because a significant amount of marijuana was found in his rental vehicle. The sentence imposed Friday on 40-year-old Andre Stennett, of Freeport, New York, also included three years of supervised release after the prison term. A criminal record that included a 1993 federal conviction in New York for the illegal interstate transfer of weapons prompted U.S. Middle District Judge John Jones to hand down the sentence. Stennett was stopped by state police in Snow Shoe Township in Centre County in October 2010, while doing 82 mph. After police discovered he was driving a vehicle rented in Chicago and his license was suspended, they called in a drug-sniffing dog that found a significant amount of marijuana. Stennett pleaded guilty in June to a charge of possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of pot.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Penn State wants to delay proceedings in another civil case arising from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The university has asked U.S. Middle District Senior Judge William Caldwell to grant its motion for a stay in the lawsuit brought by an alleged Sandusky victim who is not one of the 10 in the criminal charges on which the former assistant football coach was convicted. In documents filed within the past week in U.S. Middle District Court, Penn State claims there is an overlap between the civil case and charges against former university President Graham Spanier, retired senior vice president Garry Schultz and on-leave athletic director Tim Curley. The university contends the victim, identified as John Doe, would not be prejudiced and the outcome of the criminal cases could resolve some of the factual issues in the civil matter. Penn State points out civil cases in Philadelphia brought by four other Sandusky victims have been stayed.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - The Clinton County Court of Common Pleas marked a changing of the guard Friday, as Judge Craig Miller was sworn in as President Judge. The ceremony was conducted by President Judge J. Michael Williamson, who leaves that title behind to accept the title of "Senior Judge" at the stroke of midnight January 1st. Williamson said Judge Miller was extremely qualified and well prepared and he expected nothing less than a smooth transition. Miller took the time to offer words of thanks to a great many individuals, including the judges he served under. As a judge, he said he will continue with his promise of never forgetting what it is like for attorneys to practice the law. The special court session was marked by the attendance of several dignitaries, including Clinton County District Attorney Michael Salisbury, the public defenders, local members of the Bar Association, county commissioners Joel Long and Jeff Snyder, Clinton County Sheriff Charles Ankney, and family members and friends of Judge Miller.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - A simple three-page "deed in lieu of foreclosure" has ended a nearly four-year legal battle and officially turned Center City Apartments over to the Shamokin Housing Authority. The deed for the property at Shamokin and Commerce streets was transferred from Red Gold Enterprises to the authority for $1 on Friday. Authority board Chairman Raymond Splane says it's a relief, even though he never thought the authority would lose its battle to acquire the building, whose owner hadn't paid on the mortgage for 11 years and at one point owed more than $72,000 in back taxes. Splane says tenants have "nothing to worry about." Tenants will be encouraged to stay and sign new leases with the authority. Even those who don't won't be forced to leave before their current lease expires.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – If you have no better plans on New Year’s Day, then you may want to take part in a benefit for a little boy at the Country Cupboard Restaurant in Lewisburg. Ryan Gordon is a lively 5-year-old who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and needs treatments 3 times a day. You can show your support for him tomorrow. All money and non-perishable items will be given to the family to help them meet their needs as they attempt to help Ryan lead as much of a normal life as possible. The benefit for Ryan will be held rain or shine. Motorcyclists and those in cars and trucks will take part in a short group ride for those who want to ride. Members of the Lords Disciples Chapter of CMA, Milton; Sonrise Riders of Williamsport, and other motorcycle clubs have supported the benefit event. The event begins at nine a.m. and Ryan and his family will arrive at ten a.m.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - The annual Coal Drop in Shamokin will take place at Market and Independence Street as the city continues its New Year's Eve tradition. The event will start at 10 p.m. and run until 12:30 a.m. It will feature fireworks, food and music. Even on especially cold nights, the celebration has attracted hundreds downtown in recent years, and the same is expected tonight.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The streets of Bloomsburg will be crowded tonight thanks to the 11th annual YMCA 5K walk/run. For many it's the perfect way to usher in the New Year. The “Y's” Roger Brown says an estimated 400 runners were hosted last year, and this year more are expected. Registration for tonight's event begins at 5:00 p.m. at the YMCA on 7th Street. The start is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The state Department of Community and Economic Development says it won’t send any more money to Bloomsburg until someone proves that Downtown Bloomsburg Incorporated has correctly spent all $60,000 of a facade improvement grant. The town receives about $150,000 a year from DCED as part of a community development grant that helps pay for things like improvements at Streater Park and at Town Park. If Downtown Bloomsburg doesn’t provide the correct documentation to the state, it could endanger that funding. But downtown manager Adrienne Mael said she’s working on collecting everything DCED has requested. The state had questions about some $3,000 spent on projects where the property owners themselves gave their buildings face-lifts. Mael says the facade grants helped pay for work at 25 Main Street storefronts from 2007 to this year. The Press Enterprise reports, once the paperwork problem is straightened out, her group hopes to apply for another facade grant in a year or two.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – With the natural gas drilling in full force in parts of the WGRC listening area, two area healthcare systems are teaming up to study the health impacts of the industry. Guthrie Health of Sayre, Pennsylvania and Geisinger Health System have teamed up to research the health impacts of gas drilling. The two health systems are collaborating in the planning and execution of the study.  Some of the health effects that will be investigated first may include asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Geisinger officials say preliminary results may be released within the next year, while other aspects may unfold over five, 10 or 15 years.  
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - With New Year's Eve celebrations set to begin in just a few hours, party-goers are reminded that state, county and local police will be out in force looking for impaired or aggressive drivers and those disregarding seat belt laws. The state Department of Transportation and police statewide have joined forces for "Operation Safe Holiday," an initiative aimed at keeping roads safe this holiday season. The operation began just before Thanksgiving Day with the Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign. From that point and into the new year, police will conduct sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular traffic safety patrols to crack down on motorists who are speeding, driving aggressively or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
(WGRC)

WILKES–BARRE - Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania has received approval from the state to hike premium insurance rates for its customers by nearly 10 percent in the coming year on several of its products. Blue Cross spokesman Anthony Matrisciano says the Wilkes-Barre-based company will be drawing about $14.3 million from its surplus fund. The fund balance was $209 million at the end of 2011. The increases are necessary to keep pace with overall rising medical costs. At the same time, the number of Blue Cross customers has been dropping in recent years. Current enrollment is about 540,000 customers.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Turnpike is one step closer to implementing all-electronic tolling. The state Turnpike Commission has selected HNTB Corporation to manage the project creating a cashless tolling system. The company, which has offices in Harrisburg and other locations in the state, has been tapped for other electronic tolling systems across the country. Turnpike Commission spokesman Carl DeFebo says it will likely take years to phase out the current toll booth system. DeFebo says about 68 percent of turnpike drivers already use the electronic E-Z Pass. He says the Turnpike is the largest toll system in the US to begin transitioning to electronic collection. The system comprises more than 550 miles of toll roads.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Some state lawmakers have come up with a plan to help transform struggling cities across the commonwealth. Senate Democrats have unveiled the so-called "Growth, Progress, and Sustainability," or "GPS," initiative at a public hearing in Harrisburg. Senator John Wozniak says the program's designed to be a road map for cities, and will reach out to local leaders to help build up economic development, rebuild the local tax base, and cut down on crime. Wozniak says third-class cities in particular have been having trouble for a while. He says the program aims to identify long-term solutions to cities' economic and social problems, and not just come up with short-term fixes. Senator Judy Schwank says GPS would help address the fiscal issues of these cities, since she believes an Act 47 program by itself won't solve all the cities' problems.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTON D. C. - If the same 112th Congress that has refused to reach an agreement to avert a recession-risking fiscal cliff does not also pass by Tuesday a new Farm Bill, milk prices in the Valley could soon skyrocket and, possibly “destroy” the dairy industry. Area farmers are angry that elected officials have ignored approving a new Farm Bill, which expired in September. If Congress fails to pass a Farm Bill, by law the U.S. Agriculture Department would be forced to revert to a 1940s-era policy that, with inflation adjustments, could result in consumers paying up to $8 for a gallon of milk.
(WGRC)