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January 2, 2013

PINE GROVE – A ten year-old Pine Grove boy was flown to Hershey Medical Center where he later died after being struck by a vehicle in Pine Grove, Schuylkill County. That happened New Year’s Eve around 8:30. Police say Chase Pahula and his 17-year-old brother were walking along Sudberg Road in Pine Grove when he was struck by an SUV driven by a man from Lebanon. Police say the driver of the vehicle was rounding a curve and didn’t see Pahula on the side of roadway.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WATSONTOWN – No serious injuries when a car slides into the path of an SUV in Northumberland County. That crash happened Saturday afternoon on Eighth Street in Watsontown. Police say 52-year-old Frances Fuller of Montgomery was going down a hill on Eighth Street when his car slid across the opposite lane and was hit by the SUV driven by 19-year-old Brandon Dieterle of Hughesville. A Fuller and her two passengers, 52-year-old Clayton Fuller and a 14 year-old boy along with two passengers in Dieterle’s vehicle, 43-year-old Jennifer Foust of Watsontown and a 17-year-old girl were taken to area hospitals.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILTON — A Milton man is jailed in the Northumberland County Prison facing numerous charges after allegedly taking inappropriate photographs of a 4-year-old girl he watched while her parents worked the night shift. 21-year-old Brian Kelson Jr. is charged with sexual abuse of a child, and related counts for the incident in December. Kelson has allegedly admitted taking one photograph of the girl and stated that the other photos were computer manipulations of the original photograph.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEPORT – A wanted man tries to flee police only to get stuck in the snow and was eventually tasered and arrested. That happened just before nine New Year’s Eve. Troopers say 39-year-old Michael Setlock Jr. of Middleport was pulled over for a traffic violation when he took off leading police on a short chase. When police finally caught him and took him in for processing they found out he was wanted on an arrest warrant for violating his parole. He’s now jailed in the State Prison in Mahanoy City.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

PORT ROYAL – A Port Royal teen is locked up in the Mifflin County Jail after he hit a 21-year-old woman in the back of the head with a 2X4 early New Year’s day. Police got the call around two a.m. at a garage on Milford Street in Port Royal. The woman had to be taken to the hospital where she received 13 staples in her head to close the wound. Police have charged 18-year-old Zachary Barham with aggravated assault. He’s jailed on $25,000 bail.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN – A Mifflintown man was arrested for firing a gun inside his home on Sunday. State Police say just after eight p.m. Zebulon Page fired two rounds from a .22 caliber gun into the ceiling on his home at 11 North Main Street in Mifflintown. Police say nobody was hurt.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HERNDON – Police in Northumberland County are looking for the thieves that stole around 20 ton of corn worth around $9,000 from a silo. Police say the theft happened sometime between December 14th and the 18th at the Herndon Reload Company located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Herndon. Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call state police, Stonington.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BUCKHORN - A fire broke out at a home in the Rolling Hills development in Mount Pleasant Township, Columbia County after a wooden deck surrounding a flue pipe to a wood-pellet stove started burning last night. But firefighters quickly quenched the blaze, limiting damage to the rear of Joseph and June Mainzer’s home at 331 Rolling Hills North. The fire was reported just before seven p.m. at the property of Millertown Road. It appears the fire started near where a section of the flue pipe on the exterior of the house passed through a second-floor wooden deck and then spread to the exterior wall of a second-floor bedroom. The fire has been ruled accidental and no injuries were reported. The American Red Cross is assisting the Mainzers.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – New lives in the New Year as Evangelical Community Hospital, Geisinger Medical Center and  Williamsport Regional Medical Center welcomed the New Year with new babies. At Evangelical, Tanner Allen-Marshall Hoover arrived just after two a.m. to parents Megan Swope of Mount Pleasant Mills and her fiance’ Jedd Hoover.  At Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Marin Rose Snyder was born to Beth and Kyle Snyder, of Elysburg, at 10:27 a.m. Tuesday.  And at Williamsport Rhyan Sox was the first baby born in Lycoming County in 2013. She was born just after 12:30 a.m. Tuesday to Sarah Sox and Kris Orwig, of Lock Haven.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Six-year-old Ryan Gordon clutched a stuffed polar bear as his parents accepted more than $800 in cash, food and gift cards from members of the Lord’s Disciples Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association on Tuesday morning at the Country Cupboard Restaurant in Lewisburg. “Thank you,” Ryan said in a small voice to the more than 40 motorcyclists who attended the breakfast event at the Country Cupboard. Lord’s Disciples members have been holding an annual Polar Bear Ride and helping families get the New Year off to a good start for the past 16 years. Every year, the riders select a local family in need and hold a breakfast in their honor on January 1st and hand out cash and other donations. This year, the Peter and Lisa Gordon family, of Stonington, was chosen. The Gordons were already raising two daughters, 16, and 13, when they adopted 18-month-old Ryan, a frail child born with cystic fibrosis, a chronic lung disease. Ryan, must endure daily 90-minute breathing treatments and is tube-fed while attending school. Despite his difficulties, Lisa Gordon said, the boy remains upbeat. Since 1998, the chapter has donated more than $10,000 to families in need.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Despite temperatures in the low to mid – 30's New Years Eve, over 400 runners took part in the 11th annual Bloomsburg YMCA 5K Walk / Run. Nearly 18 minutes after the start Mt. Carmel's Michael Hause crossed the finish line first. Hause goes to school at Misericordia in Dallas and runs competitively for the school's team.
(WGRC)

PINE CREEK - A popular winter rite of passage has once again taken place in Schuylkill County. The Fourth Annual Polar Bear Plunge was held in Pine Creek and it’s to benefit a local trout nursery. It’s not clear whether these were shouts of joys or screams of pure agony, but regardless, they were all going in for an icy dip. It was the Fourth Annual Pine Creek Polar Bear Plunge and dozens of people came out to test their wits, their strength and their state of mind. For many this was a first time taking the big dunk and some say it’s fitting to do something so bold on New Year’s Day. The plunge isn’t just about thrills and chills; it’s the largest fundraiser for the Pine Creek Trout Nursery, which keeps the creek stocked with fish. Last year the plunge raised almost $2,800 for the fish nursery.  
(WNEP)

LEWISBURG – For Union County residents the New Year will bring about no tax increases on the County level. For the 5th year in a row, Union County Commissioners have passed a budget with no tax increase for residents. The $19.4 million budget passed Monday includes 1 to 3.5 percent salary increases for employees. There are more expenses than revenue in 2013, but reserves from 2012 will cover the balance of the expenses.
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN – The former New Berlin Elementary School and the property surrounding it is now in the Borough’s hands. The Borough last Friday closed on the property at High and Plumb Streets for $244,000  from the Mifflinburg Area School District. Borough Secretary Rebecca Witmer says there were no stipulations connected with the purchase of the building. The Borough has no immediate plans for the school building, and is exploring options for the building. The property surrounding the school which includes tennis courts and a ball field, has been used in the past by the Borough during special occasions and official Borough activities. Witmer says parties interested in the building can contact the borough office  with inquiries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – An area congressman is closing some offices and opening some new ones in our area. Due to congressional redistricting, Tenth Congressional District Congressman Tom Marino, of Cogan Station, has announced some transitions for his Constituent Service Centers for the 10th District. The 10th District will no longer include Montour, Wyoming or Luzerne Counties and will lose parts of Northumberland and Lackawanna Counties. Marino says he will close his Sunbury Constituent Service Center in Sunbury and open a new Selinsgrove Constituent Service Center at 35 Market Street in Selinsgrove. The Selinsgrove office number is 374-9469 beginning on January 4th. Marino is also closing an office in Tunkhannock, Wyoming County and opening an office in Wayne County in Lake Ariel.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Former Penn State President Graham Spanier has been ordered not to have contact with any former or current university trustees. The mandate was part of some changes Harrisburg-area District Judge William Wenner made Friday to the bail for Spanier, who is accused of covering up abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky and obstructing prosecutors’ investigation. What prompted the judge to impose the no-contact provision is not known, as there were no written motions to that effect by the prosecuting or defense attorneys in the case. Spanier, of State College, had been prohibited from leaving the state as part of the original bail conditions Wenner set in November. But Spanier’s attorneys asked the judge to loosen the travel restrictions, saying Spanier wanted to visit family in the Midwest over the holidays and go to Europe in the spring. Wenner refused to budge on the international travel ban, but the district judge did allow Spanier to travel in the United States as long as he gives the court his travel itinerary five days before he goes out of town. In addition, Spanier has been barred from contacting any of the prosecution’s witnesses in the case, for which the preliminary hearing has not been rescheduled since it was postponed in December.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania will sue the NCAA over the sanctions imposed on Penn State resulting from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Governor Tom Corbett plans to make the announcement today that he is filing a federal lawsuit against the NCAA for its sanctions against Penn State. The state is acting without the university in preparing the lawsuit. Penn State spokesman David La Torre says the university is not aware of the lawsuit. The NCAA levied severe penalties on the university, including a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, a drop in the number of football scholarships the university can offer and the vacating of the football team’s wins from 1998 to 2011. It’s not been determined whether all the sanctions or portions of them are targeted in the suit. Penn State in July accepted the sanctions and in December paid $12 million of the $60 million in penalties into an escrow account. State Senator Jake Corman announced last week that he plans to introduce legislation that would keep the NCAA’s entire $60 million fine against Penn State in Pennsylvania. He also said he will file a lawsuit, seeking to prohibit the NCAA from releasing funds to any organization outside of Pennsylvania.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The City of Williamsport and Airmen Pond at Bowman Field are hosting the Federal League Hockey All-Star game tonight. The Williamsport Outlaws will take on an all-star team chosen from the league’s other teams at 7:05 tonight. An autograph session will be held following the game.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Those who depend on bus transit to get around Williamsport and Lycoming County can now ride on a bus that is powered by compressed natural gas. River Valley Transit unveiled the new bus Friday afternoon. It’s one of the first compressed natural gas busses in city history. The bus was unveiled outside the terminal at Trade and Transit Centre near Pine Street in Williamsport. The event was considered monumental enough to hold a blue ribbon-cutting ceremony as a compressed natural gas fuel station is under development at the River Valley Transit garage, at 1500 West Third Street. City officials say the bus and use of the alternative source of fuel, ideally will supplant diesel and is a historical marker in the evolution of local transportation and use of alternative fuel sources. The city anticipates River Valley Transit will save $500,000 a year in fuel cost annually by using the buses as natural gas is about 50 cents per gallon versus about $3.50 per gallon for diesel fuel.
(WGRC)

POTTERS MILLS - More attention is always paid to driving safety during the holiday season. Now that the holiday season is over, one politician in Centre County is pushing for transportation to be a focal point for funding this year. State Senator Jake Corman sees a major transportation problem every day in his county. The South-Central Highway between Potters Mill and State College is still 2-lane, and there have been several fatal crashes on the Waddle Road interchange in Centre County which backs up onto Rt. 322 during rush hour. Senator Corman says the South-Central Highway was ready to be designed a few years ago, but was pulled because of a lack of funds. He says the plan is in place, and it wouldn't take much to get it restarted. Senator Corman says there have been two governor reports stating that transportation needs to be looked at.  He remains confident something can get done since it's a bipartisan issue, and the roadways affect everyone. He says it's his number one priority heading into this year’s legislative session.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Clinton County will receive $125,000 less in Marcellus Shale natural gas impact fees, meaning fewer homes will be repaired countywide. Clinton County applied for $425,000 in statewide competitive Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation funds out of $2.5 million available but were only approved for $300,000. That $425,000 would have been coupled with a 50-50 match from the county, if approved. The commissioners had agreed to match the anticipated impact fee money with $200,000 from the county's Community Development Block Grant. County Planner Tim Holladay says municipalities statewide eligible for the impact fee money were capped at $500,000. Holladay noted counties, like Lycoming, with several municipalities that hit the half-million-dollar threshold were prioritized for the grant funding. He says Clinton County had none.
(WGRC)

ALLENTOWN – Those who get their electricity from PPL Electric Utilities will see their electric bills go up in the New Year. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on December 28th approved changes in PPL Electric Utilities’ distribution rates effective January 1, 2013.  The new rates will provide about $71 million in additional annual revenue. For residential customers, the changes include an increase in distribution charges to reflect higher operating and maintenance expenses, including recovery of costs for storms in 2011, and improvements to the distribution system over the past two years. Beginning yesterday, the distribution rate increase and other rate changes approved by the commission will result in a 3 percent increase to the total monthly bill for an average residential customer. And the total monthly bill for small business customers will increase by 1 percent. Overall bills for customers who have switched to other suppliers will depend largely on their supplier’s prices in the new year.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Both state Representatives Kurt Masser and Lynda Schlegel Culver were humbled and admittedly still nervous as they took the oath of office for their second terms along with 201 duly elected legislators in the 197th Session of the State House of Representatives at the Capitol Building in Harrisburg Tuesday afternoon. Also sworn in was State Representative Richard Mirabito of Williamsport. Also sworn into the State Senate yesterday Senator John Gordner and Senator Eugene Yaw.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Authorities are cracking down on illegal dog kennels across the commonwealth. As 2012 comes to a close, PA's Dog Law Enforcement Office has taken action against 37 kennels operating without a license. The arm of the Agriculture Department checks up on the businesses, which are supposed to obtain a kennel license if they keep or transfer 26 or more dogs in a year. Spokeswoman Samantha Krepps says people buying dogs should be careful when they shop. She says the best way to avoid a bad kennel is to get a guarantee of good health and a health certificate from the kennel owner on the dog you purchase. The guarantee of health is part of the puppy lemon law, which applies to state-licensed kennels. The health certificate will also tell you if a vet has recently checked the dog. Krepps says the state is also investigating the illegal sale of dogs online. She says since October, six kennel owners have been discovered and charged.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTON - Past its own New Year's deadline, a weary Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation to avoid a national "fiscal cliff" of middle class tax increases and spending cuts late Tuesday night in the culmination of a struggle that strained America's divided government to the limit. The bill's passage on a bipartisan 257-167 vote in the House sealed a hard-won political triumph for the president less than two months after he secured re-election while calling for higher taxes on the wealthy. The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 89-8 less than 24 hours earlier. The bill would also prevent an expiration of extended unemployment benefits for an estimated two million jobless, block a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients, stop a $900 pay increase for lawmakers from taking effect in March and head off a threatened spike in milk prices. Both Congressmen Tom Marino and Glen Thompson voted in favor of the measure.
(WGRC)