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January 9, 2013

NORTHUMBERLAND – Fire crews from Northumberland County rushed out to fight a blazing mobile home fire this morning. The fire was reported just before six a.m. at 227 Eighth Street in Point Township. Point Township Fire Chief Jim Gesie says the trailer was fully involved when the first crews arrived. There was a report of someone being trapped inside the trailer but Geise says fortunately that turned out to be not the case. Neighbor Jeff Wenrich says the owner of the trailer is David Pope. Wenrich says he was awakened by firemen and the heat of the blaze and moved his dad and mother and himself out of the trailer beside the burning mobile home. The mobile home and its contents are a total loss. A cause of that fire is under investigation, and no injuries were reported.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

PORT TREVORTON – Fire crews were called out early this morning to battle a fire in Snyder County. The fire was reported at a cabin just before two a.m. along Shady Lane in Snyder County’s Chapman Township. Crews remained on the scene until just after four a.m. No injuries were reported.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

CENTRE HALL - State police at Rockview are investigating a hit-and-run crash Tuesday night along state Route 45 in Centre County. Police say 44-year-old John Mrak, of Centre Hall, was walking along the roadside near the intersection with state Route 144 just after six p.m. when he was struck from behind by a vehicle.  Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Rockview barracks at 355-7545.
(WGRC)

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS – In Schuylkill County, Butler Township police have completed their investigation into a crash on Route 61 that claimed the life of a 25-year-old Ashland man, who police say jumped from the car before it crashed. Sean Harris was a passenger inside a car driven by Jack Larizzio, also of Ashland, and died at the scene of the crash November 14th. Police say Harris died of injuries he suffered due to jumping from the car and not from the crash. Police say Larizzio had a "coughing spell" that caused him to apparently lose consciousness and subsequently lose control of the car which slammed into a pick-up parked at a home and a wood pile.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - A man suffered a facial injury when he crashed his bicycle into a parked car on the 1000 block of South Pugh Street in State College early Tuesday morning and went through the back window of the car. State College Police say the crash happened around 2:30 Tuesday morning and he was flown to Altoona Regional Medical Center. The man’s name was not released due to a potential upcoming DUI charge. Police say his injuries were likely not life-threatening, and the incident is still under investigation.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - A vehicle heading north on Route 11 struck a guardrail near the Danville Boat Club in Mahonig Township, Montour County Monday, then hit a culvert and a rock wall along the southbound lanes. 36-year-old Jose Martin Soto, of Sunbury, was taken to Geisinger Medical Center after he crashed his car around 9 p.m. between Northumberland and Danville. Mahoning Township Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the wreck to contact them at 275-5611.
(WGRC)

ALLENWOOD – State Police say a road rage incident in Union County is being investigated. That happened around 11:30 Monday night at the red light at the Allenwood Federal Penitentiary on Route 15. A Williamsport woman reported to police she was stopped behind a vehicle at the red light when it turned green the vehicle in front of her sat still for quite some time. The woman honked her horn at which time the driver of the first vehicle is believed to have pulled out a gun and pointed it at the woman in the car behind. The first vehicle then took off eventually pulling over along Route 15 allowing the victim to pass.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – A downtown cafe’ was broken into overnight Tuesday in Lewisburg. Buffalo Valley regional Police say when the owners of the Cherry Alley Café’ on North Third Street came to open up the shop around 6:30 Tuesday morning he discovered the rear door had been kicked in and cash from a register was stolen.  Police say several hundred dollars were taken in the break-in. Police ask if anyone has any information about the burglary you are asked to call the Buffalo Valley Regional Police.
(WGRC)

WEST MILTON – A business in Union County was broken into Sunday night. Police say Byerly’s Brother’s Meats located off Colonel John Kelly Road at Route 15 in Kelly Township was broken into Sunday night sometime just before nine p.m. The bandit entered the butcher shop through a window and exited through a door. It’s not known if anything was taken.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

PAXINOS – Police in Northumberland County are looking for the thieves that took twenty, six foot sections of wrought iron fence from a church. State Police say the fence was taken from the Irish Valley United Methodist Church sometime between December 15th and this past Sunday. The fencing was being stored behind the church for future use and is valued at $2,500.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILTON – A fourth person has been arrested for a burglary in 2010 of $77,000 in stock certificates, guns and cash from a White Deer Township home in Union County. 22-year-old Christopher Surber of Midway, Georgia has been brought back to Pennsylvania and is locked up in the Union County Jail on $100,000 bail. Police say he along with his wife 28-year-old Leann Guisewite, Brant Zeiber of Milton and Jeffery Adams of Shamokin broke into the home along Creek Road and stole the goods in December 2010.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – A Snyder County woman admitted yesterday in court that she provided drugs to her pre-teen daughter, continuing to feed her habit for years. 39-year-old Brandi Lyn Baumgardner of Beaver Spring pleaded guilty to felony endangering the welfare of children charges among other counts. She faces up to a year and four months in prison when she is sentenced in March. Police allege she supplied drugs including Fentanyl, crack cocaine, and marijuana to the girl beginning when she was 12-years-old till her arrest in July 2011.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - A Bellefonte man was allegedly driving drunk when he caused a crash that left one person dead and three others, including himself, badly injured. Matthew Shirk faces a preliminary hearing today on felony charges stemming from the fatal crash in December 2011. State police at Rockview charged Shirk last week after a lengthy investigation into the case. The crash resulted in the death of 24-year-old Kelly Rider of Port Matilda. Two other passengers suffered serious injuries, including one woman who had a broken vertebrae in her neck. Police say Shirk was driving while intoxicated and with an expired license when he crashed a pick-up truck along Route 144 in Burnside Township. The pickup truck left the roadway, struck several trees and rolled over, throwing Rider, Shirk and another passenger. Police say Shirk’s blood-alcohol content was over twice the legal limit to be driving when the crash occurred.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - A federal inmate formerly held at the federal prison at Allenwood pleaded guilty Tuesday in Harrisburg before U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane to first degree murder for stabbing and kicking a fellow inmate to death. The plea was entered by 33-year-old Shawn Cooya, formerly of White River, Arizona. In September 2005, Cooya, allegedly along with co-defendant Ritz Williams - another inmate at Allenwood - aided each other in the premeditated murder of inmate Alvin Allery by repeatedly stabbing him with a homemade knife. Cooya and Williams were indicted by a federal grand jury in Williamsport in February 2008 and a superseding indictment was returned in July 2009. As a result of his plea, Cooya faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 18th. A trial date for Williams has been scheduled for April 15.
(WGRC)

ROCKVIEW - The new state prison in Benner Township, Centre County  will open this spring and house inmate populations from two prisons in western Pennsylvania the state will shut down. The state Department of Corrections will close the prisons in Greensburg in Westmoreland County, and Cresson in Cambria County. The Benner prison will open in April or May.  The Benner state prison, on the grounds of the older Rockview state prison, cost almost $200 million to build and will hold about 2,000 inmates. Rockview will remain open.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Evangelical Community Hospital is celebrating the New Year with the opening of a specialized Center of Orthopedics. The Center, which opened for patient care on Monday, was inspired by seven years and 2,900 successful procedures of the Joint Replacement Program. The Joint Replacement Program was initiated in 2005 to address the wide-range of individuals who, at a variety of ages, were experiencing shoulder, knee and hip issues that kept them from leading the active lives they desired. The program consistently produces a 99 percent or greater patient satisfaction rate with many individuals literally walking away with a second lease on life. The new Center uses a team approach of medical professionals – Evangelical’s orthopaedically trained nurses, physical and occupational therapists along with the surgeons of SUN Orthopedic Group, Incorporated – to centralize orthopedic care.  
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN – Lewistown Hospital is taking measures to prevent the spread of the flu virus inside the hospital. The Hospital is asking people with flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, or runny nose to refrain from visiting patients.  All patients with flu-like symptoms that are coming into the emergency room or other outpatient areas for testing or doctor visits are being asked to wear a mask while at the hospital. Disposable masks as well as hand sanitizers are available in waiting rooms and nursing stations throughout the hospital.  
(WGRC)

HUGHESVILLE - Taxpayers in the East Lycoming School district may see their real estate taxes increased by 0.67 mills, according to a proposed preliminary budget. The balanced preliminary budget totals nearly $23,000,000 - about a 3.4 percent increase over last year's budget. The proposed budget also reflects the real estate tax increase and some use of the district's general fund to reach a balanced figure. School officials say a decrease in state aid revenue, cyber schooling and changing retirement rates were the primary stresses on the new school year's budget.
(WGRC)

MANDATA - Line Mountain School Board members approved a letter of intent Tuesday instructing construction companies to proceed with the start of a project at the high school and Trevorton school, but they will be doing so without the approval of the state Department of Environmental Protection for one part of the sewer portion of the project. The board was advised by their engineers to go ahead with the project due to a possible increase in construction costs if delayed. The sewer portion of the project was already approved by Lower Mahanoy Township Board of Supervisors Monday night, and school officials are confident DEP will also approve the plans.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – With taxes going up almost everywhere, it won’t be so in Loyalsock Township Lycoming County. The Loyalsock Township supervisors officially passed the 2013 property tax reduction at Tuesday night's meeting. Property taxes will be lowered in 2013 from 1.4 mills to 0.7 mills.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport City Council is expected to vote Thursday on two men whom Mayor Gabriel Campana has recommended to be appointed to the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority. The new nominees are Steven Cappelli, former Williamsport mayor who served in that capacity from 1996 to 2000 and former state legislator from 2001 to 2008, and George Bierman, vice president of the local Merrill Lynch. They would replace Dean Muller and Gregory Zeitler and would serve five-year terms. The Sun Gazette reports, Zeitler and Muller are being replaced to give other individuals an opportunity to serve on the board and were not picked by Campana looking for favorable votes as he has sought a $250,000 financial contribution from the authority to go toward city finances. That request was rejected by current authority members late last year.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - Downtown Lock Haven Incorporated has been awarded another grant for facade improvements on properties in the business district. In approving a 2013 budget, the board revealed Tuesday that the Keystone Communities Main Street Program has awarded the local nonprofit a $50,000 grant for the New Year. Property owners in the business district who are interested in the investing matching funds for building improvements can begin thinking about what they would like to do. Eligible businesses can be awarded up to $5,000 per facade improvement, or 50 percent of the cost up to $5,000. Matching funds are required to be eligible for a grant, but in the past five years, the grants have resulted in thousands of dollars in improvements to downtown buildings, in Lock Haven.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - The Centre County Board of Commissioners cleared its final big contract hurdle with another phase of the new 911 system Tuesday. Commissioner Chairman Steve Dershem said the project is on schedule. The Commissioners approved a 4362,000 contract between the county and Tower Services Unlimited for the construction of a new 220 foot tower at the Woodward tower site in Haines Township. The tower is replacing an older version which dates back to the 1950s and is no longer in usable condition. Commissioners say the new 911 center under construction in the Willowbank Building is scheduled to be operational by March.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - The Juniata County Commissioners approved a contract on Tuesday to allow for security upgrades at eight buildings where county offices are currently housed. In addition to security upgrades at the courthouse, cameras and other security provisions will be installed at the eight other buildings throughout the area that house county offices, along with two communications towers. The $244,000 project was made possible in part by grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The county has to match a certain percentage of the grant funding for the overall project, 50 percent in the second year and 75 percent in the third year of funding.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - The cost for Penn State’s response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal fallout is now almost $26 million, according to figures the university updated this week. The money is for legal fees and public relations consultants. That means the scandal has Penn State on the hook for more than $88.4 million, including the $60 million NCAA fine and $2.5 million in severance pay to former Penn State president Graham Spanier that was triggered after his dismissal in November 2011.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – The Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council and the Department of Community and Economic Development Monday announced that it has reduced the interest rates of five business loan programs to encourage new economic growth and job creation. In December, DCED lowered the interest rates for the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund, the Small Business First Program, the Pollution Prevention Assistance Program and the Export Financing Program from 2.75 percent to 1.50 percent. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority approved lowering its interest rates to 1.50 percent. PIDA and DCED will also waive its fees charged to the borrowers. The new rates will initially be in place for applications received through March 31, 2013.
(WGRC)