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January 10, 2013

ORIENTIAL – Fire crews were called out this morning in Juniata County to fight a house fire. The call came out just before eight a.m. at 2204 Turkey Valley Road near the village of Oriental. Reports say the fire is believed to have started near a stove in the home. All those living in the home made it out safely.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY – Fire crews in Sunbury and the surrounding area rushed out to fight a two alarm fire this morning in Sunbury. The fire was first reported around four a.m. at the Brass Key bar at 200 Regan Street in the City. When crews arrived they found a working fire at the establishment. It’s thought the fire started in the kitchen of the bar. A state police fire marshal has been called in to investigate a cause.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DEER LAKE — A crash in Schuylkill County early this morning turned out to be deadly. It happened around 6 a.m. on Route 61 near the intersection with Route 895 in Deer Lake. Route 61 in the area of the intersection with Route 895 was shut down. Crews said traffic may be detoured for several hours in that area. The name of the person killed has not been released.
(WNEP)

WILLIAMSPORT – Police in Williamsport are investigating a shooting yesterday that claimed the life of one man. Police say the shooting took place around 5:30 p.m. in an alley in the vicinity of the 300 block of Susquehanna Street. Police say one man was struck and killed by gunfire. Reports say the man who was shot and killed is believed to be in his 20’s and police say they plan to release the man’s identity later today. Police say they do have leads into the shooting and continue their investigation; however a suspect is not in custody. Police say they are looking for two black men who may have been involved in the shooting. Police would not comment on a motive behind the shooting. A large group of bystanders including some of the victim’s family arrived at the scene and police had to cordon off a larger area and called in Pennsylvania College of Technology police and state police for back-up.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE – State College Police are looking for the three involved in a jewelry store heist on Wednesday, Police say around 10:30 they were called to Kranich’s Jewelry located at 216 East College Avenue for a report of an armed robbery. Employees of the store say three black men wearing dark clothing and backpacks entered the store. One of the suspects showed a handgun and demanded the display case keys. The other two suspects then began filling back packs with jewelry. Employees were placed on the floor while the robbery took place. No injuries were reported.  The three then fled the store toward East Calder Way. Police are asking anyone with information about the robbery to call State College Police.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

TROUT RUN – Police in Lycoming County are investigating a break-in near Trout Run. Police say sometime between seven a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday thieves broke into the home along Route 287 in Cogan House Township. The thieves stole $400 dollars in cash and jewelry. Anyone with information on the break-in is asked to call State Police, Montoursville.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG – A plea hearing is set for today for a Millmont man charged with killing a man at his Buffalo Township home in June. The Daily Item reports 28-year-old Justin Richard is scheduled to enter a plea in Union County Court today. Richard and co-defendant 38-year-old Herbert Tiebout of Sunbury, were both charged with second and third degree murder in the death of 52-year-old Randy Sampsell Who lived along Creek road just east of Cowan in Union County. Police say Sampsell was shot in his home. Two other suspects involved in the homicide have not been identified. Tiebout and Richard are also charged with assaulting Scott Vonneida of Millmont.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A former professor from Columbia County was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday, right after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. Investigators said Gary Doby of Bloomsburg conspired with a former third grade teacher in Oklahoma to make pornography with elementary age children. Doby is a former professor of early childhood education at Bloomsburg University.
(WNEP)

BELLEFONTE - Jerry Sandusky is returning to Centre County today. Sandusky will make the trip from the state prison in Waynesburg to the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte for a court hearing. The hearing is over Sandusky’s defense attorneys’ claims that they did not have enough time to prepare for the trial. They want Judge John Cleland to throw out the verdict and the 30- to 60-year sentence Sandusky is serving in Greene County. Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child abuse but has maintained his innocence despite the trial testimony from eight young men who said the former coach molested them when they were children.
(WGRC)

McELHATTAN - How much does it cost to house just one Clinton County inmate at the Clinton County Prison in McElhattan? How much would it cost if there were only county inmates at the local prison? What would happen if local officials limited prison housing to local inmates and abandoned a long-standing practice of charging other institutions to house their inmates? Nobody knows the exact answers to those questions, which is why the county Prison Board decided Wednesday to hire the county's financial advisor to study just those issues. Questions have been raised in recent months in light of increasing costs at the local prison, and speculation that it might be less expensive to drop a practice of charging for housing out-of-county inmates in favor of a much-reduced local prison population. The Prison Board has hired Susquehanna Group Advisors Incorporated to head-up the study on the prison.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - This January Evangelical Community Hospital’s Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health will attempt to “Freeze Out Breast Cancer” in our area by holding their 8th Annual Mammathon. From January 22nd to the 24th, thousands of women throughout the region will be called during the Mammathon, an event designed to encourage women to schedule their annual Mammogram. Throughout the history of the event, the Center’s Mammathons have resulted in 5,000 calls placed with 1,000 women committing to scheduling a mammogram. It is the hope that this effort in January, along with monthly calls throughout the year by staff and volunteers, will surpass expectations and essentially freeze out late stage breast cancer through early detection. This year Evangelical doctors and nurses will start the calling by encouraging women to schedule a mammogram or answer questions about breast cancer. For those who put off mammograms because of difficult financial situations or because they are under or un-insured, the Center recently received two grants, one from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and one from the Degenstein Foundation, that extended the number of studies the Center is able to offer women who are financially unable to pay for the screening or follow-up imaging. Evangelical reminds women that early detection of breast cancer saves lives.
(WGRC)

CENTRE HALL - A water main break resulted in an “adventure” for the Miles Township Elementary School students in Centre County. School officials were notified of the water main break near the school, and the director of physical plant said the water would be shut off at 7:30 a.m. Instead of canceling the school day or holding classes at the school without functioning toilets, officials decided to move all the students to nearby Centre Hall Elementary School. The two schools are separated by about 15 miles. Parents were notified of the change by “school messenger call” just before seven Wednesday morning. School officials say the problem was fixed and everything is set for a normal school day today.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - More than three years after former U.S. Representative Chris Carney announced a $200,000 grant for surveillance cameras for the City of Sunbury, city officials on Wednesday began assembling the crime-fighting technology. More than 200 cameras were bought in the purchasing project. City officials and employees on Wednesday began putting together 12 mobile cameras that will be accessed by remote control. Carney was critical of Sunbury several months ago when he learned the grant he sought hadn’t been used. Carney tells the Daily Item, “I’m glad to hear they are finally there.” “I hope they will be able to help make Sunbury a safer place to live and I was glad we were able to secure the money in the first place.”
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – The Buffalo Valley Rail Trail is on track for eastward expansion. On Wednesday Larson Design Group told the Lewisburg Area Recreational Authority they are working on the plan for the rail trail from Route 15 east to North Fifth Street and then across the Susquehanna River. The project is being funded from a State Department of Transportation grant used to construct the trail. LARA has until June 30th to use the rest of the grant funding. Lara will also use a $5,000 grant from the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership to build the trail from Fifth Street east.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Northumberland County officials have 30 days to verify the County properly dispersed funds intended to help those who were homeless or about to become homeless in 2009 or face repaying the state Department of Community and Economic Development $215,000. The county participated in a federal Housing and Urban Development Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program that distributed $1.5 billion to those in need around the country. In a scathing nine-page letter, Beverly Hutzel, DCED grant manager, wrote that the program demanded that “all participants applying for the program had to undergo a housing status eligibility determination that must be documented in each case file.” Hutzel tells the Daily Item, files she checked in an audit of Northumberland County lacked required documentation, and a significant number of households were deemed ineligible. Among the Northumberland County files she audited, “There were a number of households that received program assistance that exceeded the annual income limits.”
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The Bloomsburg Fair turned a nifty profit of $1.4 million last year, largely due to nearly $2 million generated by a higher admission price plus $1.1 million in ticket sales for nightly grandstand shows. It was the largest profit reported in recent years and comes as fair officials struggle to recover from $3 million in losses after historic flooding forced them to cancel the event in September 2011. Fair officials recently appealed the real estate taxes as “excessive” and are awaiting a preliminary review of that legal challenge later this month before Columbia County President Judge Thomas James.
(WGRC)

ELYSBURG - Knoebels Amusement Resort near Elysburg in Northumberland County is adding more thrills for this upcoming season. Park officials say there will be two new rides at Knoebels when the park opens in April. A drop tower ride called The StratosFear will plunge riders 148 feet at nearly 50 miles-per-hour. Knoebels is also introducing The Crazy Submarine for the kids and a bit of nostalgia for adults with a likeness to The Beatles Yellow Submarine cartoon. The addition of these two new thrills brings the park’s total to 57 rides.  
(WGRC)

MANDATA –One school in our region is looking at the possibility of allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom. The subject surfaced during a discussion led by Superintendent David Campbell at the Line Mountain School District about reviews he and his staff have had regarding safety plans in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The Daily Item reports, Director Lauren Hackenburg made the motion to designate a key person or people who are trained in firearm safety to be granted permission to carry and-or have access to firearms, which may or may not be kept at a designated safe place within the schools. Hackenburg went on to say, “It is my understanding that local school boards have the right, and in the times we face I feel obligation, to pass such a resolution to take another step in assuring the safety of our children should a shooter get into the building.” The motion was tabled so the District’s attorney could review any legal ramifications. The topic may come up for discussion again at the next school board meeting January 22nd.
(WGRC)

SHENANDOAH – An exhibit surrounding one of Christianity’s most exciting and thought provoking articles is coming to Schuylkill County. St. Michael the Archangel church in Shenandoah and St. Nicholas, in St. Clair will be hosting the Shroud of Turin exhibit February 24th through March 9th. Many mysteries surrounding the Shroud still exists, some say it was the burial cloth worn by Jesus. The replica that will be on display is the exact size, shape, color and is officially sanctioned by the Vatican. Some say it is an elaborate picture of first century crucifixion and documents the torture Christ would have went through during his death. Whatever the case may be, the churches in Shenandoah and St. Clair are inviting the public to come and experience the exhibit.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has scheduled a forum today to examine the state's electric utilities' planning measures in anticipation of Superstorm Sandy in late October. The session will also look at the various utilities' communication with customers and efforts to restore service during and after the storm. According to the commission, more than 1.8 - million Pennsylvania residents lost power over the course of the storm. That includes thousands of PPL subscribers in the WGRC listening region. The forum will be held in the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg starting at 1:30 p.m.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Private Transportation Partnership Board Wednesday approved a project soliciting private sector proposals to manage and operate PennDOT’s 511 system, 511PA, as well as the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Roadway Information Program. In operation since 2009, 511PA provides traffic-delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 670 traffic cameras. The 511 site also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. The Pennsylvania Turnpike also deploys its own traveler information system, which provides traffic and weather information. Once proposals are received, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will assign a team of employees to review proposals to determine if customer service is maintained or can be enhanced, and if the proposal offers the opportunity to offset costs through sponsorships of the program. If the proposal is determined to be sound, PennDOT will begin negotiations and execute a contract for a private entity to provide these services for a defined period of time with various performance requirements.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday it has finalized the process it will use for encouraging and reviewing proposals to use mine-influenced water, such as acid mine drainage, in oil and gas drilling operations. The DEP has also developed lists of major mine discharges in the state that it is encouraging well operators consider first, but the agency will review proposals for using water from any mine discharge in Pennsylvania. Operators must follow all applicable environmental laws and regulations when treating, using, storing and moving the water. DEP is also encouraging interested parties to work with non-profit organizations and watershed associations that operate mine water treatment plants and to consider creating or supplementing existing trust funds for long-term treatment of mine-influenced water. The DEP says over 300 million gallons of water is discharged from mines into Pennsylvania’s waterways every day. Such water has impaired more than 5,500 miles of rivers and streams in the state.
(WGRC)