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January 16, 2013

LEWISBURG - After a few days of warmer than normal temperatures and melting snow, an overnight storm dropped a light to moderate snowfall across the region. Area roadways are snow covered and slippery and there have been numerous reports of accidents across the region as folks head out to work. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory in effect until eleven this morning. Predicted snow totals have increased to 4-6 for our area for overnight with the storm turning to sleet and rain later today making for a sloppy mess. Forecasters say areas of higher terrain to the north of Williamsport might get as much as 5 to 6 inches of snow. PennDOT was busy laying down an anti-icing salt brine on major highways in the region Tuesday in advance of the storm and are now out plowing roadways. Travelers can visit 511pa.com or call 511 to check on road conditions.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LAMAR – Two people are dead three children flown to Geisinger Medical Center following a crash in Clinton County Tuesday. The crash happened just after four p.m. on Route 220 near Auction Road in Lamar Township. Police say a car driven by Thomas Zierenberg of Allison Park, Pa. crossed the center of the highway and slammed head-on into a van driven by Courtney Rebuck of Loganton. Both Zierenberg and Rebuck died at the scene. Three children in Rebuck’s van, a four-year-old girl, an eight-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were taken to Geisinger.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MECHANICSVILLE- A Saint Clair man was taken to Pottsville Medical Center following a crash in Schuylkill County. The crash happened around 8:30 Tuesday morning in the area of 925 Pottsville Street in the Borough of Mechanicsville. Police say 47-year-old Richard Neade suffered a back injury in the crash when he fell asleep at the wheel and his car hit a parked vehicle then flipped over and slammed into a fence.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILTON – A state Police fire marshal will investigate a fire that called crews from Northumberland, Union, and Lycoming Counties to battle a blaze in Milton Tuesday afternoon. The fire was reported around two p.m. at the home of Michael and Traci Messinger at 668 Mahoning Street. When first crews arrived heavy smoke was pouring from the building and a second alarm was called out. Crews battled the fire from inside the home till it became too dangers to do so after the roof and one wall began to collapse. Fire Chief Sam Shaffer says the home is a total loss. The Messingers are staying with relatives and the American Red Cross is assisting. One firefighter was taken to Evangelical Community Hospital for a minor injury.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MECHANICSVILLE- A Saint Clair man was taken to Pottsville Medical Center following a crash in Schuylkill County. The crash happened around 8:30 Tuesday morning in the area of 925 Pottsville Street in the Borough of Mechanicsville. Police say 47-year-old Richard Neade suffered a back injury in the crash when he fell asleep at the wheel and his car hit a parked vehicle then flipped over and slammed into a fence.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - A 33-year-old Shamokin man charged with hitting a Coal Township man in the face and head with a crowbar on January 4th sent his charges on to Northumberland County Court, Tuesday. Greg Latsha faces felony aggravated assault and related charges. He remains free on $10,000 bail after voluntarily turning himself into police. Latsha was charged by Shamokin Police in connection with an assault on a 40-year-old man after the man gave Latcha’s girlfriend a ride home from a bar. The man was taken to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.
(WGRC)

ROCKVIEW - A suspended corrections officer at the State Prison at Rockview has been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate at the Benner Township facility over a number of years. State police have charged 54-year-old Marlin Freeman who allegedly forced the inmate to perform sexual acts in the prison chapel between September 2009 and April 2012. Freeman, of Ramey, Clearfield County, allegedly threatened that the inmate would lose his janitorial job in the prison’s medical facility or would face solitary confinement if he did not comply. The Department of Corrections suspended Freeman without pay November 16th.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Due to the recent influx of severe flu cases, Geisinger Medical Center has place a temporary restriction in effective system-wide and includes Geisinger Medical Center in Danville and its Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital campus, and Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital. Geisinger urges all visitors who are ill with fever, cough, sore throat or body aches to refrain from visiting Geisinger hospitals. The restrictions will remain in place until the threat of influenza has passed or returned to normal seasonal levels.
(WGRC)

LEWISBRUG – Over 2500 pair of flip flops will be headed to needy children in Honduras today. The footwear became a burden for Andrea and Emily Cole of Lewisburg after a mission trip in 2011. So the girls set out to collect the flip-flops and take them to Honduras. The girls say they were so amazed and the outpouring from area churches and people interested in their project and are so thankful for the support. They say they also learned a personal spiritual lesson through their mission. That is God will use anybody if they first put their trust in Him. The girls say they have their sights on a future goal as well and would like to do the same sort of project for those living in Haiti. They say after their trip to Honduras they are going to seek God’s guidance on getting flip-flops to those in the poverty torn Caribbean nation.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

ORWIGSBURG - Community members are invited to join Access Services from 12:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Thursday for three informational Career Open Houses.  The Open Houses will be held at 340 South Liberty Street, Orwigsburg, and 521 Schuylkill Avenue, Tamaqua. Those attending can speak with current Access Services employees about rewarding opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of people with special needs. Interested candidates may complete an application and have an interview onsite. Open positions include: Therapeutic Support Staff, Mobile Therapists, Behavior Specialist Consultants, Licensed Professional Counselor, Direct Care Workers, Foster Care And Lifesharing Providers. To learn more about Access Services visit accessservices.org.
(WGRC)    

MONTGOMERY – In Lycoming County the Montgomery Area School Board does not anticipate the need to raise taxes to create a balanced budget for the 2013-14 school year. During its monthly meeting, members adopted a tax resolution they hope will not require raising real estate taxes. Superintendent Daphne Ross said the majority of the board does not see a need to raise real estate taxes in the coming school year.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - The two-year contract dispute between the State College Area teachers’ union and the district is over. The union voted Tuesday night to accept a series of recommendations from a state-appointed fact-finder, which means the recommendations will become the basis of a new, four-year contract for the district’s 630 teachers. The union’s approval came a day after the school board voted to accept the report. The union and the district now will work in the next several weeks to draft the contract based on the fact-finder’s recommendations — which call for increases in health care costs and salary increases that average 2.1 percent over four years — and present it to the school board for their approval. Once the contract is approved, it will be retroactive to July 1, 2011, and will last through June 30, 2015. It also means that negotiations for a contract after 2015 are just two years away.
(WGRC)

TAMAQUA – In Schuylkill County, Tamaqua Area school board members are exploring a policy that would allow certain staff members to carry firearms in school in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting. Tamaqua Area is the first Schuylkill County district to take action at a voting board meeting, giving unanimous approval to a recommendation authorizing district administrators to develop a policy that sets the rules for arming school personnel. School board President Larry Wittig stressed at a meeting Tuesday that talks are very preliminary and school board members are far from arming school employees. Last week talks in the Line Mountain School District were put on hold surrounding the same issue of allowing certain school authorities to carry guns.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport Bureau of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 29 have reached agreement on a new contract, according to police sources and Mayor Gabriel Campana. Campana said Tuesday that there were changes in the police pensions and other concessions that can save the city money. The previous police contract expired December 31st. City police Chief Gregory A. Foresman said the agreement, which City Council has yet to approve, means the city won't have to go into arbitration and that could save an estimated $100,000.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Impact fees collected from the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry could help pave the way for more natural gas vehicles in Centre County. Commissioners Steve Dershem, Chris Exarchos and Michael Pipe gave their unanimous approval Tuesday to add the Centre Area Transportation Authority and the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority to the county's $275,000 state grant request to convert up to 11 vehicles into natural gas use. The county last week applied for a grant for money from the state Department of Environmental Protection that would provide $25,000 per vehicle for counties looking to convert them to natural gas.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - State Farm Insurance Company will not be paying for Jerry Sandusky’s defense or awards from any civil suits arising from his criminal activity. Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, whose name also is on the homeowners policy, withdrew claims against the insurance company. The parties entered into a consent decree that U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane signed Tuesday. It eliminates any obligations on the part of State Farm. State Farm had sought a court declaration that the homeowners policy did not provide coverage for Sandusky’s defense in the criminal case, in which he has been convicted on 45 counts and is serving a prison sentence for 30 to 60 years. The insurance company also had rejected Sandusky’s claims for payment of his defense in two civil cases filed in Philadelphia. State Farm contended Sandusky’s homeowner’s policy provided only limited liability coverage and it excluded acts intentionally caused by or the result of any willful or malicious conduct by the policyholder.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Penn State's lawyers asked a judge Tuesday to throw out a whistleblower and defamation lawsuit filed by a former assistant football coach Mike McQueary who testified he saw Jerry Sandusky attack a boy in a school shower more than a decade ago. The Associated Press reports, the lawyers say McQueary's lawsuit is too vague and does not meet legal standards to support claims of defamation and misrepresentation. McQueary has sued the university for millions of dollars, claiming in an October complaint that then-president Graham Spanier made him a scapegoat in 2011 after Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach, was arrested on child molestation charges. McQueary alleges he lost his job because he cooperated with prosecutors, and that Spanier's statements suggested McQueary had lied about the 2001 shower attack. He is seeking reinstatement, a bowl bonus, back pay and benefits, among other things. His salary had been $140,000.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – Sunbury Mayor David Persing has made the announcement that he is again running for Mayor. Persing says his major credits during the last three years include leading the City through three years of no tax increases while decreasing crime with the City’s Police force, added tourism for the Sunbury, and pushing toward the “new city” goal with the resurgence of the Sunbury Redevelopment Authority. Persing says he would like to continue forward with all the positive projects taking place within the City, and into the future.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - With a tour of the city and guest speakers Tuesday, Pottsville Area school board member Scott Thomas announced that he will be running for Pottsville Mayor. A 2008 graduate of Pottsville Area High School, Thomas said he will receive a bachelor's degree in public administration from Kutztown University in May. In November 2009, Thomas was elected to serve a four-year term on the Pottsville Area school board. In December, he announced he would not be seeking a second term. Thomas has also had been working part-time as a legislative aide for state Representative Mike Tobash.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - An all-Democrat slate of Pennsylvania row officers were sworn into office Tuesday. Kathleen Kane of Scranton — the first woman and first Democrat to be elected state attorney general — took the oath of office Tuesday in the rotunda of the state Capitol. Also Tuesday, Eugene DePasquale of York is stepping down from his longtime seat in the House of Representatives and was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s Auditor General in a ceremony at the Pennsylvania State Museum. State Treasurer Rob McCord of Bryn Mawr took his oath for a second term at a ceremony in a state office building across the street from the Capitol. All three will serve four-year terms.
(WGRC)