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January 18, 2013

STATE COLLEGE - A fire last night destroyed a trailer off North Atherton Street, in State College but a young couple and their baby escaped unharmed. The blaze engulfed the home at 118 Toter Lane in the Franklin Manor Mobile Home Park. The fire claimed a pet pig but the couple saved an iguana and some dogs. Red Cross workers came to help the displaced residents. Fire officials say a cause was not immediately apparent, and a fire marshal will investigate. No one was injured.

MILL HALL – A man suffered moderate injuries after he had to be cut free from his pickup truck after it crash yesterday morning along Eagle Valley Road, in Clinton County. Police say 76-year-old Donald Aikey suffered a medical condition that caused him to go off the roadway into a ditch. The crash happened around nine Thursday morning. He was first taken to Lock Haven Hospital then flown to Geisinger. Aikey remains in serious condition.

SHAMOKIN – An 18-year-old Shamokin man has been charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI following a crash in June that killed a passenger in his vehicle. State Police Stonington have charged Kyle Koontz with the fatal crash June 14th 2012, that claimed the life of 19-year-old David Dorsett of Coal Township and injured three others. Koontz is free on $20,000 bail. The crash happened on Anthracite Road in Zerbe Township. Police say Koontz went off the roadway his car going into a ditch and rolling killing Dorsett.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BERWICK – Officials find another meth lab in Columbia County. Probation officers trying to locate 30-year-old Michael Olah checked his home Thursday and discovered an “active” meth lab in the attic of the home, a heavy volume of drug paraphernalia and “a lot of strange things” officers had not seen at previous meth raids, but police did not elaborate. Police say a girl answered the door and allowed county probation officers inside, they found Olah hiding on a bed between two mattresses. Police took Olah, and three others at 401 Chestnut Street into custody after the 4:30 p.m. discovery. In addition to Olah, police plan to charge two others they found in the home, Samuel Konrad and Heather Wynings, both of Berwick. The Press Enterprise reports, authorities surrounded the house at Chestnut and Fourth streets with yellow police tape, blocking traffic as they awaited the arrival of a specially trained team of troopers who would dismantle the lab and collect items used to make the drug.

WILLIAMSPORT - A Trout Run man was convicted Wednesday of firing a long gun toward a 14-year-old boy. 62-year-old Paul Crissman was found guilty by a Lycoming County jury on charges of simple assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. The boy testified to standing outside his parents' home on October 7th, 2011, when he saw Crissman come out of the woodline, aim a gun and fire. The boy told police that the gun was not aimed at him, but Crissman did fire in the direction of his home. The shot landed close enough that the boy saw leaves move in his driveway. Crissman had been sentenced about a week before the incident to 18 months of probation for firing at two men riding all-terrain vehicles near or on his property. One of Crissman's shots hit one of the ATVs. Crissman will be sentenced in February for the incident in October.

DANVILLE - A Danville woman pleaded guilty to a reduced assault charge Thursday for cutting a man’s neck with a steak knife on New Year’s Eve. Police say 46-year-old Sharon Arndt, used a serrated knife to cut Jeff Shearer’s neck but Shearer didn’t want to testify or press charges. Arndt had been charged with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor simple assault and jailed under $50,000 cash bail. She pleaded guilty to simple assault and must pay a $300 fine and court costs and was released from prison. District Judge Marvin Shrawder ordered Arndt to undergo a mental health evaluation.

BELLEFONTE – A Berwick man was found guilty of two counts of terroristic threats after police say he taped a knife to his hand and threated to harm a co-worker at a construction site on West Beaver Avenue in State College back in June. Centre County Judge Thomas King Kistler found 54-year-old Richard Castucci guilty of making threats and related counts during a non-jury trial in Bellefonte yesterday.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A man from Lycoming County will spend time behind bars for causing more than $160,000 in damage to several construction vehicles. Tanner Long was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison and five years of probation. Investigators said that back in August, Long and some friends took vehicles from a site in Loyalsock State Forest, damaging a truck and some other heavy equipment. A judge ruled Long must also pay $175,000 in restitution and complete 250 hours of community service.

LEWISBURG - A former assistant football coach in Mifflinburg who was blinded by an errant gunshot while turkey hunting in May 2010 and his wife were awarded more than $4 million for injuries, lost earnings and pain and suffering Thursday by a Union County judge. Michael and Terry Hobbins of New Berlin filed suit in October 2010 against Leroy Miller of Mifflinburg, who is currently in the state prison in Waynesburg where he serves a sentence for previous, unrelated charges. Judge Michael Sholley handed down that sentence yesterday in Union County Court after the Hobbins testified, recounting the active life Michael Hobbins had before the 2010 accident and the adjustments and losses they’ve experienced since.

UNIVERSITY PARK - Reforming Penn State University’s governance, including taking away the president’s and Governor’s voting powers, got strong signs of support from several trustees on Thursday. Trustees are meeting this week on a number of topics, many of them recommendations from the Freeh Report and former Auditor General Jack Wagner. The trustees’ governance committee, which talked through more than 20 recommendations Thursday during a public session, was one of several committee meetings during the first of two days of meetings on campus. Today’s voting meeting starts at 1:30 p.m. at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel. In the committee Thursday, the discussions about the powers of the president offered little if any resistance, although the discussions did not cover the consensus of all 32 board members. The board may also look to take away the president’s role as the secretary of the board, which was another of Wagner’s recommendations. Who would pick up the role remains to be seen, as the trustees will first focus on the job description before eyeing a person to fill the role. The committee seemed inclined to recommend some changes about trustees being appointed to university positions and employees becoming trustees. As for trustees moving into high-ranking university positions, Peetz said they should do what it can to show there is no impropriety or conflict of interest.

MANDATA - Line Mountain School District will incorporate more security measures into construction projects set to take place this spring at Trevorton Elementary School and the Line Mountain Junior/Senior High School. Superintendent Dave Campbell said he and other administrators have been meeting with state police to discuss safety in response to last month's school shooting in Connecticut, and that he is working on altering building plans to include better safety and security measures. The district also wants to expand communication during and after any incidents, educate students and staff on plans and drills and slow any intruder as much as possible by including lockdown doors and other deterrents. Meanwhile, the district also continues to discuss the idea of armed teachers. Director Lauren Hackenburg made a motion last week to allow teachers and administration to be permitted to carry firearms on school property, but it was tabled to allow Solicitor Rich Roberts to research the legality of doing so. Roberts is also researching hiring armed guards as an option. Hackenburg tells the News Item, "We are blessed with a proactive administration who cares deeply about our students. I just feel strongly that, additionally, there should be a last resort line of defense in place so that we are completely protected from the inside."

DANVILLE - Gun owners are planning a demonstration at the corner of Route 11 and Route 54 in Danville Saturday as part of a nationwide Gun Appreciation Day. Organizer 40-year-old Brock Hoyes, of Danville, tells the Press Enterprise, they are looking for a peaceful demonstration in support of Second Amendment rights, not arguments or political debate. They will hold the demonstration from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., and participants can come and go as they please. Hoyes and some friends decided to organize the event after hearing about Gun Appreciation Day, scheduled for two days before President Barack Obama takes the oath of office for a second term, one in which gun control is set to be a priority. Hoyes said he could not find any mention of a local rally on the Web, so he decided to organize one. He and friends have been making phone calls and spreading word on Facebook. Earlier this week, President Obama laid out a wide-ranging proposal aimed at reducing gun violence. It includes universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons, magazines larger than 10 bullets and armor-piercing bullets. It also calls for funding for programs for police officers in schools and psychological counseling for children and young adults troubled by mental health problems, drugs, trauma and anxiety.

ANTES FORT - The first of four town hall-style meetings in the 84th Legislative District held by state Rep. Garth Everett, R- Muncy, drew about 50 citizens at the Antes Fort Volunteer Fire Company Thursday night. Residents questioned the four-term lawmaker about gun control, tolling Interstate 80, a state police helicopter and state spending. Everett said he is holding the meetings to let his constituents know what's happening in Harrisburg and to get feedback from the communities he represents. Everett said he wants government to be smaller but responsive to the public - something that's not always easy in Harrisburg.

MILTON - The Christ Wesleyan Church of Milton is celebrating another milestone today as they along with the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce holds a ribbon cutting ceremony on their new coffee house called “The Well.” The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at one this afternoon at the coffee house located on the church grounds at 363 Stamm Road, Milton. “The Well,” is a, $4,000,000, state-of-the-art complex which features a coffee house with seating for over 100, a book store, a fitness facility, child’s play area and gym.  “The Well” is open to the community and offers many programs such as Zumba, dodge ball, volleyball and much more.  

HARRISBURG - Senator Jake Corman announced Thursday that the NCAA has agreed not “disperse or otherwise dissipate” any of the $12 million in fine money already paid by Penn State to the NCAA while negotiations continue on the over-riding lawsuit filed by Senator Corman. Senator Corman filed a preliminary injunction motion to prohibit the NCAA from releasing any of the $12 million the University has already paid to the NCAA. He also filed a lawsuit this month asking the court to enjoin the NCAA or their endowment from releasing the $60 million fine to organizations outside of Pennsylvania.  

HARRISBURG - In keeping with a tradition going back to the first presidential inauguration, the Pennsylvania National Guard will send a team to Washington, D.C. this weekend. About 1,300 soldiers and airmen will help with security, managing crowds, and directing traffic during President Obama’s second inauguration. The team reported to Fort Indiantown Gap Wednesday and will leave for Washington this morning. They’ll do a “dry run” over the weekend and then set up traffic control points on Sunday night before the inauguration ceremony begins Monday morning.