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January 21, 2013

MARSH CREEK - A region already suffering heartache under the weight of three serious traffic collisions within a week's time, received news of a fourth serious crash Sunday, this one resulting in another death. The crash happened on the Marsh Creek Road in Liberty Township, Centre County. State Police say the two-vehicle crash happened around 1:30 Sunday afternoon. Police said the identity of man killed in the crash, and his passenger, a woman who suffered moderate injury, was being withheld pending notification of family. Police said the man was driving south on the Marsh Creek Road when the vehicle crashed into a northbound vehicle driven by 60-year-old Timothy Carter of Beech Creek. Carter and his passenger 67-year-old Lawrence Carter, of Beech Creek, suffered minor injuries in the wreck. Sunday's fatal crash arrives on the heels of a double-fatal collision Tuesday that took the life of Courtney Rebuck of Loganton and seriously injured her two children and another child. Also killed in the accident was the other driver, Thomas Zierenberg of Allison Park, near Pittsburgh,
(WGRC)

LECK KILL - A young man has died after being flown to Geisinger Medical Center after a freak one-car crash Saturday evening in which he may have had his head out the window and it hit a tree. The crash happened around 5:30 p.m. in front of 3523 Schwaben Creek Road, between Rebuck and Leck Kill, in Upper Mahanoy Township. The car sideswiped a large evergreen tree and continued traveling approximately 150 yards before stopping partially off the road. 18-year-old Jared Wood of Trevorton died after being taken to Geisinger. Wood was a passenger in the car driven by 21-year old Aaron Rothermel, of Trevorton. Rothermel and another 17-year old passenger were not injured in the crash. State Police continue to investigate.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WOODWARD - A Woodward teen was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center with major injuries after the forklift he was driving overturned along a road between two farms pinning him underneath. That happened just after seven Friday morning at the farms along Route 45 in Haines Township. Police say 18-year-old Christopher King was trapped under the forklift after the lift went off the road and overturned.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - An elderly man died Friday afternoon in the Williamsport Regional Medical Center's intensive care center of injuries he suffered last Monday morning in a two-car crash in Loyalsock Township. 85-year-old Clyde Buchta, of Williamsport, died from upper body injuries. Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. says Buchta never regained consciousness after being brought to the hospital following a crash at Washington Boulevard and Shiffler Avenue. State police said Buchta was traveling east on Washington Boulevard in his car when a collision happened between Buchta and a car driven by 88-year-old Eleanor DeSaulniers, of Williamsport. The woman was taken to the Williamsport Hospital, but no information was available about her condition. Meanwhile, state police on Friday night released the identities of the adults involved in Wednesday's crash on Route 220 in front of Lewis Veterinary Clinic in Woodward Township. One of the drivers, 71-year-old Etta Myers, of Jersey Shore, and a passenger in her vehicle, 18-year-old Megan Harpster, were both reported in critical condition in the Geisinger Medical Center. The other driver, 24-year-old Sarina Skellenger, of Williamsport, and two children ages 1 and 5, were taken to the Williamsport Hospital. No information was available on their conditions since the hospital no longer releases such information.
(WGRC)

SHENANDOAH - Fire destroyed two homes and damaged several others on West Centre Street in the borough of Shenandoah in Schuylkill County early Saturday morning. Firefighters were called to the 400 block of West Centre Street around 3:45 a.m. and found the rear of one of the homes fully engulfed in flames. The fire was located at 432 West Centre Street. A home at 434 West Centre St. also apparently sustained heavy damage while homes at 430 and 428 West Centre St. sustained fire and smoke damage as well. One firefighter suffered minor injuries and apparently evaluated at the scene while one bystander suffered chest pains and was also treated by EMS. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - On the same day Terell Littles - a Williamsport man who was shot and killed in a drug deal gone bad- was laid to rest, Police caught up with his killers. 20-year-old Mirad Shabazz and 18-year-old Jason Gardner are accused of the January 9th shooting of Terell Littles along West Fourth Street in Williamsport. Arrest papers show the shooting was part of a marijuana deal. Police say Shabazz and Gardner took off to Easton after the shooting, and that’s where they were found Saturday. They were taken in to custody without incident both are now jailed without bail in Lycoming County.
(WGRC)

MILTON - State police at Milton are investigating an armed robbery Thursday night at the Turkey Hill Minit Market at 854 Mahoning St. in Turbot Township. Police said a man walked into the store with a gun at 11:30 p.m. and demanded money. The suspect took cash and fled toward Route 642. No injuries were reported. A description of the suspect was not available. Anyone with information is asked to contact state police at Milton.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - A Mount Carmel woman suffered a sprained hip and minor abrasions after being dragged several feet in a store parking lot during an attempted purse snatching Saturday afternoon. Mount Carmel Borough Police are investigating the crime that happened around 4:30 p.m. at Dollar General located on South Market Street. The suspect is described by police as a white, non-Hispanic man, between 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, and between the ages of 25 and 35.The suspect was in the store for several minutes and was observed exiting and loitering out front before the crime was committed. He then tried to take the purse of a 57-year-old woman, who was walking into the store. The man didn’t get the purse and fled in a silver Honda or Hyundai four-door sedan. The vehicle fled in an unknown direction. Police are running DNA from the woman’s purse in an effort to identify the perpetrator. Video footage of the suspect is also being sent to a lab in Philadelphia for enhancement. Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to call Mount Carmel Police.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - As community members walked down Memorial Avenue in Williamsport, it wasn't difficult for them to remember why they were there. Passing street signs that read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on their way to Lycoming College, volunteers had gathered to celebrate King's message of serving the community during a day of service Saturday. Throughout the day, volunteers put together 600 family fun packs, which included board games, snacks and winter wear that will be distributed to area students this week. It was King's call for service that motivated them to participate. The packs will be distributed to sixth-grade students in the Williamsport Area School District, fourth- and fifth-grade students in the Keystone Central School District and other community agencies.
(WGRC)

MILTON - Milton State Police are investigating an incident of criminal mischief and computer trespass. Information was damaged and computer files were deleted from a computer at the Central Penn Women’s Health Center in Union County on June 20, 2012. Police say they do have a 57-year-old female suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police in Milton.
(WGRC)

YEAGERTOWN – Police in Mifflin County are warning area residents of three different types of telephone scams. Mifflin County Regional Police are asking residents to refrain from giving any kind of personal information to strangers over the telephone. Police ask residents to authenticate anyone who is requesting money or personal information from you, and be suspicious of anyone asking that residents act quickly in any financial transactions. Police say once money is electronically transferred it is almost impossible to get the money back.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG — A former Milton elementary school teacher has pleaded guilty to sexting.  40-year-old Edward Jackson is accused of sending sexually explicit messages and photos to a Mifflinburg teen. The Daily Item reports, Jackson pled guilty at Friday’s pretrial conference to felony charges of obscene contact with a minor and criminal use of a communication facility. Jackson could be sentenced to a maximum of 14 years in prison or given a $30,000 fine, or both. Jackson will also be required to submit an evaluation under the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, which will determine whether he must register as a sexually violent predator.  He has been out of jail on $20,000 bail.  
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - A 5-year-old kindergarten student at Mount Carmel Area Elementary School was suspended last week for allegedly telling classmates she was going to shoot them and herself with her pink Hello Kitty Bubbles Gun. She was reportedly questioned for three hours before her mother was contacted, says Robin Ficker, an attorney from Bethesda, Md., who is representing the family. Ficker said the girl, who did not have the toy in her possession at school, was initially suspended for 10 days by Mount Carmel Area Elementary School Principal Susan Nestico in what the school classified as a "terroristic threat." The suspension was later reduced to two days and labeled a "threat to harm others." Mount Carmel Area Superintendent Bernie Stellar told the News Item he couldn't comment on the incident or suspension because he's not allowed to discuss student discipline issues. Police were not involved in the incident.  During a telephone interview with The News-Item Friday, Ficker said the 5-year-old girl was playing with two friends while waiting in line for the bus while still inside her classroom and spoke about her Hello Kitty gun, which shoots bubbles. Ficker said the kindergartner mentioned she was going to shoot one of her friends and then herself with the bubble gun so that they could all be together. Then, she was going to shoot herself again when she got home. Ficker said someone at the school became aware of the conversation and reported it to administrators.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - Mount Carmel Area School District officials, who have been heavily criticized over the suspension of a 5-year-old kindergarten student for alleging telling classmates that she was going to shoot them and herself with her pink Hello Kitty Bubble Gun, claim information provided to the media about the incident may not be consistent with the facts. The News Item reports, Mount Carmel Area Superintendent Bernie Stellar says, "Mount Carmel Area School District has been criticized for the handling of an incident that occurred recently. Although by law we cannot officially comment on the specifics of the incident involving students, we are confident that much of the information supplied to the media may not be consistent with the facts in this matter. "The Mount Carmel Area School District has investigated the issue and will continue to do so. When given the opportunity in the appropriate forum, we look forward to presenting information that will portray our school district in a more positive light." The statement continues, "The Mount Carmel Area School District takes the well-being and safety of students and staff very seriously. In discipline matters, all circumstances are taken into consideration when arriving at decisions.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A proposed landlord-tenant registration ordinance going before City Council next month is expected to spark debate over privacy and whether government can force those signing leases and those who provide rental units to register their names and addresses at City Hall. Mayor Gabriel Campana says the proposed law would give guidelines to landlords and tenants and assist emergency personnel, including police officers, firefighters and codes officials. But privacy advocates claim it may be uneasy for those who have gone through domestic abuse and perhaps may be unconstitutional to make someone sign his or her name or address for a stranger in government. It is likely the ordinance first will be seen by council's public safety committee. Campana also believes the law will prevent those individuals with a propensity to commit crimes or have a criminal record from leasing.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - With the weather-related cancelation of tonight's match against 1,000 Islands, the home season for the Williamsport Outlaws in the Federal Hockey League has come to an end. No Outlaws representative could be reached for comment Sunday night. The team's website, which announced the cancelation Sunday afternoon and promised "more information will follow shortly," was not updated as of Sunday evening.  Prior to today, just one Outlaws game has been postponed because of weather all season. A number of issues have beset the Outlaws during their first season here, including low attendance and unpaid bills. City Council said Thursday that the final $5,000 of the $20,000 assurance bond owed by the team for Bowman Field repairs was "pending." Also, Mayor Gabriel Campana told City Council on Thursday the unpaid $15,000 utility bill owed by the nonprofit group Williamsport Ice Arena that operates the rink was sent to the wrong place and that he was confident it would be paid. Before the team moves ahead with any long-term plans, at least from a hockey standpoint, it appears likely it will need a better arrangement than this year's outdoor rink. The rest of the Outlaws games will be played on the road.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Gun owners and gun enthusiasts showed their support for firearms and freedom today by rallying at the corner of Routes 11 and 54 with American flags and signs. There were 15 people at 2 p.m., but local organizer 40-year-old Brock Hoyes, of Danville, said the highest present was 33 and demonstrators came and went throughout the peaceful, six-hour demonstration. The rally coincided with National Gun Appreciation Day, which was organized by a group called Guns Across America that was launched by Texas airline pilot Eric Reed. When Hoyes found there was not going to be a local rally, he and friends Ron Mabus and Harry Carodiskey decided to step up and put one together. Gathered at two corners of the intersection, the group of gun lovers was greeted with frequent beeps from passing motorists in support of their cause.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - PPL Electric Utilities filed exceptions Monday to a recommendation made last month by two administrative law judges from the state Public Utility Commission to deny nine applications of eminent domain filed by the utility, including seven properties in Lower Mahanoy Township, Northumberland County. PUC deputy press secretary Denise McCracken said a final ruling in the case by the PUC won't be made until after reply exceptions are filed by attorneys representing the property owners, which could take at least 20 days. It is unclear what the denial, if it's made permanent, would mean for PPL's plan to build the proposed Richfield-Dalmatia 69 Kilo-volt transmission line. Last month's recommendation by the administrative law judges pleased rural landowners who are fighting PPL's plans.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - Former Penn State President Graham Spanier attended the school’s men’s basketball game against Nebraska on Saturday, sitting in the front row at what is believed to be his first Penn State sporting event since he was fired in November 2011. Spanier and two other high-ranking administrators face charges including perjury and obstruction for allegedly covering up sex abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. All three are awaiting a preliminary hearing and have maintained their innocence.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE -Two Penn State trustees paid tribute Friday to the memory of the late Joe Paterno, the Hall of Fame football coach the school summarily dismissed amid the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Paterno died almost a year ago, just a few months after the trustees fired him following Sandusky’s stunning arrest. Trustee Anthony Lubrano — who won a spot on the board largely on the strength of an alumni backlash over the board’s handling of the scandal, including Paterno’s dismissal — said the coach’s 61 years of service and “success with honor” could not be diminished. Lubrano read a transcript of a speech Paterno gave to the board in 1983 after his program won the first of two national titles. Paterno had used the occasion to call for improvements in academics, and to raise more money for professors and scholarships. The longtime coach’s legacy was tarnished after former FBI director Louis Freeh said in the school’s internal investigation that Paterno and three administrators acted to cover up allegations against Sandusky. The NCAA later vacated 111 victories under Paterno as part of sanctions, meaning Paterno is no longer major college football’s winningest coach. Longtime trustee Alvin Clemens also honored the late Paterno during Friday’s regularly scheduled trustees meeting, listing athletic and academic accomplishments under Paterno’s watch and noting the coach’s philanthropic efforts.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - The two newly elected leaders of Penn State’s board of trustees still think it is not the time to consider honoring former head football coach Joe Paterno. But some people, such as trustees Anthony Lubrano and Alvin Clemens and Penn State alumni such as Cecelia Masella, disagree. It’s been almost a year since Paterno died, and many supporters maintain that Paterno’s name continues to be disgraced in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal fallout. Friday’s board of trustees meeting on campus became another forum where Paterno supporters spoke out in defense of the coach. Newly elected chairman Keith Masser, from Schuylkill County says that while he too feels Paterno should be honored he says, “I think there’s going to be a time and a place to do that, and I don’t think that’s right now yet.” Legal issues still outstanding — such as the criminal cases against former university leader’s ex-President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and retired administrator Gary Schultz — must be resolved first. In addition, Paterno’s name was also among a list of deceased notable Penn State alumni and friends honored with a moment of silence to start Friday’s meeting. The one-year anniversary of Paterno’s death is Tuesday and a vigil is planned for 7 p.m. at the mural on Hiester Street in downtown State College.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINVILLE - There is an upcoming lane restriction in the area of the Interstate 80 bridges project here, PennDOT says. The westbound left lane will be closed between the Mifflinville and Berwick exits from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to remove asphalt waste in the median. The contractor is performing the work now since the ground is frozen, which will reduce the amount of mud being tracked onto the highway. Also, the westbound on-ramp at Mifflinville remains closed until further notice.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG — Evangelical Community Hospital Friday issued a temporary restriction on hospital visitation for children under age 12 to help reduce the spread of influenza. While Evangelical Community Hospital has seen some influenza-like illnesses, the number of cases has not caused alarm among infection control officers who have been monitoring the situation. Hospital Administrators say the visitation restriction is strictly precautionary as the trends of influenza are unpredictable. Geisinger imposed similar restrictions earlier last week. Officials at Evangelical have issued a statement on flu vaccines. Community members are reminded the best prevention against getting the flu is to receive a flu shot. Flu season typically runs through the end of March so it’s not too late to protect against any future flu outbreak. Those who are feeling sick should see their primary care physician and avoid going to the Hospital unless absolutely necessary. Staying home from work and avoiding high-traffic public areas when exhibiting signs of sickness limits the spread of influenza and other illnesses. Guests to Evangelical are encouraged to wash hands with soap and water or the provided alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cough and sneeze into tissues or the crook of their elbows, and wear masks if they want to avoid getting sick. Hand sanitizer, tissues, and masks are available at sneeze stations located throughout the Hospital. Any visitors who are ill with fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, or body aches should not come to visit inpatients. Flu vaccinations are available at the Evangelical Community Health Education Center (next to the Hospital) located on Route 15 on Mondays from 9 am to noon, Wednesdays from noon to 4 pm, and Fridays from 9 am to 1 pm. Individuals interested in receiving the flu shot should schedule an appointment by calling (570) 768-3200.
(WGRC)