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January 23, 2013

MUNCY – Fire crews rushed out to battle a house fire in Lycoming County this morning. Crews from Muncy and the surrounding area rushed out around 5:30 this morning for that fire at 172 West Water Street in the Borough of Muncy. First crews arriving on the scene reported the structure well involved in flames. The fire closed a section of Route 405 between Muncy and Montgomery for several hours.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

JERSEY SHORE - Firefighters in the Jersey Shore area made quick work of a Mifflin Township fire last evening. Fire broke out around six p.m. at a home along Route 287 as the occupant there tried to thaw frozen water pipes accidentally setting insulation on fire. The fire spread into a wall, but firefighters were able to get it out without it spreading too far. The home’s occupant and her daughter are temporarily homeless. No one was hurt.
(WGRC)

LAVELLE - Firefighters from several counties battled a fire that destroyed a large garage at a Schuylkill County business Tuesday afternoon. Crews were called to Bixler's Trees and Stumps along Hinkel Road near Lavelle just after 12:30 p.m. Firefighters from Schuylkill, Northumberland and Dauphin counties battled temperatures in the teens for several hours to bring the fire under control. The fire destroyed the 120-by-36-foot garage that was used to store equipment for the business. Although workers were able to save several trucks and other equipment, flames destroyed more than $10,000 worth of items that remained inside.
(WGRC)

TREMONT - A fire in the wall of a trailer home Tuesday left three people and their three pets homeless in Schuylkill County. No one was injured in the home along Tremont Road, in Tremont Township.  The fire is believed to have been caused by an extension cord in the kitchen of the mobile home just after four p.m. There were no injuries.
(WGRC)

UNDATED - Now that a front, which stretched from the Great Lakes into New England, has moved out, there is nothing but cold and wintry weather expected for the rest of the week. Yesterday’s highs only reached into the mid-teens with an overnight lows in the single digits last night. By the weekend, temperatures are forecast to warm up into the lower 20’s on Saturday. And if that isn’t bad enough stiff breezes will continue to make the wind chill between minus 5 and minus 15 degrees. But hey folks, it is winter and it is January. If 15 degrees feels unbearably cold, a trip back into the weather almanac shows that on January 22, 1985, the mercury climbed to a mere 17 degrees below zero. Now temperatures will warm slightly by Friday but we can expect the possibility of substantial snow Friday afternoon into Friday night. If you do go out be sure to dress in layers and keep your skin covered. So go out grab the milk and bread and hunker down for a frigid, snowy weekend.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - New information was released Tuesday on the capture of the two men accused of gunning down 21-year-old Terell Littles on January ninth in Williamsport. Williamsport Police arrested a 17-year-old Northumberland County boy late yesterday afternoon for allegedly helping 20-year-old Mirad Shabazz, and 19-year-old Jason Gardner, both of Easton; flee Williamsport right after the shooting. Police say Littles was shot to death during a drug deal gone bad. Both Shabazz and Gardner were arrested in Easton Saturday and are jailed in the Lycoming County Prison without bail for Littles murder. The Sun Gazette reports, police say 17-year-old Antonio Carpenter, of Montandon is being charged with hindering apprehension of fugitives after he took Shabazz and Gardner to a home in Milton where they stayed till leaving for Easton the next day. Carpenter is free on $35,000 bail.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - A Sunbury teen has admitted causing the September 14th crash on Route 304 outside New Berlin in Union County that killed passenger 16-year-old  Travis Tillett and injured two others. 17-year-old Justin Miller admitted in Union County Court on Tuesday that he was to blame for losing control of his SUV trying to pass another motorist while traveling nearly 90 mph in a 55 mph, no-passing zone on his way to Sun Area Technical Institute with Tillett and two other Shikellamy High School classmates, Robert Coleman and Samuel Mull. Tillett, of Northumberland, was thrown from the vehicle as it overturned and died the next day. Coleman and Mull both suffered serious injuries. Miller, who turned 17 the day after the accident, was treated for his injuries and released. Although Miller is a minor, his name is being made public because he has pleaded guilty to felony charges of homicide by vehicle and two counts of aggravated assault by vehicle, among other charges. The Daily Item reports, the case is being transferred to juvenile court in Northumberland County, where Miller resides. A Northumberland County judge will determine whether Miller is a delinquent requiring treatment, supervision or rehabilitation. Depending on the outcome, Miller could face fines, probation, community service or be committed to a treatment or rehabilitation center.
(WGRC)

FOREST HILL – At least one person was flown from the scene of a crash in Union County this morning. The crash happened along Route 192 just west of the village of Forest Hill in Union County’s West Buffalo Township. That crash was reported around 8:30 this morning.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – Police and Medics were called to the look-out on Bald Eagle Mountain just south of South Williamsport this morning for a pedestrian crash. That happened around 8:30 a.m. on Route 15. Reports say a woman’s vehicle broke down near the crest of the mountain and when she stepped out of her vehicle she was struck by another vehicle. Crews on the scene say the woman’s injuries appeared to be minor but she was taken to an area hospital.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY – An 18-year-old from Sunbury was taken to Sunbury Community Hospital following a crash Tuesday afternoon. The crash happened around four p.m. on Derr Road in Rockefeller Township. Police say Ethan McClincy lost control of his car on the gravel roadway and went off the road hitting a tree before going down over an embankment and striking a large rock and tree stump. Police did not know the extent of McClincy’s injuries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

AUBURN – An Auburn man was flown to the Lehigh Valley Medical Center following a crash in Schuylkill County early Tuesday morning. The crash was reported just after three a.m. on Fort Lebanon Road outside Auburn. Police say 33-year-old Eugene Miller lost control of his vehicle after reaching for a glove in his vehicle. His vehicle went off the road and slammed into a tree head-on. Police say Miller suffered moderate injuries.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

PINE GROVE – One person has been charged while police are looking for two others involved in a robbery of two others at the Econo Lodge in Pine Grove, Schuylkill County. Police have charged 20-year-old Kendall Wells of Tower City with robbing two men from New Cumberland of over $2,500 dollars. Police say the robbery happened just before nine Monday night when Wells used a knife during the hold-up. When police searched Wells home they also found marijuana. Police are also looking for two others involved in the robbery a 19-year-old woman from Lemoyne, and another man.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A bank robber from Philadelphia was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty earlier to robbing Sovereign Bank in Jersey Shore and was convicted in a trial of attempting to rob a bank in Altoona. Both crimes occurred in 2007. 28-year-old Terrell Carter, who formerly lived in Williamsport, received a 115-month sentence from U.S. Middle District Judge John Jones. The bank robbery in Jersey Shore happened in October 2007, and involved a threat of a bomb that did not exist, but terrorized bank employees.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – A Danville area woman faces numerous assault and related charges after threatening a man with a knife and causing minor injuries with the knife. Police say around 1:30 yesterday afternoon 27-year-old Brittany Mitstifer and 28-year-old Allen Stahl became involved in an argument at a home along Hess Hill Road in Valley Township. The argument turned physical when Mitstifer pulled out a knife and cut Stahl several times threatening to stab him.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY – The Northumberland County Commissioners are at it again, bickering Tuesday over a $420 bill from a Sunbury law firm. The Daily item reports, Commissioner Vinny Clausi accused Commissioner Rick Shoch of spending taxpayer dollars on attorney fees because of a personal vendetta against him. Commissioner Steve Bridy agreed that Shoch has a vendetta, and claimed the only reason Shoch asked an outside attorney instead of the county solicitors for the information was because a member of the firm donated to Shoch’s campaign for commissioner. Shoch denied the charges, saying he went to the firm of Apfelbaum, Apfelbaum&Apfelbaum, of Sunbury, because the firm represents the county in a lawsuit filed against the county by two former deputies in the sheriff’s office. Clausi made a motion to send the $420 bill to Shoch, saying he believed the only reason Shoch was interested in the lawsuit was because Shoch was on a one-year witch hunt to get him. Shoch denied the accusation and said the reason he went to the Apfelbaum firm was because the firm was handling the lawsuit. There was no vote on the motion to have Shoch pay the bill.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY — A Shamokin man who made a series of accusations against Northumberland County Commissioner Vinny Clausi during Tuesday’s meeting of the commissioners could face disorderly conduct charges. Dave Kaleta, who had successfully sued the county and Commissioners Clausi and Stephen Bridy for the right to enter the county-owned Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, has frequently attended county meetings and has been critical about the county’s handling of the Outdoor Adventure Area. The commissioners have since banned the public from entering the area. On Tuesday, Kaleta once again spoke about the land, grilling Clausi with a series of questions about Clausi’s personal dealings with several county employees and made accusations about the commissioner’s character. When Kaleta exceeded the two-minute time limit residents are allowed to speak, Clausi demanded the Shamokin man be removed from the meeting. Police were called but Kaleta left the meeting before police arrived. Following the meeting, Clausi issued a statement and said he was going to look at pursuing legal action against Kaleta and any media outlet that printed the allegations made against him. No charges have yet been filed, and Sunbury Police Chief Steve Mazzeo said the incident is under investigation.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - A discussion about general salaries and pay raises dominated the Juniata County Commissioners meeting Tuesday. Two items on the agenda recommended the approval of collective bargaining agreements with the Teamsters Local 776 Juniata County Commissioners residual unit and appointed employees unit for the contract term beginning January 1, 2013, and ending December 31, 2016. Commissioner Robert Reynolds tells the Sentinel that he was reluctant to vote for the increase as it proposed a 10 percent pay increase for employees during the next four years. Commissioner Jeffrey Zimmerman and O'Neal voted in favor of the agreements, with opposition from Reynolds.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The union representing state system of higher education professors continues to work without a contract and that has raised concerns among students that a strike could occur. The president of Bloomsburg University David Soltz says officials at the school want students to know that they have a plan in place if the lack of a labor deal leads to that situation. Details of the plan are on the university's website. Soltz is also defending the state system of higher education, claiming that "a reasonable compensation package for faculty" is on the table. He says that the bottom line is that the state system and the union must resolve the issues quickly and fairly and get back to the business at hand of educating students.
(WPGM)

STATE COLLEGE - In the frigid night air, candles flickered along Heister Street as dozens of Penn State fans gathered for a vigil one year after Joe Paterno’s death. 409 luminaries, one for each of Paterno’s wins as head football coach at Penn State University, were scrawled with messages from fans. The vigil was held in front of a mural where Paterno is shown in downtown State College. One-hundred and eleven of Paterno’s wins were vacated by the NCAA after the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Despite that, many of the fans along Heister Street said they believe Paterno did nothing wrong. They said one year after his death, they wanted to show their love and allegiance. Earlier in the day, fans visited Paterno’s grave at a cemetery near the university, leaving mementos. Paterno spent more than 60 years at Penn State.
(WNEP)

HARRISBURG - A young man who testified at the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky last summer is suing him, the charity he started, and the university.  The man was called "Victim 6" in court papers. He sued Tuesday in federal court in Philadelphia, seeking at least $75,000 in damages. Sandusky was convicted of abusing Victim 6 and nine other boys but maintains his innocence. Victim 6 testified Sandusky called himself "the Tickle Monster'' and grabbed him inside a university shower in 1998. His mother's complaint triggered a police investigation but no charges were ever filed.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN – Shamokin City council is moving forward with ordinance that would require most residential rental properties pass inspection by the city code officer before being rented. A unanimous 5-0 vote Tuesday gave preliminary approval to the inspection requirement. If a second majority vote is had, the requirement will become official and would be added to existing city ordinance regarding landlord/tenant registration. Approximately six city landlords attended Tuesday's meeting to question city officials about the proposal and voice concerns over the potential ramifications.
(WGRC)  

WILLIAMSPORT – People will no longer be able to watch outdoor hockey at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport. Officials with the Federal Hockey League announced the Williamsport Outlaws have folded. Hockey fans in Williamsport were disappointed when they found out they no longer have a hometown team. The Williamsport Outlaws played their first home game at Bowman Field in October. Their last home game of the season was supposed to be Monday. Instead, hockey officials announced the team had folded. Williamsport Mayor Gabe Campana says city is owed around $30,000 for utility bills. Campana says he has no reason to believe the team will not pay. So far, there’s been no official statement from either the Federal Hockey League or the Williamsport Outlaws as to why they team folded. Campana says there are preliminary plans for an indoor ice rink in the city, possibly at the former Picklner Arena and that he would support a hockey team playing there.
(WNEP)

BLOOMSBURG - Columbia County will be celebrating its 200th birthday the weekend of March 22nd, and plans are being made for a 5K run, a big parade through downtown Bloomsburg, and fireworks at the fairgrounds. County Commissioner David Kovach says those involved are trying to make the celebration as big and unique as possible. A planning meeting dealing with the bicentennial celebration will be held Wednesday at the Caldwell Consistory in Bloomsburg.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - With the National Weather Service in State College predicting a high of 23 degrees on Saturday, most will be trying to avoid the winter chill. But others will embrace it as they prepare to participate in the annual polar bear plunge at Haywood's on the Water, along the Susquehanna River in Williamsport. This is the second year that the South Side league will host the event and hope to expand on last year's success. About 100 "crazy folks," participated in last year's plunge. The proceeds of the plunge benefit the South Williamsport Little League team. The $20 entry fee to participate this year will be split between the league and Andrew's Special Kids Foundation, which provides funding and programs for children with special needs. There is no preregistration for the event. Participants just need to show up between 10 and 11 a.m. to register and take the plunge.
(WGRC)

GIRARDVILLE – A building collapse Sunday in Schuylkill County has homeowners and businesses thankful. Residents near the building in Girardville said when part of the building came down it sounded like an explosion. Girardville Borough Council has been trying to get control of the building so they can tear it down.  The front façade was hanging out at about a 45 degree angle but that all came to a crashing pile of rubble Sunday.  Borough leaders and area residents are thankful no one was hurt. Once the borough has conservatorship of this building, they say it could cost them at least $10,000 dollars to clean up, but people here say it`s worth every penny. Councilmembers say the County will pitch in about $30,000 to demolish this mess as well, all hopefully within the next month.  
(WNEP)

LEWISBURG – Evangelical Community Hospital will hold the 24th Annual Children’s Health Fair at the Susquehanna Valley Mall on Saturday, January 26 from 10 am to 2 pm. This year’s theme is Clifford is Big on Healthy Kids, featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog™.  The fair is a day filled with fun activities for parents and children focusing on the key factors of good health including eating right, exercising, taking part in health screenings, and making good decisions about healthy living. The day will feature puppet shows by Kingdom Kidz, Story Time, and a fitness challenge.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – State Representative Fred Keller of Snyder and Union Counties joined other House members and leading Right to Work advocates from across the Commonwealth to introduce the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative, Tuesday. Keller’s Right to Work legislation (House Bill 52) would prohibit labor organizations from collecting compulsory union dues from state employees. Designed to protect the individual freedoms of Pennsylvania’s working citizens and energize the economy by ending the practice of compulsory unionism. Other bills comprising the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative include:
    House Bill 50 would make employment no longer conditional upon union membership or paying dues to a union.
    House Bill 51 would prohibit labor unions from collecting compulsory union dues from non-union public school employees.
    House Bill 53 would prohibit labor organizations from collecting compulsory union dues from non-union local government employees.
    House Bill 54 would prohibit private-sector employment from being conditional upon membership or non-membership in a labor organization. Compulsory dues would be prohibited for non-union members.
    House Bill 250 would give public employees the freedom to opt out of their union membership at any time during their contract. Current law only allows employees to terminate their union membership 15 days prior to the expiration of the contract.
Keller went on to say, “If union representation is such a valuable product, why must employees purchase it through the collection of forced union dues? Pennsylvania workers should have the right to decide how to spend their hard-earned wages.”
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - More businesses are pulling out of a Pennsylvania Sportsman’s show. More than 160 venders have joined in on the boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. Reed Exhibitions who are the organizers of the show recently banned AR style rifles and high capacity ammunition magazines from being displayed or sold at the show. The show is scheduled to take place in Harrisburg from February 2nd to February 10th.
(WGRC)