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January 30, 2013

UNDATED - Heavy rain and melting snow will cause the level of many area waterways to rise Wednesday afternoon and evening and then pose a threat for minor flooding along the larger creeks and rivers throughout the region. The National Weather Service reports that a flood watch means there is a potential for flooding on small steams, creeks, poor drainage and urban and low-lying areas. River flooding is also possible. It is likely that smaller streams and tributaries will crest near or above flood levels by Thursday evening.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SHAMOKIN — A boot print helped lead police to an arrest after a fire Monday night, the third in the city of Shamokin since Thursday. Police have charged 21-year-old James Neidlinger Jr., of East Dewart Street, Shamokin, with seven felony counts of arson and related counts. Neidlinger was then jailed in the Northumberland County Prison on $200,000 bail. A Shamokin police officer spotted a fresh boot print while examining the area around the fire Monday night in the 600 block of Sunbury Street. The officer then spotted Neidlinger wearing boots while standing behind the building with a group of friends. The boot print found at the scene matched Neidlinger’s boots. When confronted with the similarities, Neidlinger confessed to starting the fire. Neidlinger has been questioned regarding other fires in abandoned buildings in Shamokin, but police stopped short of calling him a suspect. Shamokin police are still investigating the four other fires that have taken place in abandoned buildings since September.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport police have filed felony aggravated assault charges against a Williamsport man who fired a gun at his girlfriend Monday night. Police say Donnell Boyd suspecting that his girlfriend was having a relationship with "another guy," came into the second-floor bedroom, pulled out a gun and "waved it around" before firing a single shot at her. The woman wasn’t hurt. The shooting took place around five p.m. Monday at the home in the 600 block of Second Avenue. The Sun Gazette reports, Boyd is jailed on $300,000 bail.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG – A 21-year-old man accused of a June 2011 DUI crash that left his girlfriend paralyzed from the waist down will spend ten months to two years behind bars for the crash. Patrick Dillon was handed that sentence yesterday in Columbia County court by Judge Richard Saxon. The Press Enterprise reports, Dillon will serve time behind County Prison bars and will be allowed work release.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG – A Mifflinburg Contractor is facing felony deceptive business practices, theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and numerous misdemeanor bad checks charges for work on homes he never completed and failure to pay his workers. State Police have charged Richard Trumper Jr. of RTC Contracting with those charges. Police say he bilked payments from customers, and failed to pay subcontractors and employees out of nearly $50,000 dollars between June 2012 and December 2012.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Police have filed charges against one of two men involved in the break-in of the Cherry Alley Café’ here in Lewisburg during the overnight hours on January 8th. Buffalo Valley regional Police say 23-year-old Jerome Todd of Lewisburg along with Tanner Shade broke into the Cherry Alley Café’ on North Third Street and stole over $500 dollars in cash and coins. The burglary was discovered around 6:30 a.m. January ninth by the owner of the Café. Todd is also facing felony forgery charges for the theft of two checks which he and Colton Stine cashed by forging the check owner’s name.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport police have arrested a man on charges of being a convicted felon not to possess firearms as well as other counts stemming from a Monday night incident. Police say they were called to the Third Street Apartment of Blair Randolph just before nine p.m. for reports of domestic disturbance. The man had left the building and they were informed that he was armed with two guns.  He was spotted carrying a backpack, but ducked into an alley and came back out without it. The backpack was found with two stolen handguns. He is jailed in lieu of $50,000 dollars bail.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG – State Police are continuing their investigation into a break-in at a home in Limestone Township. Police say sometime between January 13 and the 28th someone broke into the home along Penns Cress Road and took several items valued at around $3,000 dollars. Police do have suspects in the case but have not released their names.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG –A Bucknell Student taken to the hospital for an alcohol overdose finds himself facing felony aggravated assault and related charges after kicking and biting security guards at the hospital who tried to restrain him. Police have charged 19-year-old Nicholas McCormick of Oakton Virginia for the incident January 16th at Evangelical Community Hospital’s Emergency room.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - The State College Police Department has completed their investigation into the fall of cheerleader 19-year-old Paige Raque on October 13, 2012. Police say the investigation into the furnishing of alcoholic beverages to minors was initiated after Raque, a Penn State University student, was seriously injured after falling from a 5th floor apartment window at Calder Commons located at 520 East Calder Way.  It has been determined the fall from the window inside apartment 507 was accidental. Now eight female Penn State University students have charges filed against them for furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors who were attending the party that Paige attended.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State plans to hire a dozen new faculty members over the next three years, part of what the university says are efforts to become a national leader into child abuse prevention, research and treatment. The hires will include clinical and research tenure-track faculty in the recently-launched Network for Child Protection and Well-Being. The creation of the network was part of the university's response to the sweeping child sex scandal triggered by the arrest of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Penn State said it already has at least 400 faculty members with research, teaching and service concentrations on the well-being and development of children and youth. The number would include faculty at The Center for the Protection of Children at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - The push in Centre County to create a children’s advocacy center, a place where children who have been abused or neglected are interviewed in a friendly, comforting environment, started in the tragedy surrounding the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case. County Judge Bradley Lunsford seized the momentum the day after Sandusky’s preliminary hearing in December 2011. By the summer, the push got stronger, as Lunsford and others had the center organized as a nonprofit. By September, its advisory board was picked. And officially as of this week, the center has a physical space on hold in Centre County thanks to the local hospital. The Centre Daily Times reports, the center will be housed in one of Mount Nittany Health’s buildings in Bellefonte, officials from the hospital announced Tuesday after plans were in the works for months. The announcement followed the health system’s board approving the plans Monday. The site in question is off state Route 550 just outside Bellefonte in Spring Township. There are two buildings in the complex, on Medical Park Lane, and the center will be housed in half of the building that fronts Route 550.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – The Midd-West School Board approved a preliminary $33.4 million dollar budget for the 2013-2014 school year. The Daily Item reports, the budget calls for a tax increase of over six percent. The increase would mean an additional $102 dollars in taxes for the average home valued at $25,000 in the district. The proposed budget, passed Monday is two million dollars more than the 2012-2013 budget.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - No charges will be filed against a Shamokin man whom a Northumberland County commissioner had removed from a public meeting for barraging him with questions. Sunbury police said they investigated the complaint against Dave Kaleta and that he is off the hook when it comes to facing charges for disrupting a meeting. Kaleta and Commissioner Vinny Clausi became embroiled in a heated exchange during the Commissioners meeting last Tuesday over the 6,000 acres known as the Outdoor Anthracite Adventure Area in Northumberland County. The Daily Item reported,  Clausi ordered Kaleta to stop speaking or said he was going to have him removed and called police to remove Kaleta from the meeting.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - It's always been the intention of Northumberland County officials to address the influx of illegal riders on the 6,500 acres of county-owned forest and coal lands in Coal, East Cameron, Mount Carmel, West Cameron and Zerbe townships. Now, according to newly elected Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Authority Chairman James Backes, the authority that became legally official Tuesday night can create a better experience for everyone. The News Item reports, nearly 100 people filled a room at the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center Tuesday night for the first meeting of the authority. One of the first questions asked of the Authority would be how they would curb wild all night riding and alcohol parties on the land. Backes says the authority members would likely be hiring their own security for the park. Backes says the organizations which sponsored events on the property would pay for the security.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The city of Williamsport is close to filing a lawsuit against Williamsport Outlaws hockey team and Syracuse Junior Hockey League. Williamsport Solicitor Norman Lubin confirmed Tuesday he was planning to meet today with Mayor Gabriel Campana about the matter and discuss the pursuit of finance records to determine how much is owed in order to file a lawsuit. Campana told City Council he was taking all efforts to recover what is owned and instructed Lubin previously to contact Kristen Rooney, Outlaws owner and an attorney in Phoenix, Ariz., and nonprofit president, Don Kirnan. As of last week, the city was owed utility bills amounting to $36,000-plus but final payments have yet to arrive. The Sun Gazette also reported, Campana Monday ordered the home locker room and ticket office doors to have locks switched to "prevent Kirnan from retrieving items of the Federal Hockey League."
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Destination 2014 in the city of Williamsport may be derailed a little. The Sun Gazette reports, the Governor’s office has indefinitely postponed the first round of funding from the Capital Redevelopment Assistance Program of which the city was hoping for up to $10 million dollars’ worth of funding for the project on the site of the soon to be former YMCA of Williamsport. It’s not known when funding will be released. The property has been brought by the Liberty Group with plans to renovate the Pickelner Arena as well as the addition of residential and commercial development. City officials were hoping to develop the area without having to commit any tax dollars.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - A State College firm called FleetEnergy is hoping a two-pronged approach will create the demand for natural gas fueled fleets and fueling stations in central Pennsylvania. Company representative Perry Babb tells the Lock Haven Express the company is designed to create stations and conversions as higher gasoline prices and lower natural gas prices trends might force a big change in the practices of local industries and the motoring public. The company offered a glimpse of the large potential for natural gas as a local energy source Tuesday at a meeting of the Clinton County Natural Gas Task Force. A Toyota Tundra with a V-8 engine totally run by natural gas was on display at the meeting. Babb said there are several approaches to vehicle conversion, but dual-fuel, with a car, truck or sedan capable of using gasoline or natural gas at the flip of a switch, is clearly the holy grail of the industry. According to company representatives, Clean Natural Gas conversions for gasoline-powered vehicles makes them capable of using either gasoline (at nearly $4 a gallon) or Compressed Natural Gas (at between $.85 and $2.13, a gallon equivalent). The cost of converting a car to dual-fuel, at just under $3,000, would appear to be a reasonable expense, one in which the vehicle owner can easily recoup the investment within about two years.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Centre County will be the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state funding to help with water infrastructure in Coburn, and the homeless and near-homeless countywide. The commissioners yesterday approved two grants, totaling $650,000. The larger grant, for $500,000, comes from a competitive Community Development Block Grant from the state Department of Conservation and Economic Development to replace water lines under Main Street in Coburn, along with installing water meters for residents. The grant application was first submitted in November of 2011, but was just approved last month through the help of SEDA-COG. The other grant, worth $150,000, comes from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement program, which is funded through impact fees on Marcellus Shale nature gas industry. Linda Marshall, county housing coordinator/planner, said the money will provide assistance for rent and security deposits for up to 76 homeless and near-homeless in the county.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Tons of sparkling ice art will grace downtown Market Street in Lewisburg beginning this weekend. Visitors can watch the award-winning First Night Ice Carvers create a giant sculptures in Hufnagle Park as the tenth annual Lewisburg Ice Festival kicks off Friday at noon and continues through four p.m. Saturday is a great day with Ice Festival games in Hufnagle Park, the Frosty 5K Run/Walk gets underway at ten a.m. Registration Opens at The Campus Theater at 8:30 a.m. At 2 p.m. the annual Polar Bear Plunge will take place at the St. George Street boat launch at the Susquehanna River. And then the 15th annual Chocolate Lovers Festival benefitting the Donald Heiter Community Center will get underway in the ballroom of the Lewisburg Hotel from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Governor Corbett is gearing up to push a plan to privatize state-run liquor stores through the Pennsylvania legislature. He's expected to announce his proposal today. Corbett says privatizing the more than 600 state stores would lead to lower prices and more convenience for consumers. A privatization bill never made it to a vote on the House floor last year, but Corbett says lawmakers have been working behind the scenes to draft a plan that will earn approval. He says only Pennsylvania and Utah maintain complete control over the distribution and sale of wine and spirits.
(WITF)

HARRISBURG - A new poll shows Governor Tom Corbett's popularity shrinking, even though he scored points for challenging the NCAA sanctions against Penn State. The Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday says 51 % of registered voters believe the Republican does not deserve re-election next year. 31 % said Corbett should be re-elected.
(WGRC)