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February 7, 2013

MILTON - The deaths of a Milton woman and her son - cases that sparked an intense police investigation in November - both resulted from natural causes. The Northumberland County coroner announced Wednesday that 80-year-old Vennie Boyles and her son 55-year-old Mark Boyles both died of natural causes. The elder Boyles was found dead in her Park Lane home on November 4th. Police questioned her son, Mark Boyles, in the days following his mother's death and released him from custody. Mark Boyles was found dead 17 days later inside a parked car in Milton. Coroner James Kelly says both died from heart disease.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport police rushed to the 800 block of High Street just before 2 p.m. Wednesday after a man was seen firing a shot near a house. No one was hurt. Police say no one was caught and no one has come forward to report that they were a target. More than a half a dozen officers, including sheriff deputies and members of the Pennsylvania College of Technology police, spent close to an hour looking for evidence. Police say two people were taken to police headquarters for questioning, but it turned out that neither had anything to do with the shooting.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - The State College Police, in conjunction with the Philadelphia office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have identified a person of interest in the January 9th armed robbery of Kranich's Jewelers in downtown State College.  Police say the subject is in custody after being arrested for a jewelry store robbery in another state. More details about the suspect will be released when the suspect is brought to Pennsylvania for charges here.
(WGRC)

MILTON – A Milton area home was broken into Wednesday afternoon and $200.00 worth of jewelry and a television was taken from the home. That happened sometime between noon and two p.m. at the home of a 69-year-old woman located along Marsh Road in West Chillisquaque Township. Anyone with information on the break-in is asked to call State Police, Milton.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A 16-year-old who’s already been sent away to a juvenile center three times only to reoffend again and again will now be tried as an adult. The Press Enterprise reports, President Judge Thomas James made the decision to hold Robert Vargo accountable as an adult for a string of burglaries in Berwick. Juvenile officials say Vargo has been sent to Abraxas Academy in Berks County for detention and treatment three times before, and each time, Vargo was released only to commit more crimes. And at least four times, his alleged crimes involved guns. In January Vargo allegedly broke into a home on Fourth Avenue in Berwick and stole six handguns, jewelry, money and checks. Vargo is jailed on $50,000 bail.
(WGRC)

WEST MILTON – The post office in West Milton in Union County is off limits for now, after the driver of an SUV accidentally hit the gas slamming into the post office building. That happened yesterday afternoon just before two. The woman wasn’t hurt but Postmaster Rick Sheets tells the Daily item, the lobby is off limits and retail services curtailed until the building can be structurally secured. Post office box customers can pick up their mail at the rear door of the post office.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – A 24-year-old union County man was taken to Evangelical Community Hospital after being thrown from his vehicle after it rolled over in the yard of a home along Furnace Road nearly hitting a house. Kenneth reamer the Third was taken to the hospital treated and released. No one was at the home at 789 Furnace Road when the crash happened. Reamer was up and walking when police arrived on the scene.
(WGRC)

BENTON - Two Benton-area brothers are again accused of having too many Chihuahuas after a second raid on their home. 59-year-old Thomas Ambrosia and 54-year-old Albert Ambrosia say they intend to fight the charges, saying they’ve become a target for “petty bureaucrats.” The Press Enterprise reports, animal authorities found 32 dogs at their home in a December raid. Authorities say to keep that many dogs, they needed a kennel license, which they did not have. Their home was first raided in July, when dog-law officers found nearly 200 Chihuahuas, 185 of which were taken to shelters. The Ambrosias pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after that raid.  
(WGRC)

SUNBURY – A guard at the Northumberland County Prison who was fired for allegedly stealing copper pipes from the jail before being acquitted of all charges returned to work Monday and is being paid approximately $2 per hour more than when he last worked at the prison in 2009. Prison officials confirmed Wednesday that 40-year-old Shane Hoffman, of Sunbury, is working third shift.  An arbitrator ruled that Hoffman was entitled to get his job back and receive approximately $95,000 in back pay. Northumberland County Human Resources Director Joseph Picarelli tells the News Item, the County has not yet been determined how much back pay Hoffman will receive.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Union County will renew an agreement to house prisoners with Centre County, a move spurred in part by a New Year’s Eve call from Northumberland County to come get its prisoners housed there because of crowding. Under its intergovernmental housing agreement, Union County will pay Centre County $65 per day per inmate. It pays Northumberland about $60 a day. Union County Warden Doug Shaffer tells the Daily Item, Northumberland County had an influx of inmates because of a drug bust that occurred several weeks before. Shaffer said he received the call New Year’s Eve morning from Northumberland County to remove four male and four female inmates, who were transferred to Montour and Snyder counties’ jails. Union County spent about $1 million in 2012 to hold criminals in other counties because of its own jail’s lack of space. Capacity is about 35 inmates at a cost of about $70 per day each.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Northumberland County Prison, which uses 48 security cameras to keep track of prisoners and the facility, expects to have 90 video surveillance cameras operational within the next two years. Prison board members unanimously agreed Wednesday to pay a maximum of $75,000 over the next two years for the purchase and maintenance of 90 cameras. The News Item reports, the board unanimously supported a motion by Northumberland County President Judge Robert Sacavage to have all areas of the prison monitored by cameras within the next six months. The warden said current cameras at the prison were purchased from Keystone Communications in Northumberland, which also maintains the equipment when necessary. Board members also unanimously approved a motion by Sacavage to complete all work involved with making the prison compatible for video conferencing within 90 days.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - The Schuylkill County Prison is adding 10 part-time correctional officers and a sixth lieutenant. The county salary board approved the creation of the positions after the commissioners' work session Wednesday. The Republican Herald reports, prison board first looked into hiring additional prison guards in November to help cut down on about $472,000 in overtime expenditures. The plan is to have two part-time officers for up to 28 hours a week with partial benefits and up to eight additional officers for up to 16 hours with no benefits.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - As construction on the future Williamsport Area Middle School continues, the high school got one step closer to beginning its renovations on Tuesday. The Sun Gazette reports, the school board voted 8-0 to award eight contracts on the high school project. Thirty-one companies submitted bids on the project. Renovations will be done in two phases the first will begin this year and the second in about 2020. The first phase will renovate about 60,000 square feet of educational space, look at energy efficiency, upgrade HVAC systems and bring the school to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Jeff Angstadt, project manager, said work on the now $21.3 million project should start by the end of the month. It is slated to be completed in 18 months. About 50 percent of the cost will be eligible for reimbursement by the state Department of Education.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - The Juniata County School Board of Directors held a public meeting Tuesday evening to address ongoing soil and water issues at Walker Elementary School in Mifflintown. The Sentinel reports, Superintendent Richard Musselman said the district received reports that water at the school was clouded and had an unusual smell. Testing at the site found that the tanks and suction line are in good repair, but a cracked fitting on the return line could be the source of contamination. Musselman said the original fitting was not installed to code. Despite assurance from the Department of Environmental Protection that the water was safe to drink, the school board voted in November to replace the current well at the school at a total cost of $12,000. However, Musselman said the smell persists and further testing is needed to prove the source of contamination before a new well is drilled. He recommended contracting the services of P. Joseph Lehman Inc. Consulting Engineers and Perry Petroleum to conduct test drilling on the area. The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion. Musselman said a rig will be at the school as early as Saturday to begin drilling test wells. While water and soil issues are resolved, students and staff at Walker Elementary School are provided with bottled water to drink, paper products in the cafeteria and portable wash stations to wash hands.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - At the end of January, women throughout the area were contacted during the Evangelical Community Hospital’s Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health’s 8th Annual Mammathon. The event is designed to encourage women to schedule their annual mammogram. During the three-day event, Evangelical physicians, nurses and other caregivers reached out to encourage patients who were due for mammograms to schedule them. The calls gave trained medical personnel the opportunity to talk about the importance of having a mammogram and allowed one-on-one opportunities to address questions and concerns related to breast health. As a direct result of this year’s Mammathon, 224 patients scheduled a mammogram at the Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health, the highest number of appointments achieved at any single Mammathon held by the Center. In addition to the already scheduled appointments, patients continue to call and schedule from messages left during the event. For more information on the funding available and convenient mammogram scheduling, call the Thyra M. Humphrey’s Center for Breast Health at 570-522-4200.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Susquehanna Valley gas prices jumped a dime this week to an average of $3.67 per gallon. Prices around the country have increased significantly due to escalating oil prices, refinery issues and preparations for the switchover to summer blends. Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.53. This price is 17 cents more expensive than one week ago. For those in our listening area looking to filler-up this weekend Lewisburg has the lowest price at $3.65 the highest price locally is Shamokin at $3.69.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - State College, and Centre County as a whole, is still among the safest places to live in the country, according to an annual report. CQ Press ranked the State College metropolitan area, which encompasses the whole county, as the fifth safest in the U.S. And it’s nothing new for the region, which has often ranked near the top of similar lists. State College Police Chief Tom King tells the Centre Daily Times, “We have consistently been in the top five, sometimes first. I think it’s a reflection of our entire county, the health and viability of this area, which is strong economically, educational, social and environmentally.” Officials with CQ Press said the report is meant to serve as a resource for researchers, city and law enforcement officials and the community. The report looks at violent and property crime rates per 100,000 people in a given location, and compares hundreds of similarly sized communities. Only two metropolitan areas each in Utah and in Wisconsin had better scores than State College.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - While the postmaster general announced Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service will soon be stopping mail deliveries on Saturdays, the window hours at many rural post offices are also going to be reduced. The financially struggling Postal Service will stop mail delivery on Saturdays this summer but package delivery will continue six days a week. The offices in Schuylkill County that would be reduced from eight hours to six hours are: Andreas, Barnesville, Cressona and Mar Lin. Offices being reduced from eight hours to four are: Aristes, Branchdale, Coaldale, Cumbola, Delano, Girardville, Gordon, Kelayres, Klingerstown, Lavelle, Llewellyn, MaryD, Middleport, Muir, New Philadelphia, Nuremberg, Oneida, Pitman, Port Carbon, Port Clinton, Quakake, Sacramento, Sheppton, Spring Glen, Summit Station, Tremont, Tuscarora and Zion Grove. Offices being reduced from eight hours to two are: Locustdale and Lost Creek. The plan to reduce hours is expected to save the Postal Service nearly $2 billion dollars nationwide.
(WGRC