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February 13, 2013

MOUNT CARMEL - Three homes were severely damaged following a two-alarm fire in the 400 block of East Center Street in Mount Carmel last night. Fire crews were called to the corner of East Center and North Locust streets just after six p.m. Flames were reported coming from the back on one of the homes. The fire reached the attic of the home and then spread to two adjoining homes. Fire crews had the fire out by eight p.m. Officials say only one of the homes was occupied at the time of the blaze and no injuries were reported. A cause of the fire is being investigated.
(WGRC)

MILTON – A Milton man is locked up in the Northumberland County Prison facing arson charges. Police say 31-year-old Gary Shemory set fire to a shed in the borough on Friday night. Police say they followed Shemory’s footsteps in the snow.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A 16-year-old Williamsport Area High School student has been arrested on arson-related charges in connection with Monday's small fire in a boy's restroom at the school. Toilet paper inside a plastic dispenser was set on fire just before eleven a.m. Two teachers quickly doused the fire, which still resulted in about $500 worth of smoke damage. The teenager will face charges of arson in juvenile court and has been sent to a juvenile detention center. Police said high school staff were instrumental solving the case.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – Police in Middleburg say they have filed charges against a 14-year-old boy who made a bomb threat that evacuated the school last Friday. Police say the 14-year-old is being charged with terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and related counts and will face juvenile court action. Police believe the student made the threat by means of social media. Police were helped in the investigation by members of the school staff, and the school’s information technology department.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - State police at Rockview are asking the public's help in their investigation of a hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian early Tuesday morning. The victim was identified as 32-year-old Sherry Houtz, of Bellefonte. Police said the crash happened on Interstate 99 between exits 71 and 73 between 2:30 and 4:30 Tuesday morning. The crash closed down a section of I-99 and traffic was detoured until around 10:30 yesterday morning. The investigation remains open and the identity of the driver or description of the vehicle involved in the pedestrian crash has not been determined. Troopers are urging anybody who might have been traveling on Route I-99 near the Toftrees exit during the time of the crash to contact the station at 814-355-7545.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - A Selinsgrove woman was seriously injured Tuesday afternoon when the car she was driving north on South Front Street swerved into the path of a tractor-trailer traveling in the opposite direction. The crash happened just after two p.m. in front of Nye’s Body Shop, in Sunbury when the 32-year-old, Amber Stoneroad, crossed into the southbound lane. Fire and rescue personnel on the scene did not know why the car went into the wrong lane. Traffic was immediately diverted off Front Street, between Church and Chestnut streets, for about 45 minutes. Stoneroad was taken by ambulance to Geisinger Medical Center, where she remains in serious condition.
(WGRC)

TROUT RUN - A Bodines area man faces a total of 32 criminal charges for his alleged involvement in seven burglaries, one of which involved the stealing of $100,000 worth of gas well drilling equipment, in Lycoming County. State police have charged 25-year-old Walter Shaw, for break-ins that happened in Cascade, Gamble, Lewis, McIntyre, Lycoming and Limestone townships between November 2012 and last month. Shaw is jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on $75,000 bail.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – In Lycoming County, a Susquehanna Township man will spend up to 10 years in state prison for killing two family dogs with an ax in August. 36-year-old Frederick Clark had that sentence handed down to him yesterday by Lycoming County Judge Richard Gray. Police say Clark was drinking when he and his wife had a quarrel. He became violent, and his frightened wife and three children ran to a neighbor's home. By the time state troopers investigated the domestic incident the next day, Clark sent several text messages to his wife telling her he had killed her dogs, and buried their bodies in the backyard of the couple’s home.
(WGRC)

BERWICK — A former Berwick Retirement Village office worker is now accused of stealing more than $35,600 from clients. Police say, 38-year-old Sarah Pineda-Scott of Bloomsburg, raided residents’ spending accounts and opened fraudulent credit cards in their names. Police said they recently identified three more victims, meaning Pineda-Scott stole from a total of 15 people living at the home. The last three victims came to light through an internal investigation conducted by the Berwick Hospital Center, which owns the nursing home. Pineda-Scott, sent her charges on to Columbia County Court yesterday. The Press Enterprise reports, she remains free on $50,000 bail.  
(WGRC)

HUMMELS WHARF - About 150 National Beef employees in Snyder County are losing their jobs as the company struggles with the loss of Wal-Mart Stores, a key customer.  The news to employees was handed out Monday. Seventy workers will be out of a job as of Friday and the rest will be laid off by April 13th unless National Beef is able to secure more business. In all, 433 jobs will be cut at the company’s Hummels Wharf and Moultrie, Georgia, plants by April 1st. The Company says, there are no plans to close either plant, but both will operate at reduced levels. The layoffs will affect about half of the workers employed at the Hummels Wharf plant.
(WGRC)

PLEASANT GAP - The Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology has been awarded a $2 million state grant to begin Phase 2 construction of its Transportation Training Center, an integral component of workforce training in the Centre County region. State Senator Jake Corman worked with the Institute to get the grant to build the state-of-the art facility, which will provide training and development for workers in high-demand fields, including the emerging natural gas industry. The total cost of the project is estimated at $10.5 million. The project is expected to create 31 new permanent jobs and 14 part-time jobs within one year.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - The possibility of building a second Kidsburg at Bloomsburg Town Park is gaining a lot of traction around the town. Coordinator Deb Huckens says hundreds of designed have been submitted by kids around the area with the final drawings due in by this Friday. The drawings will be unveiled during Kidsburg Design Day Celebration Monday at the Bloomsburg High School at seven p.m.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – The Danville Area School District is looking at a one million dollar deficit in its upcoming 2013 – 2014 school budget. The Daily item reports, the school board of directors voted to approve a preliminary budget which has expenditures of around $34.2 million dollars and revenues at $33.2 million. Adding fees to student activities, running fewer busses at longer transportation times, increasing class sizes, not replacing retired teaching positions, and offering fewer electives to students are some of the measures the board in looking at using to make up the shortfall.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - After being criticized Tuesday for imposing a two-minute limit on public comment during county commissioners' meetings, Commissioner Chairman Vinny Clausi instructed solicitor Frank Garrigan to recite President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to illustrate his claim that a lot can be said in two minutes. The theatrics were part of an entertaining 90-minute session in which commissioners established nine rules for the conduct and order of business that include a two-minute limit to speak on agenda items and during the public input portion of the meeting. Commissioner Richard Shoch, who opposed the motion to adopt the rules, says "If people make an effort to come here to meetings, they should be given reasonable time to speak to the board." Shoch went on to say, "We should be encouraging dialogue and interaction with the citizens instead of trying to limit public input." Shoch challenged the legality of having all questions submitted in writing to the chairman and objected to having any citizen rudely cut off during his or her remarks.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - An ongoing effort to evaluate and update Juniata County buildings will continue with a department and facility study conducted by J-Way Architectural at a cost not exceeding $25,000. The project was approved Tuesday morning at a meeting of the Juniata County Commissioners. The duration of the project is expected to be approximately nine months.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch announced that the Pennsylvania Task Force on Restitution has released its final report.  The Task Force, of which DA Piecuch is a member, recommended significant improvements to state laws and procedures related to the quality of restitution ordering, collection and disbursement to crime victims. The 39-member Task Force, chaired by State Victim Advocate Carol Lavery, was comprised of representatives from all three branches of state government, counties, the criminal and juvenile justice systems, advocacy groups and crime victims. The Task Force members met over a 12-month period to determine how to maximize the reimbursement of financial losses to crime victims. Some of the Task Force’s 47 recommendations include the establishment of restitution funds and restitution programs throughout both the criminal and juvenile justice systems, placing defendants on a single electronic payment plan to ensure that prior, older cases are not neglected in favor of the most current case, and legislation to authorize courts to order wage attachment for defendants who have been found in contempt for nonpayment of restitution, costs or fines.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday it has released emissions data for the unconventional drilling industry and will discuss the results in an upcoming web-based presentation on Thursday, February 21st, at 2 p.m. The data represents 2011 emissions from natural gas production and processing facilities, such as wells and compressor stations. DEP Secretary Mike Krancer says, “The data show that emissions from drilling represent a small fraction of air pollution in the state, which has gone down considerably since shale gas development began in earnest several years ago.” For the inventory, 57 operators of unconventional wells and 40 mid-stream operators of 150 compressor stations reported data. Compressor stations help move natural gas from well sites to larger pipelines. The DEP reports, since 2008, air emissions across the state are declining. DEP must submit a comprehensive air emissions inventory to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every three years. The inventory includes emissions data from sources such as refineries, manufacturing plants, power plants, dry cleaners and cars, trucks and other vehicles. DEP collects emissions inventory data from the point sources annually, and Act 13 of 2012 requires the owners or operators of the unconventional natural gas sources to submit an annual emissions inventory to DEP by March 1 of each year.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - U.S Senator Bob Casey is joining Senator Pat Toomey on the Senate Finance Committee. Casey says he's been appointed to the panel that oversees taxation, trade and certain health programs. Toomey, a Republican, was appointed in January. Casey, a Democrat, says the assignment will give him a voice in shaping tax and trade policies, ensuring that Medicare works for current and future beneficiaries and ensuring that children have affordable health care. He will continue to serve on the Foreign Relations Committee, the Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Special Committee on Aging and the Joint Economic Committee.
(WGRC)