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February 19, 2013

MONTOURSVILLE – Fire crews from Lycoming County rushed out to battle a house fire this morning. The fire was reported just before nine a.m. at a home on Halltown Road in Fairfield Township. Crews arrived on the scene to find a working structure fire. Crews shuttled water to the scene from a near-by pond. No word as to a cause of that blaze.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

NEW BERLIN – A fire ripped through an out building and then destroyed a dairy farm in Union County overnight. The fire was reported around 11:30 p.m. at the Saurers Haven Farm, owned by Robert Saurers, located along route 304 just east of New Berlin. New Berlin Fire Chief John Benfer tells us the fire started close to the farm house and then spread to the barn. Benfer says at this point the buildings are a total loss and he’s not sure as to what machinery and or hay and feed may have been lost in the fire. A dollar amount has not been set. Benfer also says there were conflicting reports of cows that may have perished as well. A large track-hoe was brought to the scene to tear apart the rubble as crews doused hot spots. There were no injuries. A water tanker from the William Cameron Engine Company of Lewisburg became stuck along Penns Creek while pumping water from the creek and had to be pulled out by a PennDOT truck. Crews from Union and Snyder counties worked at the scene while crews from Northumberland County were placed on stand-by. Penn Dot and New Berlin Street crews were also on the scene putting salt on the roadways to keep them from icing over.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Fire crews in Williamsport made quick work of a garage fire before it could spread to an attached home. The fire was reported just before four this morning at Fourth and Waltz Place. When first crews arrived on the scene the garage was fully involved in flames. There were no injuries reported. An investigation into how that fire started is underway.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – Police say a Grandmother was stabbed to death and a grandfather was seriously injured by their grandson Sunday in Snyder County. Police say Joshua and Jennifer Snook, of Sunbury, were both taken into custody Sunday following the murder of 71-year-old Bonnie Snook at her home along Creek Road in Beaver Township. Bonnie’s husband, Dale Snook, remains at Geisinger Medical Center. Police say the younger couple was at a Northumberland bar Saturday night when a fight broke out between Joshua Snook and another man. Joshua and Jennifer left the bar and went to Dale and Bonnie’s home to retrieve a gun with the intent of killing the person who Joshua became involved in a fight with. That’s when a struggle broke out between the grandparents and their grandson and he stabbed his grandmother to death and injured his grandfather. Police say both were pulled over a short time later and police found the stolen gun in the car. Both will be facing homicide charges in Snyder County later this week.
(WGRC)

GREENDWOOD TOWNSHIP — A man was killed in Columbia County Monday night when a pickup crashed into a creek along Route 442 in Pine Township. Police say a pick-up truck climbed a guardrail leading up to a bridge over the creek, hit a rocky embankment and then tumbled into Little Fishing Creek, landing on its wheels. The wreck happened just after nine p.m., just north of the Route 42 split. Police say 34-year-old Franklin Hays the Third of Millville died in the crash.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DELANO - Authorities have identified a man killed in a violent crash Sunday night on Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County as 20-year-old Nathaniel Keller, of Philadelphia. Another man inside the crumpled SUV suffered life-threatening injuries and was flown to Reading Hospital. The crash just before nine Sunday night shut down the northbound lanes of the Interstate for several hours.
(WGRC)

RANSHAW - Two Northumberland County men were treated at Geisinger Medical Center, following a broad-side collision Monday on Route 901 in front of the Sunoco station in Ranshaw. Police say Glenn Heim, of Trevorton, was driving an SUV when his vehicle was struck on its driver side by a car driven by Justin Hine, of Mount Carmel. The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. Police say Hine pulled from a stop sign into the path of Heim.
(WGRC)

HARRIS TOWNSHIP -Two from Spring Mills were injured in a head-on collision Saturday afternoon in Centre County. The crash happened in the 1800 block of Earlystown Road. State College police say they arrived at the scene to find 39-year-old Chad Wingard, lying injured on the ground, and a 17-year-old boy pinned in his vehicle and injured. Police say the 17-year-old swerved into the oncoming lane and hit Wingard. Both were taken to Mount Nittany Hospital for treatment.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Geisinger Health System says it has gotten a $1 million grant to study possible health impacts of natural gas drilling on the Marcellus shale. Geisinger said Monday the Degenstein Foundation had awarded the money to help underwrite what it called a “large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment” of the drilling. Most of the money will be used for data-gathering, and some will go toward developing studies of the data. The Associated Press reports, the study is to look at detailed health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live near wells and other facilities that are producing natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation thousands of feet underground. The boom in drilling has generated jobs and billions of dollars in revenue for companies and individual leaseholders, but it also raised health concerns. Geisinger Health Systems of Danville, Guthrie Health of Sayre and Susquehanna Health will collaborate on planning and execution of the study, including developing a health surveillance network aimed at assessing and reporting on the patient data gathered from electronic health records. Preliminary results could be available within the next year, while other findings are expected in five years and over the next two decades.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - Members of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Authority will discuss plans for construction of a building and other matters involving the main trailhead at their meeting tonight. James Backes, authority chairman, said the 6:30 p.m. session at the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center will include discussion of a timber contract for the removal of trees at the trailhead to make room for a parking area and building that will serve as the authority's headquarters, welcoming center and maintenance facility. The News Item reports, the building will be located off Route 125 south of the village of Burnside. The trailhead project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. Backes said a conservation project coordinated by the authority will be discussed tonight as well as part of the authority's monthly meeting. The authority, which had its first meeting January 29th, was formed to oversee the operation and maintenance of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, which is being developed on 6,500 acres on county-owned forest and coal lands in Coal, East Cameron, Mount Carmel, West Cameron and Zerbe townships in Northumberland County.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Eight designated sections of the nine-mile Buffalo Valley Rail Trial have now been adopted for 2013.  The Lewisburg Area recreation Authority has created the Adopt-a-Trail program as a way to involve volunteers with maintaining and enhancing the trail. This year’s groups include Cub Scout Pack 3538&Boy Scout Troop 538, Computer Support Services Inc., Dr. Shawn and Kelly McGlaughlin, Litter Critters, Cub Scout Pack 3509, Don and Nancy Bowman, Bell/Gustafson and Vollmayr-Lee Families, and the Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance. Adopters make a one year commitment to help out with a specific section of the trail. The chosen area needs to be monitored on an ongoing basis and actively maintained at least three times a year by each group. The primary duty of the Adopt-a-Trail volunteers is to travel on foot or by bike to pick up litter, but other activities can include keeping the trail surface clear of sticks, rocks, and other debris, reporting trees across the trail, erosion problems, safety issues, vandalism, and suspicious or illegal activity on the trail. Participants may also elect to participate in trail work days with LARA staff and other volunteers when minor brush cutting might also be done. On another note the Lewisburg Area recreation Authority is also looking in 2013 to possibly change its name to the Buffalo Valley recreation Authority to allow a greater participation in the organization’s activities and operations.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - People gathered at a new apartment complex for the elderly at the former site of the Mann Edge Tool Company in Lewistown on Monday for a guided tour. Ground was broken on the project in November 2011 and the first residents started to move in January first. The 31-unit apartment complex was made possible through a collaborative effort by the Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation, SEDA-Council of Governments, the Mifflin County Commissioners and several other entities. Even though it has been less than two months since the project was completed, 25 of 31 apartments have already been rented. The Sentinel reports, the apartment complex sits on a 1.5-acre site. An adjacent 1.5 acres of property is currently undeveloped.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Union County parents can now benefit from a family literacy program for their two and three year old children. STEP, Incorporated, based in Williamsport, will administer the Parent-Child Home Program for twenty-four Union County families. The Parent-Child Home Program, under STEP’s  Early Learning Pathway, is a home visiting program that prepares two and three-year-old children for school success by increasing language and literacy skills, enhancing social-emotional development, and strengthening the parent-child relationship. The program is free to participating families. These simple 30-minute sessions are scheduled at the parents’ convenience so parents can participate even if they are working, in school, or in training. STEP’s Parent-Child Home Program Home Visitors have begun visiting enrolled Union County families and still has some openings. Interested parents are urged to call 1-800-346-3020 toll free or 326-0587 to enroll their child.
(WGRC)

MUNCY – It’s a problem among many public schools, and that’s the lack of compensation for cyber schools. In Lycoming County, the Muncy School Board unanimously passed a resolution Monday night in support of reforming the state's cyber charter school funding formula. The resolution, recommended by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, asks legislators to "support any legislation that corrects the tuition and pension overpayments to cyber charter schools." The recommendation is that the legislature, tweak the charter funding formula to reflect the actual costs of a cyber-education, rather than using the district's cost per student to determine funding. The resolution also proposes eliminating the pension "double dip," wherein districts and the state pay for charter school pension costs. Muncy schools have paid over $692,000 to charter schools since the 2008-09 school year and received nearly $86,000 in partial reimbursements from the state.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - The State College Area School Board has approved a new budget. It will raise taxes this July. The board passed the budget Monday night. The now approved budget will start July 1st and will raise taxes by 2.9%. Randy Brown, the board's Business Administrator says the increase was necessary to offset rising costs for school employees. The new budget also sets aside 1.6 million dollars to help maintain, renovate and build buildings, which could go to a new building for State College Area High School.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - Instead of having a day full of treatments and doctors appointments, several kids battling cancer at Geisinger Medical Center got a bit of a break Monday morning, getting a visit from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The players brought smiles and laughter for the kids and their families. The Pens players talked with the kids about their treatments.  
(WNEP)

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s state budget plan cuts agriculture, maintains extension funding for Penn State and increases money for land preservation, but it also delivers a 10 percent overall cut to the industry. And maintaining agriculture funding is something many state Representatives say should be high on the list of priorities. One area of funding that hasn’t been restored since pre-Corbett years is Penn State agriculture funding. The research component is something some legislators feel should receive more funding because that provides immediate jobs and future advances in the industry. Jim Dunn, professor of agricultural economics says Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Extension helps to provide, advances in farming technology and practices. Dunn, who works closely with the extension, said the need for the program is not going away and funding always is a concern. State Agriculture Secretary George Greig also spoke out in favor of Corbett’s agriculture budget despite the cuts. He’s in favor of the $35 million that is going toward the farmland preservation program, which protects that land from development.
(WGRC)