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February 20, 2013

MUNCY – Fire crews from Lycoming County were called out this morning to a two-alarm house fire in Muncy Creek Township. The fire was reported just after four a.m. at the home at 1980 John Brady Drive near the Muncy Industrial Park. An elderly woman who lives in the home was trapped inside the structure which was filling with smoke. A firefighter and members of the police department were able to get the woman safely out of the home. When crews arrived fire was coming from the second floor of the home. An investigation into how the fire started is underway.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HEPBURNVILLE – Three people were forced out into the nighttime air last night in Lycoming County. Fire crews were called to a home in the 900 block of Crescent Hill Road just before midnight. The fire gutted the two story brick structure. A cause of that fire is being investigated no reports of any injuries in that fire.
(WNEP)

BLOOMSBURG – Windy conditions fuled a fire on East Eighth Street in Bloomsburg yesterday that destroyed two homes. Besides the wind, firefighters had to battle low water pressure as well. The blaze was first spotted in the rear kitchen area of a house at 304 East Eighth Street, just before 10 a.m. No one was home at that house at the time. The owner of the second house, 62-year-old Larry Poust collapsed at the scene and had to be taken to Bloomsburg Hospital then taken to Geisinger Medical Center where he remains in serious condition. The Press Enterprise reports, Poust, a town maintenance worker, was doing chores at Town Park a few blocks away when he got word of a fire in his neighborhood. He rushed over to find his own house at 312 East Eighth burning after flames leaped from the home next door. Two Bloomsburg firefighters were also taken to the hospital for medical attention, one for facial burns from the intense heat and the other was injured when he slipped and fell on ice hurting his knee. Neither man was believed to have been seriously hurt. The heat also damaged the exterior of near-by homes. A State Police fire marshal is expected to investigate in hopes of determining a cause.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE - At least one person was homeless Tuesday after a two-alarm fire at a house on Halltown Road, near Montoursville. We first told you about the fire yesterday at noon. The fire reported around nine a.m. at the home at 683 Halltown Road in Fairfield Township, extensively damaged the home. The home owner was not there at the time of the blaze. Smoke was pouring from the home when crews arrived on the scene. No injuries were reported. The fire is thought to have started in the basement of the home and a state police fire marshal is investigating a cause.
(WGRC)

NEW BERLIN - Owners of a farm in Union County are cleaning up after crews spent six hours fighting a barn fire that killed six pigs. The fire reported around 11:30 Monday night at Sauers Haven Farm near New Berlin. The buildings, owned by father and son Bob and Rob Sauers, were destroyed. In all, two barns went down, half a dozen wagons and other equipment destroyed. The owners estimate damages to be around $100,000. It’s believed a wood burner located in an out building started the fire that leveled both buildings. A fire marshal will investigate to determine exactly how the fire started.
(WGRC)

UNDATED – Weather forecasters were caught off guard yesterday as more snow and sleet than rain fell, going against their predictions of a mainly, “all rain” event. With the snow and sleet road surfaces became slippery and several crashes involving tractor trailers close some roadways across our region. In Northumberland County Interstate 180 westbound near the mile seven mile-marker was closed after a tractor trailer went over an embankment. Also in Northumberland County Route 54 on Natalie Mountain was closed due to a jack-knifed rig and Route 54 near Turbotville was closed for a time after a three vehicle pile-up there. No one was hurt in the pile-up. In Lycoming County, Route 220 southbound was restricted to a single lane and traffic was backed up for about two miles due to a two vehicle crash involving a car trying to pass a PennDOT snow plow. The car spun out of control and was struck by the plow which rolled the car. No injuries reported in that crash. And in Sullivan County Route 42 was closed for several hours due to a jack-knifed tractor trailer.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG – A woman remains in serious condition at Geisinger medical Center following a crash on the snowy roadways in Columbia County yesterday. Police say 37-year-old Coral Tichy lost control of the pick-up truck she was driving while traveling down River Hill just outside Bloomsburg in Catawissa Township. The crash happened just after eleven a.m. The truck rolled over after crashing into an embankment. The Press Enterprise reports, Tichy was taken to Geisinger by a passer-by.
(WGRC)

ROCKVIEW - Police were back at the scene of a fatal hit-and-run crash on Interstate 99 early Tuesday, exactly one week after a Bellefonte woman was struck and killed while walking on the highway. State police at Rockview set up an informational checkpoint Tuesday morning, stopping motorists and asking them about that crash that left 32-year-old Sherry Houtz dead last week. The search continues for the driver of a passenger car or small pickup that struck Houtz.  The driver didn’t stop, and little else is known about the vehicle. With the assistance of the state Department of Transportation, police conducted the checkpoint Tuesday to find motorists who might have been on the highway around the time of the crash. Troopers stopped vehicles between 3:30 a.m. and 4:20 a.m. and asked drivers if they were on the road during that same time last week. Anyone with information is asked to contact state police, Rockview.
(WGRC)

ALLENWOOD – Police in Union County are investigating a break-in in Allenwood. That happened sometime between four and 4:30 a.m. at Allenwood Rental Supply located along Route 15. Police say the bandit made off with nearly $120 in cash from the business.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

POTTSVILLE – Two people have been arrested for bilking over $614,000 dollars from a scrap metal company in Pottsville. Police have charged 46-year-old Sharon Mullin of Pottsville and 31-year-old Chester Caldwell Jr. of Peach Bottom with theft and related charges. Police say Mullin worked at Weiner Iron and Metal Corporation and would over-pay Caldwell for scrap he brought to the plant and would then share the overage with Mullin.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Hundreds of earthquakes occur throughout the world every day. For the most part, they amount to tiny rumblings of the ground that are barely, if at all, felt by humans. A tremor that occurred early Tuesday morning in North America had its epicenter in the Newberry section of Williamsport. The U.S. Geological Survey reports the tremor registered 2.3 on the Richter scale. The earthquake was recorded just before five yesterday morning although no one felt a thing. The last earthquake to be felt in the region happened in August 2011 when vibration from the 5.9 magnitude quake centered near Mineral, Virginia could be felt here in Central Pennsylvania.
(WGRC)

JERSEY SHORE - A 44-year-old woman was killed in a tragic accident Sunday afternoon when she was dragged "a considerable distance" by her horse which suddenly bolted from her as she was reportedly grooming the animal on her farm near Oriole, in Lycoming County. Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling reports, 44-year-old Renee Eck Martin Shatzer, of Pine Woods Road, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the Jersey Shore Hospital. Kiessling says she died of "multiple blunt force trauma injuries to the upper body." Emergency crews rushed to the farm in Limestone Township just before 1 p.m. Sunday after a neighbor called 911. The woman was grooming the horse when it spooked and the woman couldn’t break free from a rope wrapped around her arm. Kiessling says she was dragged "a considerable distance" before her upper body struck a tree.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - A suspect entered a convenience store in State College through the roof early Tuesday morning, but did not appear to have stolen any items. State College Police say the man was caught on surveillance camera after he entered the Snappy's convenience store on the 500 block of University Drive. The suspect was wearing a two-tone ski jacket/dark shirt with a white logo and ski mask. The suspect attempted to enter a cash register but did not appear to have taken anything.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - Two Northumberland County commissioners say they are considering a petition drive to have residents vote on adopting a Home Rule form of county government that would eliminate row offices such as treasurer, prothonotary and register and recorder of deeds. But Commissioner Rick Shoch said the proposal by Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Steve Bridy was a power grab that could backfire. In order to have a vote on Home Rule, the commissioners would need about 900 voters to sign a Home Rule petition. Eliminating row officers would save the county up to $215,000. Bridy and Clausi said they are looking to save the county money and make the row office positions more accountable. The commissioners would have the authority to appoint the row officers, but they would be called department heads. Commissioner Bridy says the county tried to pass Home Rule in 2003, but it failed and now he has been in contact with Lackawanna County, which has Home Rule in place. Bridy tells the Daily Item, “We are still seeing what can be done and how we can do it and save money.”
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Buffalo Valley Regional Police and state police may extend police time in schools under a pilot program up for approval at the February 28th Lewisburg School Board meeting. Superintendent Mark DiRocco confirmed that the district wants to lengthen the amount of patrol time and increase police presence at its four schools for the rest of this school year. If approved, the added patrols would cost the school district about $13,000 for the rest of the school year. DiRocco said the district’s contingency fund for emergencies would cover the cost. The board would review the effort in June before deciding whether to continue it for the 2013-14 school year.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE — While 36 State College businesses have announced they will not be selling alcohol on the student-created State Patty’s Day, State College police will have an even bigger presence than last year. With bars not serving alcohol and fraternities again pledging not to have parties, Police Chief Tom King said Tuesday that all the officers will be cracking down on apartment and residential parties as well as public drunkenness infractions on the streets. King said there will be a major stand taken against furnishing alcohol to minors with offenders being taken immediately before a judge and fined the maximum amount allowed by law. King said officers will go wherever necessary to try to stop illegal parties. King applauded the bars and restaurants for not serving alcohol but still has a problem with downtown businesses selling State Patty’s Day merchandise, saying those actions are “irresponsible.” He said they have previously asked businesses to stop selling the shirts and other clothing items but have been ignored. King is hopeful that this effort will end State Patty’s Day as it currently is.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Authority announced last night that plans are in place to construct a permanent building this year at the park's trailhead. Authority chairman James Backes presented the blueprints for the Trailhead Overall Plan at the authority meeting in the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center. The plans call for a main access road, at Route 125 south of Burnside, will be up to federal standards and lead to an administrative building, which will have an office, conference room and three maintenance garages. There will be 75 parking places on a paved lot and there will be 180 spaces on a gravel lot, with additional overflow parking. The News Item reports, additional details include an area for an ATV safety course, benches, lights and signs. The money to fund the designs and eventual construction is coming from a $1.5 million grant that was awarded in 2011 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - The pantries are well stocked at the Ronald McDonald house in Danville for Food Checkout Week. The annual event was observed yesterday by area Farm Bureau chapters who presented their collections of groceries and cash to help at the home away from home for families of sick children on the Geisinger campus. This year's collections totaled more than 21 thousand dollars. House Manager Mike Turlis says this single day goes a long way in helping those families. Food Checkout Week highlights the affordability of the American food supply. The farm bureau sponsored event is also aiming to teach more about how to eat well on a tight budget.
(WPGM )

WILLIAMSPORT – Lycoming College art instructor Kathy Sterngold was chosen as this year’s artist to create the commemorative bowls for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s “Soup and a Bowl” events. Sterngold’s handcrafted stoneware bowls will be sold to help fight hunger in Central Pennsylvania. The fundraiser will be held on Friday, February 22nd in Williamsport. Sterngold, who teaches ceramics classes, studied pottery at Kutztown and Alfred universities and has a studio in Muncy. Each spring, Sterngold and her ceramics students donate bowls to the Food Bank to support its mission of “fighting hunger, improving lives and strengthening communities.” This year, Sterngold is honored that she can contribute even more by creating a unique line of bowls that display the Food Bank’s mission and logo. The “Soup and a Bowl,” event will be held at the Genetti Hotel and Suites, located in downtown Williamsport. The event combines food, entertainment and the best handcrafted pottery from local artists. Last year, the event was a sellout, and served around 300 guests and raised more than $17,000 to help the Food Bank reduce hunger in central Pennsylvania. For more information go to centralpafoodbank.org.
(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)

MIFFLINBURG - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey says his staff will hold a casework day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at state Representative Fred Keller’s office in Mifflinburg. During the casework day, Senator Toomey’s staff will be available to help constituents who are experiencing difficulties with federal agencies. Constituents are encouraged to bring relevant documents they have received. Steve Kelly, Senator Toomey’s Central Pennsylvania regional manager, will be on hand to help area residents. Keller’s office is located in Suite 1, at 343 Chestnut Street, Mifflinburg, inside the old Mifflinburg Bank building.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - A state appeals court says kindergartners who start school become subject to mandatory attendance rules. But, it adds if they never enroll, the rules don't apply until first grade or age eight. Commonwealth Court has upheld a Snyder County judge's decision against Jennifer Kerstetter, in a case that concerns her twin daughters. Kerstetter is fighting charges filed by the Midd-West School District that stemmed from her daughters' absences for three days in November and December 2011. A district judge convicted her of violating the Public School Code of 1949. The decision mandates attendance for students who are 8-years-old, or for those who have been enrolled. The court says parents don't have to enroll their children in kindergarten, but once they do they have to keep attending.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - As the Corbett administration mulls its next step regarding lottery privatization, the British company with $50 million on the line just got its money back. The security deposit binding Camelot Global Services to its bid on the Pennsylvania Lottery was returned Monday. Dan Meuser, secretary of the Department of Revenue, which oversees the lottery reports the money was returned. The move comes after Camelot’s contract with the commonwealth was rejected by the state attorney general, who called it unconstitutional and said it violates state law.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Democrat John Hanger is planning to run for Governor in the next primary. Hanger is a former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Hanger’s campaign focuses on what he calls the four “E’s”:  Education, Economy, Energy, and Environment. He said he is prepared to lead Pennsylvania by championing public education, a growing economy, clean energy and a quality environment. He’s in favor of a drilling tax on the Marcellus Shale gas industry, and would look to reverse the one billion dollars in cuts to the state’s schools and universities. You can learn more about him and his campaign at www.HangerForGovernor.com.
(WGRC)