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March 7, 2013

MILLMONT – A fire destroys and garage and classic car in Union County last night. The fire was reported around eight p.m. at 100 Third Street in the village of Millmont. Mifflinburg Fire Chief John Heiges says when crews arrived on the scene the garage, a 1969 Camero SS and two outer shed were all in flames. The fire also damaged the siding on tow near-by homes. A cause of that fire is not known and a state police fire marshal has been called in to investigate.
 (WGRC)

MILTON – Three people including a 17-year-old have been implicated in copper thefts from a Union County site. Police say they caught 18-year-old Matthew Zimmerman of Milton, 22 Anthony Foust of McClure and the 17-year-old boy burning the plastic coating off copper wire they had stolen. Police say at this time they’re not sure where the three stole the wire from. The trio was burning at the West Milton Memorial park in West Milton. Police believe the three stole the copper wire sometime between February 24th and yesterday. The investigation into the three’s misdeeds is continuing.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

TROUT RUN - A second man has been arrested in connection with a rash burglaries at properties from which large amounts of scrap metal and other items were stolen. State police have charged 23-year-old Bryan Giacomi, of Gamble Township in Lycoming County, with stealing more than $12,000 of scrap metal and other items from multiple properties in six townships. Giacomi and 25-year-old Walter Shaw of Trout Run are accused of stealing the scrap between November and January.  Giacomi is jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on $75,000 bail. Meanwhile his accomplice Walter Shaw was arrested earlier this year.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - Wires ripped right out of the ceiling and hundreds of feet of copper piping all gone. Thieves are responsible for taking about $10,000 worth of material at the SPCA’s Thrift Store that just recently opened in Pottsville. Thrift Boutique Manager Lee Yeager said she’s frustrated by the thieves, because all the money raised here supports the animals at the Ruth Steinert SPCA in Pine Grove. The SPCA didn’t discover the theft until early this week and said the thief or thieves took just about everything. This all after the Ruth Steinert SPCA in Pine Grove was a victim of an arson back in 2011. Workers at the SPCA Thrift Store said they don`t know how long this theft will keep the doors closed, but they do say a few companies have offered them some help. The SPCA is offering a reward to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to an arrest in this investigation.
(WNEP)

WEST MILTON – State Police are looking for the thieves that stole over $13,000 in tractor trailer tires from a truck business in Union County. Police say sometime between Saturday and Monday someone stole 12 wheels and tires from Susquehanna Motors located along Old Route 15 in West Milton. Police say someone entered the property and jacked up two truck tractor and took the wheels off of them. Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call state police, Milton.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BELLEFONTE – A Bellefonte man was found guilty of a violent sexual assault during a party in State College on September 5, 2011. 23-year-old Phillip Giunta was found guilty by a jury following his trial in Centre County Court, yesterday. Giunta faces sentencing in the next 90 days.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE - A Facebook post led police to three teens who allegedly threatened a student in Lycoming County. The boy was walking home from school when police say a car pulled up and a passenger pointed what looked like a gun at him. Officers said it only took a couple of hours after posting a report of a possible gun threat to track down the car and the teen. Police used Facebook to find the teen who threatened a 10-year-old boy walking home from Lyter Elementary School. And while investigators are convinced they would have solved the possible gun threat eventually, they believe social media helped in a big way. Montoursville police say the 17-year-old boy who allegedly used the toy gun faces charges. Officers say they will keep using Facebook as a tool, saying it lets them build up trust with people who in turn are more willing to help solve a crime.
(WNEP)

WILLIAMSPORT – A wild chase led to the arrest of a Williamsport man and woman early Saturday morning in Lycoming County. State Police say they tried to stop 31-year-old Mitchell Bradley when he took off leading state police on a chase through Williamsport. The chase went through Thomas and Memorial Avenue then onto Sixth Street and finally ended on Isabella Street where Bradley and his passenger 24-year-old Nicole Peterson both jumped out of the vehicle and took off on foot. Peterson was captured after police used a taser to immobilize her. It was later that Bradley turned himself in to police. Bradley faces charges of reckless endangerment and fleeing police.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

CRESSONA – A freak accident sent a Cressona man to the hospital around noon yesterday. The incident happened on Front Street in Cressona Borough. Police say 75-year-old Paul Potts was driving south on Front Street when an unsecured gate swung out onto the roadway and smashed into the windshield of Pott’s car hitting him in the head. Potts was taken to the Schuylkill Medical Center South for a laceration to his head.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DANVILLE - A Union County woman who worked as a nurse at the Grandview nursing home in Danville and was charged with taking pain medicine from the facility for her own use has pleaded guilty in Montour County Court. 31-year-old Traci Lapaglia, of West Milton, will be sentenced later for theft and illicit drug acquisition. Police say she removed four Oxycodone tablets from a patient cart in January 2011. Lapaglia, a registered nurse, no longer works at the nursing home.  
(WGRC)

VALLEY VIEW – A Philadelphia man is facing arson charges for trying to burn down a camper in Schuylkill County on Sunday. Police say 32-year-old Robert Grosser Jr. was asked to leave the Rausch Creek Trail Riders camp in Valley View after causing a disturbance. When camp crew members went to his camping trailer they discovered smoke and a small fire inside the camper with gas and propane tanks throughout the camper. Camp staff was able to put out the fire. Now police are looking for Grosser. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call state police, Schuylkill Haven.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SHENANDOAH - The boyfriend of a woman facing arson charges and another man are behind bars today after witnesses say they threatened them. A hearing for 28-year-old Chavonne Martinson, was scheduled for 10 a.m. today but was continued and will now be held at the Schuylkill County Courthouse for security reasons. Meanwhile, 35-year-old Luis Enrique Ramos, the woman's boyfriend, and 27-year-old Rasheam Strange, both of Shenandoah, are facing four felony counts of intimidation of witnesses and a misdemeanor count of terroristic threats. Police say the two threatened witnesses against Martinson. Police have charged Martinson with starting the fire at the home of Richard and Ann Morton at 432 West Centre Street on January 19th. Flames spread, causing heavy damage to unoccupied homes at 434 and 430 West Centre Street while two other home sustained smoke damage.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – A new, 30-bed inpatient unit providing private rooms and state-of-the-art technology to orthopedic and trauma patients on the sixth floor of Geisinger Medical Center’s Hospital for Advanced Medicine was formally opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, March 6th. The 22,000-square-foot, $9.4 million project increases the Hospital for Advanced Medicine bed capacity from 60 to 90 beds. It includes two bariatric compatible rooms equipped with ceiling-mounted bariatric lifts to help staff more safely transport patients. Construction began in February 2012 on the project, which fills previous shelled space on the sixth floor of Hospital for Advanced Medicine.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport administration officials said Wednesday they will pursue expansion of the Central Business District to areas north of Little League Boulevard toward the Williamsport Regional Medical Center to create more retail and opportunities for professional and administrative buildings and offices. Mayor Gabriel Campana tells the Sun Gazette, he wants to see expansion to increase the city tax revenue and to remove blighted properties, including an unused former Trimtex building on Park Avenue. A change to the zoning map requires an amendment. City officials plan to contact the Lycoming County Department of Planning, before the concept is brought to the city Economic Revitalization Committee and planning commission.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - Citizens for a Better Community in Shamokin has undertaken three projects that will salute members of the armed forces, help maintain Shamokin Cemetery and bring an old mine personnel carrier off of Big Mountain for display in town. With approval of City Council, the group will have "Shamokin/Coal Township Hometown Heroes" banners hanging on street light poles in time for Memorial Day. The 2-by-4-foot banners will be purchased by either family members or businesses and will include the name and photo of the person, their rank and branch of service, any foreign wars they fought in, and the name of the person or business that purchased the banner. Also, with the help of the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center, Citizens for a Better Community hopes to get two huge mine personnel carriers left on Big Mountain northwest of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School and bring them into town to create a display. One car, which is approximately 30 feet long, will be restored for display by students at the Tech Center, while the other will be used for spare parts.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Some 160 vendors will be on hand Friday through Sunday for the annual West Branch Susquehanna Home Builders Association show at the Lycoming College Recreation Center. Patrons will have the chance to visit many of the vendor booths representing custom home building, remodeling, masonry, landscaping, carpet and flooring, real estate, banking, plumbing and heating, green energy and many other types of businesses. Show hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
(WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – PennDOT recently put digital, 3-D technology to work in Lycoming County to help designers develop plans for a current project along Route 15 near South Williamsport. The technology, known as digital photogrammetry, essentially involved capturing a series of digital photographs of the mountainside near the project to create a 3-D model of the terrain. The 3-D model then allowed PennDOT’s consultant designers to develop plans to “cut back” the mountainside without laborious and often dangerous field surveys to manually measure the terrain. The process also cuts down on time as measuring the mountainside manually would have taken 20 to 50 days depending on the slope. The use of digital photogrammetry was completed in one day. The 3-D model was analyzed to determine rock stability and identify the best locations to build horizontal drains to keep the mountainside stable. PennDOT estimates that it saved $25,000 on the overall project design costs by using the process. The $11 million project is in the second year of construction and PennDOT expects it to be completed later this fall.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Penn State alleges in a new lawsuit that its insurance carrier has not been honoring its legal obligation to cover claims related to sexual misconduct by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The university said in the 18-page complaint filed in Bellefonte on Tuesday that it has been sued or contacted by 29 claimants, but that the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Company has not provided coverage. The Associated Press reports, the lawsuit alleges breach of contract and bad faith and seeks damages and costs. Penn State Attorneys say despite the substantial insurance premiums that Penn State paid Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance over the course of years, when various individual claims and lawsuits were filed against Penn State concerning the alleged sexual misconduct of Sandusky, the insurance company failed to provide the coverage for which Penn State had bargained and paid. University officials say Penn State has paid the insurance company more than $23 million since 1983.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Department of Environmental Protection invites teachers, non-formal educators, home-school teachers, youth group leaders and Scout leaders to attend a Peregrine Falcon Educators’ Workshop, WILD in the City, on Tuesday, April 2, in Harrisburg. DEP and the Pennsylvania Game Commission are sponsoring the workshop in cooperation with ZOOAMERICA North American Wildlife Park. It will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Rachel Carson State Office Building auditorium at 400 Market Street in Harrisburg. The Rachel Carson nest site has been active and reproducing young peregrine falcons for 13 years. Workshop participants, who can attend at no cost, will explore the successes of peregrine falcon reintroduction in Pennsylvania; examine falcon specifics and endangered species concepts; and observe falcons in Harrisburg. Participating teachers are eligible for 5.0 Act 48 credit hours. Lunch and refreshments will be provided at no cost. To register for the workshop, contact DEP’s Environmental Education and Information Center at 717-772-1644, or email adevine@pa.gov, by March 26th.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Agriculture Secretary George Greig, state dog wardens and pet specialty retailer PetSmart yesterday challenged Pennsylvanians to license their dogs by setting a goal to sell 100,000 licenses in March. The challenge is part of "Dog License Awareness Month." If the licensing goal is met, PetSmart will donate $10,000 to Susquehanna Service Dogs, a non-profit organization that trains and provides service and hearing dogs that help children and adults with special needs become more independent. The cost of training and placing one service dog is approximately $20,000. Fundraising and donations by individuals, groups and corporations helps defray the cost.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTON D.C. - Quality pre-kindergarten programs are vital for the economy and the current and future well-being of children across the country, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said Wednesday. Casey has renewed his effort to provide federal funding for pre-kindergarten programs nationwide. On Wednesday, he unveiled his Prepare All Kids Act, which would work to provide at least one year of high quality pre-kindergarten to children. During the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for an early learning initiative, and Casey said he hopes to work with the president on the issue. Casey's plan would create a partnership between the states and federal government on pre-k education for children, with a focus on children from low-income families and children with special needs. Class sizes would be limited, bachelor's degrees for teachers would be required and school districts would be first to receive funding. Casey said he knows funding will not come easy, but he is willing to accept a low level to get the program started. He would also work to make sure the funding continued yearly, so districts are not left with programs they can no longer afford.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Weight restrictions could be placed on more state-owned bridges if state lawmakers aren’t able to find a way to fund transportation infrastructure projects this year. That warning came from PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch as he spoke to Senate Appropriations Committee members Wednesday. He said he may approve more weight restrictions on bridges if the latest push to increase transportation funding becomes a bridge to nowhere. Schoch said if there’s no transportation funding package in 2013, he’ll have to scale back the state’s investment in transportation projects from a roughly $2 billion annual investment to about a $1.6 billion annual investment. Fewer structurally deficient bridges would be getting repairs in such a scenario, and Schoch said he’d consider restricting loads on them accordingly. Weight restrictions are currently posted for 567 bridges out of the state’s roughly 25,000 bridges, according to a PennDOT spokeswoman. Schoch said the number would jump by up to 5,000 bridges if he applied restrictions according to the recommendations of a national association of transportation experts.
(WGRC)