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March 8, 2013

JERSEY SHORE – A Jersey Shore man is locked up on $200,000 at this time after state police charged him with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. State Police have charged Glen Jackson of 317 South Lincoln Avenue in Jersey Shore. He’s jailed in the Lycoming County Prison. State Police say they are conducting a death investigation at Jackson’s home. Reports say State forensic teams uncovered human remains under a crawl space of Jackson’s home. Police were also seen digging up a section of Jackson’s back yard yesterday. Now Jackson is only charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence at this point as that investigation continues. The Sun Gazette reports, the parts found inside Jackson’s house may be the remains of a Jersey Shore man who has been missing since February 4th. While the victim has yet to be officially identified, authorities believe the body may be that of Michael Krauser, who was reported missing from his 232 South Broad Street home, according to court records. Krauser was a known friend of Jackson’s.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – A Snyder County Judge has rejected a bid by a Beavertown man to have homicide conspiracy and perjury charges against him dismissed and have him tried with two other men accused of beating to death 22-year-old Donald Seebold the Third of New Berlin at a party in July 1997. The Daily Item reports, Senior Judge Lousie Knight denied the request by 38-year-old Christopher Aucker who will now be tried with 37-year-old Robert Reich of Beavertown and 36-year-old Ryan Sprenkel of Middleburg. Their trial is scheduled to get underway in late April. The three were charged last year after almost 15 years after the beating, following a state-wide grand jury investigation.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A 25-year-old city man will spend 32 to 64 years in state prison for a June 2011 stabbing. Larry Travers stabbed Kevin Houseknecht in an empty Newberry lot on the afternoon of June 17th, 2011, when a drug deal between the two went sour. A jury returned a guilty verdict against Travers on January 25th. Judge Marc Lovecchio handed down that sentence yesterday.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - A 50-year-old man arrested last month for stealing copper wire and breaking into a downtown business has been charged with three felony offenses in connection with a January 24th fire at the corner of North Shamokin and Sunbury streets across the street from his apartment. Kevin Kish faces charges of burglary, and related counts surrounding the fire that caused extensive damage to the first floor of a vacant property at 725 North Shamokin Street. Kish has not been charged with arson because he allegedly didn't intentionally set the fire, which police say was caused by a lit cigarette, dropped at the scene.
(WGRC)

MINERSVILLE – A New Philadelphia man is jailed in the Schuylkill County Prison on theft and forgery charges for stealing another man’s credit card and racking up a $4,000 bill. State police say 31-year-old Joseph Tennant stole a 31-year-old New Ringgold man’s credit card and ran up the bill between January 11th and December 13th, 2012 at various businesses and stores throughout Schuylkill County. Police charged Tennant with I.D. theft, theft by deception and forgery.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A former Hope Enterprises employee in Lycoming County faces felony charges for allegedly stealing over $2,000 from the checking account of one of the agency's clients while she worked for Hope. State Police say 47-year-old Tammy Scampone of Montoursville was assigned to take care of the Loyalsock Township client, but she allegedly was stealing from his account between early November 2008 and early September 2009. Scampone has since been fired from the agency. She’s free on bail.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – In Lycoming County a Plunketts Creek Township man was taken into custody when he was caught trying to sell jewelry he allegedly stole in two house burglaries from the Newberry section of Williamsport. 27-year-old Jason Welshans, of Barbours, has been arrested on charges of burglarizing two homes during the daytime hours on January 24th. Welshans was arrested when he tried to sell some of the stolen jewelry to Cillo's Antiques at Fourth and Market streets in January. He automatically was placed in the Lycoming County Prison on a probation violation.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - Agents from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation along with members of the Centre County Drug Task Force are conducting a drug law enforcement operation in Centre County today. Around 30 Agents and Officers began the operation at 6:30 A.M. this morning and were involved in arresting nine subjects.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HUNTINGDON - An early morning drug sweep by local, county and state law enforcement captured 25 of 29 people they say were involved an a massive heroin ring in Huntingdon county. A grand jury investigation into the ring started in June of 2011. Police say 31 year-old Curtis Koehler started the drug ring in Allentown before moving to Huntingdon. Koehler allegedly would purchase heroin from a supplier in Philadelphia and use local people to distribute it. The 25 taken into custody were part of what the state attorney general’s office is calling "Operation Spellbound." During the sweep police collected around 3,000 bags of heroin and 8 guns. They say over the last 3 years the group sold about $14 million worth of heroin to users in Huntingdon and surrounding counties.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - A teleconference project spearheaded by Commissioner Steve Bridy and President Judge Robert Sacavage that links Northumberland County’s prison with its courthouse a block away came in $5,000 under budget and 60 days before its deadline. An inmate can now appear before a judge from a basement area of the lockup that resembles a mini-courtroom. He can sit at a table, face a camera and see Northumberland County courtrooms on a television screen through Skype. Sacavage favored the prison courtroom because it will reduce costs to municipal police departments who now must transport prisoners after commissioners decided to stop paying constables for inmate escorts. The Daily Item reports, the mini-courtroom was completed for less than $7,000 and in less than 30 days.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The new Lycoming County Central Processing Center, hosted by the Old Lycoming Township Police Department, was officially opened for operation, yesterday. Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt and Old Lycoming Township Police Chief William Solomon showed the county's new booking capabilities to members of the news media Thursday morning. The two key machines for the processing center are the LiveScan machine, which takes digital fingerprints, and the Commonwealth Photo Imaging Network system, which takes high-resolution digital photographs and then officers can input information on identifying features such as tattoos and scars. All information from the two machines is sent to the state's criminal data base in Harrisburg, and a full criminal history of the offender is returned within minutes. Officers from all county municipalities, as well as the state police, will be able to drop off arrestees for booking. The cost of the Center is absorbed by the offenders and the equipment was paid for by a grant from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
(WGRC)

ROCKVIEW - The busloads of inmates who are transported every day from one state prison facility to another will soon be making pit stops in Centre County. State Department of Corrections officials have confirmed the newly constructed prison in Benner Township, set to open in June, will serve as the transportation hub for Pennsylvania’s jails. Officials with the Department of Corrections say its central location in the state, and its proximity to Interstate 80 are allowing the State Correctional Institution at Benner to replace SCI Smithfield in Huntingdon County as the state’s hub.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPIORT - More than 150 people turned out at the Genetti Hotel Thursday night to see plans and hear the most recent update on the new YMCA to be built near Williamsport Regional Medical Center. So far, 65 percent of the $10 million need to construct the Williamsport Branch YMCA has been raised. YMCA officials urged those gathered for the event to volunteer their efforts toward fundraising and promoting the facility. Ground-breaking is set for late spring and a grand opening in early fall 2014. Plans for the 63,000-square-foot building, which will replace the existing downtown YMCA were unfolded revealing  child care facilities, a large community room, men's and women's locker rooms, and a pool, basketball, racquetball and handball courts on the first floor. The second floor will include a spacious wellness center, an aerobics area and office space.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY - After hearing complaints from political candidates and other citizens about Northumberland County’s decision to consolidate 21 voting precincts into 10 in four communities in the eastern end of the county, Northumberland County commissioners plan to postpone the move this year, even though it would have saved the county $24,000. The commissioners will hold a special election board meeting at 11 a.m. Wednesday to rescind Tuesday's resolution on the consolidation. The consolidations were expected to take effect for the May 21 primary election. The News Item reports, on Thursday, all three commissioners said they have agreed to delay the consolidations until next year, when possibly 29 precincts will be consolidated for an overall savings of approximately $30,000.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Lycoming County commissioners Thursday officially began the process of a countywide property reassessment with a unanimous vote in favor of doing so. Since the last reassessment that took place nine years ago, property values have been skewed and do not reflect accurate trends in the market. Commissioners said some property owners either are paying too little or too much property taxes. While a countywide property reassessment is not designed to raise additional revenue, adjustments made to property values could generate around $1 million. Commissioners say those costs would in turn be used to offset costs for conducting the reassessment process.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - After two hours of passionate debate on whether the site of the Hilltop Mobile Home Park should be rezoned to accommodate other housing types, the Township Council on Thursday voted to move the request to the Planning Commission for further review. Lafayette, Indiana -based developer Trinitas Ventures requested the site be rezoned from mobile home park to R3 residential, which would allow a proposed 275 to 300-unit student housing complex. The request comes after Hilltop residents were told last February the deadline to move was February 28th, 2013. About 20 people still remain at the park. Matt Rooke, president of the resident association and leader of the charge to save the park, said eviction notices have not yet arrived, but are expected. Near the end of the discussion Dave Fetzer, of Heritage Realty Group, told the council and approximately 50 Hilltop residents and supporters that he spoke to two investors in the last 10 days who may want to purchase the site, so it can remain a mobile home park. Fetzer said he needs 60 to 90 days to present an offer. But Township officials decided to go ahead and move the issue on to the Planning Commission. The Centre daily Times reports, once the Planning Commission makes a recommendation, the Township Council still has the final, official vote on whether to approve the request. Regional review and a formal public hearing also are required.
(WGRC)

SAINT CLAIR - Saint Clair borough officials asked Schuylkill County Court on Thursday to nullify all agreements between Blythe Township and the developer of a proposed construction and demolition waste landfill. Those agreements between the township and FKV LLC unconstitutionally try to transfer power from government officials to private persons and are attempts to circumvent the township's own zoning ordinance. The complaint also states, the township failed to obtain an appraisal of the property as required by the state Second Class Township Code. Thursday's lawsuit marks another step in a long battle between Blythe Township and Saint Clair over the proposed landfill. It is not a direct challenge to the landfill, but an attack on the agreements between the township and FKV that have formed the basis for the proposal. Saint Clair Borough Council filed a lawsuit saying the proposed site is 2,400 feet from Wolf Creek Reservoir, the drinking water source for Pottsville, Mechanicsville, Palo Alto, Port Carbon and Saint Clair and parts of Blythe, East Norwegian, New Castle and Norwegian townships. Saint Clair officials have opposed the landfill as a threat to the health and welfare of the borough's citizens. Blythe officials deny that the landfill is a threat to the environment and believe it will benefit its citizens.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will target eight counties in an aerial spraying effort to combat the effects of growing gypsy moth populations in northwest and north central Pennsylvania. Gypsy moth numbers are at high enough levels that over 43,000 acres of state forestland, state parkland and Pennsylvania Game Commission land will be sprayed in Cameron, Clarion, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, Potter and Tioga counties. Sixty five acres of private property also will be sprayed in Venango County.  Using helicopters, the spray program will begin in mid-April and end by June 1st. Tree foliage will be treated at the rate of one-half gallon per acre with a biological bacterial insecticide. No chemical insecticides are used.  DCNR is soliciting public comment on the proposed gypsy moth suppression program at a public meeting between 10 a.m. and noon Monday, March 11th, in Room 7A, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg.
(WGRC)