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March 14, 2013

SUNBURY - We now know what caused a fire in Northumberland County that killed a man in a wheelchair. A state police fire marshal believes Tuesday night’s fire at 1005 Penn Street was caused by a faulty electrical outlet. Firefighters were back at this house on Penn Street in Sunbury where a fire killed a man who lived here. 53-year-old Keith Bordner needed a wheelchair to get around. Officials say he was in the living room with his wife when they discovered the fire. Bordner was not able to get out. The fire also claimed the lives of several pet dogs and a cat. The stubborn fire rekindled late yesterday morning. And fire crews were again called to Penn Street this morning for a three alarm blaze around 1:30 a.m. after fire was discovered in a neighboring home. Northumberland County 9-1-1 officials tell us the fire this morning heavily damaged the home beside 1005 Penn Street and displaced the family living there.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

OAKLAND MILLS – A 66-year-old Port Royal man is dead following a two vehicle crash in Juniata County. The crash happened just before two yesterday afternoon on Route 35 at Oakland Road in Oakland Mills. Police say a van driven by John Yoder of Port Royal pulled out onto Route 35 into the path of a tractor trailer truck driven by 59-year-old Charles Ryan of McAlisterville. Police say Yoder died at the scene due to injuries after he was pinned in the van. Ryan was not hurt.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

NEWPORT – State Police in Perry County have released the names of those who died in a two vehicle crash near Newport early yesterday morning. The crash happened around one a.m. Tuesday on Route 322. Police say a vehicle operated by 31-year-old Jason Madden of Liverpool cross the center of the highway and slammed head-on into a vehicle driven by 42-year-old Keith Kerlin of Mifflin. Police say after the collision Madden’s vehicle rolled into the median of the highway and caught fire with Madden inside the vehicle. Police say Kerlin was thrown from his vehicle upon impact. Both men died at the scene.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

TREVORTON – A Trevorton man was taken to Geisigner Medical Center after crashing his SUV near Trevorton last evening. The crash happened just after six p.m. on Birch Road just South of Cedar Road in Shamokin Township. Police say 37-year-old Kenneth Duitch lost control of his vehicle on a curve, crossed the roadway and hit a ditch rolling his vehicle onto its driver’s side.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

POTTSVILLE – A 21-year-old Pottsville man was flown to the Lehigh valley medical Center after a motorcycle crash late yesterday afternoon. The crash happened just after five p.m. on Seltzer Road in Pottsville. Police say Bradley McKeone lost control of his motorcycle on a curve, went off the roadway and hit a cable guide wire. McKeone was then thrown from the cycle down over a steep embankment.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - A Pottsville motorcyclist who was seriously injured in a three-vehicle crash Saturday in Washington Township, Schuylkill County has died. 24-year-old David Guzick, died Tuesday at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Guzick was in critical condition at the hospital Saturday after he was flown from the scene to Reading Hospital and Medical Center, then to Philadelphia. State police at Schuylkill Haven said the crash happened on route 443 as 20-year-old Danielle Bevilacqua, of Pine Grove, was distracted while driving a car which hit the rear of a pick-up truck pushing it into the path of Guzik’s motorcycle.
(WGRC)

MCALISTERVILLE - A 56-year-old McAlisterville woman was taken to Hershey Medical Center following a crash Tuesday in Juniata County. The crash happened just before five p.m. on Route 35 at its intersection with Musser Road in McAlisterville. Police say Margaret Haines lost control of her car on a curve and went off the roadway hitting a fire hydrant and utility pole. Police are continuing their investigation into the crash.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG - The Beaver Springs woman who got her daughter hooked on drugs will spend up to four years in state prison for child endangerment. That sentence was handed down to 39-year-old Brandi Baumgardner, yesterday in Snyder County court. Her daughter, who is now 17-years-old, supplied testimony that her mother started her smoking marijuana when she was 12-years-old. Baumgardner previously pleaded guilty to the charge of child endangerment and will under-go drug treatment in prison.
(WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - Police are investigating four suspected heroin overdoses that occurred in the township during the past two months, two of which resulted in death. Heroin packaging in those cases is similar to that found at the home of a 22-year-old Cleveland Township man who nearly died from an apparent heroin overdose last month. He allegedly obtained the drug from individuals charged after a bust at Glosser Motor Inn, in Paxinos, the same day as his overdose. Locust Township police said similar packaging material has been linked to the near death of Jason Kobbe, who allegedly overdosed during the early-morning hours of February 4th at his home along Wynn School Road. The News item reports, police later learned that Kobbe had been with 18-year-old Jordan Detalente, 18, of Bloomsburg, and that he allegedly got heroin from individuals associated with Detalente. Detalente, her boyfriend, 21-year-old Allen Varilek, of Slatington, and 18-year-old Justice Hoffman, of Slatington, were charged by police with multiple drug offenses in connection with a February 4th drug bust at the Glosser Motor Inn in Paxinos. All three remain jailed in the Northumberland County Prison.
(WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE – State College Police have filed aggravated assault and related charges against a 62-year-old man following a prowling incident Tuesday night. Police say around 8:30 p.m. they were sent to the 900 block of Mckee Street for a report of a man outside the window of a home. Officers encountered Dirk Millmore of Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. Millmore attempted to take off and attempted to hit a State College Police Officer with a 2x4. Millmore is jailed in the Centre County Prison on $150,000 bail.Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - A Bellefonte woman pleaded guilty to one count of theft by unlawful taking, one count of receiving stolen property and one count of theft, all third-degree felonies. Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller says 48-year-old Teresa Horton,  had been charged after the Philipsburg Osceola Wrestling Club officials reported to police in October 2010 that they believed Horton, a former booster club treasurer, had defrauded the club of at least $10,000 in club monies over a three-year time span starting in 2008. Horton was subsequently removed as treasurer, and a Certified Public Accountant examined all of the club's finances, which revealed over $37,000 in unsubstantiated expenses. When questioned by police, Horton allegedly admitted to pilfering club monies to satisfy personal debts. Parks Miller stated, "Stealing money from a booster club meant to support kids' activities deserves jail time and we will certainly seek it when Horton is sentenced in May."
(WGRC)

SNYDERTOWN – State Police in Northumberland County are investigating a case where the parents of a child accidentally locked a four-year-old child in a vehicle, and then walked away. That happened just after seven Tuesday evening at the Kampco storage facility near Snydertown. Police say the child was able to get the door of the vehicle open and was found walking along Snydertown Road. The parents of the child were located at their home in Oaklyn. No charges have been filed at this time as police continue to investigate.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY – Sunbury Police and the Shikellamy School District is asking parents for help, following a recent surge in fights between students and the posting of those fights on social media. Police say they are investigating several assaults on students over the past several weeks before, during and after school, near the Middle and High School complex. Police say the fights were captured on video and then re-broadcast over YouTube, Facebook and by texting. Police say multiple arrests are pending and those arrested will face aggravated assault and related charges. Police are asking that the bullying and fighting stop. Anyone with information on recent cases, are asked to give Sunbury Police a call.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – For a second time in as many months nearly 700 students at the Midd-West High School in Snyder County were evacuated to another school building following a bomb threat yesterday. The written threat was found just before noon at the High School in Middleburg. Members of the Middleburg Police, Snyder County sheriff’s office and a bomb sniffing dog from the Union County Sheriff’s office searched the school but no explosives were found. Middleburg Police remind students that in February a Midd-West high School student was arrested for making such threats. Anyone with information on who may have written the threat is asked to call Middleburg Police or contact school authorities.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

JERSEY SHORE - The Jersey Shore Area School Board will hold a public hearing at the high school for 7 p.m. tonight on the possible closure of the Nippenose Valley Elementary School. The board voted to re-open discussions on possibly closing the school at its last meeting. At a prior school board meeting many of the public spoke against the closing of the school.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - First and fifth grade students at Cochran Elementary School in Williamsport were in for a surprise, yesterday. They had an ice cream party in honor of two of their classmates. Forman and Charlie Stewart were pretty popular when the brothers found out they were the grand prize winners of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Detectives Program. His name was drawn from among 2,000 children who participated in a scavenger hunt at this year’s Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. The boys and their classmates had an ice cream party. The boys also won a year’s supply of ice cream from Turkey Hill. Forman and Charlie get a free 1/2 gallon of ice cream every week for one year. The family says this is the first time Forman and Charlie were ever at the farm show.
(WNEP)

HERSHEY – A handful of Penn State board members will convene Thursday to pave the way for ground-breaking changes to how the 158-year-old university is governed. The board’s committee on governance and long-range planning is expected to review and recommend reforms for a vote of the full board on Friday in Hershey. Exactly what those reforms are, though, will not be known until the meeting, because its agenda is confidential, and a university spokesman could not provide firmer details about which reforms will be up for consideration. The committee meeting is at 1 p.m. in the Cocoa Inn Room of The Hotel Hershey in Hershey. Regardless of the uncertainty, the result will be unprecedented because of the long tradition of university and board governance, which became a lightning rod for criticism after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE - Any potential closing of Williamsport Regional Airport's air traffic control tower will not affect overall airport operations, according to officials who said confusion is swirling because the airport's tower was included on a Federal Aviation Administration list of planned closures. The list, which includes towers at six other airports in the state, is in response to mandatory federal budget cuts under the so-called sequester. Dave Frey, airport marketing director, tells the Sun Gazette, Wednesday that the facility remains open and will continue to service daily US Airways flights. He said airport administration has received numerous calls asking about the status of the airport since news of the tower's potential closing was released last week. Meanwhile, the Williamsport Regional Airport Authority is appealing the FAA's decision to include the local airport on the list.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN – In Mifflin County the Derry Township Tax Collector may be in some hot water over a recent note included with tax bills which were sent to Derry Township residents. The Sentinel reports, the note in question states the "Derry Township Tax Office will be closed May 21st due to the election. I hope that I can count on your vote!!!!" Tax collector Bret Treaster said the note was put in the envelopes with the tax bills without his knowledge, by his wife. The last sentence of the note, in which Treaster asks for people to vote for him, could be a violation of campaign finance laws because the note came via a bill for taxes which is tax-payer funded if a public official asks for reimbursement costs for postage. Treaster said he has not asked for reimbursement of the postage costs. The Mifflin County Board of Elections is expected to address the issue at a special meeting today at 9:30 a.m. in meeting room A on the second floor of the Mifflin County Courthouse.
(WGRC)

SHAMOKIN - A $1,200 bill was sent from Shamokin City Hall to Northumberland County commissioners seeking payment of legal costs stemming from Vinny Clausi's request for health care insurance information for Shamokin's elected officials. City Clerk Steve Bartos says the bill is for legal costs associated with the request. Clausi says he has no intention of having the county pay. Clausi made Right-to-Know requests in November and December. He says he did so as a commissioner on behalf of three city residents who feared retribution if they requested the information themselves, and believes that the information should be made public because it involves public funds. He sought specific costs for elected officials and their relatives enrolled in the city's health care plan at various intervals dating to 2006. All four requests for information specific to an individual were denied by Bartos, on the grounds that the information would violate privacy regulations. Bartos pointed to opinions both by the city's health care provider and a representative of U.S. Health and Human Services that supported his ruling. Bartos did provide to Clausi aggregate amounts highlighted in city budgets over the past four years, along with general information on benefits offered under the health care plan.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - A former state Senate leader and seven others have been charged in a “pay to play” case involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike, state prosecutors said Wednesday. Attorney General Kathleen Kane says the eight are accused of criminal activity for their financial and political advantage. A grand jury heard evidence that cash, travel, entertainment and political contributions were secretly provided to public officials and political groups by turnpike vendors and their consultants. The defendants include former state Senate Democratic Leader Bob Mellow, former turnpike chairman Mitchell Rubin and former turnpike chief executive Joe Brimmeier. Three former turnpike officials were also charged: George Hatalowich, of Harrisburg, the former chief operating officer; Melvin Shelton, of Philadelphia; and Raymond Zajicek, of Tarpon Springs, Florida. The other defendants are two turnpike vendors: Dennis Miller, of Harrisburg, and consultant Jeffrey Suzenski, of Pottstown. The allegations include conspiracy, commercial bribery, bid rigging, theft and conflict of interest.
(WGRC)

ROME, ITALY - Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis. Cardinals elected a new pope to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday, overcoming deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.
(WGRC)