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April 12, 2013

TOWER CITY - A woman is dead after a crash in Schuylkill County yesterday afternoon. The crash happened around 12:30 p.m. on Route 209 in Porter Township near Tower City. Police say an SUV driven by 64-year-old Linda Rickert from Tower City crossed over the center lines and slammed head-on into a utility truck. Rickert died at the scene. The driver of the truck and a passenger suffered minor injuries.
(WGRC)

NORTH CENTRE TOWNSHIP - With his female passenger trapped and moaning in a wrecked vehicle, the man who had just driven it into a tree stumbled away. It appears Darrin Bellum walked about a third of a mile through a field and woods between Fowlersville Road and Hidlay Church Road in North Centre Township, Columbia County before police caught him. Meanwhile, back at the smoking car, firefighters had to cut his female passenger out of the wreckage. The Press Enterprise reports, Briar Creek Police say the crash happened around three p.m. yesterday as Bellum lost control of his car on Fowlersville Road, went over the top of a small knoll, and briefly went airborne. The car then went through a front yard of a home and slammed into a tree. Police did not release the name of the woman in the car with Bellum. Bellum was taken to Geisinger medical Center where he remains in serious condition.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - When a man from Union County was sentenced Thursday morning for a deadly DUI crash in January 2012, the judge called him the “most arrogant” defendant she ever saw in a courtroom. After that, Judge Louise Knight sentenced him to the maximum amount of time allowed by law. 22-year-old Christopher Wirth of Hartleton, was sentenced to serve nine to 25 years in state prison.  Wirth claims his trial was unfair and that he plans an appeal. In February, a jury convicted him in less than an hour of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. 22-year-old Allison VonNeida was killed in the crash on Route 235 near Laurelton after Wirth lost control of his vehicle after going over 90-miles-per-hour. Wirth did apologize to his 3-year-old daughter, who he shared with VonNeida. The child is staying with family members.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – Another man was sentenced in Union County Court for a crash that killed his girlfriend in Union County. 20-year-old Christopher Libby of Mifflinburg was sentenced to up to two years in jail for the crash that killed his girlfriend. Libby was sentenced after pleading no-contest to charges following the crash in August 2011 long Sportsman’s Club Road in West Buffalo Township. Police say Libby was speeding when he crashed his car killing 18-year-old Emily Kunkel.
(WGRC)

BEAVERTOWN - Firefighters quick work put out a fire in Beavertown late yesterday morning limiting the damage to an apartment building. The building is located along Market Street in Beavertown which is also route 522. The highway was closed for about an hour just after ten a.m. as crews battled the flames.  The fire is being labeled accidental and started in some cardboard boxes that were placed too close to a stove. The fire caused some smoke and water damage inside one second-story apartment, but the quick response from firefighters prevented the fire from spreading.  
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – A Williamsport woman is in jail for attempting to get pain killers from a pharmacy with a bogus prescription. 30-year-old Shamika Henderson faces charges of forgery after she allegedly attempted to obtain 120 Percocet pills with a forged prescription at the Rite-Aid, on Fifth Street in Williamsport last Thursday. Henderson was jailed on a probation violation and the forgery charges. She’s locked-up on $20,000 bail.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN-A Lock Haven man has been jailed in the Clinton County Jail on $50,000 bail after his DNA linked him to a burglary about two years ago, in Lock haven. 34-year-old Donald Adams Jr., was arrested on a warrant Wednesday and charged with burglary, and related counts for the break-in at the Infant development Center on Water Street in September 2011. Police say Adams took $1,400 worth of computer equipment, cash, gift cards, a camera and other items from the building.
(WGRC)

BERWICK – In Columbia County a bike that was the prize for a fundraiser for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation was sdtolen and now organizers and police want to know who took it. Along a quiet residential street in Berwick, police say a thief took not only some cash and prescriptions from a home, but a bike that was going to help raise money for the cause. Tom Cashman one of the organizers of the fundraiser and works for the Borough of Berwick says he’s helped organize the bike run in Columbia County to benefit the Brain Aneurysm Foundation for the past five years, after losing his son Tom Jr. in 2007 to an aneurysm. The Roadmaster mountain bike was taken from Fifth Street in the borough last month, from Cashman’s daughter’s home. Cashman says he`s not sure if the fundraiser where the bike was supposed to be raffled off will be held this year, but he says if it is, he`ll replace the stolen bike himself. Anyone with information on the stolen bike is asked to call Berwick Police.
(WNEP)

SELINSGROVE - Bolstering security in the wake of December’s Sandy Hook shooting tragedy, the Selinsgrove Area School District is spending nearly $80,000 on additional safety measures. The Daily Item reports, the school board approved using unspent money from the 2012-13 budget to add 74 interior and exterior surveillance cameras and install a buzzer system requiring all visitors to announce themselves before being allowed entry at the intermediate and middle schools. The elementary and high schools — which recently underwent renovations — already have a system in place that requires visitors to stop at the office before entering the main part of the building. Officials also are increasing the number of motion-activated security cameras around the district over the next month.
(WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN -The Clinton County commissioners awarded bids Thursday and signaled contractors to move ahead with transforming the former Flemington Elementary School into a new emergency services and communications center for Clinton County. The cost of the project is estimated to be around two million dollars. The awards followed a conference and examination of the proposals by an architect overseeing the project, the commissioners, Emergency Services Director Kevin Fanning, county IT supervisor Ernest Jackson and several others. Work on the new 9-1-1 center is expected to get underway next month. The building at 311 Frederick St., Flemington, was purchased from the Keystone Central School District last April, and county officials have been making plans for the transformation of the facility into an emergency communications center ever since.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - A groundbreaking is set for today for a $14 million flood-control project along Shamokin Creek in Mount Carmel. The ceremony will begin at 11:00 am on the 300 block of East Water Street. The public is invited to the groundbreaking with comments by state Senator John Gordner, state Representative Kurt Masser, former state Representative Robert Belfanti ; and representatives from the state Departments of Community and Economic Development and General Services. The project concludes a 30-year effort to alleviate flooding of approximately 100 homes when Shamokin Creek experiences high-water.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN – PennDOT workers are continuing to dismantle the old Juniata River Bridge between Mifflintown and Mifflin as the final phase of the $16 million bridge replacement project that began nearly two years ago wraps up. On Thursday, a portion of the bridge was dismantled and sat in the Juniata River. The Sentinel reports, the next section will be dismantled on Wednesday or Thursday of next week. The project began in the summer of 2011, with construction of a new bridge over the railroad tracks in Mifflin, and completion of a roundabout in front of Tuscarora Junior High School in Mifflintown. The new bridge opened this past December. Once the old bridge is gone, construction will begin on a new pedestrian bridge, which is expected to be completed by 2014.
(WGRC)

HOWARD – In Centre County, PennDOT will begin work to build a mile-long bike and pedestrian trail in Howard Borough. Work on the project will begin on Monday, April 15th. The completed path will enhance community cohesion as it provides bicyclists and pedestrians access to the Howard Military Memorial, Howard Fire Company and the Howard Elementary School. The path also passes through Howard Central Park. The path will be a ten-foot wide paved trail along the old Penn Railroad bed from the borough’s West End Park on Spearing Street to the east end of Howard Borough at Beck’s Lane. Planters, trees, and trash/waste containers will be placed at strategic locations along the trail. Work is expected to last through mid-June on this $252,000 project.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN – Lewistown Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in hospitals. The accreditation award recognizes Lewistown Hospital’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards. In December 2012 Lewistown Hospital underwent a rigorous unannounced on-site survey. A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated the Hospital for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management. The Joint Commission’s hospital standards address important functions relating to the care of patients and the management of hospitals. The standards are developed in consultation with health care experts, providers, measurement experts and patients.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Athletes from the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Chapters in Union, Snyder, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland and Lycoming Counties, as well as the Harrisburg area, will be competing in a swimming event at Bucknell University. The Union County Chapter of the Special Olympics, Bucknell fraternity, Chi Phi-Phi Lambda Theta and Bucknell sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta-Epsilon Pi are partnering to host this event, as well as organizing fundraisers for the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. The event will be held this Sunday beginning at nine a.m. at the Bucknell University Kinney Natatorium. For more information about the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, visit specialolympics.org.
(WGRC)

UNIVERSITY PARK – The 17th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament will take place Friday, May 31st at the Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses and will be the fourth event on Coaches vs. Cancer-Penn State’s 2012-13 calendar as the organization nears eclipsing $2 million in total funds raised. The event, hosted by Nittany Lion head coach Patrick Chambers, has become one of the most anticipated golf events in central Pennsylvania annually hosting more than 300 golfers taking place on both Penn State golf courses. The five-man, 18-hole scramble tournament is just part of the activities that begin on Thursday, May 30th with a gala captain/sponsors reception and wraps up with a post-tournament awards banquet. To register a group to participate in the tournament or to become a sponsor, please visit cvcpennstate.org for information and registration materials. All proceeds benefit Coaches vs. Cancer-Penn State, which in its 18th year has raised more than $900,000 to help support the American Cancer Society.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – PennDOT Thursday announced that efforts to better manage staff vehicle usage have resulted in a 30 percent reduction in staff-assigned vehicles and $4 million in savings on mileage reimbursements. By focusing its vehicle assignments to those employees who regularly log the highest number of business-related miles each year PennDOT has been able to substantially decrease employee mileage reimbursements. Overall, the department has reduced its number of staff-assigned passenger vehicles by nearly 30 percent since 2003. Penn DOT Secretary Barry Schoch says, “PennDOT is working hard and making smart choices to ensure that we are operating at peak efficiency,” PennDOT currently maintains a fleet of approximately 1,500 passenger vehicles and employs nearly 12,000 people. Overall, PennDOT has approximately 8,000 pieces of “rolling equipment” in its fleet, including such vehicles as dump trucks, graders, front-end loaders and crew cabs.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG – Anglers from across the state are gearing up to fish their favorite spots at 8 a.m. on Saturday as the day marks the traditional statewide opening day of trout season. Since mid-February, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has been busy replenishing waterways with a fresh supply of brook, brown and rainbow trout. And with more than 3 million adult trout stocked in lakes and creeks, anglers will have plenty of active targets. PFBC Executive Director John Arway says the opening day tradition is as much about gathering with friends and family as it is about fishing. March 30 marked the regional opening day of trout in 18 southeastern counties.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The financially beleaguered Postal Service backpedaled on its plan to end Saturday mail delivery, conceding Wednesday that its gamble to compel congressional approval had failed. With limited options for saving money, the governing board said the agency should reopen negotiations with unions to lower labor costs and consider raising mail prices. Yet the board also said it's not possible for the Postal Service to meet its goals for reduced spending without altering the delivery schedule. Congressional reaction was mixed, mirroring differences that have stalled a needed postal overhaul for some time. Some lawmakers had urged the agency to forge ahead with its plan, while others had said it lacked the legal authority to do so. The Postal Service said in February that it planned to switch to five-day-a-week deliveries beginning in August for everything except packages as a way to hold down losses. The Postal Service has decided to delay putting in place the new delivery schedule until Congress passes legislation that gives the agency "the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule."
(WGRC)