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April 29, 2013

SHICKSHINNY – Route 11 was closed in Luzerne County this morning due to a fire. That fire was reported around three this morning in the Borough of Shickshinny. The fire broke out around three a.m. on West Butler Street. Crews arriving on the scene found flames shooting through the roof of the two-story home. The home is reported to be a total loss.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MARION HEIGHTS - A fire hit a home in Northumberland County on Saturday morning. Authorities said the blaze started around eight a.m. at a house on East Melrose Street in Marion Heights. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and there is no word if anyone was injured in the fire in Northumberland County. (WNEP)

BEAVERTOWN - Fire heavily damages a hunting cabin in Snyder County Friday night. Crews were called out just after six p.m. to that cabin in the Beavertown area. The cabin was engulfed in flames when crews arrived on the scene along Autumn View Lane in Beaver Township.
(WGRC)

SOUTH RENOVO - A South Renovo man was taken into custody by state police Friday night after he allegedly shot a woman and stabbed her son around six p.m. The victims, 72-year-old Elma Antram, and her son, Doug Antram, were taken by ambulance to Bucktail Medical Center and then flown to Geisinger Medical Center. Elma remains in critical condition at Geisinger while Doug is in fair condition. State Police captured the shooter Edward Andrews after he led police on a chase south on Route 144 and then crash on Bald Eagle Mountain Road. Police say Andrews shot Elma Antram four times and stabbed Doug Antram in the leg. Andrews is jailed in the Clinton County Prison on $750,000 bail and faces two counts of attempted homicide and related counts.
(WGRC)

UNITYVILLE – Two people were taken to Geisinger Medical Center following a crash Saturday morning in Lycoming County. The crash happened just before eleven a.m. near the intersection of Talmar Road and Route 42 in Jordan Township. Police say 61-year-old Donna Lefever-Hoover of Lebanon and 71-year-old H. Leslie Bitner of Mount Joy were taken to Geisinger following the crash. Both were treated and released. Police say the driver of the vehicle 71-year-old Kenneth Hoover of Elizabethtown swerved off the roadway to avoid hitting the rear of a pick-up truck and then plowed into the corner of a barn. Neither Hoover nor another passenger in the vehicle, were hurt.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LIVERPOOL - Two people were flown to Hershey Medical Center after a crash on Routes 11 and 15 near Route 34 in Buffalo Township, Perry County Saturday afternoon. State police say around four p.m. the driver of a jeep tried to make a left turn onto Route 34 and was struck by a van traveling south on 11 and 15. Police say both drivers suffered major injuries. They have not been identified. Routes 11 and 15 were shut down for a time following the crash.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – State Police say the man found submerged in a vehicle in Lycoming Creek in Williamsport did steal the car he was found in. Police say 22-year-old Aaron Moore of Williamsport stole the car from 47-year-old Edna Howlett of Williamsport on April 19th. Moore was found submerged in the upside down car in Lycoming Creek near the intersection of Lycoming Creek road and Heshbon Road last Tuesday.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BENTON - A man was seriously injured in a bull-riding accident Friday night at a Benton Township bullring, in Columbia County. Cody Fronk was flown to Geisinger Medical Center where he remains in critical condition. On its Facebook page, SR Rodeo Bulls posted a message asking people to keep Fronk in their thoughts and prayers and hope “for a speedy recovery.” Family members say he is doing well and is on the mend. The bull-riding ring on Shale Ridge Road near Benton was holding a Friday-night practice for riders when Fronk was injured.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG – Over two dozen people have been cited with underage drinking, and supplying alcohol to minors following last weekend’s rowdy Block Party in Bloomsburg. State Police have filed those charges relating to alcohol violations.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HUNLOCK CREEK — A Danville woman is accused of transporting two children to the state prison at Retreat, where an inmate serving a life sentence for murder sexually assaulted both of them. 41-year-old Rebecca Butler was locked up in the Luzerne County jail Friday. The inmate allegedly involved is 47-year-old Andre Vancliff.  Butler is charged with child endangerment and related charges. Vancliff has been in prison more than 20 years since gunning down and killing a man in 1991. Police did not explain how Butler became familiar with Vancliff.  Police say the alleged assaults occurred between May 2010 and September 2012.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG — A woman who pointed a gun at four teenage boys in Lewisburg on Saturday, prompting a two-hour standoff with police, is now in custody. The Daily Item reports the incident took place around 4 p.m. when Kaye Phleeger pointed a gun at four teenage boys from the porch of a home at 101 South John Street in Lewisburg. Police knocked down the door of the home and took the intoxicated Phleeger into custody. She’s jailed in the Snyder County Prison.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE – Police in Lycoming County are investigating a home break-in sometime late Thursday night or early Friday morning near Montoursville. Police say the bandits broke into the home along Bank Farm Road in Wolf Township by damaging a door. Once inside the bandits took a television, jewelry including several pocket watches, tools, and cap guns. Anyone with information on the break-in is asked to call State Police Montoursville.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SELINSGROVE – Police are looking for the thief that took around $1,000 in catalytic converters and spare tires from automobiles at a used car dealer in Selinsgrove. Police say those thefts happened sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning at Beaver auto Sales located along Route 522 in Penn Township. Anyone with information on the thefts is asked to call state police, Selinsgrove.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN – Two 19-year-olds were arrested and charged with multiple felonies after allegedly causing more than $16,000 in damage to the vacant Sugar Valley Elementary School in January in Clinton County. Joey Weeks and Anthony Leiger, both 19, and both of Loganton, are jailed in the Clinton County Prison. They both face charges of felony burglary and related counts and could face up to 34 years in prison and an $80,000 fine. The crimes came to light during a routine property check January 14 at the empty school, when authorities uncovered a break-in and found broken glass throughout and items thrown all around. Police say they defaced the walls with paint and set off fire extinguishers in the rooms and smashed doors and windows.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG - Three men accused of beating a New Berlin man to death in July 1997 are headed to trial today. Trial begins for 37-year-old Robert Reich of Beavertown, 39-year-old Christopher Aucker of Beavertown and 37-year-old Ryan Sprenkel of Middleburg in Snyder county court. After more than 15-years since Donald Seebold III death, the men are facing criminal homicide, and related counts. The men were charged following a grand jury investigation into the death of Seebold following a party near Port Ann where the three allegedly beat Seebold after he was flirting with one of the men’s girl friend at the time. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - A Bellefonte woman and a man police said is her boyfriend have been charged with using the woman’s position as a caregiver to steal nearly $20,000 from a State College family. 25-year-old Stacy Markle, and 23-year-old Ryan Musser, face felony charges of theft by deception and related charges. Police said Markle was working as a nurse in a State College home when she discovered her employer’s bank card and PIN and began taking money from the account or giving the card to Musser to do the same. The Centre Daily Times reports, the husband of the woman Markle was caring for noticed some of the transactions and contacted police. Officers found surveillance photos from banks that captured some of the transactions and were able to identify the couple.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The state Department of Environmental Protection has fined Pennsylvania General Energy Company of Warren, $125,000 for two separate sets of violations in Lycoming County during 2012 and 2011. The fines were for three separate spills in January 2012 at a Pennsylvania General Energy well pad in Cummings Township, and for excessive sediment discharges to Pine Creek and related violations in Watson Township between May and September 2011. Pennsylvania General Energy had two brine spills from blender units and one diesel fuel spill. The total volume of brine spilled was estimated at 8,200 gallons, while the diesel fuel spill was estimated at 89 gallons. The well pad is located within the high-quality Pine Creek watershed, with the closest stream being an unnamed tributary to Ramsey Run. There was no evidence that any of the spills impacted the unnamed tributary.
(WGRC)

TREVORTON – In Northumberland County, Zerbe Township has been given a large state grant to build a new sewage treatment plant in Trevorton. The grant from PENNVEST will allow for upgrades at the 48-year-old facility. The new plant will eliminate overloads and bring the township into environmental compliance. Zerbe Township received $1.1-million in grant money and a $2.9-million low-cost loan and customers can anticipate a rate increase to pay back the loan.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport Crosscutters will hold auditions for National Anthem performers on Wednesday, from 6pm-8pm at the Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsport.  All individuals and groups who are interested in performing the anthem prior to a 2013 home game must audition on this date, including all who have performed in previous years.  The Crosscutters are looking for any and all types of performers including soloists, groups, and musicians, of any age.  All vocal auditions will be performed a cappella and performances must be kept under one minute and thirty seconds. Performers will be heard on a first come, first served basis during the audition time and rated by a panel of guest celebrity judges.  Those chosen to sing at a game will be notified and scheduled at a later date. The Crosscutters 15th anniversary season opens on June 18 at Historic Bowman Field. 
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - The sale of Benner Commerce Park has landed on the desk of the state auditor general, who said he may investigate the deal to make sure proper steps were taken as the property is transferred from the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County to a private partnership. But a state audit would not be launched until midsummer at the earliest, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told the Centre Daily Times, and would not slow or stop the sale, announced in early April. The CBICC has defended the proposed sale of the Benner Pike industrial park to three former board members of the CBICC — Heidi Nicholas, Bob Poole and Paul Silvis. None of the buyers are current voting members of the CBICC. Shortly after the deal was announced DePasquale’s office received a request from state Reps. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven, and Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, to investigate the transaction.
(WGRC)

MILLVILLE - Millville school officials tackling a $560,000 budget shortfall for 2013-14 have informed about 10 teachers they could be laid off or demoted to half-time. That could also mean the elimination of some elective courses at the high school. The Press Enterprise reports, the school district is hopeful they can minimize the number of job cuts. District officials cited Millville’s 9-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio to justify possible layoffs. Business Manager David Bowser plans to present a preliminary budget to the school board at its May 13 public meeting. That’s when furloughs may be factored into next year’s estimated $12 million spending plan.
(WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - Bloomsburg University announced Friday that a former resident and his wife donated $1 million to the university’s foundation. The donation will go towards a $6.5 million office building that promises to bring new customers to downtown Bloomsburg. Officials at Bloomsburg University announced plans to bridge the gap between the university and the town by constructing a four-story office building on Main Street for the Bloomsburg University Foundation. The building is being partially funded through a $1 million donation from Duane and Susan Greenly. The rest of the $6.5 million project came from the BU Foundation. The Greenly’s met while they were students at Bloomsburg University. The building will be known as the Greenly Center, and it will be located on East Main Street at the site of the former Cole’s Hardware. Bloomsburg University officials expect construction on the Greenly Center to start in August. The building is scheduled to open in July of 2014.
(WNEP)

WILLIAMSPORT - A local artist is working on a mural to honor the memories of two victims of violence. Michael Pilato of Williamsport is working on the mural which features Emilie Parker, one of the first graders shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings. The boy is seen holding a message of peace along with the names of other victims from Boston. The mural is expected to be unveiled along Heister Street in State College later this year.
(WNEP)

STATE COLLEGE - The National Weather Service has completed an upgrade of its radar network. The National Weather Service has spent two years improving its Doppler radar network across the country. The new radar sends vertical and horizontal pulses, helping distinguish between rain, snow, hail and non-weather objects. The old units used only horizontal pulses. Richard Grumm is a scientific operations officer at the weather service in State College. He says the new system should provide better warnings for severe weather. He says the commonwealth's mountains can still pose some problems for radar, but the new system should be better for catching threats like tornadoes. Pennsylvania is covered by the new radar at National Weather Service offices in State College, Pittsburgh and Mount Holly, New Jersey.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he supports recommendations for Penn State governance put forth last fall by his predecessor. In November, then-Auditor General Jack Wagner issued a special report urging reforms at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The auditor general said he would push the university and the legislature to embrace and enact reforms for Penn State. He said the trustees are expected to put forward some reform recommendations at their meetings May 3. DePasquale would like to see them tackle the full slate of options right away. 
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - A judge has denied a request to immediately stop a plan by Governor Tom Corbett's administration to close nearly half of Pennsylvania's 60 community health centers. Corbett's Department of Health said it'll move ahead with its plan following Thursday's Commonwealth Court decision. The month-old lawsuit by a state employees' union, Department of Health nurses and several Democratic state lawmakers remains pending. The Associated press reports, the lawsuit says the plan violates a 1996 law that requires legislative approval before closing any centers. But Department of Health officials say their plan is legal and they can do a better job treating public health problems by making community health nurses more mobile. The union says closing the centers runs the risk of slowing the detection or prevention of outbreaks of communicable diseases, particularly in rural areas.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTON D.C. - An infusion of federal funding could keep airport control towers open after all, including the one at Williamsport Regional Airport. Congress voted late this week to give the Federal Aviation Administration the authority to transfer up to $253 million from other accounts to prevent reduced operations and staffing at airports nationwide. Airport officials at the Lycoming County Airport say while the legislation is promising it doesn't close the deal once and for all. The Sun Gazette reports the tower was set to close operations Sept. 30. The Senate passed the measure Thursday. The Sun Gazette reports, House approval came Friday. U.S. Representatives Thomas Marino, R-Cogan Station, and Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Howard, both voted in favor of the legislation.
(WGRC)