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May 10, 2013

MIDDLEBURG – A Snyder County jury deliberated for three hours Thursday before finding 37-year-old Robert Reich, and 39-year-old Christopher Aucker, both of Beavertown and 37-year-old Ryan Sprenkel, of Middleburg, not guilty on all charges in the 1997 beating death of 22-year-old Donald Seebold of New Berlin. Seebold was found dead after a party in July 1997 in Port Ann. Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch alleged Seebold was beaten by the three after he flirted with Aucker’s then girlfriend, now wife, Sheila Liddington Aucker. During the trial forensic pathologist Dr. Samuel Land testified that Seebold died of blunt-force trauma from at least three blows to the head. But intense testimony by nearly a dozen witnesses at the party said they never saw the three men beat Seebold. In a release sent to WGRC, District Attorney Piecuch says, “While we respect the jury’s verdict, we consider the Seebold case closed.”   
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BLOOMSBURG - A man who was pistol-whipped during a St. Patrick’s Day robbery attempt in Bloomsburg testified Thursday he had intended to buy marijuana from one of his alleged assailants. The victim, 29-year-old Jeffery Rush says he was then jumped by 22-year-old Samuel Jeannot and 24-year-old Carlin Edwards both of Philadelphia. The Press Enterprise reports, both men were armed with handguns and both struck him in the side and back of his head. Following their preliminary hearing, both defendants were held for trial on charges of robbery and aggravated assault.  Police say all three men attended Bloomsburg University.

STATE COLLEGE – The Wal-Mart in State College had to be evacuated this morning after a forklift ruptured a gas pipeline outside the store. That happened around three this morning at the Wal-Mart on North Atherton Street. The store was evacuated and gas crews called in to shut off the gas line and make repairs.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

THOMPSONTOWN – Police in Juniata County are still looking for the man involved in a home invasion and robbery Wednesday night near Thompsontown. State Police say a man armed with a hand gun went to the back door of a home along route 235 in Delaware Township and asked a woman living there if there was anyone in the home that could help him as he had car trouble. The woman said no, and that’s when the man barged into the home holding the woman at gunpoint and stealing a purse, medications and four diamond rings. The bandit is described as standing about six feet tall with a medium build, brown hair and brown goatee. Anyone with information on the home invasion is asked to call state police, Lewistown.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

POTTERS MILLS – Route 322 in Centre County was closed for a period of time last night after a crash between a tanker truck and a minivan in Potter Township. A detour put into place following the crash around 9:30 p.m. the highway has since been re-opened. Police say two people in the mini-van were taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries. DEP crews were called to the scene to clean-up diesel fuel spilled in the wreck.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

NEW RINGGOLD –Two were taken to a hospital following a crash in Schuylkill County Wednesday morning. The crash happened just before nine a.m. on Rauschs Road in East Brunswick Township. Police say 23-year-old Allison Knopf of Auburn and 27-year-old Reita Nairn of New Ringgold both suffered moderate injuries in the crash and were taken to Reading and the Lehigh Valley Hospitals. Police say Knopf turned off the roadway into the path of Nairn when their vehicles collided.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SHAMOKIN DAM – A $2.4 million roadway resurfacing and bridge rehabilitation project on a three-mile section of Route 15 in Snyder County is scheduled to start Monday. The work will be done on Route 15 from the intersection with Route 11 at Shamokin Dam, north to the Union-Snyder county line. The resurfacing of the roadway will provide a smoother ride and skid resistance. Drivers are being advised that long-term lane closures will be in place causing traffic delays. The roadway project is expected to be complete by September 27th.

HARRISBURG - A fiery tanker truck crash shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday on the ramp from northbound Interstate 81 to westbound Route 22/322 closed the bridges that carry Route 22 over I-81 and also both directions of I-81 that pass underneath those bridges in Harrisburg. PennDot say it may be several days before I-81 is re-opened to traffic as the bridge deck was destroyed and needs to be replaced. Plans are to remove the deck of the bridge span over I-81 over the next few days. It may also be necessary to remove the entire superstructure of the bridge. Traffic will not be allowed on I-81 under this bridge until this is accomplished. Remarkably no one was seriously injured in the crash and the driver of the tanker walked away with minor injuries.

LEWISBURG – Those who live in the Lewisburg Area School District won’t know until the end of the month how much their school property taxes will be going up, but one thing is for sure, they will be going up. The school board decided Thursday night to study at least two more percentage options before making a decision. The Daily Item reports, last week, the Department of Education approved Lewisburg’s exception request to raise taxes up to 4.4 percent. The biggest sticking point for the District is, not knowing how much state funding it will be receiving in 2013-2014. The district’s 2013-14 budget stands at $29.1 million with a nearly $278,000 deficit. The board must adopt a budget at month’s end to give the public time to review it before final adoption by June 30.

SUNBURY – Those living in the Shikellamy School District in Northumberland County may face an increase in property taxes. That was the report during Thursday’s school board meeting. The District is facing a deficit of $893,000 for the 2013-2014 school year and it is also contemplating building a new middle school. At the meeting talk of raising taxes in the district by 3.5 million to lower the deficit to just over $300,000 was hashed around as the district faces setting a budget by the June 30th deadline.

LOCK HAVEN - The Keystone Central School Board approved its proposed budget for the 2013-14 school year Thursday, a plan that contains no tax increase and no loss of programs for students. The $64.1 million proposed 2013-2014 final budget was unanimously approved. Final budget adoption is expected at the board's June meeting. Also at their meeting, the Board voted to officially close the Sugar Valley Elementary School. Students who formerly attended the school are now attending the Mill Hall Elementary.

UNIVERSITY PARK - More than 65 employers will attend a job fair next week on Penn State’s campus. The Central Pennsylvania Regional Career Fair will be from 2 to 5 p.m. May 17th at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, and it will be open to anyone. Some of the companies that have registered to attend include Brookline, Comcast, Geisinger Health System, Kish Bank, Pennsylvania State Police, and the state Department of Corrections for the Benner Township and Rockview prisons. The full list of companies that will be at the job fair is accessible through careerfairs.psu.edu/CentralPA.

HARRISBURG - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved Pennsylvania’s 2012 Integrated Waters Report, the Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday. The final approved report does not include an impairment designation of the lower Susquehanna River. DEP continues to thoroughly study the river, its main waterways and a variety of pollutants. The DEP says that even if the Susuquehanna River was declared impaired; federal funding and resources are not guaranteed should such a listing be made and approved. The state can also propose changing the reason for listing a waterway as impaired. In response to the announcement Pennsylvania fish and Boat commission Executive director John Arway says, The EPA’s endorsement of the DEP report is extremely disappointing since it delays action on beginning to develop a cleanup plan for the Susquehanna River for at least another two years. We continue to believe that ample scientific evidence exists to demonstrate that the river is sick and needs help sooner than later. Arway says four sampling sites of the national survey were located on the Susquehanna River and the two Pennsylvania sites rated poor. Since EPA’s own data corroborated the PFBC’s findings that the river is of poor quality, we are surprised that EPA did not conclude that we need to list the river as impaired and develop a plan to fix it. Arway says, “Despite this setback, we will continue to work collaboratively with DEP and others to collect the necessary data to prove by whatever measurement necessary that the river is impaired. Our anglers and the smallmouth bass that remain in the river deserve our full attention while we continue to debate their fate.”

HARRISBURG - Former Pennsylvania Governor George Leader, who became governor in 1955, has died. He was 95. Leader died Thursday. The Democrat led a staff bent on ridding government of patronage jobs and improving social services. His administration overhauled the state’s mental health system and made special education a requirement in Pennsylvania schools. The Associated press reports, he was the first governor to appoint a black cabinet officer. Leader worked in later life as a private citizen on prison reform. Just 37 when he took office in 1955, he is still the second-youngest person to serve as governor. Before that, he was in the state Senate from 1951-1954.