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May 23, 2013

MILTON – Traffic was backed up on Route 147 east-bound near the Interstate 80 interchange this morning. Union County 9-1-1 tells us a tractor trailer hauling a load of cars caught fire this morning around 5:30. The rig fire backed up traffic on the highway as crews put out that rig fire. Route 147 east was re-opened to one lane around seven a.m. and drivers were asked to be alert to slow moving traffic in that area of Turbot Township, Northumberland County.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

UNDATED - More than 2,000 Centre County residents were without power Wednesday evening after a powerful line of thunderstorms passed through the region. In other parts of the region PPL reports nearly 800 of their customers are without power. In the WGRC listening area over 360 are without juice this morning following the storms which peaked with high winds around 7:30 last evening. Clinton County reported over 160 outages and Union County had around 120 outages as of 4:30 this morning. Trees were also reported down across the region blocking some area roadways. The storm was part of a strong line of thunderstorms that moved across the Midwest and into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast late Wednesday afternoon and into the early evening. The storm brought brief downpours with wind gusts projected to have reached up to 60 mph.  The storm was part of a cold front that will leave temperatures much cooler right into the Memorial Day weekend.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP – Fire crews in Northumberland County were called out early this morning to battle a fire in Coal Township. The call came in just before two this morning for a house fire at 1237 West Arch Street. Crews arrived at the scene and found the three story structure ablaze. An interior attack of the fire soon had firefighters scrambling as they were called out of the building just before three a.m. Three homes at that building were gutted. Officials at the Northumberland County 9-1-1 dispatch center tells us there were no injuries reported and that they believe everyone made it out of the burning home at 1237 West Arch Street safely. Two other residents at 1239 and 1241 West Arch Street were unoccupied at the time of the fire. A cause is under investigation.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILTON - More than two dozen houses were evacuated yesterday in Milton after contractors hit a gas line. Emergency officials say contractors were repairing a sewer line at the intersection of Carr and Academy Avenues just before eleven a.m. when they accidentally hit a gas line, causing a gas leak. Crews were called in and shut off the gas line and fixed the leak. Officials say the railroad service was temporarily stopped in Milton while crews fixed the gas leak and things returned to normal early yesterday afternoon.
(WNEP)

STATE COLLEGE – No one was seriously hurt but the State College office of the Salvation Army suffered extensive damage after a vehicle came crashing into the building yesterday afternoon. The woman driving the vehicle escaped injury. State College police say the building along East College Avenue was hit when the woman was trying to park and overcompensated due to a steep incline in the lot, causing her vehicle to crash through a large window and rolling into the office of the Salvation Army building.
(WGRC)

LLEWELLEN – A crash Tuesday in Schuylkill County sends a woman to the Lehigh Valley Medical Center. The crash on Route 209 at Austin Drive injured 41-year-old Davina Leymeister of Schuylkill Haven. Police say her car went off the roadway and landed on its roof. Leymeister was initially taken to Schuylkill Medical Center, South and then to Lehigh for further treatment.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – A South Williamsport man is in jail on $250,000 bail after he assaulted two teenaged boys and demanded money from them while they were swimming in the Susquehanna River late Tuesday afternoon at South Williamsport. Police say 31-year-old Bryan Yaggie was drunk when he assaulted the boys. The teens were able to scamper up the riverbank and get help. Police along with some of the teen’s parents found a drunk Yaggie along the river hiding in some brush. He’s charged with multiple counts of robbery, terroristic threats, and related charges.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - After a one-day trial, a Centre County jury found both co-defendants Zachariah Johnson and Joseph Jenkins guilty of robbery, and related counts according to a press release issued by Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller. The two were charged with jumping a high school boy and robbing him of nine dollars and an ATM card he had in his wallet, July 2011. The boy suffered a fractured jaw and a cut above his eyebrow. Johnson and Jenkins are scheduled to be sentenced on July 2, 2013.
(WGRC)

MUNCY – Police in Lycoming County are investigating a break-in at a home near Muncy. The break-in happened sometime between 8:30 a.m. and Noon Sunday at the home on North Middle Road in Muncy Township. Police say the bandits forced open a door to get inside the home and stole numerous items including a crossbow, a computer and around 60 pieces of jewelry.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILL HALL – In Clinton County a Mill Hall man was charged with cruelty to animals after leaving his pet Jack Russell Terrier in his vehicle at the Wal-Mart parking lot in the 86 degree heat yesterday afternoon. The dog was spotted inside 37-year-old Brian Barler’s vehicle with the window’s only cracked open. State Police filed the charge of cruelty to animals after finding the dog, named “Toby” panting profusely with no water to drink.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG - School district officials locked down schools in the Lewisburg Area School District in Union County around nine Wednesday morning. The lockdown was put in place after a school bus driver found a bag containing an air gun and some plastic pellets. The lockdown only lasted about 20 minutes after police found a student responsible for the air gun and questioned him and then let him go. Parents in the district were notified about the lockdown, but not about the specifics of the situation.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPIORT - It turns out that a 23-year-old man who claimed he was shot in the leg by an unknown assailant on May 11th in Williamsport actually shot himself. Williamsport Police tell the Sun Gazette, Antoinne Johnson lie about the incident, but he also gave at least two false identities to law enforcement. Police found Johnson at his home at 931 Park Avenue and a trial of blood leading from a van parked across the street from his home. He was taken to Williamsport Hospital for treatment. After police found out his real identity they also found he was wanted on bench warrants out of Lycoming County as well as Georgia. He’s now jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on $250,000 bail.
(WGRC)

CANTON - State police said a gun used in a murder suicide early in May in Bradford County was given to the suspect illegally. Kimberly Chisman is facing charges for allegedly buying and giving a gun to her husband Curtis Chisman because he was forbidden, by law, from purchasing one himself. Troopers said Curtis Chisman used the gun to shoot and kill a woman at a home in Canton, then turned the gun on himself.
(WNEP)

LEWISBURG - An informational meeting on the proposed extension of the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail into Lewisburg Borough will be held at 7:00 p.m. tonight. The meeting will be held at the William Cameron Engine Department’s training facility located on the corner of North 5th Street and Buffalo Road in downtown Lewisburg. The purpose of the meeting is to present a general overview of the trail’s proposed extension while primarily focusing on the section from 5th Street in Lewisburg to the West Branch Susquehanna River. Several preliminary concept designs for the St. John Street section will be shared and discussed with the opportunity for the public to provide input. The project is funded through a $5,000 mini-grant that was awarded by the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership.   
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Round Hills Elementary School in the Williamsport School District may be closing its doors at the end of the school year, but its name may live on in the record books if it is successful in its attempt this week to break a Guinness world record for the most people playing hopscotch simultaneously. Round Hills Principal Cindy Schuyler says the "goal was to close Round Hills with a celebration, and this was a celebration." The world record-breaking attempt had 367 students, parents, administrators and community members participating. The current record of 358 individuals was set in 2011 in London. It will take six weeks to receive notice if they officially have broken the record. The Sun Gazette reports, the attempt was approved by Guinness more than a month ago, but it will have to verify photos, video recordings and other documents before awarding the record.
(WGRC)

SELINSGROVE – In Snyder County the Monroe Township supervisors are working on a proposal that may allow EMS Surgical Equipment to rebuild its sewing factory, which was destroyed by fire in February. The factory has been operated for 28 years by Edna Stuck on Buchanan Avenue in Hummels Wharf, where the property is zoned commercial. She wants to rebuild on a larger nearby lot, but that would require a zoning amendment to the ordinance allowing light manufacturing. The supervisors denied Stuck’s zoning amendment request two months ago. The Daily Item reports, instead of amending the zoning ordinance board Chairman Timothy Wolfe suggested a simpler solution may be to allow all pre-existing nonconforming businesses to be covered under a blanket conditional use if they remain in the same zone. Supervisors are concerned for the jobs of the 15 employees that work there. The conditional use would allow EMS to rebuild without requiring a zoning amendment. The sewing factory was advised to now submit a building plan to the township planning commission for their review. The factory has been operating out of a near-by storage facility.
(WGRC)

MOUNT CARMEL - A flood control which some property owners believe is overdue is underway in Northumberland County. Heavy machinery and crews have started a project to control Shamokin Creek in Mount Carmel. Heavy rain pushes the waterway over its banks and into homes. The project calls for making the creek deeper and installing new flood walls which are falling apart. The state-funded flood control project has a price tag of $13 million and will take three years to build.
(WNEP)

LEWISBURG - The price of gasoline across Northeastern Pennsylvania is climbing ever so slightly. The latest Triple A Fuel Gauge report shows the price of self – serve, unleaded regular is averaging $3.44 a gallon. That's the same as it was over the weekend... but two cents higher than it was a week ago. Lewisburg and Milton have the lowest average price at $3.45 a gallon while Sunbury, Shamokin and Selinsgrove’s average is a penny more at $3.46 a gallon.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A lane restriction is expected to be put in place today on Route 15 southbound between the Fourth Street off ramp and Route 220 southbound off ramp in Williamsport, Lycoming County. Traffic will be routed through the area in the passing lane. All on and off ramps will be accessible. The restriction, which went into effect yesterday afternoon, will allow PennDOT to perform emergency repairs to the Route 15 southbound bridge spanning Fourth Street. The repairs are expected to take place today and the lane restriction will be lifted late Friday.
(WGRC)

MONTOURSVILLE - PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch yesterday recognized 30 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition. Two employees from PennDOT’s District 3, which represents Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union and Bradford counties, were among the honorees. Local winners Jim Williams and Ken Bair were honored yesterday afternoon at an awards luncheon at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg. Ken Bair, District Maintenance Services Engineer, was instrumental in analyzing the benefits of and developing an implementation plan for two district-wide seal coat crews this year; an initiative which supports the regionalization concept encouraged by PennDOT Next Generation. Jim Williams, Columbia/Montour County Equipment Manager, is a “go-to person” for other equipment managers when they have questions on equipment, policy or innovations. The district equipment manager recognizes him as dedicated and very capable in all aspects of his job. Jim believes safety is job one, and is always open to ideas from the field or safety committee to add enhancements to facilities to make them safer.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will hold a public meeting on Marcellus Shale issues in the Loyalsock State Forest, Lycoming County, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, June 3 at Lycoming College in Williamsport. The meeting will be held in Wendle Hall, Academic Center, off of Mulberry Street. DCNR Secretary Richard Allan says, “DCNR is responding to requests that the public be given the chance to provide the department with information and comments on possible gas development in the Loyalsock State Forest.” All are welcome to participate in the public meeting. Registration is not required. The meeting will begin with a short power-point presentation about the Loyalsock situation by Marcellus Program Manager Arianne Proctor. Following the presentation, questions will be answered by Secretary Allan, Proctor and State Forester Dan Devlin. Following the question and answer session, participants will be offered the opportunity to make comments with a five-minute time limit. If unable to attend the meeting, members of the public can submit written comments by email to loyalsock@pa.gov.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Former Penn State President Graham Spanier is asking a county judge to throw out criminal charges accusing him of helping to cover up abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier's lawyers filed the motion last week, citing his allegation that the university's former top lawyer violated attorney-client confidentiality when she gave prosecutors information about him. He's also arguing that some of the charges were filed after the statute of limitations had run out. Spanier remains a faculty member while fighting the accusations that he and other administrators committed crimes as they responded to complaints about Sandusky, who was convicted last summer of 45 counts of child sex abuse. Spanier was charged in November along with former Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired Vice President Gary Schultz.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Families and friends visiting Pennsylvania’s popular outdoor spots this holiday weekend can enjoy a day of free fishing, thanks to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Memorial Day - Monday, May 27th – marks the first of two free fishing days in the Commonwealth. Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone – residents and non-residents – to legally fish in Pennsylvania without a fishing license. A second Fish-for-Free Day is Independence Day – Thursday, July 4th. From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both days, no fishing license is needed to fish in Pennsylvania's waterways. All other fishing regulations apply.
(WGRC)

PHILADELPHIA - The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The New York Public Library have entered a historic 100-year partnership allowing an original copy of the Bill of Rights to be seen by the public for the first time in decades. The document, currently at The New York Public Library, will go on public display in Pennsylvania for the first time at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. It will stay at the National Constitution Center until 2017. As part of the historic agreement, the center will display the document to the general public for three years starting in the fall of 2014. In 1789, each of the 13 states and the federal government received a handwritten copy of the Bill of Rights. Of those copies, 12 are known to have survived. The document went missing from Pennsylvania in the 1800’s and New York’s copy was destroyed by fire. Now, through this historic agreement, both Pennsylvania and New York will share alternate “custody” of the document.  
(WGRC)