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June 11, 2013

SHAMOKIN – Fire and rescue crews were called out this morning to a roof collapse in Shamokin. The collapse happened around 6:30 a.m. at George Keiser’s plumbing at 34 West Chestnut Street. Northumberland County 9-1-1 officials tell us the roof of the building collapsed in on the structure. Crews remained in place until the City’s codes Administration could inspect the building. No injuries were reported in this morning’s roof collapse.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)    

STATE COLLEGE – As two weather fronts collided over Central Pennsylvania last evening parts of our region were under tornado warnings to flash flood warnings, but no serious problems were reported. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for Mifflin, Juniata, and Perry Counties during the storm. Most of the rest of the region was under flash flood warnings after torrents of rain fell. Minor flooding in low lying areas was reported, and some of the ponding of water on roadways caused minor vehicle crashes. Few power outages were reported as well. PPL reported less than 300 outages across their service area due to last night’s storm. Williamsport reported just over an inch of rain from yesterday’s storms. Selinsgrove measured just over an inch-and-a-half of rain, Milton an inch-and-a-third while areas south of Selinsgrove got two inches. But according to the National Weather Service our area is still behind about four inches of rain for the year so far.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISTOWN – In Mifflin County a man is jailed after he pointed a rifle at a woman during a domestic dispute. Lewistown Police tell us, they were called to a home on Shaw Avenue in Lewistown just before two Monday morning for a fight going on between the man and woman. Police have charged Eric Wilson with reckless endangerment, terroristic threats and related counts after he pointed the rifle at the woman during the dispute. Wilson is now jailed in the Mifflin County Prison on $40,000 bail.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

ALLENWOOD – Police are investigating the theft of nearly $5,000 in jewelry from a home in Gregg Township, Union County. The theft happened sometime between May 20th and Friday at the home on Showers Lane, in Allenwood. Police say the bandits entered the home through an unlocked basement door and then went and stole the gold and platinum rings and diamond pendant from a jewelry box inside the home. Anyone with information is asked to call state police, Milton.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG - A 22-year-old Beaver Springs man who pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor in return for drugs will serve twice as much prison time as the girl’s mother who admitted getting her hooked on drugs. Robert Hannick received a four- to eight-year state prison sentence Monday in exchange for a guilty plea to felony aggravated indecent assault in Snyder County Court. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The Daily Item reports, Snyder County Public Defender, Patrick Johnson,  says Hannick’s drug use was aided by 39-year-old Brandi Baumgardner, the Beaver Springs mother who in March received a state prison sentence of one to four years for endangering the welfare of a child by admittedly helping get her young daughter addicted to drugs. Johnson said he was disappointed that he’ll spend more time behind bars than Baumgardner.

BELLEFONTE - Two more Penn State students have pleaded guilty for their roles in supplying an alcohol-fueled party where a cheerleader fell from the window of a State College high-rise apartment. The two will serve a year probation, perform community service and pay fines for supplying alcohol to the party. They joined five others in accepting plea deals. The charges stem from a party in October that ended tragically when cheerleader 19-year-old Paige Raque fell 39 feet from a window of a fifth-floor apartment and suffered a severe brain injury and a broken pelvis.

DANVILLE - A Danville woman tried to slash her boyfriend’s throat as he slept, police said, the second time she’s attempted to gash the same man in six months. 46-year-old Sharon Arndt claimed she was sleeping and didn’t know what was happening just before midnight June 3rd when officers arrived at her apartment. The Press Enterprise reports, the boyfriend called police again and said his girlfriend tried to cut his throat. Police witnessed a cut on his neck and Arndt was sleeping. When police asked Arndt what happened, she said she didn’t know because she was asleep. Arndt allegedly suffers from medical issues, including schizophrenia. She was taken to Geisinger to be evaluated and was later admitted. She is charged with felony aggravated assault and simple assault.

BERWICK - A man from Berwick was locked up last night, after police say they found meth-making materials at his home in Columbia County. The bust happened just after 3 p.m. Monday at a home on Orange Street. Officers say when they arrived, they found material used in making methamphetamine inside Michael Hamilton’s bedroom. Berwick police say Hamilton admitted he is addicted to heroin and that he let another person make meth in his room in exchange for heroin. Hamilton is charged with drug possession and possessing drug items.

ASHLAND – In Schuylkill County, Butler Township police spent hours at the scene of inactive meth lab Monday evening. Investigators on the scene say meth-making materials were found in the home located on Catherine Street in Ashland. Police began their investigation around five p.m. after they were called to the home for an odor complaint. No arrests have been made yet. The investigation into the meth lab bust continues.

NEW COLUMBIA - About 50 community members gathered last evening to express their opposition to the proposed tire burning plant En-Tire Logistics and the National Gypsum plant plan to build to generate electricity by burning old tires. A town-hall meeting at the White Deer Elementary School encouraged area residents to write and express their opposition to the plat to the Department of Environmental Protection. The Daily Item reports, questions at the meeting ranged from when and where the plant may be built to questions on the effects of burning tires and the toxins that may be produced from such a plant. A comment period following a public hearing was extended and ends on July 5th.  

JERSEY SHORE - As the Jersey Shore Area School Board prepares to vote on whether or not Nippenose Valley Elementary School will close, the administration again presented the numbers on the building Monday. Superintendent Richard Emery said the major savings of closing the school would come in the form of staffing, the building itself and transportation which would total nearly $461,000 the first year and a savings of $514,000 from thereafter. The Sun Gazette reports, parents showed up at the meeting with a petition containing 133 signatures of parents who would have their students attend a charter school if the Board voted to close the school. If the parents chose to send their children to a charter school it would cost the district $500,000. The Board is scheduled to vote on the closure at a June 17th meeting.

MOUNT CARMEL - A community in Northumberland County experienced a loss over the weekend when Richard Beierschmitt died suddenly. Beierschmitt was a longtime superintendent and high school principal in Mount Carmel Area School District. This past Thursday, Beierschmitt was the guest speaker at Mount Carmel Area High School’s graduation. Just two days later he died at the age of 65. The lifelong Mount Carmel resident served the Mount Carmel Area School District for 35 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent. Services for Richard Beierschmitt will be held Wednesday at Stutz Funeral Home in Mount Carmel.

STATE COLLEGE – Several residents in State College Borough turned out at the Borough’s work session yesterday to encourage the Borough to fight a lawsuit Columbia Gas company has filed against the Borough over their denial of a permit for a proposed high pressure gas line through the Borough. Columbia Gas filed the civil lawsuit last month appealing the borough’s decision to reject a permit the utility giant sought to expand a pipeline through the Highlands neighborhood to Penn State’s West Campus steam plant. The plan, part of the effort to convert the steam plant from coal to natural gas, has drawn vocal criticism from concerned neighbors especially in the Highlands area. The Centre daily Times reports, Borough officials have not addressed the lawsuit in open meetings.

LEWISBURG - “As severe weather moved across Pennsylvania yesterday the American Red Cross urged families to download the free Red Cross Tornado App and follow its safety tips. The free app gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone and tablet users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado. The app includes a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning!” alert that signals people when a tornado warning has been issued in their area – even if the app is closed.  An “all clear!” alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled. Launched during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, the Tornado App is the latest in a series of mobile apps created by the Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness. The apps have been used to help save lives during hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires. The Tornado App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

HARRISBURG – With June being Dairy Month, a major Pennsylvania grocery chain is now offering its customers milk produced entirely in Pennsylvania, keeping dollars in local communities and supporting local jobs. GIANT Food Stores, based in Carlisle, is the first national retailer to qualify its store brand milk as PA Preferred™, meaning 100 percent of the milk is produced in Pennsylvania. Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley says, “I applaud GIANT for giving customers what they want – fresh, locally produced food.”  “By offering PA Preferred milk, GIANT is helping support farmers and area businesses that produce quality products, while making investments in local economies and keeping Pennsylvania growing,” Cawley said. PA Preferred ™ is the Official brand of agriculture products made or grown in Pennsylvania. The program’s trademark is a gold checkmark inside a blue keystone that can be found on products year - round at farmers markets, restaurants, food processors, grocery chains, craft breweries and wineries. “Our dairy farm families spend nearly 85 percent of their income close to home and recognize the importance of supplying quality products,” Agricultural Secretary George Greig said. “They are making a difference in their communities, and they’re making a difference for Pennsylvania.” The GIANT brand PA Preferred™ milk is available in whole, 2 percent, 1 percent and skim in gallon and quart sizes. The milk is available at 156 retail locations in Pennsylvania and 44 locations in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Dairy is the largest segment of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, with milk contributing $2.3 billion to the state’s economy. More than 7,200 dairy farm families manage 541,000 cows. Pennsylvania produces 1.2 billion gallons, or 5.4 percent, of the nation's total supply of milk annually, ranking fifth nationally in milk production.

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is debating amendments to a Republican-crafted $28.3 billion budget plan. The Monday debate is on a spending blueprint that’s based largely on what Republican Governor Tom Corbett proposed in February. Among other things, it would boost public school funding by $100 million and cut business taxes by more than $300 million in the year starting July 1st. Democrats are pressing an amendment to more than triple the increase for schools and ensure Pennsylvania participates in the federally funded Medicaid expansion. The Democratic proposal calls for $28.7 billion in spending that doesn’t include the business tax cuts. Yesterday Governor Tom Corbett called on legislators to expand the Human Services Block Grant program, which provides flexibility in human services funding to meet local needs. Block grant funding gives counties the flexibility to allocate and redirect funding where it is needed most. Traditional funding streams mandated how much money was spent on each program, resulting in an inefficient, one-size-fits-all system.