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June 14, 2013

WILLIAMSPORT – Police swarmed to an area of West Fourth Street in Williamsport yesterday for a deadly shooting. Police tell us just after two p.m. they were sent to 1261 West Fourth Street where 22-year-old Dante’ Marks had been shot in the chest and was lying on a couch in an apartment. Marks was taken to Williamsport Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Police took two people into custody at the scene for questioning one of them being the shooter. Police also found a number of guns and other evidence in the apartment including the handgun involved in the shooting. Police have charged 19-year-old Da’Ran Sears of Williamsport with involuntary manslaughter and receiving stolen property among other charges. Sears told police that he and Marks and another person were in the apartment and they were handling the guns when the handgun discharged accidentally striking Marks in the chest. Police ran a background check on the gun and found that it had been reported stolen to state police, Montoursville. Sears is locked up on $750,000 bail.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - A 24-year-old Philadelphia man charged with robbery at gunpoint in Pottsville was taken before a judge Wednesday in Schuylkill County Court. 24-year-old Dustin Ballard was charged with numerous felony and misdemeanor counts and was returned to Schuylkill County along with his brother, 26-year-old Anthony Ballard, who was charged Wednesday with shooting and killing a man in Pottsville the night before. Dustin Ballard was jailed on $100,000 straight cash in the Schuylkill County Prison. Police charged Dustin Ballard with a robbery at 309 West Norwegian Street on April 5th, where he and Anthony Ballard forced their way into an apartment threatening the residents with a handgun. Anthony Ballard and 19-year-old Jaimee Watson are both charged in Wednesday’s shooting in Pottsville.
(WPPA)

BEAVERTOWN – A woman was flown to Geisinger Medical Center yesterday following a two vehicle crash in Snyder County. The crash happened just after three p.m. on Route 522 in Beaver Township. Police say 36-year-old James Pyle of Middleburg was turning off Route 522 into Beavertown Grocery and turned into the path of 34-year-old Diana Hagenbuch of Danville. Hagenbuch was taken to Geisinger Medical Center where she remains in serious condition.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

PAXINOS – Three people including two boys, ages ten and eight were hurt in a crash yesterday in Northumberland County. The crash happened just after noon at the intersection of Routes 61 and 487 in Paxinos. Police say 19-year-old Zachari Santey of Sunbury failed to stop at the red light at the intersection and broadsided a vehicle driven by 36-year-old Heather Mehefko of Shamokin. Troopers say Mehefko and the two boys in her vehicle suffered injuries in the crash.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Police have released the names of the drivers hurt in a two vehicle crash in Loyalsock Township, Lycoming County on Wednesday. The crash happened in the 2700 block of East Third Street in Williamsport just after four p.m. Troopers say 34-year-old Harold Stevens and 74-year-old John Sinclair, both of Williamsport, suffered major injuries in the crash. The crash happened at the on-ramp to Interstate 180 at Third Street when Sinclair turned into the path of Stevens. Sinclair remains in critical condition at Geisinger Medical Center.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

PORT TREVORTON - Three adults and two children were displaced by a fire yesterday afternoon in Snyder County. The fire at the home on Locust Grove Road in Port Trevorton was reported around four yesterday afternoon. Snyder County 9-1-1 reports the fire started in a bedroom. No injuries were reported and the family is being assisted by the American Red Cross.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – Police are investigating the theft of $800 dollars’ worth of tools from a Danville area home. Police say a Dewalt heavy-duty tool stand and a Delta 10-inch sliding saw were taken from a home along Hillside Drive in Derry Township overnight Monday or early Tuesday morning. Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call state police, Milton.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - State police in Montoursville say they are investigating an incident of theft by deception in which $13,000 dollars was stolen from an elderly Loyalsock Township woman. Police say back in the beginning of June, the 85-year-old woman was contacted by someone telling her she had won a prize for a large amount of money. The victim was advised to send money before receiving her award and she sent the approximately $13,000 dollars to multiple people, but never received her prize.  Unknown persons then posed as a detective and attorney in an attempt to steal more money. The investigation is ongoing.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG — “Unsustainable” is how Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch described the Snyder County jail as members of the prison board agreed to develop a strategic plan for the future of the 138-bed facility. At Thursday’s public meeting, board members discussed a need to consider alternatives for housing county inmates. Currently, the county spends about $3 million a year to run the jail outside of Selinsgrove. Commissioner Peggy Chamberlain Roup said the jail serves only as a “revolving door” for offenders who keep coming back, in part, due to a lack of programs designed to educate and counsel. Roup spoke highly of Union County’s new Day Reporting Center that provides educational and training services to nonviolent offenders rather than keeping them locked up daily. The Snyder County Jail is part of the former Selinsgrove Center facility built in the 1950s that was later converted to a jail. Whatever decision is made, whether it’s closing the jail and sending inmates to another county, renovating the existing facility or building a regional jail with neighboring counties, Commissioner Joe Kantz urged the board to proceed slowly. Northumberland County’s prison board is also reviewing alternative ways of housing inmates and one of its board members reached out to Snyder County about building a regional prison, an issue they’ve discussed occasionally over the years. The board also agreed yesterday to spend about $100,000 updating security cameras at the jail to address security weaknesses.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport City Council Thursday approved a cooperative agreement with owner and manager of a planned multi-housing complex to be built once the Brodart warehouse is torn down later this summer. In doing so, council released $300,000 in federal Housing and Urban Development "Home Funds" allocated to be used by the city to go toward the apartment and townhouse project at 1609 Memorial Avenue. The Sun Gazette reports, representatives for Arbor Housing and Development and NRP Group were at the meeting. Arbor Housing is the owner and manager of the property and will be in charge of daily operation responsibilities, while NRP Group is the primary builder of the property.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The mayor’s office in the city of Williamsport reported yesterday that Bowman Field is good to go for the upcoming Williamsport Crosscutters season with the field condition in great shape.  Work performed on the field following the removal of the skating rink cost $16,000 dollars as was paid for by $20,000 dollars which came from the Williamsport Outlaws/Syracuse Hockey Club. The mayor’s office says the remaining balance of $4,000 dollars with be applied to the outstanding nearly $55,000 dollars owned in utility bills by the club. City officials say they have filed a lawsuit to recover the rest of the money.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Razing the Garman Theatre in Bellefonte to make way for an apartment building would be an “absolute betrayal” of Bellefonte’s heritage, a resident told a crowd of about 60 people who came together Wednesday to support a plan by a local group to thwart its demolition. The group wants to see the historic theater spared from the wrecking ball. The Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association organized the meeting where people spoke out in the hope of spreading the word about their counterproposal ahead of an important court date next week. A county judge will hear testimony June 20th about the plan by real estate developer to build an apartment building on the properties of the Garman and next-door Hotel DoDe and the Cadillac Building properties that were damaged in a fire last year. The Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association is pushing for a restrictive covenant on the property that says the theater cannot be torn down. They are hoping that will sway President Judge Thomas King Kistler, who ultimately will decide the fate of the building.  
(WGRC)

RUPERT - Over 60 residents packed the Rupert fire hall Thursday, hoping to derail a farmer’s plans for a large-scale hog barn in Columbia County. The proposed farm is to be located along Tower Road in Montour Township. The Press Enterprise reports, residents criticized the board of supervisors, for a zoning decision on Scott Sponenberg’s pig barn which was already made last month by a different board. The Supervisors told the crowd if the residents want to fight the decision, they need to hire a lawyer and file an appeal. Sponenberg’s operation will have about 3,000 to 5,000 pigs at any given time and residents in the area are concerned about odors, insects and the possibility of well water contamination from the hog barn. Residents left without getting much satisfaction — and with the looming prospect of putting up their own money to hire lawyers to fight the operation.
(WGRC)

ORWIGSBURG - The Blue Mountain school district is forming a task force to study the use of its district facilities in an attempt to get the best use of its money and that could mean that Blue Mountain Elementary Cressona might soon be a thing of the past. Robert Urzillo, school district superintendent, said the district is trying to optimize space and save money. The Cressona elementary school will be considered first "because it is the smallest building and only has two grades and the Cressona students would likely go to either of the district's two other elementary schools, which are Blue Mountain Elementary East, Orwigsburg, and Blue Mountain Elementary West, Friedensburg. Any decisions will not be implemented until the 2014-15 school year. Task force meetings could start this summer, and anyone interested should contact Urzillo at the district office at 570-366-0515. The district website at www.bmsd.org will also have additional information next week.
(WPPA)

MILTON — The Milton Relay for Life gets underway today at the Milton High School Alumni Field. The goal for this year’s event is $50,000 dollars toward the fight against cancer.  Last year the Relay raised just over $46,000. The event kicks off at one p.m. today and runs till one Saturday afternoon.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – Nearly 160 children were fitted for bike safety helmets on Tuesday, at the Lewisburg McDonald’s located next to Evangelical Community Hospital. Organized by Evangelical Community Health&Wellness and sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Buffalo Valley AM and Kiwanis of Lewisburg, the event is held annually to emphasis the importance of bike safety and proper bike helmet use. The helmets are given free of charge along with pamphlets on bike safety and are properly fitted on-site.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Evangelical Community Hospital is pleased to welcome Dennis Swank to its Board of Directors. Currently the Associated Vice President of Finance for Bucknell University, Swank helps oversee the University's budgeting process, auxiliary services and real estate management, and acts as a liaison between Bucknell and numerous community organizations, including the Lewisburg Neighborhoods Corporation and the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership. Swank joined Bucknell in 1980. Prior to assuming his current position he served in a variety of roles in the University's information technology and business operations departments. He also worked in Geisinger Health System's information technology department. A Bloomsburg University graduate, Swank lives in Lewisburg with his wife, Kathy. They have two grown sons, Adam and Patrick.   
(WGRC)

SELINSGORVE – History and World War Two buffs have until later today to see a big piece of history parked at the Penns Valley Airport near Selinsgrove. The “Spirit of Freedom” is a C-54 Skymaster, a big cargo plane used by the military beginning in the 1940s. It’s a flying museum now, and was used during the Berlin airlift after World War II. Crews in the plane and others dropped supplies to residents in Berlin after Russian forces cut off the city from the west. The airplane became known as the chocolate flier after dropping chocolate bars with handkerchiefs tied to them like a parachute to children during the war.
(WNEP)

HARRISBURG - State Senator Gene Yaw yesterday announced that his Senatorial District, consisting of Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties, will receive millions of dollars through the latest Act 13 Impact Fee disbursements or Marcellus Gas Fee disbursements. Yaw's Senate District will receive over $42 million in impact fee revenue this year, roughly 20 percent of the total $202.4 million received by the Pennsylvania Utility Commission who administers the collection and disbursement of the fee. For the counties in the WGRC listening area and their cut of the cash, Bradford County receives $19.4 million, Lycoming County receives $10 .6 million, Sullivan County gets $1.2 million, and Union County gets $37,500. Since Union County has no drilling it does not qualify for a share of the Impact Fee revenue; however, it does qualify for money through the Marcellus Legacy Fund Disbursement.  In addition to the revenue disbursement above, each county, including Union will also be eligible for funding dedicated to the statewide share. Counties and municipalities will be able to apply for grants through the environmental stewardship fund, for water and sewer projects through PennVEST and the H2O program and a variety of projects under the Commonwealth Finance Authority.
 (WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary resigned at the governor's request Thursday, but the reasons for the change were not immediately disclosed. Governor Tom Corbett issued a news release saying he had just "asked for and received" the resignation of Secretary 60-year-old Richard Allan earlier in the morning. The Associated Press reports, Allan has led the department since shortly after the first-term Republican governor took office in early 2011. The acting secretary, effective immediately, is Ellen Ferretti, who had been the deputy secretary for parks and forestry. Allan has had a low profile in the Corbett administration, which he joined after a career in the scrap metal industry. The department manages the state parks and forests, and has recently faced public opposition over potential drilling for natural gas in 100,000-acre Loyalsock State Forest. Some 500 people attended a public hearing on the issue last week, with opponents arguing the land was a public trust and voicing particular concern for drilling near Rock Run, a pristine forest eco-system.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Governor Corbett says he'll pick state appeals court Judge Correale Stevens as his nominee to temporarily fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The governor's office made the announcement hours, after The Associated Press first reported it, citing people briefed on the decision. Stevens, a Republican, will need two-thirds approval by the state Senate to take the seat. If he's confirmed, the high court will have a four-to-three Republican majority. The opening was created by the May 1 resignation of Joan Orie Melvin after she was convicted of using public employees to help her political campaigns. Stevens is currently president judge of state Superior Court.  His career in public service includes time as Luzerne County's district attorney, a county judge and a state representative.
(WGRC)