91.3 Lewisburg - 90.7 & 107.1 Williamsport - 90.9 Lewistown - 91.9 Kulpmont - 101.7 State College -104.7 Pottsville - 107.7 Bloomsburg 

  

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Thank God for His provision of your hands, feet and voices willing to speak His truth throughout our region - what a blessing you continue to be.  (State College)

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June 28, 2013

BEECH CREEK – Search and Rescue crews searched late into the night and resumed their search early this morning for an 86-year-old man said to have been swept away during last night’s violent storms. State Police have not released the name of the man who supposedly was swept away by a raging Little Sugar Run that ran near the man’s home around six last evening. Rescue crews looked for the man until around three this morning and then went out again this morning looking for the man. State Police at Lamar tell us the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is on the scene helping with the search as well as a state police helicopter.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

UNDATED – Strom Summertime Thunderstorms again rolled through the region this time causing tornado warnings, severe flash flooding, high winds, downed trees and power lines. One of the worst hit areas is southern Clinton County where County officials have placed the County under a state of emergency. Over six inches of rain fell in the Beech Creek area over a short period of time last night. Emergency responders worked throughout the night into this morning after water rescue calls flooded in to the county 911 center, mostly from Liberty and Beech Creek townships in Centre and Clinton counties. One Driver on route 150 near Mill Hall had to be rescued after his car was washed off the roadway. About 6:30 last evening Clinton County officials did spot a tornado near Mill Hall where roofs and homes suffered damage. County emergency officials say at least 3 bridges were washed out in Clinton County. In Centre County it was more of the same roads closed and evacuations due to flash flooding throughout the county. Centre County officials say a home on West Pine Grove Road outside of Pine Grove Mills partially collapsed Thursday when flooding damaged the structure’s foundation. On Westerly Parkway in State College, eight apartments in the Marvin Gardens apartment building had to be evacuated after filling with several feet of water. Portions of Atherton Street, West College Avenue, Westerly Parkway and West Whitehall Road were covered in inches of runoff as floodwaters ran down sidewalks and pooled in yards and streams ran out over their banks. A funnel cloud was reported in Boalsburg at about 5 p.m.; however, a tornado did not touch the ground. In Schuylkill County, heavy downpours caused some headaches for emergency crews in Pottsville where a mudslide happened a little after 6 p.m. Firefighters blocked off Centre Street while road crews cleaned up the mess. Most of the rest of the region received about an inch to two inches of rain with minor flooding. Power outages were minimal as PPL reported around 350 outages as of five this morning. For today we can expect afternoon thunderstorms again with some of those storms producing strong winds, possible hail and localized heavy rain which increases the risk of flash flooding again for our area.
(WGRC)

BEAVERTOWN - Fire crews in Snyder County were sent to the Conestoga Wood Specialties factory in Beavertown yesterday afternoon for a smoky fire reported in the company’s dust collection system. First crews arriving on the scene reported some fire coming through the roof of the structure and the company did receive some fire damage to a portion of its roof. The fire was put out and no injuries were reported.  
(WGRC)

BRIAR CREEK - A woman wound up trapped inside her vehicle on Route 11 at Rittenhouse Road in Columbia County yesterday when a truck hauling a trailer full of animals turned in front of her.  The crash happened just after two p.m. Police tell the Press Enterprise, 58-year-old Neil Young of Young’s Funny Farm had just left Balanced Care in Bloomsburg and was towing his therapy animals — including two miniature horses and three donkeys —in a 15-foot trailer. Police say he turned into the path of 76-year-old Patricia McLaughlin of Bloomsburg pinning her in her car. She had to be cut free of the wreckage and flown to Geisinger Medical Center where she remains in critical condition. Young suffered minor injuries and all of his animals on the trailer were not hurt.
(WGRC)

NEWBERRY - A dispute reportedly over sacred Indian stones resulted in a 32-year-old man being shot to death around 12:30 a.m. Thursday inside a Woodward Township home in Lycoming County. Police detained 44-year-old Kevin Bennardi who admitted to shooting Michael Woodhead in Bennardi’s home at 59 Wither Hollow Lane. No charges have been filed against Bennardi. The Sun Gazette reports, Bennardi told police Woodhead charged at him when he shot Woodhead multiple times with a .22 caliber rifle. Bennardi told investigators that Woodhead "was upset with him because he had touched Woodhead's sacred Indian stones." Woodhead, who is an American Indian, had apparently left behind some sacred stones at Bennardi’s home when he moved to Muncy Valley two months ago. Police say Bennardi call 9-1-1 shortly after shooting Woodhead and told the 9-1-1 dispatcher he had just shot and killed Woodhead.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - A 28-year-old Mifflinburg area man faces up to 32 years in prison after pleading guilty today to third-degree murder for being an accomplice in last year’s shooting death of 51-year-old Randy Sampsell at his home near Cowan. The daily Item reports, under the terms of the plea, Justin Richard will receive a 16- to 32-year prison sentence and agreed to testify against others involved in Sampsell’s killing and the brutal robbery of Scott Vonneida, of Millmont, on June 12, 2012. It was a stark reversal from earlier this year when Richard recanted incriminating testimony he gave last October at a preliminary hearing which led to 13 criminal charges, including third-degree murder and robbery, being transferred to Union County Court against 38-year-old Herbert Tiebout, of Sunbury. The charges against Tiebout, who is in prison on an unrelated drug offense, were dropped after Richard recanted. District Attorney D. Peter Johnson said he’ll discuss with state police investigators whether to re-file the charges against Tiebout now that Richard says he will help the prosecution. Richard also implicated 26-year-old Amanda Kratzer, of Lewisburg, and 24-year-old Michael Shetterly II, of Mifflinburg, in the Vonneida robbery. Kratzer is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and Shetterly with one count of receiving stolen property.
(WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - A jury in Schuylkill County found a Schuylkill Haven man guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a man he tied to a tree in May of 2012. But the jury did not find 49-year-old Keith Reber guilty of the more serious charges of first and second degree murder. Reber’s four-day trial wrapped up yesterday in the Schuylkill County Courthouse in Pottsville for the death of 26-year-old Brian Smith whom he tied to a tree because Reber says he ransacked the home of Reber’s girlfriend. The defense claimed Smith was high on Meth which is what killed him and not necessarily being tied to the tree for around 20 hours. The jury of eight women and four men deliberated about five hours before rendering their verdict. Reber will likely be sentenced in August and faces a possible 24- to 49-year state prison sentence.
(WPPA)

WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport City Council last night authorized the commitment of $300,000 from the Home Investment Program at 1 percent interest, setting up an investment agreement with Memorial Homes LP, the management company that will oversee and manage 40 apartments and 32 townhouses to be built by another company at the Brodart warehouse site on Memorial Avenue. The money was funds previously part of the Pennsy Heights development in the west end of the city that were not being used and would have been lost if not allocated for similar projects by a June 30th deadline. The agreement allows the city to move natural gas impact fee money into the project, including use for offsite improvements in the neighborhoods surrounding the housing development meant to revitalize the area.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - A judge from Potter County will preside over the civil lawsuit that pits the family of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno against the NCAA. The state Supreme Court on Thursday assigned 67-year-old Judge John Leete, of Coudersport, to the case. Centre County court officials requested a judge from outside the area to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest because of their ties to Penn State. The Centre daily Times reports, the Paterno family filed the lawsuit in May seeking to void the harsh sanctions against Penn State. The lawsuit accused the NCAA’s top officials of conspiring to force university President Rodney Erickson to sign the consent decree, and it said the officials bypassed the organization’s rules for imposing penalties. Joining the Paternos are members of the university’s board of trustees, professors, former football coaches and players. The NCAA has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - Centre County will be receiving $1.26 million in Marcellus Shale Impact Fee money this year between county government and the various municipalities. More than $500,000 will be going directly into the county government’s fund, a decrease of about $130,000 from last year.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - Work to preserve four bridges in Juniata County starts July 8th. The bridges are located in Lack and Tuscarora Townships. A 21-mile detour will be in place for a bridge spanning Tuscarora Creek on Route 850. The other three bridges will have alternating traffic patterns. All work is scheduled to be finished in November.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – The Lewisburg Area School Board Adopted a $29 million dollar school budget for the upcoming school year last night. The budget includes a real estate tax increase of about $78.00 for the average home owner in the district.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - The Mifflin County School District will not be raising taxes next year following the board of directors' adoption of the 2013-14 general fund budget Thursday. The board passed the budget in the amount of $67.2 million.
(WGRC)

TURBOTVILLE - Administrators and teachers in the Warrior Run School District have reached an agreement which ends the two-year negotiations between the groups. The Warrior Run School board released a statement late Wednesday announcing the agreement with the Warrior Run Education Association, saying the new contract, which runs from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2015, reached compromises on many key issues, including health care, salary and work hours. District educators had been working without since the previous agreement expired in June 2011. The new contract calls for changes to employees’ health care plans as well as a wage freeze in the first year of the new contract, followed by step salary increases of $600 plus step increases, as recommended by a fact finding report, released in May.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - Evangelical Community Hospital recently received a gift from the West Milton State Bank. David Runk, President and CEO of West Milton State Bank recently presented Michael O’Keefe, President and CEO of Evangelical Community Hospital with a check for $5,000 to support the Hospital’s Charity Care Program. The Charity Care Program supports individuals who are unable to pay by providing necessary inpatient and outpatient health services at no charge or at a reduced charge. The Charity Care Program has supported nearly 560 patients in the amount of $688,000.During the 2012-2013 fiscal year the Hospital has provided $5.9 million in uncompensated care. West Milton State Bank’s gift will aid the Hospital in providing needed health services and supporting individuals in our community who, due to circumstances beyond their control, have difficulty paying for those services.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE - A key study on possible health impacts of natural gas drilling by Geisinger Health System, which has captured the attention of some of the nation’s top environmental advocates, is short on funding with Geisinger only raising $1.3 million for the first phase of the study, which is estimated to cost $25 million. However, Geisinger officials said the study — a collaboration with Guthrie Health in Sayre and Susquehanna Health in Williamsport — will go forward as they try to secure the necessary funding. Geisinger announced the study in May 2012 while preparing to comb through hundreds of thousands of patient records dating back to 2004 for clues into the public health effects of the natural gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania. Most of the grant money will underwrite a data infrastructure system to collect information. The study will look at detailed health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live near the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in which energy companies have drilled about 5,000 natural gas wells. The goal of the study is to provide sound information to conduct unbiased and sound research, guide effective prevention or mitigation strategies and to aid local, state and federal governments in developing rational policies with respect to mining activities. In February, the Sunbury-based Degenstein Foundation donated $1 million toward the project, and it remains the largest contribution to the effort.
(WGRC)

PLEASANT GROVE – A Christian Camp in Union County is getting ready to celebrate its 50th birthday this Sunday. Camp Mount Luther near Pleasant Grove will be turning half-a-century old this Sunday. The camp primarily serves those involved in the Upper Susquehanna Synod of the Lutheran Church and the Central Pennsylvania Episcopal Diocese; however Executive Director Chad Hershberger says anyone can attend camp at the facility. On Sunday an open house will be held beginning at two p.m., and worship service at 6:30 p.m. with the camp’s first director the Reverend Theodore Schneider. The camp is located along Pleasant Grove Road off Route 45 west of Mifflinburg, in Union County.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

ALLENTOWN - PPL EnergyPlus ranked highest in the state for residential customer satisfaction in J.D. Power's first study of competitive electricity suppliers in Pennsylvania. The results, announced by J.D. Power on Wednesday follow a survey of more than 10,000 residential customers in eight states where large numbers of customers have switched to competitive suppliers. The J.D. Power study was its first involving residential energy providers in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania performed the strongest among states included in the study. The study examined customers' satisfaction with their supplier's enrollment process, price, corporate citizenship, communications and customer service.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - Penn College of Technology has received an unusual award. The Telly Awards has named the latest episode of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s career awareness series, “degrees that work.tv,” as a bronze winner in the 34th annual international video competition. Natural gas careers are featured in the episode. The 30-minute program follows three diverse alumni whose Penn College bachelor’s degrees are working for them in the burgeoning industry. The episode explores their individual career paths and current duties. In addition, the basics of natural gas drilling and production are described with a visit to a typical well site in north central Pennsylvania.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG– State Representative Rick Mirabito continues to fight to have the state police aviation unit back at the Lycoming County Airport in Montoursville. Mirabito sent out a mass e-mail his constituents in Lycoming County yesterday to get citizens to contact elected officials and urge support of returning the Aviation Unit to the Williamsport area. When the Pennsylvania State Police Aviation Unit was relocated from Montoursville to Hazleton in 2012, many citizens in Lycoming County and the surrounding areas expressed dismay at the idea of having our closest helicopter nearly 100 miles away. Mirabito says he’s fighting to get funding for the Lycoming County Aviation Unit restored. He’s asking Lycoming County residents and those affected by the removal of the Aviation Unit to contact Governor Tom Corbett as well as the House and Senate Majority leaders to return the helicopter to Montoursville.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Legislation to strengthen and modernize the way Unemployment Compensation claims are processed in Pennsylvania is headed to Governor Tom Corbett for his signature following unanimous passage in the state Senate Thursday. Passage of House Bill 26 was a six month effort by the four chairs of the Senate and House Labor and Industry Committees, along with Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway, to improve the claims system following processing delays in 2012. The Bill re-directs a portion of the Unemployment Compensation Employee Tax of each employee’s salary, to the newly created Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund, a restricted account that may only be used to increase the quality, efficiency and timeliness of the Unemployment Compensation Service Centers.  Funding is dedicated over five years at a cost of approximately $30 to $50 million per year, and any funds unspent after 2018 will be returned to the Unemployment Compensation Fund. Funds may be used for technology improvements and to fund positions within the Department that are scheduled to be eliminated due to the loss of federal funding. Since the funds are re-directed from a current tax, there is no tax increase.
(WGRC)