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July 11, 2013

NEW BERLIN – A family of eight is homeless after fire ripped through their ranch-style home along New Berlin Mountain Road in Buffalo Township, Union County last night. The fire was reported around eight p.m.at the home along Sleepy Hollow Lane off New Berlin Mountain Road. Fire crews from Mifflilnburg, New Berlin, Lewisburg, Middlebrug and Penns Creek were able to save most of the structure however the fire heavily damaged the roof and one of the homes back rooms. Fire Chief John Heiges tells the Daily Item he believes the fire started near a sofa at the rear of the home and then spread into the structure. No one was hurt in the blaze.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - Investigators have confirmed that the cause of a massive fire that left more than 40 people homeless in the Waupelani Heights apartment complex in State College last week was accidental. The Centre Daily Times reports, fire officials say the July 4 blaze started while a tenant was grilling on an upper floor patio in the rear of the building. Fire officials say it only took 12 minutes from when the fire was first reported till the blaze was declared a three-alarm fire. No one was injured in that fire.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle in the city of Williamsport and flown onto Geisinger Medical Center with serious injuries. That happened in the 700 block of West Fourth Street around 11:30 last night. Few details are available, and the victim’s name and condition have not been released. Emergency crews were on the scene until just past 2am this morning.
(WGRC)

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – A Bradford County man was hurt in a motorcycle crash in Lycoming County yesterday afternoon. State Police say the crash happened just after noon on Sulphur Springs road in Washington Township. Police say 25-year-old Bradley Crum of Athens lost control of his motorcycle while rounding a curve and had to lay the bike down. Troopers say Crum suffered moderate injuries in the crash.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LOCK HAVEN - A Lock Haven man remains in serious condition after a motorcycle crash Tuesday in Clinton County. State Police say 35-year-old Adam Roark, suffered injuries when his motorcycle went off Route 220 in Bald Eagle Township. Police say Roark’s cycle tumbled out of control for several hundred feet, and repeatedly struck guard rail. Roark was flown to Geisinger following the crash.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - A pickup truck crashed into a home Wednesday afternoon on Route 522 in Derry Township, Mifflin County. The Sentinel reports, Mifflin County Regional Police say Stephanie Hegedus, along with two children, ages 5 and 6, were traveling on U.S. 522 when she lost control while passing another vehicle. Police say the woman’s truck veered off the left side of the road and hit a small dirt mound, causing the vehicle to become airborne and land in a bedroom of the home. No one in the home was hurt and Hegedus and her children were not injured.
(WGRC)

NEW COLUMBIA – A Luzerne County woman was injured and taken to Geisinger Tuesday afternoon during a crash on Interstate 80 in Union County. The crash happened just after two p.m. in White Deer Township. State Police say 38-year-old heather Shaw of Larksville suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Geisigner Medical Center. Shaw was a passenger in a vehicle where the driver lost control in a heavy rain storm and their vehicle went off the highway slamming into some guardrails. No one else was hurt in the crash.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

JERSEY SHORE - A 22-year-old Jersey Shore man was returned to the Lycoming County Prison on $1 million bail Wednesday, on charges of attacking and severely injuring a 3-year-old boy that was found unresponsive by police back in June. District Judge Jerry Lepley ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold Christopher Schenck on all charges. Schenck was charged following the June second incident where he allegedly caused head injuries and internal bleeding to the boy as the result of a beating.  Doctors at Geisinger Medical Center testified the child had roughly 80 bruises on his body that were consistent with physical abuse. The victim suffered from swelling of the brain, internal bleeding and injuries to his liver and pancreas. The morning after the alleged abuse, Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police responded to a call of an unresponsive child at the apartment where Schenck and the boy’s mother lived.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A Montour County couple face charges in Lycoming County for allegedly driving around with their children while under the influence of heroin. Old Lycoming Township Police have charged 31-year-old Joey Aikey and his girlfriend 25-year-old Samantha Bardo with drug and endangering the welfare of children among other charges. The Sun Gazette reports, police say the couple from Danville used heroin while inside the vehicle with the couple's two children, ages 2 and 3. They were pulled over on Interstate 180 and found to be under the influence.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG – A Beaver Springs man is facing felony theft by deception and receiving stolen property charges in Union County. Mifflinburg Police have filed those charges against 29-year-old Ross Bachman after he allegedly cashed a fake insurance check over $2,800 and refused to reimburse Mifflinburg Bank and Trust the funds after it was determined the check was a fake. Police say Bachman cashed the fake check on May 3rd, 2013.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MILLMONT – State police are looking for the thieves that made off with several kayaks from a Union County home. The theft happened sometime between May 24th and this past Saturday from the home along Apple Drive near Millmont. The four kayaks, of different makes and models, were taken along with their paddles. Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call state police, Milton.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

NEW COLUMBIA – Police are looking for the vandals that broke into a Union County church and trashed the inside. State Police say that happened sometime overnight Tuesday at the God’s Missionary Church located along Ridge Road in New Columbia. Police say the perpetrators broke through a door to get inside the church and then vandalized the inside of the building. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call state police, Milton.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BELLEFONTE - The former director of finance for the Centre County United Way has been charged with using the nonprofit’s corporate credit card to pay for $17,000 in personal expenses over a 10-year span. The Centre Daily Times reports, police have charged Doris Conner, of Bellefonte, with access device fraud and related counts for purchases she made dating back to 2002. Police say she used the charity’s money for everything from buying airline tickets for family members to paying veterinarian bills to attending events at the Bryce Jordan Center. Conner is free on $20,000 bail.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A city woman will spend nearly six years in federal prison after receiving a sentence this week for pleading guilty earlier this year to federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Public Welfare. 28-year-old Cheryl Cobia, who was charged with conspiracy to defraud the IRS out of more than $1 million between 2009 and 2011, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew Brann to 70 months. Brann recommended an appropriate federal facility for Cobia, who is serving time at the State Women’s Prison at Muncy.
(WGRC)

BOALSBURG - The People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts&Crafts is a homegrown festival celebrating the work of Pennsylvania artists. The First Festival, held in 1993, was organized to run at the same time as the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and to showcase the creativity and workmanship of artisans living in Pennsylvania. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people visited the festival in 2012, the 2012 festival featured 171 performances taking place in two entertainment locations, food vendor’s booths, a specialty food booth, a young artisan sales area and every day is kids day at the People’s Choice Festival! Featuring the Little Smilin’ Choo Choo! Bounce houses, A petting zoo, a riding arena, face painting, youth artisan sales… there is truly something for everyone at the festival!! The People’s Choice Festival is set on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg and runs from July 11th through the 14th.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY – Congressman Lou Barletta will be in Sunbury this Friday to make a big announcement. The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration is planning to give the City of Sunbury a grant of nearly $800,000 for the improvement of its storm water system. Congressman Barletta is planning to make the announce Friday at Sunbury Textile Mills. The improvements to the storm system should help alleviate problems with flooding and protect businesses and jobs.
(WGRC)

MINERSVILLE - When the Diocese of Allentown decided to close churches in Schuylkill County, 32 were shut down. One of those is near Minersville, and former members are trying to save the house of worship. St.  Kieran’s Roman Catholic Church near Minersville stands empty and silent. It was closed by the Diocese of Allentown in 2008. Officials blamed a lack of priests. Now, a group called Friends of St. Kieran’s has an agreement with the diocese to buy the church, a convent, a rectory, and a former school on the property.  The stumbling block: the group needs $1 million to bring the buildings up to code. Once that happens, the group plans to allow visitors to tour the structures and see the stained glass windows and other elements of the church’s rich Irish history. The church, in a part of Schuylkill County known as Irish Valley, holds a rich history.
(WNEP)

PENNSDALE - About 20 sportsmen came out yesterday to learn more about the state Game Commission's land leasing practices for oil and gas companies during an informational meeting held by the Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Shale Conservation at the Pennsdale Civic Center in Lycoming County. The Sun Gazette reports, Game Commission officials told the crowd that their first goal is to protect habitat and wildlife.  But since the Commission receives no tax dollars from the state oil and gas recovery are a vitally important funding source for the Commission. Officials with the Game Commission also say, much like the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources they may own the surface rights to the land they have but not subsurface rights and the commission does not receive any royalties from the nearly 75 wells placed on gamelands where they don't own mineral rights. Officials say currently, there are 49 well pads and 99 wells in state game lands.  
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Governor Tom Corbett is defending legislation that an oil and gas royalty owners group said undermines some landowners' negotiating rights when dealing with Marcellus Shale drilling companies. Corbett signed the bill without public comment Tuesday after it won overwhelming support from the Republican-controlled Legislature in June. In a letter to lawmakers, Corbett said he believes the new law enhances the efficiency of drilling for oil and gas while limiting environmental damage and protecting the rights of landowners and leaseholders. The Associated Press reports, the law is designed to advance the Marcellus Shale industry's ability to vacuum up natural gas through the recent advent of underground, horizontally drilled bores that can extend out thousands of feet from the vertical well bore, sometimes even crossing property lines. This law gives that power to drilling companies, instead of forcing them to ask the permission of the landowner of property that they intend to drill horizontally on. The absence of such permission from the lease gave the landowner or mineral rights owner the ability to negotiate to allow it to be inserted into the existing lease. Officials with the National Association of Royalty Owners, a group that generally favors drilling says, "It is potentially a valuable opportunity to these mineral owners, but it appears that the operator who pushed this effort found their money would be better spent to negotiate in Harrisburg rather than at kitchen tables." The provision was in a bill sponsored by Representative Garth Everett, of Muncy, and passed the House Energy Resources and Environmental Committee on June 4th and the full House unanimously on June 11. No hearing was held on the provision, and the National Association of Royalty Owners says many lawmakers did not understand the provision.
(WGRC)