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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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July 16, 2013

SUNBURY – A crash just outside Sunbury this morning has left one person dead and others injured. The crash happened just before one this morning on Snydertown Road in Upper Augusta Township. State police say 18-year-old Marcelle Barber of Mount Carmel went off the roadway and her vehicle rolled over. Police say Barber was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Police say passengers in her vehicle 21-year-old Tyler Karycki of Mount Carmel, 18-year-old Brianna Bailey of Kulpmont and 19-year-old Hasan Abuomar of Mount Carmel were injured. Karycki and Bailey were taken to Geisinger Medical Center. Abuomar was taken to Sunbury Community Hospital.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

DANVILLE - A busy morning for firefighters from Montour and Columbia Counties yesterday. The fire was reported around 11:30 yesterday morning at 100 Academy Avenue at Geisinger Medical Center. Crews were sent to the 5th floor of the Bush Pavilion for a report of fire in the wall. Mike Ferlazzo spokesman for Geisinger said that there were no patients on the floor as construction is being done. Crews remained at the scene for quite a while ventilating the floor. The fire reportedly started from a welding torch as work was being done on the floor.

WILLIAMSPORT - Police in Williamsport are looking for two men who they believe robbed another man at gunpoint. It happened just after 8 p.m. Monday along the 1100 block of Isabella Street in the city. Police say two men flashed a gun before making off with the victim’s backpack and cash. No one was injured. Authorities believe the duo ran into a nearby house but so far no arrests have been made. The investigation into the armed robbery continues in Williamsport.

BRIAR CREEK TOWNSHIP - A Berwick-area man on the run for the last few weeks after allegedly shooting at his ex-girlfriend and pistol-whipping her new boyfriend has been captured. 50-year-old Steven Houser, is accused of firing several shots at the woman and her boyfriend , then hitting the boyfriend in the head with the gun in late June. The Press Enterprise reports, Houser was caught with the gun in his car as he drove away from his mother’s house near Berwick Monday morning. Houser now faces counts of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and related charges.

WILLIAMSPORT - Watchful neighbors helped foil one man's alleged plan to break into an Elmira Street home early Monday morning in Williamsport. The Sun Gazette reports, 39-year-old Darryl Franklin Jr., now faces felony charges for attempted burglary and attempted criminal trespassing. A neighbor contacted city police at about 2:30 a.m. when she noticed a man, dressed in all black, hanging around 814 Elmira Street. The neighbor told police she became concerned because she knew the man was not a resident of the home, yet he was wandering around the residence looking into windows. Police say Franklin was spotted trying to get a window open to get inside the home when they arrived. He’s jailed on $75,000 bail.

MCVEYTOWN – State Police are investigating the theft of four dirt bikes in Mifflin County . The theft happened early Sunday morning at a barn along River Road in Bratton Township.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

CATAWISSA - Police busted a sophisticated pot-growing operation Monday in a rural home in Roaring Creek Township, Columbia County. Police seized 132 plants ranging in size from seedlings to more than 5 feet tall, 15 pounds of processed marijuana, half a dozen weapons and $47,000 in suspected drug money from a Mill Road home. The Press Enterprise reports, Police arrested 53-year-old Richard Zambor and charged him with the grow operation. Zambor is jailed on $75,000 bail.

WILLIAMSPORT - A man from Philadelphia recently was discovered on the ground, unconscious, with pockets full of narcotics in the 700 Block of Brandon Avenue in Williamsport. The man, who was allegedly lying on a pile of mulch unable to get up, had been reported to city police by several concerned citizens. 38-year-old Bruce Smith, has been charged with possession of narcotics with intent to distribute, possession of heroin and cocaine, and related counts. A search of Smith turned up a bag of crack cocaine, and 42 bags of heroin. He’s now jailed on $200,000 bail.

MILLVILLE  - A camp counselor is free on bail after being charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at Camp Hero, in 2011. The Press Enterprise reports,  20-year-old Karisa Zapotocky is charged with the assault on the grounds of Camp Victory near Millville in Columbia County. Camp Hero is a week-long camp for the deaf and hearing- impaired children held at Camp Victory.

POTTSVILLE - Missing Pottsville tax funds prompted a county investigation into the city tax office and on Monday. Mayor John D.W. Reiley revealed the amount was in the neighborhood of $1,600. Reiley says it was in June that city Treasurer Ellen Micka learned of the missing money, and reported it to Councilman Michael Halcovage, head of the city finance committee. On June 17th, Micka and Halcovage suspended Donald Long of Pottsville, a full-time tax clerk. On July 12th, Schuylkill County District Attorney Karen Noon says the county was investigating the suspected theft of an undisclosed amount of money from the city tax office. Long will remain on suspension without pay until the county's investigation is complete.

WILLIAMSPORT - After the Williamsport Area School District permanently closed the doors of two elementary schools last month, the district began exploring the possibility of auctioning off the buildings along with another former school that the district closed in 2001. The district is accepting proposals from auctioneer companies to help orchestrate the auction and sale of the three buildings - Round Hills Elementary School, Philip Sheridan Elementary School, and the Woodward Township School. Round Hills and Sheridan had their doors closed at the conclusion of the 2012-13 school year as part of a district-wide grade reconfiguration. Woodward hasn't been used as an elementary school since 2001. The Sun Gazette reports, the decision to auction off the buildings instead of selling them through a realtor was made after discussions with both the school board and other school districts.

STATE COLLEGE - The State College Area school board receiving the official responses to community surveys on the hot button high school upgrade project--sharing those results with the public Monday evening. Out of the six possible options for the high school project--Concept B was the public's favorite overall. The Centre Daily Times reports, Concept B is one of the options that would allow the high school to remain on Westerly Parkway. It would be additions and renovations to both the North and South Building while also building a bridge or walkway between the two. Concept F--building two new high schools-- was the least popular. The board will still look at all the concepts as a possibility and based on the community feedback, slowly eliminate the ones least supported until they have the one they feel is best.

UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State will pay $11.5 million for an office building on Science Park Road to put most of the university’s information technology staff under one roof. The 108,000-square-foot, three-story building at 300 Science Park Road in Ferguson Township is the former Raytheon Building No. 7. The purchase was approved last week by the university’s board of trustees. The seller is Inland Western State College Science Park DST, a Delaware statutory trust, and the deal is contingent on the property being in acceptable condition. Penn State will use two floors of the building to house several hundred information technology staffers who are spread through campus and in leased space in State College. The Centre Daily Times reports, that will allow the university to reduce lease costs.

STATE COLLEGE - A report issued on Friday has detailed Penn State University's compliance so far with the federal law governing campus safety in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. University officials said they received a preliminary report from the federal government regarding whether its handling of the Sandusky scandal complied with campus crime reporting requirements. School officials said on Monday that neither it nor the U.S. Department of Education can release information about the report at this time. The Associated Press reports, Penn State school officials have given federal reviewers access to the records and information they've requested.  Prosecutors allege high-ranking university officials failed to properly report suspected abuse of children by Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach at the school. The law, called the Clery Act, requires universities to publish annual reports and maintain a daily crime log. It's named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and killed in a campus residence hall in 1986.

WILLIAMSPORT - The re-emergence of a Williamsport City police team known as the Special Operations Group, dressed in black for effect, and better use of manpower and technology to try to stop a rise in heroin and violent crime are initiatives Mayor Gabriel Campana wants to see immediately employed. In an interview Monday by the Sun Gazette, after Friday's statements by District Attorney Eric Linhardt detailing a rise in local heroin use and new initiatives his agency will use to combat the problem, Campana and city Police Chief Gregory Foresman defined their crime-fighting goals. The mayor has authorized police to re-start a Special Operations Group, a tactical team that operated in the city between 2008 and 2009. Officers in the unit will wear all black, with the goal of drug interdiction. Saturation patrols by officers will be done by city police and Pennsylvania College of Technology police in some neighborhoods.

LEWISTOWN - To increase the possibility of physician recruitment and interest at Lewistown Hospital, Kay Hamilton, hospital president and CEO, plans to start a family medicine residency program in May 2014. The Sentinel reports, Hamilton submitted an application in February to begin a rural track family medicine residency program, which would be one of 25 available programs in the country. It will provide six residents over a three year period, she said. The residency involves intense clinical training as well as classroom time, Hamilton said. As residents focus on family medicine, they'll be placed throughout the hospital, community clinics and Geisinger facilities. Each resident will work a three-year term and the goal is to recruit from those in the program as there are openings and increased medical needs in the community. The hospital plans to move forward with the program once its merger with Geisinger is complete, Hamilton said. Approval involves an audit and inspection of the hospital by the American College of Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee.

STATE COLLEGE - PennDOT in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, will host an open house public meeting on Wednesday, July 17, for the Route 322 Potters Mills Gap Project in Potter Township, Centre County. The public can attend the open-house public meeting at their convenience from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Penns Valley Elementary School in Spring Mills. Formal presentations providing a project overview will be offered at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. The meeting’s purpose is to introduce the project, discuss the purpose and need, present potential solutions, identify the next steps and gather public feedback. Project team members and PennDOT officials will be on hand to discuss the project and gather public input. The project’s intent is to improve safety, reduce congestion, enhance mobility and alleviate access concerns along nearly four miles of Route 322. The project area begins west of the Route 322/PA 144 intersection at Potters Mills and extends east to the Centre/Mifflin County line.  

HARRISBURG– Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has succeeded in ousting a state judge who specialized in overseeing secret, statewide grand jury investigations. The Associated Press reports, the state Supreme Court sided with Kane in May in her effort to remove Barry Feudale from the position. The proceedings were kept under seal. The paper says Kane made the move after discovering an email Feudale sent to a former top state prosecutor criticizing both Kane and her predecessor, Linda Kelly, who Governor Tom Corbett appointed to finish his second term. She also cited an incident that Feudale says was taken out of context when he stopped by her offices and showed a secretary a 10-inch dagger. Feudale is a former Northumberland County Common Pleas court judge, who retired several years ago to accept senior status. He has overseen numerous high profile cases including some grand jury looking into the Penn State child rape cover-up allegations.

HARRISBURG - It was back to court for Pennsylvania's voter identification law on Monday. The battle over the State's voter ID law has attracted some national attention because of recent Supreme Court rulings over voter rights. In Pennsylvania, the fight is over mandatory state identification cards. The legal fight is expected to determine the fate of the 16-month old state law that requires all voters to show a government issued photo identification at their polling place on Election Day. Before that law could go into effect, a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and other groups that argued the Republican backed measure was an effort to keep minorities and economically disadvantaged voters away from the polls. A State Judge temporarily blocked the voter ID law last year after the State Supreme Court intervened. Those opposed to the voter ID law contend it is unconstitutional because it infringes on the right to vote and could disenfranchise voters.  But supporters of the legislation, including the Corbett Administration contend the new ID requirements are legal and a program is in place to provide free voter identification to anyone who needs one. Testimony in the voter ID case is expected to last about two weeks. While a decision is expected in early August, an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected so the fate of the voter ID law may not be settled until after this year's November Election.