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July 19, 2013

BELLEFONTE - A Bellefonte man was sent to the hospital following a two-vehicle crash yesterday afternoon in Centre County. The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. on Route 144 between Pleasant Gap and Centre Hall. Spring Township police say a car driven by 49-year-old Philip Giunta of Bellefonte hit a pick-up driven by 39-year-old Ryan Silfies also of Bellefonte. Giunta was cut free from the wreckage and taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center before being transferred to Altoona Regional Medical Center. .
(WGRC)

REEDSVILLE – A fire destroyed a barn in Mifflin County late yesterday morning. Firefighters from Mifflin County were called out to the fire around eleven a.m. yesterday at 6775 Route 655 in Brown Township. Reedsville Fire Company Chief Danny Aumiller tells the sentinel, the owner suffered minor injuries and two calves were lost in the fire. Aumiller said firefighters were on scene for about four hours and the cause of the fire is accidental.
(WGRC)

HUNTINGDON – State Police in Huntingdon County are attempting to locate a 20-year-old woman. A missing endangered person advisory was sent out yesterday afternoon from State Police who are looking for Destiny Walters. Police say Walters was last seen at the Islett Community Pool in Huntingdon Borough Thursday morning just before ten a.m. She is described as standing around five foot five inches tall and weighing 130 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing a white sweatshirt and blue shorts. If anyone knows of her whereabouts you are asked to call state police.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISTOWN – In Mifflin County, the day before a jury trial was set to start for a man charged with voluntary manslaughter, the defendant opted to plead guilty to a lesser charge. 28-year-old Michael Bickel was to go to trial yesterday for the July 2012 beating of Andrea Norris in the face with a hammer, but pleaded guilty instead to felony aggravated assault. He will serve a seven year to 15 year sentence in state prison. Norris suffered 20 fractures to the bones in her face during the beating. She passed away in April from unrelated medical problems.
(WGRC)

MIFFLINBURG – State Police are investigating the theft of around $1,000 worth in small equipment and tools from a garage in Union County’s Limestone Township. Troopers say the thefts happened sometime between May 1st and July 12th from the garage along Smith Road in the Mifflinburg area.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A Williamsport man who attempted to rob the M&T Bank in Newberry in December was sentenced to state prison time on Thursday. The Sun Gazette reports, 27-year-old Antwone Cormier was found guilty at trial last month of second-degree felony robbery and misdemeanor theft and receiving stolen property charges. Cormier went into the bank with a ski mask on and handed a note to the teller demanding money but was tackled by some patrons when he tried to walk out of the bank with over $400 in cash. On Thursday, Judge Marc Lovecchio sentenced Cormier to 16 months to four years in state prison for the crimes, after he serves an eight-month sentence on perjury charges he received from a 2010 case.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT – A Lycoming County man will spend at least six months at the county Pre-Release Center for two charges of cruelty to animals. On June 14, 66-year-old Keith Chambers, of Bloomingrove Road, was convicted of charges relating to the mistreatment of three horses and 10 dogs on his property in December 2011. Following a bench trial before Judge Marc Lovecchio, the Sun Gazette reports, Lovecchio yesterday sentenced Chambers to six to 15 months of incarceration for the crimes. Animal workers say Chambers had in the past been charged with animal violations dating back to the 1990’s.
(WGRC)

HUGHESVILLE - A natural gas company operating on Marquart Road in Penn Township, Lycoming County was penalized Thursday for getting frack water into a tributary of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. The Sun Gazette reports, XTO Energy must pay $100,000 in fines and start a $20 million site improvement program for spilling chemical-laced water in November 2010. , according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice. An inspector with the state Department of Environmental Protection discovered the company had an open valve to a wastewater storage tank containing used frack water which spilled over 13,000 gallons of the polluted water into a small stream to Sugar Run which empties into the Susquehanna River.
(WGRC)

KULPMONT - A community in Northumberland County is without its police force, all because of what appears to be an issue with insurance. Borough officials in Kulpmont took the police department out of service due to an issue with insurance. Officials would not elaborate since it is a personnel issue, but temporarily suspended the police force Wednesday at its council meeting. Kulpmont will not be without police protection. Borough officials said while the department is temporarily out of service, state police will patrol the area. Officials in Kulpmont said they are working to have the matter resolved as quickly as possible. They would not give any sort of timetable as to when the police department will be back in service.
(WNEP)

UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State approved spending up to $60 million for settlements with men claiming they were abused by Jerry Sandusky. The Centre Daily Times reports, a trustee confirmed that information Thursday. Trustee, Ted Brown, says he did not know how many claimants would be getting a portion of the $60 million. Last week, Penn State’s board of trustees authorized settlement offers to some of the Sandusky abuse claimants, who’ve been negotiating through their civil lawyers with a university-hired mediation firm.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG - The Lewisburg Area School District will enter into a partnership with a soccer club for two athletic fields on the site of the proposed high school in Kelly Township, allowing it to split the $363,000 cost for the fields. The Daily Item reports, the deal will give the North Union Soccer Club priority to use the two grass fields when the school district is not using them. The partnership was announced at a school board meeting last night. The soccer club had been looking to make a deal with the school District on the fields which will be constructed on the new school site sometime next school year.
(WGRC)

MIDDLEBURG – Some members of the Midd-West school board in Snyder County are upset after being told the district will not be able to use an extra $151,000 in state aid to reduce a 3.6-mill tax hike under the approved $32.8 million budget for 2013-14.  Some District board members were hoping to put the $151,000 towards the nearly $500,000 which would be generated by the tax hike, to lower taxes. The reason was because time had already passed the deadline for reopening the budget and the district would not be able to comply with the school code that requires a new budget and tax increase be advertised and put on public display for 30 days. Members of the board vowed to contact state legislators and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association with their frustrations. The Daily Item reports, the money will be used to reduce the district’s deficit to about $270,000, allowing the district to retain $151,000 in the reserve fund.
(WGRC)

LEWISTOWN - The Mifflin County Commissioners on Thursday approved a loan request from the Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation in the amount of $50,000 to go toward renovations to the former Kardex building in the Mifflin County Industrial Plaza. The Sentinel reports, the funds will come from the county's Community Development Block Grant revolving fund. The renovations being made are expected to generate a number of new jobs from three small companies interested in occupying the structure.
(WGRC)

DANVILLE – Did you know a light walk around the block following a meal can help those with type-two diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels more effectively? Mary Johnson, director of diabetes quality and education at Geisinger Medical Center says a recent study indicates that a short walk is a big help for those who live with the disease. Johnson says not only is the exercise good for you and can help you lose weight it can also help you use up the blood sugar more effectively by allowing your body to become less insulin resistant and allowing that insulin to go to work delivering the nutrients to your body’s cells. Johnson says the good part about it is that it doesn’t have to be a strenuous walk or jog, but a moderate walk of about three-and-a-half miles an hour that seemed most affective.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SUNBURY - A piece of history is being resurrected in Northumberland County. Ground was broken this week at the Northumberland County Historical Society for a model of Fort Augusta in Sunbury. More than 250 years ago, Fort Augusta was built in Sunbury during the French and Indian War.  It was built to defend settlers during that war and the American Revolution. Now, the Northumberland County Historical Society is bringing back Fort Augusta on a smaller scale. Ground was broken at the historical society on a 32-foot-wide model of Fort Augusta. The Northumberland County Historical Society believes the model will help tell the story of Fort Augusta so people can see it instead of just reading about it. The historical society still needs to raise $125,000 for the project.  The historical society expects the project to be finished by October.
(WNEP)

UNIVERSITY PARK - Some workers at Penn State University are furious about a new health care policy that's going to affect Penn State employees who receive health insurance benefits. Many university workers first heard about the changes from a pamphlet in the mail. A new health care initiative announced by the university called 'Take Care of Your Health' will scrutinize individuals with weight problems. To enroll in benefits for 2014, Penn State employees must have their waist measured, their blood pressure checked and their body mass index calculated. Body Mass Index is a measure of body fat, based on height and weight. The workers must also complete an online wellness profile. Workers, who don't take these steps by October 8th, face a $100 a month surcharge starting in January. In a news release Penn State says the results of the screenings are confidential and will only be used for individual health awareness but workers say they're the first step toward individualized premiums.  
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an injunction against the planned closing of state health centers. The Corbett Administration wants to reduce the number of health centers from 60 to 34 and eliminate 18 community health nurse positions, but that plan is being challenged in court by the State Employees International Union which represents the nurses. The injunction blocks the state from acting, pending a full hearing by the Supreme Court. Justices would be hearing an appeal of a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s decision in April to deny the injunction request. The union says the Department of Health has already closed some health centers and eliminated the 18 nursing positions.     Closing the centers is expected to save about $3.5 million. SEIU disputes the savings and says in its lawsuit that the state legislature must approve the closings before they can occur. There’s no word yet on when the Supreme Court will hold a full hearing on the injunction request.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - A sportsmen’s group has asked a federal judge to throw out the state’s long-standing ban on Sunday hunting, claiming it interferes with hunters’ religious rights and their right to bear arms. Hunters United for Sunday Hunting filed suit against the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which enforces the state’s game code, saying the prohibition on most types of hunting on Sunday causes hunters to suffer an “irreparable loss” of time in the field. The Lancaster County-based group also said the Sunday hunting ban violates the Constitution’s equal-protection clause because it allows farmers to kill deer or elk that are damaging crops. Wild hogs, crows, foxes and coyotes may also be taken on Sundays. The Associated Press reports, Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said Thursday he did not know if commission officials had reviewed the lawsuit. The commission has been open to lifting the Sunday hunting ban if authorized to do so by the Legislature.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced that Pennsylvania residents and small businesses affected by severe storms and flooding between June 27th and July 12th can apply for low-interest disaster loans.  Governor Tom Corbett and Congressman Glenn Thompson toured the sites shortly after the storms and issued a letter on July 12th requesting assistance. The low interest loans can be applied to properties in Centre, and Clinton counties and counties to their west. Loans up to $200,000 are available to eligible homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, and businesses and non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace a range of business assets.
(WGRC)