April 13, 2012

April 13, 2012

MONTGOMERY – A roadway is re-opened after a crash closed it this morning in Lycoming County.  Montgomery Borough Police said a crash closed down Montgomery Street in the borough early this morning.  The crash took out a utility pole closing the street. Montgomery Street, also known as Route 405, re-opened to traffic around 11 this morning.
Jim Diehl/John Callahan (WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - Route 61 traffic has returned to normal in the area of a mine subsidence discovered Wednesday in Northumberland County.  Crews were on scene Thursday working to fill the 12-foot by 12-foot hole in the southbound lanes of Route 61 near Jones Home Center in Coal Township. Traffic was rerouted onto the shoulder of the road in a single lane where road crews worked. Today, a crew applied asphalt over the affected portion of the highway and repaved the road.  Last fall, crews found that the affected portion of Route 61 sits on a mine entrance, sloped at a 45-degree angle.  PennDOT mulled and patched the area after filling in the area from the shaft to the mine's vein.  Route 61 traffic returned to its normal pattern just before 1:30 this afternoon.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT -  PA CareerLink Lycoming County has announced plans to officially celebrate the opening of its new location at 329 Pine Street in Williamsport on Wednesday, April 18th, from 3:00pm to 7:00pm.  The event will include an official ribbon cutting at 3:30 coordinated by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. Throughout the day, attendees can learn about the services offered to employers and job seekers through a site tour and discussions with PA CareerLink staff and enjoy the light refreshments offered.
(WGRC)

HEMLOCK TOWNSHIP -  Drivers headed east on Interstate 80 this morning had to slow down in the area of Milemarker 228 in Hemlock Township, Columbia County. A two vehicle crash with injury and entrapment slowed traffic in that area of Columbia County.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

MAZEPPA — A Mazeppa couple lost their home Thursday afternoon, but escaped before oxygen tanks began exploding inside their burning house in a heavily wooded area. The fire at the home of Warren Walker Sr. started just after four p.m. yesterday. Walker uses oxygen to breathe many of them exploding as the fire raged. White Deer Township Fire Chief Jim Messinger tells the Daily Item when crews arrived at the home at 212 W.H. Troup Road the home was already engulfed in flames. Messinger says Walker and his wife had returned home from errands and Walker lit a fire in the burn barrel and then went inside the house. Messinger believes embers from the burn barrel ignited the fire at the rear of Walker’s home. The blaze also ignited a small brush fire which crews had to battle in addition to the house fire. There were no injuries.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG – A warning to boaters on the Susquehanna River at Lewisburg, the Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority is warning boaters that debris from the former railroad bridge that caught fire, could fall into the river below, creating a hazard for anyone beneath. The Lewisburg RR Bridge was originally built in 1912 and was acquired by LARA from the West Shore Railroad as part of the Rails to Trails project in 2008. A fire on March 26 burned for over three days and required three separate responses by fire crews. While the bridge has been closed to all traffic since 1990, it is now extremely dangerous and LARA proposes a complete inspection of the structure very soon and will focus on the condition of the ties and the requirements to remove and properly dispose of them.
(WGRC)

MONTGOMERY – Montgomery Borough Police in Lycoming County say a crash has closed down Montgomery Street in the borough. The crash early this morning took out a utility pole closing the street. Police say Montgomery Street will be closed for at least eight hours.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - Route 61 traffic could return to normal by this afternoon if transportation officials determine a mine subsidence discovered Wednesday has been properly filled in. Crews were on scene Thursday working to fill the 12-foot by 12-foot hole in the southbound lanes of Route 61 near Jones Home Center in Coal Township. Traffic was rerouted onto the shoulder of the road in a single lane where road crews worked. Today, a crew will apply asphalt over the affected portion of the highway and pave the road. Last fall, crews found that the affected portion of Route 61 sits on a mine entrance, sloped at a 45-degree angle. PennDOT mulled and patched the area after filling in, the area from the shaft to the mine's vein.
(WGRC)

WASHINGTONVILLE – Police are looking for the thieves that stole a grill from a tractor trailer, plus 150 pounds of scrap mental from a garage in Washingtonville. The theft happened sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning from the Washingtonville Garage in Derry Township. Anyone with information is asked to call state police, Milton.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WHITE DEER – State Police are investigating a break-in and theft of copper pipe and wiring from a home in White Deer Township, Union County. That happened between Monday and Thursday at the home along the White Deer Pike. Police say the bandits forced their way into the home which was under renovations and stripped the home of plumbing and wiring.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT — Four men are facing federal immigration charges after being indicted for illegally entering the United States, including three who were previously deported to Mexico and Honduras, prosecutors say. The four were all indicted by a grand jury seated in U.S. Middle District Court in Williamsport.  
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - As one assault case against Anthony Darnell Smith Jr. began to crumble on Thursday, legal troubles for the 26-year-old convicted felon escalated as city police charged him with allegedly beating and robbing a man as well as shooting a woman's pit bull, leading to its death. The new charges against Smith, of Williamsport, accuse him of striking Anthony Rodriguez several times in the head and body with a gun as he robbed the man of $800 in the hallway of an adjoining property at 327 Mulberry St. about 1:20 a.m. March 19th. Rodriguez was hospitalized with serious injuries, but he has since recovered. Four days later, Smith allegedly shot a pit bull that belonged to Samantha Geiger inside his second-floor apartment. Smith has been incarcerated in the Lycoming County Prison since March 30 when he was arrested on charges of allegedly firing a shot at Seneca Mitchell's SUV outside Smith's apartment about 7:30 p.m. March 25th. Smith was brought before District Judge Allen Page on Thursday morning to have his preliminary hearing on the charges that stem from him allegedly shooting at Mitchell's vehicle. But Mitchell refused to testify against Smith. Following the brief proceeding, Page arraigned Smith on the new charges and he was returned to prison on an additional $125,000 bail.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE — In Centre County, a judge Thursday denied a request to dismiss the attempted homicide case against Randall Brooks, meaning the sides will go to trial next week as scheduled. Representing himself, Brooks gave arguments during a hearing in front of Judge Bradley Lunsford, but Lunsford said the arguments Brooks made including evidence and an alibi, were for the jury to decide. Lunsford told Brooks he had just shown his case to the prosecution. The case against the 39-year-old Brooks, of Howard, has grown in volume since his arrest in October 2010 on charges that in December 2009 he drove up alongside his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend’s car on state Route 64 and fired a shotgun. The boyfriend, Matthew Ross, was hit and injured, but survived. Brooks was charged three times since his arrest with intimidating his ex-girlfriend to talk her out of testifying. And police charged him with jury tampering for trying to influence a juror he knew when he was scheduled for trial last year. Trial is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday and run through Friday.
(WGRC)

CATAWISSA — Three undercover drug buys led police last week to a Catawissa-area apartment where methamphetamine was allegedly being cooked and sold.     Police charged the tenants, 60-year-old James Moses, and 50-year-old Christine Obutelewicz, with manufacturing and dealing meth there. When officers raided their apartment along Legion Road, they say they found a cardboard box containing items used to cook methamphetamine. They also found meth residue on the instruments. Police arrested the two after an informant bought meth from Moses and Obutelewicz at the apartment on three occasions between March 29 and April 4. They both each face more than 20 drug-related charges, plus a count of "causing a catastrophe." The Press Enterprise reports, both are jailed on $100,000 bail each in the Columbia County Prison.
(WGRC)

BELLEFONTE — Jerry Sandusky’s defense team will be able to refile its motions to dismiss the case as prosecutors turn over more evidence from their grand jury investigation into the former defensive coordinator. That was among the decisions Senior Judge John Cleland made in a ruling Thursday that followed a brief hearing last week to address the defense’s pre-trial motions. They included dismissing the case, sequestering the jury and asking prosecutors to turn over information about uncharged criminal behavior. The judge didn’t rule on sequestering the jury, instead delaying that decision to a time closer to trial. Cleland did approve the defense’s request to question potential jurors one by one at jury selection to determine if they can be impartial and fair. Doing it one by one will likely lengthen the time needed for jury selection, which is scheduled to start June 5 and expected to go for several days.
(WGRC)

SAINT CLAIR - A Saint Clair school district authority confirmed Thursday that a teacher terminated by the school board Wednesday night was 27-year-old Todd Evans, a middle school teacher charged December 7th with possessing child pornography. According to the school board Wednesday, the district received a letter from the state Department of Education on March 30 stating Evans' teaching certificate was suspended due to a determination he posed a threat to the health, safety or welfare of students and others in the schools of the commonwealth. On December 7th, Evans was charged with 10 counts of possessing child pornography and related federal counts. Evans remains in federal custody and if convicted of the federal charges, could be sent to prison for as long as 20 years, with a mandatory five-year minimum sentence.
(WGRC)

SUNBURY — Pennsylvania students who don’t comply with an upcoming immunization deadline likely will find themselves unable to attend school. The Daily Item reports, that equals to 573 kindergartners and seventh graders throughout the Susquehanna Valley by reports from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. May 1 is the deadline for most school districts, although the Department of Health estimates deadlines to fall between mid-April and mid-May, given respective first days of school. New state vaccine regulations took effect in August, and allowed eight months from the beginning of school for children to meet the new standards, which put Pennsylvania in line with recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new mandates require all school-age children to get second doses of chicken pox and mumps vaccines. Seventh-grade students also must get a dose each of meningococcal conjugate, tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccines.
(WGRC)

COAL TOWNSHIP - Twenty-one staff members of Shamokin Area School District lost their jobs Thursday night - 19 of whom were teachers. The staff furloughs - said to save an estimated $1.3 million - effectively eliminate music, art and physical education as standalone programs on the elementary and middle school levels. Board members were clearly affected by the harsh rebuke they collectively received from the audience of more than 500 people. Many in the audience shouted the answer, "At the top!", in calling for the district's highest paid employees - the administrators - to lose their jobs. Shamokin Area began its budget preparations last year facing a $5.6 million deficit. That deficit is now cut by more than half following the furloughs and other cost-saving measures. The board must still remove more than $2 million from a budget which is due to the state on June 30th.
(WGRC)

LEWISBURG — Though budget issues loom large, now may be the best time to move forward with the master facilities plan for the Lewisburg Area School District, which includes a multimillion-dollar project that would begin with a new high school campus. High School Superintendent Mark Dirocco told the School board Thursday night, “Now is the most cost-effective time to build.” The daily Item reports, Harrisburg may also hasten the decision as Governor Tom Corbett’s 2012-13 budget proposal includes a provision for a one-year moratorium on accepting new applications for state reimbursements for school construction and renovation projects. This could delay, or eliminate altogether, reimbursements from the state. As it stands now, Lewisburg would get an 8 percent to 12 percent reimbursement from the state. The master plan, adopted in November 2010, was estimated then at $55 million to $58 million.
(WGRC)

LECK KILL — The Line Mountain school board has voted to continue with construction plans that would lead to the closing of the Dalmatia and Leck Kill elementary schools. District Superintendent David Campbell says if the project is put out for bids by July and construction proceeds according to plan, the two schools would be closed for the 2013-14 school year, he said. The cost is estimated at $5.6 million. However the School Board must wait on moving on the decision as public hearings need to be held 90 days prior to the actual closing of either building. A discussion was held at Tuesday night’s board meeting regarding the hearings before the school could accept bids.
(WGRC)

MILTON — A grand opening of the new Milton Public Library at Rose Hill will take place later this month. Director of the Library, Sue Williams says they will have to close the old library for a week to move to their new facility. The library will be closed the week of April 16th with a grand opening at the new facility on April 29th.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The Lycoming County commissioners on Thursday agreed to admit Blair County as the ninth and newest member of the SEDA-Council of Government's Joint Rail Authority.  The decision was unanimous across the board. All eight of the authority's member counties are required to approve the admittance of any new member. Lycoming County's approval leaves Centre County as the lone county that has not given that OK.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - The Marcellus Shale cuts a wide swath across the state, including much of rural Pennsylvania. Interestingly enough, many residents whose homes sit above the natural gas resource have no access to it. The price of building pipelines to sparsely populated rural areas is very costly. This week local legislators including State Senator Eugene Yaw, and state Representative Garth Everett, took part in a discussion to consider the issue. Yaw, who serves as chairman of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, hosted the session in Bradford County attended by officials from the gas industry and government agencies. Yaw and Everett said heating with natural gas is cheap and customers using natural gas to heat their homes saw a $1,500 average annual savings in heating costs. But, until gas lines are extended to more parts of the state, many rural homeowners and businesses will not have that choice.
(WGRC)

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