One Resident Unaccounted After Fast-Moving Weekend Fire In Bloom That Destroyed Two Homes

A massive fire destroyed two homes and damaged several others in Bloomsburg over the weekend and now, with one resident unaccounted for, a cadavar dog is being brought in to search through the debris. The fire was reported at about 1 o’clock Sunday morning when a passerby noticed smoke and flames coming from a double-block home at 335-337 Fair Street near Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital. All that’s left of the duplex is a charred pile of rubble. The blaze spread to an adjacent student apartment house at 341 Fair Street, which was gutted by the blaze. The student apartment house was empty, but Bloomsburg Fire Chief Scott McBride tells our news partner Newswatch 16 that only three of four people who live in the duplex that was leveled have been accounted for. A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, but the fire chief says the damage is so severe, the cause may be never known.

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Top Republican In State Senate Wants Open Primaries In PA

The top Republican in the state Senate is calling for movement on his bill which would affect primary elections in the Commonwealth. When Pennsylvanians go to the polls on Tuesday, only those registered Republican or Democrat will be able to vote. That would change under a bill sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, which would open up the primaries to those registered Independent. Scarnati says that would represent a greater percentage of the voting population. The measure is currently before the Senate State Government Committee.

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Berwick Police Bust Up Drug Ring

Three people are locked up and police in Berwick are searching for two others after they busted up a drug ring dealing in heroin and methamphetamine, according to our news partner Newswatch 16. Police say 56-year-old Charles Hess Sr., and 29-year-old Charles Hess Jr., of Berwick, are both facing charges following a raid yesterday. Police have also charged an informant, Tyia Starr, saying she warned at least one of the suspects prior to the raid. Police are also looking for Damon Magnuson and Zachary Parker. Authorities warn that Magnuson and Parker are considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is asked to contact police in Berwick.

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Geisinger's Life Flight Moving Danville Base To Selinsgrove

Geisinger's Life Flight Moving Danville Base To Selinsgrove

After 38 years in Danville, Geisinger is moving its Life Flight 1 base to Snyder County this summer. The move will allow for expansion, giving more space in Danville to the program's maintenance team. Geisinger says the program’s base in Danville, which has been on the GMC campus since 1981, will be relocated to the Penn Valley Airport near Selinsgrove. The Danville location will continue as the helicopter maintenance facility. Geisinger says the move will decrease response times in Juniata, Mifflin, lower Northumberland, Perry, Snyder and Union counties, which are furthest away from specialized treatment. Life Flight averages 2,800 transports per year with nine helicopters spread over a half dozen bases in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. Life Flight recently transported its 66,000th patient in its history.

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PennDOT To Hold Public Meeting On Big Road Project In Bloom

PennDOT will host a public meeting about a plan to reconstruct parts of Routes 11 and 487 in the Town of Bloomsburg. The meeting is set for Wednesday, June 5th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Monty’s on Bloomsburg University’s Upper Campus. During the meeting, PennDOT will present plans to reconstruct East Street, Poplar Street and Ferry Road from Main Street to the Susquehanna River Bridge. Columbia Boulevard from 6th Street to Park Street will also be milled and resurfaced. The existing traffic signals at the 5th Street, 6th Street and 7th Street intersections with East Street will be replaced. The Town of Bloomsburg is developing a project to construct sidewalks and street lighting, which will be incorporated into the PennDOT project. The reconstruction will be done in short phases so the entire length of road won’t be closed for the duration of the project. The work is tentatively scheduled to begin in Spring 2021.

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DEP Surveys Impact Of Flooding On Fishing Creek

Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection joined other state and county officials in Columbia County Thursday afternoon for a tour of Fishing Creek to see the impact of erosion and flooding. And, last night DEP officials held a public open house at the Benton High School to share information about working in streams impacted by flooding and erosion. DEP officials also discussed how the Wolf Administration’s $4.5 billion infrastructure improvement plan known as Restore Pennsylvania can help communities dealing with the aftermath of flooding. Wolf’s is counting on the passage of a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production in order to fund the initiative. Columbia County state Representative David Millard has it made known multiple times that he supports the Governor’s Restore PA initiative.

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Catholic Diocese Of Harrisburg Provides Update on Its Survivor's Compensation Program

The enrollment period has ended for the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg’s Survivor’s Compensation Program for victims of clergy child sex abuse. The 90-day enrollment period for the program which began on February 12th ended on Monday. The Diocese says Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation or CMCI for short will making settlement offers between now and the end of June. The Diocese says it’s not involved in the process of determining who is eligible for settlements and the amounts. Bishop Ronald Gainer says when the settlement period ends, the Diocese will release a final report on how many survivors it was able to support. The bishop says the Diocese will continue offering counseling to survivors, whether or not they take part in the compensation program or receive a settlement. The Harrisburg Diocese includes parishes in Columbia and Montour Counties.

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A Bill To Ban Abortions Of Unborn Babies Diagnosed With Down Syndrome Passes State House

For the second consecutive session, the state House has approved legislation regarding abortion and a Down Syndrome diagnosis. State Representative Kate Klunk was among those voting for the bill which would prohibit the abortion of unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Klunk says a baby should not be discriminated against because the they have an extra chromosome. But, State Representative Melissa Shusterman voted against the bill, calling it an attempt to restrict the rights of women. The bill now goes to the Senate where similar legislation failed to pass last year.

Legislation To Allow Night Vision Equipment To Be Used For Predator Hunting Advances in State House

A bill which seeks to help predator hunters has been advanced by the state House Game and Fisheries Committee. The bill would remove restrictions on the use of night vision equipment for hunting and allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission to regulate the equipment. Supporters say the use of night vision scopes on rifles could, for example, help predator hunters to control the coyote population in northwest PA and other parts of the state where there are too many coyotes.

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Pennsylvania AG Sues OyxContin Maker

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has announced he’s filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the creator of the prescription painkiller OxyContin. While at least 39 state have already sued Purdue, Shapiro says this suit is is the first to specifically detail how the company’s sales force visited PA doctors more than 500,000 times and pushed them to write more and more prescriptions for the addictive opioid. With the exception of California, the suit says, Purdue “made more sales visits in Pennsylvania than any other state.” Shapiro says the company’s sales force would continue to call on doctors who over-prescribed and illegally prescribed OxyContin. Shapiro contends that Purdue misinformed doctors about the addictive nature of OxyContin. All the while, the company made more than $35 billion in revenue. Pennsylvania is one of the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. An estimated 26,300 people died statewide from opioids between 1999 and 2017.

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State DEP To Hold Open House On Stream Erosion And Flooding Thursday In Benton

The state Department of Environmental Protection will host a public open house in the Benton High School Auditorium this Thursday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to provide information and resources to landowners and municipal officials seeking to work in streams impacted by flooding and erosion. Attendees can speak one-on-one about their stream work and flooding questions with staff from the DEP and other state and county agencies and view educational displays and demonstrations. A short presentation by the DEP will happen at 5:30 p.m. DEP officials say municipal officials and streamside landowners are strongly encouraged to attend Thursday night’s open house in Benton.

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GI Bill For PA National Guard Families Passes State House

A bill that would benefit the families of Pennsylvania National Guard members who re-enlist has been unanimously approved by the state House. The bill would establish the Military Family Education Program or GI Bill for Families. Under the legislation the spouse and/or children of a Pennsylvania National Guard Member who re-enlists for a second six-year term would receive 10 semesters of tuition-free higher education. Representative Stephen Barrar says the bill would also address the re-enlistment problem facing the National Guard which is about 2,300 members short.

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A Carbon County Man Charged In Friday's Standoff With Bloom Police

Charges have been filed against the man involved in that a four hour standoff with police last week in Bloomsburg. Investigators say 23-year-old David Andrew of Nesquehoning threatened to harm himself and barricaded himself in a bedroom with a handgun early Friday morning inside Hunsuckle Apartments while visiting his girlfriend, who’s a Bloomsburg University student. Officers say Andrew fired two shots during the incident, but no one was injured. Hundreds of residents in the off-campus housing complex were evacuated as a precaution. Andrew, who is not a university student, has been charged with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. Court papers indicate Andrew was heavily intoxicated and the incident was likely touched off by relationship problems with his girlfriend.

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President Trump To Hold Rally In Lycoming County Next Week

President Donald Trump is coming to Pennsylvania for a rally the day before voters in a congressional district in the northcentral part of the state pick a new representative to go to Washington. Trump’s rally is Monday, May 20th at a hangar at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville. Republican Fred Keller and Democrat Marc Friedenberg are vying to fill an open seat created by Republican Tom Marino’s resignation in January. The district is heavily Republican and voters there backed Trump in 2016′s presidential election by better than 2-to-1 over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Click here for information on tickets. They are being issued on a first come, first serve basis.

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PA Lawmakers Hear About The Legalization Of Pot In Massachusetts

With some state officials considering legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, lawmakers recently heard about legalization of pot in Massachusetts. Steve Reilly, who co-founded a cannabis company in Massachusetts, says if Pennsylvania legalizes the recreational use of marijuana it would need a state infrastructure to oversee the program. Reilly says the state would also have to consider setting a tax rate. He says ideally that rate should help to make the final cost of the product equivalent to the black market which eventually would effectively eliminate that market.

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Hate Crimes Legislation Unveiled At Pittsburgh Synagogue Where 11 Were Killed In Mass Shooting

A package of bills being proposed would address hate crimes in Pennsylvania. The legislation includes increased investigative authority by the state Attorney General, enhanced training for police officers in how to determine when a hate crime has been committed, and mandatory sensitivity training as part of any hate crime sentence. A news conference announcing the bills was held outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a mass shooting last October claimed 11 lives.

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Staffers At State Youth Lock-Up In Montour County Named In Abuse Suit

A non-profit advocacy group for disabled children and adults in Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department of Human Services alleging physical and emotional abuse of the kids at the state’s 3 Youth Development Centers including the North Central Secure Treatment Unit (NCSTU) on the ground’s of the Danville State Hospital. The 125-page lawsuit by Disability Rights Pennsylvania details repeated instances of assault, intimidation, humiliation, and the illegal use of restraints as well as subsequent cover-ups by staff and administrators at the facilities. Five of the 11 youth complaints detailed in the suit involve the NCSTU in Danville. Disability Rights Pennsylvania says approximately 70 percent of the children placed at the Youth Development Centers have mental health, developmental, or intellectual disabilities.

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Columbia County Jury Rejects Defendants Insanity Defense

A former Berwick man will face the possibility of significant jail time after being convicted in connection with a shoot out with police back in 2015 at the Berwick Industrial Development Association complex. A Columbia County jury rejected 39-year-old James Calderone’s insanity defense and convicted him Friday on the attempted murder of 3 Berwick Police Officers. He was also convicted on aggravated assault and reckless endangering charges. No sentencing date has been set.

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