Briar Creek Home Destroyed By Fire

A home was destroyed by fire early Sunday morning in Columbia County. Fire crews were called out around 3 a.m. at the place along Ruckle Hill Road in Briar Creek Township. The person who lives in the home wasn’t there when the blaze broke out. A neighbor called 9-1-1 to report the fire. Berwick Fire Chief Randy Remphrey says it was impossible to save the two-story home as it was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived the on scene. A state police fire marshal has been called in to try to determine the cause of fire near Berwick.

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BU Won't Divluge Reason For Sudden Departure Of 2 Student Affairs Administrators

Two of Bloomsburg University’s top student affairs administrators were escorted off campus last week and university officials have refused to provide a reason for their sudden departure, according to a report in the Press-Enterprise over the weekend. The paper reported university officials wouldn’t confirm if Dione Somerville, the vice president for student affairs for more than 8 years, and Don Young, dean of students for more than 7 years, were still employed by BU, but neither was listed on the school’s Student Life staff webpage. Jim McCormack is now listed as the acting vice president for student affairs. Young has been a fixture at the university for more than 26 years.

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Congressman Meuser Moves To Incentivize Coal Waste Clean-Up

Local Congressman Dan Meuser has introduced legislation to encourage the private-sector to cleanup coal refuse piles or culm banks across Pennsylvania. Meuser’s bill would give tax credits to power plants that burn coal refuse or waste coal to generate electricity. The companies would get $12.50 for every ton of coal refuse removed as long as the ground and landscape are restored. Of the 16 existing coal refuse plants in the United States, about a dozen are located in Pennsylvania, supporting 3,000 full-time jobs. But plant operators say their economic viability is threatened due market and regulatory challenges, including low-cost natural gas supply from the Marcellus Shale formation, subsidies to other forms of electric generation, and other regulatory and policy initiatives. There are currently more than 220 million tons of coal refuse in Pennsylvania, covering over 8,300 acres. Already, these Pennsylvania power plants have removed more than 225 million tons of such refuse, leading to the improvement or restoration of 1,200 miles of stream and reclamation of 7,200 acres of abandoned mine lands.

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Fatal Crash Reported Over The Weekend On I-80 In Northumberland County

One person was killed in a weekend crash on Interstate 80 in Northumberland County. State police say 22-year-old Joan Jimenez, of West Milton, was driving west along Interstate 80 in Turbot Township near Milton around 3:40 a.m. Saturday. The vehicle swerved across the westbound lanes and hit a guide rail. Jimenez was thrown from the SUV and struck by two vehicles. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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Local High School Football Scoreboard: FINALS

Selinsgrove: 20 - Danville: 16

Dallas: 22 - Berwick: 12

Mount Carmel: 55 - Bloomsburg: 13

Central Columbia: 24 - Lewisburg: 21 ( In Overtime)

Southern Columbia: 35 - Montoursville: 0

Bucktail Area: 28 - Columbia Montour Vo Tech: 12

Wilkes Barre Area: 28 - Williamsport: 7

Loyalsock: 29 - Warrior Run: 21

Tamaqua: 40 - Jim Thorpe: 7

Shikellamy: 21 - Shamokin: 20

Pottsville: 42 - Blue Mountain: 0

Old Forge: 13 - Northwest: 0

Delaware Valley: 49 - Wyoming Valley West: 0

Pittston Area: 21 - Crestwood: 20

Valley View: 28 - Scranton: 14

South Williamsport: 49 - Milton: 27

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Wrongful Death Suit Filed In Baby Death At Geisinger NICU

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Geisinger Medical Center by the parents of one of the 3 babies that died from a bacterial infection at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The suit was filed in Luzerne County Court by Philadelphia Attorney Matt Casey on behalf of the Hazleton area parents of Abel David Cepeda. Abel was born at the Danville hospital on September 24th and died in the NICU on September 30. The suit claims that when little Abel was delivered, Geisinger knew that its NICU was dangerous and contaminated with the bacteria that infected several babies. Cepeda was the third infant to die. The suit says Geisinger made a conscious, deliberate decision not to close its NICU and not to transfer premature infants delivered at less than 32 weeks, whom Geisinger knew to be at greatest risk.

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PA Auditor General Says Making Fentanyl Test Strips Legal Would Save Lives

Pennsylvania’s Auditor General is calling on state lawmakers to take action to combat fentanyl overdoses. Currently illegal in Pennsylvania because they’re considered drug paraphernalia, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is urging state lawmakers to pass legislation making fentanyl test strips legal In PA. Noting that fentanyl is often mixed into heroin, cocaine and meth without the knowledge of users, DePasquale says the test-strips can let them know if their drugs contain fentanyl before they use them. Without the ability to test for its presence, DePasquale says drug users could die from a fentanyl overdose without even knowing they took it.

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Board Of Governors For State-Owned Universities Can't Agree On Amount Of Money Needed For System Redesign

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors postponed action Wednesday on a request for funding for investment in a system redesign. While a motion was made in committee to request $100 million over five years for investment in a system redesign, PASSHE Board of Governor’s Chair Cynthia Shapira proposed amending the request to $300 million, saying that’s what’s really needed to get the job done. But board member, Representative Brad Roae voiced concern about the higher number, saying lawmakers are not likely to support it. In the end the board decided to table a vote pending further number-crunching. The State System is made up of the 14 state-owned universities including Bloomsburg University.

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Police Say Two Brothers Brutally Beat Berwick Woman Last Week

Berwick Police believe 2 brothers are responsible for a brutal beating last week that left a woman in a coma. 30-Year-old Michael Porth is in the Columbia County lock-up on $500,000 bail charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, robbery, burglary, and theft. Porth’s brother Christopher Lynn is being held in Pike County on a probation violation. 51-year-old Geraldine Carson was found unconscious and tied to a chair at her home on East 13th Street in Berwick last Tuesday. Authorities say the pair beat Carson so badly she was unrecognizable. Cops say Carson’s home was also ransacked and items were stolen, including a television. Witnesses told police Porth had threatened Carson about a week before the attack, demanding money he said she owed him and his brother. Police says she remains unconscious and has shown "no signs of improvement."

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New Traffic Lights At Busy Danville Intersection Will Be Activated Monday

PennDOT is advising motorists who travel Route 11 in the Danville area that new traffic lights that were installed at the Route 11 intersection with Railroad Street will be activated on Monday, October 21st. The new traffic lights will have left turn arrows which the current traffic lights don’t have. The timing and operation of the signals are based on traffic volumes.

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Jerry Sandusky To Be Resentenced Next Month

We now know the date for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's resentencing. In an order filed Tuesday, Jerry Sandusky will appear in a Centre County courtroom November 8th, as Judge Maureen Skerda reviews the sentence given following the 45-count child sexual abuse conviction in 2012. Sandusky's attorneys successfully appealed saying some mandatory minimums weren't properly followed when he was given a term of between 30-and-60 years. The re-sentencing was to take place this month, but that was delayed when Judge John Foradora recused himself. Judge Skerda, who serves Warren and Forest counties was named to take over the case last week.

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Christmas Tree Grown In Northumberland County Is Headed To The White House

A Pennsylvania Christmas Tree has been chosen to be the official White House Christmas Tree. A Douglas Fir, about 22 feet tall from Mahantongo Valley Farms in Pitman, Northumberland County has been chosen to be the official White House Christmas Tree. This is the 10th time in the past 54 years that Pennsylvania will be providing a Christmas tree to the White House with the last time having been in 2015. The tree will be cut and transported to the White House in November and displayed in the Blue Room. PA is home to more than 1,400 tree farms and ranks third in the nation in Christmas tree production.

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Another Bomb Threat At Danville High School

For the second day in a row, a written bomb threat was discovered at Danville Area High School. The school was put on lockdown Tuesday morning around 10:30 and students were taken to the auditorium while bomb-sniffing dogs and police searched the rest of the building and campus. Nothing was found. Students returned to their classroom and resumed their day shortly after noon on Tuesday. On Monday, the Danville High School was evacuated and students were sent home after a written bomb threat was found. The Montour County DA says the whoever is responsible for the bomb threats at Danville could face felony charges.

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Geisinger Has Agreement To Sell Harrisburg-Area Hospital

Geisinger has announced plans to sell Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, Cumberland County to Penn State Health which owns Hershey Medical Center. Target date for completion of the transaction is June 30th, 2020. The change in ownership will require regulatory approval and will include affiliated outpatient practices, urgent care centers, and other facilities. Geisinger bought Holy Spirit back in October of 2014. In recent years Holy Spirit has faced declining patient volumes and a challenging financial picture.

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State Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearings On Bill To Abolish Statute Of Limitations On Sexual Assault

ollowing 2 days of lengthy hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee may soon vote on legislation reforming the Statute of Limitations on sexual abuse, but vote has yet to be scheduled. The bill removes all time limits for future victims of sexual assault, establishes a two-year window to file retroactive claims, and includes penalties for those who fail to report sexual abuse. Passage of the bill is one of the recommendations from the 2018 grand jury report from Attorney General Josh Shapiro outlining decades of abuse and cover-up in six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.

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Danville High School On Lockdown

Danville High School was placed on internal lock down just before 11 o’clock Tuesday morning due to a potential threat. There is no word on the exact nature of the threat. The school notified parents via phone call and emails about the lockdown and said it initiated with local police for safety purposes. Students were not being permitted to leave the building. Just yesterday afternoon Danville High School was evacuated and closed due to written bomb threat.

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Bomb Threat Closed Danville H.S. Monday Afternoon

A threat forced the evacuation and closure of Danville Area High School on Monday afternoon. The superintendent confirmed the decision was made to send the students home due to a bomb threat that was received shortly after noon on Monday. Police wouldn’t say much about the threat except that it was a written threat. Students were evacuated to football field on campus where they had to wait for a bus or a family member to take them home. All after school events at the high school including practices and games were canceled for Monday afternoon. Police and a bomb-sniffing dog searched the school for hours, but no bomb was found. Authorities are investigating who is responsible for the bomb threat at the Danville High School.

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Local Lamaker To Host Tele-Town Hall On Wednesday Evening

Local state Senator John Gordner will hold a telephone town hall meeting tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Senator Gordner says this type of meeting allows constituents to listen in, offer their opinions, and even ask a question from the comfort of their homes. If you want to take part you need to sign-up online. A link to the online sign-up is available here. Folks can also choose to audio stream the event live via their smartphone or PC. Senator Gordner represents all of Columbia, Mountour, Northumberland, and Snyder Counties as well as part of Luzerne County in State Senate in Harrisburg.

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