A Columbia County man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for supplying the heroin and fentanyl that killed a Bloomsburg man back in 2016. 62-year-old Jeffrey Jones, of Orangeville, had pleaded guilty in federal court in Williamsport in December to selling the drugs to 27-year-old David Dietz, Jr., of Bloomsburg, on July 28th, 2016. Dietz was found unresponsive in a bathroom of The Press-Enterprise newspaper, where he was employed. He died despite being given a shot of Narcan in an effort to reverse the effects of the drugs. The federal prosecutor in the case was seeking an 18-year sentence for Jones.Read More
All three Montour County Commissioners made it through Tuesday’s Primary Election. On the Republican side, incumbents Ken Holdren and Dan Hartman were able to fend off a challenge from Derl Reichard, Jr. On the Democratic ballot, incumbent Trevor Finn and Stephen Bennick, currently a county deputy sheriff, were unopposed for their party’s nomination. The four candidates—2 Democrats and 2 Republicans—will vie for the three county commissioner seats in the Fall general election.Read More
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified that Pennsylvania is in compliance with the REAL ID Act. Beginning on October 1st 2020 REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards will be required to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal building. A birth certificate or passport, a Social Security card and 2 proofs of PA residency are required to get a REAL ID driver's license or ID card. There’s also a $30 REAL ID opt-in fee which must be paid.Read More
Authorities say it was a meth lab explosion that caused a fire that heavily damaged a double home and injured one person in the 300 block of Chamber Street in Danville on Tuesday morning. Police have charged 33-year-old Richard McHugh with operating a meth lab, risking a catastrophe, reckless endangering, manufacture of methamphetamine with child present, and endangering the welfare of a child. He is in the county lock-up on $250,000 bail. McHugh lived in the home at 321 Chamber Street with his girlfriend, Nikki Doebler, and her son. Michael Mowrer, Jr. who doesn’t live there was helping to cook the meth and was burned. He was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital. The Montour County DA say Mowrer will likely face charges as well. The fire also damaged 325 Chamber St. where a grandmother, a grandfather and a granddaughter lived.Read More
A Pennsylvania appeals court panel has agreed with a decision to reinstate a Bloomsburg University college professor. The Commonwealth Court ruling upholds a June 2018 decision by an arbitrator, which voided the termination of BU assistant professor John Barrett. Barrett was fired in 2017 after it was determined he had engaged in consensual relationships with two students. The arbitrator overturned the decision, which the panel upheld: it ruled that the two women in question were not taking any of Barrett’s classes at the time of the relationships, and that he had not violated any school regulations. The ruling calls for Barrett to regain his standing at Bloomsburg, with full back pay and benefits.Read More
The state Department of Health is declaring a Hepatitis A outbreak in the Commonwealth. Health officials report that 171 people have contracted the illness, ranging across 36 counties, most prevalent in Philadelphia and Allegheny. Officials say the best preventative measure is through the Hepatitis A vaccine. By declaring the outbreak, the state becomes eligible for federal funds to purchase additional vaccine, if necessary.Read More
The Columbia County coroner has confirmed that the body of 40-year-old Fabio Adragna was pulled from what was left of a two-family home in the 300 block of Fair Street in Bloomsburg on Monday. A fast-moving, intense fire early Sunday morning reduced the double-block home to a pile of charred rubble. An excavator and a cadaver dog had to be used to help recover the man’s body. The fire also gutted a student apartment house next door. Investigators say they may never know what sparked the deadly fire in Bloomsburg.Read More
A husband and wife from the Berwick area are accused of stealing mail from their neighbors and then using it to steal their identifies. Our news partner Newswatch 16 is reporting that 31-year-old Ernest Stonebraker and his wife 39-year-old Theresa Stonebraker are facing several counts of identity theft. Federal, state and local authorities raided the couple’s home in the Pleasant View Mobile Home Park, off Stone Church Road, in Salem Township, Luzerne County Monday morning. Police say the couple was stealing other people's mail and getting a hold of their bank information. Salem Township police say they got their first complaint about six weeks ago. They believe the couple stole mail from more than 15 people and racking up thousands of dollars on their accounts.
A bill advanced by the state House Human Services Committee seeks to protect a person who leaves a drug treatment facility before they are cleared to do so. Under the bill a drug treatment facility would have to notify an emergency contact when a person leaves a facility against medical advice. The bill’s sponsor, state Representative Eric Nelson says a common scenario in which this occurs is when a drug dealer sends someone in to entice a person out of treatment and then that person is forced into prostitution and sex trafficking. The bill now goes to the full state House.Read More
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.Read More
A resurfacing project on Route 42 in Columbia County will continue this week. A PennDOT contractor will pave from Hill Road in Millville Borough to Route 442 in Greenwood Township. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane. While minimal delays are expected, motorists are urged to be alert and drive with caution through the work zone.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
A Bloomsburg woman has been charged with stealing nearly $20,000 from her employer last year. Police say 26-year-old Anita Bucher was employed as a cashier at Beer-N-More along Route 11 in Montour Township, Columbia County when she stole the money from her register between late April and early July of last year by voiding transactions.Read More
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.
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.Read More