A Bloomsburg woman has pleaded guilty to homicide and aggravated assault by vehicle in connection with a 2016 crash that killed a Danville man and injured 3 others. Investigators initially believed texting by 27-year-old Sarah Conrad caused the chain reaction crash on Route 11 in Montour Township, Columbia County that killed 28-year-old Andrew Protsko. But, ultimately police believe that it was Condrad’s speed, estimated at more than 70 miles per hour, that was the cause. There’s no word on exactly when Conrad will be sentenced.
Police in Briar Creek Township, Columbia County are asking for the public’s help in tracking down the person or people responsible for damaging the Boy Scout building next to Immaculate Conception BVM Church at 1730 Fowler Avenue in the township. Police say several windows and doors in the building were damaged earlier this week. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Briar Creek Township Police Department at 570-759-0354.
State Rep. David Millard will host a concealed carry seminar this coming Tuesday, April 23rd, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the VFW at 1408 W. Front St. in Berwick. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are needed due to limited seating. Columbia County DA Tom Leipold and Sheriff Tim Chamberlain will provide information about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws and how to safely interact with police while carrying a concealed firearm, as well as discuss the Castle Doctrine in Pennsylvania. The Castle Doctrine is the legal right of a person to defend themselves against an intruder in their home. To register for the seminar online, visit RepMillard.com/events. For more information or to register by phone, call Rep. Millard’s Bloomsburg district office at 570-387-0246.
Saturday (4/20) is “Dumpster Day” in the Borough of Danville. Dumpsters will be available for borough residents from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Danville Soccer Complex on East Market Street. There is no charge to toss your junk, but proof of residency is required. Items that are not accepted include TV's, computers, brush, weeds, grass, landscape timber, wood fences, rocks, stones, tree stumps, garden waste, dirt, sod, cement, oils and fuels of any type.
Kay Wenner of Stillwater stopped by the WHLM studios Thursday to pick up her grand prize giant chocolate bunny and Easter basket from Karen’s Candies in Berwick. Congratulations Kay, and Happy Easter from WHLM!
The National Weather Service says that tornado that touched down in Benton early Monday morning was bigger and stronger than first thought. Weather service investigators initially said they believed it was an EF1 twister with wind speeds of 110 miles per hour. The first estimate also indicated the tornado’s path was about 2-and-a-half miles long. But now the National Weather Service believes wind speeds actually reached 115 miles per hour which makes it an EF2 tornado. The weather service also believes the tornado’s path was actually about 4 miles long instead of 2-and-a-half.
The Benton Area Middle/High School got a big boost as the community continues to recovery from flooding last year. As a result of the school being hit with flood waters, just about all of the books in the library became moldy and had be thrown away. In all about $200,000 worth of books had to be tossed. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation just gave a $20,000 grant to the school to replace some of the books. Some of the money will also be used to add a multimedia studio to the library.
The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF1 tornado with winds of 110 miles per hour touched down in Sullivan County early Monday Morning. The tornado’s path was about 10 miles long from World’s End State Park into Dushore. Weather officials have now confirmed at least 9 tornadoes touched down in Pennsylvania as a strong cold front swept across the state Sunday into Monday.
The House State Government Committee did a little spring cleaning this week. The committee approved one bill which would abolish a number of outdated boards and commissions. The committee also voted to repeal several archaic regulations still on the books, including one which prohibits individuals and associations from playing baseball or football games before 2 pm and after 6 pm on Sundays and another which makes it illegal to engage in motion picture exhibitions before 2 pm on Sundays.
There’s no school for a third straight day in the Millville Area School District due to damage from the wild weather early Monday. The biggest issue is that a portion of the roof was ripped off the Millville Elementary School. Superintendent Cindy Jenkins spoke to our news partner Newswatch 16 and says no classrooms were damaged. However, the roof above the offices and cafeteria was ripped off and that allowed water to get inside. When students return to school, they will have to use a different entrance, and they'll eat lunch someplace other than the cafeteria.
National Weather Service investigators believe it was straight line winds reaching up to 105 miles per hour and not a tornado that caused damage late Sunday night or early Monday morning in Limestoneville area of Montour County. The strong winds leveled a barn and ripped roofs from homes and a shed. In all, about a half dozen buildings in Limestoneville were damaged by the storm.
Lt. Governor John Fetterman is bringing his statewide marijuana listening tour to Columbia County at the end of this month to gather input from the public on whether or not Pennsylvania should legalize recreational pot. Fetterman is scheduled to be at Bloomsburg University on Tuesday, April 30th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to meet with the public. The Lt. Governor supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use, but says his statewide tour isn’t about pushing his own views. Fetterman has visited more than 40 counties since February on his quest to visit all 67 counties in the state. He has yet to schedule a marijuana listening session in Montour County. Governor Wolf says it’s important to explore the subject, now that states along Pennsylvania’s borders are moving toward legalizing recreational pot. Pennsylvania has already legalized medical marijuana.
The number of millionaires in Pennsylvania is on the rise. The state Department of Revenue says between 2013 and 2017, the number of millionaires in the Commonwealth jumped 30 percent, from 13,412 to 17,484. Also, the Revenue Department says Columbia County saw the biggest surge in million-dollar earners of any county in the state. Between 2013 and 2017 the number of million-dollar earners in Columbia County jumped by nearly 61%...again the biggest increase of any county in the state. As of 2017, the state Department of Revenue says Columbia County had 28 residents with taxable incomes of a million-dollars or more a year.
With cleanup efforts continuing following Sunday night’s devastating storm that struck hard in Northern Columbia County, Millville area schools will be closed on Wednesday due to continued power outages in the area.
The National Weather Service in State College has confirmed that it was tornado that left a 2-and-a-half mile long path of destruction in northern Columbia Columbia County in and around Benton early Monday Morning. Weather Service investigators believe the EF1 tornado with winds speeds of up to 110 miles per hour touched down near the intersection of O Roy Road and Distillery Hill Road in Benton Township at about 1 o’clock Monday morning and continued northeast into the Borough of Benton. Nine mobile homes off Everett Street sustained significant damage. Additionally, about a dozen homes and businesses were impacted by the tornado. The National Weather Service says the twister lifted near the Mill Race Golf Course. A lighting strike or downed power line is believed to have started a fire that gutted the newly renovated clubhouse at the golf course. The owner says the campground and golf course were also destroyed by the storm.
The two most successful high school football programs in the history of the state playoffs have agreed to meet in the 2020 season opener. Southern Columbia and Berwick have combined to win 15 state championships. The Tigers and Bulldogs will play at Crispin Field in Berwick to open the 2020 season and then at Tiger Stadium in the 2021 opener. The only time Southern Columbia has played Berwick in football was in 1965 when the Bulldogs won 34-13 at Crispin Field.
A Catawissa man has been charged with sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl back in January. 29-year-old Jonathan Marra has been charged with indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption of a minor. He was placed in the Columbia County lock-up after failing to post $25,000 bail on Friday following his arraignment. Investigators became aware of the sexual assault because the girl was brave enough to tell a friend; that friend was brave enough to report it to school officials, who then reported it to the proper authorities.
All-in-all it was a pretty typical block party weekend in Bloomsburg. There was the usual large police presence with officers on foot, riding bicycles, in cars and on horseback. There were plenty of citations written and arrests made. With the usual litany of unpleasantness on display including fighting, public drunkenness, underage drinking, as well as cans and bottles being thrown. Two young men were arrested for hitting police horses with a bottle and/or a can.
Saturday is the annual Block Party in Bloomsburg which involves large scale partying, underage drinking, public drunkenness and other unpleasantness by BU students and other young people from outside the area. Depending upon your perspective the weather will either be perfect for block party or awful. With a forecast of some sunshine and temperatures in the low to mid 70s the party-goers will likely think the weather is perfect. For town residents who wish block party wouldn’t occur at all would probably rather see rain which tends to put a damper the party atmosphere.
A Berwick Area School District junior high girls basketball coach and retired elementary school teacher has been charged with 50 counts of possessing child pornography. Agents from the State Attorney General’s office found the images of child porn after serving a search warrant Thursday at the home of 65-year-old David Shields of 180 Stone Church Road in Salem Township, Luzerne County. Shields has been suspended as coach of the team which is not currently practicing or playing games.
Pennsylvania's Auditor General is reporting significant progress over the last three years when it comes to investigating cases of rape in Pennsylvania. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is reporting a dramatic decrease in the number of untested rape kits in Pennsylvania. Since 2016 the number of untested kits has gone from over 32 hundred to just 339, a decline of almost 90 percent. In addition, the PA State Police and Philadelphia Police crime labs had no backlogged rape kits as of December 2018.
Spring pothole patching season is underway in Pennsylvania. Following the creation of potholes during this winter's freeze/thaw cycles, PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards says the asphalt plants have reopened and PennDOT crews are out there patching potholes. Richards says anyone who sees a pothole can report it by calling 1-800-FIX-ROAD or by going to the Customer Care section on PennDOT's website. She says the public's help is important because crews can only fix what they know about.
Bloomsburg University has announced that the BU Foundation has completed the purchase of apartments adjacent to the campus in downtown Bloomsburg. The properties, formerly owned and operated by Dr. Willard H. Kile Jr., were added to several existing student-housing and residential real estate locations that the foundation manages through a subsidiary called Advanced Student Housing, LLC. A news release didn’t identify the exact Kile properties purchased, but a website for Advanced Student Housing listed rentals that would be available in August at 415 Lightstreet Road, 3 Country Club Road, 100 S. Penn Street, 235 Catherine St. and several locations on Penn Argyle Avenue. The release say the newly acquired properties will allow the foundation to provide additional scholarship funding to BU students.
Danville Borough Council has awarded a $1.9 million contract to Miller Brothers Construction of Schuylkill County to build a new police station on the playground of the former Danville Elementary School in the 500 block of East Front Street. The borough manager says work is expected to get underway in the next 4 to 6 weeks. The new police station will be nearly 9,000 square feet, while the current police station on Mill Street is about 3,000 square feet. Danville officials say the new building could be completed before the end of the year.
The first major gun law in Pennsylvania in over a decade took effect yesterday, and Gov. Wolf says when it comes to addressing gun violence, this should be just the beginning. Act 79 requires anyone who is the subject of a protection from abuse order to relinquish all firearms within 24 hours of the order being issued. Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill in October. Similar bills should also be passed according to the Governor, including expanded background checks and a measure which would allow law enforcement to seize a person's firearms if that individual poses a risk to him or herself or to others.
As the weather turns warmer and people spend more time outdoors the state Department of Health is urging them to protect themselves from Lyme Disease. With the deer tick which causes the disease found in each of the state's 67 counties, PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says it is important for people to guard against Lyme Disease. Dr. Levine says that means covering exposed skin when outside, using an insect repellent containing DEET and doing a tick check after coming inside.
There’s a big change in the state's most popular hunting season. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has changed the first day of rifle deer season. The game commission gave preliminary approval in January, and on Tuesday made it official. The opening day of rifle deer season moves from the Monday after Thanksgiving to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The vote was 5-3. Those who supported the change believe it will entice more people to hunt. It will help hunters who can't get the first Monday after Thanksgiving off from work or school. Opponents cited tradition and crowded highways on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Rifle deer season has started on the Monday after Thanksgiving since 1963. The change takes effect this year with the season opening on November 30th , 2019.
A Boomsburg woman has pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence in connection with a deadly crash back in 2017 in Union County. Prosecutors say 38-year-old Sabrina Gearhart was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and was speeding when she crashed her car into a tree back in October, 2017 in Buffalo Township, Union County. A passenger in the car, 30-year-old Blake Baver of Sunbury, was thrown from the vehicle and was killed. Gearhart could face up to 7 years in prison when she is sentenced later this year. Gearhart was living in Milton when she was arrested in connection with the deadly crash.
Legislation to give people an incentive to come to the rescue of a child left in a hot car is moving through the state legislature. A bill approved by the state Senate would extend current "Good Samaritan" laws to someone who forcibly enters a vehicle to help a child in distress. It was introduced as Senate Bill 49, because that's the number of children who died last year from vehicular heatstroke in the US. That number eventually rose to 51. The bill, which now heads to the House has the endorsement of a number of organizations, including the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A bill which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to change the process for drawing Congressional and General Assembly election maps has been approved by the Senate State Government Committee. The bill calls for amending the PA Constitution to establish an 11 member independent commission to draw Congressional and legislative election maps. The commission would be comprised of four Democrats, four Republicans and three independents. 7 affirmative votes, including at least two Democrats, two Republicans and two independents would be required to approve an election map.