Here is the latest from Newsradio 1070 WKOK

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Charter school offers choice

NEW BERLIN – A local resident says the idea of a charter school in New Berlin will present a choice for parents.  Susan Chlebowski is member of the charter school planning committee and says they have excellent public schools, but they are simply trying to offer a choice. 

Chlebowski says we get a choice where we shop for our groceries and parents should have a choice where they send their kids to school. Chlebowski says they formed their group when the Mifflinburg School District decided to close New Berlin elementary school at the end of the school year.  She says a neighborhood school is key to the sustainability of a small town like New Berlin. 

She says it’s a community hub and binds a community together.  The district has 75 days to make a decision on the charter school.  To find out more, visit their website at www.newberlincharterschool.org. (Ali Stevens)

Tax increase in Northumberland Borough

NORTHUMBERLAND -- A 2012 budget has been approved in Northumberland Borough and real estate taxes will increase by 10%.  Borough council voted 5 to 1 to approve the $1.5 million budget.  Only councilman Jonathan Rees voted against it. 

Borough secretary Jan Bowman says the millage increased from 26.3 in 2011 to 29 in 2012.  She says the biggest increase was for street repairs. 

The street repair budget went from about $67,000 to $120,000, which is an 80% increase.  Bowman says road, curb and sidewalk repairs are needed in a number of locations throughout the borough.  (Ali Stevens)

Plans already in the works for Sunbury River Festival 2012

SUNBURY -- As 2011 comes to a close, members of Sunbury's River Festival committee are committed to making the 2012 event bigger and better. 

Just a month after the August festival ended, the committee is back to work says Sunbury Revitalization Incorporated president Janet Yonkoskie.  She says they are looking at restructuring the festival and trying to get more people and families to Sunbury.  She says they will continue to look at bringing in more games, the talent show and the car cruise-in.

Yonkoskie says they are also looking for public input.  You can contact the SRI office at 286-7768 and for more information to go www.sripa.com. (Sara Bartlett) 

More charges filed against a Mifflinburg man

MIFFLINBURG -- A Mifflinburg man charged with stealing several guns earlier this month is now facing additional charges.  21-year-old Adam Culp is accused of breaking into a home along Bogar Lane and stealing around $3,600 worth of jewelry, cash and savings bonds. 

Culp reportedly took the items to a pawnshop to try to sell them for cash.  Culp was already facing charges for stealing several guns from a home and selling them to a sporting goods store.  He is also charged with breaking into a car in October and stealing a debit card.  (Ali Stevens)

Man accused of selling heroin at a motel in Allenwood

LEWISBURG -- A Lewisburg man is accused of selling heroin to an undercover police officer at a motel in Allenwood.  State Police charged 51-year-old Edward Stewart for incidents that took place in July and October.  Stewart is charged with six felony drug counts for the heroin sales. 

Police say Stewart had an accomplice that they are searching for.  She has been identified as 37-year-old Nia Whitlock.  The investigation continues.  (Ali Stevens)

Sponsors needed for Northumberland County veterans banners

SUNBURY -- Sunbury Revitalization Incorporated is collecting applications for hometown veteran's banners.  The goal is to hang banners on light poles throughout Sunbury featuring Northumberland County veterans.  They will feature a picture, their name and their service. 

Sponsoring a banner is $200 and the money raised goes to SRI.  You can pick up an application at the SRI office, the Sunbury Legion, the Sunbury VFW, Northumberland County Veterans Affairs office or Susquehanna Bank. 

You can also download an application online at www.sripa.com.  All applications much be returned by February 29th.  There will be an unveiling ceremony in May. (Sara Bartlett) 

Man charged with threatening officers

SHAMOKIN -- A Coal Township man charged with threatening probation officers with a shotgun in November will go to court.  The Shamokin News Item reports 53-year-old Michael Bramhall was held for court on charges of aggravated and simple assault following a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. 

Bramhall is accused of threatening probation officers who came to his door in search of a woman.  No injuries were reported.  (Ali Stevens)

Public hearing opens New Berlin Charter School debate

MIFFLINBURG -- Supporters of a charter school proposed for the New Berlin area say it would offer an option for students who do better in non-traditional classrooms. About 75 supporters made their case Tuesday night to the board of the Mifflinburg Area School District.

The public hearing was the start of a process that proponents hope will result in district approval of a school for about 100 students in grades K-4. There's no site for the school yet, but the group hopes to use the New Berlin Elementary School building.

Marie Smith of Mifflinburg says it will be oriented to art, music and environmental studies. Teachers will also work with students for two consecutive years.

Supporters and officials disagree about whether the somewhat autonomous school will save money or hurt the district through a loss of a $1 million dollars in state education money. Mike Miller of Mifflinburg was skeptical at first, but says he supports the new school if the finances work out.

A decision will be made within 75 days. Superintendent Daniel Lichtel says there will be at least one more hearing before the board votes, and written remarks sent to district offices will be accepted in the meantime.

Officials say the hearing is still open, and they are accepting comments by mail at the Mifflinburg Area School District 178 Maple Street, Mifflinburg, PA 17844 New Berlin Charter School supporters offer more information online at www.newberlincharterschool.org. (Matt Farrand)

American Legion manager charged in theft

MILTON – The former manager of the American Legion Post 71 in Milton has been charged with stealing more than $18,000 from the organization. Charges of theft and receiving stolen property were filed against 47-year-old Wayne Brown of Milton.

He was released on bail after being arraigned before District Judge Bob Bolton. Brown was reportedly fired from his job as manager after the legion board discovered the thefts had been taking place since January. A recent audit discovered $18,844 in missing deposits. (Ali Stevens)

NFF Family: Mom of three getting help from Needy Family Fund

MILTON -- Denita Robinson came from a rough background, but now feels blessed to be living in The Valley. At only 24-years-old, the Milton mother of two moved out of a domestic abuse situation in Philadelphia a year ago. The family lived in The Women's Center in Bloomsburg before moving into their own house this summer. "I'm taking on all my own bills now," Robinson says, "but it has been really difficult, plus I have student loans." Her children are ages 7 and 4. "They know it has been tough," she says of her children, "but at the same time, every time they see something on TV they want it."

Despite tough times, Robinson says she has come a long way from one year ago. "Just to come here and be inside our own home, not putting the kids through trouble and see the things they have seen in the past, it's a blessing in itself." she says.

The family of three will be spending Christmas in Milton this year and will be getting help from the Needy Family Fund. The Need Family Fund will provide a food basket for Christmas dinner as well as toys for the kids. Robinson calls the Salvation Army a great organization and is thankful the kids will have something under the tree, but says she is happy just as long as they are together and safe as a family.

You can help this family and many others with a generous contribution to the Needy Family Fund. Each year, The Daily Item, the Salvation Army of Milton and Sunbury, Susquehanna Bank and the Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation team up to raise money for needy families.

Salvation Army distributes toys, food, clothing, and gifts to eligible families. You are asked to consider a generous contribution to the Needy Family Fund. Donations can be dropped off at any branch of the Susquehanna Bank. More details are posted at www.wkok.com.

NFF $: Needy Family Fund draws closer to $60,000

SUNBURY – As Christmas approaches, the Needy Family Fund is still growing. The total today is $58,489.35. That includes donations of $500 from Ann Claire Mattern of Beavertown and in memory of Nessie & J.C. Watson. There was a $250 donation from St. Elias Sunday School in Sunbury and $200 donations from Todd and Kimberly Brosius of Sunbury and Walter Bastian of Sunbury. The goal for the Needy Family Fund is $75,000.

This week, the Salvation Army’s of Sunbury and Milton are distributing food, toys, clothes and more to needy families in the region. The Needy Family Fund is sponsored by the Susquehanna Bank, The Daily Item and Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation. You can make your donation at any branch of Susquehanna Bank. Find out more on our website at www.wkok.com. (Ali Stevens)

Kerstetter tapped as Assistant DA in Snyder County

MIDDLEBURG -- Brian Kerstetter has been appointed First Assistant District Attorney in Snyder County. Kerstetter, a Lewisburg attorney, will assume the position January 1 in the position being vacated by judge-elect Michael Hudock. Kerstetter previously served as First Assistant DA from 2001-2006 when President Judge Michael Sholley served as DA. (Sara Bartlett)

Burglary in Middleburg

MIDDLEBURG -- Middleburg Police are investigating a burglary at a local store. It happened overnight between Monday and Tuesday at a pawnshop along Market Street in Freeburg. Police say someone entered the building through a rear door. Once inside they stole coins, rings and a necklace. The stolen items total more than $2,500. Anyone with information is asked to call Middleburg Police at 837-0321. (Sara Bartlett)

CASA employees move on in Northumberland County

SUNBURY -- Not more than 24 hours after they were asked to leave their office, two employees for Northumberland County's Court Appointed Special Advocate are doing what they are told. Director of CASA, Judy Jones, says they have already started packing boxes and hope to find a new location by January 20.

Jones said Monday they were notified by Northumberland County Chief Clerk Gary Steffen that they could no longer use the office space. Jones says Steffen assured the employees that there was no problem and that the county appreciates their work.

CASA has been occupying the office in the Northumberland County Courthouse for three years at no charge. Jones says they hope to find another rent-free location because any funds spent would take away from providing for children in the all volunteer-based organization.

Jones says she did ask the question of 'why?' but have not gotten answers from Steffen or Commissioner Vinny Clausi. Clausi tells us that he 'can not make any comment at this time.' The other commissioners were reportedly not involved in the situation.

Jones says right now they are working to move forward, looking for a new place and continue their work advocating for abused and neglected children. (Sara Bartlett)

Milton man charged with Legion theft

MILTON – The former manager of the American Legion Post 71 in Milton has been charged with stealing more than $18,000 from the organization. Charges of theft and receiving stolen property were filed against 47-year-old Wayne Brown of Milton.

He was released on bail after being arraigned before District Judge Bob Bolton. Brown was reportedly fired from his job as manager after the legion board discovered the thefts had been taking place since January. A recent audit discovered $18,844 in missing deposits. (Ali Stevens)

Montour County DA talks about Gricar on national TV

DANVILLE – If you watched NBC’s Dateline program on Friday night, the disappearance of Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar was featured. Montour County DA Bob Buehner was interviewed by Dateline. Beuhner was good friends with Ray Gricar at the time of his disappearance and to this day, believes foul play was involved.

He says if you look at the two other possibilities, suicide and walking away from his life, they don’t make any sense. Beuhner says if you were going to commit suicide, you wouldn’t jump off the Lewisburg River Bridge because the water isn’t deep enough.

He adds that Gricar, had no stressors in his life that would trigger a suicide attempt. Also, since his disappearance in 2005, only $15,000 of his money was unaccounted for, so it’s unlikely he just walked away.

The missing person’s case has come back into the headlines following the Penn State sex abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, since Ray Gricar decided not to file charges against Sandusky in 1998.

Beuhner does not believe there is a connection between Gricar’s disappearance and the Sandusky case. Beuhner says Gricar never even got the 2002 allegation report against Sandusky because it stayed at Penn State.

Beuhner is glad Dateline chose to highlight the mystery of Gricar’s disappearance and still believes there is someone out there that knows what happened to Gricar. To hear the entire interview with District Attorney Bob Beuhner, go to our sister station’s website at www.wqkx.com. (Ali Stevens)

Sex abuse cases rise

UNDATED – Following the arrest of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on child sex abuse charges, advocates across the state say more victims of sexual abuse are coming forward to tell their own stories.

Dr. Pat Bruno is a pediatrician at the Child Advocacy Center in Northumberland County. He says naturally, the scandal has raised more of an awareness of sexual abuse. Bruno says the number of calls to the hotline in Pennsylvania have increased substantially and their calls in Northumberland County have also increased.

Dr. Bruno says children don’t lie about sexual abuse. He says like adults, children lie to get out of trouble and not to get into trouble. For that reason, Dr. Bruno says if a child tells someone they have been abused, it’s important to believe them and let authorities know.

You can hear more from Dr. Bruno and Melissa DeBaro of the Child Advocacy Center in Point Township from Tuesday’s On The Mark program, online at www.wkok.com. (Ali Stevens)

Motorist leads police on a 10-mile chase

RICHFIELD – Police are trying to find a motorist who led Middleburg police on a 10-mile chase along Route 35 in Snyder County Saturday night. An officer tried to pull the motorist over for speeding around 7:15 p.m. in Freeburg.

The motorist reportedly sped away heading towards Mount Pleasant Mills at speeds of 100-miles-per-hour. The police officer crashed his car near Richfield and the motorist got away, however the officer got the registration number and the investigation continues. No injuries were reported. (Ali Stevens)

Truck hauling paper crashes on Route 54

COAL TOWNSHIP – Traffic was shut down on Route 54 early this morning in Coal Township after a tractor-trailer accident. The News Item reports Brian Petro of Reading was descending Natalie Mountain between Bear Gap and Natalie around 2:30a.m. when he lost control of his tractor-trailer.

The rig slammed into a rocky embankment and bent in half. The truck was hauling paper, which scattered across the road. Petro was taken to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment of unknown injuries. The highway was closed for several hours. (Ali Stevens)

Latest Pennsylvania news, business, and entertainment

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - State College police say rioters caused at least $190,000 in damage when they took to the streets after the ouster of legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno.  Police Chief Tom King says much of the damage is tied to a TV news van that was tipped over by rioters.  Authorities have charged 38 people in connection with the riot. All but three are Penn State students.  The Patriot-News report says State College police have also logged about 725 hours of overtime related to the sex scandal that led to Paterno's firing.  The university Board of Trustees fired Paterno late Nov. 9, a few days after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing children. Sandusky has said he's innocent.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Democratic candidate for Congress says he'll run for Pennsylvania's 11th District U.S. House seat, even though his Wilkes-Barre house sits across the boundary of a new district map expected to become law shortly.  Bill Vinsko said Wednesday that he'll continue with his plans to challenge freshman Republican Rep. Lou Barletta.  Republican mapmakers redrew Pennsylvania's U.S. House  Districts.  In the process, they made dramatic changes to the 11th District in an effort to improve Barletta's chances to win a second two-year term in next year's election.  Vinsko, a 36-year-old lawyer and businessman, says his house is at the tip of a triangle that the Republican mapmakers cut into Luzerne County. He says the redrawn map puts his house barely inside the 17th District, which is represented by Democrat Tim Holden.

CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) - State police say no charges will be filed against a firefighter who they say caused a crash that killed a central Pennsylvania woman.  Authorities say the driver will be cited for failing to drive at a safe speed, although he was not exceeding the speed limit when he crashed into the side of a sport-utility vehicle on Dec. 8.  Seventy-year-old Constance Walsh was killed in the collision in South Middleton Township, Cumberland County.  Investigators say there was no gross negligence on the part of the fire truck's driver.  Officials say the fire truck had its lights and siren on while heading to a report of a car fire at the time of the crash.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

The Latest Business News

Dow: 12,098.60, down -4.99

S&P 500: 1,243.79, up 2.49

NASDAQ: 2,576.41, down -27.32

Stocks slump...ECB opens the cash taps...White wine Castle?

PARIS (AP) - From Europe to the U.S., stock markets have been under pressure today. Across the Atlantic, the declines came after the European Central Bank loaned a record amount to the continent's banks in an effort to bolster continent's troubled financial system. On Wall Street, technology shares have led the way down after Oracle's discouraging earnings report.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - The European Central Bank has opened its credit tap, allowing hundreds of banks to take out a record $639 billion in loans. It is the biggest ECB infusion of credit in the 13-year history of the shared euro currency.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose  last month. But the National Association of Realtors says it overstated about 3.5 million sales during and after the Great Recession, showing the housing market remains much worse off than earlier thought.

BOSTON (AP) - America's biggest corporations continued to spend more money on stock repurchases in the third quarter, with buybacks rising 49 percent compared with a year ago. Standard & Poor's says stock repurchases by companies in the S&P 500 totaled $118 billion in the July-September period. That's up from nearly $80 billion in last year's third quarter. Buybacks also rose compared with this year's second quarter.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The White Castle hamburger chain is reportedly digesting the idea of selling booze along with its burgers. It is testing beer and wine sales at a location in Lafayette, Ind., that combines a traditional White Castle burger joint with a BBQ concept.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Pennsylvania Lottery Numbers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - These Pennsylvania lotteries were drawn Wednesday:

 Mega Millions

     Estimated jackpot: $173 million

 Midday Big 4

     3-9-3-3

Midday Daily Number

     8-2-8

Midday Quinto

     9-5-6-4-1

Powerball

     Estimated jackpot: $104 million

 Treasure Hunt

     07-10-14-22-26

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Features & Entertainment

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to reduced battery domestic violence and harassment charges before a Las Vegas judge.  Judge Melissa Saragosa also ordered the 34-year-old Mayweather on Wednesday to complete 100 hours of community service and pay a $2,500 fine.  The plea deal avoids trial on felony allegations that he hit his ex-girlfriend and threatened two of their children during an argument at her home in September 2010.  Prosecutor Lisa Luzaich told the judge Mayweather has been in trouble before and hasn't been punished.  Attorney Karen Winckler had argued that the public would benefit more if Mayweather performs 100 hours of community service with children. She says she's considering an appeal.  Mayweather was told to report to jail Jan. 6.

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's no surprise that the most-watched show of the year was the Super Bowl. Nielsen says 111 million people watched the Packers beat the Steelers, making it the most-watched telecast of all time. Among regularly scheduled shows, "American Idol's" performance episodes were tops, averaging about 24 million people. The results shows were next with 22 million, followed by NBC's Sunday Night Football. The "Dancing With the Stars" performance episodes ranked fourth for the year, followed by the results shows. Of course, lots of people don't watch their favorite shows until later. The series with the most delayed viewers is "American Horror Story." Nielsen also tracked the shows with the most buzz. It found that the biggest percentage of people were talking about "Chuck." The others mentioned weren't even close, though "Desperate Housewives" got more buzz than shows other than Chuck.

LONDON (AP) -- An ex-employee says Piers Morgan had to have known his tabloid was hacking celebrity phones. He says intercepting voicemails was a common practice at the Daily Mirror and that "nothing happened at the newspaper" without Morgan knowing about it. Morgan has denied any direct link to the hacking, but he wouldn't answer questions about how he came to hear a voice mail message from Paul McCartney to his then-wife Heather Mills.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)