2012-12-19 19:42:00 by Mark Williams / News Director
It costs $300,000... and weighs in at 9 and a half tons. It's an armored personnel carrier manufactured by Massachusetts – based Lenco... and it's stationed in Bloomsburg. Police Chief Leo Sokoloski says it's main purpose is to get law enforcement officers into an out of dangerous situations... as well as extricate people from dangerous situations and to sniff the air for chemical weapons. Although the APC... known as the Bearcat will be housed in Bloomsburg... it will be used in a seven county area stretching from Wyoming to Berks County.... including Columbia, Montour and Luzerne.
In the wake of that school shooting in Connecticut last week... educators across the state... and here locally... are checking their security plans. For the most part... all are taking a pro – active approach... so says Bloomsburg School Superintendent Dr. Cos Curry. Those plans also include tweaking for things such as fire drills and lock downs in the event of any trouble on any of the school campuses.
Buy local... and that's what appears to be the case in downtown Bloomsburg. With only days away from Christmas folks are discovering the downtown area... so says businessman Tim Wagner. And Wagner says there will be late night shopping this Friday... with downtown merchants staying open late.... and Santa will be at his cottage to greet the kids who have gift requests.
Manger in the Park
Who says the Bloomsburg Town Park is only for summer activities. The Methodist churches in the area are producing a “Manger in the Park” presentation Sunday at the park bandshell. Pastor Jake Woodward appearing on the Wednesday edition of the WHLM Morning Buzz says there is a live cast for the event... as well as live animals. The Manger in the Park presentation gets underway Sunday at 6:30 at the Bloomsburg Town Park.
Danville Middle School
The Danville School Board Tuesday night voted to renovate the District's middle school... along Route 11... closed since the flooding of September of 2011. The repair work will cost in the neighborhood of $9.3 - million... with most of the tab being picked up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Press – Enterprise is reporting in Wednesday's edition... that work is expected to start soon with the school open for business at the beginning of the 2013 – 2014 school year. Zartman Construction of Northumberland is the prime contractor.
Hazleton Murder Probe
Hazleton police say a woman found dead inside an apartment on East Diamond Avenue is 32 – year old Maria Brea. She had been missing since last Friday... and so has her ex - boyfriend Oscar Lozano Garcia. Authorities say Brea was strangled. She initially was reported missing when she failed to pick up her two kids at school Friday afternoon. Now... authorities are on the lookout for Garcia... as the investigation continues into Brea's death.
Charged in Valley Fatality
A Wilkes – Barre man has surrendered to police... and is now charged with an accident involving a death. That's a third degree felony. 40 – year old Daniel Loughnane of Hanover Township is accused in the hit and run death of a 19 – year old Rebecca McCallick last July. Loughnane allegedly stuck and killed McCallick on Hazle Avenue with his Ford pickup truck. During a search of the truck... police found evidence... such as hair and bone fragments. Loughnane is now free on bail.
The YMCA in Bloomsburg is wishing for something this Christmas season.... how 'bout some cold weather so they can get some use out of their 5,000 square foot ice rink at their 7th Street property. The “Y's” Roger Brown says the rink is full of water... the lights are up for nighttime skating... and rental skates are ready for use. All they need is some cold temperatures... below 32 degrees overnight... as well as during the daytime hours.
Wilkes – Barre Robbery
Police in Wilkes – Barre Township are looking for an armed robber who held up a convenience story early Tuesday morning. Cops say a man strolled into the Turkey Hill store near Wilkes – Barre and threatened the clerk with a knife. The bandit getting away with an unknown amount of cash from the clerk.
A former high school football coach has pleaded guilty in federal court to child pornography charges. 28 – year old Joseph Ostrowski of Wilkes – Barre... the former gridiron coach at Holy Redeemer High School was arrested last may. He made his plea on Tuesday. Ostrowski could be sentenced 25 years to life... with a lifetime of supervised release.
Bixler Folo Up
He may have died from an accidental overdose of prescription medicines. That word from authorities in the death of 57 – year old Julian Bixler of Millville. Deputy Columbia County Coroner Linda Kessler telling the Press – Enterprise that additional testing has been ordered to see if that's the case... or if Bixler died due to hypothermia. His body was found Friday between two school buses in a parking lot... north of Millville.
Warrior Run Teachers
The Warrior Run School Board member didn't cultivate any good will... when he told student and teachers... he worked more hours as a professor... than anyone in Warrior Run. Lyle Horn later apologized. It came during a board meeting in Turbotville this week. For the past year and a half... the board and teachers have been trying to hash out a new contract. Horn's remarks didn't set well with the teachers.... sparking them to walk out of the meeting.
Table Games Revenue
Pennsylvania gambling regulators say gross revenue from table games at the state’s 11 casinos was up 3.4% last month compared to November 2011. The state’s gaming board says table games revenue was $55.9 - million last month, up from $54 - million during the same period the year before. This year’s figures, however, include $2.6 - million generated from table games at the state’s newest casino in suburban Philadelphia.
A Sunbury man was charged with breaking into the Pennsylvania Dutch Market on Market Street in Sunbury over the weekend. Police say 38-year-old Chad Wolfe was spotted in the back of the store which was closed at the time. Police found a window had been broken and arrested Wolfe shortly thereafter. He’s jailed in lieu of $75,000 in the Northumberland County Prison.
In BU College Basketball action Wednesday, the Huskies were on the road to play the Vulcans of California in a pair of close games. The BU Women's team won their game 63-61. The Men's team traded the lead with Cal in the closing minutes but ultimately lost their match 71-68. You can hear all the details from the night's games with Jim Doyle in the WHLM Husky Post Game Report: