Only days before Christmas... a fire swept through an apartment building at 250 West Street in Bloomsburg. The alarm sounded shortly before 2:30 Friday afternoon when smoke and flames were seen coming from the rear of the two story building. Bloomsburg police officer Ken Auchter telling WHLM News when he spotted the smoke, he immediately wheeled his patrol car to the scene... getting residents out of the building. One resident, John Moore was chased from the structure by the flames wearing only a pair of pajama bottoms. He had to shoes or shirt. Bloomsburg firemen asked for... and received... mutual aid from area fire companies. The cause of the Friday afternoon blaze remains under investigation.
A rough Thursday night and Friday Morning in the Susquehanna Valley as winds associated with a cold front knocked down trees on roadways... fell on power lines knocking out juice to nearly 600 PPL customers in Columbia and Montour Counties. The winds also scattered loose items and Christmas decorations on porches into neighbor's yard. In some areas in Columbia County... the wind was out of the east... clocked with gusts of up to 35 miles an hour. Officially.. at the Selinsgrove Airport... gusts of up to 24 miles an hour were recorded overnight.
PPL Reactor Shutdown
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is investigating the second shut down of Unit Two at the PPL Steam Electric Station in Salem Township in the past week. Unit 2 came to a safe shutdown late Wednesday night when there was a problem with a water pump as operators tried to put it into operation. If you recall... the unit shut down automatically a week ago when a valve on it's main turbine system failed. Although the NRC has launched an investigation... in the past... an agency engineer has told WHLM News the plant is safe.
The Town of Bloomsburg has a new operating budget in place for 2013. Council unanimously giving their stamp of approval last night. It contains no property tax increase, but it does show a nearly $100,000 deficit. But councilman Eric Bower says... for the most part... he's pretty happy with the plan. That budget gap is expected to be covered by Federal Emergency Management Agency money due to the town treasury stemming from the flood of 2011.
There is a big crack down on suspected drunken drivers across a ten county area... including Columbia and Montour Counties. It's the number one criminal offense in Columbia County. During a news conference Thursday at the State Police barracks... Sgt. Leonard Rogutski of the Bloomsburg Police Department says drinking and driving remains a major problem. Sgt. Rogutski says that during the holidays... there will be roadblocks established to check on drivers... as well as roving patrols.
Berwick has been plagued with a rash of home burglaries over the past few months. Some crooks have been caught in the act... others escaping with goods taken from the homes and cars that were unlocked. And those stolen items may be fenced to buy drugs. During a recent interview... Berwick Police Chief Ken Strish says they need help from the pubic in combating the crimes. Most of the burglaries have been in the area of LaSalle and Washington Streets... as well as the area of Front and Mulberry.
Two West Hazleton residents were taken into custody late Thursday afternoon after a search warrant was served on their home on Ridge Avenue. The pair aren't being identified... but police say the home at 303 Ridge has been the focal point of several heroin buys over the past few months. The investigation, meantime, continues into the Hazleton area heroin trade.
Fatal Crash Probe
Investigators want to know why a Wapwallopen man was traveling an estimated 100 miles an hour on Interstate 81... earlier this week... crashing his car and winding up dead. Police say 44 – year old John Kosko was traveling at that speed on the left shoulder of the highway near the Nuangola exit. That's when he lost control... the car rolling over in the median. Kosko was tossed from the car.
Kiddie Porn Sentence
A Hazleton man will spend the next ten years in federal prison. 22 – year old Rafael Polonia pleaded guilty earlier this year to using a computer to download and distribute kiddie porn. Polonia was originally arrested nearly a year ago... but those charges were eventually dropped. But the feds stepped in leading to a more severe penalty.
A 37 – year old Snyder County man is in the Northumberland County jail after making threats toward an elementary school in Point Township. Police say Jeremy Church made the threats... just a week after the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. The Priestly Elementary School on Cannery Road went into an immediate lock down... with many parents rushing to the building. Police arrested Church... who lives in Middleburg... charging him with making terroristic threats.
AP Team All – State
The Susquehanna Valley was well represented in the Associated Press Class A and Class AA all state football teams announced Thursday. In Class A, Bloomsburg wide receiver John Klingerman made the team along with two Southern Columbia players - offensive lineman Ryan Cherwinski and linebacker Cody Pavlick. In Class AA, two members of Danville's District 4 championship team were named all state - linebacker Eric Haney and defensive back Cale Rice.
In girls high school basketball Thursday night.. Berwick defeated Meyers of Wilkes – Barre 33 – 25.
In boys' basketball Thursday night... it was Benton over Bucktail Area 61 – 44.
Friday Night Basketball
Among Friday's boys' basketball games, Central Columbia is at Hughesville. You can hear that match up on the WHLM Stations beginning with the pregame show at 7:10.
High School Wrestling
In high school wrestling Thursday night.. Central Columbia shut – out Danville 76 to nothing.