Shamokin Fatal Fire
A 13 – year old Shamokin girl is dead after a fire destroyed a number of row homes along South Rock Street at midday Tuesday. Melissa Pangburn was found by firefighters on the third floor at 5 South Rock. She was a seventh grader at Shamokin Middle School. The four alarm fire was first spotted around 11 O'clock at 5 South Rock and spread to neighboring homes. Ms. Pangburn was pronounced dead by Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley.
A state house panel held its third hearing this week on the issue of elder abuse, taking testimony from law enforcement. Montour County District Attorney Rebecca Warren told the panel she's seeing a rise of the theft of pain medication from seniors. Meantime... fraud and scams are running rampant according to David Shallcross of the state Attorney General's office.
A busy weekend is planned at Bloomsburg University with an estimated 550 students up for graduation. BU spokesperson Bonnie Martin says the weekend starts Friday eventing with commencement for 73 graduate students... including seven doctoral candidates. Also two graduation ceremonies will be held Saturday. All the ceremonies will be held in the Haas Center for the Arts.
A 17 – year old Benton juvenile is in custody after he allegedly made off with an SUV... later found in a Briar Creek trailer court. State Police tell us... the teen allegedly took the SUV from the 400 block of third street in Benton. It was later found on Lark Drive at the Berlin Trailer court... across the street from Ber – Vaughn Park. Also discovered... a number of credit cards not in the teen's name. The unnamed teen was turned over to Columbia County Juvenile authorities... since he was serving probation.
Luzerne Co. Budget
As expected... the Luzerne County Council has given their okay to a 2014 budget on a six to five vote. The $124 – million spending plan call for a property tax increase... averaging $42.00... with the possibility of 40 workers furloughed. Right now... Luzerne County is facing a $1.4 – million budget gap. In the past... County Executive Robert Lawton has said that number could go up to as high as 200 people if concessions aren't forth coming from the unions who represent workers.
Plymouth Meth House
A drug bust of a Meth lab in Plymouth sent dozens of people into the streets... and without anywhere to live. Police arresting three people in the process... but due to the lab inside the building on Main Street at least two dozen people were forced to seek shelter elsewhere. No one knows why there were people living there... since the place was condemned two years ago.
Barletta / Public Safety
11th District congressman Lou Barletta of Hazleton... who represents Columbia County... has introduced a measure exempting volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel from the Employer Mandate Provision of Obamacare. Mr. Barletta says has been concerned... since the Internal Revenue Service views volunteer firefighters as employees. That would force fire companies and municipalities to provide health insurance or pay a fine... increasing their financial burden... and threaten public safety.
Did you try to visit the Wal – Mart in Buckhorn... in Hemlock Township Monday night to do some shopping.... but you couldn't in because it was closed... something unheard of. A bomb threat shuttered the 24 – hour store for seven hours. No device was found... and the store reopened around 3 Tuesday morning.
A Hazleton man is going to prison for life. 20 – year old Breon Judon was convicted two months ago of murdering 29 – year old Aaron Reznick in August of 2012 in order to steal his iPhone. Judon and a partner... 18 -year old Michael Dedes... kidnapped... robbed and beat the Hazle Township chemist.... leaving him for dead on a Hazleton street. Dedes, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the case and agreed to serve a 25-to-50-year's behind bars in state prison.
A state lawmaker wants to encourage Pennsylvanians to buy products that are made in the commonwealth. Rep. Neal Goodman of neighboring Schuylkill said he introduced House Bill 1800 to help the state's economy. Goodman said his legislation would establish a new "Made in PA" logo for products manufactured or produced in Pennsylvania, and would build on the PA Preferred program started in 2004 by the state Department of Agriculture to promote food and agricultural products grown or produced in the state.
There are reasons why a proposal to expand and privatize the state lottery may have to wait until next year. The lottery plan was created, in part, to net more revenue for the commonwealth ahead of what could be a rough budget year. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, doubts the legislature can pass a plan before the holiday break. Senator Pileggi says issues that need to be addressed include authority of the governor to engage a private firm, and the authority of the lottery to conduct keno-style games. Some lawmakers are concerned that, because of saturation, there's little money left to reap from expanding gambling opportunities.
Now that Paul Darragh has been named the head coach of the Bloomsburg University football team, he and his coaching staff can hit the recruiting trial with certainty. Darragh sat down with our Jim Doyle to talk about the hiring process which was made official at the start of last weekend. As interim head coach Darragh led the Huskies to a 10 and 2 record and a PSAC championship.
Three senior members of the Bloomsburg University football team have accepted invitations to play in post season All Star games. Offensive tackle Matt Feiler will play in the East-West shrine game on January 18th in Saint Petersburg. On that same day, running back Franklyn Quiteh will play in the National Football League players association collegiate bowl in Los Angeles. The Huskies record setting placekicker Dan Fisher will play in the Division 2 vs. NAIA Senior Bowl on December 21st in Myrtle Beach.
In top 20 college basketball... it was Florida over Kansas 67 – 61.