2013-12-13 06:05:00 by Mark Williams / News Director
**OPERATION STORM WATCH**
Winter Storm Warning
The National Weather Service in State College has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Susquehanna Valley... and all of central and eastern Pennsylvania. It's all due to a complex storm system stretching from the Southern Plains to the Great Lakes. We could see anywhere from five to eight inches of snow across the region... bringing with it sloppy driving conditions... and a secondary blast of cold air. The Warning runs from 5 O'clock Saturday morning through 4 O'clock Sunday morning.
Cancellations & Postponments:
* Luzerne County Community College will be closed on Saturday.
* Saturday Night's High School Boys' Basketball game between Central Columbia and Bloomsburg has been postponed to a date yet to be determined.
* St Mary's in Berwick's Christmas Play and Party has been re-scheduled from Sunday the 15th to Epiphanny Sunday, January 5th at 11 am.
* The Saturday morning Starving Artists Breakfast at the Moose Exchange Cultural Center in Bloomsburg has been cancelled this week.
* The Florence Thompson plaque dedication at the Bloomsburg Recycling Center has been postponed from Saturday to a date to be determined.
Red Kettle Bell Ringers
It appears Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringers aren't bringing in as much money as they had during the past holiday seasons. Lt. Kevin Polito of the Berwick Salvation Army chapter ringers are at area Wal – Mart stores... but they began on Black Friday.... a week after the Red Kettle program began at other stores. Despite getting a late start, Lt. Polito says contributions to the Red Kettle remain steady. The money raised will be used for the local Salvation Army's gift giving and food giveaway.
Fire investigators now say that a discarded cigarette tossed in a trash can led to a row home fire which killed a 13 – year old Shamokin girl this week. Melissa Pangburn was trapped on the third floor of the building on South Rock Street... after the fire began on the second floor. Despite efforts... no one could get to the teen. A candlelight vigil for Ms. Pangburn was held Thursday night.
Berwick Police are still searching for two men who entered a woman's house this week dressed as water company employees... stealing money and jewelry. The Hispanic and Caucasian men said they were from the water company. But, United Water spokesman Bob Manbeck says don't be fooled by imposters. Manbeck says United Water employees drive trucks with the company's logo on the side... another sure way to know if the people at your front door do... in fact... work for the water company.
For most of us... this weekend is jam – packed full of activities. In Berwick... it's Victorian Nights beginning at 5 O'clock Saturday afternoon... when Santa arrives to light the community Christmas tree at St. Charles Park at Front and Market Streets. That word from Amy Shortlidge of the Columbia – Montour Chamber of Commerce. Earlier in the day there will be a free showing of the motion picture “The Polar Express” at the Berwick Theatre.
Black Creek Twp Tree
Who stole Christmas for the residents of Black Creek Township... near Hazleton. The lower branches of the township's Christmas tree were hacked off earlier this week less than two weeks after the tree was lit in Alumni Park. The lights were thrown on the ground. Township supervisors reporting the incident to state police at the Hazleton barracks. The Township's recreation committee is now offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A half – dozen Hazleton residents are lucky to be alive after they were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. It happened in a half – double home on North Lee Court when a plugged flue and chimney forced the toxic fumes into the structure. The home's heating system was recently converted from oil to gas heat... with the residue collapsing... blocking the chimney. All were treated at Hazleton General Hospital.
Hanover Twp Drugs
A big time drug operation in Hanover Township... near Wilkes – Barre has been shut down. Police say 26 – year old Jessica Muchler of the Marion Terrace apartment complex was busted this week. Not only did they find psychedelic mushrooms growing... they also found heroin... ecstasy and drug packaging materials inside her apartment. Muchler is now in the Luzerne County Jail awaiting someone to post bail.
High School Basketball
It was rivalry night in Girls' High School Basketball on Friday, as Central Columbia was at Bloomsburg. The Jays led early and took the Panthers to a 50-35 Central win. You can hear the details with Jim Doyle in the WHLM High School Hoops Report:
Girls HS Basketball
In girls basketball Thursday night... Southern Columbia downed Montgomery 54 to 48... and Benton defeated Columbia Montour Vo – Tech 43 to 24.
Bloomsburg University's senior defensive end Larry Webster has been named a finalist for the Cliff Harris award which goes to the small college defensive player of the year.
NFL / Thursday
In the final NFL Thursday night game of the season... the San Diego Chargers out scoring the Denver Broncos 27 to 20.