Local News 12/10/18


It looks like property owners in the city of Williamsport will be paying even more in taxes than originally planned.  Following a long city council session on Thursday night focusing on Mayor Campana’s $37.3 million dollar budget for 2019, council decided to adjust the city tax increase up from .65 mills to .75 mills.  Council members are worried about the low fund balance and say the increase will mean another $87,519 dollars for the city in revenue.  The city faces a $1.5 million dollar deficit with a three year plan in place to bring that deficit down.


A family of five is homeless following a fire which destroyed a Northumberland County home yesterday.  The fire broke out before noon in the home along Old State Road in Lewis Township just outside of Turbotville. Firefighters from several companies were called in to fight the blaze. The unidentified family was home at the time but was able to make it out without injury. It took some time to bring that fire out and damage was extensive, though an estimate was not release.  It’s believed the cause of that fire was an overheated chimney flue.


A detour goes into effect this week as crews commence a flood repair project on the River Road in White Deer Township, Union County.  A contractor will replace a pipe under the road near the intersection with Tabernacle Road. The project is expected to take approximately three weeks to complete and a detour will be in place using Route 642 and Old Route 15.


A crash on Interstate 80 late last week resulted in a woman from Cambria County being hospitalized in critical condition.  State police in Milton report that the crash happened on Thursday morning around 6am in the westbound lanes in White Deer Township, Union County as an SUV driven by Prokash Potluri of Altoona collided with a tractor trailer driven by a Florida man.  Potluri’s car then spun after impact and his passenger, 72 year old Maria Ignacio of Hastings Pennsylvania was transported to Geisinger Medical Center where she remained in critical condition over the weekend.  Potluri’s was treated a Geisinger and later released.  The truck driver was not injured.


A theft which occurred late last month in Old Lycoming Township has police there looking for more information.  On November 26th someone got onto the grounds of Stallion Gas and Oil Field Services along Beauty’s Run Road and proceeded to take a large amount of power cord copper wire.  They then loaded it into a Stallion pickup truck on the property and drove off with it with the truck later found abandoned in the Cogan House Township area, but the copper was gone.  Police are asking anyone with information regarding that theft to give them a call at 570-3213-4987 or 570-329-4060.


It’ s back to work for a city police officer in Williamsport who was suspended with pay in 2017 and then fired last summer by city council.  Eric Houseknecht who was a corporal at the time of his suspension in August of 2017 for several incidences of insubordination and misconduct which were never specified, will go back to work today as a patrolman according to city officials.  It was decided he would be fired last July, but the police union was appealing that firing.  Houseknecht’s demotion is a result of a settlement between the city and the police.


A water boil advisory which was issued by the Crawford Township Authority remains in effect for part of it’s water system.  A 6” water main lead occurred late last week with repairs completed over the weekend.  Consumers that are affected live in the area north of 2999 Rauchtown Road into Limestone Township at Middle Road.  Customers are reminded to boil their water for 1 minute before using. The advisory will remain in effect until testing is of the water supply is deemed satisfactory.


State Senator Gene Yaw is reminding local municipalities, colleges and community groups that they have until February 7th to apply for state grants which would boost safety and reduce violence.  Yaw says that a new program included in the 2018-2019 state budget will hand out a total of $7.5 million dollars through June 30th stateside to support the violence prevention programs.  Yaw says the grants awarded through the program will help build stronger partnerships in the community with the goad of creating a safer environment for children.  More information and applications are available at www.pccd.pa.gov.


PennDOT reports that flood debris removal will take place in our area at both I-80 and Route 147.  The work will take place during daylight hours beginning today and occur at the I-80 westbound piers of the River Bridge between Route 15 in Union County and Route 147 in Northumberland County and also on Route 147 northbound between Packer Island and Northumberland.  Lane restrictions will be in place and there could be possible delays. Motorists are advised to be alert and drive with caution in the work zone.