Local News 12/28/18


Finishing up an investigation that began with a drug raid in the city of Williamsport back in August, charges were pressed against a Philadelphia man on Monday, said to be the head of a large local drug ring, dealing in both heroin and cocaine.  It’s believed that Azmed Greene had at least ten runners working underneath him from Mid July through Mid December of this year.  The investigation was done through the County’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit and involved buys of drugs at several different locations.  Originally jailed on a probation violation in Mid-December, Greene was arraigned on Monday on 78 charges and recommitted in lieu of $150,000 bail.  Ten others face charges as well.


At their meeting yesterday, Lycoming County Commissioners handed out raises for elected county row officers as well as for commissioners over the next few years, no matter who may be elected to the posts.  Row officers such as treasurer, controller, register and recorder, prothonotary and the coroner as well as the commissioners will receive pay raises of 1.86% bringing their salaries in line with that of the county sheriff over a four year period.  By 2020 the row officers will make close to $72,000 dollars while commissioners will be up to over $79,000 dollars.   The sheriff who was on a different pay cycle will see a slower pay cycle in order for the other elected officials to catch up.


Taxpayers in the borough of Muncy will not see their taxes go up for 2019.   Borough Council last night unanimously passed a no tax increase budget for next year.  Real Estate taxes will stay at 5.3 mills.  With real estate taxes as well as income taxes contributing, the borough expects to see a little more than a million dollars in revenues.  The Police Department will take up nearly a third of the revenue in expenses followed by the public works department.


A Hughesville man faces counts of indecent assault, and corruption of minors following an incident with a 12 year old girl.  42 year old Kevin Pletz allegedly engaged in a game of Cops and Robbers with  the girl over a time period ranging from November 1st through the 28th, allegedly touching the girls underneath her sports bra during a search for contraband.  The incidents happened at least twice and Pletz has been arraigned on the charges with bail set at $15,000 dollars.


Sentencing was held yesterday in Columbia County Court for 77 year old Anthony “Rocco” Franklin who was found guilty for killing his former son in law outside his home near Millville back in July of 2012.    Spencer who fought extradition, living in Venezuela until he was brought back to face the charges last year was convicted by a jury in October in the killing of Frank Spencer.  He also was convicted on a count of arson which will bring an additional 11 to 45 years.  His daughter, Maria Sanutti-Spencer was convicted back in 2015 and is currently serving a life sentence.


Northumberland County Commissioners voted 2-1 yesterday to pass a nearly $76 million dollar county budget which will not contain a tax increase.  The budget includes about $6 million dollars which commissioners say will be needed to operate the new county prison in Coal Township, about $2 million dollars more than it cost the county in 2014.  Commissioners say it is increasingly tough to keep up with higher expenses for medical Coverage for inmates and staff along with higher wages.    They say they worked hard, trying to keep other expenses down in order to avoid a tax increase.


A dispute at his family home on Christmas Night landed a New Columbia Man in jail after he tried to set fire to the house. The incident happened around 8pm on Tuesday at the Elm Street home of 39 year old William Roup.  Police say Roup ignited a stack of papers and books inside the living room of the home.  A family member was able to run the burning materials outside before the house caught on fire.  Roup reportedly also loaded a rifle, asking one of the family members to join him.  No one was hurt.  Roup faces two separate charges of arson as well as reckless endangerment counts, disorderly conduct and harassment and was jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail.


A decision which could make it easier for businesses to open up in a section of the city of Williamsport will now make it to city council.  The City’s Economic Revitalization Committee yesterday recommended that the city approve an amended original ordinance to expand the Central Business District to include both sides of West Third Street running from Hepburn, west to Center Street.  Originally the expansion was to only include the south side of Third Street, but after hearing from business and property owners on the north side, a recommendation was given to include the north side as well.