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  • 05/27/12--18:22: Police Blotter 5-28-12
  • Window kicked out

    COAL TOWNSHIP - Joel Silbermann, 26, of Coal Township, will be charged with criminal mischief resulting from an incident in the 1300 block of West Montgomery Street on Wednesday in which police said he kicked out a back passenger window on a township police cruiser and bent the door frame.

    Coal Township police said Silbermann fought with officers from the township and Shamokin's police force. Damage to eye glasses worn by Shamokin Patrolman Nate Rhodes was estimated at $70, police said.

    DUI rollover

    REBUCK - State police at Stonington said Heath Drumheller, 22, of Rebuck, was arrested for suspicion of DUI after he crashed his 2001 Chevy truck on Route 3010, Schwaben Creek Road, at 1:35 a.m. Saturday.

    Police said Drumheller lost control around a right curve and his truck struck an embankment and rolled onto the road, landing upright. The truck was severely damaged.

    Police said Drumheller was not wearing a seat belt. He suffered a minor injury.

    Underage drinking

    COAL TOWNSHIP - State police at Stonington cited Troy Grinaway, 18, of Shamokin, for underage drinking following a traffic stop at 11:08 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Sherman and Hemlock streets, Coal Township.

    One-car crash

    LOWER MAHANOY TOWNSHIP ­- A Dalmatia woman suffered a minor injury following an accident on Route 225 in Lower Mahanoy Township at 7:50 a.m. Sunday.

    State police at Stonington say a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu, driven by Diane M. Wolfe, 68, of Dalmatia was traveling north on Route 225, when it traveled off the roadway and struck an embankment, The Malibu then came back onto the roadway and then off again, striking the same embankment.

    Smith was taken to a local hospital for treatment and police said she would be cited for the crash.

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  • 05/27/12--18:22: Noteworthy 5-28-12
  • Sunbury pool opens June 6

    SUNBURY - Sunbury Community Pool will open for the 2012 season at noon June 6.

    There will be free admission and hot dogs. Tom Morgan from WFYY 106.5 will do a live remote from noon to 2 p.m.

    New hours for the pool are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Along with the normal rental times Monday through Friday for pool parties, new rental times for private parties are 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. Saturdays and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m Sundays.

    Memberships for the 2012 season can be purchased at the city treasurer's office at 225 Market St. For more information, call Ron Pratt at 286-7820.

    Firemen's relief in compliance

    HARRISBURG - Auditor General Jack Wagner said audits of the Elysburg and Ralpho volunteer firefighters' relief associations (VFRAs) determined both organizations are in compliance with tested laws and regulations.

    VFRAs are nonprofit organizations established to afford financial protection to volunteer firefighters who suffer misfortune as a result of their participation in the fire service.

    The Department of the Auditor General distributed, on behalf of the commonwealth, more than $1.75 million to almost 2,000 local firefighters' relief associations in 2010.

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    MOUNT CARMEL - A Civil War veteran who would go on to be a prominent local miner and resident will be remembered this Memorial Day by James A. Garfield Camp 34 of the Sons of Union Veterans.

    Alfred "Al" Ayres was a leader in Mount Carmel municipal affairs. He was regarded as a mining expert, for years was a leader in the Republican Party and was a school director and borough assessor.

    In addition to the leading place he occupied in political circles, his activities were most felt in Burnside Post 92 GAR. Ayres was one of the original members of the post and served as commander. Until the very end, the companionship of his comrades in arms was dearest to him.

    Enlisted at Pottsville

    Ayres was born in York Tunnel, Sept. 21, 1841. In 1853, his family came to Mount Carmel, then a patch of but a few houses, and maintained continuous residence here until his death, except the time he served in the Union Army in the Civil War. He was married in Mount Carmel in 1860 to Caroline Adams.

    On May 18, 1862, Ayres enlisted in the 129th Regiment Company G at Pottsville. After being organized at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg and trained near Washington, D.C., his regiment went into action. He served nine months, two weeks and five days, and was honorably discharged.

    During his term of enlistment, he fought in several of the war's bloodiest battles, among them Fredericksburg, and the beginnings of the Chancellorville campaign.

    45 years in mines

    After the war, Ayres worked 45 years in the mines, 17 of those years as fire boss at Alaska Colliery. In January 1915, his beloved wife passed away. Only months later, after an illness of several years and having been bedfast for two months, Ayres died on July 3, 1915, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. (Matilda) John Jones of Beaverdale. Cause of death was dropsy, now typically called edema, or an abnormal accumulation of fluid.

    In addition to Mrs. Jones, the Ayres left behind nine other children: Mrs. Eliza Taylor, Edgewood, R.I.; Matthew, James, Claude, Howard and Ervin, of Mount Carmel; Mrs. (Bessie) Charles Hertzog, Wilkensburg; Mrs. (Caroline) D. W. Kehler, esquire, of Mount Carmel; and Mrs (Edith) Walter Schoen, of Philadelphia. They had 43 grandchildren and nine great-children. Mr. Ayres was also survived by three sisters: Mrs. John Shaw, of Wilkes-Barre; Mrs. John Bell, of Philadelphia, and Mrs. Frank Schoener, of Mount Carmel. A large number of his descendents still live in the Mount Carmel area.

    Mr. Ayres' funeral was held at his daughter's home in Beaverdale with the Revs. Dr. A. W. Spooner and Henry Whitaker in charge. Internment was at Mount Carmel Cemetery, were shots were fired by Garfield Camp members. A quote in the Mount Carmel newspaper read: "His death is the passing of another of the valiant host who saved the Union."

    Perpetuating memory

    The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is a patriotic and educational organization, similar to the GAR, founded Nov. 12,1881, and incorporated by act of Congress on Aug. 20, 1954. Its purpose is to perpetuate the memory of the GAR and the men who "saved the Union;" to assist in every way practicable in the preservation and making available for research documents and records pertaining to the GAR and its members; to cooperate in doing honor to all those who have patriotically served the country in war; to teach patriotism and the duties of citizenship, the true history of the country and the love and honor of the flag; to oppose every tendency or movement that would weaken loyalty to, or make for destruction or impairment of, the constitutional union, and to inculcate and broadly sustain the American principals of representative government, of equal rights and impartial justice for all.

    The local camp was charted Aug. 9, 1883, in Mount Carmel and named in honor of Civil War general and martyred president James Abram Garfield. Garfield fought in the Shiloh, Corinth, Tullahoma and Chickamauga campaigns of the Civil War.

    In 1881, he became the 20th president, only to be slain just months into his term.

    As a successor to the local GAR, Garfield Camp was deeded the GAR Opera House in 1910. In 1926 it was sold and became the state theater. Today, the Mount Carmel post office sits on the site.

    Over the years, Camp 34 has met in various locations. Presently its headquarters is the Lithuanian Social Club in Mount Carmel. The local organization's main function is providing memorial services for Civil War and Spanish American War veterans and to decorate area graves.

    Garfield Camp of Mount Carmel is also proud to have one of the oldest active charters in the state. Eligibility for membership is limited to male descendants, not less than 14 years of age, of soldiers, sailors or Marines regularly mustered, honorably discharged from the U.S. Army or Navy during the "war of the rebellion" of 1861 to 1865.

    Present officers are Dave Berezovske, commander; William Beaumont, senior vice commander; Bruce Petro, junior vice commander; Walter Watkins IV; Mark Kline, council; Hugh Jones, secretary, treasurer, historian and grave registration officer; William Van Stone Sr., patriotic instructor; Harry White Jr., chaplain; Mayor J. Kevin Jones, past commander and Eagle Scout coordinator, and Ray Rothermel, Civil War memorial officer.

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    SHAMOKIN - For some St. Stanislaus Catholic School alumni, Sunday marked the first time they walked inside their former classroooms since they graduated from the school, or ate a meal in the cafeteria.

    Graduates between 1928 to 1985 and a few faculty members returned to the Race Street school building Sunday for the first-ever school-wide reunion.

    After an interest in such a gathering was expressed around town and on Facebook, it was Mary (Narkiewicz) Harmon, with the help of her volunteer staff, who got the ball rolling and made it happen.

    "I got so much support from everyone who helped me out with this," Harmon said. "What absolutely thrills me is the response that I got from the people that wanted to come today."

    According to the reunion's program, the response came from over 150 graduates of the school, from the earliest class attendee, Clem Switaj, class of 1928, who was given the honor of presenting the host at the reunion Mass at Mother Cabrini Church, to a member of the last class, Angela (Boblick) Fulginiti, class of 1985.

    1985 was the final year of operation for St. Stanislaus' school - a result of its consolidation with St. Edward's and West Catholic schools to form Queen of Peace Catholic Schools.

    The day's festivities started with the Mass, celebrated by the Most Rev. Joseph McFadden, Bishop for the Diocese of Harrisburg.

    In keeping with the Polish tradition of the school, the bishop was given traditional gifts, a loaf of bread and a dish of salt - the salt to preserve life and the bread to sustain life.

    The bishop also received the gift of a school bell used in 1962 and a report card belonging to Celia (Targonski) Zaneski, the oldest alum attending the reunion at 97 years old.

    "Celia was a good student," McFadden noted, "She got all A's here."

    The Mass's homily was given by The Rev. Joseph Bayne, a former parochial vicar at the school.

    "Everyone in his church has been blessed by St. Stan's School," Bayne said. "When you graduated, you left with not only the gifts of academia, but with the Holy Spirit as well, much like the Apostles were on this Pentecostal Sunday."

    "Keep the spirit of St. Stanislaus School alive in you, and in your service to God," Bayne said. "What went on there was very special to all of us."

    Following the Mass, the dinner and reunion moved to the former school, now the Mother Cabrini Social and Education Center. When not sharing stories of old times with one another, some walked up to the second floor to walk through old classrooms, lavatories and offices.

    "This really takes me back," said Fulginiti, a member of the last graduating class of the school in 1985, who walked the halls with her mother, Kathy, a 1959 graduate.

    "The long hallway to the girls room, the principal's office, this classroom which was fourth grade," she reminsenced. "So many great memories here."

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  • 05/27/12--19:48: Storm brings flash flood
  • An intense rainstorm dropped between 1 1/2 to 3 inches of rain in a two-hour period, causing flash flooding and road buckling on a state highway Sunday evening.

    The pouring rain started a little before 7 p.m., according to meteorologist Charles Ross at the National Weather Service office in State College, but the intensity and amount of rain quickly caused problems.

    "There was a line of storms coming into Columbia County, north of Shamokin and sometimes the conditions are right to make these gullywashers of a storm," Ross said.

    A gullywasher is defined as a torrential rain that causes ditches to overflow creating flash floods on streets and roadways.

    "It is the most rain that I have seen come down at one time," said Catawissa Borough Council president Scott Keefer. "It has been running down the sidewalks and has been going strong since 7 p.m. It is a perfect condition for a flash flood."

    As the heavy rain started coming down, Route 487 began to buckle in numerous places between Rohrbach's Farm Market and the Catawissa Borough line, also having large rocks and debris on the roadway.

    According to scanner reports, a flooded home on Numidia Drive required a water rescue for the homeowners. Police then shut down Route 42 and, according to a Catawissa resident, evacuated those who were staying at the Springville Campground near Slabtown.

    At the bottom of the hill heading into Catawissa, one vehicle for sale by Rarig's Tire, of Catawissa, could be seen in a creek channel near the business.

    The rain continued and soon Knoebels Amusement Resort shut down operations at 8:45 p.m., a full hour before they were scheduled to close on Memorial Day Sunday. Knoebels Security officers were called into service by police to direct traffic from those leaving the park toward Elysburg and not on Route 487 toward Southern Columbia High School.

    The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning at 9:06 p.m. Sunday for Columbia, Montour and Northumberland County that was set to expire at 12:15 a.m. Monday. Ross said that the storms that caused the flooding were moving out, but it wasn't the end of the rain.

    "There is more rain set in the forecast tonight and tomorrow, but it should be a nice steady rain and not matching the intensity of the storms that came through Sunday night," Ross said. "It may not add to the flooding, but it will keep the water from going down too fast."

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    SHAMOKIN - The City of Shamokin logo and two upcoming events were splashed onto a pair of billboards Thursday, beginning an effort to promote city businesses and happenings.

    Next month and thereafter, the idea is for city businesses to put their logo on the billboards at a reduced cost.

    The city will sponsor the billboards - a full-size near the former Ames building and a "junior" near Tharptown - at a monthly rental fee of $350 and $100, respectively, according to Steve Bartos, city manager.

    A business would be required to pay only for the artwork, he said, which costs $185 for the larger billboard and $150 for the smaller.

    City officials will seek donations to cover the rental charge and, if successful, an advertising fund would be established for the project, he said.

    Mayor George Rozinskie Jr. said the billboard project is a good investment, adding that it is important to direct people to city events and businesses.

    "People in town will know what's happening," he said.

    Bill Milbrand, city councilman and director of public buildings, supports the initiative and said it's council's responsibility to provide further support for local businesses.

    "We tax them and they pay taxes to us, but I think we as a city need to offer more to them," he said. "They're our tax base. We can't just be the one who takes their money and do nothing for them."

    The billboard campaign is the latest in investments, both proposed and real, the city is undertaking.

    "Like anything else, it's a first step to start taking pride in the city. The city wants to be involved in improving infrastructure, bringing new business and clientele downtown," Bartos said.

    Finishing touches are being made at Claude E. Kehler Community Park, Arch and Third streets, with a ribbon-cutting planned for June 15. A concert put on by the Student Advisory Council - a mock city council consisting of students from Shamokin Area and Lourdes Regional - will be held that night.

    With council's support, the students are pursuing a project to renovate the basement of the American Legion Building in the city's downtown and turn it into a youth center.

    Council is also pursuing grants for physical upgrades at the Legion Building as well as for the restoration of the aging and well-worn public staircases throughout Shamokin.

    Bartos said a town like Jim Thorpe in the Pocono Mountain area - a town with an artistic bent that is a tourist destination - should serve as example of what Shamokin should strive toward.

    The two communities have shared similar demographics, he said - old coal towns with multiple patches of homes as well as farmland on the outskirts.

    "They were in the same situation we were. They totally changed that community," he said.

    A turnaround won't occur overnight, he said, and will take years. However, he said the goal should be set.

    "We just need to find our niche and make it work," Bartos said.

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    CATAWISSA RR - The annual Awards Day Program was held Wednesday at Southern Columbia Area High School.

    The awards and their recipients are as follows:

    - Elysburg Rotary Club Service Above Self Award, $1,000, awarded to graduating senior who best exemplifies Rotary motto, "Service Above Self," Hannah Stone;

    - Jane Quinton Memorial Scholarships for nursing and music, $500, Marissa Noll, nursing, and Lydia Young, music;

    - Catawissa Garden Club Rae Atherton Memorial Scholarship, $200, presented to student interested in plants, Caitlyn Mack;

    - Locust Township Police Officers Association, $500, for student majoring in criminal justice or related field, and who is in need, Tyler Levan;

    - Hospice Memorial Nursing Scholarship, $100, Marissa Noll;

    - Stephen G. Talarovich Memorial Scholarship, $250, Kaitlin Fink and Sarah Breech;

    - SCEA Tiger Paw Scholarships, $425, Kayla Hanley, Ashley Ciocco, Sarah Breech and Courtney Cecco;

    - National Honor Society Award, $200, Kaitlin Fink;

    - American Red Cross Life Share Award, $200, Jessica Genovesi;

    - Roaring Creek Valley Conservation Association Award, $250, Caitlyn Mack;

    - Lavere McClure Scholarship, $100, Caitlyn Mack;

    - Independent Study Student of the Year, $100 to Anudeep Alberts, certificates to Lauren Kerstetter, Anne Bryden and Sunny Sen;

    - Cleveland Pork Inc., $500, Jonathan Harlow;

    - Roaring Creek Valley Grange Awards, $100, awarded to boy and girl entering a vocational or trade program, Caitlyn Mack and Andrew Jessick;

    - The Foundation of the Columbia-Montour Chamber of Commerce Scholarships, $100, for seniors who received School Counts certificates their junior year, Brad Fegley and Lindsey Landis;

    - Outstanding Visual Artist Awards, $100, Kayla Bobber and Vanessa Slotterback;

    - Marilyn Henry Memorial Scholarships, $125, Katarina Hutchison and Tom Schetroma;

    - District IV Female Sportsmanship Award, Sarah Breech;

    - District IV Male Sportsmanship Award, Brad Fegley

    - District IV Outstanding Female Athlete, Samantha Fraley;

    - District IV Outstanding Male Athlete, Tom Schetroma;

    - SCA Female MVP, Kaitlin Fink;

    - SCA Male MVP, Matt Moore and Keith Day;

    - Ralpho Area Women's Club, $250, Kaitlin Fink;

    - Pheasants Forever, $100, Caitlyn Mack;

    - Catawissa American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Scholarship, $1,000, student demonstrated quality aspects of citizenship including community service, volunteer work, teamwork and patriotism, Lindsey Landis;

    - Sons of Catawissa American Legion Post 541 Scholarship, $1,000, Andrew Jessick;

    - Catawissa American Legion Post 541 Commanders Award, $1,000, Brad Fegley;

    - Catawissa American Legion Post 541 Home Association Award, $1,000, awarded to a good student-athlete, Kaitlin Fink;

    - First Columbia Bank and Trust Co., $500, based on academics and citizenship, Hannah Stone;

    - Future Business Leaders of America Award, $225, FBLA member who exhibits qualities of a successful leader, including responsibility, motivation, dependability and enthusiasm, Brooke Adamski;

    - Ralpho Township Business Association Award, $500, Jonathan Harlow;

    - Veterans of Foreign Wars Catawissa Post 8306, $1,000, Anudeep Alberts and Amber Hendricks;

    - Catawissa VFW Voice of Democracy Essay Awards, Kayla Lavella, first place, Katie Dunkleberger, second place, Andrew Sassani, third place;

    - Regina Huber Scholarship VFW Post 8306 Ladies Auxiliary, $500, Abriel Newton;

    - Derek Crowl Academic Memorial Scholarships, Brad Fegley, $500, Eric Roberts, $300;

    - Calvin Henderson Memorial Award, $500, an average student who is a multi-sport player, Brad Fegley;

    - Joseph Makowski Memorial Scholarship, $1,000, Kaitlin Fink;

    - Clair H. Kinney Scholarship, $3,000 each year for a four-year degree, Bryan Gedman;

    - Ralpho Township Alumni/Alvin Pensyl Memorial, in memory of Alvin Pensyl and William S. Roadarmel, Zach Snyder and Andrew Deihl;

    - Anthony A. Abraczinskas, Jr. Memorial Scholarships, student must be accepted to a higher education institution and write an essay about an event in their life that demonstrated a sense of personal honor or integrity, Kaitlin Fink, $200, Sarah Breech, $200, Bryan Gedman, $100, Anudeep Alberts, $100, Courtney Cecco, $50, Mary McGinley, $50, Danielle Mowery, $50, and Brad Fegley, $50.

    - Elysburg Garden Club, $200, student may not be at the top of the class in grades but is sincere and really trying to further their education at either a trade school or college, Cameron Flore;

    - Bloomsburg Elks Past Exalted Rulers Scholarship, $300, student must be deserving, college-bound and not have a lot of financial support, Jason Boblick;

    - Terry Stellfox Academic/Athletic Scholarship, $250, Dylan Stimer;

    - Terry Stellfox Music Award, $250, Gwen Bodner;

    - Carissa Berkheiser Memorial Scholarships, $500, Hannah Stone and Tyler Levan;

    - Stanley (Danny) Quinn Memorial Scholarships, $100, Mary McGinley, softball, and Brandon Levan, baseball;

    - Aqua PA Water Co., Roaring Creek Division Science Achievement Award, $200, selection based on strong achievement in the science curriculum and the intention of studying in a science-related field at the college level, Mara Wilson;

    - William E. Hoffner Post Secondary Education Award, $1,000, student who has overcome adversity to achieve, Joe Grosch;

    - TV Production Award in Honor of Brent Kelchner, $100, awarded to senior TV production student who led others through leadership and character that motivated others in Tiger News to achieve their best, and given in honor of current SCA teacher Brent Kelchner by a former student for providing inspiration through his example as a teacher, Lydia Young;

    - Values and Character Award, $150, Kaitlin Fink;

    - Northumberland County Recreation Committee Scholar/Athlete, $100, Mara Wilson and Bryan Gedman;

    - Twelfth Grade Technology Education Achievement Award, $75, Logan Anderson;

    - David Walburn Memorial Scholarship, $100, technology education student, David Jeremiah;

    - Justin DeGreen Memorial Scholarship Fund, $500, Bryan Gedman;

    - Shoup Family Scholarship, $3,000 each year for four years, preferably an education or music major, Lydia Young;

    - Poppy Grace McCoog Memorial Scholarship, $300, Anudeep Alberts;

    - SCA Language Award, $100, Brooke Adamski;

    - Sandy Rarig Language Award, $100, awarded to senior language student who led others through enthusiasm and determination of learning the language, and given in honor of retired SCA teacher Sandra Rarig by a former student for providing inspiration through her example as a teacher, Jessica Genovesi;

    - Bryan Day Memorial Scholarship, Zach Snyder, Abriel Newton, Jason Boblick and Marissa Noll;

    - Tricia Shutt Memorial Scholarship, Bryan Gedman;

    - Southern Columbia Perfect Attendance for the Year, $25, Megan Lunger, Kyle Mostik, Julia Wardeh, Cheyenne Welkom, freshmen; Reba Broadfield, Anne Snyder, Kc Welkom and Michael Willhoit, sophomores; Anthony Chiavaroli, Andrew Sassani, Shawn Sevison and Kendra Jones, juniors; Bryan Gedman, Andrew Jessick and Caitlyn Mack;

    - John D. Hughes Memorial Scholarship, $500, strong academic student with good citizenship in the field of science, Bryan Gedman;

    - Margaret E. Artley Memorial Scholarship, $200, based on academics and citizenship, Jessica Genovesi;

    - SCA Music Booster Scholarships, $250, primary consideration to students whose intended field of study is music, but consideration to non-music major students who have made a significant contribution to the music department, Lydia Young, Gwen Bodner, Alicia Slagle and Abriel Newton;

    - Tarik Leghlid Memorial Scholarship, $500, Tom Schetroma;

    - Girls Soccer Booster Scholarship, $500, Courtney Cecco;

    - Boys Soccer Booster Scholarship, $200, Andrew Deihl;

    - Boys Basketball Booster Scholarships, $300, Kristian Klebon and Brad Fegley;

    - Ronald Scott Kohler Memorial Scholarship, $3,000, Matt Moore.

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    LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP - Bishop Joseph P. McFadden will dedicate a new 90 bed facility for Catholic Charities at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The facility, named the Saint Samuel Center, will house three current residential programs under one roof at 120 Willow Road, Lower Paxton Township.

    "This new facility will greatly further the mission of our Catholic Charities which is to reach out and to serve those in need. We do so not because they are Catholic, but because we are," McFadden said. Approximately 85 percent of those served by Catholic Charities are not Catholic.

    The three programs to be housed in the new center are: The Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families, Lourdeshouse Maternity Home and Evergreen House for women in recovery.

    Dr. Mark Totaro, executive director and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg, said the move is the result of a desire to bring the three Harrisburg "Homes for Healing" into one modern facility. A fourth residential program is Hope House, a home for persons with HIV/AIDS in Lancaster. There are no plans to relocate that operation.

    "We're consolidating for practical purposes, and it's resulting in increased stewardship and collaboration." Totaro said.

    The facility, formerly a 90-bed nursing home, offers a neighborhood setting with patios, a place for walking and plans for a garden and a children's playground. Each room has a private bathroom. In the other facilities, clients shared common bathrooms.

    Each program will have its own separate area to maintain safety and client confidentiality. After several months of renovation, the facility is set to welcome its first residents, those from the Interfaith Shelter, at the beginning of June. The other programs will move in over the following weeks.

    "While the three programs are different in their clientele, they're similar in that they are about improving lives and helping people look for opportunities to change and create independence," said Pete Biasucci, Assistant Executive Director of Catholic Charities.

    Totaro called the programs a "hand-up" instead of a "hand-out."

    "We're working to help change lives and get people back onto their feet. We want them to be good citizens and productive members of society," Totaro said.

    Sponsorship opportunities are available for each of the programs and their common rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Catholic Charities also welcomes financial donations for a playground for children from the Interfaith Shelter, or to help defray operating expenses. Contributions will assist in offering help and hope to individuals who are facing family homelessness, substance abuse and unplanned pregnancy.

    Contact Catholic Charities at 4800 Union Deposit Rd., Harrisburg 17111; (717)657-4804 (ext. 284) or

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    HARRISBURG - With school days dwindling and young minds dreaming of graduation or summer vacation, PennDOT reminds all young drivers to stay focused on the road and avoid distractions while behind the wheel.

    "Driving is a huge responsibility that requires split-second decisions and a driver's full attention," said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. "Being distracted while driving, even for a second, is a potentially deadly proposition that endangers everyone on the road. To put it simply, put everything else aside and 'just drive.'"

    While all drivers should avoid distractions, younger drivers' lack of experience behind the wheel can greatly increase the risk of a crash if they are distracted while driving. Over the past five years in Pennsylvania, there were nearly 4,000 crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers who were distracted, resulting in 18 deaths.

    Define distracted

    Distracted driving is any action that draws attention away from the safe operation of a vehicle. There are three types of driver distractions: visual, causing drivers to take their eyes off the road; manual, causing drivers to take their hands off the wheel, and cognitive, causing drivers to take their mind off the road.

    One dangerous activity that involves all three types of distraction - texting - has been addressed through the state's new anti-texting law, which took effect in early March. The law prohibits text-based communication while driving and makes texting while driving a primary offense carrying a $50 fine.

    For more information, go to

    According to a recent study of nationwide crash statistics by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 16- and 17-year old drivers are more likely to be killed in a crash when they have young passengers in their vehicle. Their risk of being involved in a crash increased by about 44 percent with one passenger under age 21 accompanying them. The risk doubled with two passengers under age 21, and quadrupled when three or more passengers under 21 were present.

    As part of Pennsylvania's new Teen Driver Law, drivers younger than 18 may not transport more than one passenger who is under 18 and is not an immediate family member, unless the driver is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. After six months the restrictions are modified to allow the under 18 driver to have up to three passengers under age 18 who are not immediate family members, but only if the driver has not been convicted of a driving violation and has not been responsible for a reportable crash. More information can be found by clicking on the "New Teen Driver Law 2011" button at

    Just drive

    Crash risks can be reduced through driving practice, limiting the number of passengers riding with a teen driver, parents setting a good example of safe driving, obeying all rules of the road and by exercising common sense.

    For more information on young driver safety, go to

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  • 05/28/12--15:19: Noteworthy 5/29/12
  • Meetings to remain in Norry

    NORTHUMBERLAND - The quarterly meetings for the Northumberland County Assistance Office directors will remain at the Front Street Station, 2 North Front St.

    The next scheduled meeting is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15.

    Food distribution Saturday

    ATLAS - Mount Carmel Township Food Pantry distribution will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the township complex in Atlas, for residents in Atlas, Diamondtown, Strong, Locust Gap, Connorsville, Dooleyville and Beaverdale who have signed up previously.

    Ambulance to re-form under new name

    CENTRALIA - The Centralia Fire Company Ambulance has announced it will no longer be in service as the Centralia Fire Company Ambulance.

    The ambulance service will be terminated within 90 days and will be reformed as Conyngham Township EMS, operating out of the Wilburton Fire Company in Wilburton No. 1. It will continue to serve as a basic life support emergency medical service provider for Conyngham Township, but will no longer be operated from the Centralia Fire Company building.

    Any questions should be addressed to company president Jeffrey Long, 50 North Erin Road, P.O. Box 306, Aristes 17920.

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  • 05/28/12--18:55: Services held around region
  • The following are synopses of Memorial Day activities and services in other communities:


    The ceremonies were simple and understated. No speeches - just a silent way to remember those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

    Members of Centralia American Legion Post 608 gathered Monday to pay tribute to all fallen troops, traveling to local cemeteries for their ceremonies.

    At each cemetery, whether it was Zion United Cemetery in Aristes, St. Mary's Cemetery and St. Peter and Paul's Orthodox Cemetery in Centralia, or others, the drill was the same: Stand at attention and fire a rifle volley to remember all fallen veterans, followed by the playing of "Taps."

    A large crowd gathered at St. Ignatius Cemetery, Centralia, one of the few landmarks left in the town ravaged by mine fire, to watch the veterans pay tribute to their fallen comrades. Post Commander Edward Lawler commanded the honor guard and a few young volunteer rifle escorts while they marched into the cemetery through the crowd.

    They honored their comrades' memory the same way as they did before - a simple rifle volley and a lone bugler playing a song of mourning and remembrance.

    At their final stops - the Aristes Fire Company and the post home in Wilburton - the ceremony was a little longer while the honor guard's sergeant-at-arms, Boris Maksymuk, raised the flag from half-staff in memorium to the top of the pole as the national anthem played, showing the pride these veterans have in their country.

    Mount Carmel

    While the Memorial Day parade moved through the streets of Mount Carmel, it continued to grow as more groups joined in to honor fallen troops.

    The day of remembrance began at American Legion Post 91, when Mayor J. Kevin Jones, VFW Ladies Auxiliary president Christine McLaughlin and Joint Veterans Committee members Anthony Candelora and Walt Summers placed wreaths at all four corners of a memorial dedicated to Mount Carmel residents who died in the wars of the 20th century.

    The parade of veterans, Boy and Girl Scouts, junior league baseball players and fourth degreee members of the Knights of Columbus moved to the memorials at Second and Oak streets, where the Mount Carmel Area High School Band joined the parade to honor and remember through music.

    The next stop was a plaque honoring the borough's troops from World War I near the Union National Bank. While leaving that site, emergency vehicles joined the group, providing an escort to St. Mary's Cemetery, where the knights remembered the Fourth Degree assembly namesake, Bishop L.F. Schott.

    Ceremonies were also held at Mount Carmel Cemetery and St. Joseph's Cemetery, Locust Gap.


    At Roosevelt Court in Kulpmont, a solemn service was held. The VFW and American Legion prayers were read, in addition to a poem entitled "Prayer of Peace."

    Kulpmont Mayor Myron Turlis, who was one of several speakers, told the crowd he was honored to welcome everyone to the service.

    Turlis said the freedom Americans enjoy would not be possible if it were not for the people who served the country.

    "So today, let us never forget the brave men and women who made this possible. God bless each and every veteran and those who will serve," he said. "God bless the United States of America."

    The Star Spangled Banner and traditional Memorial Day music was performed by the Mount Carmel Area High School Band.

    The band also performed in the parade, which preceded the service.

    Veterans, service members, softball and baseball players waved American flags while emergency apparatus escorted them down Scott and Chestnut streets, which was lined with people of all ages. Some parade watchers clapped, while others waved their own flags.

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    SHAMOKIN - Veterans, servicemembers, firemen, police officers and the public paid tribute to fallen troops and emergency personnel with a Memorial Day march Monday morning through Coal Township and Shamokin.

    "Amazing Grace" and "Taps" were played at the Timothy DiOrio Memorial, the Cpl. David Witmer Memorial and the Fireman's Memorial while wreaths were placed. Gold Star Mothers Association members placed a blue wreath at each site and either a firefighter or police officer, depending on the memorial, placed a red, white and blue wreath. The march concluded with a service at the Price of Freedom Memorial.

    The group first stopped at the Timothy DiOrio Memorial along Arch Street, where Mike Timco, who serves as Coal Township Assistant Fire Chief, spoke, putting extra emphasis on the importance of the march.

    Nov. 1 will mark ten years since Maine Fire Company firefighter DiOrio died in the line of duty while fighting a blaze in Trevorton.

    "This will mark the 10th anniversary of Tim's passing," Timco said. "It's hard to believe that almost ten years have passed, but we are all grateful that the community still takes time to acknowledge the sacrifice Tim made that fateful night."

    Shamokin Cpl. Darwin Tobias III spoke at the Cpl. David Witmer Memorial, and Independence Fire Company firefighter and city councilman William Milbrand spoke at the Firemen's Memorial.

    The march concluded at the Price of Freedom Memorial on Lincoln Street, where the group was met by the patriotic music of the Shamokin Area Middle and High School bands.

    John Schenewerk, commander of the Coal Township VFW Post 317, welcomed guest speaker Ralph Nasatka, a Korean War veteran and Herndon native, and his wife, Regina.

    Nasatka, who resides in Maryland, served in an honor guard at the Korean War Memorial in Washinton, D.C., and currently works with the FBI and CIA.

    Nasatka, with the aid of his wife, demonstrated a missing in action (MIA) and prisoners of war (POW) table. Regina Nasatka explained the meaning of each object on the table while Ralph Nasatka pointed to the object.

    "The slice of lemon is to remind us of their bitter fate," Regina Nasatka explained. "The salt represents the families' tears as they wait."

    Before concluding, Ralph Nasatka said the United States involvement in the Korean War served a purpose and is evident in the courtesy that is expressed from the people of Republic of Korea to Americans.

    "They are very appreciative of the sacrifice Americans made to free their nation," he said. "They are one of the few countries that ever said, 'Thank you.'"

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    CATAWISSA - "I've never seen anything like it."

    That was the common phrase used Monday by PennDOT workers and home and business owners working to repair the damage from a flash flood Sunday night in the area of routes 487 and 42.

    The National Weather Service in State College said about three inches of rain fell in two hours, causing two bodies of water to spill over their banks and cover three highway bridges. The channels flow through a gorge toward Catawissa and merge at the former Danny's Restaurant before flowing into Catawissa Creek at the borough line.

    The extraordinary rainfall buckled several sections of Route 487 between Rhorbach's Farm Market and Route 42, and washed a massive pile of mountain rock onto Route 42 and against a home along Old Numidia Drive.

    PennDOT, in a press release issued Monday evening, said Route 487 may remain closed until Thursday because of the damage. Route 42 was expected to be opened by 10 p.m. Monday if sufficient repairs were made, the release said.

    Cars float away

    The water also heavily damaged Rarig's Tire Company, where four vehicles from a sales lot fell into the fast moving water Sunday night.

    At noon Monday, Dave Rarig, brother of owner Charles Rarig, stood in ankle-high water while cutting trees away from a Ford Expedition that came to a rest on its side against a tree. The vehicle, which had a large railroad tie sticking out of the front window, was totally destroyed. According to Rarig, one car is still missing.

    "It may have made it to the river," Rarig said with cautious laugh. "It happened so quick, he had no time to move the cars."

    Just up the road from Rarig on Route 42, PennDOT crews used excavators to clear a channel blocked by boulders and trees. Additional crews were also busy repairing nearby sections of highway.

    PennDOT District-3 Press Officer Rick Mason said bridge inspection teams will look at bridges for possible damage.

    Traffic will be detoured using Route 54 to Danville, Route 11 north to Bloomsburg and Route 42 to Catawissa. Traffic for Knoebels Amusement Resort must use Route 487 northbound.

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  • 05/28/12--23:00: Sunbury Armory for sale
  • SUNBURY - For the right price, the Sunbury Armory building could be yours.

    The building was occupied by Pennsylvania Guardsmen until a transfer this winter to the Danville Armed Forces Reserve Center, a brand-new facility along Route 642 in Mausdale, near I-80. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is now seeking to sell the building and the entire 9.5-acre complex.

    Located at 206 Armory Road, the building is often used for public shows and displays, including the Northumberland County Fair. The building, built in 1937 and measuring 18,490 square-foot, consists of a large drill floor, a kitchen, storage areas and a handful of offices and small classroom.

    "When compared to the old armories, the Reserve Center allows our guardsmen to do the new, modern training they are required that wasn't required when the armories were first opened," Sgt. Matt Jones, public affairs specialist the with Pennsylvania National Guard, said in a recent interview.

    The training center, which cost approximately $19 million to build, is equipped with computer-based classrooms, vehicle maintenance facility, storage buildings and two separate unheated storage buildings. It measures 77,904 square-foot - three-times the size of the building in Sunbury. Construction of the facility started in April 27, 2010, with a ribbon cutting held on March 21 of this year. Units from Berwick and Lewisburg also transferred to the center.

    Calling the new complex home are the Pennsylvania National Guard's Alpha and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion of the 103rd Armor; Pennsylvania Army National Guard; and the Army Reserve's 542nd Quartermaster Company.

    According to the DMVA, the Sunbury Armory building is listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places. If the proposed buyer is willing to accept historical covenants as part of the conveyance, the state can accept 20 percent off the fair market value, which was independently appraised at $395,000.

    Fair still on

    Jane Rebuck, secretary of the Northumberland County Fair, said the event will still be held at the armory this year. It is scheduled for Aug. 23 to 25.

    "(The contract is) signed, sealed and delivered for the armory," Rebuck said. "What will happen next year, we don't know."

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    SHAMOKIN - Students from TIES (Teens in Innovative Educational Structures) afterschool programs at Shamokin Area Middle/High School joined students and staff of Bloomsburg University from May 7 to 13 to promote Deaf Awareness Week.

    Throughout the week, students in the TIES American Sign Language afterschool program created signs and posters that displayed facts and information about the deaf and hard of hearing community.

    Along with students in the Art Explorations and Helping Hands Culinary Arts clubs, students made T-shirts and baked cookies in the shape of a hand signing "I Love You."

    To culminate the week's activities, IMAGE, a sign language performance group from Bloomsburg University, performed for middle school students.

    TIES after school programming provides individualized academic support, career exploration and service-learning experiences that are not available during the regular school day. The program is open to students who reside in the Mount Carmel and Shamokin area school districts.

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    ELYSBURG - A communitywide effort to "Save the Ambulance" is being conducted in the Elysburg area thanks to a group of volunteers whose initial plans are to hold a dinner buffet as a fundraising project on Monday at the Elysburg Fire Hall. The dinner will be served from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., with all proceeds earmarked to help the ambulance association erase a budget deficit so the ambulance service can be continued.

    "We have gotten a wonderful response from our small community from people willing to volunteer and donate toward the upcoming dinner," said Ed Gappa, one of the volunteers assisting in the project. He said all the food, paper products and supplies have been donated to make it a 100-percent profit-making project.

    Early indications are that the entire community is behind the effort and approximately 600 tickets have been sold to date. Gappa pointed out that tickets are still available and can be obtained at Bebenek Lumber or Crystal Ann Gift Shop, or by calling Gappa at 672-9056 or Dick Farnsworth at 975-5789. Tickets are available for $10 for either eat-in or takeouts.

    The menu will consist of roast pork, filling mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, peas, baked beans, apple sauce, beverages and desserts. The committee is asking for donations of cakes, which can be dropped off at the fire hall on Monday, the day of the dinner.

    Local businesses which already have contributed to the dinner project are Knoebels Amusement Resort, The Alamo Restaurant, First Columbia Bank, M&T Bank, Holy Rosary Knights of Columbus, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church, Farnsworth Camping Center, Turkey Hill Markets, Sheetz Convenience Store, Central Pennsylvania Paper Products, Varano's Wholesale, Dave and Alice Dyer, Eddie and Judy Gappa, Louis and Barbara Odorizzi, Billy and Bret Cox, and Ted and Pam Yeager. Many other volunteers are involved either by selling tickets, promoting the project or by agreeing to help with the preparation.

    "We appeal to the community and residents of neighboring communities for support of this project to help us save the ambulance service. Everyone and anyone can help by attending the dinner or making a small or sizable donation to the ambulance fund, " Gappa said.

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  • 05/29/12--14:27: Bus driver honored
  • SHAMOKIN - Ethel E. Dinklocker has earned this year's Lauretta Woodson Recognition Award for her "faithful and exemplary service to the students of the Shamokin Area School District in her role as a support professional."

    The award was presented at the opening ceremonies of Saturday's Anthracite Heritage Festival of the Arts by Carol Hepner, president of the Shamokin chapter of the Pennsylvania Asssociation of School Retirees.

    Dinklocker was a bus driver for many years. The students have great respect for her, and, in turn, she has respect for them, which provides safe bus travel, Hepner said. She has also driven buses for many after-school activities and provides security at numerous events. And to round out her service she acts as a teacher aid.

    The Lauretta Woodson Award honors an employee who exhibits creativity, initiative or productivity in the learning process and growth of children.

    Woodson was a graduate of West Chester State Teachers College with a degree in English; she earned a master's degree from Columbia University and a doctorate from Temple University.

    She retired in 1984 and created a trust to recognize one teacher and one support personnel employee throughout Pennsylvania school districts. The teacher award was given presented at an earlier date Rick Wehnke, Shamokin Area elementary art instructor. (A photo of that presentation appeared in Tuesday's edition.)

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    MOUNT CARMEL - Two Shamokin area men have been charged with breaking into a home on South Vine Street early Monday morning and assaulting two of the occupants.

    Philip Matthew Boyles, 21, of 1462 Pulaski Ave., Coal Township, and Michael Robert Shinskie, 18, of 720 N. Franklin St., Shamokin, were arraigned at 6 a.m. Monday by on-call Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones on felonies of burglary, criminal conspiracy and criminal trespass, a misdemeanor of loitering and prowling at night and a summary of underage drinking. Boyles also was charged with a misdemeanor of simple assault and summaries of harassment/stalking and criminal mischief.

    The charges were filed by Patrolman David Donkochik in connection with a burglary at 1:41 a.m. Monday at the residence of Bernice Griffiths, Ken Taylor, Grayce Griffiths and her 2-month-old son, all of 313 S. Vine St.

    Police reported burglary-related charges also are pending against Michael Todd Johnson, 21, of 226 W. Independence St., Apt. A, Shamokin, who remains at large after fleeing from police shortly before Boyles and Shinskie were apprehended while riding in a black Ford Explorer driven by Brent Forbes, 20, of Burnside. Forbes, who allegedly was not involved in the burglary, has not been charged at this point of the investigation.

    Boyles and Shinskie were each committed to Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury in lieu of $75,000 cash bail.

    According to a criminal complaint, Boyles, who is the father of Grayce Griffiths' son, entered the home through a balcony door and began punching Grayce Griffiths' boyfriend, Alex Schwartz, of Kulpmont, on the side of the head. After punching Schwartz seven or eight times, police said Boyles began choking the victim and threatening to kill him. Earlier, police said Boyles had threatened to kill Grayce Griffiths, Schwartz, Schwartz's 14-year-old sister and a 14-year-old male.

    Boyles also is accused of grabbing Grayce Griffiths' cell phone out of her hand and smashing it before grabbing her by the throat, scratching her and fleeing.

    Bernice Griffiths, who is the grandmother of Grayce Griffiths and Taylor's wife, witnessed the assaults. She said she saw two other men beside the house when she looked outside after Boyles fled through a side porch door down onto a roof.

    Forbes told police he was hanging out with Johnson, Boyles and Shinskie in Shamokin when Boyles told the group he was having issues with Grayce Griffiths and their baby. Forbes said Boyles wanted to go to Mount Carmel to get his son.

    Forbes said he then drove everyone to Mount Carmel and parked about a block away from 313 S. Vine St. before everyone walked to the home. He said Boyles, Johnson and Shinskie climbed onto a roof while he went back to his vehicle because he didn't want anything to do with the incident. When Forbes returned to his Explorer, he said Johnson joined him. Forbes said both men then left the scene because they were on probation.

    Forbes told police he got gas at Turkey Hill Minit Market in Mount Carmel before meeting up with Shinskie and Boyles. Forbes said he then started driving back toward Shamokin when he was pulled over by police after crossing the Viaduct.

    Mount Carmel Township Patrolman David Stamets said Johnson, who was sitting in the front seat, fled from the area on foot and couldn't be located despite a lengthy search by police.

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  • 05/29/12--18:30: Noteworthy 05-30-12
  • River float benefits Children's Miracle Network at Geisinger

    BLOOMSBURG - A kayak and canoe river float benefiting Children's Miracle Network at Geisinger will be held at 10 a.m. June 10 at Bloomsburg Dockside Launch.

    Participants will paddle approximately 10 miles down the Susquehanna River to Riverside Adventure Co., Riverside.

    Kayaks and canoes will be available for rental. Registration fee is $20. There will be an additional $25 rental fee for a kayak and a $35 rental fee for a tandem kayak or canoe.

    Funds raised will be used towards providing pediatric equipment, programs and services at Janet Weis Children's Hospital and throughout Geisinger Health System.

    For more information, call 271-6188 or visit

    Community service scheduled

    COAL TOWNSHIP - Members of Magistrate District Judge John Gembic III's Community Service Group are asked to report at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Coal Bowl, 1380 Tioga St.

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    POTTSVILLE - Merlyn Knapp, who headed Saint Catherine Medical Center Fountain Springs when it filed for bankruptcy in April, claimed Tuesday when questioned by the facility's creditors and trustee that he had little responsibility over the now-closed hospital's finances.

    "The responsibilities of managing cash flow ... were in the hand of Katie Shroyer, the controller," Knapp testified during the Section 341 hearing in the commissioners' meeting room at the Schuylkill County Courthouse in the bankruptcy case of Saint Catherine Hospital of Pennsylvania LLC, the medical center's legal name.

    Knapp, the only person questioned during the two-hour hearing presided over by Trustee William G. Schwab, Lehighton, frequently used that type of explanation during examinations by Schwab and lawyers for some of the hospital's creditors, including an assertion that he did not authorize a large shift of money in the fall of 2011 from the Butler Township facility to Saint Catherine Hospital of Indiana LLC.

    "You don't know anything about how $300,000 was transferred to Indiana?" an astonished Schwab asked Knapp.

    "I don't know anything," Knapp answered.

    At the conclusion of Tuesday's hearing, Schwab scheduled another such session for Sept. 25 at the same location.

    The hospital just outside Ashland filed for bankruptcy on April 9, asking the court to allow it to reorganize.

    The state Department of Health has revoked the hospital's license and its approximately 150 employees have been left out of work.

    The hospital originally filed the petition as a Chapter 11 reorganization case, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John J. Thomas on April 18 converted the case to a Chapter 7 liquidation one.

    Knapp said that while he was working as chief financial officer, and then president and CEO, of the hospital, he actually was an employee of Specialty Health LLC, Ann Arbor, Mich., which owned 98.6 percent of the hospital and had a contract to manage it in exchange for a monthly payment of $40,000.

    He also said the hospital is completely separate from Saint Catherine Hospital of Indiana LLC, where he is now CEO and had been chief financial officer while also working in Fountain Springs.

    However, he could not explain why the Pennsylvania hospital pledged its accounts receivable - money it was to receive from bills that people or entities owed to it but had not yet paid - for debts owed by Specialty Health and Saint Catherine Hospital of Indiana LLC.

    Schwab has filed complaints against Specialty Health, Saint Catherine Hospital of Indiana LLC and other creditors asking for repayment of more than $800,000 in money he alleges should be returned to the hospital's bankruptcy estate for proper distribution under federal law.

    'I don't know'

    Knapp said his duties in Pennsylvania involved operations, cost reductions and revenue generation. However, Schwab then was surprised when Knapp admitted the hospital had a couple accounts whose purpose he did not know.

    "You're the (chief financial officer for 1 1/2 years) and you don't know what it was used for?" Schwab asked. "How would you be able to increase revenue if you don't know what the revenue is, and how would you decrease expenses if you don't know what the expenses are?"

    Knapp said those were not his duties.

    When questioned by Alaine S. Williams, Philadelphia, a lawyer representing some of the hospital's employees, Knapp said that while Shroyer reported to him, he did not review all of her work. He also said there were other unusual financial conditions.

    "There wasn't an audit done on an annual basis?" Williams asked Knapp.

    "No," he replied.

    Knapp also said he did not know of employees' contributions to various benefit plans being kept in segregated accounts.

    When questioned by Betsy S. Dutwin, an investigator with the Philadelphia office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration, Knapp said the hospital had provided pension, health, long-term disability, short-term disability and life insurance plans.

    Dr. Herbert Kunkel, Ashland, focused his questions on what the purpose of a hospital.

    "There are people who need health care. How do I get the records of my patients?" he asked Knapp.

    "I can't give them to you," Knapp answered.

    "Who do we put as ultimately responsible?"

    "I'm going to suggest the trustee is the one you contact."

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