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Line Mountain students exhibit artwork at Open House

SUNBURY — Students from Northumberland and Snyder counties took advantage of an opportunity to showcase their artistic talents at the ninth annual Student Art Open House on Thursday afternoon at Sunbury’s historic Maclay-Wolverton House. The landmark building’s interior setting, replete with ornate Chestnut trim work, was the perfect compliment to the youth art exhibit.

The Line Mountain School District was well represented at the event, as students from the elementary through high school levels had 35 unique pieces of artwork on display at the event, including a variety of pencil and charcoal sketches, paintings, paper mache and a number of unconventional pieces.

Unique and varied artwork

Junior Sydney Knauer stood next to her creative pencil sketch of a hand coming up out of a book with five different types of fingers on it.

“The five fingers depicted in my sketch are from a Pegasus wing, mermaid, dragon claw, dragon tail and unicorn,” explained Knauer. “I like using a lot of different types of media for my artwork. I tend to focus primarily on pencil sketches and often incorporate the use of colors in many of them.”

Line Mountain High School art and graphic design instructor Wes Wagner spoke highly of his students efforts as he walked around and viewed all of the artwork throughout the entire display.

“For our students collective ‘prehistoric art’ piece over here, we have a number of individual pieces which they were asked to create using what we would call ‘non-traditional’ media and application method,” said Wagner. “For example, you probably wouldn’t believe that each of these pieces was created using a different and unconventional media and application technique, such as painting with barbecue sauce and a skewer, mud with fingers, nail polish and a nail brush and soy sauce with a chopstick.

Wagner also pointed to a beautifully rendered self-portrait sitting on a fireplace mantle.

“You have to see this one,” he said. “It was painted by one of our seniors, Taylor Leshock, who uses a digital art tool called ‘Procreate’ on her iPad Pro. She does phenomenal work and has started putting together her own digital portfolio of her artwork, which includes her signature on each piece.”

Sophomore Kylie Figard pointed to her artwork hanging just above a stairwell landing of a cat surrounded by a number of varied, intricate designs.

“My piece is titled ‘Chubbies,’ after the name of my cat. It was sketched first with a pencil and then with an ink pen,” she said. “For about a year now I’ve been sketching with paints, charcoal, pens and pencils. I enjoy drawing but it’s only a hobby for me right now.”

The Line Mountain Middle School art instructor is CarolLynn Kahler, while Sandy Kessler works with the elementary students.

Special presentation

In another form of art, Rosella Delgado, a junior at Shikellamy High School, captured the attention and hearts of everyone present as she performed a prose reading from Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Kaitlin Roig. As she read Roig’s account, Delgado vividly depicted all of the emotional highs and lows experienced on that fateful day, Dec. 14, 2012, from the teacher’s perspective. The moving tribute revealed how Roig tried her very best to protect all of her students by locking them inside a small bathroom together until the area had been cleared and they were finally escorted out of harm’s way.

Following her performance, Delgado received a round of applause from everyone present.

She commented, “I feel school shootings have, unfortunately, become very relevant in today’s society.”

Culver, staff comments

Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108), whose office is also located in the Maclay building, was all smiles as she welcomed visitors to the free public display, which also included refreshments.

“This is our ninth year hosting this special Student Art Open House at the Sunbury district office to showcase the talent of our local students from private and public k-12 schools,” remarked Culver. “It is inspiring to see the creativity of their young minds shine through many different outlets, such as visual art, theatre, forensics and culinary art.”

“I invite everyone in Northumberland and Snyder counties to come out and support our local youth artists at this fun event. There will be close to 230 different works on display and the open house setting also allows the opportunity for residents to see the district office and meet myself and my staff,” she added.

Culver also expressed her gratitude toward Service First Federal Credit Union for its sponsorship of the open house.

“We are grateful to them for supporting our students and helping us showcase their hard work. It’s wonderful to see our community come together in support of our students,” said Culver.

Terri Campbell, a member of Culver’s staff who served as the event coordinator, spoke of the amount of time and effort put into the event each year by the students, faculty and the representative’s staff.

“Every year it’s so exciting for us to unpack the art from all of the schools in our legislative district, which actually takes several weeks to complete. All of the participating students receive a certificate of recognition from Rep. Culver’s office for their involvement in the program.”

Another staff member and 2012 Line Mountain graduate, Betsy Reichenbach, who serves as a district aide for Culver and is also an artist, was happy to see the tremendous effort put forth on everyone’s part to make the day an enjoyable success.

“As an artist myself, I understand and appreciate all the effort it takes to put a public event like this together,” she said.


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‘E-cig’ dangers explained

LEWISBURG — Educators and public policy experts were schooled in vaping Wednesday night.

A gathering, organized by the Greater Susquehanna United Way, opened with a video produced to inform young people of the dangers of what were generally called “e-cigs.” Ann Dzwonchyk, Evangelical Community Hospital educator, noted that the Human Relations Media video was released less than six months ago and that many area students have seen it.

The video explained that the devices use electric current to vaporize liquid nicotine and were introduced about 10 years ago. They were seen as an aid for adults who wanted to quit smoking.

Many users believe vaping is a safe alternative to conventional tobacco, but research shows it contains more than a dozen known carcinogens. It added that vaporized nicotine affects the same neuroreceptors as opioids with similar withdrawal. Flavored product, which can include tobacco’s active ingredient, often comes in varieties critics say are attractive to children.

More recent versions included the Juul, a device which looks like a computer thumb drive. It emits fewer visible vapors and has proven to be popular among underage users.

Dangers outlined included addiction, substances gathering in the lungs, dental damage and conventional tobacco use when electric products were not available.

Dzwonchyk was joined on stage by Leo Sokolski, Bloomsburg University police, Dr. Perry Meadows, director of medical and government programs for Geisinger Health Plan, Kerry Davis, Northumberland County Drug and Alcohol specialist, Jennifer Campbell, a registered dental hygienist and Paula Reber, Lewisburg Area High School principal.

Reber praised the video as something secondary school students could relate to. She said the increasing use of the new products was noticeable.

“High school kids often don’t think of the long term,” Reber added. “I certainly didn’t. A 16 or 17 year old has a sense of immortality.”

Sokolski noticed that vaping is legal for persons over age 18, but has seen vape use on the rise as a consult for his local intermediate unit. He said it was a problem for the schools, but similar to combating other substances, was a chess game of a kind.

Meadows said the chemicals inhaled in vaping include arsenic and lead. It can affect the lungs negatively in eight weeks after use starts.

Davis said he works with student assistance programs in Northumberland County.

“Many of our schools are not well- informed about vaping and Juuling,” he said. “I’ve seen tapes in schools from their surveillance cameras in the cafeteria where kids were openly vaping and Juuling and nobody has a clue.”

Davis said some staff members mistook Juuls for computer thumb drives. Staff members have also wondered why rest rooms have the aroma of cotton candy or fruit punch, not realizing it was flavored vape product.

Online purchases of Juul cartridges, shipped illegally by unscrupulous dealers from states where recreational pot is legal, may be tampered with and filled with the active ingredient of marijuana. Davis said other water soluble substances, such as heroin or cocaine, may also be vaporized via the Juul system.

Campbell observed how the dental damage can rot teeth and gums while young people are still using orthodontics. She also noted her own son has been a frequent user.

Reber added that penalties for vape possession on campus were the same as for other prohibited substances.

The presentation at Lewisburg Area High School was sponsored by Snyder Union County Opioid Coalition in partner ship with United Recovery, a partnership of five United Way chapters.


Abby Doss is shown after winning the 500-yard free at the PIAA Class 2A swimming championships Thursday evening Bucknell University. 


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Officials silent on police presence in Milton

MILTON — Authorities are expected to release details today on a heavy police presence which permeated Milton borough early Thursday morning.

Milton Police Department Chief Curt Zettlemoyer said on Thursday morning he could not yet comment on why Filbert Street, in the area of the police department and borough building, was blocked off throughout the early morning hours as multiple police vehicles were parked and operating in the area.

Zettlemoyer said police were conducting an ongoing criminal investigation.

He said a press conference was planned for today to outline the incident.

A media advisory from U.S. Attorney David J. Freed, of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, said a press conference regarding a significant law enforcement matter in Dauphin, Union and Northumberland counties at 11 a.m. today at the Milton Borough Office.

Agencies listed as expected to participate in the conference include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration, Pennsylvania State Police, Milton Police Department, Northumberland County District Attorney’s Office, Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department, United States Postal Inspection Service and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.

Multiple police agencies were stationed along Filbert Street Thursday morning, with some officers seen carrying semi-automatic weapons and wearing bulletproof vests.

A group of onlookers appeared upset when police placed a man in handcuffs inside of a police vehicle. The bystanders said they did not know what was going on.

Multiple police officers were also spotted at an apartment complex along Long Ally.

No paperwork on the incident was on file in the office of District Judge Michael Diehl, Milton, on Thursday.

In addition to the Milton Police Department, agencies on scene included the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department, Point Township Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Incident Management Unit from the Loyslock Volunteer Fire Company.


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Sunbury man found guilty of raping a child

SUNBURY — James Beidler, 41, of Sunbury, was found guilty by a jury Wednesday of raping a child over a five-year period in Sunbury.

Beidler, who will be sentenced at a later date, was found guilty of all seven charges filed against him by Sunbury police relating to incidents that occurred between Jan. 1, 2011, and April 22, 2016. The victim was 5-years-old when the crimes first occurred, police said.

At the conclusion of the full-day trial before Northumberland County President Judge Charles H. Saylor, the jury found Beidler guilty of felonies of rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a victim less than 13 years old, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and statutory sexual assault.

The Child Advocacy Center assisted Sunbury police in the investigation.

In a press release, District Attorney Tony Matulewicz said, “Sex crimes are hard cases to successfully bring to verdict. Often times the trials are little more than a ‘he said — she said,’ but we take them to trial because it is the right thing to do.”

The case was prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney Julia Skinner.

Matulewicz commended Skinner for the prosecution of Beidler. “She is highly trained and very experienced with these difficult types of cases,” he said. “She has a difficult job and once again did a fantastic job with the evidence she presented.”

The district attorney said his office is seeking a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence for Beidler.


Mark Gilger / SUBMITTED PHOTO  

Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz speaks to residents at the Riverfront Apartment Complex in Sunbury about scams and identity theft.