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Students conduct demonstrations during career and technology center open house

COAL TOWNSHIP — Students enrolled at the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center held live demonstrations during an open house Wednesday.

Preparing food, painting visitors’ nails and simulating CPR on a mannequin were among the many skills conducted by students from Shamokin Area, Mount Carmel Area, Line Mountain and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School during the event, which was held noon to 7 p.m. In addition to watching the demonstrations, the public was also welcome to view labs and speak to instructors.

Dr. James Catino, administrative director, said the format was changed from previous open houses that ran from 6 to 8 p.m. to allow people who work second shift the opportunity to attend and to allow for the demonstrations. The change seemed to work, he said, with visitors arriving as early as 11:45 a.m.

Catino said of the annual open house, “It allows the parents and guardians of current students to visit, and talk to teachers and see the labs and (students’) work. It also allows an opportunity for future students to come and visit and get an idea for what they might want to do in the future.”

Overall, approximately 200 students are enrolled in either construction trades, welding, collision repair, automotive technology, occupational child care, culinary arts, cosmetology, health occupations or protective services.

Donovan Beaver, Andrew Druckenmiller and Kaitlyn Merlino were among several students enrolled in protective services to demonstrate treatment of a victim having a medical emergency. In one scenario, instructor Matthew Dunn told the students that a person, or a mannequin in this case, was in cardiac arrest.

Visitors watched the students perform CPR, place the “victim” on a stretcher and transport the victim to a neighboring classroom. In another incident, a fellow student played an aggravated person who was not feeling well.

Dunn said the program offers entry-level training in law enforcement, such as use of force and how to use restraints, and basic life support (BLS) designed for students who are interested in entering the medical field.

“A handful of students are interested in becoming an EMT,” Dunn said. “Some students involved in the program are also interested in seeking a criminal justice degree.”

He noted that several graduates of the program are now using their skills while working at the Norhumberland County Jail.

Catino said the center continues to be an asset to local school districts, adding that it gives the students an opportunity to shine.

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Marino wins 12th, expresses concern over power shift in Congress

WILLIAMSPORT — While celebrating his win late Tuesday evening over Democratic challenger Mark Friedenberg in the new 12th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Tom Marino expressed concern about the impending shift of power in the House of Representatives.

By 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, with 92 percent of the precincts in the district reporting, Marino had garnered 148,999 votes to Friedenberg’s 71,577.

“It looks like it is going to shift (from a Republican to a Democratic House majority),” Marino said. “I am concerned because we are on such a good track.”

He listed the economy, border security and low unemployment rates as areas in which he believes the country is currently excelling.

“The Democrats will certainly not look at any Legislation we want to pass,” he said. “As a majority in the House, they will be obstructionist and nothing will get done.”

He cautioned there could be a price to pay for actions the Democratic Party takes as a result of holding the majority in the House.

“If they intend on (being obstructionists), there will be consequences two years from now (at election time),” Marino said. “People are used to seeing a good economy and jobs.”

While Marino is concerned about a Democratic majority controlling the House, he intends to reach out across the aisle in an effort to work with the opposing party.

“I have good relations with my Democratic colleagues,” he said. “I have supported some of their legislation and they have supported some of mine.

“I will continue working with those people, hopefully, to continue to make sure the economy keeps growing,” Marino continued. “Over the last eight years, I have had legislation passed and signed by two presidents.”

With his victory on Tuesday, Marino noted that he will now be entering his ninth year as a member of the House. He intends to only seek re-election one more time.

“I am term-limiting myself out at 12 years,” he said. “I am in my eighth year now. At the end of 12, I am stepping down. I will have accomplished everything I hoped I wanted to do.”

He remains adamant that elected offices should have term limits.

“The framers of the Constitution never intended it to be a full-time job, let alone a lifetime job,” Marino said. “A lot of problems we have in D.C. are caused by people who have been there for too long, on both sides of the aisle.

“Nancy Pelosi once told me I was insignificant because I was newly elected,” he continued. “We have to get rid of people like that. They are not serving the interest of the American people.”

Marino offered thanks to everyone who supported his re-election bid.

“Obviously, it feels good (to win),” he said. “We are doing something right. I get my legislation passed for my constituents and will continue to do that.”

Marino also stressed that everyone in the 12th District can reach out to him at any time, regardless of their party affiliation.

“My door is always open to constituents,” he said. “All they have to do is call my office and make an appointment… I do get some of my ideas for legislation from my constituents.”

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Mistrial declared in Markowitz drug case; defendant later pleads guilty

SUNBURY — A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the case of a Coal Township man facing drug charges, but the defendant lated pleaded guilty to one charge.

After reconvening from lunch at about 1:20 p.m., Northumberland County Judge Hugh Jones told the jury he was declaring a mistrial for 49-year-old Steven Robert Markowitz because of an incident involving three jurors that occurred during a lunchtime break in the trial.

Jones declined to comment when asked for details regarding the incident.

The News-Item was later informed that three of the 12 female jurors were allegedly drinking alcohol during lunch and that someone took a photo from a cellphone showing them with alcoholic beverages.

The three women allegedly were wearing badges identifying them as jurors.

The photo was sent to Northumberland County Court Administrator Kevin O’Hearn, who brought it to the judge’s attention.

After Jones notified public defender John Broda and Assistant District Attorney Mike Finn of the incident, all parties agreed it would be in the best interest of the court and Markowitz to declare a mistrial. Both attorneys filed motions for a mistrial and Jones granted them.

If only two jurors were involved in the incident, the two alternates (one male and one female) could have replaced them on the jury. But because there were three jurors involved, a mistrial was declared.

Markowitz was charged by Shamokin Cpl. Bryan Primerano with possession with intent to deliver heroin, criminal conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia relating to an incident on June 19, 2017.

During the morning session of the trial, Finn called seven witnesses including Primerano, Shamokin Cpl. Jarrod Scandle, Shamokin Patrolman Matthew Dunn, Amber Lee Dietz and her husband, Jason Dietz, Jayce Marge and forensic scientist Gabriel Llinas, of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Later in the afternoon after the mistrial was declared, Markowitz decided to plead guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia in exchange for the withdrawal of the other offenses, under a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office.

Jones then sentenced Markowitz to the standard range of 3 to 12 months in county prison and ordered him to pay a $200 fine plus costs.

Markowitz remains in Northumberland County Jail on additional charges.


Murray Insurance Associates Inc., DBA Vandine’s Insurance Shoppe and local firefighters visited schools for their annual coloring contest during Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme was “Look, Listen, Learn Be Aware — Fire Can Happen Anywhere.” Each contest winner and their class was rewarded with a pizza party donated by Domino’s Pizza, Original Italian Pizza and Two Guys From Italy. Contest winners from Southern Columbia Area School District were, from front, left, Logan Turofski, first grade; Audrina Stefanowicz, kindergarten; and Mason Rhone, third grade; back, Krista McGinley, of Murray Insurance Associates Inc.; junior firefighters, John Stabinski, Sean Richendrfer and Tyler Brophy and Margie Buriak representing Murray Insurance Associates, Inc., DBA Vandine’s Insurance Shoppe.