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Ashland Post Office pays tribute to military working dogs and K9 Hero Haven

ASHLAND — Staff at Ashland Post Office hosted two very special canines and their handlers Tuesday morning during a program featuring the presentation of a certificate of appreciation and commemorative military working dogs forever stamps to K9 Hero Haven in Herndon.

K9 Hero Haven, which is owned and operated by Anne Gibbs, is a volunteer organization dedicated to serving the military, veterans and first-responders by providing working dogs a home for retirement. The K-9s employed with the military and first-responders are the best at what they do.

Megan Wilson, who serves as officer-in-charge and supervisor at Ashland Post Office, organized the program. The program included a special visit by Gibbs, volunteer handler Bill Cossari and contracting working dogs Bear and Jan.

Gibbs outlined the mission of K9 Hero Haven and provided background on the dogs as the canines mingled with post office staff while receiving a variety of treats.

Bear is an explosives detection dog while Jan is a patrol explosives detection canine.

Wilson thanked Gibbs, Cossari and the dogs for their outstanding service before presenting a framed copy of military working dogs forever stamps and a certificate of appreciation to Gibbs.

Also attending the program was Post Office Operations Manager Jared Diehl.

The U.S. Postal Service announced in February that one of this year’s “forever” stamp collections will honor the “nation’s brave and loyal military working dogs.” The stamps, which were first issued Aug. 1 in Omaha, Nebraska, feature four breeds that commonly serve in the armed forces: German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Belgian Malinois and Dutch shepherd.

Gibbs said K9 Hero Haven helps to transition dogs to retirement. If possible, volunteers aim to reunite a dog with its handler, giving preference to veterans and law enforcement officers in honor of their sacrifices.

Volunteers at K9 Hero Haven strive to educate the public on the roles the dogs have filled and highlight their level of training in keeping people safe from danger.

Gibbs said finding good homes for the dogs is a priority.


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Banquet honors sanctity of human life

DANVILLE — Life was celebrated in earnest Tuesday night at the Pine Barn Inn with 300 guests attending a special Guardians of Life fundraising banquet in support of Shamokin’s Pregnancy Care Center (PCC) Corner of Hope — a family resource center at the corner of Market and Pine Streets in Shamokin. Among the large crowd of visitors were not only pastors and members of church congregations from a variety of denominations, but also average citizens with a desire to simply learn more about the PCC and help support its outreach in the community.

The official title of the event was “All In — Saving Babies and Women’s Lives” and featured a special guest speaker, Pam Tebow, a former missionary and mother of professional athlete and evangelist Tim Tebow.

Opening prayer

Pastor Sam Bellavia, of the Shamokin Christian Missionary Alliance Church, offered an opening word of prayer, thanking the Lord for the special gathering and asking His blessing upon the meal.

“We thank you Lord for the opportunity to be here tonight and give thanks for this ministry — what it’s already accomplished and what it will continue to do according to your will,” said Bellavia.

Director’s comments

Margie Conrad, executive director of the PCC Corner of Hope, shared her thoughts about the PCC’s outreach in the Shamokin area and beyond.

“This is our 14th year in Shamokin and our 10th annual banquet. This is a pro-life event and is our annual fall fundraiser which helps keep the doors of our center open as we don’t receive any state or federal grant money,” said Conrad.

“We’re the only free clinic in the Shamokin area, which provides free STD testing, ultrasound and mentoring. We also offer family resources and counseling services with regard to pregnancies. In short, we believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to death,” she stated.

Keynote speaker

The highlight of the night was listening to Pam Tebow, who simply shared her family’s story about how God gave them a miracle in saving her son Tim’s life as well as her own.

“I attend a lot of pro-life events and tonight is a God-given opportunity for us to reach out and speak on behalf of life and its value, said Tebow.

She then went on to share the compelling and miraculous story of the birth of her son.

“In 1985 my husband and I were called by God to the mission field in the Philippines. There were many challenges but God was a faithful master through it all. When I became pregnant with Tim I experienced serious bleeding problems and was advised by medical experts to abort him for my own life’s sake. When Tim was born, the doctor told us when Tim was born that he was the biggest miracle he’d ever seen. It takes a lot of faith muscle to do what the PCC does in supporting life. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 127 which states that children are a gift from the Lord. We must always remember that our greatest calling in life is to serve and help others rather than ourselves,” she concluded.

Closing thoughts

Jana Hollenbach, development director of PCC Corner of Hope, expressed her feelings toward the special event and the cause that it supports.

“This banquet is all about what the Lord is going to do with this ministry of reaching more families and people with the love of Christ and sharing with them God’s message regarding the sanctity and value of human life. Everyone asked how we got Pam to come and be our keynote speaker. The answer is through email and prayer. She is a busy lady, but had this date available and God lined everything up just right,” said Hollenbach.

She continued, “Psalm 139:16 in a children’s version of the Bible reads, ‘You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.’ When I read that Scripture, it aligns perfectly with the PCC’s message of the sanctity of life from beginning to end. But I also look at the fact that God knew all of the people who would be gathered here tonight for this purpose.”

Hollenbach also expressed her gratitude toward the local businesses that she said helped cover the majority of the costs associated with the banquet and that all of the donations received would go toward the daily operational costs of PCC.

“As the PCC continues to thrive and make a difference in Shamokin and the surrounding area, we ask the public if they would please consider making a donation or volunteering as we continue to strive toward protecting the sanctity of human life,” she added.


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Man dies from injuries in Montour County crash

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — A 19-year-old Limerick man, whose truck crashed into a tractor-trailer early Friday on Interstate 80 in this Montour County township, died as a result of injuries suffered in the accident.

State police at Milton reported Curtis Melvillle III died at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. A press release issued Monday night doesn’t indicate when Melville died.

Police reported Melville was driving a black Ford F-150 at mile marker 218 on a rest area ramp at 1:10 a.m. when he lost control of his truck and struck the rear of a red and white tractor-trailer operated by Temur Davronov, 40, of Philadelphia, which was parked along the shoulder of the exit ramp.

Melville was trapped in the truck and had to be extricated before being transported to Geisinger. Davronov escaped injury.

An investigation into the fatality is continuing.


Chris Grego / C. J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO 

Southern captain Maggie Morrison tries to navigate her way through a host of Mount Carmel Area defenders lead by Talia Mazzatesta (34) and Rachel Witkoski during action Tuesday afternoon at Mount Carmel.


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Elysburg woman charged with stealing mother's Social Security, Veterans Affairs benefits

ELYSBURG — An Elysburg woman has been charged with stealing her mother’s Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits between Dec. 1 and July 22.

Anita J. Karlovich, of 370 S. Market St., was charged by Ralpho Township Patrolman David Tomtishen with a misdemeanor of misapplication of entrusted property.

According to a criminal complaint filed at the office of Magisterial District Judge William Cole, Tomtishen was notified by Northumberland Officer Matthew Lauver on July 26 that Karlovich was stealing money from her mother, Dorothy Keller, a resident at Emmanuel Home in Northumberland. Tomtishen said Karlovich has power of attorney for her mother.

Robert Delbo, who manages Emmanuel Home, told police that Keller was behind on her nursing home payments. Delbo said the Veterans Affairs benefits are supposed to be directly applied to Keller’s care at the home.

Delbo told police he contacted Karlovich several times in reference to being behind on the payments, but she continually told him she hadn’t received the funds yet.

An agreement between the parties required Karlovich to pay the full veteran’s benefits of $1,290, and $1,000 of Keller’s Social Security benefits per month for a total of $2,209.

According to Delbo, Karlovich had only been making sporadic payments of $1,000 per month based on the Social Security income only, and had been late on the payments.

After further examination of Keller’s bank statements, Tomtishen said it was discovered that the Social Security funds and Veterans Affairs benefits were deposited into Keller’s account since December.

A total of $10,815 was deposited into Keller’s account from Veterans Affairs from December 2018 to July 2019 and numerous withdrawals and debit card payments were assessed against Keller’s bank account.

On Aug. 5, Tomtishen conducted an interview with Karlovich, who said she was having financial issues and money management problems. As time continued on, Karlovich said the financial problems snowballed out of control, making her realize she was not going to be able to make up the difference.

She told Tomtishen that she had no idea why she lied about the Veterans Affairs money and admitted to using the money she stole for bills, truck repairs and Christmas purchases.

Karlovich told police the agreement between herself, her mother and Emmanuel Home was that the entire Veterans Affairs check would go directly toward her mother’s care, with an additional $1,000 from Keller’s Social Security funds, which left her with approximately $300.

She said the additional money was supposed to be used for her mother’s supplemental health insurance, life insurance, cell phone, pharmaceuticals and any other supplies she might need.


HARRY DEITZ/FOR THE NEWS-ITEM 

A rural mail carrier out of the Elysburg U.S. Post Office was transported to a hospital in Elysburg Fire Co. ambulance Tuesday after the vehicle she was driving to make deliveries on Bear Gap Road in Cleveland Township crashed into a small drainage ditch. Valley Chemical and Numidia firefighters responded to the emergency call shortly after noon, about two miles from the Route 54 intersection at Bear Gap. Locust Township police investigated along with the postmistress from U.S. Post Office in Elysburg. Initial reports were that the female driver was trapped inside the vehicle.


Anda Chu/San Jose Mercury News via AP  

James Cooke buys water bottles along with propane tanks and batteries at a ACE Hardware store Tuesday as he prepares for a possible power shutdown in Los Gatos, California. Millions of people were poised to lose electricity throughout northern and central California after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced Tuesday it would shut off power in the largest preventive outage in state history to try to avert wildfires caused by faulty lines.