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Roommates charged with operating three active one-pot meth labs

SHAMOKIN — Two Shamokin roommates were charged Monday morning with operating three active one-pot meth labs out of their Sunbury Street apartment last week.

John M. Litchard, 37, and Melissa Anne Temple, 39, of 405 E. Sunbury St., Apt. 2-1, who were taken into custody April 26 after an investigation revealed they were operating meth labs, are charged by Patrolman Raymond Siko II with nine criminal offenses.

The charges include felonies of possessing pseudoephedrine, precursors and reagents with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, operating three active one-pot meth labs (two counts) and possessing liquidfied ammonia gas, precursors and chemicals, misdemeanors of possessing methamphetamine, pseudoephedrine, precursors and reagents, possessing drug paraphernalia, causing or risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person and disorderly conduct.

Officers were dispatched to the second-floor apartment at 12:19 p.m. April 26 to assist state parole agents who were conducting a home visit to Litchard, who was on parole for manufacturing narcotics.

During the visit, parole agents discovered what appeared to be active meth labs.

As Siko walked down a hallway, he was directed into a bedroom, where he observed syringes and other drug paraphernalia lying on the floor.

Siko said Litchard and Temple occupied the room where the drug paraphernalia was located.

The officer said he then detected an odor of chemicals coming from a partially opened metal container before spotting an unknown type liquid in a plastic container, a rubber hose, a second plastic container with an off-white substance, a liquid, additional plastic bottles, drain opener and batteries.

Siko said the items were consistent with precursors used in manufacturing methamphetamine.

At 12:28 p.m., Siko ordered everyone in the apartment to evacuate as a precaution against chemical exposure or fire.

Litchard was taken into custody by state parole agents for violating his parole, while Temple was detained at the scene.

Temple told police she was pregnant, but initially refused medical treatment at the scene for possibly being exposed to the chemicals. She also informed police that other people including children resided in the apartment, but were not present during the incident.

Later on, Litchard, who was in the rear of a state parole van, said he felt like he was going to have a seizure. Emergency medical personnel from AREA Services evaluated Litchard and Temple, who also was concerned about having a seizure. Litchard and Temple refused to be transported to a hospital for further treatment, police said.

Litchard was transported by state parole agents to Columbia County Prison in Bloomsburg.

Siko said Jesse Storm, the owner of the apartment building, granted police and members of a Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Lab Team permission to search the entire building.

At 3:20 p.m., the clandestine lab team entered the apartment building and located three active one-pot methamphetamine operations in a bedroom. Among the items discovered were plastic bottles, lithium batteries, drain opener and pseudoephedrine tablets.

Members of the clandestine lab team removed all three pots and associated items and made them safe. The team also removed drug paraphernalia and secured and logged all the evidence.

The clandestine lab team completed air monitoring and reported dangerous levels of chemicals in the apartment and building. The area was ventilated by the team before occupants were allowed to return.

The scene was cleared at about 4:30 p.m.

On April 29, police received documentation from the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Forensics that revealed three one-pot bottles, a plastic bottle with residue, liquid drain opener, two pieces of tubing with caps, a container with pills, lithium batteries and other items were seized.

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Kashner remembered, honored on SAYBSO opening day

SHAMOKIN — A man who dedicated his life to promoting local youth sports, primarily baseball and softball, was honored in memoriam on the Shamokin Area Youth Baseball and Softball Organization’s (SAYBSO) opening day of its softball season.

For more than five decades, Dick Kashner gave his life to developing a local youth facility with top-notch ballfields where area youngsters could compete, make friends and have a lot of fun.

At 10 a.m. on a windy Saturday morning, family, friends and the public gathered for a special ceremony at the Bunker Hill Sports Complex, that paid tribute to the late Kashner and his love for promoting local youth sports.

Two of Kashner’s children, Rick Kashner and Kathy Vetovich, were on hand to participate in paying tribute to their late father by throwing out the ceremonial first pitches to Shamokin youth softballers Zelia Suchanick and Lily Neary.

“This field was dedicated to dad about 10 years ago and at the time, mom would jokingly say, ‘It’s going to be the Dick Kashner Memorial Field if he doesn’t stay home more often.’ Now here we are today and it’s the Dick Kashner Memorial Field,” expressed a tearful Vetovich.

“The fact that they’re honoring dad like this is just amazing and so heartwarming. He did so much for everybody.”

Rick Kashner reflected upon the irony of the day meant to honor his father.

“It’s an honor to be able to do this for him. Only a few months ago we were planning to hold a celebration for my dad up here and invite everyone back that knew and worked with him, including many of his old players, to have a ‘remember when’ type of event, so it’s definitely bittersweet,” he said.

“Kathy and I are honored to be chosen to throw out the first pitch today. All of the people who are currently running the facility up here are doing a fantastic job and we’re very proud to be a part of it.”

Since 1968, the senior Kashner was a driving force behind the Shamokin-Coal Township Little League and the Shamokin Youth Basketball League over the years and was adamant about the upkeep of the Bunker Hill complex, which includes baseball, softball and Little League fields. He passed away on Feb. 14, 2021, followed 18 days later by his beloved wife Merle, who coached a youth softball team.

Mike Duganitz, president of the Bunker Hill Sports Complex, provided opening remarks that reflected back upon Kashner’s life and what his efforts meant for so many local area children.

“Many of us knew Dick Kashner from around this area. We’ve lost a true gentleman who started this league,” Duganitz said. “When he first arrived, it was so bad the kids used to have to clear rocks off the field before they could even play baseball.”

Duganitz explained that when the league was just getting organized, Kashner, along with several of his friends which included Bernie Romanoskie Sr. and Paul Metrocavage, saw over 200 children show up in person to sign up for participation in Little League baseball.

“They looked at one another and were overwhelmed that so many kids wanted to come out and play,” he said.

Following player introductions, the singing of the National Anthem was performed by Shamokin Area High School student Destiny Smith. Then it was time to officially play ball between the visiting Frackville Fury and Shamokin Studio 207 Clippers.

Event organizer and Clippers coach Steven Suchanick, said that the youth baseball and softball teams will wear patches on their uniforms throughout this season with the initials ‘D.K.’ and ‘M.K.’ on them respectively in memory of Dick and Merle Kashner.

Local radio personality Chad Evans, a disc jockey from 94.1 FM, provided music for the event. Fundraising activities included raffles and a bake sale to help raise money for the league. Donations were made by local businesses with all proceeds going directly to the league.

Legendary sports radio announcer Tommy Ryan reflected back upon what he believes Kashner meant to youth sports in the Shamokin area.

“Dick’s legacy is steeped in Little League baseball, Shamokin Youth Basketball League, and many other local youth organizations too numerous to mention,” Ryan said.

“His half-century of dedication to the Bunker Hill Sports Complex, and the many thousands of hours of work it involved should never be forgotten or taken for granted. In his quiet, unassuming way, he touched thousands of lives, both young and old.”

Duganitz said that the current board plans to move forward with a number of plans to honor Dick and Merle posthumously, including the renaming of the concession stand to “Kashner’s Kitchen” and construction of a new monument with a memorial plaque outside the fence near the home dugout.

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Motyka: Kulpmont should require removal of abandoned overhead lines

KULPMONT — In an effort to further cleanup efforts in the Borough of Kulpmont, Councilman Steve Motyka is not only looking down but also up.

Motyka would like to see borough council adopt what he calls an “overhead wire ordinance,” that would essentially require the removal of overhead wires from utility poles if they’re no longer being used.

“Overhead wires in our borough is a huge issue of mine. I want an overhead wire ordinance adopted, asking that any abandoned wires be removed,” Motyka said. “I paid $2,500 to bury my cable and power lines and remove a pole from my yard.”

According to Motyka, the wires are all maintained by the phone, cable and electric companies.

“As we perform our rental inspections, we can determine whether or not the phone and cable lines are still active and, if not, discuss removal with the company at that point,” he said.

Motyka said that identification of inactive wires may be as straightforward as seeing them hanging down from poles with no ends or connections.

“Take a ride down any street. Most phone lines are no longer needed. Some residences have a half dozen wires from the alley to the house,” he added. “Big coils are hanging at street level. It’s horrible and unsightly. Having these removed would make a huge difference.”

In 2004 over 90% of all U.S. households had an active landline service. Today, that number is slightly less than 40% and rapidly decreasing, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks phone ownership in the U.S. as part of its National Health Survey.

For cable lines, Motyka said that Service Electric asks for an agreement with the borough every few years.

“Next time we sign one, which is soon, we should include a provision that requires the removal of abandoned lines,” he said. “If a house or apartment is unoccupied, then the wires should be removed.”

Motyka said that he will continue researching exactly what Kulpmont should include in its ordinance and plans to raise the issue during the next borough council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m May 12.

“I’m continuing to do my research on it, looking at other municipalities that have adopted similar ordinances in order to find a good fit for us here in Kulpmont,” he said.

Mount Carmel’s DaniRae Renno looks to shoot against Neshannock’s Mairan Haggert on March 25 during the Class 2A State Championship at the Giant Center in Hershey.

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Juveniles adjudicated delinquent in cemetery vandalism

SUNBURY — Three juveniles charged with vandalizing Shamokin Cemetery last year were adjudicated delinquent Wednesday on a misdemeanor of criminal mischief by Northumberland County Judge Paige Rosini.

Two males from Shamokin and a Coal Township teen were placed on probation and ordered to complete 30 hours of community service each, including 10 hours cleaning up Shamokin Cemetery.

The juveniles, who were 12, 14 and 17 at the time of the offenses, also must comply with other standard probation conditions.

Charges of desecrating historical burial lots and burial places, institutional vandalism and multiple counts of criminal conspiracy were withdrawn.

In February, Brett Donohue, 20, Shamokin, was sentenced by Northumberland County President Judge Charles H. Saylor to 18 months’ probation and ordered to complete 10 hours of community service at the cemetery after pleading guilty to desecrating historical burial lots and burial places in exchange for the withdrawal of the other charges.

Donohue also was ordered to pay a $50 fine plus costs and make $25 restitution to Shamokin Cemetery.

Jacob Alford, 23, of East Berlin, and formerly of Shamokin, who was charged with the same offenses, is scheduled to appear for a status conference June 7 at Northumberland County Courthouse.

The charges filed by Shamokin Patrolman Shane Mowery relate to incidents that occurred at the historic cemetery between 5 p.m. April 10, and 8:22 p.m. April 11, 2020.

After being summoned to investigate a report of vandalism at the cemetery, police observed a large amount of graffiti sprayed on the roadway, a stone wall, an office building and a large mausoleum.

The graffiti included vulgar names and symbols and the majority of the damage was done on the High Street side of the cemetery between Grant and Marshall streets.

Mark Sassani paints a damaged portion of a statue of Mother Theresa outside of Mother Cabrini Church. The statue, which was vandalized in November, will soon be fully restored.