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Philadelphia Man Faces Drug Charges After Allegedly Trying to Sell Large Amount of Heroin to Police

A Philadelphia man is facing drug charges after he allegedly tried to sell an undercover officer a large amount of heroin.

Nasir M. Lawrence, 23, allegedly tried to sell fifty bags of heroin to a Lycoming County Narcotics Unit officer. The alleged attempted drug deal took place at Third Place and Park Avenue on Thursday, June 9th. You can read Lawrence’s court report below:

Court ReportCOURT REPORT- Nasir M. Lawrence, 23, of Philadelphia, faces 3 felony charges and 3 misdemeanor charges.  The charges listed are….
35 § 780-113 §§ A30 F Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver
35 § 780-113 §§ A30 F Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver
18 § 7512 §§ A F3 Criminal Use Of Communication Facility

35 § 780-113 §§ A16 M Int Poss Contr Subst By Per Not Reg
35 § 780-113 §§ A32 M Use/Poss Of Drug Paraph
35 § 780-113 §§ A16 M Int Poss Contr Subst By Per Not Reg 06/09/2016

Magisterial District Judge Christian David Frey on June 9th, 2016 presided over the preliminary arraignment for Lawrence. Lawrence was arraigned at the Magisterial District Court 29-1-01. Lawrence was assigned bail in the amount of $250,000. Lawrence was unable to meet bail and was remanded to the Lycoming County Prison pending the next hearing. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 14th, 2016, at 2:00 p.m., also in front of Magisterial District Judge Christian David Frey.

Keifer J. Bathgate of the Lycoming County Detectives is listed as the arresting officer for Lawrence. The charges relate to an alleged incident that happened on June 9th, 2016.

Please remember all individuals are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
All of the information contained is based on Lycoming County PA Court Records.
View the full court record here.

Nasir M Lawrence 6 9 16

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Five Tioga County Students Compete for 2016 Laurel Queen Crown

Five Tioga County high school students are among the 28 Pennsylvania students competing for the 2016 Laurel Queen crown.

The Laurel Queen will be crowned during the 75th annual Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival. The festival takes place from Saturday, June 11th to Sunday, June 19th.

Anya Nance from Richmond Township is representing North Penn-Mansfield Junior-Senior High School. Nance was on high honor roll for all four years of high school. She was also a member of the North Penn-Mansfield Student Council or four years. She was in band and was the president of chorus during her senior year. She was the secretary of the  North Penn-Mansfield High School Chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America during her senior year. She was on the North Penn-Mansfield Chapter of the National Honor Society for three years and was the historian. She also represented North Penn-Mansfield Junior-Senior High School as a Youth Leader of Tomorrow candidate. She was picked to compete as an alto in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District No. 8 Chorus during her junior year. She was named to the PMEA All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble in her junior and senior year. Nance was on the track team during her freshman and sophomore year. During her freshman year, she was a cheerleader for the boys’ basketball team. During her sophomore year, she was on the Mansfield Tigers Girls Volleyball Team. During her junior year, she was a member of the Ski Club. She sings in the Holy Child Catholic Church Choir. She volunteered with the Tioga County Special Olympics for four years. She held two Community Blood Bank blood drives at North Penn-Mansfield Junior-Senior High School for her senior project. Nance is planning to attend Bloomsburg University starting in the fall.

Britta Berguson from Blossburg is representing North Penn-Liberty Junior-Senior High School. She was on the honor roll during all four year of high school. She was also the Class of 2016 secretary. During 10th grade, she was a National Honor Society inductee. During her senior year, she was the National Honor Society secretary. She was on the girls’ varsity volleyball team and the and basketball team for four years. During her junior and senior year, she was on the softball team. She was on the track and field team during 9th and 10th grade. She received a s the Northern Tier League athlete of the year nomination. She was also a WETM-TV athlete of the week. She is also a Tioga County Sports Hall of Fame inductee. She represented North Penn-Liberty Junior-Senior High School as a Youth Leader of Tomorrow. She was a Flaming Foliage queen candidate during her senior year. She was a member of Peer Helpers for two years. During her junior and senior year, she was a member of the Key Club. She volunteered for the Special Olympics for four years. Berguson is planning to attend Keuka College in the fall.

Samantha Bailey from Wellsboro is representing Wellsboro Area High School. She was on the distinguished honor roll during all four years of high school. She was a member of the cross-country team, band, and jazz band for four years. She was the cross-country team captain during her senior year, and she won a coach’s award during her junior year. She was in the advanced students Enrichment program and was a part of the spring musical for all four years of high school. She was on the track team for three years. She won the cross-country specailty fall all-star award. She was a National Honor Society member for two years. She was a member of the women’s choral ensemble during her junior and senior year. She was a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions during her sophomore and junior year. She was a Connectors Plus student mentoring program member during her senior year. She was a member of the Dickens Choir and the Long Distance Running Club during her senior year as well. During her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, she was a Student of the Month. As a junior, she was a Young Chemist of the Month. As a senior, she was a Social Scientist of the Month. She was also a Wellsboro Business and Professional Women’s Club Girl of the Month during her senior year. She is the Hare Raisers 4-H Club vice president. She volunteers for Special Olympics and Goodies For Our Troops. She plans to attend Elizabethtown College starting in the fall.

Sarah Bates from Osceola is representing Williamson High School. She was on the honor roll during all four years of high school. During her senior year, she was the president of the National Honor Society. She was also the Class of 2016 secretary and the salutatorian. She received the 2016 President’s Award for Educational Excellence. She was the Future Business Leaders of America co-treasurer. She earned 16 college credits while attending Williamson High School. She was on the student council for four years. During her junior year, she was the treasurer of student council. During her senior year, she was the president of student council. She was the 2016 Williamson High School PIAA District IV Outstanding Female Athlete. She was also the Female Nominee for Williamson for the 2016 Northern Tier League Athletic Directors Athlete of the Year. She represented Williamson High School for the 2016 Tioga County Sports Hall of Fame. She was on the varsity volleyball team for four years. During her senior year, she was the captain of the volleyball team. She also played for the Elkland Girls Softball Association. She volunteered for Special Olympics for four years. She is a Community Blood Bank distinguished donor. She plans to attend Shippensburg University beginning in the fall.

Lauren Johnson from Knoxville is representing Cowanesque Valley Junior-Senior High School. From 9th through 11th grade, she was on the honor roll. In 12th grade, she was on the high honor roll. She was a member of student council. She played tennis during all four years of high school. She was the secretary for the Class of 2016 during her sophomore year. During her junior and senior years, she was the co-historian. During her sophomore, junior, and senior years, she was a member of chorus and the Drama Club. During her junior and senior year, she was a member of the National Honor Society. During her junior year, she was on the prom committee. During her senior year, she was a member of the Outdoors Club. During her sophomore and junior years, she won an outstanding student athlete award. She is a Relay for Life, Special Olympics, and Vacation Bible School volunteer. She plans to attend Messiah College beginning in the fall.


Man Fatally Shoots 49 in Orlando Nightclub, Killed by Police

Pulse nightclub logoA man fatally shot 49 people in an Orlando, Florida nightclub on Sunday, June 12th.

According to police, the shooter was 29-year-old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen of Fort Pierce, Florida. Mateen entered the PULSE nightclub at about 2:00 a.m. According to the Orlando Police Department (OPD) in a news release, an Orlando Police Officer who was working at the Pulse Nightclub that night responded to the shots minutes later. The officer and Mateen exchanged gunfire before Mateen continued firing shots in other areas of the club. Police said the incident was a hostage situation at that point.

According to OPD Chief John Mina, authorities decided to enter the club at 5:00 a.m. in order to bring the hostages to safety. Officers safely rescued 30 hostages. SWAT officers and Mateen engaged in gunfire, and Mateen was killed. According to Trevor Velinor, who is the Assistant Special Agent In Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Tampa Field Office, Mateen had bought the firearms legally within a week of the shooting. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting the Officer Involved Shooting investigation. The 11 OPD officers that were involved in the shooting were relieved of duty, which is standard for officers that have been involved in a shooting.

Along with the 49 people that were killed, 53 other people were injured. On Sunday afternoon, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the following, “This is probably the most difficult day in the history of Orlando.”

The City of Orlando website released the names of the 49 victims on Sunday. The following people perished in the shooting: Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old; Amanda Alvear, 25 years old; Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old; Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old; Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old; Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old; Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old; Cory James Connell, 21 years old; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old; Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old; Frank Hernandez, 27 years old; Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old; Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old; Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old; Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old; Kimberly Morris, 37 years old; Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old; Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old; Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old; Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old; Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old; Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old; Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old; Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old; Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old; Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old; and Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old.

President Obama issued a statement after he was briefed about the shooting. His statement may be read in part below:

“THE PRESIDENT:  I just had the opportunity to get the latest briefing from FBI Director Comey, as well as Deputy Attorney General Yates and the rest of my national security team about the tragedy that took place in Orlando.  They’re going to be doing a more extensive briefing around noon — just a little bit after noon over at FBI headquarters.  So I will allow them to go into all the details, but I thought it was important for you to hear directly from me.

First of all, our hearts go out to the families of those who have been killed.  Our prayers go to those who have been wounded.  This is a devastating attack on all Americans.  It is one that is particularly painful for the people of Orlando, but I think we all recognize that this could have happened anywhere in this country.  And we feel enormous solidarity and grief on behalf of the families that have been affected.

The fact that it took place at a club frequented by the LGBT community I think is also relevant.  We’re still looking at all the motivations of the killer.  But it’s a reminder that regardless of race, religion, faith or sexual orientation, we’re all Americans, and we need to be looking after each other and protecting each other at all times in the face of this kind of terrible act.

With respect to the killer, there’s been a lot of reporting that’s been done.  It’s important to emphasize that we’re still at the preliminary stages of the investigation, and there’s a lot more that we have to learn.  The one thing that we can say is that this is being treated as a terrorist investigation.  It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the Internet.  All those materials are currently being searched, exploited so we will have a better sense of the pathway that the killer took in making the decision to launch this attack.

As Director Comey I think will indicate, at this stage we see no clear evidence that he was directed externally.  It does appear that, at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL, but there is no evidence so far that he was in fact directed by ISIL.  And there also at this stage is no direct evidence that he was part of a larger plot.  In that sense, it appears to be similar to what we saw in San Bernardino, but we don’t yet know.  And this is part of what is going to be important in terms of the investigation.

As far as we can tell right now, this is certainly an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that all of us have been so concerned about for a very long time.  It also appears that he was able to obtain these weapons legally because he did not have a criminal record that, in some ways, would prohibit him from purchasing these weapons.  It appears that one of those weapons he was able to just carry out of the store — an assault rifle, a handgun — a Glock — which had a lot of clips in it.  He was apparently required to wait for three days under Florida law.  But it does indicate the degree to which it was not difficult for him to obtain these kinds of weapons.

Director Comey will discuss the fact that there had been some investigation of him in the past that was triggered, but as Director Comey I think will indicate, the FBI followed the procedures that they were supposed to and did a proper job.

At the end of the day, this is something that we are going to have to grapple with — making sure that even as we go after ISIL and other extremist organizations overseas, even as we hit their leadership, even as we go after their infrastructure, even as we take key personnel off the field, even as we disrupt external plots — that one of the biggest challenges we are going to have is this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam that you see generated on the Internet, and the capacity for that to seep into the minds of troubled individuals or weak individuals, and seeing them motivated then to take actions against people here in the United States and elsewhere in the world that are tragic.  And so countering this extremist ideology is increasingly going to be just as important as making sure that we are disrupting more extensive plots engineered from the outside.

We are also going to have to have to make sure that we think about the risks we are willing to take by being so lax in how we make very powerful firearms available to people in this country.  And this is something that obviously I’ve talked about for a very long time.

My concern is that we start getting into a debate, as has happened in the past, which is an either/or debate.  And the suggestion is either we think about something as terrorism and we ignore the problems with easy access to firearms, or it’s all about firearms and we ignore the role — the very real role that that organizations like ISIL have in generating extremist views inside this country.  And it’s not an either/or.  It’s a both/and.

We have to go after these terrorist organizations and hit them hard.  We have to counter extremism.  But we also have to make sure that it is not easy for somebody who decides they want to harm people in this country to be able to obtain weapons to get at them.

And my hope is, is that over the next days and weeks that we are being sober about how we approach this problem, that we let the facts get determined by our investigators, but we also do some reflecting in terms of how we can best tackle what is going to be a very challenging problem not just here in this country, but around the world.

Again, my final point is just to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those who were affected and to send our prayers to those who are surviving and are in hospitals right now, and their family members hoping that they get better very soon.”

You can read Obama’s full statement, including the Q&A session, here.


Wolf Signs Law Requiring Child Passenger Restraint System For Children Under 2

governor tom wolfOn Monday, June 13th, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf (D) signed a bill requiring the use of a rear-facing child passenger restraint system for children under 2 years of age.

Act 43, which was previously known as Senate Bill 1152, was sponsored by Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh). Children under 2 years of age must be in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system while in a vehicle up until the child has outgrown the manufacturer specified maximum weight and limits. Wolf issued the following statement when he signed Senate Bill 1152 into law, “We have no greater responsibility as public servants than protecting our most vulnerable, including especially young children… I commend Senator Browne, Representative Schlossberg and their colleagues for their efforts to ensure children in vehicles are safer and more secure.”

Before the law was signed, children under 4 years of age had to be secured in a child passenger restraint system, but the way the seat faces was not spelled out in the law. According to Browne, several studies show that rear-facing car seats are more well equipped to protect an infant’s spine, head, and neck. Browne issued the following statement on May 23rd before Wolf signed the bill, “After hearing from health care professionals and after seeing safety studies that have shown that children under two are better protected in car accidents when they are in rear-facing car seats, it was crucial that we changed the law in Pennsylvania to better ensure the safety of young children.”

Senate Bill 1152 is the same as legislation that Representative Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) had formerly introduced in the House. Schlossberg issued the following statement on May 23rd before the bill was signed by Wolf, “As a father of two young children, I know parents and caregivers want to be doing the right thing for their child, especially when it involves that child’s safety. The best thing we can do for our children while they are traveling with us in our vehicles is to ensure they are properly secured… Efforts such as this, which bring together both sides of the aisle and both chambers serve Pennsylvania best. I was glad to be able to work with Senator Browne to make that happen and as a result, Pennsylvania’s children will be safer.”

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendations, infants weighing at or under 20 pounds and infants at or under 1 year of age should be in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system. According to Schlossberg, the federal guidelines suggest that rear-facing car seats should be required for infants.

Pennsylvania is now the fourth state to require a rear-facing child passenger restraint system for children under the age of 2. The other three states with such a law are New Jersey, Oklahoma, and California.

The law will be in effect in two months. A verbal warning will be issued by police for the first year. After the first year, anyone violating the law will have to pay a $125 fine.


Marcellus Shale Development Continues in PA After Natural Fuel Gas Company Reworks Pact

National Fuel Gas Company logoMarcellus Shale natural gas will continue to be developed in Pennsylvania after Natural Fuel Gas Company announced that a pact with a Texas company has been reworked.

The announcement was made on Monday, June 13th. Marcellus Shale natural gas development will proceed in the north-central Pennsylvania counties of McKean, Elk, and Cameron. The pact is between Dallas affiliate IOG CRV – Marcellus LLC and Seneca Resources Corp. Seneca Resources Corp. is the production and exploration subsidiary of National Fuel (NYSE: NFG), which is based out of Williamsville.

In a news release, the companies stated that an agreement was reached in regards to an amended extension of the joint development agreement the companies have for assets in McKean, Elk, and Cameron counties. So far, 39 joint development Marcellus Shale wells were completed and went to sales or were drilled and are nearing completion. There are a total of 75 joint development Marcellus Shale wells, so 36 will be developed under the amended agreement. In addition, IOG was given the option to partake in a 7-well Marcellus pad to be completed before December 31st, 2017. If IOG opts to take part in the 7-well Marcellus pad, there would be a total of 82 wells under the joint development agreement.

Presently, IOG has an 80% working interest in the joint development wells. The other 20% working interest is held by program operator Seneca. The contract’s royalty structure has also been amended.

The President and CEO of National Fuel Gas Company, Ronald Tanski, issued the following statement regarding the deal, “For National Fuel, it allows us to leverage the competitive advantage of our low cost, fee acreage in the Marcellus and reduce the level of capital investment in our upstream business over the next two years, while maintaining operational efficiencies and providing the throughput necessary to support our pipeline expansion projects. Given National Fuel’s large Appalachian footprint and the alignment of our strategic goals, we think there could be additional opportunities to work with IOG in the future to accelerate value creation for our shareholders.”

On June 10th, National Fuel shares closed at $56.04.

Motorcyclist Injured When Deer Strikes Motorcycle in Sharon Township

One person was injured when a deer hit a motorcycle in Potter County’s Sharon Township on Saturday, June 11th.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police in Coudersport in a report, 50-year-old Steven E. Davis of Fleetwood, PA, was driving a 2014 Yamaha Stratoliner Deluxe in a north direction on SR 44. A white tail deer that was hidden in tall brush ran onto the roadway and hit the motorcycle’s left side. The crash occurred on Stevens Street about 1,345 feet to the west of Legion Road at approximately 8:30 a.m.

Davis’s left leg was injured by the impact of the deer. He was taken to Olean General Hospital via Shinglehouse EMS. The severity of his injuries is not known at this time. The motorcycle did not need to be towed from the scene.

PA Route 6 Alliance Recommends Tioga County’s Pine Creek Rail Trail For Cyclists

By User:Ruhrfisch (photo taken and cropped by self) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Pine Creek Rail Trail. Photo by User:Ruhrfisch (photo taken and cropped by self) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Tioga County’s Pine Creek Rail Trail is one of six bike trails the PA Route 6 Alliance recommended for cyclists after PA Route 6 was designated as a touring bicycle route by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Known as Bike Route Y, PA Route 6 has many hills, beautiful landscapes, and equally stunning towns. Terri Dennison,the PA Route 6 Alliance Executive Director who made the six bike trail recommendations, said the following about Route 6, “The trip across Route 6 will only improve in the next few years… We are excited about the potential. By making the ride safer, connecting with other bike trails and offering more access points, this plan will open up more opportunities for our small businesses and towns.” The improvements Dennison is talking about include a future Master Bicycle Plan on Route 6 that PennDOT is planning.

The six bike trails recommended by Dennison all connect to Route 6. The bike trails were recommended because of the Corridor’s heritage and history that can be discovered while traveling on the bike trails.

The first bike trail Dennison recommends is Ernst Bike Trail in Crawford County. The bike trail used to be part of the Meadville-Linesville Railroad. There are five miles of paved trails that stretch from Park Avenue Plaza to Route 19. Ice Age glaciation imprints can be seen, as can French Creek Valley, which is Pennsylvania’s most biologically varied body of water.

The second bike trail recommended by Dennison is Corry Junction Greenway Trail in Erie County. This 7.5 mile interstate trail goes all the way to New York. The trail goes through Brokenstraw Valley. The Climax locomotive and rail cars were invented and manufactured in Corry. The logging industry used the locomotive and rail cars from 1888 to the 1920’s. Cyclists might need to dismount on some areas of the trails due to inclines and some of the crossings not meeting the grade of the road.

The third bike trail Dennison recommends is Crook Farm Trail in McKean County. This 3 mile look trail is on crushed limestone. The grade of the trail is near level. There is off-road parking on Bolivar Drive between Route 219 and Tuna Creek. Located on the trail’s north end, the Crook Farm Historic Site includes a 19th century restored farm house, a tool house, a train depot, outbuildings, and a one-room schoolhouse,

The fourth bike trail recommended by Dennison is Tioga County’s own Pine Creek Rail Trail. The Pine Creek Trail, located in Pike Creek Gorge, stretches 62 mies. This bike trail goes through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Being mostly flat, the trail starts at Wellsboro Junction and goes to Jersey Shore, PA. The trail runs through the State Forest lands of Tioga and Tiadaghton. The trail goes through Pine Creek for 55 miles. Several waterfalls can be seen from the Pine Creek Trail.

The fifth bike trail Dennison recommends is Delaware and Hudson Trail in Lackawanna County. The trail is made of cinder, hard-packed dirt, and original ballast. A mountain bike is recommended for this trail. Cyclists may need to walk their bikes on the sections that have steep inclines and big chunks of ballast. The Lackawanna River runs parallel to the trail for a few miles. There are trees on either side of the trail in some areas.

The final bike trail recommended by Dennison is the McDade Recreational Trail in Pike County. This bike trail runs throughout the majority of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The northern most access of the trail is Milford’s Milford Beach. The river, streams, forests, farm fields, and striking landscapes can all be seen on this bike trail. The difficulty of the trail ranges from simple to arduous. The trailheads are  separated from between a half mile to five miles. Most of the trailheads go along the free bus route for the trail. The bus route is in operation during the weekends in the summer.

Mountain biking is allowed on the forest roads that are a part of the Allegheny National Forest, as well as state forests along Route 6. If you would like more information about bike trails in Pennsylvania, you can visit the PA Route 6 website at paroute6.com or the Explore PA Trails website at explorepatrails.com.