A look at the Valley's top stories each month in 2012. Compiled by Jim Birt and Stacy Hinck of The Daily Item.
Bickhart ousted as Selinsgrove manager
Jan. 4. Selinsgrove. Borough Council voted longtime borough manager John Bickhart out of office Tuesday night at their 2012 reorganization meeting.
There was no open discussion on the issue — only a quick 4-to-3 vote, a brief executive session and a very short private meeting between Bickhart and Brian Farrell, the newly appointed council president.
Shortly after the meeting, assistant borough manager and treasurer Sharon Badman was appointed the interim borough manager, after which Bickhart simply put on his coat and exited the building.
Massage turned to grope
Jan. 5. Milton. A 27-year-old Warrior Run High athletic trainer groped a member of the school’s state championship girls soccer team while other students were nearby, and sent photos of his genitals and had sex with another female student at his house while his wife wasn’t home, according to testimony at a tense preliminary hearing for Matthew M. Godfrey on Wednesday.
Godfrey, of 39 Jasper Lane, Watsontown, has been free on $75,000 bail since his Dec. 29 arrest. He appeared Wednesday before District Judge Robert Bolton on felony charges of dissemination of explicit sexual materials to a minor, corruption of minors and two counts of unlawful contact with a minor; and misdemeanor counts of corruption of minors and indecent assault.
The two teens testified in graphic terms that Godfrey, who also served for a time as the school’s assistant athletic director, engaged in “sexting,” fondled one of the girls and had consensual sex with the other at school and at his residence — while his wife wasn’t at home.
O’Brien to coach Lions
Jan. 7. Sunbury. The hiring of New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien — expected to be announced by Penn State today as the replacement for iconic head football coach Joe Paterno — has prompted heated reaction, particularly from former players who had organized a petition in support of interim coach Tom Bradley and against O’Brien.
But to those in the Boston media who know O’Brien personally and speak with him daily, he’s perceived as an honorable man, fiery and someone who won’t back down from anyone.
Ian R. Rapoport, a reporter who covers the Patriots for the Boston Herald, said O’Brien is “a great guy. You’ll love him.”