Local News-Friday, Sept. 29th
Schuylkill County is purchasing several pieces of land near Pine Grove. As expected, the Schuylkill County Commissioners Wednesday approved the purchase of several parcels of land to widen and improve the access road leading to the Clubhouse at Sweet Arrow Lake. The County will pay just under $5,000 to buy 2.56 acres of land owned by eight property owners. In other business, the Commissioners approved a training program for County Deputy Coroners developed by Lehigh County Community College. The program will cost $4,410 and non-salaried deputies will be compensated at $40.00 per session attended. The Commissioners also approved agreements with the North Central Highway Safety Network for four PennDot and federally funded projects amounting to just over $5.2-Million Dollars. The Commissioners approved awarding a contract amounting to Just over $45,000 to Antz Energy Systems inc. of Shenandoah, for the Tremont Community Center Heat pump project. Also approved was a request to advertise for construction bids to rehab a county owned bridge in West Penn Township. Bids will be opened October 18th.
A closed door session is scheduled for today to discuss the instances of a rare blood condition in residents near a Superfund cleanup site. The meeting with doctors and federal officials will take place this morning at the Schuylkill County Ag Center on the Gordon Nagle Trail. According to the Pottsville Republican, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will afford local physicians and residents who live near the McAdoo Associates cleanup site on Ben Titus Road in Rush Township the chance to discuss instances of Polycythemia Vera and other illnesses. The site was the storage ground for compounds which may have contaminated the ground and water, possibly putting residents at a high risk of disease. An environmental group from Carbon County states that three, possibly four persons may have contracted the rare blood disease.
The Rush Township police department now has a full-time police chief after a long search. Officials voted to hire Ron Romanick as the township's top cop at their Board of Supervisors meeting this week. Romanick has been serving as the temporary police chief since February, 2004, but supervisors continued to keep him on probation for an extended period of time. Reports indicate that a search for new police chief garnered 5 applicants, but Romanick did not apply. After the process concluded, Rush supervisors agreed that Romanick was the best choice for the job. He replaced Edward Carroll, who retired in 2004.
The fall campaign is now in full swing. The 43rd Schuylkill County Republican Fall Kick Off dinner was held at Pine View Acres last night, signaling the beginning of the push for their candidates in the November General Election. Dan Daub, Schuylkill County Republican chairman, said that regardless of political affiliation, getting out to vote is important. He noted that when voters in Schuylkill County vote Republican, the Republican candidate would win, and vice versa. A host of speakers addressed the party faithful, with Jim Matthews, Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor as the featured guest speaker. Senator Jim Rhoades did provide an interesting piece of news to the media prior to the dinner. He said that he intends to run for President Pro Tem in the Pennsylvania Senate. A 25-year Senator, Rhoades would seek to replace Senator Robert Jubilerer, who lost his re-election bid in May. The position is second in-line to the Lieutenant Governor in the Senate. Rhoades did say that the Republicans would have to maintain their majority in order for that to happen, and he would have to win election by vote of his colleagues.
Another truck got stuck under the railroad bridge in Cressona yesterday. Borough officials told WPPA/T-102 News that a tractor-trailer transporting flowers became wedged under the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern railroad bridge yesterday morning, creating a traffic nightmare for morning rush hour motorists. It took until early afternoon till the mess was cleaned up and the truck moved. Barely a week ago, a truck carrying batteries got stuck under the 11 foot, 8 inch underpass. Warning lights indicating the clearance for the bridge are well placed and very visible. Details as to the driver's name are not yet available from state police.
State News-Friday, Sept. 29th
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has narrowly defeated, 51-to-48, an effort by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter to let terrorism suspects challenge their imprisonment in court. Approval of the president's plan to establish "military commissions" to prosecute terrorism suspects is expected later today.HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State health officials say they've linked a second bag of spinach purchased in Pennsylvania to a deadly strain of E. coli that has sickened scores of Americans. The contamination was confirmed by a state lab in a sample of Dole-brand spinach purchased by a Philadelphia resident August 21st in Luzerne County.MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A sudden storm that brought hail, rain and heavy winds to parts of Pennsylvania last night left a trail of downed trees and wires in its wake. The National Weather Service plans to determine today whether a tornado touched down in Wertzville, Cumblerland County at about 5 p-m. No injuries were reported, but there was some damage.
BRADFORD, Pa. (AP) - Zippo Manufacturing Company will lay off 121 workers today because of a slowdown in business caused largely by counterfeit lighters produced in China. The company earlier this year filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, and says it is continuing to work with the Chinese government to stop the counterfeiting.
LIGONIER, Pa. (AP) - Skiers and snowboarders at Seven Springs Mountain Resort will soon have a new place to test their skills. The resort is building a superpipe, rails and other extreme sport-type features in a new terrain park near its Alpine Meadows slope, which can be seen from the resort's main lodge.
National and International News-Friday, Sept. 29th
PORTOROZ, Slovenia (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he doesn't know if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created more terrorists. But he says it's "nonsensical" to suggest that it would be better to stop killing or capturing the people who are trying to kill Americans. Rumsfeld spoke to reporters at a NATO conference.NEW YORK (AP) - A new book by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward paints a very bleak picture of the situation in Iraq. He says the violence is worse than the White House has acknowledged and won't get better next year.LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Two schools in Lakeland, Florida, will be closed today as law enforcement officers continue searching for a man who shot two sheriff's deputies and shot at a police officer. One of the deputies was killed. Officials say they are prepared for a gunfight.BAILEY, Colo. (AP) - The girl who was killed in a standoff at a Colorado high school Wednesday was able to send a text message on her cell phone before she was shot. Emily Keyes messaged "I love U guys" in response to a message asking "How are U?" that someone sent for her father.
TOKYO (AP) - Toshiba is the latest company to announce the recall of Sony batteries made for its laptop computers. The announcement brings the number of recalled batteries to about seven
(m) million worldwide. The batteries can catch fire.
Local News-Thursday, Sept. 28th
A Tremont woman was hurt in a one car crash yesterday afternoon. 37-year-old Stacy Krise was headed south on Route 125 near Echo Valley Campground. Krise reportedly lost control, traveled along the berm of the road and struck a guiderail post. The car then went down an embankment, and eventually hit several trees and flipped over onto the drivers side. Emergency personnel were able to rescue her, but her injuries required transport to Geisinger Medical Center. The crash happened just after noontime Wednesday.If you haven't registered to vote in the November election, time is running short to do so. The Schuylkill County Election bureau has established Tuesday, October 10th as the last day to register before the November 7th general election. The last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot is October 31st. Since this will be the first general election using the touch-screen voting system, the bureau is undertaking another voter outreach program, beginning September 30th at the Schuylkill Mall. The campaign will make several stops at locations county-wide throughout October. For any election-related questions, contact the Voter Registration/Election Bureau at 628-1467.Authorities say the "fire bugs" in the Shamokin area of Northumberland County have been caught – and they're very young. The six-month investigation involved five arsons that left nine people at least temporarily homeless and caused more than 250-thousand dollars in property damage in Coal Township. It's come to a head with the arrests of six boys on arson-related charges. Four of the six have been charged by Shamokin police with setting eight fires since April that caused an estimated 10-thousand dollars' damage. Police tell the Shamokin News Item that most of those fires were set on porches in the city. Police say four of the youngsters are from Shamokin, while the other two, who are brothers, live in Coal Township. Three of the boys are 13 years old, two are 12 and one is ten. Their names have not been released due to their ages. The Schuylkill County Commissioners began Wednesday's board meeting with a moment of silence for a fallen county hero. The observance was in honor of Sergeant Jennifer Hartman of New Ringgold who lost her life September 14th in a suicide car bombing near Baghdad. Two other soldiers died in the explosion. Hartman will be laid to rest with full military honors this Saturday. Commissioner Chairman Frank Staudenmeier read a directive from Governor Ed Rendell, ordering flags on all government buildings to be flown at half mast this Saturday in honor of Sergeant Hartman. Hartman was in the last two months of her deployment in Iraq when she died. She is the first Schuylkill County soldier to die fighting the war on terror.
A Barnesville man waived his right to a preliminary hearing in a sexual assault case. 23-year-old Michael Harris is charged with statutory sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault relating to a December 23rd, 2005 incident. Harris allegedly communicated with a 13 year old girl on the internet, and chatted about having sex. Police report that Harris initially refused those advances, but later met and reportedly engaged in sex. The incident was reported to Schuylkill County Children and Youth officials. Harris also faces misdemeanor charges of corruption of minors and indecent assault. He is free on $10-thousand-dollars unsecured bail. His case will be heard in court at a later date. The case of a local school district's tax appeals was heard in county court Wednesday. The Blue Mountain School District had filed tax assessment appeals earlier this month with the Schuylkill County Assessment office. However, the form and manner which they were presented was not acceptable to the county, and the appeals denied. School district personnel reportedly e-mailed the information to the county, and contend that no one in the assessment office said the information had to be filed on the appropriate paper forms. Representatives from both sides presented their cases before Schuylkill County Judge Charles Miller, but no ruling was issued following testimony yesterday.
National and International News-Thursday, Sept. 28th
BAILEY, Colo. (AP) - The superintendent of schools in Bailey, Colorado, says his community is in mourning today. Platte Canyon High School is closed after a gunman took six girls hostage
yesterday, killing one of them. The scene was reminiscent of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, less than an hour's drive away.CAPITOL HILL (AP) - The corporate spying probe that led to the ouster of the chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard is the subject of a House hearing today. Patricia Dunn will testify that she had no reason to think anything illegal was going on. Investigators masqueraded as reporters and H-P directors and employees to find the source of a leak.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - This continues to be what a U-S military spokesman calls "a tough week" in Iraq. A car bomb exploded near a restaurant in central Baghdad today, killing at least five people, after another bomb killed two Iraqi soldiers. Police also have found the bodies of 40 more torture victims. PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A soldier from Oregon did not ship out with her unit to Iraq in January because she said she had been sexually harassed by three noncommissioned officers. One of those allegations was substantiated. But when the Army couldn't verify the others, Suzanne Swift was charged with being absent without leave.LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Army is investigating whether women in a Kentucky National Guard unit posed for nude photos with their M-16s and other military equipment. The unit is now in Iraq. The Guard says it doesn't condone such behavior.
Local News-Wednesday, Sept. 27th
A New Philadelphia man was seriously injured after a crash in East Norwegian Township Monday evening. 25-year-old Bly Salm was attempting to pass a vehicle on Route 209 South near Port Carbon when he struck a pickup driven by 68-year-old Joseph Kuperavage, Port Carbon. Upon impact, Kuperavage's truck kept going, striking a concrete culvert. Salm's car ended up in the northbound lane. Salm was taken to Geisinger Medical Center via LifeFlight. Kuperavage was not hurt.Minersville police picked up a Pottsville man Saturday, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant by city police. Pottsville police tipped off Minersville officers to be on the lookout for Nicholas Hnatishion, who was wanted for taking a stolen pickup truck to a scrap yard. He was taken into custody. In February, a pickup truck owned by Robert Nettles, Pottsville, was reported stolen. The truck turned up at a Schuylkill Haven area scrap yard a week later. Hnatishion apparently found the burned-out truck in the woods on Peach Mountain, and took it to the salvage yard. The last Saturday in September is always a big time in the Little Town That Could. It's Borough Day in Schuylkill Haven. The 18th edition of Borough Day, one of the area's largest street fairs, promises to be jam-packed with entertainment, food and fun for the entire family.
The day begins with breakfast at St. Ambrose Church, with activities in downtown Schuylkill Haven kicking off around 9am. Train rides on the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad will also be offered for Borough Day visitors, plus crafters, magicians and so much more. A spaghetti dinner will be hosted by Jerusalem Lutheran Church at the high school cafeteria late afternoon. The day will wrap up with a Borough Day Bash event, an adult social and dance to be held at St. Ambrose Church. Due to the significant damage that Schuylkill Haven suffered during the June floods, and the renovations to Rotary Field, there will not be a fireworks display to finish the day. Instead, the Borough Day Committee donated the money to the Schuylkill Haven Food Pantry, the 3 borough fire companies and the Haven Water Rescue unit.
Two cars were involved in a crash in the city of Pottsville Monday night. City officers responded to Route 901, along the Gordon Nagle Trail after 5pm. 40-year-old Melissa Powell of Orwigsburg turned her vehicle in front of a car operated by David Hartranft of Schuylkill Haven, while she was attempting to turn into the Sheetz parking lot. Both cars were moderately damaged. Powell and her two passengers were not hurt. Hartranft hit his head on the windshield, but refused on-scene treatment. Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene. Charges are pending in the crash. Frackville police are warning residents about suspicious activity in the borough. A Hispanic woman reportedly went to a West Oak Street home late last week and asked to take the homeowner’s blood pressure. When the occupant asked for identification, the woman took off.
Police warn residents to be wary of strangers, mainly females, who ask to come into homes to use the telephone, to offer medical help or other scams. If someone tries to enter a home under suspicious circumstances, you should contact authorities at once.A potential funding crisis may loom for two of the state's largest public pension plans, according to an audit. Auditor General Jack Wagner announced the findings of the audit of the State Employees' and the Public School Employees' Retirement Systems yesterday. He urged the General Assembly to act quickly to head off a major problem later on. The audits were conducted through the Bureau of Special Performance Audits, and were the result of agreements reached in April 2005 that settled a lawsuit between the auditor general and the two pension funds. The reports issued cover the period Jan. 1, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2004, for both funds. Wagner said that both funds were managed effectively and professionally, but several areas of administrative need to be tightened. Wagner said that actuarial records disclosed that neither plan was fully funded at the end of last year, a total of $11 billion dollars for both.
State News-Wednesday, Sept. 27th
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Senate is advancing legislation that would allow Pennsylvania's gambling halls to buy slot machines straight from the manufacturer, instead of through middlemen distributors. And the legislation also would allow the gambling halls to avoid complying with local ordinances banning indoor smoking. The legislation was approved unanimously yesterday by a state Senate committee after months of closed-door negotiations.
Some senators expect it to get approval in the Senate tomorrow before it heads to the House.
The legislation contains about 30 provisions that would make wide-ranging changes to the state's two-year-old law that legalized up to 61-thousand slot machines at 14 as-yet unlicensed sites. Many aspects of the legislation seek to toughen the law's anti-corruption measures, such as preventing public officials from investing in a gambling interest through a blind trust.
In addition, the legislation also would take away Philadelphia's zoning authority over slot-machine casinos in the city, a change opposed by city officials.HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Republican gubernatorial hopeful Lynn Swann had the best fundraising of his campaign from June into September, but he still trails Democratic Governor Ed Rendell by a great distance. Swann, a former Pittsburgh Steelers star whose campaign marks his political debut, took in three-point-seven million dollars -- more than double his contributions in any of the three previous reporting periods. He spent three-point-two million, nearly half of it on advertising. He's raised more than eight million dollars so far, but
that's less than one-third of what Rendell has raked in. During the latest reporting period, Rendell raised six-point-six million dollars and spent the same amount, mostly on campaign
ads. HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The House considered nearly 40 out of 100 anti-crime proposals in a session designed to gauge which proposals merit further consideration. The House is expected to resume its work today, when it may debate bills to restrict handgun purchases. Opponents and advocates of gun control came to the Capitol today to share their views with lawmakers.
Dorothy Johnson-Speight (spite) of Philadelphia says she still feels pain over the loss of her son more than four years after he was shot to death over a parking space. She wants lawmakers to
restrict handgun purchases to one per month. But David Laden of the Pennsylvania State Fish and Game Protective Association was among activists opposing handgun restrictions. Laden says officials should concentrate on better enforcement of existing gun laws.ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Trial is under way for an Allentown man charged with murder in a shooting that happened in the heart of the city two years ago. Police say 26-year-old Shalamar Carmon killed 28-year-old Jason Frichman outside Frichman's apartment in the 10-hundred block of Hamilton Street in July 2004. Frichman died a week later. The first witness testified yesterday that she was driving home from work and saw the shooting unfold. She said a man dressed in white shot another man standing just feet away. The woman identified the gunman as Carmon. In opening statements, Carmon's lawyer said the man in white was not Shalamar Carmon. NEWPORT, Pa. (AP) - State police are continuing their investigation into a deadly crash between a school bus and a car in Perry County. It claimed the life of a Landisburg woman. Police say the crash happened just before four o'clock Tuesday afternoon on Germany Ridge Road in Spring Township. Police say the driver of the bus, 41-year-old Ricky Smiley,crossed the center of the roadway and slammed head-on into a vehicle driven by 39-year-old Susan Switaj. Switaj died at the scene. Smiley was not hurt. but two eight-year-old girls on the bus suffered minor injuries.
National and International News-Wednesday, Sept. 27th
WASHINGTON (AP) - Both political parties have new ammunition after the release of a previously secret intelligence report on Iraq. Republicans say it's more evidence that Iraq is central to the war on terrorism. But Democrats say it furthers their argument that the world is less safe because of the war.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Now it's Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's turn. She says if former President Clinton had gotten a report indicating Osama bin Laden was determined to strike in the U-S, he would have taken it more seriously than the Bush administration did. Secretary of State Rice has questioned Clinton administration
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U-S military says four civilians have been killed during a raid on terror suspects in the Iraqi city of Baqouba. Four terror suspects also were killed. The military says U-S forces targeting insurgents with links to al-Qaida came under attack and fired back.
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) - A hearing is scheduled in Sonoma County, California, this afternoon in the child porn case against John Karr, who was once a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case. Karr's lawyer will ask a judge to dismiss child pornography charges because authorities have lost key evidence.
DALLAS (AP) - Media reports say Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens has been hospitalized after suffering an allergic reaction to pain medication. His publicist says the incident is "not serious." Owens broke a bone in his right hand during a game two weekends ago.
Local News-Tuesday, Sept. 26th
Services have been set for a New Ringgold woman who died fighting the war on terror in Iraq. Sergeant Jennifer Hartman, who served with the 4th Infantry Division, was killed September 14th in a suicide car bombing near Baghdad. Two other soldiers died in the explosion. According to the Pottsville Republican, Hartman's funeral arrangements have been set. She will be laid to rest with full military honors Saturday at 11am at the Hartman Funeral Home on the West Penn Pike. Calling hours will be from 8am to 11am, with a memorial service following. Hartman was in the last two months of her deployment in Iraq when she was killed. She is the first Schuylkill County soldier to die fighting the war on terror.
A man who was convicted of trying to kill the former Schuylkill County DA and others wants a new trial on an indecent assault charge. Forrest Pawling, of Reading, contends that his former attorney, Assistant Public Defender Christopher Riedlinger, did not call on witnesses who could have helped his indecent assault case. Pawling was convicted on charges that he tried to kill former Schuylkill County DA Frank Cori and eight other people, including some of his family members. He was sentenced to serve 26 to 55 years in state prison for his crimes. The Pottsville Republican reports that President Judge William Baldwin gave Pawling's new counsel, James Conville, and the DA's office 10 days for file briefs in the case. Pawling is looking for a new trial on the indecent assault charge even though he already served his sentence in the case. The indecent assault charge was lodged against him following an incident involving a young girl in 1994.
State police liquor control enforcement officials have made an arrest relating to an illegal poker tournament in Schuylkill Haven in June. Charges were filed last week against Kevin Tosh Sr. of Auburn. Authorities raided an illegal Texas Hold-Em poker tournament being held at the Liberty Fire Company in Schuylkill Haven on June 25th. Over $2-thousand-dollars in cash, a sizeable quantity of beer and gambling paraphernalia were seized in the raid. Tosh was charged for illegal sales of alcohol without a license and gambling. Liberty Fire Company officials state that the game was a private event, and in no way sponsored or sanctioned by them, and report that the organizers of the event told the fire company that the tournament was legal.
A Sunday morning crash that killed two deer is being investigated by Tamaqua police. Officers were called to Owl Creek Road following the report of two deer being killed by a motorcycle. Police found a Harley Davidson motorcycle owned by Joseph Hollywood of Coaldale lying alongside the road. The motorcycle apparently was stolen from Hollywood's parents' home early Sunday morning. Whoever was operating the cycle skidded more than 50-feet before striking and killing the deer. If anyone has information about the theft or crash, call Tamaqua Police at 668-5000.State police at Schuylkill Haven have just released the details of an incident at Blue Mountain High School during the first week of school. Authorities say that a 14 and 15 year old girl got into an argument that turned physical. The girls reportedly began pushing each other, but not until after the older girl bit the 14-year-old in the left arm. She was treated at the Good Samaritan Hospital at that time. The 15-year-old was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct. The younger girl was charged with disorderly conduct.A Pottsville sports bar was the scene of a smoke event Saturday evening. Fire personnel were called to Maroons Sports Bar and Grill on North Centre Street after the restaurant filled with smoke. A preliminary investigation indicated that the probable cause of the smoke was a malfunctioning air handling unit. Firefighters cut the power to the unit, and the smoke dissipated. There were no injuries reported.
State News-Tuesday, Sept. 26th
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state House of Representatives will begin vetting more than 90 bills intended to fight crime during an unusual "committee of the whole" meeting today. The House will take informal votes on each bill to determine which proposals merit further consideration, just as it did in December during a forum on legislation to reduce school property taxes. But it is unclear whether any anti-crime bills that emerge as the favorites will pass the House and Senate and reach Governor Ed Rendell's desk between now and November 30th, when the current
two-year legislative session ends. Democrats representing Philadelphia and other cities are particularly interested in debating gun-control legislation. But House Majority Leader Sam Smith says measures such as improving
police enforcement and toughening penalties for weapons crimes are better short-term solutions. Proposals to be advanced by Republicans include legislation sponsored by Speaker John Perzel. Perzel wants the state, to spend
225 (m) million dolalrs to help cities and towns across Pennsylvania hire ten-thousand new police officers by 2010.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The mother of a five-year-old Philadelphia girl killed by a stray bullet on Sunday plans to go to Harrisburg today with N-A-A-C-P members and others who plan to lobby lawmakers for stricter gun-control laws.
Cashae Rivers died Sunday morning after being struck in the chest while riding in the back seat of a car driven by her mother, 22-year-old Alisha Corley. Police say the car may have been caught in the crossfire of a moving gun battle between people in other vehicles. Three other people were in the car with Cashae and Corley, including Cashae's
one-year-old brother. PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh court is scheduled to hold preliminary hearings today for two men charged with shooting five Duquesne University basketball players earlier this month. William Holmes and Brandon Baynes, both 18, are charged with the shootings, which took place on campus following a Black Student Union dance on September 17th. Their hearings will be held at the Municipal Courts Building. A preliminary hearing is also scheduled for 19-year-old Duquesne student Brittany Jones, who is accused of helping six men gain admittance to the party. She allegedly knew several of them were carrying guns. All three defendants are from Penn Hills in suburban Pittsburgh. WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A charter Amtrak train carrying the Washington Nationals derailed early this morning near Wilmington, Delaware, but no one was injured. Amtrak spokeswoman Tracy Connell says it was a "minor derailment" with just the rear wheels on the locomotive leaving the tracks. It happened about 1:30 a-m during the trip from New York to Washington. The engine and all three cars remained upright. Nationals broadcaster Charlie Slowes, who was on the train with the team, tells W-T-O-P radio he didn't feel a thing. He says others felt a minor jolt. The train slowed and came to a stop. About 50 passengers on board were transferred to another train
shortly after 3 a-m and have arrived back in Washington. Amtrak says the derailment will cause minor delays of about ten minutes this morning in the Northeast Corridor. PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Smokers are being forced out of Philadelphia's bars and restaurants and onto the sidewalks as the city's new smoking ban takes effect. The city's health department yesterday began enforcing the law,
which applies to all workplaces, including restaurants and most bars. Businesses or smokers who violate the ban will receive a warning for the first offense. The second offense will draw a small fine, and fines will be as high as three-hundred dollards for subsequent violations. The ban began immediately after Mayor John Street signed it two
weeks ago because the legislation was to take effect in January 2006. Health department spokesman Jeff Moran says the department set up a hot line for complaints and hired two new inspectors to help handle the department's increased workload.
National and International News-Tuesday, Sept. 26th
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - For the second day in a row, Saddam Hussein has been ejected from his genocide trial in Baghdad. He refused the judge's order to remain silent. Yesterday, he was thrown out for protesting the replacement of his lawyers after they boycotted the session.
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan's president says his country needs better-trained police to stop the rise in bloodshed. Ahead of Hamid Karzai's visit to the White House today, a suicide bomber struck outside the compound of the governor of Helmand province. Eighteen people were killed.CAPITOL HILL (AP) - The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee are urging the release of a new high-level report on global terror. Chairman Pat Roberts says the American people should be able to draw their own conclusions about whether they are safer.NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hurricane-weary residents of New Orleans say their beloved Saints gave them just what they needed. For a few hours last night, they could put thoughts of Katrina behind them and cheer in the refurbished Superdome, or in some cases, parties outside their government-issued trailers.LOS ANGELES (AP) - Some "Girls Gone Wild" apparently weren't old enough. So the founder of the company that makes the videos has pleaded guilty to failing to document the ages of the women who engage in sex acts. Joe Francis' lawyer says some girls lied about their age.
Local News-Monday, Sept. 25th
State police liquor control enforcement officials have made an arrest relating to an illegal poker tournament in Schuylkill Haven in June. Charges were filed last week against Kevin Tosh Sr. of Auburn. Authorities raided an illegal Texas Hold-Em poker tournament being held at the Liberty Fire Company in Schuylkill Haven on June 25th. Over $2-thousand-dollars in cash, a sizeable quantity of beer and gambling paraphernalia were seized in the raid. Tosh was charged for illegal sales of alcohol without a license and gambling. Liberty Fire company officials state that the game was a private event, and in no way sponsored or sanctioned by them. They also report that the organizers of the event told the fire company that the tournament was legal.
A Schuylkill Haven man is dead following a Friday evening crash in Berks County. 27-year-old Shawn Foley was driving south on Route 183 when his car exited the right side of the roadway and sideswiped a guide rail and struck a bridge abutment. The car crossed back across the road, up an embankment, striking several trees. Foley was thrown from the car, coming to rest on top of him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation continues.State police are investigating a break-in at a West Brunswick Township home. Troopers now say that between September 17th and 20th, a thief broke into the home of Tina Kramer, 20 Old 61 Road. A number of items, including a cremation urn, old photographs and magazines and a metal valuables box, were taken. Police are continuing their investigation.The music of the Bill Hicks Big Band provided a great backdrop for Saturday night's Pottsville Bicentennial "Night To Remember". Over 200 people enjoyed a trip back in time to the big band era, with many attendees dancing the night away. Joe Prokop, of Minersville, is a big band enthusiast, and brought a group of people with him to the event from all over the area. Janet Enders, who co-chaired the event with her husband Jerry, explained that the event celebrated the heritage of Schuylkill County, which was home to Les Brown and the Dorsey Brothers, some of the Big Band Era's most prominent bandleaders. The next major event is the Bicentennial Parade, Saturday, October 7th.An early Sunday morning traffic stop results in the arrest of a Shenandoah man. Troopers from the Frackville barracks stopped 29-year-old Cesar Hernandez for a traffic violation. During the stop, police discovered he was driving under the influence. Hernandez was taken to the Frackville barracks and consented to a breathalyzer test. Charges against him will be filed in District Court. Checkpoint Strike Force Initiative was busy on a northern Schuylkill County highway over the weekend. State police were looking for drunk drivers on Route 924 on Friday and Saturday night. During the operation, 3 drivers were cited for driving under the influence. In addition, 4 traffic citations and 8 warnings were issued. The checkpoint was set up just outside the Shenandoah borough line.America's oldest civilian concert band will appear Wednesday at Pottsville High School's Wachter Auditorium. Pottsville Area Music, Lasting Legacy presents the Allentown Band. Founded in 1828, the Allentown Band provides a mix of music for young and old alike. Denny Hardock, an event organizer, said the band will perform a mixed repetoire of familiar tunes, and will also feature members of the Pottsville High School Band. The program is intended as a fundraiser to support the music programs at Pottsville High School. Tickets are $10-dollars, and are available at the Triple-A office in Pottsville, or by calling Denny Hardock, at 449-7777. Doors open at 7pm, with the concert beginning at 8pm Wednesday night.
State News-Monday, Sept. 25th
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State gambling regulators are expected this week to give Pennsylvania's horse-racing tracks the go-ahead to plug in thousands of slot machines. It's shaping up as the biggest step in two years toward making Pennsylvania one of the nation's busiest gambling markets. On Wednesday, the seven-member Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is scheduled to vote on whether to grant conditional slots licenses to the state's six racetrack owners. With most -- if not all -- of the racetracks expected to get the nod, Pennsylvanians for the first time will soon be able to play slot machines in their home state. Racetrack owners are spending well over one billion dollars to tear down old grandstands and rebuild them with steakhouses, spas and sports bars to wrap around the gambling floors.DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Powerball ticket sold in Iowa is worth $200 million, Iowa Lottery officials said Sunday. The winning ticket was sold at a Kum & Go convenience store in Fort Dodge, about 70 northwest of Des Moines. About 499 tickets were sold for Saturday night's drawing at the store, Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said. The winner has not come forward and likely would not for several days, she said. The earliest possible time the winner could validate the ticket is Monday, when the lottery headquarters in Des Moines opens for business, she said. Likely, the winner will consult with a financial adviser before coming forward. That frequently takes several days or weeks, Neubauer said. An assistant manager at the convenience store was shocked to hear the winning ticket was sold at her store. "I've got goose bumps," Robin Graves said in a statement. "I still can't get over it - that actually somebody in Iowa won and especially that it was at the store where I work." She said the store has seen a lot of people pooling their money to buy large numbers of tickets in the past few days. Co-workers, for example, will frequently pool money together to buy tickets. "It could be a pool player or it could be somebody just playing on their own," Neubauer said. The Kum & Go chain, based in West Des Moines, will get a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. The winning ticket numbers were computer picked, Neubauer said. For Saturday's drawing they were: 13-21-26-45-50 and Powerball 20. The winning prize, if taken in payments over 30 years is $200.8 million before taxes. The after tax amount would be $140.5 million, Neubauer said. If the winner choses a lump sum, they would get $95.9 million before taxes or take home a check for $67.1 million, she said. The jackpot was the 13th won at more than $200 million in the Powerball game, which began in 1985 and is played in 29 States, Washington D.C. and the US Virgin Islands. The record Powerball jackpot was $365 million won by eight workers at a Nebraska meatpacking plant in February. HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state House of Representatives this week is devoting two days to considering nearly 100 anti-crime bills. The rare session will include proposals ranging from limiting gun purchases to requiring handgun "fingerprinting" to a massive increase in state funding for more local police officers. It is already being cast as a showdown between Philadelphia and the rest of Pennsylvania. By bus and by foot, thousands of Philadelphians -- including victims of violence, church leaders and elected officials -- will travel to the Capitol this week to push for tougher gun laws as . But they will be met by sportsmen's groups and a Legislature dominated by gun-rights advocates with a history of opposing what they view as unnecessary and ineffective new restrictions on firearms. UNDATED (AP) - Ten voters from different parts of Pennsylvania will be monitored to see how they'll make up their minds about which U.S. Senate candidate to support. Over the next six weeks, The Associated Press will report periodically about their decision making process regarding Republican Senator Rick Santorum, Democratic state Treasurer Bob Casey and the Green Party's Carl Romanelli. The panel of registered and likely voters was randomly
identified in a poll by Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster conducted in August. One panelist made up her mind just days after the A-P initially contacted her: 56-year-old Mary Stubbs will be voting for Santorum. The others haven't decided. But when pressed to pick a candidate if the election were held today, five went for Santorum, one for Casey and the rest were unsure.
National and International News-Monday, Sept. 25th
WASHINGTON (AP) - Liquids and gels may be allowed back on airliners -- if they're bought at the airport. A Homeland Security Department source says materials purchased in secure airport areas will be allowed. They had been banned because of a foiled plot to bomb jets flying into the United States.NEW YORK (AP) - The status of Osama bin Laden is a mystery as far as the president of Pakistan is concerned. Pervez Musharraf tells N-B-C's "Today" show he has no information about a French newspaper report that bin Laden is dead. Musharraf says bin Laden's capture is still a high priority.CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) - Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See says Pope Benedict's expression of "profound respect" should end the anger over the pontiff's remarks on Islam and violence. Benedict today met with Muslim envoys from 21 countries in an effort to blunt the anger triggered by a speech in Germany. WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush is stumping for G-O-P candidates in Connecticut and Ohio, and talking up the economy at a Cincinnati tool-maker today. Back in Washington, Democrats are jumping on an intelligence assessment that they say proves they've been right to question the Iraq war all along.EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - Twenty-four-year-old Tiffany Hall may be arraigned today in St. Clair County, Illinois, on charges she killed a pregnant acquaintance and her fetus. Preliminary
autopsies show that three of the victim's other children were drowned. Hall hasn't been charged in their deaths.
WPPA/T102 News - Saturday 9/23/06
County woman dies in Iraq
The war in Iraq has taken the life of a Schuylkill County servicewoman. The Pentagon announced the death of 21-year-old Sergeant Jennifer Hartman of New Ringgold. She was one of three soldiers killed in combat. Hartman was with the Fourth Support Battalion, First Brigade of the Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Hood in Texas. The Defense Department says all three died September 14th in Baghdad when a bomb went off near a substation where they were serving.
Allentown Band to appear
A night of musical enjoyment is in store Wednesday at Pottsville High School Auditorium. Pottsville Area Music, Lasting Legacy presents the Allentown Band, the oldest civilian concert band in the United States, founded in 1828. The band will perform a mixed bag of selections that are sure to tempt the musical tastebuds of all ages. Tickets are just $10 and are available at Triple A in Pottsville and by calling Hardock at 449-7777.
Wastewater treatment facility dedicated
The borough of New Ringgold dedicated a new wastewater treatment facility Thursday. Prior to construction of the new wastewater treatment plant, New Ringgold Borough used on-lot sewage facilities which posed health risks to residents. The money for the project was provided by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST). Representative David Argall said it's important to note that the project was completed under budget. While $2.4 million in funding was provided by PENNVEST, only $2.2 million of that was used to complete the project.
Big band dance for Pottsville Bicentennial
Another big event celebrating Pottsville's 200th birthday is coming up tonight. The Pottsville Bicentennial is hosting "A Night to Remember", featuring the Bill Hicks Big Band tonight from 8 to 11pm at Pine View Acres. Local businessman Jerry Enders, and his wife Janet, are co-chairs of the event, which appeals to music and dance lovers of all ages. The cost for tickets is $25 dollars at the door, with proceeds benefiting the Pottsville Bicentennial Parade, which will be held October 7th. The event is being underwritten by a gift from the Pottsville law firm Williamson, Friedberg and Jones.
Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business and entertainment:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite their complicated history, Governor Ed Rendell is siding with Democrat Bob Casey in the Pennsylvania Senate race. He's ponying up money for Casey and appearing in a commercial in which he calls one of Senator Rick Santorum's ads "trash." It is Rendell's most public support yet for Casey, who has had a long, up-and-down relationship with the governor. Rendell, the former Philadelphia mayor, beat Casey in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary after an especially nasty campaign. Sixteen years earlier, Casey's father, the late Governor Robert Casey, handed Rendell a bitter defeat in the same contest. Last year, Rendell helped clear the Democratic opposition as national party leaders recruited Casey to run in the Senate race against Santorum, the Number Three Senate Republican. But Rendell also made headlines this summer when he praised Santorum as an effective senator.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Carl Romanelli's push to get on the ballot as the Green Party Senate candidate has taken a big hit. Lawyers on both sides of a dispute over Romanelli's candidacy say he has fallen about nine-thousand signatures short of the number he needs to qualify for the November Seventh ballot. A review of the signatures Romanelli gathered in his bid to compete against Republican Senator Rick Santorum and Democratic state Treasurer Bob Casey was suspended yesterday under a state judge's order issued earlier in the week. But attorney Lawrence Otter says he still hopes to persuade a Commonwealth Court judge to let Romanelli stay on the ballot when a hearing on Romanelli's nominating petitions resumes Monday. Romanelli was required to gather more than 67-thousand signatures to qualify for statewide office this year. State Democrats allege that many of the signatures Romanelli gathered include numerous fake names, unregistered voters and illegible signatures.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bill pending in the House of Representative would change the state flag for the first time in nearly 100 years by adding the name Pennsylvania in yellow silk embroidery. The bill's prime sponsor says Pennsylvania's flag is beautiful, but no one knows who it belongs to. A few other states have put their names on flags in the past few decades as a way to make them more recognizable. If a new design were to be adopted, it would be phased in as new flags were manufactured. The Pennsylvania state flag was most recently modified in 1907, when the General Assembly required that the background be the same shade of blue as on the U.S. flag.
The state flag features the Pennsylvania Coat of Arms, including the motto: "Virtue, Liberty and Independence."
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia's smoking ban could be going into effect sooner than expected. Mayor John Street says he hopes to start enforcing the newly approved ban at restaurants and most bars as early as next week. Supporters on City Council did not expect the ban to take effect before January. But Street told K-Y-W-A-M yesterday that he doesn't plan to wait that long. He says the legislation provides for immediate enforcement. Street says he's only waiting for details from the Health Department, which will enforce the ban. The law will exempt sidewalk cafes, tobacco stores, private clubs and so-called local taverns - places where drinks alone constitute at least 90 percent of gross sales.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The administrative arm of the state court system now says that last week's decision restoring higher pay for judges also permanently linked future raises to the federal courts' pay scale. Pennsylvania court system spokesman Stuart Ditzen said yesterday that Pennsylvania judges' salaries will increase whenever Congress approves increases for federal judges. But he's declining to say whether the Pennsylvania jurists will get annual cost-of-living raises under the state or federal systems. Federal judges have received cost-of-living increases in each of the past seven years but have not received a pure salary increase for 15 years. A bill that would give them a 16-and-a-half-percent pay increase is currently pending in Congress.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A mural depicting the history of Pittsburgh Brewing Company and the city will be unveiled later today at the Senator John Heinz Regional History Center. The mural, painted by Pittsburgh-area artist Andrew Vernon, will showcase the history of the city and the brewery, which is celebrating its 145th anniversary. The brewery makes Iron City Beer, IC Light and others. The mural will remain on permanent display at the Pittsburgh museum after it is unveiled about 7:30 tonight. The brewery plans to issue six collectible bottles featuring scenes captured in the mural.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Boyd Gaming Corporation is giving up on its bid for a slot-machine gambling parlor in suburban Philadelphia. Company spokesman Robert Stillwell says the Las Vegas-based Boyd is withdrawing because it did not have the support of the Limerick Township Board of Supervisors. The board voted in April to unanimously to oppose the Boyd application. Stillwell says the company informed the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board of its intentions yesterday. Boyd's withdrawal leaves five groups to compete for two slots licenses that are not tied specifically to a racetrack, established resort or the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez reached out to Hispanic businesses in America at a U-S Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Philadelphia. He made a strong pitch yesterday toward fostering better trade with a country that shares a language and cultural similarities with America's fastest growing ethnic group. Fernandez says the Hispanic market is of increasing importance, with Dominicans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadoreans, Colombians, Cubans and other Latin Americans who are becoming part of mainstream consumer society in the U-S. Hispanics in America are expected to spend nearly 800 (b) billion dollars this year. That's according to a recent University of Georgia study. Philadelphia was one of the president's last stops before he flies back home. Fernandez is campaigning for a non-permanent seat on the U-N Security Council for 2008 to 2009.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Republican Senator Rick Santorum and Democratic challenger Bob Casey are flooding the airwaves with messages these days as they try to sway voters in one of the country's most closely watched Senate races. But those sound bites and slickly produced ads are not yet having the desired effect. At least that's according to many voters interviewed this week by The Associated Press in the Lehigh Valley, Sunbury, State College and downtown Pittsburgh. Several voters said it was still too early to pay attention to politics. Others, meanwhile, said they have already made up their minds in a race featuring Santorum, a lightning rod of a candidate who often draws ardent support or opposition. Forty-seven-year-old Kurt Nicholas, for one, can't stand Santorum and doesn't like his recent negative ads. He's voting for Casey. Lyle Pettinger, on the other hand, says he likes Santorum because he thinks it's important for a candidate to display "Christian values."
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl say land for a potential new arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins has been secured. At a news conference yesterday, they also asked the hockey team to commit to staying in Pittsburgh. The Penguins, which are for sale, say the team could move if an arena isn't built to replace 45-year-old Mellon Arena, the oldest and smallest in the National Hockey League. Several bidders are interested in the team, and some have said they would pay for or help fund a new arena. But not all bidders have committed to keeping the team in the city. The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority needed to buy ten properties to make room for the new arena. It has purchased nine of them. The authority says it has tentatively agreed to a deal with the owners of the tenth property.
SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) - Henrietta the chicken had gone unnoticed for 18 months among 36-thousand other chickens at Brendle Farms in Somerset. That changed last week, when a foreman of the catching crew noticed something different about the chicken- it had four legs. Farm owner Mike Brendle says he is amazed by the discovery. Henrietta has two normal front legs but, behind those, she has two more feet. They are of a similar size to the chicken's front legs, but don't function. The chicken drags her extra feet behind her. Brendle says he jokingly suggested selling Henrietta in an Internet auction, but his 13-year-old daughter Ashley objected. She
also named the chicken. Brendle says Henrietta is only a few weeks away from being able to lay eggs.
Latest National News
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A bomb hidden in a barrel near a kerosene truck exploded in Baghdad this morning, killing at least 35 people. Police say the bomb went off while dozens of people were waiting to buy fuel. Another 36 people were wounded.
PARIS (AP) - Information from a leaked intelligence document raising the possibility of Osama bin Laden's death is not being verified by French President Jacques Chirac (zhahk shih-RAHK'). He says that the report saying that bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month is "in no way whatsoever confirmed."
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS') says efforts to form a Palestinian government acceptable to the West have gone "back to zero," The remarks come a day after officials from the Islamic militant Hamas group declared that they would not lead a coalition that recognizes Israel.
MIAMI (AP) - Helene is back to being a hurricane. The storm continues to move quickly over the Atlantic with top sustained winds of 90 miles-per-hour. However, the National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to weaken and not expected to make landfall.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Several more companies have recalled potentially tainted salad products, but federal health officials say it's now safe to eat spinach grown outside California's Salinas Valley. That all-clear means spinach could return to produce shelves in a few days.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Local News-Friday, Sept. 22nd
State Police Liquor Control Enforcement officials have charged a McAdoo bar owner with a variety of offenses. Authorities from the Allentown office charged 64-year-old Eugene Nance, owner of Gene's Grey Goose Bar in McAdoo with five different offenses after receiving a complaint in the early morning hours of September 2nd. Nance was reportedly drunk and threatening patrons at the bar, and investigators responded to the bar undercover. Police saw Nance drinking while serving customers and served patrons until 4am. He also was playing the jukebox extremely loud and tried to give the undercover officer money, prior to knowing who he was. Nance finally passed out in a sink at the bar. He was charged Wednesday of serving alcohol to intoxicated persons, being intoxicated himself, selling alcohol after hours and other offenses. The charges were filed at the office of District Judge Stephen Bayer of Tamaqua. A Pottsville man is in county prison after a fight in the city Wednesday night. City police were called to the home of Robert Steffie on East Market Street before 7pm. Reportedly, Steffie and his brother Dale, of Tremont, were threatened by Mark Butler of Pottsville, who was carrying a baseball bat, wanting a fight. During the altercation, Dale Steffie picked up a wooden club and hit Butler in the head, then punched him while he was on the ground. Butler staggered away from the scene, but Steffie allegedly hit him again with the club and his fists. Dale Steffie was arrested and taken to Schuylkill County Prison where he was arraigned. A Coaldale man who is alleged to be a major heroin dealer was arrested by Reading Police earlier this week. 55-year-old John Duke was picked up Tuesday after making a heroin buy from Roberto Laureano of Reading near Fifth Street. The Pottsville Republican reports that Duke told police he traveled to Reading several times a week to buy heroin, then brought the stash back to the Tamaqua area for resale. Reading Police were reportedly tipped off after a confidential informant told Tamaqua cops that Duke was headed to Reading to buy heroin. Duke and Laureano were charged with possession with intent to deliver heroin. They were arraigned and taken to Berks County Prison. Bail for both men was set at $500-thousand-dollars each.
As the budget year is coming to a close in Schuylkill County, the problem of overtime at the Schuylkill County Prison continues to grow. Thus far in 2006, the county has paid more than $200-thousand-dollars in overtime to staff the facility. At this week's county Prison Board meeting, officials discussed the ongoing problem of forced overtime because the prison is understaffed for the 282 inmates. Currently, the prison employs 40 guards. Ongoing discussions about hiring part-time guards have not produced any resolution. County Controller Gary Hornberger brought up the idea of hiring more full-time guards, rather than incurring additional overtime for the already stretched staff. Given the current situation, Schuylkill County anticipates that it will spend another $100-thousand-dollars in overtime before the end of the year. Official say that the personnel committee will meet next week to discuss the issue further.
State News-Friday, Sept. 22nd
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Peco Energy expects all power to be back on this morning in downtown Philadelphia after a smoky underground electrical fire forced several thousand office workers to evacuate two buildings yesterday. Peco Energy Company spokesman Michael Wood says the fire started after an underground electrical cable became overloaded and started smoking severely. That happened after a customer incorrectly tried to reroute power after another cable had failed. Several manhole covers blew off. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayres says an estimated five thousand people left two buildings and have now been sent home. The fire also caused major traffic snarls. Ayers says one man was taken to a hospital, but his injuries appear to be minor.NEW YORK (Dow Jones/AP) - Manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region tipped unexpectedly into negative territory during September. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says its business conditions index fell from 18-point-five in August to minus-point-four. The move in the index, a gauge of the health of the region's manufacturing sectors, surprised economists, who'd expected it to hit 15. Meanwhile, hiring at Philadelphia factory operators improved,
with the employment index at ten-point-seven, versus the August reading of eight-point-two.PENTAGON (AP) - A Pentagon report rejects allegations that intelligence gathered by a secret military unit could have been used to stop the Nine-Eleven terrorist hijackings. The Pentagon inspector general's office says its review of the records from the unit code named Able Danger didn't find any evidence that the military could have identified any of the terrorists involved in the plot. The report was ordered following the assertion last year that the unit had identified four of the 19 hijackers in 2000. Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon has said the unit used data mining to link the plot's ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other hijackers to al-Qaida more than a year before the attacks. The report also rejected Weldon's assertion that the intelligence unit wanted the information given to the F-B-I but Pentagon lawyers would not allow it. HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Two statewide polls show the front-runners in Pennsylvania's election races for U.S. Senate and governor maintained their leads in September, despite increased T-V advertising by the candidates. The Keystone and IssuesP-A/Pew polls show Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey and Democratic Governor Ed Rendell have comfortable margins among registered voters. But the IssuesP-A/Pew survey gives them much wider leads than other polls have indicated. State treasuer Casey leads Republican Senator Rick Santorum 45 percent to 38 percent among registered voters in the Keystone Poll. Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli is supported by five percent and 12 percent are undecided. The IssuesPA/Pew poll shows Casey leading Santorum 47 percent to 28 percent. The poll by New Jersey-based Princeton Survey Research Associates International, has 22 percent of the respondents undecided and three percent favoring Romanelli. The Keystone Poll shows Rendell leading Republican Lynn Swann 52 percent to 34 percent with 14 percent undecided. The IssuesP-A/Pew survey shows Rendell crushing Swann, 58 to 30 percent, and eleven
National and International News-Friday, Sept. 22nd
WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush says he knows nothing about any conversation in which a U-S official threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" if it didn't help in the U-S-led war on terror after Nine-Eleven. After meeting at the White House today with Pakistan's leader, General Pervez Musharraf, Bush suggested that Pakistan hadn't needed any pressure to cooperate in the terror fight.BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has made his first public
appearance since his group's war with Israel began in July. He's told a crowd that's waving yellow Hezbollah flags that he thanks God for his group's "victory" in the war with Israel.LATHEN, Germany (AP) - A local official in northwestern Germany says it is likely that the bodies of more victims will be found after today's accident involving a high-speed magnetic train that went off its track. At least one of the 29 passengers has died. The train crashed head-on with a maintenance wagon on the elevated track.
Local News-Thursday, Sept. 21st
Enrollment is up in the Pottsville School District in the current school year. At Wednesday's meeting, Dr. James Gallagher informed school directors that enrollment as of September 1st was 3,129 students, compared to 3,092 last year, an increase of 37 students. The district intends to purchase a new telephone system through Honeywell Systems at a cost of $190-thousand-dollars. The system will tie in all buildings and upgrade the current structure which has been in operation since the early 1990's. The contract estimates that the district will save $21-thousand-dollars annually. The district approved the extension of the face value period for the payment of Pottsville Area Real Estate, Per Capita and Occupation taxes from October 1st to November 30th, 2006, and the penalty period extended from December 1st to December 31st, 2006. Dr. Jack Dolbin, chairman of the Athletics and Extracurricular Activities Committee noted that Pottsville's athletes also excel in the classroom. The grade point average of all 29 sports and extracurricular groups is 3.0, a solid B. The Boys Tennis Team had the highest GPA, 3.59. The borough of Schuylkill Haven is looking ahead to improvements on “The Island”. The $1-million dollar project, including preparation, improvements to the athletic fields, a skate park and ampitheatre is not dead in spite of June flooding and being turned down for a state DCNR grant. The Pottsville Republican reports that Haven borough council will reapply for another round of grant monies from DCNR, and monies from the Southern Schuylkill County Council of Government funds to kick-start the project to make The Island a hub of activity for borough residents and visitors. In other business, Haven borough council was updated on the progress of repairs to the sewer treatment plant that was severely damaged in the June flood. The borough submitted a request for over $1.1-million-dollars for repairs to FEMA last month, and are awaiting word about approvals.The County is expected to approve the purchase of several parcels of private property to widen and improve the access road leading to the clubhouse at Sweet Arrow Lake. Bob Evanchalk and Craig Morgan attended Wednesday's Schuylkill County Commissioners work session to ask the Commissioners to approve their recommendation. The total purchase price is just under $5-thousand-dollars for a total of 2.56 acres owned by eight different property owners. The Commissioners are expected to approve the purchases at next week's board meeting. In other business, the Commissioners were asked by County Coroner David Dutcavich to approve a training program for County Deputy Coroners. Dutcavich said the program, developed by Lehigh County Community College, and presented by Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim, will be the first formal training for Deputy Coroners in nearly two generations. The program will cost $4,410-dollars and non-salaried deputies will be provided compensation at a rate of $40.00 per session attended. The Commissioners will act on the request at next week’s board meeting.Classrooms at 103 schools across the state will transform the high school experience through technology. Governor Ed Rendell announced the selection of the first schools that will create Classrooms for the Future to help boost achievement while students are still in high school and help them succeed in college and the working world. The initiative will put a laptop computer on every desk at the selected schools and provide teachers with a multimedia workstation and intensive training to enhance education. The current state budget provided $20-million-dollars to fund the first year of the program. An additional $6 million dollars in state and federal resources will be used to train teachers and administrators to make the most of the investment. One hundred eighty-nine school districts applied for funding in the first year of Classrooms for the Future. Districts were selected for participation based upon their plans to use technology to change teaching and improve student learning. Last spring, in its "Technology Counts 2006" report, Education Week gave Pennsylvania a "C" for its lack of access to, and incorporation of, technology in schools across the commonwealth. The Smooth Operator program is helping stem the tide of aggressive driving. Twelve local police departments and Pennsylvania State Police in Berks, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties issued 1,326 aggressive driving citations in the third and final wave of the state's "Smooth Operator" pilot program. The third wave was conducted from Aug. 27 to Sept. 9. Overall, 3,998 citations were issued in the District during the three Smooth Operator waves carried out over the summer. Along with increased patrols, enforcement activities during the waves were targeted to specific times and locations where motorists were more likely to speed, tailgate, run red lights and improperly change lanes. This year PennDOT tested the Smooth Operator program in 12 counties, resulting in roughly 14,000 citations and almost 500 arrests. Aggressive driving played a role in 1,016 of 1,616 vehicle fatalities statewide, including 237 in the four county region last year.An area Veterans Monument is receiving money for some much needed improvements. Members of the Brockton Veterans Memorial Committee and Representative Dave Argall gathered at the monument in Brockton Wednesday to announce a $5-thousand dollar grant to build handicap-accessible parking areas and concrete benches near the monument. The funding will be provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's (DCED) Community Revitalization and Assistance Program. The group has been working to secure the funding for the past two years.
State News-Thursday, Sept. 21st
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Board of Education has unanimously approved instructional guidelines for state-funded preschool programs. The regulations would set standards for the first time for public school programs enrolling children between three and five
years old. They include a minimum two-and-a-half-hour day and a maximum class size of 20 students. The state Education Department says 71 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts offered pre-kindergarten classes in the 2005-2006 school year. The rules allow school districts to decide whether to provide preschool programs and makes pre-kindergarten enrollment optional for children. The regulations must receive final approval from the House and
Senate education committees and an independent regulatory review panel before they take effect.GRANTHAM, Pa. (AP) - The Democratic and Republican candidates in Pennsylvania's Senate race are in a fierce fight for voters of faith. Democrat Bob Casey highlights his religious work. Republican Senator. Rick Santorum seeks out evangelical Christians. Casey is a Catholic who has been talking openly about his religious upbringing and his work with the Jesuit Corps. He
unveiled a 60-second television ad in the Philadelphia market today featuring a former student talking about Casey's mentoring from days in the corps' inner-city program. The two-term Santorum is also Catholic. He has been outspoken on issues consistent with the church's teachings such as opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Santorum is scheduled to address the conservative Family Research Council's voter summit on Saturday. UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A judge is giving the Herald-Standard of Uniontown 30 more days to submit written arguments to support its motion for dismissal of a defamation suit filed against the paper by House Minority Leader H. William DeWeese. Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen told newspaper attorney Charles Kelly on yesterday that he felt a jury should decide
whether the newspaper defamed DeWeese with a series of editorials and caricatures in 2001 and 2002. But the judge gave Kelly another month to argue for dismissal of the case.
The newspaper accused DeWeese, a Democrat from Greene County, of not fulfilling a promise to release records from his 12 million dollar, taxpayer-funded leadership account. DeWeese has maintained that he promised only to lobby for changes in the law that would require the records to be released. FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The head of Sovereign Bank is assuring shareholders that a Spanish bank's acquisition of a major stake in the bank does not weaken their say on a future sale. Speaking at Sovereign's annual meeting held at Gillette Stadium, C-E-O Jay Sidhu said as part of the agreement with Banco Santander, any deal on a future sale would have to be approved by shareholders. Santander purchased a stake of just under 20 percent in
Philadelphia-based Sovereign in June, and has since increased that stake to nearly 25 percent on the open market.
National and International News-Thursday, Sept. 21st
UNDATED (AP) - Iraqi forces have taken over security in the second of the country's 18 provinces. The province (Dhi Qar) has largely been spared the sectarian violence that has gripped other parts of the country. The U-N says the number of Iraqi civilians killed in July and August was far greater than first estimated.AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Seven people have been sentenced to death for last November's deadly hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan. Only one person is in custody, an Iraqi woman who confessed on television but later recanted. Sixty people died in the blasts.JOHNSON SPACE CENTER (AP) - The doors of the payload bay are closed, and the astronauts aboard space shuttle Atlantis are just awaiting final word from NASA. All signs point to a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida next hour.
CHALMETTE, La. (AP) - The husband and wife owners of a Louisiana nursing home that flooded during Hurricane Katrina have been indicted on charges of negligent homicide and cruelty. Thirty-five patients at St. Rita's died. The nursing home was not evacuated.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Two San Francisco Chronicle reporters will learn their fate today for refusing to testify about their sources in a steroid probe. The government seeks 18 months in prison. The reporters have refused to say who leaked secret grand jury testimony from Barry Bonds and other athletes.
Local News-Wednesday, Sept. 20th
The Schuylkill County DA's office is getting tough on people who did not show up for their court appearances. With the September court term now completed, DA Jim Goodman said that more than 60 people did not appear in court as scheduled. Now, bench warrants have been issued to find these individuals. New procedures have been put in place to track the offenders down. If a wanted person is stopped for a traffic violation, law enforcement officials can run their identification through the National Crime Information Center to see if there are outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court. But the no-shows are being given one last chance. Goodman said that the defendants have until Friday, September 29th to turn themselves in voluntarily by appearing in person at the DA's office, or by calling 570-628-1361. Once a defendant is picked up on a warrant, they will be taken to Schuylkill County Prison. A hearing would then be held within 72 hours to determine what bail should be set.A problem spot for trucks in Cressona claimed another victim last night. A truck filled with batteries got stuck under the railroad bridge at Legion Plaza again yesterday because it failed to clear the underpass. State police say that 55-year-old William Walker of Ontario, Canada was northbound on Route 183 when the trailer became wedged under the bridge, tearing the top of the trailer open. The bridge clearance is 11 feet, 8 inches. Flashing lights are in place to warn drivers of the approaching underpass, but trucks get stuck all too frequently. The mess took several hours to clean up, diverting traffic through Beckville. State police are investigating the death of an Orwigsburg man yesterday. Troopers say that 81-year-old Leroy Hoffman was found dead, pinned under a lawn mower at his Greenview Road home in West Brunswick Township around 4pm. Authorities say that they are unsure if Hoffman's death was caused by the accident, or if he died of natural causes.A Port Carbon man suffered minor injuries in a one vehicle crash in South Manheim Township yesterday afternoon. 60-year-old Paul Shollenberger was traveling west on Route 895 and lost control of his car. He went into the eastbound lane and struck a speed limit sign, then a tree.
His car was severely damaged. He was treated by EMS personnel at the scene. A Shenandoah woman faces charges of driving under the influence following a crash early Tuesday morning in Union Township. Frackville troopers say that they responded to the motor vehicle crash on Shenandoah Road around 2am. They found that 21-year-old Amy Usewicz lost control trying to avoid a deer and went down a small embankment. Police arrested Usewicz after they suspected she was driving under the influence. She was taken to Pottsville Hospital for a blood test to determine her blood alcohol content. Charges are pending the results of those tests. State lawmakers are still wrestling with how to implement Governor Ed Rendell's plan to increase the number of children covered by state-subsidized health insurance. The funding was approved in the new state budget more than two months ago. Representatives from the insurance industry, child-advocacy groups and the Rendell administration testified yesterday before a Senate panel on legislation that would establish guidelines for the Cover All Kids program. It calls for the state to provide health insurance at reduced rates to children whose families make too much money to qualify for existing programs. Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare said that legislators promised the Governor that the deal will be done by the October recess. The state hopes to begin offering the benefits in January. Fifteen thousand children are expected to enroll in the program's first year. That number is expected to increase to nearly 70-thousand within five years.
State News-Wednesday, Sept. 20th
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The manhunt continues today for a man believed to be one of the gunmen who shot five Duquesne University basketball players. Yesterday, 18-year-old Brandon Baynes, from Penn Hills, was arraigned. He is charged with five counts of criminal attempt at homicide. Prosecutors also filed charges of aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, and weapons counts against him and William Holmes, who is stil being sought. He was also charged with reckless endangerment. Three players remained hospitalized following Sunday's shootings after the dance. The most seriously wounded was in critical condition with bullet fragments in his head. Brittany Jones was accused of helping get some young men with
guns into the party. She was arrested yesterday on charges of reckless endangerment, carrying a firearm without a license and criminal conspiracy. She was arraigned and posted bond yesterday morning.PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Testimony is set to continue this morning in the trial of two businessmen accused of ignoring safety warnings about a pier that collapsed in Philadelphia six years ago. Prosecutors say their decision to ignore those warnings ultimately led to the deaths of three women when Pier 34 collapsed into the Delaware River on May 18th of 2000. Dozens more people were hurt. Pier 34 owner Michael Asbell and Heat nightclub operator Eli
Karetny are on trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas court on charges of risking a catastrophe and conspiracy. The defendants blamed the collapse on three related contractors they had hired over the years. The attorney for Asbell told the jury that their job was to determine if Asbell and Karetny are criminals. The trial is expected to last a month or more.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Radio Evangelist James Dobson will be speaking in Pittsburgh tonight and he's hoping to convince people to vote based on their moral convictions. James Dobson is founder and chairman of the Christian organization Focus on the Family. He'll be speaking today at a political rally at Mellon Arena. Dobson isn't expected to publicly take sides in Pennsylvania's U-S Senate race between Senator Rick Santorum and state Treasurer
Bob Casey. But the race is one of the reasons Dobson is coming to Pennsylvania. Tom Minnery is a spokesman for Focus on the Family. He tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the group won't tell anyone how to vote but will lay out the issues they feel are important.
National and International News-Wednesday, Sept. 20th
NEW YORK (AP) - President Bush meets today with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in a show of support forAbbas' moderate politics and his standing in the Mideast peace process. Abbas has been weakened by the victory of rival Hamas militants in parliamentary elections this year.VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict says he has "deep respect"for Islam. During his regular weekly audience today, the pope expressed hope that remarks he made in Germany last week, which sparked angry reactions in much of the Muslim world, can lead to dialogue among religions.BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A wave of violence in Iraq the past 24 hours has taken more than 45 lives, including 21 in a double suicide bombing in the northern city of Mosul. The U-S military announced five soldier deaths. And a suicide truck bomb slammed into a Baghdad police headquarters today, killing seven.CAPITOL HILL (AP) - The homeland security debate today turns to a planned fence along the U-S border with Mexico. The Senate is set to consider a bill that calls for building 700 miles of double-layered fencing. The House passed the bill last week. Democrats say there should be a comprehensive border security package.UNION, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a suspicious sister-in-law led them to a kidnapped infant and the arrest of a suspect in Missouri. Police say the alleged kidnapper used makeup to hide the baby's birthmark. Dorothy Torrez saw it and notified authorities. ShannonBeck claimed the baby was hers.
Local News-Tuesday, Sept. 19th
It appears that Congressman Tim Holden will be re-elected to another term in Washington this November. Holden's opponent, Republican Matthew Wertz of Lebanon County has ceased active campaigning due to family and medical reasons. While Wertz's name will still appear on the ballot, it is unlikely that he will win. According to reports, he struggled to raise funds to build a campaign against the St. Clair Democrat. Wertz retired from the US Navy earlier this year and is a resident of Lebanon County. Holden has been a member of the US House of Representatives for 14 years.It's budget time in Schuylkill County. Hearings began at the county courthouse yesterday, in preparation for the next fiscal year. According to the Pottsville Republican, District Attorney Jim Goodman is requesting additional monies to hire a full-time Assistant District Attorney. If approved, that individual would deal specifically with drug cases. Goodman cited the burgeoning case load for the next year, indicating that the number of cases is expected to double. Other departments presenting their budget requests included the Coroner, Child Development, Prothonotary, Sheriff and Schuylkill Women in Crisis, among others.A Frackville woman is in trouble for endangering the welfare of her children. Borough police were called to the home of 23-year-old Nicole Murray at 427 Pershing Street Saturday night to check on the welfare of her children. Police believed that her children might be left at home alone. Murray's two daughters were unaccounted for, and she was seen leaving the home earlier in the evening to go to a party in Shenandoah. When they gained access to the locked home, police found Murray's 2-year-old daughter alone in a bedroom crying. Schuylkill County Children and Youth officials were contacted to secure the child. Early Sunday morning, Murray, who was drunk, was taken to Schuylkill County Prison and arraigned on child endangerment and related offenses. She was unable to post the required 10 percent of $30-thousand-dollars bail. A preliminary hearing will be held at a later date.Pottsville city police have been busy rounding up people wanted on outstanding warrants.
On Thursday, police responded to the Cliffside Apartments for a disturbance involving a male and female. 40-year-old James Flowers was one of the people involved in the dispute. During an ID check, the county communications center determined that Flowers was wanted as a violent offender and for parole violations. He was taken into custody. In a separate incident Friday, police observed a Reading man, Jason Bivins in the 100 block of West Market Street. During questioning, Bivins gave police a false identification. But police determined that the man was in fact Bivins, who was wanted on Felony burglary charges. He was taken into custody and transported to Schuylkill County Prison for arraignment via video conference. He was arraigned on burglary, conspiracy and other charges relating to the original warrant. He was also charged with providing false identification to police. He was unable to post bail, and remains in prison today.State police are investigating a weekend burglary at a North Manheim Township restaurant.
Sometime between 11pm Saturday and noon Sunday, unknown persons broke into The Nutty Pear on Adamsdale Road through the front door. The thieves took numerous bottles of liquor and wine, cases of beer from a back walk-in cooler, a cash register and other items. Police continue their investigation. Three vehicles were involved in a crash Monday morning in East Norwegian Township. State police say that Anthony Paltanavage of New Philadelphia was southbound on Route 209, when he struck the rear of 80-year-old Joseph Shevokas' car, which was stopped to make a left turn. The Shevokas vehicle hit the northbound car of Barbara Leo, McAdoo. Stella Shevokas, a passenger in the second vehicle, and Leo were hurt and taken to local hospitals for treatment. The Shevokas and Leo vehicles were severely damaged, while Paltanavage's car had moderate damage.
State News-Tuesday, Sept. 19th
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - No lawmakers who collected the midterm pay raises have rushed to repay the money since last week's state Supreme Court ruling declaring them unconstitutional. But two current legislators and one former state representative say they plan to do so. The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that allowing legislators to immediately collect raises of between 16 and 54 percent as"unvouchered expenses" violates a constitutional provision that bars lawmakers from collecting pay raises in the same session in which they are approved. But the court did not order lawmakers to repay the money. The Senate clerk's office says Senator Michael Stack ofPhiladelphia is the only senator so far who has indicated he will pay the money back. Representative Russ Fairchild of Union County and former Represenative Alan Butkovitz of Philadelphia also say they plan to repay the expenses.
PHILADELPHIA (AP)-Church lawyers say plaintiffs who allege that they were sexually abused by priests should not be allowed to sue the archdiocese under federal anti-racketeering laws because the statutes do not cover personal injury. C. Clark Hodgson Junior is an attorney for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought
against the church in June by 13 people who say they were abused by priests. The lawsuit argues that the archdiocese violated federal conspiracy and anti-racketeering laws by attempting to cover up the abuse. The statutes are most commonly used to prosecute organized
crime, and lawyers in other states have been unsuccessful in using the laws in alleged priest abuse cases. Stewart Eisenberg is the victims' attorney. He says that while these are "not the normal, everyday claims," the case should go forward.PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Prosecutors say two businessmen ignored warnings more than six years ago that a pier holding up a nightclub in Philadelphia would collapse within hours.
That decision, according to prosecutors, ultimately led to the deaths of three women when Pier 34 collapsed into the Delaware River on May 18th of 2000, killing three people and injuring dozens more. Pier 34 owner Michael Asbell and Heat nightclub operator Eli Karetny went on trial this morning in Philadelphia Common Pleas court on charges of risking a catastrophe and conspiracy. Prosecutor Jude Conroy told jurors in his opening statement that no actual repairs were done to the structure despite the warnings. The defendants blamed the collapse on three related contractors they had hired over the years. Thomas Bergstrom is the attorney for Asbell. He told the jury that their job was to determine if Asbell and Karetny are criminals.
The trial is expected to last a month or more.PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann says -- if elected -- he'll authorize putting up to five-thousand additional law enforcement officers on the streets of
Pennsylvania's largest cities by 2010 to fight escalating crime. Swann was speaking at a campaign stop at a West Philadelphia community center. He also says he would increase enforcement of current gun laws, expand community-based crime fighting programs
and create a "drug dealer registry" similar to sex offender registries. He says the five-thousand figure was not set in stone, but a benchmark number, and that officers could be added in cities with higher crime rates including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Altoona, Harrisburg, York, Reading, Williamsport and other municipalities.
National and International News-Tuesday, Sept. 19th
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Iran's nuclear ambitions, the Middle East
peace process and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Those are
among the key topics at the U-N General Assembly meeting beginning
today. President Bush addresses the meeting this morning.WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is making some changes to its
proposal for how to handle the nation's most dangerous terror
suspects. Senate Republicans who challenged the administration's
plan are standing firm but say they are once again hopeful a deal
can be reached on detainee legislation.TORONTO (AP) - The United States "very likely" sent a Canadian
software engineer to Syria, where he was tortured, based on a false
accusation by Canadian authorities that he was suspected of links
to al-Qaida. That's according to a Canadian government inquiry that
has cleared the man.
JOHNSON SPACE CENTER (AP) - A space station astronaut says
"it's a little crowded in the sky this morning." The crews of the
space station, space shuttle and a Russian Soyuz chatted in a
ten-minute conference call. Six of the 12 people in orbit are
returning to Earth tomorrow aboard shuttle Atlantis.
UNION, Mo. (AP) - Police have fielded hundreds of leads as they
search for a missing newborn baby in Missouri. The infant's mother
has helped police come up with a composite sketch of a woman she
says slashed her throat and took Abigale Woods last Friday.