Local News-Tuesday, Oct. 31st
All they wanted was answers why their homes smell like a sewer. A group of nearly three dozen Pottsville city residents asked that question, and many others at last night's meeting with city officials and representatives from the Greater Pottsville Sewer Authority to discuss the problem of stifling odors coming into their homes. During the hour long meeting, the frustrations of residents living on Mahantongo Street, Oak Road and Howard Avenue was clear…they can't live with the situation the way it is, and they want answers as to how to fix it and who's responsible. To date, about 3 dozen complaints were received by the city and the sewer authority. Several issues were presented to sewer authority officials by angry residents…did the authority know that there could be sewer gas problems as a result of the project? Officials confirmed that a letter was received from Mazucca Enterprises, one of the contractors on the project, that odor problems may result after the new system went on-line, but residents of Pottsville were not notified of them. Secondly, why were some residents given suggestions to make changes to their systems while the construction project was underway? Many of the affected residents have to dig up their properties to make changes now, incurring significant expense, while others were reportedly told to make changes to their systems while streets and properties were dug up. Mayor John Reiley moderated the meeting, and pledged that the city and the Sewer Authority would develop a plan immediately to find a solution to the problem. No one has to live like this…That was one of the comments offered by residents who are experiencing sewer gas problems in their homes in a section of Pottsville. The nearly three dozen homeowners filled city council chambers last night to voice their concerns to a panel of city officials and sewer authority management. The $43-million-dollar upgrade project was mandated by state officials to separate storm water runoff from sewage. Thirty-six complaints have been investigated to date about the problem. Mayor John Reiley conducted the meeting, which at times became very contentious. City Code Enforcement Officer Donald Chescavage presented several solutions that residents could implement to seal floor drains and fixtures to eliminate the smell, but conceded that there is no "single" fix that works for every homeowner. Residents shared stories about the smell that makes their homes almost inhabitable, and are concerned about potential health risks that exist because of the problem. Mayor Reiley and members of the panel held a closed-door meeting after the public session to formulate a game plan to assist residents.A Barnesville man is charged with possessing child pornography. According to the Pottsville Republican, a year-long investigation netted the arrest of 49-year-old Robert Boczkowski by federal authorities. Boczkowski allegedly subscribed to an on-line website which offered child porn. The nationwide investigation has resulted in arrests of people in 22 states. He was arraigned on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography in US District Court. The case is expected to go to trial in the near future. If found guilty, Boczkowski could have a 5-year mandatory prison sentence imposed upon him, but it could be as long as 20 years.
State police have released details about the death of a Pottsville man at a coal breaker earlier this month. 25-year-olds Nicholas Hnatishion and David Kalbach, both of Pottsville, entered the property of the St. Nicholas Breaker in Norwegian Township on October 18th. Hnatishion climbed on top of a conveyor, and came in contact with wires, and was electrocuted. He was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital and died from those injuries on October 22nd. State troopers from Frackville and Schuylkill Haven are continuing the investigation into the incident.An ongoing investigation by Schuylkill Haven Borough Police resulted in the arrest of a Pottsville man for trespassing on borough owned property. In recent weeks, police have received numerous complaints from borough officials and residents that someone has been planting booby traps on trails in the Tumbling Run dam area. Police also report that motorcycle and ATV riders have been causing damage in the area as well. Two borough officers were staked out at Tumbling Run Sunday afternoon when they spotted a motorcycle operated by 42-year old Christopher Schultz of Pottsville. Initially, Schultz ran from police, but crashed the motorcycle in Tumbling Run Creek. He was apprehended there. Schultz is charged with trespassing on Schuylkill Haven Borough property. He was released by police pending charges filed. No one was injured. Another week, another truck gets stuck under the railroad underpass in Cressona. Just after 5:30pm Monday night, a tractor-trailer became wedged under the bridge on Route 183 in Cressona. The driver apparently did not see the warning signs while approaching the underpass until it was too late. According to reports, the driver tried to deflate his tires to free his rig, but a tow truck had to be called in to remove the rig. The driver has yet to be identified, but faces a fine in the incident. Borough officials, the owner of the railroad and area legislators had planned to meet to discuss the ongoing problem this month, but that meeting had to be cancelled. An Auburn area woman and her passenger suffered minor injuries following a Sunday evening crash in Wayne Township. 42-year-old Susan Sheriff was westbound on Route 443 around 6:45pm when she struck a deer crossing Long Run Road. The deer was killed. Sheriff and a child passenger had minor injuries. Her car had to be towed from the scene.
State News-Tuesday, Oct. 31st
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Closing arguments are scheduled today in the Philadelphia pier collapse trial. Yesterday, the operator of the pier testifed that it wasn't his fault the structure collapsed into the Delaware River more than six years ago, killing three nightclub patrons. Eli Karetny says he was never warned about the pier's condition. He testified that if he had been, he would have closed the pier and the three women would still be alive. Karetny and developer Michael Asbell are charged with conspiracy and risking a catastrophe. The proseucution says they let a
nightclub operate on the pier despite large cracks in the floor and warnings from a contractor that the pier would collapse at low tide.PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A new horror-movie network called FearNet is starting today, just in time for Halloween. It's being run by Philadelphia-based Comcast in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate. Fans will be able to watch movies through Comcast's video-on-demand service and on the Web at FearNet-dot-com. They can blog about, search and tag the spooky flicks. Cell phone users will get free ringtones and wallpaper and eventually be able to watch video clips. Sony and Lionsgate, the independent studio behind Oscar-winner
"Crash," will contribute their storehouse of a thousand horror movies.EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Jury selection is expected to being today for a man accused of killing his long-time friend and wounding the friend's girlfriend in Johnstown. Omar Williams was ordered to stand trial on charges of first-and second-degree murder, aggravated assault and robbery at a preliminary hearing in February. If convicted of first-degree murder, Williams faces life in prison without parole. ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A woman accused of bringing her 4-year-old daughter with her as she and her husband robbed churches has pleaded guilty to reduced charges. Kay Isenhart pleaded guilty yesterday to one count each of theft, criminal conspiracy to commit theft and corruption of minors before Erie County Judge Ernest DiSantis Junior. Isenhart was accused of participating in the burglaries of 12 churches and one parochial school. She faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison and a fine of 30-thousand dollars. Prosecutors say they dropped other charges after Isenhart gave investigators information that led her husband to plead guilty. James Lyle Isenhart was sentenced on October second to nine to 18 years in prison.HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A woman is suing an Altoona hospital and doctor for allegedly leaving a medical sponge eight inches long and four inches wide inside her head after an ear operation more than two years ago. After the procedure, Ellen Detwiler experienced painful headaches, swelling, nausea and hearing problems. That's according to a lawsuit filed in Blair County Court of Common Pleas. Failing to respond to treatment, Detwiler was transferred to Magee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh on September 3rd. There she underwent surgery and doctors discovered the sponge. Detwiler seeks compensation of at least 100-thousand dollars. Doctor Augusto Delerme and the Altoona Regional Health System's Altoona Hospital Campus are named as as defendants.ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Hispanic groups and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing the city of Hazleton over its crackdown on illegal immigrants. The ordinance takes effect tomorrow, but plaintiffs are seeking a court order to stop it from being enforced while the lawsuit is in progress. The law imposes fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and denies business permits to companies that give them jobs. The law empowers the city's Code Enforcement Office to investigate written complaints about a person's immigration status, using a database operated by the federal government. Mayor Lou Barletta says he's convinced the law will be upheld by the courts.
National and International News-Tuesday, Oct. 31st
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - No letup in the violence in Iraq. The U-S says two more soldiers have been killed in the Baghdad area, raising October's total to 103. Three Iraqis have died in a morning car bombing in Sadr City, the Baghdad slum where a Shiite militia is in charge.ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan says the U-S helped out with intelligence, but did not actually execute a raid that killed 80 suspected militants. A Pakistani general says American forces did not fire any missiles in yesterday's assault on a religious school that supposedly was a front for an al-Qaida training camp.CABAZON, Calif. (AP) - Crews have now completely contained a Southern California wildfire that killed four firefighters and destroyed more than 30 homes. Officials have questioned two men about setting the fire, but made no arrests.SAN DIEGO (AP) - A second Marine charged with kidnapping and murdering an Iraqi man has agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges. His lawyer says Lance Corporal Tyler Jackson will enter the plea in court at Camp Pendleton, California next week. Another Marine and a Navy corpsman have also pleaded guilty. SUPREME COURT (AP) - The Supreme Court today considers the question of whether juries should be allowed to make huge damage awards that go beyond the court's own guidelines. The case involves the widow of a longtime smoker and a punitive damage award of 80 million dollars against Philip Morris.
Local News-Monday, Oct. 30th
The ongoing odor problem at homes in Pottsville will be discussed in an open forum tonight at Pottsville City Hall. The issue has been reported by several dozen homeowners after the completion of the city-wide upgrade project by the Greater Pottsville Sewer Authority. The $43-million-dollar project was mandated by the state to separate storm water and sewage flows. Homeowners in portions of the city have been plagued with odors of sewer gas coming from floor drains in their basements since the new system was turned on. A number of the residents have had to install traps to remedy the problems. The public meeting will begin at 7pm this evening, and will be attended by representatives of the Greater Pottsville Sewer Authority and city officials. The meeting will be held in council chambers.Two people suffered minor injuries in a crash Saturday morning in Reilly Township. Michelle Murphy of Llewellyn was traveling north on State Route 209 near Newtown when she drove through standing water on the roadway. She skidded into the southbound lane, and into the path of a car operated by 39-year-old Kelly Krise of Tremont. The cars collided head on. Murphy and Krise were taken to Pottsville Hospital. The crash occurred before 9am Saturday.Three teenagers suffered minor injuries following a Saturday morning crash in Wayne Township. A car driven by a 16-year-old male from Schuylkill Haven was heading north on Route 183 when he lost control of the car on the wet roadway and spun across the southbound lane, struck an embankment and rolled over, coming to rest right-side up along the side of the road. The driver, and two teens had minor injuries. All were wearing their seatbelts.DUI patrols blanketed area roadways across Schuylkill County Saturday night. Five area police departments conducted DUI enforcement patrols. Nine drivers were tested for DUI, with 2 adult arrests, 1 juvenile arrests and 2 arrests for underage drinking. Thirty-three other traffic citations were issued, along with one criminal arrest and 47 warnings. The checkpoint program is part of the North Central PA Regional Sobriety Checkpoint and Expanded DUI/Underage Drinking Enforcement Program.
An Orwigsburg man is charged with drunk driving following an incident early Saturday morning. State police report that 40-year-old Daniel Frantz was traveling north on Route 61 when he lost control of his pickup truck. He crossed the southbound lane, struck several mailboxes and ended up down an embankment. Troopers say Frantz left the scene of the accident, but was located a short time later. He appeared to be intoxicated, and failed a field sobriety test. He was arrested for DUI, and faces other charges. Tuesday night will bring out all the ghosts and goblins for trick or treat. Most communities across Schuylkill County will allow trick or treating between 6 and 8pm Tuesday night, but with the change to standard time, the streets will be dark. Parents are reminded to dress children with reflective material in order to be seen by motorists, and carry a flashlight. In the city of Pottsville, the Pottsville Merchants will have conduct their safe trick or treat from 4 to 6pm on Centre and Market streets. Crossing guards will be on duty in the downtown area, and merchants will be open to provide treats and other goodies to children.
State News-Monday, Oct. 30th
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - Former Pittsburgh Steeler great Franco Harris calls ex-teammate Lynn Swann a great person who was a great football player. But Harris says Swann is - quote - "running in the wrong direction" when it comes to politics. The 54-year-old Swann, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Governor Ed Rendell in the November Seventh election. Swann won four Super Bowls with the Steelers. His status as a sports hero in Pennsylvania guarantees him warm receptions on the campaign trail. But it hasn't helped him overcome Rendell's double-digit lead in the polls.PITTSBURGH (AP) - Senator Rick Santorum is accusing state Treasurer Bob Casey of aiding terrorism, saying state pension funds are invested with companies linked to terrorist-sponsoring states. Casey's campaign disputes the allegations, calling them a sign of desperation. Santorum has trailed Democrat Casey for months in independent polls. Casey spokesman Larry Smar says Casey has been proactive in trying to ensure taxpayer money isn't invested in countries and companies that do business with terror-sponsoring countries. Santorum didn't cite specific examples, but appeared with Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who has tackled the issue. Missouri has hired a private company to screen investments.UNDATED (AP) - Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey picked up three newspaper endorsements in his race against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum. Democratic Governor Ed Rendell garnered the backing of two papers in his campaign against Republican challenger Lynn Swann. The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, The Morning Call of Allentown and the York Daily Record/Sunday News all endorsed Casey in the Senate race. The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette backed Rendell for governor. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review chose not to endorse Rendell or Swann.
HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) - Hazleton's Hispanic businesses are suffering because their Hispanic customers are fleeing the city in the face of a tough law targeting illegal immigrants. On Wednesday, an immigration ordinance approved by City Council will take effect. It will impose fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and deny business permits to companies that give them jobs. The law empowers the city's Code Enforcement Office to investigate written complaints about a person's immigration status, using a database operated by the federal government. Pennsylvania native Kim Lopez and her husband, Rudy, a Mexican immigrant, closed their grocery store on October 1st after business tailed off dramatically over the summer. They say they lost more than 10-thousand-dollars -- their life savings.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A contractor hired by the city of Philadelphia says it provided counseling for a teen during a period when police say he was on the run from murder charges. The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that a caseworker from MultiEthnic Behavioral Health told the city that 17-year-old Braheem Burke "remained safe" over the summer and nothing unusual happen to him. Yet police say they stormed his home several times, once on the same day as a reported counseling session. Police found him on October 4th, hiding in a house under construction. Burke has been charged in the shooting deaths of 18-year-old Niall Saracini and 19-year-old Charles Carter. Burke has not entered a plea. MultiEthnic's lawyer says Burke might have shown up for his sessions with the caseworker even if police could not find him.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll hasn't been willing to debate her opponents in seeking a second term. The Democrat's campaign justified her decision not to debate Republican Jim Matthews because she thinks ground rules were violated when his running mate Lynn Swann used debate footage in advertising against Governor Ed Rendell. She also worries that debate rules may prevent her from responding effectively if Matthews were to say something inaccurate. The Matthews campaign suspects her excuses are a smoke screen and that she is afraid she may not perform well.
National and International News-Monday, Oct. 30th
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A crime ranking suggests the safest city in America isn't all that far from one of the most dangerous. The seaside town of Brick, New Jersey is the safest, while across the state, Camden ranks among the most violent. Morgan Quitno Press says a surge in violent crime puts St. Louis at the very top of the most dangerous category.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - At least 31 people are dead after an early morning blast targeted one of Baghdad's poorest neighborhoods, ripping through the market stalls in a sprawling Shiite slum. The U-S military also has announced the death of the 100th servicemember this month.
BEAUMONT, Calif. (AP) - A federal forestry official says it's "the bottom of the ninth" for Southern California firefighters trying to put out the flames that have claimed four lives and nearly three dozen homes. Dying winds and cooler temperatures are raising hopes that fire crews can corral the entire blaze by tonight.
SAN DIEGO (AP) - The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee may be adding his name to the roster of presidential possibles. California Republican Duncan Hunter is expected to announce his interest in the 2008 race today, putting him on a course to raise money and organize supporters.
NEW YORK (AP) - Each year, the average American eats more than four pounds of trans fats -- the artificial ingredients that experts say gum up arteries and heart health. New York officials today take the public pulse on whether to ban trans fats in all the city's restaurant foods. K-F-C may announce today that it will cut trans fats from its food nationwide.
Local News-Friday, Oct. 27th
A four-car crash involving 12 people occurred yesterday afternoon on Route 61 north of St. Clair. State police report that Peter Keretski of Mount Carmel was southbound on Route 61 near Darkwater Road in New Castle Township when he failed to slow down, and rear-ended a car operated by Manjit Singh of Schuylkill Haven. The impact forced Singh's car into the northbound lanes of Route 61, and into the car driven by Theodore Bobarsky of Pottsville. A piece of the tire rim from his car flew into the path of Earl Davenport's car, who tried to avoid it. Davenport's car ended up in the Gasway parking lot. All totaled, nine people were moderately injured in the chain reaction crash. Keretski and his four passengers, a passenger in Singh's car, and three passengers in Davenport's car were taken to local hospitals for treatment. The crash happened just after 3:30pm Thursday. A large throng of mourners paid their final respects to a Donaldson man who died in Monday's mining accident in Tremont Township. Dale Reightler's funeral took place at the Snyder Funeral Home in Pine Grove Thursday morning. Reightler was killed during an accident at the R and D Coal Company Monday morning. Federal and state mining officials are still investigating the incident at the Buck Mountain Slope.A former bank teller pleaded guilty to taking money from her former employer in US District Court. Mary Heaton, who worked at the Ashland branch of M&T Bank, admitted to stealing more than $44-thousand-dollars from her teller drawer and the bank's ATM machine over a year's time, according to the Pottsville Republican. In court filings, investigators say that Heaton began taking money from her drawer, then replacing it on payday. After being given responsibility for servicing the branch ATM, she started taking cash from the machine. She reportedly kept close control of the shortages away from other bank personnel, but was finally caught. Heaton, whose address is unknown, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and up to $250-thousand-dollars in fines. She is expected to be sentenced at a later date. A Wellsboro man was picked up on an outstanding warrant by Ashland borough police during a traffic stop. 26-year-old Christopher Holleran was stopped by Ashland police last Saturday for a vehicle violation. While running a license check, officers discovered that he was wanted by Wellsboro police on an outstanding warrant. Holleran took off, but was found a short time later in the borough. He held a knife to his throat, threatening to kill himself, but police were able to take him into custody without incident. He is charged with escape, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and driving with a suspended license. Holleran was taken to Schuylkill County Prison, awaiting extradition. The Schuylkill County salary board approved the creation of three new fulltime corrections officer positions at the County Prison during their Wednesday meeting. The new officers will be paid at the rate of $18.61 per hour after completing a probationary period. At last week's County Prison board meeting, Chairman, President Judge William Baldwin said the new officers are needed to help alleviate overtime issues at the prison. Judge Baldwin also said that a fourth officer may be needed to replace one who was resigning. The resignation of corrections officer Adam Bernodin of Ashland was announced at the commissioners meeting prior to the salary board meeting. In other salary board action, two new case workers were approved for the Children and Youth Agency and one resignation announced from the same agency. Funding for the new case workers was budgeted for in the 2006 County budget. The Schuylkill County Commissioners awarded a bid for construction and repairs to a West Penn Township bridge during their board meeting Wednesday. The contract was awarded to Barletta Materials and Construction of Tamaqua as the lowest, most responsive bidder in the amount of just under $138-thousand-500 dollars. A bid from Mar-Allen Concrete Products, Inc. was over $58-thousand-dollars less than Barletta's bid, but was rejected because its proposal did not include certain documents that were specified in the bid package. Bids received for the St. Clair Storm Water Improvement Project were rejected as being higher than the amount budgeted. The work was to be funded under the CDBG program. The County Office of Economic Development will seek supplemental sources of funding for the project. In other business, the Commissioners authorized the advertisement for bids for the construction of facilities at the fish and boat launch area at the County owned Sweet Arrow Lake Park with bids to be opened December 6th. December 13th is the tentative bid award date.
State News-Friday, Oct. 27th
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A city police officer reportedly was taken to a hospital after a shooting early this morning in Allentown. Few details are available, but authorities say the shooting occurred between midnight and 12:30 a-m in the 100 block of South Madison Street, just west of the downtown area. The officer was taken to Cedar Crest Hospital. His name and condition, and the nature of his injuries, is not yet available. Why police were called to the area also is not known. Several families in the area reportedly left their homes as a precaution, and a city bus was brought in to provide them temporary shelter while police investigate.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Senate returns to Harrisburg today to address lobbyist disclosure and slot-machine gambling, two major legislative issues that did not get finalized over the past few days. Disagreement between the House and Senate has persisted on a bill originally intended to strengthen regulatory oversight and
anti-corruption measures in the state's slots law. The House and Senate are in agreement on legislation requiring
lobbyists to disclose what they spend to influence policymakers. However, the Senate mistakenly voted Monday night on a bill that included erroneous material left in it by a clerical mistake. As a result, senators will take one more vote on it before sending it to Governor Ed Rendell, who is expected to sign it.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey says Republican Senator Rick Santorum is being "ridiculous" by calling him unprepared for the Senate. Casey notes that he has held statewide public office for a
decade. Santorum also says Casey is too parochial in his thinking. Casey responds that Santorum is the one who trivialized world affairs by comparing the Iraq war to "Lord of the Rings." Santorum says Casey is "unready, unqualified for the office that he seeks at a very critical time in our nation's future." The senator said the U-S must pay attention to escalating security threats from countries such as Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Bob Casey says abortion wouldn't be his top priority if he's elected to the U-S Senate.
Casey is the Democratic challenger to Republican Senator Rick Santorum. Both men oppose abortion. In an interview with a panel of Associated Press journalists, Casey says he might support bills that further restrict a woman's access to an abortion. But he says his focus would be on health care and job creation. Casey also says more federal money for family planning, contraception and programs that benefit children would reduce the
number of abortion. Santorum hasn't accepted invitations to a similar Associated Press interview in the final weeks of the campaign. PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A spokeswoman for the U-S Justice Department says federal monitors observing Philadelphia's elections won't enter voting booths unless the voters ask them to. Earlier, the city solicitor said the federal government couldn't guarantee him that federal monitors wouldn't follow voters into polling booths.
Philadelphia city officials and Hispanic community leaders are objecting to the federal government's plans to put monitors at city polling places on Election Day. They say those efforts could discourage people from voting.
The federal government has accused the city of failing to provide sufficient election materials in Spanish and not recruiting enough bilingual poll workers. PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Members of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against the city's two biggest newspapers. About half of the union's one-thousand members who work for The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News attended last night's meeting. Only four voted against authorizing a strike after leaders talked about lack of progress in contract talks. The current contract expires Tuesday. The vote means the negotiating committee is authorized to call a strike if they decide it is neccesary.
A management spokesman says the other eleven unions at the papers aren't taking this step and the company is disappointed. PHOENIX (AP) - U-S Airways says it plans to focus on improving the lost-luggage rate in Philadelphia. Airline executives say they plan to hire 260 more employees, 60 of them as managers, to assist in baggage service at Philadelphia International Airport. Providing they can secure the appropriate gates at the airport, the company also anticipates offering nonstop flights next year from Philadelphia to three European cities. They are Brussels,
Belgium; Athens, Greece; and Zurich, Switzerland. Those announcements came as the airline gave its earnings
report. U-S Airways says its third-quarter loss narrowed by 21 percent, a performance that was good enough to beat Wall Street's expectations. The company predicts that the fourth quarter will turn a profit.
National and International News-Friday, Oct. 27th
POPPET FLAT, Calif. (AP) - The F-B-I is aiding investigators in searching for the arsonist who set a deadly fire in Southern California. Four firefighters were killed when the flames overtook them near Palm Springs yesterday. The fire has scorched about 38 square miles.UNDATED (AP) - The same storm that brought heavy snow to Colorado yesterday spawned several tornadoes last night in Kansas. Strong winds caused major damage to the roof of the hospital in Ulysses. No word of any injuries.UNDATED (AP) - Fourteen people were killed in Afghanistan today when a roadside blast ripped through a vehicle taking people to a holiday celebration. President Bush will be discussing NATO's role in fighting the Taliban when he hosts the alliance's secretary-general at the White House.DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) - He "needs to be locked up in a hole and put there for life." That, from the mother of a girl Kenneth Hinson is accused of raping in a dungeon-like room beneath his home. Prosecutors in South Carolina intend to seek a life prison sentence for Hinson, who's already a convicted sex offender. BURBANK, Calif. (AP) - Another legal scrape for Snoop Dogg. Police at the airport in Burbank, California, say they found a gun and marijuana in the rapper's car after he was stopped for a vehicle code violation. His attorney insists there's "no basis" for the arrest.
Local News-Thursday, Oct. 26th
A two-car accident left two men injured in Delano Township Wednesday morning. The crash happened just after 6am near mile marker 134 on Interstate 81. Jose Torrez of Hazleton was driving south on I-81 when he lost control of his vehicle while attempting to pass a truck driven by James Mowery of Shickshinny. Torrez vehicle hit the rear of Mowery's truck, struck an embankment then spun around, back across the highway and hit the guiderail. Torres, and his passenger, Jose Salazar, were ejected from the vehicle. Both men flown to regional hospitals for treatment. Mowery, and his passenger were not hurt. Poll workers are needed for the upcoming general election in Schuylkill County. The Schuylkill County Commissioners, during Wednesday's board meeting, said that anyone willing to help should call the Election Bureau at 628-1467 for a listing of where the vacancies exist. The vacancies are political party specific and workers must be a resident of the precinct where the vacancy exists. Commissioner Mantura Gallagher said the worker shortage is unusual, but given the nature of the work, attrition is expected. The workers help check voters in at the polls, and keep track of records during the voting day. Training is taking place by Bureau staff to acclimate workers to the process, and to instruct voters how to use the touch-screen voting systems.As expected, the Schuylkill County Commissioners approved the purchase of the 9-1-1 building at 435 North Center Street, Pottsville during Wednesday's board meeting. The county negotiated a sale price of $775,000 from Miller Brothers Contracting Company, Schuylkill Haven, owners of the building. After last week's work session, County Administrator Bill Reppy said the county will save several million dollars in lease costs over the life of the mortgage the County will take out to buy the building. In other business, the Commissioners adopted a new version of a LERTA resolution for a designated area within the Highridge Business Park. The Commissioners were asked to adopt the new version on behalf of SEDCO, Cass and Foster Townships and the Minersville Area School District. LERTA, short for "Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act" is designed to allow local taxing authorities to make special tax provisions to encourage improvements in deteriorated property or areas. Investigators continue to sort out the details as to the cause of Monday's fatal mine accident in Tremont Township. State and federal mine inspectors advanced into chute number 19 where the accident happened, after a safe working environment was established. The accident damaged mine timbers and roof supports and the ventilation system, making it unsafe for inspectors to continue the investigation. The underground investigation could take up to a week to complete, according to authorities. The accident reportedly involved explosives used in the coal mining process, but a final report may not be available for several weeks. One miner, Dale Reightler, was killed, and six other miners escaped the Monday morning accident. The mine will remain closed until the investigation is completed, and mine regulators are satisified that operations can resume safely at the Buck Mountain Slope owned by R and D Coal Company. A Tamaqua man is charged on several counts after being accused of raping a 9 year old girl. 32-year-old Michael Golden faces charges of simple assault, indecent exposure and making terroristic threats. The young girl accused Golden of threatening to kill her, then sexually assaulting her. A Joliett man is under arrest for burglary and assault in Porter Township. The incident happened at the home of Brandon Merwine on Main Street in the township Monday afternoon. State police at Schuylkill Haven indicate that Jose' Negron, Joliett, broke into Merwine's home and struck him in the face. Negron fled the scene. Troopers caught up with Negron, but he refused to stop. Police nabbed him after a chase on foot. Negron was arraigned and lodged in Schuylkill County Prison. With the onset of the winter heating season nearing, the heating assistance program is back in operation for low income residents. Applications for this year's LIHEAP program are now available at the Schuylkill County Assistance Office. Jean Lewis, Executive Director, said the program assists low-income individuals who cannot pay their heating bills. Eligible households can receive assistance through a direct payment to their energy provider, or through a crisis component during weather-related emergencies. The program opens for both components on November 6th, and closes March 22nd of next year. You must meet income guidelines in order to be eligilble for the LIHEAP program. For information, contact the Schuylkill County Assistance Office at 621-3072, or 877-306-5439, toll free.
State News-Thursday, Oct. 26th
TREMONT, Pa. (AP) - Family members plan a funeral today for the lifelong miner killed in an explosion Monday in Schuylkill County. Funeral services for 43-year-old Dale Reightler, of Donaldson, are scheduled for 11 a-m at H-L Snyder Funeral Home in Pine Grove, followed by burial in Donaldson Cemetery. Reightler was killed in a blast in the Buck Mountain Slope Mine in Tremont Township. Six other miners got out safely. Officials are probing the 23-hundred foot deep shaft where the explosion occurred. Investigators from the U-S Mine Safety and Health Administration, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and state Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Mine Safety were starting with mapping operations yesterday.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Senator Rick Santorum's campaign brought four Senate colleagues to the Philadelphia suburbs to portray Santorum as a moderate in conservative clothing. Senator Susan Collins of Maine said yesterday the caricature often drawn of Santorum is one of an extremist, but she said that's not the senator she sees. Collins said, "None of us agree with Rick Santorum on every issue." But she said Santorum "is someone who works well with senators of all ideologies." Santorum is facing an uphill battle against his challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey. Joining Collins in the suburbs were Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The state Supreme Court won't hear the appeal of a write-in candidate who waged a formidable campaign for the Democratic nomination for state representative. Yesterday's decision means Tony Payton Junior is the Democratic nominee for North Philadelphia's 179th District. Payton got 962 votes in the primary. Emilio Vazquez, whose name wasn't on the ballot, got 943 write-in votes for state representative and another 52 for party committee member. The legal dispute was whether the write-ins for committee member should be added to the votes Vazquez got for state representative. A Common Pleas judge ruled for Vazquez but Payton won on appeal to Commonwealth Court. The Supreme Court ended the dispute by refusing to hear the case.ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A former township supervisor is accused of stealing two-and-a-half (m) million dollars in sewer fees and spending nearly all of it. The Lehigh County district attorney says 72-year-old Margaret Szulborski stole the money from 1999 to this year in her capacity as an employee of Lower Macungie Township's public works department. She's accused of collecting sewer fees and depositing them into her personal account instead of the township's sewer fund. Szulborski was elected as a supervisor in 2001. She resigned the post in March after the township announced she was being investigated. The township has filed a lawsuit against a bank in an effort to get its money back. Szulborski is free on bail; a phone number for her could not be found.NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - A trial continues today in the east African nation of Kenya for a Phiadelphia man and three other Christian missionaries. Andrew Saucier is on trial in Kenya along with a man from Illinois and two Kenyans. The prosecution says they handed out a pamphlet that questioned the legitimacy of Islam and using words that would injure the feelings of Muslims. They face fines if convicted. Kenya is a mostly Christian country, but a substantial minority practices Islam. Public reaction there is so big that Muslim protesters threw stones on Monday to disrupt the trial. Police fired into the air to break up the disturbances. Riot police were deployed yesterday to protect the Christians. PITTSBURGH (AP) - 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Muta Maathai, an alumna of the University of Pittsburgh, will speak about her 30-year efforts to reforest her native Kenya and improve the status of Kenyan women. She's expected to speak at six tonight at the university's Alumni Hall, where she will be presented with an honorary degree. Maathai received her Masters of Science degree from Pitt in 1965.
National and International News-Thursday, Oct. 26th
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - More military deaths in Iraq. Four Marines and a Navy sailor were killed in fighting yesterday in Anbar province. Ninety-six U-S personnel have been killed this month. It's the highest monthly total in a year.SAN DIEGO (AP) - His attorney says a Marine will plead guilty to lesser charges in the death of an Iraqi man. John Jodka appears at a court-martial today and is expected to give his account of a kidnap-murder. Seven other Americans are charged in the case.WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush this morning signs a bill for 700 miles of new fencing along the border with Mexico. This, as his guest worker program remains stalled in Congress. Later, Bush heads to Iowa and Michigan to campaign for Republican candidates.WASHINGTON (AP) - Some conservatives say the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling requiring equal rights for same-sex couples could stir up a backlash at the polls next month. Eight states will be voting on constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriages.ST. LOUIS (AP) - Last night's World Series washout and a forecast of more rain has baseball considering its options, perhaps delaying Game Seven until November first. As it stands now, Game Four is scheduled for tonight and Game Five tomorrow. St. Louis leads Detroit two games-to-one.
Local News-Wednesday, Oct. 25th
Inspectors from state and federal mining agencies descended into the Buck Mountain slope yesterday as the investigation continues in a deadly mining accident. The exact cause of the accident which claimed the life of Dale Reightler of Donaldson is still unknown, but authorities are still focusing on some sort of explosive event as the culprit at the R & D Coal Company in Tremont Township. Inspectors got their first real opportunity to examine the mine closely Tuesday because ventilation systems in the shaft were inoperable Monday, when the accident happened. Officials also say that there were 7 men in the mine at the time of the accident, not six as previously stated.Five people were arrested in a drug bust in Shamokin Monday. Shamokin City Police say that Heather Pickering, Phillip Shaffer, and Dave Payne, all of Shamokin, and 17-year-old-males from Trevorton and Kulpmont were picked up Monday night for various drug related offenses. Authorities say Pickering was making a delivery of marijuana to a confidential informant Monday night in downtown Shamokin. She is also charged with stealing a vehicle in the city Sunday. The five are charged with numerous felony counts of possession and intent to deliver pot and heroin and related charges. Pickering and Shaffer were arraigned and taken to Northumberland County Prison. Payne was charged by a court summons. One of the juveniles was released to the custody of his grandparents, and the other taken to a juvenile detention facility in Bellefonte.A controversial landfill proposal in Blythe Township will come to the public stage in December. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a public hearing to consider the permit request to build the Blythe Township Recycling and Demolition Site Landfill. The hearing is scheduled for December 5th at 7pm at the DHH Lengel Middle School. The proposed landfill has raised the ire of residents who are concerned about the environmental impact of the dump. The site is located very close to the Wolf Creek Reservoir, which provides water to several regional communities.
Revisions to Schuylkill County's Municipal Waste Management Plans will net the county some reimbursement dollars from the state. Pennsylvania DEP officials announced the release of $189-thousand-dollars to Berks, Elk and Schuylkill counties for 80 percent of the costs to change those plans. Schuylkill County will receive $20,770-dollars. Each county in Pennsylvania is required to submit municipal waste plans for refuse generated in the county. The state is stepping up with funds to help rail transportation providers, including some in the region. Governor Ed Rendell announced the investment of $20 million to help 11 railroads and 10 businesses undergo rail-freight improvement projects, stimulate economic development and reduce traffic congestion. Through the investment in these projects, nearly 13-hundred jobs will be created, over 13-thousand jobs will be maintained and required truck trips will be reduced by over 589-thousand-annually. In Schuylkill County, Green Renewable Energy, Ethanol & Nutrition Holding, LLC will receive $1.61 million for the first phase of a project to construct track and switches to connect the plant to the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern's Good Springs Branch to allow for the inbound shipment of ethanol and future shipments of bulk agriculture products used to produce ethanol. Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad will receive $600-thousand-dollars in support of the same project. Track improvements will be placed on the Tremont Branch to allow the railroad to handle inbound traffic more efficiently.A Lost Creek man will be charged with supplying alcohol to minors. Rush Township police report that 23-year-old Joseph Treshock faces charges of supplying alcohol to minors and possessing drug paraphernalia after an incident at a Marian High School football game Friday. Police discovered Treshock, 18-year-old Nichole Treshock of Lost Creek and 19-year-old Lawrence Frantz Jr. of Shenandoah in a car drinking and smoking pot. They will have to answer to charges in District Court.No one was hurt following a crash on Interstate 81 yesterday afternoon. 52-year-old David Cowhig of Alexandria, Virginia and his passenger were southbound on the Interstate when he fell asleep at the wheel. His car drifted off the side of the road and hit the guiderail. Cowhig's car had to be towed from the scene. He will be cited by State Police for careless driving.
State News-Wednesday, Oct. 25th
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State Senate leaders expect to announce a plan today for handling changes made by the state House to a slot machine regulation bill. That's according to the Senate majority leader's chief of staff. Unlike the Senate version, the House version passed last night would ban campaign contributions from applicants for horse racetrack licenses. The House version would also allow require casinos to comply with local smoking bans.HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass a lobbyist-disclosure bill. The state Senate passed such a bill late Monday night, but will need to redo the vote because of a clerical error. The next Senate meeting is scheduled for November 20th. The bill was written so the law doesn't take effect until January First anyway, so the delay in getting it through the Legislature isn't expected to have any practical effect.HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state is poised to provide subsidized health insurance to thousands more children in January. That's because the House of Representatives approved a bill to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program, sending the measure to Governor Ed Rendell. He's expected to sign the bill. The bill required compromise as the Democratic governor and Republican-controlled Legislature clashed over how many additional children should be covered by the program commonly known as CHIP. The House passed the measure 176-to-19 late last night without any debate. G-O-P leaders sought to limit the expansion. They argued that it would encourage families who can afford private insurance to abandon it for state benefits. WASHINGTON (AP) - Transit officials from Philadelphia and other cities plan to attend a demonstration today of an emergency vehicle designed to run on subway tracks. It can carry up to four people and equipment, allowing emergency workers to reach accident scenes. The transit agency serving Washington, D-C, and its suburbs is hosting the demonstration in Hyattsville, Maryland. MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia and Pennsylvania coal miners are demanding stronger safety measures and better enforcement in the nation's coal mines. About 60 members of the United Mine Workers gathered yesterday in Morgantown, West Virginia, one day after a Pennsylvania miner was killed in an explosion at a small mine. That death brings the number of coal mining-related fatalities to 42 this year. Half have been in West Virginia. The U-M-W members gathered at the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration's District Three headquarters, where the agency's district managers were meeting. They hoped to meet with new MSHA chief Richard Stickler, but he wasn't there. The union met with a regional manager.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The owner of a pier that collapsed in May 2000 cried on the stand as he recalled learning of the disaster that left three women dead. Michael Asbell testifed that he saw numerous cracks on the Philadelphia pier -- but said engineers assured him it was safe.The prosecution alleges that Asbell and operator Eli Karetny knew that their pier was falling apart and about to collapse into the Delaware River, but opened the pier and a nightclub on it anyway with deadly results. DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A jury is to decide if a Bucks County man deserves the death penalty for shooting a policeman last year. Robert Flor pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for killing Newtown officer Brian Gregg. The 39-year-old Bedminster Township man was suspected of drunken driving when officers took him to a hospital for blood and urine tests. Flor killed Gregg and wounded two others after grabbing another officer's gun. The defense decided yesterday to have a jury decide the penalty. Jury selection could take all week.
National and International News-Wednesday, Oct. 25th
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says again that he's going to "strike hard" at the private militias blamed in Iraq's escalating sectarian violence. He's been under U-S pressure to rein them in, even though two of the biggest militias are part of his base.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi special forces with American advisers have raided a militia stronghold in Baghdad. A statement says they were looking for a top death-squad commander. The report doesn't say whether they got him, but Baghdad authorities report at least four people were killed.MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's President Vladimir Putin says he likes his job but won't run for a third term because Russia's constitution prohibits it. He's hosting a T-V question-and-answer show today, telling the nationwide audience he'll still have influence outside government, because he'll still have their trust.MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) - A decision is expected from the New Jersey Supreme Court today on legalizing gay marriage. It's ruling in a case brought by seven gay couples who want to get married. New Jersey is one of only five states where same-sex marriages are not barred either by law or by the state constitution.ST. LOUIS (AP) - So much for underdogs. The St. Louis Cardinals have powered their way to a two-games-to-one edge over the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Last night's game was a 5-to-0 shutout. The Cards host the Tigers again tonight in Game Four.
Local News-Tuesday, Oct. 24th
Officials are learning more about a mine accident that claimed the life of a Donaldson man Monday. WPPA/T102 news was on the scene a short time after the accident at the R and D Coal Company’s Buck Mountain Slope in Tremont Township, just outside of the village of Joliett. Federal investigators say the accident occurred after miners detonated some explosives. A spokesman for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says the miners apparently checked for methane gas beforehand, but didn't detect any. The accident 43-year-old Dale Reightler, who'd been working the mines since the age of 16. State police at Schuylkill Haven also say the accident at the Buck Mountain Slope Mine was indeed an explosion, but state mining regulators say they're not sure about that at this point. Five other miners escaped after the accident. Investigators hope to go down the mine shaft today. It was too dangerous to do that yesterday because the accident disabled the ventilation system. The Williams and Tri Valley areas of Schuylkill County are dotted with small underground mining operations. According to Pennsylvania DEP, Anthracite mines in Pennsylvania are inspected every two months by DEP mine inspectors and twice a year by the department’s electrical inspectors. MSHA inspects anthracite mines quarterly.Jonestown State Police arrested a Gordon man on a host of charges following a case of road rage in Lebanon County. 30-year-old Gene Klinger was traveling on Interstate 81 in East Hanover Township when he believed he was cut off by a car driven by Frank Marrone of Gettysburg last week. State police now say that Klinger pulled up aside of Marrone's car and pointed a loaded 38 caliber revolver at them. Troopers stopped Klinger, and found the gun under a child safety seat. They also found a small amount of methamphetamine in his car. Marrone, nor his passengers, including a 9 year old child, were injured. Klinger was charged with aggravated and simple assault, possession of drugs and paraphernalia, harassment, terroristic threats and other offenses. He was arraigned on those charges. A Tremont man has been sentenced in Schuylkill County Court for being a habitual traffic offender. Judge D. Michael Stine sentenced Chad Perkins to at least 30 days in county prison for a host of motor vehicle violations, according to the Pottsville Republican. Perkins has built up nearly 30 violations for driving under the influence, driving under a suspended license, DUI and other offenses over the past year. Judge Stine said that Perkins blatant disregard for the law requires prison time. Perkins reportedly told the court that he needed to keep working, requesting house arrest and electronic monitoring instead of going to jail. Stine dismissed that request. Perkins is scheduled to begin serving his sentence on November 4th.As we get closer to Halloween, ghouls and goblins a-plenty will fill the streets for parades across the region. Tonight, it's the annual Lions Halloween Parade in Pottsville. Marchers will step off from 12th and Market Street at 7pm, with lineup beginning at 6pm. Children will receive free candy after the parade. In Tamaqua, the parade will form on East Broad Street and roll out at 7pm. Tomorrow, the Orwigsburg Halloween parade lines up on Margaret Avenue at 6:30pm, with start time scheduled at 7pm. And the St Clair Halloween parade and house decorating contest is also Wednesday evening, with festivities getting underway at 7pm.A man from Dauphin County is now accused of hitting a man in a wheelchair and taking off in his pick-up truck.
We told your earlier this month that Lester Adams, 71, of Tower City was in his electric wheelchair along Route 209 when he was hit. Adams was thrown from his chair. The driver didn't stop. Police arrested Joseph Padgette of Harrisburg. He is charged with a number of offenses, including reckless driving, failure to give aide and failing to notify police of an accident. No hearing date has been set.
State News-Tuesday, Oct. 24th
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Senate approved a bill early today to expand state-subsidized health insurance to thousands of children without coverage. The unanimous vote came after three in the morning. Afterward, the Senate went home until after the election. Senators also approved a bill designed to strengthen oversight and anti-corruption measures in Pennsylvania's slot-machine gambling law. That's happened twice before over the past year. But this is the first version expected to win approval in the state House of Represenatives. Just before midnight, the Senate passed a lobbyist disclosure bill. If it becomes law, Pennsylvania will end its status as the only state to lack a law requiring lobbyists to report what they're spending to influence state government. The House is expected to take up all three bills today.SHIPPINGPORT, Pa. (AP) - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet with representatives of First Energy Nuclear Operating Company today. It's to discuss what the government calls apparent violations identified during an emergency preparedness drill at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport, Beaver County.HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta says he hopes to catch an illegal alien from Italy to prove that his town's immigration crackdown isn't racist. Barletta is of Italian descent but he says an Italian living in Hazleton illegally would be treated the same under the ordinance as a Hispanic who does the same thing. After a speech to the Pennsylvania Press Club yesterday, Barletta told reporters that all of the illegal immigrants involved in criminal activity in his city have been Hispanics, mostly from the Dominican Republic. The ordinance has been approved by Hazleton's city council and is scheduled to take effect November first.
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Bucks County man pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the shooting death of a police officer at a hospital last year. District Attorney Diane Gibbons is seeking the death penalty against 39-year-old Robert Flor of Bedminster Township. Defense lawyers didn't say yesterday whether they want a jury or a judge to decide whether Flor should get the death penalty. If the defense wants a jury to decide, jury selection should begin today. Flor was charged with the murder of Newtown officer Brian Gregg, and the wounding of two others in the shooting on September 29th, 2005.NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. (AP) - State officials say everyone who was evacuated following a frieght train fire in Beaver County has been allowed to return home. Evacuations began after several tank cars jumped the tracks on a bridge on Friday and burst into flames. Most of the roughly 50 nearby residents who had been evacuated were allowed to return home Sunday and the last were allowed to return yesterday. The state Department of Environmental Protection says drinking water wasn't affected.COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State University has organized a van trip to Erie today for students who want to attend services for a freshman killed in an elevator accident. Friday's accident killed 18-year-old Andrew Polakowski. A city fire official for Columbus, Ohio, said yesterday that the dormitory elevator was overloaded, though it's unclear if that caused the accident. The elevator was most recently inspected in July and it passed. PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A trial is in progress in Philadelphia about whether the government may require proof of age to view adult material on the Internet. The government argues that filters designed to block certain types of Web sites don't always work, so it's easier to stop the material at the source. Those trying to strike down the law note that it only applies to Web sites based in the United States. The founder of one Web site says he will likely move his
operations overseas if the law is upheld. He says requiring viewers to submit a credit card or jump through other hoops before viewing the site would cut traffic dramatically -- a disaster for advertising revenues. Opening statements were heard yesterday. The trial is expected to take about a month.
National and International News-Tuesday, Oct. 24th
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush says the U-S military has shown flexibility in the Iraq war. He's responding to critics of his war plan. Bush told C-B-N-C that as commander in chief, he has told his generals to "adjust to the enemy on the battlefield."CAPITOL HILL (AP) - A Republican congressman who has said he warned the speaker of the House about Mark Foley's inappropriate e-mails last spring takes his turn before the House Ethics Committee today. The speaker has said he doesn't remember any such conversation with Tom Reynolds, who's the House Republican campaign chairman.JERUSALEM (AP) - An Associated Press photographer has been kidnapped in the Gaza Strip. The photographer's driver says four Palestinian gunmen took his keys and his cell phone and threatened to shoot him, then grabbed the journalist as he left his apartment.SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - President Bush will campaign in Sarasota, Florida, today for Republican congressional candidate Vern Buchanan. He's running for the House seat that Katherine Harris gave up to run for Senate. It's supposed to be a safe Republican district but both Harris and Buchanan trail in the polls. ST. LOUIS (AP) - Game three of the World Series will be played tonight in St. Louis. The Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers are tied at one win apiece. Cardinals' shortstop David Eckstein didn't work out yesterday to give his sprained left shoulder a rest. He's oh-for-nine in the World Series.
Local News-Monday, Oct. 23rd
Tragedy struck in Tremont Township today with the death of a man in a mining accident. WPPA/T102 news was on the scene a short time after the accident at the R and D Coal Company. The deep mine is located just outside the village of Joliett. Tom Garcia from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration made the announcement after 1pm Monday that one man died. The miner was found some 2-thousand-feet underground. Five other miners got out of the shaft safely. Inspectors remained inside the mine throughout the day Monday to try and determine a specific cause. Early reports indicated that an explosion occurred inside, but that information has yet to be confirmed.
R&D Coal Company experienced a mine explosion in 2004. Three men were injured in that accident. The Williams and Tri Valley areas of Schuylkill County are dotted with small underground mining operations. According to Pennsylvania DEP, Anthracite mines in Pennsylvania are inspected every two months by DEP mine inspectors and twice a year by the department’s electrical inspectors. MSHA inspects anthracite mines quarterly.Two vacant homes were destroyed by fire in Girardville yesterday. Fire officials in the borough say that the blaze was intentionally set, according to the Pottsville Republican. The row homes at 16 and 18 Ogden Street, adjacent to the Ranger Hose Company, went up quickly. Officials say that the fire started in a stairway between the two homes, and some form of accelerant was used to speed it up. The investigation continues. The ongoing odor problem at homes in Pottsville will be discussed in an open forum next Monday evening. The problem was reported by several dozen homeowners after the completion of the city-wide sewer upgrade project by the Greater Pottsville Sewer Authority. The $43-million-dollar project was mandated by the state to separate storm water and sewage flows. Properties on Oak Road, Howard Avenue and Mahantongo Street have experienced strong odors coming from floor drains in their basements. Officials from the sewer authority and the city of Pottsville have suggested that homeowners install traps to divert the smell from eminating through their properties. The city and the sewer authority have scheduled a public meeting to discuss the problem and possible remedies on Monday, October 30th at 7pm in council chambers at City Hall.Two individuals were arrested by State Police Thursday on several charges in Washington Township. Troopers responded to a call Thursday afternoon on State Route 895 and Blue Mountain Road, where a suspicious man and woman were reportedly drunk and wandering around. 30-year-old James Nedinsky, of Pottsville, and 42-year-old Karen Boris of Minersville were taken into custody and charged with public drunkenness. The pair were taken to the State Police barracks. During a search, two bottles of Morphine Sulfate pills were found on Nedinsky. A single morphine pill was found on Boris. Nedinsky was charged with numerous offenses and arraigned. He was released after posting bail, and was ordered to seek medical treatment. Boris was taken to Pottsville Hospital, where she refused medical treatment. She will be charged in District Court.An illegal immigrant was arrested on drug charges in Shenandoah Saturday night. Shenandoah borough police say that Javier Garcia was detained for a traffic stop in the borough late Saturday, and was unable to produce a valid drivers license, then gave them false information about his true identity. Garcia is reported to be in his mid-20's.
A search uncovered a quantity of cocaine in Garcia's sock. Charges against him include possession with intent to deliver cocaine, providing false identification to police and traffic violations. He was remanded to Schuylkill County Prison.State Police have identified the woman who died in a Friday night crash on Interstate 81. 42-year-old Cynthia Mealey of Mahanoy Plane was pronounced dead at the scene due to injuries suffered in the one vehicle crash. Mealey was southbound on I-81 near the Delano exit when she left the roadway. Mealey tried to recover, but her car struck a rock embankment and rolled over. She was ejected from her car. The fatal crash happened around 8:30pm Friday night.Two people were moderately injured in a crash Saturday afternoon in Washington Township. A car operated by 57-year-old Sandra Schaeffer was driving east on Route 443, waiting to turn into a parking lot along side the road. The car driven by Deborah Chitwood of Pottsville was westbound on Route 443, and tried to avoid Schaeffer's car, but the two cars collided. Chitwood and her passenger, Bernice Sockwell, also of Pottsville, were transported to Geisinger Medical Center via helicopter. Schaeffer was not hurt. The crash happened around 1pm Saturday.A Tamaqua woman who state police reported missing late last week has been found in Philadelphia. 29-year-old Jill Alicea was last seen on Thursday afternoon at her home. She was reportedly heading to work at Mrs T's Pierogies in Shenandoah, but disappeared. Troopers say that the woman's mother reported that she checked herself into a hospital in Philadelphia.
Red Ribbon Week begins today. The Red Ribbon Campaign, the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation, aims to raise public awareness and help communities to combat alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among youth. This year's theme is "100% Me-Drug Free!" Good Samaritan Center for Counseling Services and Schuylkill County MH/MR and Drug and Alcohol Programs are sponsoring the event. Schools will hold educational programs and special activities to celebrate the week. There will also be several activities planned in the community, including the Driving Out Drugs Bus, which will visit local businesses to deliver the trademark Red Ribbons and other drug prevention material. Pots of simmering goodness were enjoyed by many at Pottsville's Third Annual Chili Cookoff Saturday at Humane Fire Company. The event was tied into Pottsville's 200th birthday celebration, and more than 75 people stopped by to enjoy various chili recipes made by 6 different contestants. Two Pottsville fire companies, a city restaurant, Pottsville's City Treasurer and two individuals prepared recipes for all to sample. A panel of 7 judges based their decision on a variety of criteria, including aroma, taste and consistency in determining the winner. When the votes were tallied, City Treasurer Ellen Micka's "Taxpayer Chili" took first place honors, followed by Susan Holdshue and Roma Pizza. The best dressed table award went to the West End Fire Company.
State News-Monday, Oct. 23rd
NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. (AP) - Railroad crews will return to the scene this morning to clear the remaining wreckage of a derailed freight train in southwest Pennsylvania. A train pulling 86 tanker cars was traveling from Chicago to New Jersey when 23 cars from its midsection derailed late Friday in New Brighton, 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. At least nine cars leaked ethanol, also known as grain alcohol, and caught fire. New Brighton Fire Chief Jeff Bolland says the fires are now out and the contents of the cars have been pumped out and taken away. Bolland says, "There are no more immediate dangers in the area," although residents and people at one business within about a half-block area are still being kept out of the area. No one was injured in the derailment. Officials say the crew told investigators the train was running well until it automatically applied emergency brakes because pneumatic brake lines between cars had been severed. PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Trustees of the cash-strapped Academy of Natural Sciences are selling more than 15-thousand minerals and gems that haven't been cleaned or displayed for decades in a deal estimated to be worth several million dollars. Museum officials told The Philadelphia Inquirer that workers began boxing up specimens for an unnamed private dealer after trustees voted for the sale on Tuesday. The museum is a world-renowned, 194-year-old institution. It is home to 17 million fossil, plant and animal specimens. Proceeds will be used to support the museum's library.STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A Philadelphia man has shot and killed himself inside his sister's Penn State University apartment, ending an eight-hour standoff with police. Authorities say 24-year-old Qwynton Armstead barricaded himself inside one of the apartment's four bedrooms yesterday. Armstead was not a student, but his sister attended Penn State and lived in the apartment. No other injuries were reported. The Centre County coroner's office has ruled the death a suicide. The school said the shooting capped a series of events that apparently started Saturday night after an altercation at a bar.ATLANTA (AP) - Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was knocked out of Sunday's game against Atlanta after taking a blow to the head in the third quarter. His status is uncertain for next week's game at Oakland. Roethlisberger did not return to the action yesterday; he watched the end of the Falcons' 41-to-38 win in overtime from the sideline. Roethlisberger was not made available to reporters after the game. He was moving slowly and was in obvious discomfort as he put on his shirt and jacket at his locker. Roethlisberger appeared to receive a helmet-to-helmet hit in the face mask from defensive end Chauncey Davis immediately after releasing a pass in the third. Defensive end Patrick Kerney and linebacker Ed Hartwell also hit the quarterback on the play. PARADISE, Pa. (AP)- A pregnant woman who survived the shooting at an Amish school earlier this month has given birth and named the baby after one of the girls who was killed. The 22-year-old woman, who would give her name only as Lydia, gave birth October Tenth. That's according to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The child is named Naomi Rose, after seven-year-old Naomi Rose Ebersol, one of five girls fatally shot by Charles Carl Roberts the
Fourth. The gunman took over the West Nickel Mines Amish School on October Second, but released Lydia, along with three other women with infants, and 15 male students. He then tied up and shot ten young girls, killing five of them, before killing himself.
National and International News-Monday, Oct. 23rd
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Ramadan is ending, but one Iraqi man says "there will be no holiday." The killing has continued, as bombers targeted shoppers rounding up last-minute items for feasts to mark the end of the Muslim holy month. Dozens of Iraqis and at least eight American troops were killed over the weekend. MEXICO CITY (AP) - Paul has become a Category Two hurricane, as it spins on a course toward Baja California. Top winds are now near 100 miles per hour. Forecasters say the storm could strike Mexico tomorrow.HOUSTON (AP) - Jeffrey Skilling learns today how long he will spend behind bars for the Enron scandal. At least ten people victimized by the company's 2001 collapse have signed up to speak at the sentencing of the former C-E-O.SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - An upstate New York family that's already lost two children now must bury a third. A six-year-old boy was found hanging from a bedroom doorknob Saturday in what police say looks like a tragic accident. Family members think the boy was trying to imitate wrestling moves he'd seen on T-V. DETROIT (AP) - Kenny Rogers says the smudge on his left thumb at the start of last night's World Series game was just dirt and resin, nothing illegal. The Tigers' lefty went on to smother St. Louis on just two hits over eight innings, as Detroit evened the series at a game apiece, beating the Cardinals 3-to-1.
WPPA/T102 NEWS Saturday October 21, 2006
Fatal Accident in Delano Twp. Crash Closes Interstate
A one vehicle accident closed a portion of Interstate 81 between McAdoo and Mahanoy City last evening around 8:30 p.m. A woman driving a 2005 Subaru went off of the right side of the road and struck an embankment rolling her vehicle just north of the Delano exit. She was pronounced dead at the scene by a member of the LifeFlight helicopter crew from Geisinger Medical Center. The victims identity is being withheld at this time.
Pottsville Drug Pusher Sentenced
Kashif E. Harris was found guilty of selling drugs twice and possessing them a third time in less than a two-month period in 2005, and now will be serving two to four years in state prison. According to the Pottsville Republican and Herald, Schuylkill County President Judge William E. Baldwin sentenced Harris, 19, of Pottsville, on Friday to two to four years in a state correctional institution, with credit for time served. According to Pottsville police, Harris sold cocaine twice — Nov. 29, 2005, in his home, and Dec. 1, 2005, just outside his home. State police at Reading filed the third set of charges against Harris, alleging he possessed drugs and drug paraphernalia Oct. 4, 2005, in his home. In a Sept. 8 nonjury trial, Baldwin found Harris guilty of two counts each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, charges resulting from the two sales. Harris pleaded guilty Sept. 12 to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, charges resulting from the case brought by state police. The judge included a recommendation for boot camp, which will be exclusively the decision of the state Department of Corrections, after Anthony Peccarelli, a supervisor at the youth forestry camp in White Haven, testified Harris had done well there. In addition to the prison time, Harris must pay court costs, $567.50 restitution to the Pottsville police, $105 restitution to the state police crime laboratory in Bethlehem and $300 to the Substance Abuse Education Fund, and submit a DNA sample to law enforcement authorities under the terms of Baldwin's sentence.
Pottsville native involved in fighting California wildfires
Kenneth Heffner served as one of the directors of the emergency response team coordinating fire suppression activities while a blaze known as the Day Fire, the fifth largest in modern California history, ravaged almost 163-thousand-acres in the Angeles and Los Padres National Forests. The fire started on Labor Day. The construction of 163 miles of fire line to surround the 254-square-mile fire took four weeks to complete at an estimated cost in excess of $73-million-dollars. Heffner is the Deputy Forest Supervisor of the Los Padres National Forest. The forest encompasses nearly two million acres in the coastal mountains of central California. It stretches from the Big Sur Coast in Monterey County to the western edge of Los Angeles County, a distance of nearly 220 miles. Heffner was born in Pottsville and lived in Port Carbon until he was two years old. They moved away in 1961 and then returned to the Conyngham Valley, Luzerne County in 1972. Heffner started his career with the USDA Forest Service in 1986. During his 20 years with the Forest Service, he has served in many professional and management positions within the agency.
Allen sponsors bill regarding mail order pharmacies
Pennsylvania consumers may get some help when it comes to purchasing prescription medications in a bill authored by a Schuylkill County legislator. State Representative Bob Allen crafted legislation that prohibits health insurance providers from forcing consumers to use mail-order pharmacies to fill their prescriptions, and would allow people to continue using their local pharmacies. That bill has been approved by the House of Representatives. House Bill 814 amends the state's Unfair Insurance Practices Act by deeming it unfair for a health insurer to require its customers to use a mail-order pharmacy to fill their prescriptions or to eliminate or restrict in any other way the right of customers to use the pharmacy of their choice. Insurance providers would also be prohibited from penalizing customers, through higher fees or other conditions, who choose not to use a mail-order pharmacy. The bill, which has more than 80 cosponsors, now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Wind farm going up near Sheppton
Another wind farm – this one in northern Schuylkill County – is going up. Construction began earlier this summer on the 13-turbine Locust Ridge Wind Farm in Mahanoy Township. Community Energy Incorporated, based in Wayne, PA is a subsidiary of IBER-DROLA, an international energy developer. The plant is expected to be operating by the end of the year, with its maximum electricity output of 26 megawatts able to power 5,000 to 7,000 average-sized homes. The towers on which the rotors will be mounted stand about 255 feet tall. Earlier this week, several cranes worked near the towers that rise on high ground just west of Interstate 81 and northwest of the Mahanoy City exit of Interstate 81. Company officials say the power generated will be sold to PPL EnergyPlus. Another wind-power developer, DGP Power LLC, is seeking to lease land in Northumberland County near Schuylkill County on which to place a wind farm.
Good Sam Strides for Diabetes
Everyday is a great day for a walk or run. There's an organized one nearby next weekend. The Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Good Samaritan Foundation, Incorporated will host the 2nd Annual Good Sam Strides for Diabetes 5K Walk/Run on Saturday, October 28, in St. Clair. The event is presented by Highmark Blue Shield and is sponsored by M & T Bank, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Sanofi-Aventis, and Bayer Healthcare. The walk was developed to provide a great opportunity to get some exercise and to learn more about the importance of diabetes prevention and local diabetes resources. Schuylkill County has an estimated 8,000 children & adults with diabetes and it is believed that at least another 8,000 people are not diagnosed—those numbers represent the combined populations of Frackville, Mahanoy City, Shenandoah, Gilberton and Orwigsburg. Last year, the Good Sam Strides for Diabetes attracted 350 participants. Families, friends, churches, schools, community organizations and businesses are encouraged to organize a team of walkers and/or runners to participate in Good Sam Strides for Diabetes. Individuals are also welcome. The 5K or 3.1 mile event will take participants from the Good Samaritan Healthplex in St. Clair, through the borough of St. Clair, and back. The run begins at 9:00 am and the walk begins at 9:15 am. Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female runners, and team participation awards will also be presented. Registration for Good Sam Strides for Diabetes costs $12 for individuals or team captains and $10 for each additional team member. For full details about Good Sam Strides for Diabetes or to register online, visit www.gsrmc.com.
LATEST PENNSYLVANIA NEWS
MILTON, Pa. (AP) - A 79-year-old man has been charged with fatally shooting his 82-year-old wife in the head. James Richard Blake of Milton, Northumberland County, was arraigned today on a charge of criminal homicide before Milton District Judge William Kear. Milton police say Blake shot his wife, Faye, in their Northumberland County apartment. Authorities say she was found dead in the apartment with a bullet wound in her left temple, and a handgun was found nearby. Police say Blake called 9-1-1 after the shooting to say he had shot his wife and that he would wait for police outside his apartment. Officers soon arrived and arrested him. Blake was sent to the Northumberland County Prison without bail.
NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. (AP) - Officials are concerned about the risk of an explosion this morning after a train derailed and burst into flames over a bridge in southwestern Pennsylvania, leaving fiery rail cars dangling over a river. Several cars are still burning. A supervisor with the Beaver County Emergency Management Agency says officials are worried about an explosion because the cars were carrying ethanol. The eastbound, 80-car Norfolk Southern Railroad train derailed above the Beaver River at about 10:50 last night. Eight rail cars on the bridge caught fire and officials are concerned about the flames spreading to others. At least 50 people have been evacuated from homes and businesses in Beaver Falls and New Brighton. They are expected to remain out of their homes until later in the day. The site is about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State House Speaker John Perzel says he will make copies of roll-call votes available to reporters and the public during voting sessions, overruling a decision by the chief clerk's office to end the practice. The Philadelphia Republican issued a memo to Capitol reporters today saying he will make copies of each printed record of how individual legislators vote on a bill in a room at the rear of the House while representatives are in session. The clerk's office sent out a memo October Fifth saying the public can get copies of the roll calls only after each daily session. But House Majority Leader Sam Smith says the decision was not intended to cut off reporters' access to roll calls. Smith's spokesman has said the decision was made because lobbyists seeking roll calls were interfering with the session.
WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush meets with his top military leaders today to review the strategy in Iraq. Bush calls the increasing violence "tough," but says the U-S isn't going to change course, despite pre-election polls that show voters are upset about it. Seventy-five U-S troops have died this month.
MOSCOW (AP) - The recent North Korean nuclear test is the main topic of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Moscow today, but her underlying mission is to persuade Russia to approve U-N sanctions on Iran. Rice says the quick decision for sanctions against North Korea does "create a momentum."
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - Eight people are dead after two separate stampedes in Bangladesh today. It happened while clothing was being distributed to the poor. Affluent Muslims give the clothes away as part of the tradition surrounding the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
CHICAGO (AP) - A new study says defibrillators that hang in shopping malls, airports and health clubs are not always reliable. Harvard Medical School researchers found in the past decade, one in five were recalled because of problems. The author says nevertheless, they save far more people than not.
HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) - Officials in Kentucky say several passengers from an Ohio River boat cruise had to be treated at a hospital after they started experiencing flu-like symptoms. A hospital spokeswoman says the hospital received a call that 15 to 20 people were sick.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) - Agents in California spent two hours yesterday sifting through cabinets, boxes and computers taken from the office of a California Republican congressional candidate. They were taken after Tan Nguyen (win) was a no-show at his own news conference to explain how a threatening letter was sent to immigrants by his campaign without his knowledge.
SAN DIEGO (AP) - The lawyer for a Camp Pendleton Marine says his client will plead guilty next week for his role in the killing of an Iraqi civilian. Private First Class John Jodka and seven others were charged with murder; his father says Jodka will plead guilty instead to assault and obstruction of justice.
NEW YORK (AP) - France's Defense Minister says despite recent tensions, the U-S and France will always be united whenever their essential liberties are threatened. Michele Alliot-Marie says this "profound friendship" is vital to combatting terrorism.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actress Phyllis Kirk has died. Fans know her as the auburn-haired beauty stalked by Vincent Price in the 1950's Three-D horror film "House of Wax." Her publicist says Kirk died Thursday of an aneurysm. She was 79.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Los Angeles County jury has convicted an 89-year-old man of vehicular manslaughter for running dozens of people over at a crowded farmer's market in Santa Monica three years ago. Ten people died and more than 70 were hurt. George Russell Weller faces punishment ranging from probation to 18 years in prison.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - Murder warrants have been issued in Kentucky for a couple accused of kidnapping the woman's nine-month-old son from a social worker who was later found dead. Renee Terrell and her boyfriend, Christopher Wayne Luttrell, will likely be moved from Illinois to Kentucky next week.
Local News-Friday, Oct. 20th
A child was struck by a car last night in Schuylkill Haven. Details are sketchy at this time, but reports indicate that the accident happened around 8:30pm on St. John Street, following the Schuylkill Haven Halloween Parade. The 3-year-old boy apparently ran out from between parked cars into traffic. The child was taken to Lehigh Valley Trauma Center for treatment.A Philadelphia businessman and his partner propose to open a strip club in Pottsville. Eric Glazier and his partner, Raymond Biddle, doing business as Schuylkill Investment Partnership have purchased the building at 545 North Centre Street, and plan to apply for a zoning variance to open an all-nude entertainment business. According to the Pottsville Republican, the two men feel that if they are successful in opening the business, it would be profitable. The building is located just north of City Hall. The company plans to apply for the proper variance in December. Hearings would have to be held to consider the application. Facing likely opposition to the venture, the businessmen also have alternative plans for the site if the adult entertainment complex falls through.The borough of Tamaqua is at odds about implementing a waste control ordinance. Mayor Christian Morrison is spearheading an effort to stop the disposal of industrial waste in the borough, including river dredge and fly ash. A motion to advertise the ordinance was turned down by the council in a 3 to 2 vote, with two members absented. They reportedly had concerns about the possible legal challenges the borough could face if the ordinance is adopted.
Morrison has been a champion of a cleaner environment, and vowed that the issue would be revisited again.The Schuylkill County Prison Board has responded to deficiencies found during an inspection of the prison by the State Department of Corrections. During Wednesday's monthly prison board meeting, Chairman President Judge William Baldwin said the deficiencies were not major, except for space problems. He said those could be alleviated with the construction of a new pre-release center at another location. He said the Board has been waiting for a decision from the County Commissioners on whether they want to build the facility. Baldwin said a female cell space issue in the County Prison can’t be resolved because of the lack of space and the number of prisoners. A space issue in the Male Work Release area could be remedied by changing bed placement and the Television/Recreation area. Baldwin said if the County decides to move forward on the pre-release facility, female inmates who are serving time for non-violent offenses would be relocated there. Male work release inmates would also be transferred there. A four-and-a-half acre tract of land near the State Correctional Institution at Frackville is the desired spot for the pre-release center. The state Corrections Secretary has agreed to consider a written proposal from the County. Judge Baldwin said the Prison Board would like an answer from the County Commissioners by December. Two people suffered minor injuries after being involved in a two-car accident Wednesday morning in McAdoo. Deborah Hannon of Pittston was stopped at the intersection of Route 309 and Grant Street, waiting for the light to change. The auto driven by Frederick Bonko of McAdoo ran into the back of Hannon's car. Hannon and her passenger, Marjorie, of Wilkes Barre, had minor injuries and were taken to Hazleton General Hospital for treatment. A Pottsville woman was hurt in a two vehicle crash on Route 61 Wednesday afternoon. Danielle Wank was traveling south on Route 61. A car driven by Michael Heckman of Pottsville was stopped on Route 895. He pulled into the path of Wank’s car attempting to make a left turn onto northbound 61. Wank was transported to the Pottsville Hospital by the Orwigsburg Ambulance. The crash happened at 4:30pm Wednesday. A Thursday morning incident in Luzerne County netted the arrest of two West Hazleton men. Hazleton State Police say that 26-year-old Edward Card and 18-year-old Heath Houseknecht were seen driving to a dead end area at the Humboldt Industrial Park to spot deer after hours, a violation of state game laws. Police report they saw a rifle in plain view inside the car. Card was also in possession of a quantity of marijuana. They are charged with game law violations and Card is charged with possession of pot. The incident happened around 12:30am Thursday.