Thursday, October 26, 2006

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.


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