Thursday, November 30, 2006

Local News-Thursday, Nov. 30th


A Schuylkill Haven teen faces charges after robbing and threatening two people in Landingville Wednesday afternoon. A Landingville teen and 19-year-old Mark Whitman of Schuylkill Haven were traveling south on Tunnel Road on a motorcycle and saw someone standing alongside the road. The juvenile pulled a ski mask over his face, fired a pistol in the air and demanded money from the pair. He fled from the scene on the motorcycle. The District Attorney ordered that the accused will be charged as an adult when apprehended.

The case against Dan Shields will not go to trial as scheduled. A continuance has been granted in the case against the former Nativity sports coach, who is alleged to have secretly videotaped girls in the school's locker room, and inappropriately touched a track team member. The Pottsville Republican reports that Schuylkill County Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin granted a postponement of the trial. It had been scheduled to begin on February 12th. The tentative start date is March 5th. Shields' attorney, Emmanuel Dimitriou, is also requesting a change of venue, hoping to move the trial to an out-of-county location because of pre-trial publicity. Dimitriou also requested for a change of venire, hoping that a non-Schuylkill County jury would be brought in to hear the case.

An incident at SCI Mahanoy two weeks ago results in two arrests. Devin Lattimore of Philadelphia was attempting to deliver ten balloons filled with marijuana to Aaron Penn, an inmate at the prison on November 12th. Corrections officers broke up the delivery at the prison, but Penn was able to swallow two of the balloons. After placing him in a separate cell for prisoners who swallow contraband, Penn was able to pass the balloons, but chewed them open and ate the pot. Penn is charged with criminal solicitation, conspiracy and related offenses. The two men will have preliminary hearings in the case later.

The region is pock-marked with abandoned mine sites. One more will be reclaimed in Schuylkill Township. Almost one-million dollars will be spent to create a mine drainage treatment plant and a multi-use recreational facility near Mary-D. Nearly 50 people attended the groundbreaking ceremonies held Wednesday morning. The project will help to clean up acidic mine runoff which flows into the headwaters of the Schuylkill River. The Mary-D baseball field will be the site of the treatment facility. Ten acres of abandoned mine land, donated by the Blaschak Coal Corporation, will be the home of the recreation complex. Funding from the William Penn Foundation, Exelon Corporation and the state of Pennsylvania will push the project forward, and expects to benefit the environment locally, as well as the lives of people all the way down the Schuylkill River.

A security guard was reportedly shot at several times at a construction site in Mahanoy Township last night. A female employee of Anthracite Protective Services was patrolling the site of the Locust Wind Farm off State Route 339 around 7pm. She noticed a suspicious vehicle across the road and heard a gun shot. The suspect then drove onto the dirt road leading to the wind farm and fire two shots a few minutes apart, then drove away. State police are continuing the investigation.

A Tamaqua woman is under arrest after stabbing her husband. 32-year-old Donna Hartranft is charged with aggravated assault and related offenses after she stabbed her husband George in the shoulder during a fight at their home. The pair had reportedly been arguing about money.
Donna Hartranft was taken to county prison after arraignment.

An outgoing Schuylkill County legislator presented grants to five area entities. State Representative Bob Allen of the 125th district announced the grant monies, from the state Department of Community and Economic Development yesterday. He will leave office at year's end. The borough of Auburn will get $25-thousand-dollars to buy a new police car. Pottsville Fire Department is getting $10-thousand-dollars for new firefighting gear. Penn State Schuylkill receives $5-thousand-dollars to fund a preliminary design study for an ethnic heritage center. Schuylkill Haven Free Public Library will get $15-thousand for computer upgrades and the Tulpehocken Rifle and Pistol Club will receive $10-thousand for their shooting range.


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