Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Local News-Tuesday, Jan. 23rd

Pottsville Police arrested two men in a drug raid early Friday morning. The Drug Investigation Unit executed a search warrant at 514 Mahantongo Street, and arrested 19-year-old Samuel Santiago Jr. and a 17-year-old male, both from Allentown. Police seized crack cocaine, weapons, cash, drug records and drug paraphernalia at the home. Santiago and the teen were charged with criminal conspiracy, drug possession and related offenses. Both were taken to Schuylkill County Prison. The apartment apparently was being used by people from Allentown to sell the drugs. Police have been conducting a month-long investigation into the activities there, which resulted in the arrest. Officials say that they have initiated a stronger effort to crack down on street level purchasers to reduce the drug trade in Pottsville. A confidential number is available for citizens to report illegal drug activity. Call Pottsville City Hall at 622-1234, and access mailbox number 150.

A Minersville woman is accused of making terroristic threats at a local establishment last night. State troopers report that 39-year-old Diane Moran arrived at Plaza Lanes to pick up her daughter around 11:30pm. An argument between Moran’s daughter, some of her friends and 19-year-old Ronald Griffiths ensued. Moran reportedly pulled out a pellet gun from the trunk of her car and pointed it at Griffiths. He quickly fled the scene and called state police. Moran was picked up by Pottsville Police shortly thereafter. Charges are pending in the incident.

A local legislator has been appointed to a bipartisan commission to study reforms in the state House of Representatives. Representative Dave Argall, of the 124th Legislative District has been appointed by House Speaker Dennis O’Brien to the Commission on Legislative Reform. The committee is expected to examine the House operating rules, and will drawn upon experiences from other state legislatures in formulating recommendations. Argall said this is the first important test of the House to work in a bi-partisan fashion, which will be necessary since Democrats hold a 102-101 majority over Republicans. Speaker O’Brien has asked the commission to present their recommendations to the entire House by mid-February. The committee meets in Harrisburg today.

Schuylkill County officials and taxpayers are still awaiting the results of the audit of the MH/MR program. The first deadline has passed. The program has been under scrutiny for three years after cost overruns totaling more than $3-million-dollars. Parente Randolph has been conducting the audit since then, and a preliminary report was released to the county commissioners earlier this month. The ReDCo Group, the service provider, was given an opportunity to review the findings, and asked to respond to the county by last Friday. That didn't happen. A public release of the findings was expected by the end of January. The Pottsville Republican reports that Parente Randolph and ReDCO will meet this Friday, without any county representation, about the matter. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Financial Operations has also been consulting during the audit process. It is apparent that the final results will have to wait a little while longer.

A Shenandoah man was involved in a two vehicle crash in Berks County last night. Hamburg State Police say that Daniel Loeb of Lenhartsville was southbound on Route 183, near the intersection of Interstate 78 in Upper Tulpehocken Township when he attempted to make a left hand turn. He traveled into the path of a car driven by John Lorah the Third of Shenandoah, who was northbound. Loeb’s car hit Lorah’s car on the driver’s side. No one was injured, but both cars had to be towed from the scene. The crash happened around 7:30pm Monday.

Snowy conditions and speed combined in a car and bus crash in Perry Township Monday morning. The crash happened on Route 662 after 8:30 Monday. The Hamburg School Bus driven by Toni Pribica was southbound on Seiger Lane, and a car driven by Hannah Wolfinger of Shoemakersville was headed south on Route 662. Wolfinger lost control on a left hand curve after she saw the bus attempting to turn onto 662. She traveled onto the slush covered shoulder of the road and struck the bus. Her car spun counterclockwise, but the bus remained in place. About 20 children were on the bus at the time of the crash. No one was injured, and were all transferred to another bus at the scene. The drivers of both the bus and car were wearing seat belts. Wolfinger will receive a summons for driving at an unsafe speed. Police said the Escort and bus were both towed from the scene.

State troopers are looking for a pickup truck which was involved in a hit and run crash yesterday morning in North Manheim Township. A blue pickup was eastbound on Route 443, Long Run Road, around 8:30am, when it traveled across the road and hit several mailboxes. The driver reportedly stopped briefly after the crash, but then took off toward Schuylkill Haven without reporting it. Information is sketchy about the make and model of the pickup. If anyone has information about the hit and run, call Schuylkill Haven State Police at 593-2000.


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