Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Local News-Wednesday, Feb. 28th

Two men learned their fate on various sex-related charges in Schuylkill County Court. Judge John Domalakes pronounced the sentences of 35-year-old David Noll, Orwigsburg, and 31-year old Joseph Dunkley of New Phialdelphia yesterday, according to the Pottsville Republican. Noll will be incarcerated at a state prison for 4 to 9 years and face a lifetime registered as a sexually violent predator under Megan’s Law. Noll pleaded guilty during his November trial for sexually assaulting a boy in 2003. Dunkley pleaded guilty to indecent assault, lewdness and exposure after committing those crimes against a young girl in Schuylkill Haven. He was given credit for time served, with 23 months probation. He has to register under Megan’s Law for 10 years, and have no contact with anyone under 18 years of age, among other stipulations.

Two Schuylkill Countians were involved in a crash yesterday afternoon in Tilden Township. Mildred Koons of Orwigsburg, and Grace Breon of Port Clinton were southbound on 61 near Lowland Road when Koons’ vehicle hit the rear of Breon’s car. Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene. No one was injured.

Time is running out for homestead exemptions for property tax relief in Pennsylvania. The deadline is tomorrow. The Taxpayer Relief Act passed by the General Assembly in 2006 requires that a Homestead Exemption application be approved and on file in the county Tax Assessment Office by the end of the day Thursday in order to receive property tax relief. In December, homeowners who were not yet approved for the exemption on their current residence should have received a homestead exemption application from their school district. Those who are approved are eligible for property tax relief resulting from slots gaming revenues and the potential shift to a local income tax that may result from any ballot questions proposed by their school district. If you are unsure about the status of an exemption , you should contact the tax assessment office by Thursday.

Fire crews responded to reports of a fire at a home in Cressona yesterday. The call came in around 3:30pm that smoke was coming from a home at 169 Pottsville Street. Apparently, a coal furnace was fired up, and a buildup of the exhaust caused the smoke condition. Four people who live in the home got out safely, and were able to return after the condition was cleared. The incident forced the closure of Pottsville Street for a time.

No one was injured in a two vehicle crash on the Gordon Nagle Trail Sunday. State police at Schuylkill Haven say that 19-year-old Samantha Nagle was eastbound on Route 901 when her car slid on the snow covered road, and into the a car driven by Denim McDemus of Schuylkill Haven, who was in front of her. McDemus, Nagle, and her passenger John Rose, were not hurt. The crash occurred around 6:30 Sunday night.

State police are continuing their investigation of a theft at a Frackville Laundromat. Troopers just released the details of the incident that happened in mid-January. Two men entered the Altamont Boulevard Laundromat and removed $625-dollars in change from washers and dryers. The pair fled the scene after the theft. Anyone with information about the theft should call State Police at 874-5300.

National and State News-Wednesday,Feb. 28th

UNDATED (AP) - China's stock market bounced back today, but stock markets in Asia and Europe fell for a second day. Wall Street yesterday had its worst day since the September Eleventh, 2001, terrorist attacks. Investors in China who had been worried about a possible economic slowdown seemed reassured by bullish comments in the state-controlled media today.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was upbeat about the economy when he last testified on Capitol Hill two weeks ago. He goes before a House committee today, the day after Wall Street's big meltdown. The decline was preceded by investor worries and recession jitters.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - One of Baghdad's most popular shopping districts was turned into a scene of misery today. At least ten people died when a car bomb went off in the mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhood during morning rush hour. At least 20 people were hurt, and several of the hundreds of stores and kiosks were

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego is the latest to file for bankruptcy protection to put off going to trial in cases of sexual abuse by priests. San Diego is the fifth diocese to seek bankruptcy protection, and with nearly one (m) million parishioners, the largest.

WASHINGTON (AP) - One meteorologist calls La Nina the "evil twin sister" of El Nino (NEEN'-yoh), but it can be good or bad, depending on where you live. The El Nino weather pattern has ended and La Nina is brewing. La Ninas bring the threat of more Atlantic hurricanes and a worsening drought in west Texas. But the
Southeast should enjoy warmer-than-normal winters.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's fourth slots parlor, the first in western Pennsylvania, is scheduled to open this morning. Presque Isle Downs has two-thousand slot machines and 650 employees. A horse-racing track is expected to open later this year. The casino was supposed to open earlier this month, but was delayed by a lawsuit that challenged the casino's license. The state Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The labor union representing Philadelphia Police Department officers is endorsing a candidate for mayor today. Robert Eddis, the president of Lodge Five of the Fraternal Order of Police, is to announce the endorsement at noon. Five major candidates are vying for the Democratic Party's nomination for Philadelphia mayor in the May 15th primary. Whoever wins that is heavily favored to win the general election in November, since the Democrats dominate Philadelphia politics. Candidates from the Republican and Green parties are running low-budget campaigns.

BALDWIN, Pa. (AP) - Teachers in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District will return to work Thursday, even though they are no closer to a contract agreement. The teachers went on strike last week. They were required by state law to return to work on Friday to ensure that the district's nearly 42-hundred students can complete 180 days of instruction by June 15th. Union president Rebecca Wolf says teachers are frustrated by a lack of meaningful negotiations from the district. The district's chief negotiator Bruce Campbell says the teachers don't want to go to neutral arbitration. The teachers have been working without a contract since June 30th.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - The absentee owner of a South Williampsort motel where a man was trapped in a floor collapse plans to show up there today to arrange for repairs. That's according to a clerk at the Kings Inn, where authorities say a man was trapped for at least three hours Monday. The clerk says the owner lives in New York. Borough codes officer Jon Dangle says the inn has been cited previously for violations including lack of hot water and mold.

VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) - An arrest has law enforcement hopeful of a possible break in a series of Philadelphia-area convenience store robberies. The robberies became known as "splash-and-grab" crimes because
the robber would throw hot coffee or hot cocoa in the clerks' faces. Some needed to go to hospitals.
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office in New Jersey says officers arrested 26-year-old Kareem Hutt of Woodlynne, New Jersey, yesterday. Hutt was handed over to police in Voorhees, where he was wanted on aggravated assault and robbery charges related to a February 12th splash-and-grab robbery at a Wawa store.
Police elswhere in the region are investigating whether Hutt was responsible for similar robberies in their own communities.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Two of the biggest Eastern U-S supermarket chains -- Pathmark Stores and the parent of A-&-P -- are in talks about a possible combination. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company says it's negotiating to acquire rival Pathmark Stores of Carteret, New Jersey. Pathmark operates more than 140 supermarkets Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. Both companies said in separate statements that the proposed cash-and-stock deal would pay Pathmark stockholders a possible 12
dollars and 50 cents per share. The purchase price for Pathmark may total more than 652 (m)
million dollars.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U-S Air Force says it hasn't determined whether it will reopen the bidding process for a 15 (b) billion dollar contract to build search and rescue helicopters. The contract was awarded to Boeing, which plans to build the choppers in Ridley Park. But the auditing arm of Congress said Monday that the Air Force was "inconsistent" in its requirements when it awarded the contract. The Government Accountability Office said the Air Force should reopen discussions with all competitors. The Air Force is under no obligation to follow that advice. An Air Force spokeswoman says the G-A-O findings are under review.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The chief executive of Pennsylvania's student-loan agency says he's disappointed that Governor Ed Rendell's state budget doesn't increase funding for the agency's college grant program.
Instead, Rendell is calling for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency to supplement the state's current appropriation with more than 88 (m) million dollars of proceeds from its student-loan business.
PHEAA (FEE'-ah) president and C-E-O Richard Willey says the agency was planning to use 60 (m) million dollars, with with the expectation that the state would also increase its share. A Rendell spokeswoman says the administration believes PHEAA can afford to spend more of its own money on the grants -- citing the
high pay its executives receive.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A father and his two sons wanted in the death of an 89-year-old Franklin County woman during a home invasion and the beating of her husband are under arrest. Michael Marks and his sons, Sonny and Adam, were arrested Tuesday in Jackson, Mississippi, following an intensive investigation. They're awaiting extradition hearings to return them to Pennsylvania. The three are wanted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for a series of home invasions, including the one in 2003 that killed Freda Dale.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Local News-Tuesday, Feb. 27th

A Shenandoah man escaped injury following a one-vehicle crash in Mt. Carbon yesterday morning. David Toth was driving his Chevy Equinox on South Centre Street when he lost control. The car slid sideways and went over an embankment, shearing off a utility pole. His car was heavily damaged. Toth was wearing his seatbelt. The crash happened after 7am Monday.

Monday’s minor snowfall caused several accidents on area roads. State police at Frackville report that a car driven by Paticia Inama of MaryD was traveling south on Walnut Street in the village when she lost control on the snow covered road. Her car knocked down a stop sign, then hit a parked car owned by Ronald Kazakavage. Inama’s car continued on and struck a fire hydrant. No one was injured. In Nuremburg, Ryan Singley struck a parked car after losing control on the slush-covered roadway. His passenger, Patricia Singley, had minor injuries and was taken to Hazleton General Hospital.

It’s 110 candles for an area school of higher education. The McCann School of Business and Technology is celebrating its 110th birthday this year! The school got its start as an accounting and secretarial training center in 1897. Today, McCann has grown to 4 campuses, with a wide array of programs in the business, health and technology fields. As part of the celebration, McCann is soliciting “Graduate Success Stories” to be used in conjunction with the year-long celebration. Regional President Linda Wallinsky is asking recent and long-time graduates to send their stories about what a McCann education has done for them. Send your McCann success stories to

Work on water lines in the borough of Pine Grove will require some customers to boil their water beginning Thursday. Customers of the Pine Grove Water Authority, who live on South Tulpehocken Street, the east end of High Street and Peach Street will need to boil their water due to repairs being done on a water main. The work will affect approximately 50 homes. The boil advisory will be in effect from Thursday, March 1st until further notice.

You don’t have to be on television to participate in Schuylkill Senior Idol’s competition. Its time to warm up those vocal cords! Diakon Community Services for Seniors has introduced a local competition for older citizens to strut their vocal talents, and win some great prizes. You must be 55 years or older to participate.
Entrants pay a $5 fee, and will compete at regional auditions beginning in early April. The top two finalists from the four auditions will compete in the finals on May 12th at the Cressona Mall. The top prize is a $300 gift certificate from R&J Tours, with prizes also awarded for second and third place. For more information about the Schuylkill Senior Idol competition, call Susan Long at 624-3018, or toll free, at 1-800-621-6325.

National and State News-Tuesday, Feb. 27th

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) - It's not clear how many people died in a suicide attack outside a U-S base in Afghanistan. An Afghan official says 20 were killed but NATO says three died, including a U-S soldier. A-P reporters at the scene saw at least eight bodies. Vice President Cheney was at the base but he's fine.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A troubling new report to Congress on military readiness. The assessment from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says a military taxed by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might
not be able to quickly and fully respond in the event of another crisis.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Despite the threat of further sanctions by the West, Iran's foreign minister says today that his country will never suspend uranium enrichment. That's something the U-S says is essential before any negotiations between Washington and Tehran over Iran's nuclear activities.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A three-member Florida appeals court will consider who should get custody of Anna Nicole Smith's body, almost three weeks after her death. Their decision means Smith's body can't yet be taken to the Bahamas for burial. Smith's mother wants her buried in Texas.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - It was all a hoax. Two North Carolina college students say they staged a Valentine's Day breakup that featured singers and hundreds of spectators. The fake breakup became an instant hit on the YouTube Internet site. Turns out the couple wasn't even dating.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A cadre of retired Philadelphia detectives brought flowers and a sense of regret to the grave of a small boy. Despite 50 years of sleuthing, the now white-haired men still don't know the child's name or that of his killer. But they maintain hope that police will someday identify the victim known as
the "Boy in the Box." Officer Elmer Palmer found the body in a thicket in the city's Fox Chase section on February 25th, 1957. Palmer was answering a call about something, perhaps a doll, seen inside a discarded
bassinet box. He said at yesterday's service that realizing it was a person is "something you never forget."

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A new report released says Philadelphia has improved in recent years because of a building boom and renewed optimism, but critical problems persist. The Pew Charitable Trusts report says Philadelphia's biggest problems are its high tax burden and lagging school test scores. Also, the city has declining numbers of people and jobs and an upswing in poverty levels and violent crime. However, it also pointed out successes. There's more optimism and activism by movers and shakers and an expansion of the
tax-abatement program that has fueled a building boom. There are also efforts by universities to improve their surrounding neighborhoods, and economic growth spurred by tourism and an improved airport.

FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa. (AP) - The 17-year-old Bucks County girl most seriously injured in a school bus crash last month has returned home from a hospital. That's according to the lawyer representing the family of Ashley Zauflik. She was initially discharged from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday but was readmitted Friday because of an intestinal blockage. Zauflik was the most seriously hurt of the 17 Pennsbury High School students injured when the parked bus suddenly accelerated into a crowd outside Pennsbury High School and then hit a retaining wall on Jan 12. The driver said he couldn't stop the bus. Her left leg was amputated to save her from a life-threatening bacterial infection.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The older brother of Philadelphia Mayor John Street is due in court today in Moorestown, New Jersey. T- Milton Street Senior says he will show up to take care of the unpaid traffic tickets that led to his arrest last week. Yesterday, Milton Street was in federal court in Philadelphia. He is accused of failing to report two (m) million dollars in airport consulting fees to the Internal Revenue Service.
A judge agreed to appoint a new lawyer for him since he couldn't agree with his first court-appointed lawyer on a legal strategy. Milton Street has has also made news by saying he's running for mayor of Philadelphia. But questions about his residency could keep him off the ballot.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A group of Muslim clerics and scholars from the Middle East served up plates of pasta and pizza at a downtown Philadelphia homeless shelter. It's part of an exchange program organized with the help of the federal government. The eight men from Jordan, Egypt and Syria smiled as they put food on the men's plates and spoke enthusiastically about taking home stories of what they learned at Saint John's Hospice. The shelter is run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The hospice's administrator answered questions from the Muslim visitors, including whether they served non-U-S citizens. They do,
except for 12 beds that have to go to U-S residents because of funding requirements. The shelter typically serves 300 to 400 men a day.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressman Joe Sestak says he will fight to have Boeing keep a 15 (b) billion dollar contract to make 141 helicopters for the Air Force. Boeing plans to build the helicopters in Ridley Park, which is in Sestak's district. Today, the auditing arm of Congress says the Air Force was "inconsistent" in its requirements when it awarded the contract. The Government Accountability Office said the Air Force should
reopen discussions with all competitors and request revised proposals. Sestak says he met with Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne two weeks ago about the matter. He says Wynne felt very strongly that the contract was awarded properly. The Air Force doesn't have to follow the G-A-O's recommendation.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Governor Ed Rendell's press secretary is taking a three-month leave to become spokeswoman for Congressman Bob Brady's mayoral campaign in Philadelphia. Kate Philips says she plans to start her new job tomorrow. She intends to return to Harrisburg after the May 15th primary. Philips says Rendell, a former two-term Philadelphia mayor, has assured her that her job would be waiting for her.
Philips says Rendell's willingness to grant her leave should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Brady in the Democratic primary. She says Rendell does not intend to endorse any candidate in the mayoral race.
Democrats outnumber Republicans five-to-one in Pennsylvania's largest city, so the winner of the primary is heavily favored to win in November.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Local News-Monday, Feb. 26th

We dodged a weather bullet in Schuylkill County yesterday and during the overnight. The storm was expected to bring snow, sleet and freezing rain to the area, but amounts were significantly less than expected. Roads were treated with brine early Sunday, and that, combined with a lower snowfall have left the roads slushy. Snow showers are expected today. Take your time heading out to work and school this morning.

After three years of work, Schuylkill County’s MH/MR audit findings will be released Thursday.
A special meeting of the Board of Commissioners is scheduled for 1pm Thursday to release the findings of auditor Parente-Randolph and the state Department of Welfare’s Bureau of Financial Operations, who have been working on the review for three years. The project, which has been slowed by delays and other circumstances, will determine if any monies are to be returned to the county by one of the contract providers, ReDCo. Over $3-million-dollars in program overruns from 2002 to 2004 prompted the review of Schuylkill County’s contractors. The Pottsville Republican reports that the meeting will bring all of the parties together who have been involved in the audit, to hopefully bring the long-overdue report to the public.

A St. Clair man is facing a host of charges following an assault in Schuylkill Haven Friday night. Schuylkill Haven Borough Police report that Patricia Brode of 29 Fritz Reed Avenue, said that her boyfriend, Charles Haluska, slammed her head against a wall in her apartment. Haluska reportedly followed Brode and her three children in his car and struck the back of Brode’s car with his SUV, slightly injuring one of the kids. Haluska allegedly hit the rear of her car again outside of Pottsville. Haven and St. Clair police took Haluska into custody. He was charged with aggravated and simple assault, reckless endangerment, terroristic threats and other offenses. He was arraigned and released on bail. Additional charges may be filed in the incident.

A Mt Carmel man was arrested on an outstanding warrant Sunday afternoon. 37-year-old William Gudonis contacted Mt. Carmel Police to file a complaint on an unrelated incident. During the investigation, officers found that Gudonis was wanted on an outstanding warrant by State Police at Frackville for a harassment incident in July, 2006. He never showed up for his hearing at that time. Gudonis was taken into custody, and arraigned via videoconference at the county prison. He remains there, after being unable to post bail.

A Pottsville man is facing possible drunk driving charges following a crash Sunday afternoon in Port Carbon.
39-year-old Francis Bernadyn was southbound on Market Street in the borough around 3:20pm when he lost control and hit a telephone pole. His car was heavily damaged. Schuylkill Haven State Police believe that Bernadyn was driving under the influence. Charges are pending the result of blood alcohol testing.

A Sheppton woman was hurt in a one vehicle crash in East Union Township yesterday afternoon. State troopers at Frackville report that 21-year-old Megan Neikman (nyk-man) was traveling south on Route 924 when she lost control on a right hand curve. Her car left the roadway, struck a large rock and went airborne. Her car traveled 80 feet before landing on its roof. Neikman was taken to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment. Her car was severely damaged. The investigation continues.

Schuylkill County election officials have released dates for independent candidates for the November election. Betty Dries, Director of the Schuylkill County Election Bureau indicates that minor political party candidates and independent candidates can begin to circulate petitions to appear on the November ballot on Wednesday, March 7th. Candidates seeking county-wide offices need a minimum of 735 signatures.
The last day to circulate and file nomination papers is August 1st. For information, contact Dries at 628-1467.

National and State News-Monday, Feb. 26th

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hollywood director Martin Scorsese joked "Could you double-check the envelope?" as he accepted the award for best director last night at the Academy Awards. The movie he directed, "The Departed," also won best picture. Helen Mirren won for best actress. Forest Whitaker took best actor for "The Last King of Scotland."

WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's governors have health care on their minds as they meet with President Bush at their annual winter meeting in Washington today. Some 14 states are likely to run out of money this year for the health program that provides insurance to children who aren't poor enough for Medicaid.

LONDON (AP) - The permanent members U-N Security Council plus Germany meet today in London to discuss new ways to pressure Tehran over its expanding nuclear program. One diplomat says the council
will look at options for further sanctions, including whittling away at lucrative export credits Iran receives from Europe in support of trade.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Vice President Cheney is in Pakistan for talks with President General Pervez Musharraf over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. The British Foreign Secretary is also in Pakistan for talks on the same subject.

BOSTON (AP) - The governor of Massachusetts is proposing funding for free cervical cancer vaccines for girls between the ages of nine and 18 in his new budget. The shots, however, would not be mandatory. The budget, to be unveiled tomorrow, also includes funding for a new rotavirus vaccine for infants and an improved
bacterial meningitis vaccine.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency says problems from the current winter storm appear to be minimal. Agency spokesman Justin Fleming says there have been a number of
minor accidents attributed to the weather, but nothing major. Fleming says the worst problems appear to be in the Philadelphia area. The state's Emergency Operations Center in Harrisburg will remain open indefinitely until officials are sure the threat is over.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The deaths of at least 55 residents in Pennsylvania's assisted-living homes since 2000 raise questions about whether their deaths could have been prevented. That's according to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The paper says its investigation of the industry is based on thousands of pages of public records and hundreds of interviews. It found health and safety violations, substandard care and inadequate state oversight of violations. Officials at the state Department of Public Welfare say they
inherited a broken regulatory system and have made substantial progress toward fixing it. Karen Kroh took over as top regulator in the spring of 2005. Since then, she has replaced half her staff, increased enforcement actions by 55 percent, and revoked the licenses of 75 facilities.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Governor Ed Rendell says Pennsylvania ought to have an earlier presidential primary.
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Rendell said the late April primary gives Pennsylvania "no input at all" on whom the major parties nominate for president. A hearing is scheduled for March 13th on whether Pennsylvania should change its primary date. State Senator Jake Corman plans to invite national committee members from both major parties as well as representatives of Pennsylvania's counties, which administer
elections. Corman says one potential problem is that candidates would likely have to get signatures on nomination petitions in November. Texas, California and Florida are also considering moving their
primaries up.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Governor or vice president? That's an easy choice, according to Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry. Both say that they prefer to keep their current jobs, no matter who is president in 2008. Rendell says he likes to be his own boss. Perry says he already has the best job in the world. In his words, "Ask President Bush." The two were in the capital today for a National Governors Association meeting. They appeared Sunday morning on the television
show "Fox News Sunday."

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - An Army medic accused of killing a Pennsylvania soldier during a night of heavy drinking in Iraq is set to face a court-martial tomorrow. Twenty-three-year-old Specialist Chris Rolan is to be tried at
Fort Benning in Georgia. He is charged with premeditated murder in the November Sixteenth, 2005, shooting of 20-year-old Private Dylan Paytas. Paytas was from Freedom, Pennsylvania. Rolan, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is accused of shooting Paytas four times with his Army-issue pistol during an argument at Camp
Warhorse in Baqubah. Both soldiers were assigned to Fort Benning's Third Brigade Combat Team. If convicted, Rolan could face up to life in prison without parole.

YORK, Pa. (AP) - Things should get back to normal today at the Harley-Davidson factory in York. All of the formerly striking workers are expected back. Workers had the option of returning as soon as Thursday night,
after union members approved a three-year contract. The three-week strike disrupted Harley-Davidson's national production. The walkout also forced many Harley suppliers to lay off workers. It had ripple effects as far away as Wisconsin, where 440 employees were laid off.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A new curator has been named to oversee the preservation of Fallingwater. That's the Fayette County home designed in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright and considered to be the architect's masterpiece. The group that manages the building has selected Justin Gunther to take over as curator.
Gunther previously managed restoration at George Washington's home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, where he was responsible for the preservation of more than 25 historic buildings. Fallingwater spans Mill Run, a creek that flows through woods about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Wright built the home for department store magnate Edgar Kaufmann Senior in the 1930s.

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - The Montgomery County Health Department plans to examine cancer statistics for the area around Collegeville. That decision comes after air tests last month revealed an unusually high level of a chemical that may pose a cancer risk. A state report says the presence of a chemical called T-C-E at
higher-than-normal levels has significantly increased the cancer risk in the suburban Philadelphia community. A health department spokeswoman says requests from local officials and a state lawmaker led to the decision to look into cancer cases.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Local News - Saturday Feb. 24, 2007

Shields to Plead

Documents were filed in Schuylkill County Court on Friday indicating longtime high school sports coach Daniel M. Shields Jr. will admit to several crimes against female athletes only a week before jury selection was to begin. According to the Pottsville Republican and Herald, Shields will plead guilty to five counts each of corruption of minors and invasion of privacy, four of sexual abuse of children and one of indecent assault, according to the documents submitted by prosecutors. The charges resulted from what prosecutors said was his videotaping of the girls' locker room at Nativity BVM High School and an assault of one girl. The possible maximum combined prison term on all charges is 66 years. Prosecutors will drop a charge of aggravated indecent assault - which had the potential to carry the longest sentence - when Shields is sentenced, according to the submitted documents. Shields is scheduled to enter his pleas at 9:30 a.m. Thursday before Judge D. Michael Stine. Jury selection for the high-profile trial had been scheduled for March 2. The trial was to start March 5. Shields will not be sentenced immediately; instead, Stine will order the county Office of Probation and Parole to prepare a presentence investigation, with the judge setting a sentencing date after its completion. Shields also will be evaluated by the state Sex Offender Assessment Board before sentencing, according to the documents. Shields remains free on 10 percent of the $50,000 bail set on the night of his arrest, Aug. 16, 2005.

Cardinal Brennan parents receive letter about school's future

The future of Cardinal Brennan High School is being studied by the Diocese of Allentown. A letter was sent home to parents outlining problems with declining enrollment, money and not enough new students coming to the school. Parents, students and educators of the Fountain Springs parochial school are worried that the high school will close. There are about 200 students attending Cardinal Brennan. Some parents believe what is happening in the Diocese of Allentown is a repeat of what happened in the Diocese of Scranton: schools closed and consolidated after having a meeting with parents. Officials at the diocese contend that no decision has been made about the school's future. A final determination is not expected until after a meeting with parents in March.

Argall says investigation about storm far from over

"It was a systematic failure in our emergency response system." That was the assessment of one of Schuylkill County's legislator's after the first day of hearings about problems during the Valentine's Day storm. Argall said that the state needs to do more than just ensure we're better prepared for the next snow storm, but also that Pennsylvania is prepared to respond to any and all emergencies we face in the future.

Mammography inspections

Three Schuylkill County healthcare facilities were among the 111 mammography sites that were inspected by the Department of Environmental Protection in the final quarter of 2006. Good Samaritan Health Center North and the Medical Center in Pottsville, and St. Catherine's Medical Center in Fountain Springs were all found to be operating within the guidelines set by the US Food and Drug Adminstration. DEP inspects each of Pennsylvania's approximately 400 certified mammography facilities annually under a contract with FDA, which sets standards for these facilities under the federal Mammography Quality Standards Act. The inspections are part of an ongoing effort to ensure a high-degree of proficiency in the maintenance and operation of sophisticated equipment used to conduct these tests. DEP has released these quarterly reports since April 2004.

Help needed for brush clearing on State Game Lands

Calling all Schuylkill County hunters and sportsmen, the Pennsylvania Game Commission needs your help. Saturday, March 3rd, volunteers and Game Commission personnel from the Southeast region office will be doing border-edge cutting on State Game Land 229 in Reilly Township. Commissioner Gregory Isabella said that the event will give hunters and sportsmen an opportunity to do some habitat work to benefit wildlife, and to get in some scouting prior to the upcoming spring gobbler season. Officials say that the trees in many woodlots have reached a growth in which they no longer furnish food and cover for certain small wildlife and birds. From the Pottsville area, travel on Route 209 south for 6 miles through Newtown. About one-half mile past Newtown, turn on to a gravel lane with signs out front about abandoned mine reclamation projects. Go back the lane and meet at the parking area. Participants will car pool to the cutting location.

PPL increases dividend

PPL Corporation has announced an increase in its common stock dividend. The Allentown-based, international energy conglomerate bumped their cash dividend by 11 percent, to a total of $1.22 per share annually. The increased dividend is payable April 1st to shareholders who owned the stock as of March 9th. With this increase, the dividend will have risen 130 percent over the past five years. John Biggar, PPL's executive vice president and chief financial officer, expects that that the growth rate of its common stock dividend over the next few years will continue to exceed the growth rate in the company's earnings per share from ongoing operations, and, therefore, PPL will continue to maintain a dividend payout ratio above 50 percent. All future dividend decisions, Biggar noted, are subject to quarterly dividend declarations based on the company's financial position and other relevant considerations at the time.

Whitman to speak at Schuylkill

A former Bush administration official will speak at Penn State Schuylkill Campus next month.
In the final installment of the Alcoa Distinguished Lecture Series, former New Jersey Governor and EPA Secretary Christine Todd Whitman will deliver a speech entitled "A Healthy Environment and A Healthy Economy: Finding the Green in Being Green". Whitman is now President of the Whitman Strategy Group, a consulting firm serving both government and business clients on environmental and other public policy issues. The lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Morgan Auditorium at the campus in Schuylkill Haven.

State News - Saturday Feb. 24, 2007

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An eight-year-old boy was hit by a SEPTA bus while crossing the street in Philadelphia's Kensington section. Police say Joey Lopes has been taken to Temple Children's Hospital with injuries to his head, neck and back. Investigators with the transit agency are still trying to figure out what happened. Family members say the boy had jumped a step in front of his mother and sister while crossing the street. They say the impact from the bus threw him about 30 feet. The boy is expected to make a full recovery.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's newest slots parlor is set to open next week. And officials at Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie say they'll be ready. An invitation-only test of the facility is taking place today and Monday. The casino says parking lots, shuttle buses and valet parking services will be ready to go when the casino opens to the public Wednesday. Officials say the casino has more than three-thousand parking spaces and five shuttle buses to ferry customers to the casino from the parking areas.

WYOMISSING, Pa. (AP) - Breast-feeding advocates plan to stage what they call a "nurse-in" today at the BerkshireMall near Reading. They are protesting the alleged treatment of Leigh Bellini, who says she was asked by mall security to, quote, "cover up" while she breast-fed her son last weekend. Pennsylvania does not have a law regarding breast-feeding in public places. The demonstration is scheduled for one o'clock this afternoon. Mall management has not commented on the issue.

National and International News - Saturday Feb. 24, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans are keenly aware of how many U-S troops have been killed in the Iraq war. But a new A-P-Ipsos poll finds a lot of uncertainty about how many Iraqi civilians have been killed. Although it's estimated that more than 54-thousand Iraqis have died, the median estimate by Americans polled is around 99-hundred.

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Another warning to Iran from the United States. Vice President Cheney says "all options" are on the table if Iran continues to defy U-N orders to stop enriching uranium. Cheney also says the U-S is "deeply concerned" about Iran's support of terrorism and inflammatory statements by its president.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Jurors in the C-I-A leak trial are taking the weekend off but will be back at work Monday. Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff is accused of obstructing the investigation of who leaked the name of C-I-A operative Valerie Plame. Lewis Libby also is charged with lying to the F-B-I and a grand jury.

SEATTLE (AP) - An Army lieutenant who refused to serve in Iraq faces another court-martial. The first was declared a mistrial by a judge who said Ehren Watada didn't understand a pre-trial agreement he had signed. The Army refiled the charges yesterday but no new trial date has been set.

PARRISH, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say they're astounded at what's being called a miraculous escape by 13-year-old Florida boy from a kidnapper. Clay Moore was abducted at gunpoint from a school bus stop yesterday morning but got away hours later. He wasn't hurt and the kidnapper is being sought.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - It's only make-believe. President Bush's Cabinet today is holding a terrorism readiness exercise. It's designed to test how officials would respond if several improvised explosive devices were detonated across the nation. Officials say it's not based on any real threats.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Democratic field for the White House is narrowing already. Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has quit the race, saying he couldn't raise enough money to compete against better-known and better-financed rivals. As Vilsack puts it, the reason is "money and only money."

WASHINGTON (AP) - As Americans get busy doing their taxes, the government is reminding them to ask for a refund they have coming from the now defunct telephone tax. It's worth 60 dollars at most, but the I-R-S says many early filers have neglected to ask for it. So far taxpayers have received almost 87 (b) billion dollars in income tax refunds.

LAMBRIGG, England (AP) - A passenger on a high-speed train that derailed in England says it felt like the train was being battered by heavy winds before it flipped over. She says things went "flying everywhere." One passenger was killed and close to 80 were injured on the train headed to Scotland.

NEW YORK (AP) - The Oscar buzz surrounding former Vice President Al Gore is reviving talk of another run for the White House in 2008. Gore's documentary about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," is a heavy favorite for an Oscar tomorrow night and 2000 Democratic presidential nominee will be walking the red carpet.

SURABAYA, Indonesia (AP) - For nine months now, a geyser in Indonesia has been spewing noxious mud that has buried entire villages. But now engineers think they have a solution. They hope to plug the geyser with giant cement balls. Conditions permitting, the first try comes today.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Officials in Philadelphia say a high school teacher was assaulted by two teen-agers after he took an i-Pod away from one of them. The 60-year-old teacher is in the hospital with broken bones in his neck. The 17-year-old and 15-year-old face criminal charges and will be expelled.

DENVER (AP) - The people who make a caffeine-packed energy drink called Spike Shooter say it's not meant for kids. But some Colorado high school students drank it and got sick. Seven-Eleven has pulled the energy drink from its stores in Colorado.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Since soul singer James Brown died in December, several people have come forward claiming Brown is their father. So trustees for his estate are seeking D-N-A samples before he's buried to prove paternity. Brown named six adult children in his will, and his partner says her young son is Brown's child as well.

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) - Sometimes a wrong number is more than just an inconvenience. Kentucky state police say a middle school teacher who wanted to buy pot mistakenly text-messaged a state trooper instead of a drug dealer. The trooper arranged a sting, and the teacher now faces a variety of drug charges and has been suspended.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Local News-Friday, Feb. 23rd

Another truck became wedged under the railroad underpass in Cressona yesterday, snarling traffic.
Schuylkill Haven troopers report that 37-year-old Thomas Brumley of Winona, Texas reportedly didn’t see the 11 foot 8 inch clearance signs and became wedged under the bridge. The trailer split, with the front of the trailer remaining attached to the fifth wheel of the tractor. Brumley was not hurt, but will be cited in the incident. There were more than 20 such accidents at the Cressona bridge in 2006.

A Pottsville attorney is the victim of theft and embezzlement by his former office manager. Attorney Robert Lipkin reported the thefts in January to Pottsville Police. He said that during 2006, his then office manager, 37-year-old Sharon Marsh of St. Clair, took over 31-thousand-dollars from two business checking accounts and a credit card account. Marsh allegedly completed 172 transactions to steal the funds. She was arrested Thursday and was arraigned before District Judge James Reiley. Marsh was released on $50-thousand-dollars, unsecured bail. Her preliminary hearing is set for a month from today.

A West Reading man, convicted of murdering an Orwigsburg man in 2004, wants a new trial in the case. Desmond Hammond, currently in state prison for the murder of Clinton Hallick, was in Schuylkill County Court yesterday with new legal counsel to request a new trial. According to the Pottsville Republican, Hammond’s attorney said that new evidence and poor representation by his former attorney are grounds enough to warrant a new trial. Hammond shot Hallick in the parking lot at a housing project near Minersville after a fight at a club in Frackville in March, 2004. He was convicted a year later on charges of third-degree murder, aggravated assault and other offenses. President Judge William Baldwin, who presided over the original case, gave both sides 30 days to prepare brief in the request.

A McAdoo woman was arrested Wednesday on criminal mischief charges. Frackville state police say that Sonya Bartosevich went to the home of her husband, Frank, to discuss their broken relationship. Troopers say that Sonya started yelling at Frank, but did not receive an answer, so she broke a kitchen window.
The two did not speak anyway, but she will be charged with criminal mischief. The incident happened around 3:30am Wednesday.

Pottsville fire fighters responded to a report of high levels of carbon monoxide yesterday afternoon at a city business. The call came in around 2pm, with high readings of the odorless, and sometimes deadly, gas at “L” Studios on South Centre Street. The Pottsville Republican indicates that an employee in the studio heard the monitor go off, and indicated high readings of carbon monoxide. The cause was attributed to a problem with the building’s gas furnace. Fire personnel had to ventilate the building for about an hour. Fire Chief Tood March indicates that all residential buildings in the city are required to have carbon monoxide detectors, but businesses are not.

A Shenandoah man succumbed to his injuries following a crash two weeks ago in East Union Township. State police released the information about 62-year-old Robert Seroka yesterday. He was driving north on Route 924 when his car left the road and struck a tree. He was life-flighted to Geisinger Medical Center, where he died February 15th. The cause of death was a cardiac contusion, caused by the crash.

National and State Headlines-Friday, Feb. 23rd

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Senate Democrats are drafting legislation that could take back the original authorization for the U-S invasion of Iraq. They're working on final wording. One version of a new resolution might restrict U-S troops to fighting al-Qaida and training Iraqis.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Jurors return for a third session today in the Lewis Libby perjury trial in Washington. They're trying to decide whether the man who was Vice President Cheney's chief of staff obstructed the investigation into who leaked the identify of a C-I-A agent in a White House spin control operation.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center says it's taking steps to make sure there's no repeat of the release of a homeless paraplegic who was left crawling on Skid Row. California lawmakers are weighing legislation to make homeless dumping a crime.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Britney Spears' manager confirms to The Associated Press that she's back in rehab at a drug and alcohol center in Southern California. She and estranged husband Kevin Federline have agreed to temporarily share custody of their two children.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Officials in Harrisburg are continuing their investigation into the handling of a winter storm that stranded hundreds of motorists on some Pennsylvania highways for two days. A state House committee is scheduled to hold a hearing today to find out what went wrong during the storm that began February 13th. The state Senate held its own hearing on the matter yesterday, during which the head of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation apologized for the disaster and promised it wouldn't happen again. The state made national news when a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 78 in eastern Pennsylvania, as well as large sections of I-81 and I-80, were clogged with stranded motorists.

CLEARFIELD, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say Interstate 80 in Clearfield County is open in both directions this morning. The highway had been closed since 5:30 p-m in both directions between exit 111 in Pennfield and exit 120 in Clearfield because of whiteout conditions and a flash-freeze. Authorities say there were several minor accidents and a jack-knifed tractor-trailer, among other problems. Traffic was rerouted through the towns of Clearfield and DuBois during the closure. The highway was reopened after several hours.

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - An inquest will continue today in Greensburg into the death of a 14-year-old boy who was killed with a state senator's gun. An attorney for Senator Robert Regola says the lawmaker will testify if called. But Regola's teenage son, who was friends with the boy, will not testify. The inquest into the death of Louis Farrell began yesterday to determine whether the boy shot himself intentionally or accidentally, or was shot by someone else. A state police forensic expert has testified that blood droplets
found near the gun barrel and under Farrell's fingernail were consistent with the boy shooting himself at close range. Farrell lived next door to the Regolas. No charges have been filed in the case.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Orchestra has named an interim musical director while it searches for a new director. Musicians were advised after last night's concert at the Kimmel Center that Charles Dutoit will serve as chief conductor and artistic adviser. Beginning in September 2008, Dutoit will lead the Orchestra in up to eight weeks of concerts in Philadelphia and on tour. The 70-year-old Swiss-born conductor made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1980. He directed the Orchestras summer series at The Mann Center between 1990 and 1999. The orchestra announced in October that Christoph Eschenbach
will be departing as musical director after a three-year run. The 66-year-old Eschenbach is remaining as conductor until the end of the 2007-08 season and will return for concerts in January and February 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Governor Ed Rendell says the federal government has approved Pennsylvania's plan to expand state-subsidized health insurance for children who are ineligible for federal welfare benefits. That means Pennsylvania will be able to offer the expanded Children's Health Insurance Program benefits -- an initiative known as "Cover All Kids" -- as early as next month. The guidelines for the program known as CHIP had limited eligibility to families earning 235 percent of the federal poverty level -- about 47-thousand dollars for a family of four. The expansion will provide partially subsidized insurance for families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level -- about 60-thousand dollars for a family of four. It will also institute a sliding monthly premium based on ability to pay. Families with higher incomes can obtain coverage if they meet certain criteria.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Speaker's Commission on Legislative Reform is recommending that the state House make all its financial records available electronically. It's also in favor of phasing out private vehicle leases for lawmakers. If the entire House approves the records proposal, the public will get electronic access to all state representatives' expense records as well as information about the accounts controlled by the two parties' leaders. The lone "no" vote was cast by Philadelphia Democratic Representative Mark Cohen. He says that disclosing every detail about legislative spending will discourage people who are not wealthy enough to pay expenses out of their own pockets from running for the House. The commission also recommended the House eliminate private leases that allow members to spend up to 650 dollars a month on vehicles.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The trial for indicted state Senator Vincent Fumo will likely last three to four months and will not get under way until early next year. That's the word from attorneys on both sides of the case, who attended a hearing yesterday in federal court in Philadelphia. Prosecutors say they expect to call at least 100 witnesses over roughly two months. Fumo's attorney says he could probably present his case by the spring of 2008, but that he wouldn't be certain until he reviews the prosecution's documents. The sides are expected to meet again in about six weeks to reassess the timetable. Fumo is one of Pennsylvania's most powerful politicians. He is accused in a federal indictment of misusing about two (m) million dollars in public and charitable funds for his own personal benefit.

WASHINGTON (AP) - An attorney with Pennsylvania roots has been asked to handle legal fights the White House expects with the new Democratic Congress. Fred Fielding is no stranger to Washington, having worked as legal counsel to both Presidents Nixon and Reagan. Now, the 67-year-old lawyer is back to work for President Bush. Fielding will be busy. Congressional Democrats plan to investigate the Iraq war, suspected government fraud and White House decision-making on environmental policy, secret surveillance and other matters. Fielding was born in Philadelphia and grew up on a farm in Bucks County. He later attended Gettysburg College and the University of Virginia's law school on scholarships.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Mayor John Street has unveiled a three-point-nine (B) billion-dollar budget proposal that calls for hiring 200 new police officers. But the spending plan would also reduce the number of city employees by two-point-five percent in many departments. Street's budget contains some unexpected cuts, including a one-million-dollar decrease in the city's contribution to the Community College of Philadelphia. He also proposes dipping into the city's 171 (m) million-dollar surplus to help cover an 89 (m) million-dollar deficit. The mayor says that because of skyrocketing pension and employee-benefit costs, the budget he outlined will leave challenges for the next administration.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Local News-Thursday, Feb. 22nd

Icy roads were to blame for several accidents last night and this morning. State police at Schuylkill Haven investigated three crashes late Wednesday and early today. The warmer temperatures the past two days, and below freezing nights caused runoff to freeze, causing black ice. Two crashes happened on Route 209, and one on Route 25 in the western part of Schuylkill County. One driver had minor injuries, but vehicles were significantly damaged.

Pottsville drug investigators made two arrests earlier this week. On Sunday, police picked up Jose Monroy as part of their continuing investigation into drug dealers bringing cocaine into the city from the Allentown area. Monroy was found to have crack cocaine and cash on him when arrested, and admitted that he was planning to sell the drugs. Monroy is associated with Samuel Santiago Jr., who was arrested on similar counts in January. Edward Rodriquez, West Arch Street, was arrested Tuesday for selling coke. Police observed him making the transaction around 6pm that evening. He was arraigned and taken to county prison, unable to post bail. Pottsville’s confidential drug tip hotline is 622-1234, mailbox 150.

Three individuals were arrested by Pottsville Police following a shooting spree in the city earlier this week.
The trio were alleged to have shot windows in a half-dozen cars and four homes on Davis and Fairview Streets early Monday. The Pottsville Republican reports that 19-year-old Alex Bulino, 18-year-old Jonathan Kline and a juvenile used a .22 caliber rifle to shoot at the vehicles and homes. Three of the four homes were inhabited at the time. Bulino and Kline were apprehended Tuesday, and the juvenile picked up Wednesday. The three admitted to the shootings, and reportedly said they did so for fun. They were arraigned on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, criminal conspiracy and related offenses.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission have placed Sweet Arrow Lake on their trout stocking schedule. Schuylkill Conservation District Manager Craig Morgan said at Wednesday’s Schuylkill County Commissioners work session that 2-thousand rainbow trout will be stocked by the agency on Monday, April 2nd with another 1,400 on April 25th and 1-thousand trout to be delivered on October 11th. He also said that over a thousand trout will be stocked by the Swatara Cooperative Trout Nursery in time for opening day of trout season that begins March 31st. Sweet Arrow is the only lake in southern Schuylkill County to be included on the commission’s trout stocking list. Locust Lake and Tuscarora State Parks are stocked in northern Schuylkill County.

It was a busy morning for the Schuylkill County Commissioners yesterday. The body held a regular board meeting, work session and prison board meeting yesterday, due to the cancellation of last week’s meeting because of the winter storm. Among the items discussed, the Commissioners approved a request to advertise for bids on renovations for a Senior Resource Center in Tremont. The center will be established at the former Tremont High School. Bid opening is Wednesday, March 14th with a tentative award date two weeks later.
In a related matter, the County Office of Senior Services received approval for an amendment to a cooperative grant agreement pertaining to funds from the Pa. Department of Aging for the senior community center grant program. One-hundred-eighty-five thousand will be for the Tremont facility, $51-hundred dollars for renovations and equipment at the Shenandoah Center and $9-thousand will be used for each of the six remaining centers. Rest Haven was granted approval to advertise for bids to provide linen and laundry services for a two-year period beginning May 17, 2007. Bids will be opened Wednesday March 14th and tentatively awarded on Wednesday March 28th. Rest Haven also received approval for a contract extension with the current provider to May 16, 2007 at a cost of $55-thousand-900 dollars. Also approved by the Commissioners was a vehicle maintenance contract with STS for county-owned vehicles. The contract will run from January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007 at a rate of $31.00 per hour.

State police are investigating the theft of equipment from a coal company in Mahanoy Township. Sometime between Monday night and Tuesday, unknown thieves removed the main gate at the Locust Valley Coal Company on the Burma Road. They took a Caterpillar Track Loader by placing it on a trailer, then took off undetected. Troopers are still investigating the theft.

The Pottsville School Board met for their regular meeting last night. Directors approved the final real estate tax collection reports for 2006. Around $909-thousand-dollars in delinquent taxes will be turned over to Schuylkill County for collection that were unpaid by property owners in Pottsville City and the other communities which make up the school district. Dr. Jack Dolbin, chair of the committee on Athletics and Extracurricular Activities recommended the appointment of Dr. Robert Boran as Athletic Team Orthopedic Doctor for the next school year at a salary of $3-thousand dollars. Boran served in that position this year without a stipend, but the committee recommended that he be added to the paid staff in addition to Dr. Matthew Sophy, the team physician. The tentative school calendar for the 2007-2008 school year was also adopted. The first day of school will be Monday, August 27th, and the tentative last day is May 30th, 2008. Teachers will report for in-service on Wednesday, August 22nd. Several students were recognized for their achievements. John Jones was selected as Pennsylvania’s winner in the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Award and will receive a $1-thousand-dollar journalism scholarship. Eric Rajchel was named a Coca Cola scholarship finalist, and Timothy Camise, a semi-finalist. Next month’s board meeting date was changed to Tuesday, March 13th at 7pm. Solicitor Richard Thornburg told the board that is the last day to adopt any possible tax referendum under Act 1, the Taxpayer Relief Act.

State News-Thursday, Feb. 22nd

WASHINGTON (AP) - Advocacy groups say the U-S government is keeping immigrant families in jail-like conditions at detention centers in Pennsylvania and Texas. The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services released a report on the centers today.
The Pennsylvania center is called the Berks County Shelter Care Facility -- a former nursing home in Leesport. The report says it's part of a larger juvenile facility housing U-S citizens charged with or convicted of crimes and detained juveniles. The Homeland Security Department defends the centers as a workable solution to the problem of illegal immigrants being released, only to disappear while awaiting hearings.

YORK, Pa. (AP) - The union representing workers at Harley-Davidson's largest manufacturing plant in York will be voting today on a tentative labor agreement that could end a walkout. Workers suspended picketing late last week after the union and the company announced a tentative settlement. The nearly 28-hundred
hourly workers had been on strike for two weeks. The terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, and there's no
word yet on when the York factory's motorcycle production will resume. The union went on strike February Second, two days after members rejected a contract proposal from the company that provided four
percent annual raises but reduced pay for new hires and lowered health-insurance and pension benefits.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State lawmakers will open two days of hearings today into the slow response to last week's storm. Major highways were closed due to the snow and ice and many motorists were left stranded.
Four top Rendell administration officials are scheduled to testify today at a Senate hearing. They include State Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler and State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller. The House will be looking into the storm response tomorrow. Meanwhile, two of Governor Ed Rendell's top aides issued a
report yesterday saying that state officials didn't work well at the beginning and didn't escalate the response when things got worse.

ROGERSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A woman who died in a Greene County house fire that killed seven people was remembered at her funeral as a loving mother. Rebecca Lynn Eddy was also called a hero who tried in vain to
save the children's lives. A single casket held the remains of the 26-year-old woman and three of her children. Three other children also died in the blaze. Their funeral is planned today.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A ten-year-old boy is suing a suburban Philadelphia school district, saying he wasn't allowed to dress as Jesus during his school's Halloween activities. The lawsuit says other children at Willow Hill Elementary School in Glenside were allowed to dress up as witches and devils. It alleges that the Abington School District was discriminating against Christians. A lawyer for the school district says the family never approached school officals to try to resolve things before suing. The suit was filed on behalf of the boy and his mother by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The boy isn't identified in court papers because of his age. He no longer attends Willow Hill.

National and International News-Thursday, Feb. 22nd

LONDON (AP) - Within the next several months, thousands of British troops could be leaving Iraq. Prime Minister Tony Blair says about 16-hundred troops will be pulled out in the coming months, and another five-thousand will leave by late summer, if Iraqi forces can secure the southern part of the country. But he
says British troops will stay in Iraq until at least next year.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - At least 13 people are dead in Iraqi city of Najaf after a suicide car bomber struck a police checkpoint. More than 40 other people are injured. It's the first large-scale attack in months for the Shiite holy city, which is heavily guarded by police and Shiite militiamen.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has fired a Sunni government official
who demanded an investigation into rape allegations brought forth by a Sunni Arab woman. The woman says she was attacked by members of the Shiite-dominated security force. Al-Maliki's office has been
casting doubts on that.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Testimony continues today in the court battle over who gets custody of Anna Nicole Smith's body. The presiding judge in Florida says he'll have a decision by Friday. He's been warned by a medical examiner that Smith's body is rapidly decomposing, even though it's been embalmed.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Three hikers who were rescued from Oregon's Mount Hood say they did exercises while waiting for help on the mountain so their muscles wouldn't tighten. They tell A-B-C's "Good Morning America" that they also called 9-1-1 frequently, and kept warm with the help of a dog named Velvet.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Local News-Wednesday, Feb. 21st

The sunny skies and warmer temperatures are a welcome change to a week ago, when we were encased in snow and ice. But, with the warmth comes the problem of falling ice. We have had several reports of ice falling off of roofs onto the pavements in communities across the region. The weight of the ice and snow can cause damage and injuries. Our best advice is to check your roofs for ice buildup, and if it can be done safely, get rid of it. Or, contact a professional who can remove the icy buildup for you.

A Schuylkill Haven man is in county prison on simple assault charges. 39-year-old Joseph and 25-year-old Jessica Bassininsky got into a fight around 6pm Monday. Joseph Bassininsky alleged slammed Jessica Bassininsky’s head and back against a faucet and porcelain tub and was kicked in the back. State police took Bassininsky into custody and was arraigned. He was unable to post bail and remanded to county prison.

Schuylkill Haven police are investigating a motorcycle theft last week. They now say that on Friday, David Henninger Jr. found his 2005 Yamaha missing from his garage on Haven Street. Someone broke in during the overnight hours, and pushed the bike several blocks to Willow Street, where the tracks ended. Later on Friday, someone reported that two males were loading a motorcycle on a truck at the Denny Electric parking lot from behind a snow bank. The pair took off in a dark pickup truck. If anyone has any information relating to the theft, contact Schuylkill Haven Police at 385-2747.

A big party to celebrate Fat Tuesday was held in Pottsville last night. The event to mark Mardi Gras was held at the Greystone Restaurant, complete with authentic Cajun foods like Jambalaya and music by Nick Michels. A crowd of over 100 were in attendance. The second Mardi Gras party was the idea of the restaurant's owners, and they donated the $10 admission back to Pottsville Lasting Legacy for the benefit of community projects. Legacy Chairman Joe Schlitzer said that the community continues their outpouring of support for Legacy's projects and they are looking to building maintenance funds for the Yuengling and Joulwan parks. The fundraising efforts will continue to provide financial support to maintain the various projects already completed, like Joulwan and Yuengling Park.

Before you know it, the snow will be gone, and it will be time for the Great Pottsville Cruise. A pre-unveiling of the 2007 Cruise Car, a 1992 Red Chevrolet Corvette, was held yesterday at Pioneer Pole Buildings on Route 183. Pioneer is this year's official sponsor of the Cruise Car. Laurie Fink, Marketing Director of Pioneer Pole, said that the cruise committee approached the company last month about becoming the prime sponsor and they jumped at the chance to get on board. Non-profit organizations can raise funds by selling tickets to win the Cruise Car. Jerry Enders, cruise chairman, said that over $100-thousand-dollars has been raised for these organizations over the past four or five years by selling the car raffle tickets. The Great Pottsville Cruise Weekend is August 9th through 12th. For more information, log on to

A Frackville woman was hurt in a crash yesterday morning in West Mahanoy Township. 29-year-old Laurie Robinson was eastbound on the Morea Road when she lost control on the snow covered road. Her car struck a snow bank and rolled over twice, ending on its roof. Robinson was hurt and taken to Pottsville Hospital. Two children who were passengers in the back seat were uninjured. Robinson will be cited for driving too fast for conditions and other traffic infractions. The crash happened at 7am Tuesday.

A Pottsville man suffered back injuries as the result of a crash at Blue Mountain High School yesterday.
Frank Raczka Jr. was traveling west on Route 443 when Elaine Hollenbach of New Ringgold was attempting to turn onto 443 from the high school. The two cars collided. Hollenbach was not hurt, but Raczka reportedly injured his back. The crash happened around 1pm.

The Schuylkill County Democratic Party announced their slate of candidates for the May primary.
Following their Executive Committee meeting last night in Pottsville, a mix of incumbents and newcomers were introduced. Seeking re-election are Commissioner Mantura Gallagher, Prothonotary Peter Symons, who previously ran as a Republican, and Stephen Lukach for Clerk of Courts. Current Sheriff Francis McAndrew is running for Commissioner with Gallagher. North Manheim Township resident Melinda Kantner is seeking the office of County Controller. David Bowen of Frackville is looking to serve as County Treasurer,

Mahanoy City resident and McCann School of Business faculty member Nancy Petritsch is looking to serve as Recorder of Deeds, St. Clair Council President Michael McCord is seeking the office of Register of Wills and State Police Investigator Joseph Lipsett of Pottsville is running for County Coroner. The primary is May 15th.

State News-Wednesday, Feb. 21st

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A 26-year-old man faces sentencing today for his girlfriend's fatal fall from his 23rd-floor apartment in Harrisburg. Kevin Eckenrode was convicted last month of involuntary manslaughter in the February 2005 death of 23-year-old Rachel Kozlusky. The jury acquitted him of the more serious crime of third-degree murder. Both Eckenrode and Kozlusky had been drinking heavily on the night of her death. Eckenrode told police he helped Kozlusky sit on the apartment ledge, then dangled her by the wrists in horseplay before she slipped from his grasp.

DUNCANNON, Pa. (AP) - A Harrisburg woman who's charged with homicide in the shooting death of her former lover has a preliminary hearing today. The lawyer for 45-year-old Rochelle Laudenslager questions the strength of the prosecution's case. Police say they found the gun used to kill 48-year-old Elaine Pierson hidden under insulation in Laudenslager's mother's attic. Laudenslager told state police she and Pierson had a four-year sexual relationship that ended in 2002, but that they had remained friends. She told state police that she was interested in rekindling the intimate relationship but could not because Pierson was involved with another woman.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bipartisan reform panel is expected to resume its deliberations today over proposed changes to rules governing the state House of Representatives. The Speaker's Commission on Legislative Reform has been voting on proposed rules changes that the full House will consider on
March 12th. The panel earlier this month recommended that the House make permanent a ban on allowing representatives to give their proxy votes to floor leaders while they are elsewhere in the Harrisburg
area on official business. The committee has also recommended restricting session hours to 8 a-m to 11 p-m, but would allow exceptions for special circumstances.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Rendell administration official says the state might not have the money to provide health coverage for all uninsured adults. There could be a waiting list if demand for the proposed expansion outstrips the state's ability to pay for it. Rosemarie Greco of the Governor's Office of Health Care Reform
testified during a state budget hearing that Governor Ed Rendell's "Cover All Pennsylvanians" proposal isn't an entitlement program. Greco says Rendell's proposal includes enough money to insure about 800-thousand of adults who cannot afford private insurance but make too much money to qualify for taxpayer-subsidized
insurance. She says that if lawmakers are concerned about waiting lists they could appropriate more money than the governor requested for the program.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Legislature is holding hearings this week about the response to last week's snow and ice storm. Lawmakers want to know why the storm shut down Pennsylvania interstates and stranded drivers in freezing overnight temperatures. The Senate will be looking into the storm response tomorrow and the House on Friday. Also, two of Governor Ed Rendell's top aides are undertaking a
"ratcheted-up" version of the post-mortem that normally follows a weather emergency in the state.
And the state's contracted with a business run by former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief James Lee Witt. It's to perform "a thorough forensic investigation" into the snowstorm response.
Witt is supposed to recommend how to avoid repeating errors.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Three dozen coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania now have until 2015 to reduce their mercury emissions by 90 percent. Notice of a new regulation became final on Saturday, and it
marks a major step in the state's regulation of smokestack mercury pollution. As a result, Pennsylvania has become the nation's biggest coal-burning state to approve mercury limits that are tougher than a rule enacted by the federal government. The U-S Environmental Protection Agency still must review the
rule. Mercury often accumulates in fish and can damage the development of the nervous system in children and fetuses. State officials say power plants are the largest source of mercury pollution in Pennsylvania.

TULLYTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Tullytown borough councilman serving in Afghanistan asked to be allowed to participate in meetings by phone. But Councilman Joseph Shellenberger was turned down -- so
veterans are planning a protest before the next council meeting. Shellenberger, a master sergeant in the Air Force, was sent to Afghanistan in January and is expected to return home in about two months. Before leaving, he asked to be allowed to phone in his votes during meetings. Instead, the council passed a motion requiring members to be present to vote. Another councilman moved to make an exception for Shellenberger, but the motion died when nobody seconded it. Council President Beth Pirolli says Shellenberger shouldn't be worrying about local suburban Philadelphia politics while at war.

National and International News-Wed. Feb. 21st

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Despite beefed up security by Iraqi police and Shiite militiamen, a suicide car bomber struck today in the Shiite holy city of Najaf. At least eleven people were killed. Najaf is a major destination for Shiite pilgrims, as well as the headquarters of the country's Shiite spiritual leader.

LONDON (AP) - Britain is expected to announce today that it will withdraw close to half its troops from Iraq by the end of the year. The decision is being welcomed in Washington. A spokesman for the National Security Council says it's "a sign of success" that Iraqis are able to take more control of their security.

NEW YORK (AP) - "We are sorry and embarrassed," reads the full-page ad that JetBlue Airways took out today in several East Coast newspapers. The airline says it's "deeply sorry" for stranding customers during the Valentine's Day ice storm. Between today and tomorrow, the ad will run in 20 newspapers in 15 cities.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A decade from now, one out of every five dollars spent in the United States will go toward health care. Economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid say the cost of health insurance is expected to rise nearly six-and-a-half percent annually, with out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays rising more than five percent a year.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - After yet another rescue operation on Mount Hood, debate is under way in the Oregon Legislature on a bill that would require some climbers to carry electronic locator units. The three climbers rescued this week were carrying such a device. Veteran mountaineers say people would gain a false sense of
security or not do enough to rescue themselves.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Local News-Tuesday, Feb. 20th

A Shenandoah woman is dead following a Saturday afternoon crash in Gilberton. We reported to you yesterday that 25-year-old Jamie Hossler and her 8-year-old son were involved in a head-on crash on Route 924. Hossler was ejected from the vehicle during the accident. Both were life-flighted to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment. Officials say that Jamie Hossler died Sunday.

Officials have released additional details about the crash that killed a New Jersey man Friday night. Cesar and Juan Taveras were traveling on Route 61 when they lost control on a patch of ice, went up a snow bank and plunged over the Schuylkill River bridge at Port Clinton. Officials say that the SUV went down 60 feet into the river, and 43-year-old Cesar Tavares died from drowning and hypothermia. 71-year-old Juan Taveras was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Rescue workers from Hamburg and the Schuylkill Haven Fire Department dive team worked for over an hour to free the pair from the wreckage in the icy waters. State police are still investigating.

A Pottsville medical practice and pharmacy were closed Monday due to the weight of snow and ice on their roof. A portion of the roof of the building which houses the Pottsville Internists practice and the RXD Pharmacy showed signs of bowing due to the heavy snow and ice from last week’s storm, prompting the closure of those businesses. According to the Pottsville Republican, contractors were on-site to assess the situation, and that the roof was not in danger of collapse. The rear portion of the building, which houses the billing department for the practice, showed no signs of bowing under the weight. Officials say that the affected portions of the building will remain closed until the situation is taken care of.

Today is Shrove Tuesday, or better known as Fastnacht Day. The day before Ash Wednesday, according to Pennsylvania German tradition, is the day to get the fat out of the house before Lent starts. Its also the time to enjoy the deep-fried doughnuts known as Fastnachts. Traditionalists say that a true Fastnacht has no sugar coating or filling, but many people enjoy making them and eating them with a variety of toppings and fillings. Across the region, people make the pastry themselves, but many don’t have time to do so, and buy them from local churches and bakeries. The traditional fastnacht is made with mashed potatoes, and deep fried in lard. They may not be the healthiest thing to eat, but once a year, its okay.

A Tower City woman suffered minor injuries, and two passengers were not hurt in a crash last night in Porter Township. Schuylkill Haven State Police say that 20-year-old Rachel Rothermel was southbound on Route 209 when her car left the roadway and struck a tree. 19-year-old Richard Demyan and a 10 week old child, passengers in the car, were not hurt. All three were wearing their seatbelts. The crash happened before 8 o’clock last night.

A Carlisle woman was involved in a one vehicle crash on Interstate 81 Sunday. Frackville state police report that 19-year-old Nicole Hartman was southbound on the Interstate when she lost control , left the roadway and hit a snow bank. Her car careened across the road, hit another snow pile and rolled over. Hartman was not hurt. The crash happened at mile marker 113 in Foster Township around 2pm Sunday.

A county environmental group will hear from an internationally known engineer at their meeting tonight.
The Schuylkill Headwaters Association, an active participant in the effort to clean waterways of acid mine drainage, will hold their regular monthly meeting tonight at the Schuylkill Conservation District on the Gordon Nagle Trail. Their guest speaker is James Gusek, a Senior Consultant with Golder Associates, Lakewood, Colorado. Gusek specializes in mine closure, land reclamation and designing passive treatment systems for mine contaminated water. The meeting is open to the public, and local sportsmen’s groups are encouraged to attend. For information, contact Paul Lohin at 544-3418.

Residents in the Panther Valley School District may see a tax increase for the next budget year. At Monday’s board meeting, a preliminary spending plan of $20.7-million-dollars was approved. That plan would increase taxes for residents of Carbon and Schuylkill counties, which the district encompasses. Panther Valley school officials indicate that the district will apply for an exception to Act 1, in order to raise taxes more than the 2 mills allowed under the state Taxpayer Relief Act. If approved, Carbon County taxpayers would see their property taxes increase 19 percent, and Schuylkill County taxpayers of Panther Valley an increase of 18-point-9 percent. The spending plan is subject to changes, and a final budget will not be adopted until June of this year. Panther Valley lost about a half-million dollars in state reimbursement funds for their middle-school construction project due to an error made by Public Financial Management Incorporated, the bond management firm who worked on the financing for the school. The district has reduced their spending on the new school by about $450-thousand-dollars already to make up the shortfall.

State News-Tuesday, Feb. 20th

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) - Milton Hershey's dream of providing a free education and a stable home life to orphaned boys got off to a humble start in the last century with just a handful of youngsters. Nearly a century later, the Milton Hershey School is the nation's largest private boarding school. And now, the school is aiming for its biggest growth spurt ever. Today, school officials are set to announce plans to recruit 500 new students in the next school year across all grade levels. That will push enrollment at the prekindergarten-to-12th grade
school to a record 17-hundred students.

LANSDALE, Pa. (AP) - A Lansdale native has written a book that's gathering a lot of buzz. The author is Jon Clinch, and the book is "Finn." The book is about one of the nastiest and scariest characters in Southern fiction: Huckleberry Finn's abusive father. Ahead of its release today by Random House, Clinch's
first published novel has garnered substantial praise including coveted starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. A coast-to-coast book tour is upcoming.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Marine who grew up in Franklin Park, near Pittsburgh, has been killed in Iraq.
Family members say that 34-year-old Infantry Captain Todd Siebert was on patrol Friday near Anbar Province when a bomb detonated. Siebert served with the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Marines. Relatives say Siebert was deployed to Iraq in January after visiting his family at Christmas. Siebert graduated in 1990 from North Allegheny High School. He graduated from Penn State University in 1999. For the past decade, Siebert lived at Camp Lejune, North Carolina, with his wife, Darcy, and their nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old son. His parents live in Harmony, Butler County.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A suspected drug dealer was cut in half in Pittsburgh. Police say he reached into a car that sped away and slammed him into a utility pole. Police say the unidentified man was selling crack cocaine
yesterday (Monday) to a driver in the city's Homewood neighborhood -- then the driver tried to leave without paying. The top half of the victim's body was inside the vehicle when the car slammed the victim's legs into a utility pole and sheared his body in half. Witnesses told police the car eventually went out of control and stopped before the male driver and two passengers fled on foot.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh has opened a new facility for patients with hearing and balance problems. The hospital says the Mercy Hearing and Balance Center will specialize in ear diseases, hearing loss, facial nerve and balance disorders, tinnitus, vertigo and other disorders. About 400 patients are expected to be tested, diagnosed and treated at the center each year.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A garage fire in Clarion County has destroyed a collection of boats, classic cars and other vehicles. State police say fire marshals are investigating blaze, which occurred Friday morning blaze and caused 400-thousand dollars' worth of damage. The fire destroyed nine classic cars, two boats, two motorcycles and two forklifts at the garage on Bud Lane in Millcreek Township. Authorities have not yet determined the cause of the blaze.

McKEES ROCKS, Pa. (AP) - Robinson Township, which has the Pittsburgh area's largest mall and shopping center, wants its own ZIP code. The area is currently served by ZIP codes for eight neighboring communities. But local officials are urging the U-S Postal Service to recognize Robinson with a five-digit code of its own. Township officials say there are practical reasons for the area to have its own ZIP code and post office. It would help officials collect taxes from people who work in the area, for example. But the Postal Service says it is reluctant to change ZIP codes because they help ensure that mail is delivered efficiently,
regardless of municipal boundaries. They also say it would be costly to reconsider delivery routes and mail processing.

National and International News-Tuesday, Feb. 20th

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - As U-S and Iraqi troops try to restore some order to Baghdad's streets, militants continue their deadly attacks. Two car bombs have killed at least eleven people today. One was a suicide attack.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush welcomes former Vice Admiral Mike McConnell as the nation's new intelligence chief at a swearing-in today in Washington. Later, Bush kicks off two days of promoting his proposed health care tax break.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Anna Nicole Smith's former boyfriend Larry Birkhead appears in Los Angeles court today for a closed-door hearing on his paternity claim for Smith's infant daughter. Meanwhile, Howard K. Stern attends a Florida hearing over who gets custody of Smith's body.

DENVER (AP) - Falling rocks have hit two vehicles in Colorado since Sunday. One smashed through the window of a car and killed an eleven-month-old boy. Officials say rocks are loosened this time of
year because of the freeze-and-thaw cycle.

NEW YORK (AP) - Director Spike Lee has won a George Polk Award for his documentary about life after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The film, called "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts," detailed the government's poor response to the storm.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Local News-Monday, Feb. 19th

A New Jersey man died in a crash in West Brunswick Township Friday night. Cesar Taveras of Carteret, New Jersey was northbound on Route 61 when he lost control on an icy patch on the road. The car went off the bridge and into the Schuylkill River. Taveras and his passenger, Juan Taveras had to be rescued from the river by members of the Schuylkill Haven Dive Team. Cesar Taveras was medivac’d to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment of his injuries, including hypothermia. Juan Taveras was taken to Reading Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The fatal crash happened around 9:45pm Friday.

Two people were hurt in a crash in Gilberton on Saturday afternoon. An unidentified 25 year old was driving in the passing lane of Route 924, headed toward Frackville, when he lost control on the icy road. The car crossed the median and struck the car operated by 46-year-old John Merchlinsky of Gilberton head on.
The driver was ejected from the vehicle. An 8-year-old passenger was also hurt in the incident. Both were life flighted to Geisinger Medical Center. Merchlinsky was not injured. The crash happened after 4pm Saturday.

If you had to travel somewhere last week, the going was tough. For a Connecticut man, the trip from Virginia home was an odyssey, and it took the power of the Internet to help him get home. Around 5pm Friday, we received a call to our newsroom from a frantic woman from Connecticut. Her husband was on his way home from Virginia and couldn’t travel on Interstate 81 because it was closed from Indiantown Gap north to Wilkes-Barre. To add insult to injury, her husband was driving a rental car because a block of ice shattered his windshield, and he had no map with him. She asked for our help. He happened to be traveling on Route 209 here in Pottsville, and we were able to give him directions to get to Wilkes-Barre, and back onto the Interstate to return home. When we asked her how she found our phone number, she said she logged on to the internet and found our website and phone number. The world wide web is a powerful tool, and we were glad to help!

A McAdoo woman will be charged following an incident early Saturday at a borough bar. 35-year-old Tracy Ann McAloose, a bartender at the Grey Goose Bar on Kennedy Drive, is accused of throwing a potted plant through the front window of the establishment around 2am Saturday morning. When state police arrived, McAloose was standing on the front porch of the bar, yelling inside and was apparently drunk. She reportedly left her keys inside the bar. No keys were found. McAloose will be charged with criminal mischief and public drunkenness.

A controversial development plan in Orwigsburg is not settled yet, as the developer files an appeal in court.
John Dunchick, the developer of the 33-unit townhouse project, said that Orwigsburg Borough Council was wrong in not approving his project in January, according to his appeal. The project was to construct the homes between Route 443 and Lee Street in the borough. The Pottsville Republican reports that council rejected modifications to the plan for spacing between driveways in January, and denied reconsideration of the change and the development plan on February 7th. Residents near the site had voiced their opposition to the plan.
Dunchick’s appeal says that Orwigsburg borough made an error by turning the plan down based on the driveway separation issue alone. He said that the borough’s rejection of the plan had "no legal basis".
His suit is asking the court to reverse the denial.

Beginning today, Census Bureau workers will be canvassing the nation to update information about the nation’s population. Fernando Armstrong, Director of the Philadelphia Census Office, said that about 100-thousand households across the nation will be interviewed for the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the monthly Current Population Survey. Selected households should receive a letter about the survey. Some of the participants will be surveyed by phone, while others will be visited by Census Bureau personnel.
The survey will check on employment status, earnings and other data. These statistics will help to estimate the unemployment rate, released monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The interviews will take place during this week, and the weeks of March 18th and April 15th. The Current Population Survey, dating back to 1942, is the longest-running household survey in the country.