Saturday, June 30, 2007

News-Saturday, June 30th

BAGHDAD (AP) - U-S military officials say troops in western Iraq
have found a mass grave containing dozens of bodies. A military
statement says the remains of as many as 40 people were discovered
after a tip from a local resident. An investigation is under way.

BAGHDAD (AP) - American officials say 26 suspected militants
were killed in today's pre-dawn raid targeting Baghdad's Sadr City.
The military says the victims were combatants who died after an
"intense firefight." Iraqi officials put the death toll at eight
and say the dead were civilians.

LONDON (AP) - Police in London are conducting a manhunt for a
possible suspect in yesterday's attempted car-bombings. Authorities
say the vehicles were filled with gasoline, gas canisters and nails
and could have killed hundreds of people. Authorities are stepping
up their patrols across the city in an effort to reassure the

MADRID, Spain (AP) - A bomb threat has led to an airport
evacuation in Spain. Authorities say the police then exploded a
suspicious package. The airport in Ibiza (eye-BEE'-zah) attracts
tens of thousands of summer tourists. The bomb threat comes just
weeks after the Basque separatist group ETA (EH'-tah) called off a
15-month cease-fire.

UNDATED (AP) - Barry Bonds hit his 750th career home run last
night, but his team still lost to Arizona. The San Francisco Giants
slugger now needs just six homers to pass Hank Aaron's 755 mark.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh man who spent 32 of the past 34
years behind bars will spend more time there for bank robbery. Tony
Atkinson was sentenced yesterday to 17-and-one-half years in prison
for robbing a P-N-C Bank in 2003. He had been released from prison
nine days before. Atkinson denies he robbed the bank -- even though
he was caught with the money in his pocket.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State Representative Dan Surra, an Elk
County Democrat, is recovering from a mild heart attack. His son,
Andy Surra, says his father had the heart attack Thursday night and
could be released from a Harrisburg area hospital early next week.
Surra, who is 54 years old, has been in office since 1991.

MIDLAND, Pa. (AP) - A Beaver County personal care home company
has filed for bankruptcy. DeSimone's Personal Care Home, based in
Ohioville, has filed for Chapter Eleven protection in U-S
Bankruptcy Court. DeSimone's operates in Ohioville and Chippewa and
South Beaver townships.

CRANBERRY, Pa. (AP) - The U-S Forest Service says an invasive
beetle that has destroyed more than 20 (m) million ash trees in
five states could wipe out Pennsylvania's ash population in 12
years. The state's first emerald ash borer was discovered earlier
this week in Cranberry, Butler County. Since then, thousands have
been discovered. Pennsylvania has three (m) million ash trees
valued at 760 (m) million dollars.

State police are looking for the people who broke into a Pine Grove Township church. Sometime during the day Monday, the burglars pried open a door to the banquet hall at Salem Hetzel’s Church, then entering the church proper. While inside, the thieves made off with a large screen TV, and various electronic equipment. They fled through the rear of the building.
Schuylkill Haven state troopers now say that the items were valued at about $5-thousand-dollars. If anyone has information, call Schuylkill Haven State Police at 593-2000.

A New York man is in the county prison following an incident at Home Depot in St. Clair Thursday. St. Clair police say that 24-year-old Ronald Morise was at the store Thursday night. Morise reportedly applied for a store credit card under the name of Steven Seward of Texas and was granted a line of credit. He attempted to make a purchase with the card, when employees became suspicious and called police. Morise presented a Texas driver’s license with Seward’s identity, which was a fake. The real Seward was contacted in Arizona, and said he never applied for the card. Further investigation found that Morise and several other people had merchandise in the van they were driving, all apparently purchased fraudulently. Police believe that this was part of a multi-state crime ring. Morise was arraigned on various theft charges and taken to prison.

With the release of David Fleming’s new book about the Pottsville Maroons, a number of ideas are being tossed around by city officials how to commemorate the occasion. The published work “Breaker Boys: The NFL’s Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship”, which will be released in October, has spurred Mayor John Reiley and Pottsville’s Lasting Legacy Committee to talk about holding events in conjunction with the book premiere. Among the ideas are a book signing and presentation by Fleming, along with a big band musical show and other tie-in events. ESPN Books published the story about the 1925 NFL Champs, the Pottsville Maroons, who were stripped of the championship. Almost since the time that the title was taken away, Schuylkill Countians, and other supporters like Governor Ed Rendell, have gone to bat to try and have the title restore to the rightful champion, the Pottsville Maroons.

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. has issued an alert about a product sold at their stores in the mid-Atlantic region. The Rochester, New York grocer is alerting customers to a potential problem with unopened bottles of Wegman’s Blueberry Lemon Frizzante. There have been multiple reports of excess pressure in bottles, which caused the liquid to forcefully spray out of the bottle. In one case, a bottle burst. The alert affects products purchase on or after December 1st, 2006. The company recommends that consumers get rid of the product rather than return it to the store. Customers can contact the company directly for a refund. The alert is for the 33 ounce container, with a UPC code of 77890 31497.

A Schuylkill Haven teen was involved in a DUI-related crash early yesterday morning in South Manheim Township. 18-year-old Kevin Coleman was eastbound on the Schuylkill Mountain Road around 4am when his car left the roadway. The car hit a split rail fence, then struck a brick pillar in the driveway of 1492 Schuylkill Mountain Road. The force of impact brought the pillar out of the ground and onto the driveway, where the car came to rest on top of it. State police suspected that Coleman was intoxicated, and conducted field sobriety tests. He was arrested and given a blood alcohol test at Pottsville Hospital. Charges will be filed pending the outcome of those tests.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Local News-Friday, June 29th

The Schuylkill County Commissioners Wednesday approved the renewal of a three year contract with the Berks County firm hired to oversee the County’s Mental Health/ Mental Retardation Program. The renewed service agreement provides for Service Access Management to oversee the spending and management of the program for the period July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2010. The Commissioners also approved SAM's first year administration budget amounting to just over $2.5 Million Dollars and the distribution of just over $20.6 Million Dollars of the next fiscal years service dollars. Those agreements run from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. After several years of MH/MR budget overruns the county decided in 2004 that the MH/MR Programs fiscal problems were insurmountable and hired Service Access Management to oversee the program. At last weeks work session. MH/MR Administrator Dan McGrory told the Commissioners that the relationship between the County and SAM "is going very well." The Commissioners also accepted a performance and fiscal review of SAM's work for the county performed by a health care consulting firm from Mechanicsburg. Stanalonis & Associates review indicated that the relationship with SAM will result in the efficient and effective use of County funds and resources.

A city man was arrested for trespassing and public drunkenness in Pottsville Wednesday night.
Officers were called to a home on Norwegian Street around dinner time Wednesday, where Cory McCabe had entered the home of Catherine Walters. She asked McCabe to leave her home several times, but he ignored her. Police found him several doors away, visibly intoxicated. He was taken into custody on charges, arraigned and is lodged in the county prison.

The Diocese of Allentown is making some changes in how parishes are organized to study a possible restructuring. The parishes will be placed into 33 deanery regions, as recommended by the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Committees made up of clergy and two lay people from each church will meet to look at possible church consolidations or restructuring, according to the Allentown Diocese website. The regions range in size from two to nine parishes, mostly based on location. The pastoral council will provide guidelines for the study of consolidation and/or restructuring of the parishes. Each deanery region will use the guidelines to make recommendations if any parish changes should be made. Individual churches will also undertake their own self-study. That process is expected to be completed by September, and the results used in conjunction with other information gathered in the process. The list of churches and their breakdown by deanery is available by logging on to

A manufacturer in Delano is undertaking another expansion. Poly Plastic Products in Delano's Majic Industrial Park, a manufacturer of polyethylene bags and sheeting, has commenced its seventh expansion, according to company president Steve Redlich. The company moved from New Jersey to Schuylkill County in 1983. The original building was 30-thousand square feet and with the completion of their current expansion, the company will have a total of 173-thousand-square feet of manufacturing space. Redlich reports that Poly Plastic Products has experienced substantial growth in the past six years, increasing sales from $13 million for the year ending June 2001 to $50 million in the current year. In the past 2 years, the company purchased over $5 million in equipment to enhance their production capacity.

Two people were hurt following a crash on a wet Route 61 last night. 19-year-old Nicole Gulden and her passenger, Rasheem Whatley of Philadelphia were driving north in Darkwater when their car ran off the road in the rain. The car went up an embankment and flipped over on its roof. Both had minor injuries but refused treatment. Her car had to be towed. The accident happened around 7:30 Thursday evening.

The County’s Solid Waste Department will be able to recover 50% of the costs of its annual fall annual clean-up campaign. The Department received approval from the County Commissioners on Wednesday to register their clean-up campaign with the Department of Environmental Protection’s Household and Small Business hazardous waste collection program. The DEP program enables the county to recover 50% of the costs to collect, transport, and recycle scrap tires and electronics. The 2007 fall clean-up will be held September 17th though the 29th.
In other business, the Commissioners awarded a contract to Harry Depue, Inc. of Bangor for a bridge replacement project in Branch Township on a low bid of $362-thousand-dollars.
Bids were opened for Phase-One of a general construction project at Sweet Arrow Lake. Four bids were received for General Construction, Electrical and Plumbing. The tentative contract award date is July 11th. The Commissioners also approved an agreement for the sale and purchase of an agriculture easement between the county and owners of 61.4 acres of land located in Wayne Township for the purchase price of $61,140. The Commissioners announced that the Courthouse will be closed on Wednesday July 4th in observance of Independence Day. The Commissioners work session that week will be Tuesday, July 3rd at 10:00am in the Hofmann Room at the Courthouse.

National and State News-Friday, June 29th

LONDON (AP) - The new British prime minister, Gordon Brown, says a bomb scare in London is a reminder that Britain faces "a serious and continuous threat" and people "need to be alert."
Authorities defused what they say may have been a large car bomb in Piccadilly Circus. A witness saw a gas canister and nails inside the car.

BAGHDAD (AP) - A bomb has exploded under an oil pipeline south of Baghdad, spilling crude and sparking a huge fire. There's also word from Iraq that five more American soldiers have been killed. They were attacked while on patrol in Baghdad yesterday.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling that chipped away at affirmative action was a major topic at last night's Democratic debate. The eight presidential hopefuls told a mostly black audience at Howard University in Washington they still see a wide racial divide in the country.

MARBLE FALLS, Texas (AP) - The flood threat in Texas and Oklahoma is likely to last for several more days. More evacuations have been ordered near Fort Worth, Texas. All 77 counties in Oklahoma are under a state of emergency.

ATLANTA (AP) - Another mystery in the case of dead wrestler Chris Benoit. Authorities are trying to determine who changed Benoit's Wikipedia entry to mention his wife's death. The
Internet reference entry was altered 14 hours before the bodies of the couple and their son were discovered.

NEW MILFORD, Pa. (AP) - State police say several people are injured from the crash of a tour bus on an exit ramp of Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County. A police dispatcher says no other vehicles were involved in the crash just after 4 a-m today on the crash in New Milford Township. That's about 30 miles north of Scranton. The bus was leaving the southbound lanes at the Gibson exit of the interstate. The police dispatcher didn't have any immediate information on the bus line or destination.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Police say a chiropractor who crashed his small aircraft nose-first in a Lancaster County cornfield was intoxicated during the hour-long flight. Pennsylvania law prohbits flying a plane with a blood-alcohol level of point-oh-two or higher -- a much lower threshhold than the point-oh-eight for driving. George Robert Coder Junior of Lancaster told police that he started having mechanical problems at 22-hundred feet before the single-engine plane lost power. Before his arrest, Coder told reporters at the scene that the Manheim Township cornfield looked like a good place for a soft landing. Coder suffered only a scrape to his shin. Police said he failed a field sobriety test and charged him with flying under the influence.

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he doesn't favor deporting the estimated 12 (m) million illegal immigrants in the United States. But he says he also doesn't want them to receive what he calls a "special pathway" to legal residency. The former Massachusetts governor told reporters near Pittsburgh yesterday that the Senate's failure to pass the president's immigration plan was a "victory for the people." Romney was in Pittsburgh for a fundraiser at the exclusive Duquesne Club, where G-O-P presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani held a fundraiser the day before. Romney says he wants current laws enforced as well as a reliable employment-verification system for immigrants. Unlawful immigrants, he says, should "get in line" with other immigrants waiting for permanent residency.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A former nuclear engineer accused of helping a former Russian official steal nine (m) million dollars in aid was sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiracy and tax evasion. Federal prosecutors indicted 56-year-old Mark Kaushansky of Monroeville in 2005 along with former Russian atomic energy minister Yevgeny Adamov on charges including conspiracy, money laundering and tax evasion. Kaushansky entered a plea agreement in September. The Ukraine native had immigrated to the United States in 1979 and worked as a
nuclear engineer at Westinghouse. Prosecutors accused him and Adamov of stealing millions intended to improve nuclear technology in Russia. Prosecutors also alleged that Kaushansky owed millions in back taxes, but U-S District Judge Maurice Cohill found that he owed only 63-thousand dollars. Kaushanksy's attorney, Fred Thieman, said his client and Adamov funneled money through banks around the world to keep it safe from Russia's volatile economic market and to pay impoverished Russian nuclear scientists.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The budget plan of the state's largest transit agency includes fare increases. It also calls for drastic service and job cuts if state lawmakers do not provide enough money to cover its huge deficit. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which serves the Philadelphia region, has a 129-point-six (m) million-dollar budget shortfall.
If the Legislature does not provide 100 (m) million dollars by September, the agency's budget approved yesterday calls for a 31 percent fare increase, a 20 percent cut in service and the
elimination of one thousand jobs. SEPTA also approved a second, more optimistic plan that assumes the Legislature comes up with the needed funding. That proposal will increase fares by 11 percent on July ninth, while maintaining current service and job levels. Critics worry that the approved plans make it less likely that the Legislature will find the necessary funding for the system, now that the agency has a balanced budget.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia judge says 44-year-old Rebekah Johnson should be extradited to New York to stand trial in the shooting of a commune leader. Johnson is accused of the May 2006 shooting of Jeff Gross, a founder of the Ganas community on Staten Island in New York City. He survived. Neighbors and commune members have said that Johnson was asked to leave the community, where she lived from 1986 to 1990 and again from 1994 to 1996. After leaving, she accused the group of sexual assault and brainwashing, while Gross accused Johnson of stalking him. Johnson was arrested last week as she stepped off an elevated
train in West Philadelphia.

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) - Blair County officials say a county prison inmate committed suicide.
Officials found Nathan Aughenbaugh, of Tyrone, hanging by a bed sheet from a bar in his cell about 1:30 yesterday afternoon. Officials say Aughenbaugh, who was in for a parole violation,
was determined to be suicidal and so they were checking on him every couple minutes.
Officials say it appears that protocols were followed.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Public Schools has settled a lawsuit filed by administrator who claimed he was wrongfully passed over for superintendent. The 390-thousand dollar settlement ends Andrew King's suit and related complaints he filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and U-S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. King
will also retire Saturday, a year early. The district's solicitor says the settlement is only 75-thousand dollars more than King would have gotten next year in salary and for unused sick and vacation days. King served as interim chief when Superintendent John Thompson left in January 2005. King also applied for the position, but he was passed over in favor of Mark Roosevelt, a former Massachusetts legislator. King sued, saying he was more qualified. King, who is black, also alleged discrimination. In 1999, King was charged with open lewdness after police said they caught him in a sex act with a homeless woman in an S-U-V. He pleaded guilty to a lesser count, disorderly conduct.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Local News-Thursday, June 28th

062707-Staudenmeier on land issue
Les Blankenhorn

County Commissioner Chairman Frank Staudenmeier had some advice for the developer of the proposed Ethanol Plant and a landowner who are involved in a dispute over about an acre-and-a-half of land "Don't get us involved". During a public hearing conducted by the county last week over whether the land should be declared "blighted", and subject to eminent domain proceedings, both parties indicated an apparent willingness to negotiate, and as Chairman Staudenmeier indicated, its time to get back to the table. Green Renewable Energy wants to build a $300-Million Dollar Ethanol plant and distribution facility near Joliett. Economic officials said the 1.5 acres of land owned by Rausch Creek Land Limited Partnership and RCMS Investments is needed as part of a road widening project to accommodate the proposed development. The Commissioners have not yet rendered a decision on the issue. They indicated during their Wednesday board meeting that they are awaiting transcripts of the hearing before deciding if the land in question qualifies as blighted. If they agree that the land is blighted then the County Redevelopment Authority would begin condemnation proceedings.

062807-Grabowski in better condition
Jay Levan

The condition of a New Jersey man who was shot in the back in Mahanoy City on Tuesday has improved a bit. Eric Grabowski is a patient in the Reading Hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound inflicted by Thomas Heiser of Mahanoy City. The Republican and Herald reports that he is in fair condition. Heiser, who lives down the street from the home where Grabowski and two other men were working, has a history of trouble with the law, including drunk driving, theft and other offenses. Heiser told police that he saw the workers removing wires from siding on the home at 1327 East Centre Street, when he became concerned for his family's safety. That is when he shot them. Authorities are continuing their investigation. Heiser is in the county prison on a half million dollars straight bail.

062707-Commissioners get big bucks
Les Blankenhorn

The County Commissioners received a check for well over a quarter-of a million dollars during their Wednesday board meeting. The $389-thousand-134 check was presented to the county by the Schuylkill County Industrial Development Authority as payment back to the county of money it received from the sale of land at the High Ridge Business Park. The County floated a $10-Million Bond issue several years ago, some of which went to SEDCO to develop land in the Highridge Industrial park. An agreement between the county and SEDCO provides that when the land is sold, SEDCO returns money back to the County. County Commissioner Chairman Frank Staudenmeier had praise for the jobs that were created and the partnerships that were forged to make it all possible. SEDCO officials said that so far, they have returned over $918-thousand-dollars to the county.

062807-Ringing cell phone causes crash
Jay Levan

A ringing cell phone caused a crash in Pine Grove Township Tuesday afternoon. Schuylkill Haven state troopers report that 37-year-old Sterling Moyer was driving west on the Sweet Arrow Lake Road when his cell phone rang, causing him to drive off the road. His vehicle hit a utility pole. Moyer was able to drive his car into a driveway several hundred feet away from the crash scene. He was not hurt.

062807-Two hurt in crash outside of Pottsville
Jay Levan

Two people were hurt in a crash outside of Pottsville Wednesday night. 57-year-old Stephen Vilarda of Hamburg was headed north on Route 61 when he attempted to make a left turn onto Mill Creek Avenue. The car went into the path of the southbound vehicle of James Lukach, also of Hamburg. Lukach was taken to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for treatment, then released. His passenger, 8 year old Randi Conrad of Schuylkill Haven was taken to Pottsville Hospital. A passenger in Vilarda’s car, Carol Glassmire was hurt, but refused medical treatment. Pottsville police will cite Vilarda in the crash.

National and State News-Thursday, June 28th

BAGHDAD (AP) - Another day is off to a rough start in Iraq. A car bomb blew up at a busy bus terminal during the Baghdad rush hour. Dozens of minibuses were destroyed. At least 20 people were killed and more than 50 wounded. Three people died when a market place was hit by mortar fire.

MARBLE FALLS, Texas (AP) - Very heavy rain has prompted a warning of more flash floods this morning in south central Texas. People in the hill country are getting another deluge. They're reeling from a week and a-half of downpours that are blamed in nearly a dozen deaths.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - This could truly be a make-or-break day for what President Bush is hoping will be a signature piece of legislation for his final years in office. It's an overhaul of the
nation's immigration laws. A defeat in the Senate could doom any change until the next president and Congress take office.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The oversight arm of Congress fears the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina may have exposed dozens of people to dangerous asbestos. The Government Accountability Office says there were too few checks, and health guidance to volunteers was
"unclear and inconsistent."

WASHINGTON (AP) - With highway funds dwindling, a new think-tank study says states are going to have to concentrate more on easing bottlenecks. The study funded by the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation says some of the most cost-effective roads are in North Dakota and South Carolina and some of the least are in New Jersey and New York.

EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Johnstown personal care home owner and operator has been charged in the death of a disabled man who was left overnight on a hallway floor. John Anthony Senior, who owns Moxham Personal Care Home, was charged yesterday with involuntary manslaughter and neglect of a care-dependent person in the death of 47-year-old Gregory Hanks. Cambria County District Attorney Patrick Kiniry says Hanks probably wouldn't have died from the effects of drugs and alcohol in his system if he'd gotten medical treatment.
Anthony, who was released after posting bond, couldn't immediatly be reached for comment. Nor could his attorney. ut at a coroner's inquest last month during which a jury recommended the charges, Anthony testified he did not believe Hanks was in danger when he allowed Hanks to remain sleeping on the floor overnight December 21st.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A rock climber who broke his elbow and needed spine surgery after a 40-foot fall in West Virginia's New River Gorge says he can't wait to get out there again.
Weston Markham was injured Saturday at an abandoned mine site in the Kaymoore area. The 33-year-old Pittsburgh resident has been to the gorge countless times since he started going while attending Virginia Tech. Markham was using a safety rope and was with a climbing partner during his recent venture. He blames human error for the accident. Rescuers trekked a mile through the woods to get to Markham and he was flown to Charleston Area Medical Center. He says he expects to be discharged in a day or two and will need several months of rehabilitation. On Tuesday, a 14-year-old Boy Scout from Virginia fell 30 feet while climbing in the gorge. A National Park Service ranger says the boy, whose name wasn't released, was conscious when transported to the medical center. At least four people have died in rock-climbing accidents in West Virginia since 2001.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Three Montana law enforcement agencies will split nearly 130-thousand dollars seized from a Pennsylvania man who was stopped while driving drunk four years ago. The Montana Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal filed by Daniel Ward Payne, who denied that the money taken from his vehicle was drug money. He said it was from a poker game with Pittsburgh gangsters. A five-member panel of justices upheld a ruling by District Judge Joe Hegel of Rosebud County, who said Payne's explanation was not believable.
The justices also rejected arguments by Payne's attorney that an officer violated Payne's right to privacy, that his detention was a pretext to get a search warrant, and that the warrant was overly broad. Payne's attorney did not return a message seeking comment. The money will be divided among the Montana Highway Patrol, the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force and the Rosebud County Sheriff's Office.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - An Erie County judge ruled Erie can't change the deed restriction on its golf course, effectively preventing the city from its plans to sell it. Erie bought the course in 1926 from an estate for one dollar, but a deed restriction prohibits its sale or lease and requires the
city maintain it as a golf course or park. City officials, who said it had become a financial drain, wanted the deed restriction lifted. Mayor Joe Sinnott said yesterday he had just received the
decision and wouldn't comment until after he met with the city solicitor. Jim Casey, chairman of the Keep Erie Golf Course Open Committee, says he's pleased. Casey's group was one of three plaintiffs that challenged the city on its plans for the course. They argued that course could be
an asset to the city if properly managed.

PORTAGE, Pa. (AP) - A Cambria County borough mayor has been held for trial on charges he illegally issued three parking tickets. Lilly Mayor John Gides was ordered to stand trial yesterday on charges of forgery and tampering with public records. Impersonating a public servant charges were dismissed. State police say Gides signed the tickets in February using the
name of a part-time police officer. The officer, Christy Shaffer, testified that Gides told her he
was angry that people were parking in front of the recycling center. Defense attorney Tom Dickey asked that all charges be dropped. He argued the mayor, who's in charge of the police, had the authority to issue tickets in an emergency when no officer is on duty. Portage District Judge Galen Decort said Gides had no authority to sign tickets. He also questioned whether it was as an emergency.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Local News-Wednesday, June 27th

A Mahanoy City man is accused of shooting another man in the back yesterday in the borough.
Borough police say that the incident occurred in the 1300 block of East Mahanoy Avenue.
38-year-old Eric Grabowski of Burlington, New Jersey and two other men were remodeling a home when 26-year-old Thomas Heiser shot him in the back with a .22 caliber rifle. Grabowski identified Heiser as the shooter. Police surrounded Heiser's home and he was taken into custody. Heiser reportedly told officers that he saw the men working at a house up the street from him, and was fearful for his family, so he shot him in the back, according to the Republican and Herald. Heiser was arraigned at the Schuylkill County Prison and charged with attempted homicide and other offenses. Bail was set at $500-thousand-dollars.

It's official. Maroons Sports Bar and Grill will have new owners. Pottsville residents Robert and Karen Dittmar negotiated an agreement of sale to purchase the sports bar from the Pottsville Area Development Corporation, according to the Republican and Herald. Maroons Sports Bar was developed by Jim and Agnes Croley in 2004. They closed the business in the fall of 2006, and it has been sitting idle since. The purchase price was not disclosed. The establishment was named for the 1925 NFL Champion Pottsville Maroons Football team. Reports say that the Dittmar's plan to keep the Maroon’s name when they reopen later in the fall.

If you feel like you are stuck in a dead-end job, or are looking for a change in your career, an opportunity exists to change that today. Career Link Schuylkill County is holding the largest Job and Education Fair in the history of the county at Martz Hall from 9am till 4pm. About 100 employers, educators and agencies will be in attendance. You'll have a chance to meet with them, complete applications and possibly interview on the spot for a job! Your don’t have to be a recent high school or college graduate to attend, just come dressed for success and armed with your resume'. If you are worried about transportation to Martz Hall, transportation service will be available from the Career Link office in downtown Pottsville to the event site.

State police are investigating a theft at a Cressona business. Sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning, someone removed three aluminum loading dock plates from the Cressona Textile Waste Company on Mengle Street. The rectangular plates weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. Troopers from the Schuylkill Haven barracks believe that a truck was used to remove the plates. The investigation is ongoing.

A load of pallets on the back of a pickup truck caused an accident in Wayne Township yesterday. A truck driven by 79-year-old Russell Harley was southbound on Route 443 with a load of wood pallets in the back of his Dodge Dakota. The load came loose and flew out of the back of the truck onto the roadway. A van driven by Robert Heim of New Ringgold was unable to avoid the debris on both lanes of the road. Heim's front end and passenger side mirror were damaged. Harley will be cited by state police in the accident, which happened around 3:15 Tuesday.

Today is National HIV Testing Day. The day is observed in order for all people to get the facts on preventing the spread of the virus and to foster a concern for those already infected. One in four new infections occur in people under the age of 22, and based on current trends, an average of two young people are infected with HIV every hour of the day. Schuylkill Wellness Service, the county’s only comprehensive HIV/AIDS agency is holding general HIV testing from 1:30pm till 6pm today. No appointment is needed. Their office is located at 514 North Centre Street in Pottsville. Phone 622-3980.

The 2007 edition of Schuylkill County Idol got underway last night at the Schuylkill Mall. The contest spotlights the talent of county residents, and is patterned after the wildly popular Fox TV show. More than 100 people turned out for the opening round, with a few contestants returning for another shot at the title. Cut down rounds will continue weekly through the end of July when Schuylkill County Idol Five will be crowned. The judges for this year's contest include local artist Angie Jordan, Cathy Fiorillo, a teacher at Penn State Schuylkill, and T102's Barry D.

National and State News-Wednesday, June 27th

LONDON (AP) - Tony Blair's decade as Britain's prime minister ends today with remarks to Parliament, a lunch with the queen and then his replacement by former treasury chief Gordon Brown. Blair is said to have been tapped to be the new peacemaking envoy to the
Middle East.

MEYERS, Calif. (AP) - Authorities fear the winds will pick up around Lake Tahoe, California, today, making it even harder for firefighters to contain what is now a more than three-thousand-acre fire. The blaze jumped a fireline yesterday and officials had to order more evacuations.

UNDATED (AP) - The rescue of 16-year-old twin sisters from floodwaters in Oklahoma is just one of a number carried out there and in Texas over the last day. Rain has fallen daily in Oklahoma City since June 13th. Several motorists needed rescuing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - Thousands of people are stuck on rooftops and in trees along the southeast coast of Pakistan, as flood waters whipped up by a cyclone surge through towns and
villages. Navy warships and helicopters are searching for fishing boats missing in the Arabian Sea.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - As Iranians lined up to fill gas tanks before fuel rationing kicked in, two Tehran gas stations were set on fire early today. The oil ministry says there's no proof that
the fires were caused by angry consumers. It says some stations were attacked by "vandals."

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - One person is dead and three wounded after an argument on a Philadelphia basketball court turned into a fistfight, followed by gunshots. Police say it began when two carloads of men drove across the grass to the basketball courts last night and started arguing with a group playing ball. Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson says investigators aren't sure what the orginial argument was about, but it could have been "over a girl."
No arrests were immediately made.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Poconos developer accused of defrauding as many as 170 home buyers will pay a quarter of a (m) million dollars and stop dealing in mortgages. Gene Percudani has agreed to do so as part of a settlement with the state. Homeowners won't get restitution and Percudani can remain a home builder and contractor. Percudani's lawyer says the state Attorney General's Office couldn't find anything wrong after five years of investigation. He says the case was settled for the state's costs. Percudani and others were accused of employing deceptive advertising and faked appraisals to rope in unwary omebuyers.
The money from Percudani will be used for consumer protection campaigns and other efforts by the state Attorney General's Office.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police responding to a disturbance call in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood found a fugitive hiding in a crawl space in the basement. The suspect, 19-year-old Gerald Camp, is charged in the April slaying of 16-year-old Appollonia Tucker. Police say Camp shot Tucker in the head at the home of Tucker's boyfriend after a seemingly minor argument in April. Tucker was the mother of an infant and police say she was at the
home so the baby could see her father.

EDDYSTONE, Pa. (AP) - The former assistant manager of a Wal-Mart store in suburban Philadelphia is accused of robbing the store on Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
Court papers say 33-year-old Vincent Lowe of Philadelphia used his management position to conspire with several others to rob the store in Eddystone. Lowe told police a gunman entered the store on Thanksgiving morning, took his cell phone and forced him to reveal the
combination of the safe before he fled on a bicycle. On January First, police were called to the store at about 5:30 a-m, shortly after a manager arrived. The manager reported that he
was told to open the safe. Lowe's preliminary hearing is set for Monday.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Senate has approved a bill to ban smoking in most public and work places in Pennsylvania. The Senate defied a veto threat by Governor Ed Rendell and
opposition by a coalition of health associations that say the bill leaves too many workers exposed to cancer-causing second-hand smoke. Rendell threatened a veto over a provision added on Monday that he said would allow smoking in small home-based child-care
settings. The bill also would upend a stricter ban enacted in Philadelphia last year. Places where smoking would be banned include arenas, stores, restaurants, convention halls, shopping malls and more.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania hospitals say they made serious operating-room mistakes 174 times during a two-and-a-half year period. These included using the wrong procedure, operating on the wrong body part or even the wrong patient, according to a report issued by the state Patient Safety Authority. The agency released its report on so-called "wrong-site" surgeries as part of an effort to eliminate them. The report says that between June 2004 and December 2006, the authority also received reports of 253 incidents that could have resulted in wrong-site errors but were corrected before an operation began. The agency says officials plan to visit selected hospitals and gather information on strategies they are using to prevent wrong site surgeries. The information will be used to provide guidance to all hospitals.

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - The star prosecution witness in the murder-for-hire trial of a Hermitage (Pennsylvania) woman has acknowledged that he'd lied under oath in previous court cases.
Damian Bradford of Monaca says 48-year-old Donna Moonda hired him to kill her husband. Moonda's lawyer has portrayed Bradford as a liar who acted alone. Bradford was Donna Moonda's boyfriend at the time he shot her husband along the Ohio Turnpike. He testified on Monday that she was dissatisfied with a one (m) million dollar divorce offer and promised him half of her husband's estate as payment to kill him. The doctor's estate is estimated between three (m) million and six (m) million dollars. Bradford is to serve a 17 year prison sentence in exchange for cooperating with authorities.

BENSALEM, Pa. (AP) - People are flocking to places like Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack, which offer horse racing and slots gambling. As the horse racing industry's attendance and revenues decline, New Jersey is mulling whether or not to allow slots gambling at its racetracks. But New Jersey faces pressure from Atlantic City's casinos, who have already seen revenues decline since slots were introduced at racetracks in Pennsylvania and New York.
New Jersey's treasury department is studying the potential impact of racetrack slots and is scheduled to release a report later this summer.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A 49-year-old McKeesport man who took in a 14-year-old runaway in 1996 has pleaded guilty to all charges related to her staying with him. Thomas John Hose is getting five to 15 years in prison for his crimes against Tanya Nicole Kach, who's now 25.
Kach was a student at a school where Hose worked as a security guard. She has said she had a crush on him and went to live with him. Prosecutors say for a decade, Hose kept her from leaving the tiny home he shared with his parents and son. The Associated Press normally does not name victims of suspected sex crimes, but Kach has spoken with reporters about her

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A federal magistrate in Harrisburg says a man who allegedly confessed to murdering at least ten women in Mexico doesn't have to be extradited just yet.
The judge is giving the lawyer for 29-year-old Jose Francisco Granados de la Paz until July 31st to build a case against being returned to Mexico to stand trial. Granados de la Paz is a Mexican citizen who is serving time in Lewisburg Federal Prison on immigration charges. U-S prosecutors says he confessed to Mexican and Texas authorities last year that he had been involved in killing at least ten women in Mexico as "offerings to Satan."

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The University of Pittsburgh has released a report that says black men in Pittsburgh are nearly twice as likely as white men to be unemployed. The report says Pittsburgh's black population is one of the poorest in the nation. The report is touted as the most comprehensive ever done on multiple races in Pittsburgh. It brings to light the vast
disparities in wealth, income and quality of life between blacks and whites in the city and its suburbs. Only about one-quarter of black women in the region are married, leaving about 70 percent of children to grow up in single-family homes. Researchers also believe the highly segregated region compounds the problems.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Cambria County priest accused of sex abuse has killed himself.
The Reverend William Rosensteel jumped from a bridge in Richland Township Sunday afternoon. It was two days after the bishop said abuse claims against him dating back to 1972 would be reported to civil authorities. Rosensteel served in several parishes throughout the
Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. Most recently, he had served at Holy Rosary in Altoona, but had
resigned after being placed on administrative leave in March.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) - The last wishes of a Civil War veteran are being fulfilled almost 80 years after his death. Three Lehigh Valley nonprofits are splitting a nest egg now worth nearly 10 (m) million dollars. It's from the estate of Adam Brinker, who amassed a small fortune after the war as a harness maker in South Bethlehem. His will left his descendants a portion of the interest from his estate. But when the last one died, the money went to "residual beneficiaries" including the three charities. That happened two years ago, leaving trustees to sort out a complex trail. One charity was identified in Brinker's will as "the Children's Home in Salisbury Township." That group, now called KidsPeace, serves more than ten-thousand troubled children and teens.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Local News-Tuesday, June 26th

It is hard to believe that one year ago, much of Schuylkill County was inundated with more than a foot of rain, causing damaging floods. The rains began on the weekend of June 24th, and continued almost non-stop for several days, dumping more than 14 inches of precipitation, and causing streams, creeks and the Schuylkill River to rise over its banks. Significant damage was rampant, and hit communities like Gilberton, Mahanoy City, Port Carbon, St. Clair and Schuylkill Haven especially hard. The scene was eerily reminiscent of the Agnes floods of 1972, and forced thousands to leave their homes and belongings to seek higher ground. WPPA/T102 News was out and about during the floods, and while the locales were different, the problems were similar. Fast moving water swept into low lying areas, and abandoned underground mines swelled with rainwater that had nowhere to go. Roadways in Gilberton, Gordon and the Frackville-Shenandoah highway gave way as water weakened sub-roads, making travel a nightmare. For those who had to leave their homes, emergency shelters were set up across the region, and support help brought in from American Red Cross volunteers to provide food, shelter and supplies while the waters receded. In the weeks and months following the Flood of 2006, teams from federal and state offices set up shop at the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit in Marlin to help people start the recovery process. For many, the money and support was long in coming to help them recover. And even one year later, some homeowners have not yet fully recovered. This week's weather forecast calls for warm and humid weather, with sunshine, with the threat of thunderstorms each day, a far cry from the incessant rains that ravaged Schuylkill County and northeastern Pennsylvania one year ago this week. Thankfully, no one died from the Flood of 2006.

A Pine Grove man will be charged following an altercation Sunday night in Tower City. Schuylkill Haven state police report that Kyle Humphrey and a juvenile got into an argument in the 500 block of East Grand Avenue, that escalated into a fight. Humphrey allegedly punched the teen in the face numerous times. Charges will be filed in District Court against Humphrey.

State police at Frackville are investigating a hit and run crash in Walker Township yesterday morning. A brown pickup truck, traveling on Catawissa Road near Heisler's Dairy Bar, crossed into the path of a car driven by Kelly Derenzo of Minersville. The truck hit the driver's side of Derenzo’s vehicle. A passenger, Joseph Machay of Tuscarora, had minor injuries. State police are still looking for the pickup truck. The crash happened at 7am Monday.

Schuylkill County’s unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percent in May. In statistics released by the state department of Labor and Industry, Schuylkill County's jobless rate went from 5.2 percent to 5 percent, from April to May. While the decrease may signal continued good news, analysts think that a shrinking workforce may have something to do with the decline. Short term swings in unemployment may not be a clear indicator of a long term trend.
Schuylkill County's unemployment rate is still higher than the state rate of 4-point-2 percent for May, and the national average of 4-point-5 percent.

An East Stroudsburg man was robbed outside of a McAdoo night club early this morning. Gordon Fretz left Roxy's Night Club at Blain and Sheridan Street in McAdoo around 2am with two Hispanic men. While outside, they men threw Fretz to the ground and took his wallet, containing $280 in cash. They fled the scene. Fretz was taken to Hazleton General Hospital for minor injuries. Frackville state police are continuing their investigation.

We now know the identity of the driver of a milk truck that overturned Sunday afternoon in Foster Township. According to Schuylkill Haven state police, Alan Quail of Dushore was driving south on Route 901 when he failed to negotiate a curve and left the roadway. The rig overturned, spilling a load of milk. Quail had minor injuries.

Pottsville police investigated a three car crash in the city Sunday night. 31-year-old Kevin Samay of Pottsville was driving his Jeep on Route 61 when he collided with the car operated by 17-year-old David Chiplonia of Pottsville, which was westbound on East Norwegian Street. The impact of the collision forced Chiplonia’s car into the Mercedes Benz driven by Sarwat Kheloussi of Pottsville, which was entering the intersection of 61 and Norwegian Street. Kheloussi was taken to Pottsville Hospital for treatment. Samay refused medical assistance at the scene. Chiplonia was not hurt in the Sunday evening crash.

The Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic earned a 5-star designation for its maternity care, according to results released yesterday. HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company in the US, issued the five-star rating, and ranked the hospital in the Top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for maternity care. Pottsville Hospital was also recognized with the HealthGrades 2007-2008 Maternity Care Excellence Award. The ratings are based on several factors, including in-hospital complication rates associated with deliveries. Dr. David Krewson, Obstetrics Chairman at Pottsville Hospital notes that to receive the 5-star rating for the Maternity Unit two years in a row is a great testimony to the quality of care that women receive at the facility. Approximately 12-hundred babies are delivered each year at the Birthplace of the Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic.

Put the pedal to the metal and come to downtown Pottsville Wednesday night for the 6th Annual Wheels of Time Auto Extravaganza. North Centre Street will transform itself into a block party, complete with classic cars, motorcycles, race cars from Big Diamond Raceway and more. The Great Pottsville Cruise Committee and the Pottsville Business Association are sponsoring this annual event to bring people to downtown Pottsville on a summer evening.
The registration for the 14th Annual Great Pottsville Cruise kicked off yesterday, with the unveiling of the cruise collector pin, sponsored by Triple-A of Schuylkill County and Sovereign Bank. The official cruise permit sticker is sponsored by Bruce's Auto Mall in Schuylkill Haven.
Early registration for the cruise, Sunday, August 12th, can be made at several locations, including Jerry's Northeast Auto Sales, 12-Volt Dave's Audio, Bruce's Auto Mall and the Yorkville Coney Island and Downtown Pottsville Coney. Call Jerry Enders at 622-9510 for more information.

National and State News-Tuesday, June 26th

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - President Bush's Iraq policy has lost a key Republican backer. Indiana Senator Richard Lugar says current Iraq strategy is not working and that the military's role needs shrinking. Lugar says the costs of staying the course outweigh the benefits.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - There's a big test in the Senate today for the White House-backed immigration reform compromise. Supporters need 60 votes to keep the bill moving. Critics say it doesn't do enough for border security and amounts to amnesty for (m) millions of illegal immigrants.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - She smiled, she waved and then disappeared inside her parents' S-U-V to a storm of photographers' flashbulbs. Hotel heiress Paris Hilton was released from the Los Angeles County jail this morning after serving about three weeks. Hilton violated
probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.

MEYERS, Calif. (AP) - Many hotels have offered free rooms to families fleeing a raging wildfire near Lake Tahoe in California. Forestry officials say it could be Sunday before it's contained.
The blaze has destroyed more than 200 buildings and forced hundreds of residents to flee.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio police officer accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend made his first court appearance Monday in Canton. Bobby Cutts Junior was ordered held on five (m) million dollars' bond. Cutts showed no expression as a judge reviewed his case.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - House Democrats are pushing for a plan to pump hundreds of (m) millions of dollars annually into mass transit and to fix potholed roadways and crumbling bridges. The proposal's linchpin is the addition of tolls to some 300 miles of Interstate 80.
The multifaceted proposal is being pressed as a companion to the state budget legislation.
The sponsor, Majority Whip Keith McCall, says it would require more money from counties and municipalities in order to get a larger state transit subsidy. But it would also give them new taxing authority to generate that greater matching share. The plan's goal is to bring in about 720 (M) million dollars in new highway, bridge and transit funding next year, an amount that
would rise to about one billion dollars by 2016-17. Tolls on Interstate-80 would begin in 2010.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Senators have carved loopholes into legislation to ban smoking in many public and work places in Pennsylvania. After two hours of debate, they voted 29-to-21 to insert partial or complete exemptions for slot-machine parlors, private clubs, bars and cigar bars. That vote sets up the newly changed bill for a final vote as early as today. Debate on the bill revolved around protecting public health versus preserving individual liberties. Opponents of the exemptions criticized them as watering down the legislation. It would also upend the smoking ban put in place last year in Philadelphia, which banned smoking in casinos, restaurants and most bars.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia fire marshal says last week's seven-alarm fire in a vacant warehouse was arson. The building in the city's Kensington neighborhood was up for
sheriff's sale. It was caught in a dispute between two city-run agencies. One wanted the building torn down and the other was trying to get a developer to fix it up. Six families lost their homes. About 150 people required help from the Red Cross.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A former Monroe County Prison inmate testified that she repeatedly had sex with two guards and became pregnant while serving a stint for disorderly conduct. The woman testified yesterday during the preliminary hearings of 34-year-old Dana Simpson Senior of Tobyhanna and 40-year-old Richard Chilmaza of East Stroudsburg.
A judge upheld institutional sexual assault and other charges against the defendants, who declined comment. They are among six former guards charged in the case, which led
to the resignation of David Keenhold as warden of the 332-bed facility. Keenhold plans to leave as soon as a replacement is found.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Lane Bryant, the women's plus-size clothing retailer based in Columbus, is getting a new leader. Bensalem, -based parent company Charming Shoppes
announced that Lorna Nagler is leaving the company to pursue other interests. She had been Lane Bryant's president since 2004. LuAnn Via now will oversee Lane Bryant and Charming Shoppes' new lingerie business as group divisional president. She'll be Lane Bryant's fourth president since suburban Philadelphia-based Charming Shoppes acquired it from Limited Brands in 2001. Via had been president of Charming Shoppes' Catherines Plus Sizes division.
The company operates 24-hundred stores under the Lane Bryant, Catherines, Fashion Bug and Petite Sophisticate Outlet names.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Critics of The Barnes Foundation's plan to move its world-class art gallery to downtown Philadelphia say the relocation has little do with boosting the foundation's finances. Rather, they say the city just wants its hands on the multibillion-dollar trove of Cezannes, Picassos, Renoirs and van Goghs. The Barnes Foundation has long claimed financial hardship as justification for breaking the will of its late founder and moving the art collection to Philadelphia. Nearly five years after they first proposed a downtown Philadelphia location, Barnes officials last week rejected a 50 (M) million dollar offer to keep the gallery in Lower Merion Township, saying it came far too late to be taken seriously. Montgomery County officials say they will take the Barnes to court in a last-ditch effort to prevent the move.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal judge threw out a murderer's death sentence after concluding the Philadelphia man had ineffective counsel and that the jury had been given improper instructions. The judge also ordered a hearing on whether the trial lawyer for 47-year-old Kelvin Morris had a conflict of interest. If the judge finds a conflict of interest, he could overturn Morris' conviction and order a new trial. Morris was sentenced to death in 1987 for fatally shooting Robert McDonald Junior, the manager of a Pep Boys auto-parts store in West Philadelphia. Thirty-four-year-old McDonald of Upper Darby was investigating a broken storefront window when he was shot during a robbery attempt.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Local News-Monday, June 25th

A Schuylkill Haven man is in the county prison on several charges following an incident in the borough Friday night. Schuylkill Haven police report they found Matthew Santangelo's car was blocking West Union Street around 9pm. They discovered that he had been in a fight with Dominic Trimboli near the railroad tracks. During a search, police found an empty holster, but no gun. Santangelo said that Trimboli took it, but when questioned by police, he didn't have the firearm either. While in custody, police found a small German-made pistol inside Santangelo's pants. He’s been charged with assault, carrying a firearm without a license and harassment. He was arraigned and taken to Schuylkill County prison in lieu of $10-thousand-dollars bail.
Trimboli was injured during the melee, but refused medical treatment. Orwigsburg and Penn State police assisted Schuylkill Haven officers.

A Schuylkill Haven man will be charged for ramming a car in Union Township on Sunday morning. Frackville troopers indicate that 31-year-old Kyle Kaminsky followed a car to the area of Aristes and Hill Field Roads. The other vehicle was occupied by Dina Quinn of Schuylkill Haven, Michael Dillard of Gilberton and Raymond Miller Jr. of Ringtown. Kaminsky rammed the side of the car with the front end of his vehicle, damaging the passenger’s side. No one was hurt. Kaminsky will be charged with reckless endangerment.

A Barnesville man will be charged following a burglary in Ryan Township Friday afternoon.
Frackville state police say that 21-year-old Thomas Andrusichen broke into the home of Michael and Regina Konitdas on Hartung Lane. He threatened to kill the family’s pet dog, and do the same to the couple when they returned home. Andrusichen will be charged with burglary, aggravated assault, cruelty to animals, simple assault and other offenses. He was taken to Pottsville Hospital for a mental evaluation. The break-in took place mid-day Friday.

State police continue the investigation into a milk tanker crash in Mount Pleasant yesterday afternoon. Schuylkill Haven troopers indicate that the loaded tanker tipped over near the intersection of Interstate 81 and Route 901, blocking the roadway. Crews had to use airbags to right the truck. The milk also spilled out of the truck. More details are expected to be released today.

A Tremont man remains in the hospital following a motorcycle crash near Pine Grove Friday evening. Schuylkill Haven state police say that 41-year-old Walter Salen the Second was attempting to turn onto the interstate at Route 443 when the bike hit the rear passenger door of a car driven by Ronald Kurtz of Baldwinsville, New York. The cycle slid 50 feet up a hill. He was taken Geisinger Medical Center for treatment, where he remains today in critical condition.
The crash happened around 5:30pm Friday.

Pottsville Mayor John DW Reiley has been named President of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities. The city’s top elected official was given the nod Friday during the group’s annual business meeting and convention in Scranton. The Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities provides services to municipalities across the state, as legislative advocates at the state and federal level. Reiley said he is honored to have been selected to head the organization.

National and State News-Monday, June 25th

BAGHDAD (AP) - Suicide bombers have killed at least 29 people in a series of attacks today across Iraq. One bomber killed at least nine people in the lobby of a Baghdad hotel that houses the Chinese embassy and several news organizations. No American casualties have
been reported.

MEYERS, Calif. (AP) - A wildfire is raging in northern California, near Lake Tahoe. So far, it's destroyed 165 homes and structures and threatens hundreds more homes. Officials have been
warning of a bad fire season in the Sierra Nevada because of a below-normal snowpack.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - The police officer accused of killing a pregnant Ohio woman has a court appearance this afternoon. And a former classmate of Bobby Cutts Junior also faces arraignment. Myisha Ferrell was jailed yesterday for allegedly hindering the investigation into the death of Jessie Davis.

PARIS (AP) - The U-S, China, France and other key world players are meeting in Paris. They're hoping to speed deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the international community has fallen down on the job in the ravaged Sudanese region.

ATLANTA (AP) - A dangerous, drug-resistant staph germ may be more common in hospitals and nursing homes than previously thought. That's the conclusion of a new study from a group of infection experts. They say at least 30-thousand patients may have the bug at any given time. It's spread by touch and can be a killer.

AVONDALE, Pa. (AP) - State police at Avondale say they have a man in custody who shot a woman, then held her and an eigh-year-old child hostage. He is 42-year-old Clarence Kenneth Love of Newark, Delaware. Love is to be arraigned this morning on attempted homicide and
other charges. Police say he shot 36-year-old Jennifer Lee Smith last night at her home in East Marlborough Township, Chester County. Police say he threatened to kill Smith, the child and himself. Hostage negotiators got him to surrender about half an hour past midnight. Police say Smith was taken to a hospital, but her injuries aren't believed to be life-threatening. Police say the child wasn't injured physically.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Within a matter of days, Pennsylvanians could find that their cash-strapped mass transit systems are being bailed out and tolls are in the works for Interstate 80.
They could also find that more money is on the way for biotech research and clean energy development. Then again, they may still be waiting to see who will blink first in the Legislature's annual mad rush to pass a state budget before the summer recess. Some sort of bill is expected to hit the House floor today to provide a multi (B) billion dollar fix for transportation and mass
transit. House Democrats have scheduled votes for today and tomorrow that would accomplish much of Democratic Governor Ed Rendell's ambitious agenda.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Autopsies are planned today on the three people killed in Saturday's crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The Lancaster County coroner has identified them as 70-year-old Gertrude Hill, 39-year-old Jacqueline Gail Hill and five-year-old Morgan Shannon. All three were in the same car and all were from Pittsgrove, New Jersey. State police say the driver of a tractor-trailer didn't notice slower-moving traffic in front of her, causing a crash.
Westbound lanes of the turnpike were closed for nearly nine hours following Saturday afternoon's crash.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia teenager sent to a Tennessee facility for troubled youth by the city's social services agency died after a physical confrontation with the center's staff.
The death has prompted Philadelphia officials to consider relocating dozens of teens who were sent there. Omega Leach is described by city officials as a 17-year-old who got in trouble for stealing a car. But police say Leach got into a physical confrontation with the staff at the Chad Youth Enhancement Center outside Nashville on June Third and died the next day. Investigators are trying to find out whether Leach was restrained improperly. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the city agency was paying Chad for Leach's treatment, even though questions had been raised about the center in the past. Now, the agency has frozen admissions to Chad and says it is putting into place a contingency plan for relocating 45 city children still there, pending further investigation.

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A state appeals court says a doctor can't be sued for a car crash caused by a patient. The Superior Court's recent ruling upholds a decision written by a Blair County judge dismissing the lawsuit filed by Matthew Stever of Altoona, who was injured in a head-on crash caused by Crystal Ickes almost three years ago. Ickes was killed in the accident, so Stever sued her psychiatrist. Stever argued that the doctor had a responsibility to preclude Ickes from driving, knowing there was danger in mixing anti-depressant drugs and methadone.
But Judge Tim Sullivan cited four Superior and state Supreme Court cases in which doctors were deemed not responsible for accidents caused by their patients. Stever also sued the clinic, but that suit also was dismissed. Ickes was leaving the clinic after undergoing treatment when she crossed the center line and smashed into Stever's vehicle, according to court papers.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Local News - Saturday June 23

Gilberton Man Headed To Trial For Little League Fight

A 40-year-old Gilberton man will stand trial on charges that he fatally injured another man during an argument over Little League baseball during the evening hours on March 25. According to the Republican and Herald, Vincent Bloss appeared for his preliminary hearing Friday before Magisterial District Judge Bernadette J. Nahas, Frackville, on charges of involuntary manslaughter, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, all misdemeanor offenses. Gilberton police Chief Mark Kessler and Schuylkill County Detective Martin J. Heckman charged Bloss with causing the death of Frank S. Jackowiak during an argument near Church and Railroad streets. Dauphin County forensic pathologist Dr. Wayne Ross attributed the cause of death to "traumatic chest and abdominal injuries" and labeled the manner of death a homicide. During the hearing, Jackowiak's son testified that he, his son, and his father were walking in the area when they met Patricia Bloss, Vincent Bloss' wife. He said his father and the woman became involved in an argument over Little League after his father threatened to call league officials over where the woman’s child was playing baseball in relation to where he was living. Nahas ruled that the Commonwealth, under the direction of assistant district attorney Michael O'Pake, proved a prima facie case and ordered all three charges bound over to Schuylkill County Court.

Wetzel will stand trial in death of St. Clair woman

A Minersville man will stand trial on charges that he murdered a St. Clair woman last month after she wouldn’t sit with him at a Senior Citizen center. 68-year-old Nevin Wetzel, appeared before District Judge David Plachko Thursday afternoon to face charges in the death of 57-year-old Gloria Pauzer at her home on May 8th. Both the defense and the Schuylkill County District Attorney agreed that any testimony presented at the hearing would agree with the facts outlined in the criminal complaint filed by St. Clair Police. DA Jim Goodman said that the complaint proves enough evidence to substantiate the criminal homicide and assault charges.
Goodman's office continues to research precedents as to whether he will seek the death penalty in the case.

Huth facing stiffer penalties

A Schuylkill County Judge wants stiffer penalties for a Saint Clair man. Not only did a Schuylkill County judge reject a guilty plea and proposed sentence Wednesday for a Saint Clair man, she criticized the district attorney's office for not seeking stiffer punishments in cases where children are victims. Judge Jacqueline Russell rejected the proposed 6-to-23-month prison term for 27-year-old William Huth Jr. Huth is charged with three counts each of simple assault and harassment and two counts each of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of children. According to the Republican and Herald, state police at Frackville allege Huth assaulted his girlfriend, Sarah Werner, and her daughter Alexis, on February 3, 2006, when Alexis was only ten-months-old. He was to have pleaded guilty to charges but he withdrew his plea instead and decided to go to trial when Russell refused to agree to the proposed sentence. The next time his case could go to trial is the September criminal court term.

Memories of Agnes

It was almost a year ago to the date that flood waters ravaged communities across the region. It was 35 years ago that Hurricane Agnes paid a visit to Pennsylvania, wreaking havoc across most of the state. Agnes blew across the Florida panhandle and roared up the Atlantic coast, dumping double digit inches of rain, killing 48 people and causing an astounding $2-point-1-billion dollars in damages. Sixty eight thousand homes and 3 thousand businesses were destroyed, leaving more than 200-thousand-people homeless. Last year, over a foot of rain soaked Schuylkill County, causing gaping holes to open up from abandoned mine shafts, flooding out homes and causing nightmares for many folks. Some homeowners are still cleaning up the after-effects of last year's flooding.

Free movie program huge success

The challenge of keeping children busy during the summer is not an easy one to overcome. How about taking the kids to a movie, for free! The Fairlane Village Mall developed a Summer Movie Program, each Tuesday at noon, to create a fun and safe program for kids. The mall's movie theatre shows family-friendly flicks, and afterwards, all children 12 and under receive a free lunch voucher for several of the mall's food outlets. Since its inception on June 1st, the response has been phenomenal. According to mall Marketing Director Heather Stine, both movie theatres will show the same film on Tuesdays at noon, in order to accommodate the larger crowds they have been experiencing. The Summer Movie Series continues through August 21st. The movie schedule is posted on the mall's website at

Pottsville Project Fit seeing results

Pottsville Project Fit, the city's wellness campaign, is seeing results. As a result of funding from the US Department of Education, Project Fit provides school and community based physical activity and nutrition programs to city kids and adults free of charge. A one-year evaluation of Project Fit indicates that changes are happening in diet and exercise habits. The measurements included number of days of exercise, and increased amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Pottsville middle school students and their parents were used in the study group. The number of people using activities run by Pottsville Project Fit saw a marked increase in the first year of operation. To learn more about the activities available for city residents, call Pottsville Project Fit at 628-5079.

Rest Haven hires

The Schuylkill County Commissioners gave their approval to hire seven people to various departments at Rest Haven Home and Hospital in Schuylkill Haven during their Wednesday work session. The appointments include, Joy Henninger of Pottsville as Assistant Director of Nursing at a salary of $48,859 per year; Lynn Sabadish of Branchdale as a Part-Time Nurses Aide at $11.72 per hour; Brooke Kelly, St. Clair as Full-Time LPN at $15.99 per hour; Gregory Halupa of Gilberton and D'angelo Pringle of Schuylkill Haven as Full-Time housekeepers at $9.00 an hour; Shannon Tobin of Minersville as Part-Time LPN at $15.99 per hour and Dawn Scanlan of Pine Grove as Part-Time Housekeeper at $9.00 per hour. Shannon Wagner was transferred from Part-Time to Full-Time Nurses Aide at $12.42 per hour. Rachel Lauck of Pottsville, a temporary Activities Assistant at Rest Haven, will be retained until October 30th due to the medical leave of the full-time Activities Aide. Her salary is $9.50 per hour. In other action, Robert Marshall Jr. of Minersville was appointed as Part-Time Collection/ Maintenance Driver in the Office of Solid Waste at $12.61 an hour to cover vacations, personal days and sick time. The Commissioners also learned of five resignations, two terminations and two retirements from positions in various county departments.

Commissioners work session

The Schuylkill County Affordable Housing Trust Fund recommended five projects for funding to the County Commissioners during Wednesdays work session. The grants, totaling $337,579 would go to Schuylkill Community Action and the boroughs of Frackville and Schuylkill Haven.
Schuylkill Community Action would receive $190,279 for a Senior or Disabled housing repair program, $30,000 for a housing counseling program, and $25,300 for housing assistance for disaster victims. Frackville and Schuylkill Haven boroughs would receive $46,000 each for housing rehabilitation programs. In a related matter, the Commissioners were asked for authorization to reappoint Thomas Gallagher of Frackville and Harry Harring of Cressona as members of the Housing Trust Fund board for two-year terms effective July 1st. In other business, Craig Morgan, Manager of the Schuylkill Conservation District asked for approval for the sale and purchase of an agriculture easement between the county and owners of a property consisting of 61.4 acres, located in Wayne Township for the purchase price of $61,140.

State News - Saturday June 23

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A wayward alligator captured while sunning itself along the banks of a Montgomery County creek now has a new home. The five-foot-long reptile is living at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown. The alligator was found Thursday by a family walking along Pennypack Creek in Bryn Athyn. Animal control officers captured the gator, which they think was a pet that was set free when it got too big. It weighs 30 pounds. The alligator is now a part of Elmwood Zoo's wetlands exhibit, along with otters, flamingos, turtles, and small wading birds.

NAZARETH, Pa. (AP) - More than two dozen women from all over the state will compete tonight (Saturday) for the title of Miss Pennsylvania. The pageant will take place at Nazareth Area High School in Northampton County, and the winner will go on to represent the Keystone State in the Miss America competition. The only Miss Pennsylvania to have won the national contest was Evelyn Ay, Miss America 1954.

National and International News - Saturday June 23

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - Several amendments leading toward a final vote on immigration overhaul are coming up next week. President Bush today will be pushing the package in his weekly radio address. The measure, including a guest-worker plan, has emerged as his top domestic priority. Critics say it still amounts to amnesty.

TOKYO (AP) - The top U-S nuclear envoy in talks with North Korea says the North's main plutonium reactor could be shut down within a few weeks. Christopher Hill commented today in Tokyo after a surprise visit to North Korea, where state media are praising the talks as "productive."

GAUHATI, India (AP) - A bombing at a busy vegetable market in northeast India has killed at least five people and wounded 35 others. It's an area where secessionist rebels are active. The city where the bomb went off is hosting a gathering of athletes from 20 countries for the Asian Grand Prix Athletics Championship.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Eight similar thrill rides at amusements parks around North America have been shut down after a cable snapped on a ride in Kentucky, severing the feet of a 13-year-old girl. Six Flags and Cedar Fair have shut down all such rides, which lift passengers 177 feet straight up, then drop them.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A California man has been killed by a fire hydrant that snapped off when it was hit by an S-U-V. A deputy sheriff says water pressure and the crash itself sent the hydrant flying like a "bullet." The man was hit in the back of the head as he walked with his wife. The S-U-V had apparently blown a tire.

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) - Now that space shuttle Atlantis has landed, the next task is getting it back where it belongs. The weather-related detour to Edwards Air Force Base, California, means more than one and a-half (m) million dollars in extra costs for NASA to get the space vehicle back to Florida. The crew heads for Houston and family reunions today.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Citing environmental concerns, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order prohibiting city departments from buying bottled water. Newsom says the ban will go into effect July First and will extend to water coolers by December First. Using tap water should also save San Francisco some money.

UNIONTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Ohio authorities say the mother of a baby girl found on an Ohio doorstep has come forward and the newborn does not belong to a missing pregnant woman. The baby was found about 45 miles from the home of Jessie Davis, who disappeared last week. The search continues.

MONTCLAIR, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say a New Jersey man facing charges for assaulting his estranged wife has drowned their two young daughters in a bathtub and hanged himself at his home. Police say a restraining order against Thomas Reilly allowed him to see the children, but not his wife.

NEW YORK (AP) - New York is a big, noisy city of sirens, honking horns and a cacophony of other sounds. That could be about to change. New regulations governing everything from jackhammers to barroom music take effect July First. Some Gothamites are skeptical about making the city that never sleeps quiet down. They say it wouldn't be New York without the noise.

NEW YORK (AP) - A judge has ruled that the family of one of the heroes of Nine-Eleven should get a quarter (m) million-dollar federal death benefit. The Justice Department said Glenn Winuk was no longer a volunteer firefighter when he grabbed a medical bag and rushed into the World Trade Center. The judge calls that decision arbitrary and says Winuk clearly acted in the line of duty.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Local News-Friday, June 22nd

A Tamaqua man is dead following a motorcycle crash yesterday morning near Lehighton.
Lehighton State Police report that 31-year-old Shane Stoeckel was driving his motorcycle north on Route 903, and was passing other vehicles at an apparent high rate of speed. Three other vehicles, traveling in the other direction were attempting to turn left onto Maury Road, two having made the turn. Stoekel's motorcycle struck the SUV driven by Julio Garcia of Jim Thorpe. The impact threw Stoeckel from the bike. He was flown to the hospital for treatment, but was pronounced dead by the Carbon County Coroner. The fatal crash happened around 9am.

Schuylkill Products Incorporated has scheduled more oversized load traffic that will affect motorists over the next several weeks. Today, beams will leave the company's Cressona yard at 7, 9 and 11am. They are bound for a Tioga County construction site. Delays are expected on Routes 901, 183 and 61. Starting next week, 2 beams each will move at 7, 9 and 11am on weekdays through July 12th. Delays are expected in the same areas as the oversized loads move to Tioga County. The company says that there will be no shipments on July 3rd or 4th.

The population at the Schuylkill County Prison stood at 326 Wednesday, higher than the average of 306 for June. Warden Gene Berdanier told members of the prison board during a meeting at the prison Wednesday that the rise in population is not a trend though over crowding remains an issue. Chairman Judge William Baldwin said population will peak during months of criminal court sessions. Overcrowding at the Prison, and what to do about it has been the subject of debate between the prison board and County Commissioners for several months. Previously, Judge Baldwin said that sometime in the future, overcrowding could lead the state to decertify the county prison. If that were to happen, he said the prison would not be able to accept inmates serving more than a six month sentence. Judge Baldwin and several other prison board members favor building a Prison Release Center on state property near the State Prison in Frackville. Approval for such a facility must come from the County Commissioners who are also Prison Board members. Proposals from three firms are presently under review by the county commissioners and one is expected to be selected to undertake the overcrowding issue.

The relationship between the county MH/MR Program and Service Access Management is "going very well", according to Dan McGrory, Administrator of the County’s MH/MR program.
McGrory was responding to an inquiry by Chairman Frank Staudenmierer during Wednesday's county commissioners work session. McGrory and Fiscal Officer Lisa Fishburn attended the work session, seeking approval for the purchase of two service agreements with SAM, and for approval of a performance and fiscal review of SAM's service to the county program. One agreement for just over $2.5 million dollars is for SAM's administration budget. The other, for just over $20.6 Million Dollars constitutes the distribution of MH/MR service dollars. Both agreements are for the period of July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. Service Access Management of Berks County was hired by the county commissioners after successive years of budget overruns by the program. That prompted a decision in 2004 that the program's fiscal problems were insurmountable. The performance and fiscal review was provided by Stanalonis & Associates of Mechanicsburg, a health care consulting services firm hired by the MH/MR Program to assess SAM’s performance. The consultants gave a favorable review of SAM's work for the County after examining their internal controls, accounting and reporting processes and other pertinent safeguards. The firm also indicated that the relationship with SAM will result in the efficient and effective use of County funds and resources.

A forum was held yesterday in Pottsville to discuss Governor Ed Rendell's Prescription for Pennsylvania healthcare program. The event, co-sponsored by the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs committee and the Schuylkill Alliance for Health Care Access, was attended by about 30 people. Barbara Holland, from the Governor's Health Care office, outlined the plan, which proposes to give health coverage to more people who either don’t have insurance because their employers don't offer it, or because it's not affordable. A key component would charge employers who do not provide health insurance an assessment that would go into a fund to pay for coverage for the uninsured. During the 90 minute session, three members of the healthcare community addressed some of the issues that were not covered by the Rendell plan. Drs. Thomas McLaughlin and Robert DeColli, and Craig Hunt, an administrator at Pottsville Hospital, offered their opinions about the plan. A question and answer session was held with the audience after presentations were completed. Wayne Pace, owner of the local McDonald's franchises, said that Pennsylvania's unfavorable business climate was a hindrance to keeping good workers and offering competitive benefits to them, such as health insurance.

A Tower City man had minor injuries in a three vehicle crash in Tower City last evening.
Around 6:45pm, Evelyn Thomas of Joliett was attempting to merge into traffic on Route 209 from a parking space. She pulled her car into the path of a motorcycle operated by Richard Adams of Tower City. The cycle hit Thomas' driver's side door. He was thrown about 10 feet, and his bike slid for about 20 feet, where it hit the bumper of a parked car. Adams was treated for minor injuries.

The Schuylkill Conservation District recently received an award for spearheading the creation of an innovative mine drainage treatment system. A copy of the press release was made available to the media at Wednesdays County Commissioners work session. The system neutralized toxic discharge that flows into Catawissa Creek from the Audenreid Mine Tunnel.
The Conservation District says that five abandoned mines flow into the Mine Tunnel discharging an average of over 12-million gallons per day of aluminum contaminated AMD into the creek. The Conservation District and the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association worked with a consulting firm to design the system which removes two-thirds of the contaminates and triples the creek's acid-neutralizing capacity, restoring the creek as an aquatic habitat. The treatment system required eight acres and $1.8 Million Dollars to complete and was financed entirely by state and federal funds. The District says that a conventional treatment system would have cost an estimated $40 Million Dollars and required at least 116 acres. The Conservation District said the recreational tourism value of a restored fishery in the creek could show an economic return of nearly $1.4 Million Dollars.

National and State News-Friday, June 22nd

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senior administration officials tell The Associated Press that President Bush may be about ready to shut down the U-S prison camp for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They report a growing consensus for closing the camp, which has become notorious around the world.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Soldiers who are part of the newly beefed-up U-S military presence in Iraq are pressing an offensive against insurgents. The military reports 18 more suspected militants have been captured in raids targeting networks of bombers. Those bombs have been taking a heavy toll on Iraqis and Americans.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Firefighters from all over the nation join the city of Charleston, South Carolina, today at a memorial service for nine firefighters killed in Monday's furniture store fire. Nine-one-one tapes indicate the blaze broke out in a smoke-break area behind the showroom. There's no indication a cigarette caused it.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) - NASA tries again today to land the space shuttle. Bad weather yesterday waved off attempts to land Atlantis in Florida. There are two opportunities at Florida's Kennedy Space Center today and three at the backup site in California. Atlantis is returning from a mission to the international space station.

TOKYO (AP) - A U-S military search team is trying to wrap up a loose end from history on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. Officials tell The Associated Press they're zeroing in on the cave
where a Marine combat photographer is thought to have been killed. He had filmed the famed raising of the American flag during World War Two.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Party leaders in the state House say they are hopeful a compromise deal is near on funding for the state's massive highway maintenance, bridge repair and mass transit needs. Floor debate over a pending Democratic proposal has been put off until Monday.
Democratic Majority Leader Bill DeWeese says negotiations over the weekend will focus on proposed changes to the makeup of the board that runs the Philadelphia area's transit system and on which new taxes and fees local municipalities will be allowed to impose to raise new money for transit. The framework for a potential compromise emerged last night after a Democratic plan designed to generate an annual 400 million dollars for highways and 500 million dollars for transit ran into staunch Republican opposition. The Democratic plan would add tolls to Interstate 80, require local governments to increase their share of transit costs and
borrow against the future value of Pennsylvania Turnpike toll revenues.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A House committee has endorsed a plan to move Pennsylvania's presidential primary up by ten weeks to February 12th. The bill would fix the date of Pennsylvania's general primary as the second Tuesday in February. Next year, that would include the nomination races for president as well as Congress and the state General Assembly.
The bill would reserve the third Tuesday in May for referendums in school districts that require voter approval for large property-tax increases. That's the same day that Pennsylvania holds
its primaries in non-presidential years.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The board of the company that operates the mid-Atlantic electricity grid is expected to vote today on whether to endorse two major new power transmission
lines. P-J-M Interconnection's board will be voting during a private meeting. One of the proposed new transmission lines would run from West Virginia to Maryland and the other would run from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - An investigator says a Pennsylvania woman accused of hiring her lover to kill her husband exchanged at least 23 phone calls or text messages with him the day her husband was shot to death along the Ohio Turnpike. Forty-eight-year-old Donna Moonda of Hermitage faces the death penalty if she is convicted of hiring her lover, 25-year-old Damian Bradford, to kill her husband, Doctor Gulam Moonda, in May 2005. State Highway Patrol investigator Thomas Halligan used charts, maps and an overhead projector yesterday in federal court in Akron, Ohio, to detail the communications Donna Moonda had with Bradford. Bradford is from Monaca, Pennsylvania. He has pleaded guilty to shooting the doctor and is expected to be the prosecution's key witness against Donna Moonda.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia homicide detectives are investigating the slayings of five people in two shootings. A man and a woman are dead in a shooting in the Kensington
neighborhood of Philadelphia. Another woman was wounded in that attack yesterday. Two suspects are in custody. The afternoon slaying came after three men were shot dead on a single block in North Philadelphia. That happened before dawn yesterday. No arrests were immediately made.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Local News-Thursday, June 21st


A Pottsville business has been acquired by a national firm. United Metal Receptacle, a waste container manufacturer whose been operating in Pottsville more than 50 years, has been purchased by Rubbermaid Corporation. According to the Republican and Herald, United Metal is the state’s leading manufacturer of trash and recyclables containers. Their main business channels are in the hospitality and restaurant industry. Rubbermaid officials say that there are no layoff or closure plans for the company. United Metal has been in business since 1919, and employs about 120 people.

The County Commissioners held a public hearing Wednesday to receive public input on a proposal that would take 1.5 acres of land from a property owner for road improvements near a proposed Ethanol Plant. The County Redevelopment Authority designated the land, located along Route 209 near Joliett "Blighted", and the County Planning Commission declared it a redevelopment area under the 1945 Urban Redevelopment Law. The land would be turned over to PENNDOT as part of road widening project to accommodate the proposed development.
During the two-hour hearing, the Commissioner’s heard from Attorney’s from Green Holdings, developers of the proposed Ethanol Plant and Attorney’s from property owner, Rausch Creek Investments. Others testifying spoke both for and against the proposal. Commissioner Chairman Frank Staudenmeier said the Commissioners will study the testimony and make a decision on whether the land in question qualifies as blighted. If the commissioners agree that the land is blighted then the County Redevelopment Authority would begin condemnation proceedings which may lead to a court challenge by the land owner.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has made a decision regarding the expansion of the Pine Grove landfill. The agency announced its approval of a 2-point-4 acre expansion of the landfill in Pine Grove Township, and that this expansion would be their last.
Under a November, 2005 settlement with DEP, the landfill will undergo final closure once the area that is being expanded is filled. The ruling also covers the landfill’s air quality plan for a flare system to control landfill gas. DEP anticipates that at the rate of 850 tons of trash per day, the landfill has enough capacity for four-and-a-half years. The original application by the Pine Grove Landfill, made in 2004, was denied, but during appeal, they agreed to drop any future expansion plans. Pine Grove Landfill will pay approximately $9 million dollars to local, county and state governments during the expansion’s 4-and-a-half year life as part of the settlement.
The landfill is also involved in a gas-to-energy project that will ultimately provide electricity to Guildford Mills, a Pine Grove textile plant.

A Pottsville man is in jail on kidnapping charges. Schuylkill Haven police report that 29-year-old William White was picked up last night at his John O’Hara Street home around 5pm.
White reportedly forced two teenagers to give him a ride to Reading on the evening of June 1st, allegedly threatening them if they didn’t comply. According to reports, White forced his way into the car on Dock Street in Schuylkill Haven, then told the 16-year-old driver to take him to Reading. He also took money from the driver, promising to pay it back when they reached their destination. White was dropped off at a bar near First Energy Stadium in Reading, but never gave the money back. A warrant was issued for White’s arrest last week. He is charged with felony counts of theft by deception, kidnapping, robbery and other offenses. He is in Schuylkill County Prison on $25-thousand-dollars bail.

A Pottsville man is in jail on kidnapping charges. Schuylkill Haven police report that 29-year-old William White was picked up last night at his John O’Hara Street home around 5pm. White reportedly forced two teenagers to give him a ride to Reading on the evening of June 1st, allegedly threatening them if they didn’t comply. According to reports, White forced his way into the car on Dock Street in Schuylkill Haven, then told the 16-year-old driver to take him to Reading. He also took money from the driver, promising to pay it back when they reached their destination. White was dropped off at a bar near First Energy Stadium in Reading, but never gave the money back. A warrant was issued for White’s arrest last week. He is charged with felony counts of theft by deception, kidnapping, robbery and other offenses. He is in Schuylkill County Prison on $25-thousand-dollars bail.

Pottsville police arrested a man after causing a disturbance at Pottsville Hospital earlier this week. Tuesday night, officers were called to the hospital after reports that 50-year-old Stephen McField, a patient, kept getting out of his bed and threatened staff. He reportedly struck a security guard. Once he was cleared to leave Pottsville Hospital, McField was charged with persistent disorderly conduct and harassment. He was arraigned via video conference at the county prison, and kept there on $1-thousand-dollars bail.

State police at Frackville are looking for two male juveniles for throwing rocks at cars on Interstate 81. Tuesday afternoon, the boys were on top of a bank on the east side of the interstate, near mile marker 107. They were throwing large rocks onto the road and at passing cars. Police believe that 10 cars were struck by the rocks, with one having to be towed from the scene. The pair fled the scene on a dirt bike or ATV. Troopers are still looking for them.

Pottsville’s Sovereign Majestic Theatre plays host to the Summer Solstice Folk Festival this weekend. The theatre, located on North Centre Street, will be alive with music beginning tomorrow night, and continues through Sunday. A mix of solo artists, groups, and poets highlight the schedule. The musical menu includes local performers as well as nationally known recording artists, according to Lester Hirsh, one of the festival’s organizers. Tickets for the event, either on a daily basis, or a full weekend pass are available by logging on to www.sovereignmajestic-dot-com , or by calling 628-4647. Enjoy some great music at the Sovereign Majestic Theatre in Pottsville this weekend.

National and State News-Thursday, June 21st

BAGHDAD (AP) - At least ten people are dead and 40 wounded after a suicide bomber blew up a mayor's office in a Sunni town in northern Iraq today. In Baghdad, mortars were fired into the
U-S-controlled Green Zone.

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Egypt's president is arranging a regional summit on the Palestinian crisis next week. He's inviting the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders to the meeting. It would be the biggest show of support yet for beleaguered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) - Weather could keep shuttle Atlantis in orbit for an extra day or two. Plans are for the shuttle to land in Florida this afternoon after about two weeks in space. But the forecast calls for clouds and rain.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - It's not just state worker information on a computer device stolen from a state intern in Ohio last week. The governor says the backup tape also has names and Social Security numbers for 225-thousand taxpayers. Experts say someone with time,
money and computer savvy could get at the data.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Sammy Sosa says 600 "is not a bad number." After slugging hundreds of home runs as a Chicago Cub, Sosa swung, hopped and reached the homer milestone as a Texas Ranger, in a win against the Cubs last night. Only four other players have hit more out of the park.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state House of Representatives could vote as soon as today on the budget bill passed Wednesday by the state Senate. But lawmakers still could end up spending part of July in Harrisburg. Governor Ed Rendell says the budget isn't his only high priority -- he says the Legislature needs to work on transportation, health and energy bills.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Police say the mothers of five children who died in a Pittsburgh house fire last week are expected to turn themselves in, likely today. Shakita Mangham and Fuhara Love are each charged with five counts of involuntary manslaughter. The two 25-year-olds are also charged with making false reports to police and other offenses.

ROCKWOOD, Pa. (AP) - State police in Somerset County are trying to make sense of a house in disarray where a man was found dead of a gunshot wound. Coroner Wallace Miller says 38-year-old Daniel Allan Krouse of Rockwood died of a single gunshot wound to his head, probably late Saturday or early Sunday. What authorities haven't figured out yet is who shot Krouse.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - The manager of a factory in the Poconos where 81 illegal immigrants were arrested says a temp agency was the real target of immigration officials. The manager for Iridium Industries says an immigration agent told him he was the victim. The company hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Two men and a woman are dead from a crash on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia last night, forcing the highway to be closed in both directions. Police say a car flipped over, struck a guardrail and then landed on another car. Two people were thrown
out of the car that flipped, with one landing below the interstate, just north of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.