Friday, August 31, 2007

Today's News-Friday, August 31st

36 students avoided injury, but a Pine Grove man was hurt in a bus and car collision yesterday afternoon in Pine Grove Township. A bus carrying Pine Grove Middle and High School students was stopped in the westbound lane of Route 443 to drop three students off at their homes. Driver Rose Newswanger had the red visual signals and crossing arm activated at the stop.
89-year-old George Nichols was also driving west on 443 and did not see the bus and was unable to stop in time, rear-ending it. Nichols was trapped in his car and had to be removed by emergency personnel. He had to be flown to Hershey Medical Center for treatment. The investigation into the crash continues.

An early morning fire damaged a home in New Boston this morning. The alarm came in around 3:30am for reports of a blaze at 340 Roosevelt Drive. Schuylkill County 9-1-1 says that three companies from Mahanoy City, along with fire crews from Frackville and Ryan Township responded. One person is reported injured, but circumstances surrounding that are unknown right now. One fire truck remained on scene as day broke to watch for hot spots.

A St. Clair man is suspected of driving under the influence, and causing a crash yesterday.
During Thursday rush hour, 40-year-old Elbert Wagner was southbound on Route 61 near Arch Street when his car rear-ended an SUV driven by Kevin Ebner. The impact forced Ebner's car into the jeep of Amanda Grabusky of Orwisgburg. Wagner was taken to Pottsville Hospital for chemical testing, as he was suspected of being under the influence. Ebner was taken to the hospital, complaining of minor injuries. Grabusky was not hurt.

Students at Panther Valley will apparently start school on schedule Tuesday even though cleanup efforts continue on an oil spill at their new middle school. Officials from the district say that the 6-thousand-gallon fuel oil spill from an underground tank continues to be mopped up, and air monitoring will continue at the site in Carbon County. Officials from DEP and Carbon County Emergency officials met with school officials last night. The spill happened about a week ago when contractors pounding a stake to install forms for concrete sidewalk blocks at the new school punctured an underground pipe. No one knew the pipe had been pierced, and the fuel followed a trench drain behind the high school. The crash tied up traffic on Route 61 south for about an hour for cleanup.

A big weekend kicks off today in northern Schuylkill County. The Upper Schuylkill Downtown homecoming festivities offer something for the young and young at heart in the host communities through Monday, Labor Day. A special dinner theatre will start the weekend at 6 this evening at the Mahanoy City Elks, featuring a performance of “Our Town, Your Home, One Heritage”, a look at Schuylkill County history with drama, comedy and song. Breakfast and a farmer’s market opens the day tomorrow in Ringtown, and the musical entertainment of Jay Smar. The borough of Ashland hosts their annual ABA Mummer’s parade and celebrate’s their 150th anniversary. Numerous activities highlight the day Saturday. Girardville, Shenandoah and Ashland host a variety of events during the day and evening Sunday. There are also events planned for Labor Day as well. For a complete list of events, log on to

A Schuylkill County native, who’s been an extremely successful collegiate soccer coach, will be honored Saturday. Butler Township native Joe Bean, who is the nation’s winningest collegiate men’s soccer coach, will be honored Saturday afternoon during the Twin Valley Cup Soccer Tournament at North Schuylkill. Bean, who graduated from Butler Township High School in 1957, has racked up 607 wins over 44 coaching seasons, with 38 years at Wheaton College in Illinois. His impressive record also includes 66 consecutive match wins. His team won NCAA Division Three championships in 1984 and 1997. He was recently inducted into the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame. Bean, and his wife, will be honored during ceremonies at approximately 12:45pm Saturday afternoon. Welcome home to Joe Bean.

It’s the last getaway weekend of the summer. It’s also time to drive defensively. PennDOT Secretary Allen Biehler and State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller are encouraging motorists to drive safely and allow extra time for travel during the busy Labor Day weekend. Motorists are reminded that with heavier traffic than usual, they should be aware of posted speed limits, wear their seatbelts, restrict cell phone usage while driving and of course, don’t drink and drive.
According to PennDOT, 1,168 crashes and 13 fatalities occurred during last year’s Labor Day driving period, with alcohol involvement accounting for 190 of those crashes and seven fatalities. In an effort to enhance road safety and protect motorists, the Pennsylvania
State Police will be conducting DUI checkpoints and roving patrols. PennDOT will remove lane restrictions on interstates, including the work zone on Interstate 81 and other high-volume expressways when possible, but restrictions cannot be lifted on some larger projects. Motorists can visit PennDOT’s Web site at and click on “Traveler Information” to find links to interstate travel advisories and weather conditions.

A Girardville man will be charged following an incident in the borough Wednesday. State police say that 46-year-old John Skinner struck 40-year-old Edward Devaney of Girardville in the face during an altercation on Main Street midday Wednesday. Skinner faces charges of harassment.

LONDON (AP) - A Boston woman is among those gathered in London today, remembering Princess Diana, on the 10th anniversary of her death. Arlene Fitch says Diana touched lives around the world. A memorial service will be held near Buckingham Palace, organized by
her sons, Princes William and Harry.

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - A funeral service is scheduled in California today for the second son a family has lost to the war in Iraq. Twenty-one-year-old Army Corporal Nathan Hubbard died in a helicopter crash August 22nd. His older brother died there in 2004. A third brother is home from Iraq duty.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush holds a meeting about Iraq today, in a secure Pentagon conference room, with his defense secretary and the joint chiefs. It's expected they'll tell him
exactly what their worries and recommendations are about keeping troops in Iraq through next year and beyond.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush today is expected to offer suggestions and talk of initiatives to help people who are having trouble keeping up with their mortgages. A senior official says the president is also expected to talk about ways to keep people from getting into trouble with risky loans in the first place.

NEW YORK (AP) - Gas prices may be about a dime cheaper than a year ago, but AAA says fewer Americans plan to travel by car this Labor Day weekend. More people are expected to fly this year, in spite of record flight congestion and delays.

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - The search is to resume in Chester this morning for the father of basketball star Jameer Nelson. Floyd "Pete" Nelson was reported missing from his job as a
dock worker Thursday around noon. Authorities fear that he fell into the Delaware River near Front Street and Highland Avenue, just south of the Commodore Barry Bridge. A search of the river was halted last evening because of darkness and poor visibility. It is expected to resume this morning at daybreak. Floyd Nelson, a Vietnam War veteran, wrote a book about his
son's basketball career in 2004. It was simply titled "Jameer. Jameer Nelson was a basketball standout at Chester High School and with the St. Joe's Hawks. He was drafted in 2004 by the Orlando Magic.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A state court will hear arguments today over whether Pennsylvania should halt firearms sales for three days. Governor Ed Rendell's administration says it's neccessary to allow an upgrade of a computerized background check system. More than two dozen gun dealers are asking Commonwealth Court to block the shutdown scheduled from 6 o'clock Sunday evening until 6 o'clock Wednesday evening. Some state lawmakers have protested the shutdown in part because it coincides with the first few days of dove and Canada geese hunting season.

BROCKWAY, Pa. (AP) - A Falls Creek serviceman who died last week in Iraq is to be buried today in Brockway in Jefferson County. The funeral for 33-year-old Army Sergeant First Class Michael Tully is at 11 this morning at the Beechwoods Presbyterian Church with the Reverend Jean Martin officiating. Tully died of wounds from a roadside bomb southeast of Baghdad.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - An Army captain from Allegheny County died in Iraq this week after an insurgent attack. The military says 29-year-old Captain Erick Foster of Franklin
Park died ysterday of injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by insurgent small arms fire. Foster was with the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He graduated from North Allegheny High School in 1996 and Duquesne University in 2000, after which he joined the Army. Foster is survived by his parents, Robert and Barbara Foster,
and sister Abby Foster, all of Franklin Park. Another sister, Elizabeth Werkheiser, lives in South Kirkwood, Missouri.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - One-year-old Delaware twins conjoined at the abdomen have been successfully separated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Doctors say Matthew and Andrew Goodman of Seaford, Delaware, are recovering after a 15-hour surgery. The twins, who had shared a liver, pancreas and other organs, could face a lengthy recovery.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Insurance Department says it will allow up to 35,000 uninsured adults on a waiting list for state-subsidized health insurance an opportunity to enroll in the program. Department spokeswoman Rosanne Placey says the latest effort to
increase the number of working adults covered by the adultBasic insurance program will reduce the current waiting list to 76,000 people. More than 44,000 adults are currently enrolled in the
program. People covered by adultBasic pay a monthly premium of 33 dollars, 50 cents.
Placey says the department will extend benefits to anyone who applied for them before April 30th, 2006.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - A man convicted of running a major drug ring in Chester County has been sentenced to more than 150 years in prison and fined more than four million dollars.
He is 37-year-old Oscar Lugo, who was convicted of 63 counts of drug distribution and 30 counts of possessing drugs with the intent to deliver, among other offenses. Authorities say the drug ring Lugo ran was responsible for selling as much as 60 percent of the cocaine in Chester County until a series of arrests in April 2004. The judge ruled yesterday (Thursday) that Lugo's sentence can run concurrently with the 12-year term he is already serving in
Delaware. The judge says it doesn't make any difference since Lugo can't possibly live long enough to finish his sentence.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A man has been convicted of starting a fire in a Pittsburgh apartment building that killed three people in 1993. A jury convicted 43-year-old Daniel Carnevale yesterday of three counts of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, arson and other
charges. Prosecutors say Carnevale was a drug addict who raided mailboxes in apartment buildings looking for checks he could cash. They say he set the fire to cover up his crime.
Twenty-three-year-old Christopher Stahlman died when he leapt from the third-floor window to escape the flames. Sixty-three-year-old Florence Lyczko and 31-year-old Anita Emery
died of smoke inhalation. Carnevale was arrested last year in California. His attorney
said he was shocked by the verdict.

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) - A state trooper from the barracks in Lamar, Clinton County, is charged with rape. Prosecutors say 39-year-old Richard Keener of Bellefonte raped a
female acquaintance after accompanying her home following a night out at a tavern last year.
Keener has been suspended without pay. Court papers say Keener met the woman and a female friend at a bar in Lock Haven late on May 16th, 2006, then accompanied them back to the victim's apartment early the next morning. Police say Keener bit the woman numerous times during the assault.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Asthma patients, doctors and activists have urged U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials to tighten smog standards. They said at hearings in Philadelphia and Los Angeles that the EPA should protect the public from ailments caused by dirty air.
Industry officials appeared at hearings in both cities yesterday to urge officials to retain the current standard. An official from the National Association of Manufacturers said at the Philadelphia hearing that the current standard is working. He says it helped produce an average 21 percent decline in ozone levels from 1980 to 2006.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A judge has revoked the sale of the Le-Nature's bottling plant in Latrobe to Giant Eagle. The judge says the grocery chain intimidated Cadbury Schweppes Beverage Group into dropping out of the bidding. So he ordered that the plant be sold to Cadbury Schweppes. Giant Eagle says it did nothing wrong and will appeal. Cadbury Schweppes has told the judge it no longer wants to buy the plant and will sell it if forced to go through with the

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Governor Ed Rendell says he plans to keep the nearly $40,000 he got in 2005 and 2006 from a fundreaiser who's now a fugitive. Norman Hsu is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge. Many prominent Democrats are scrambling to distance themselves from the fundraiser. Describing Hsu as a friend, Rendell said he never asked for anything in exchange for his generosity. Rendell says Hsu held political fundraisers and maintained a high profile during the 16 years that authorities supposedly have been looking for him.

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - Sameh Khouzam, a Coptic Christian, says he fled Egypt eight years ago to escape religious persecution in his homeland. Egypt calls him a convicted murderer and wants him back to face justice. Khouzam's fate is in the hands of a federal judge after a
hearing yesterday in Scranton to determine whether he can be deported. Earlier this year, U.S. officials agreed to hand Khouzam to Egypt being assured that he will be treated humanely upon his return. A government lawyer says relations with Egypt will break down if the U.S. doesn't take the word of Egyptian diplomats. But Khouzam's lawyers say he will almost certainly be tortured if he is sent back to the overwhelmingly Muslim nation. He was convicted in absentia of killing a woman, but his lawyers contend that's a sham.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - When the musical "Assassins" opens in Philadelphia, a small piece of tissue from John Wilkes Booth is to be displayed in the theater's lobby. The tissue fragment from President Lincoln's killer is believed to have come from the cervical region of his neck. It's to be displayed in a small glass jar. And in a twin bill, theatergoers will also be able view a piece
of the brain of the lesser-known presidential assassin Charles Guiteau. He's the man who killed President Garfield in 1881. The specimens will be on loan to the Arden Theatre from
Philadelphia's Mutter Museum, which boasts a large collection of medical oddities. They're only to be displayed for the musical's opening night on September 19th.


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