Friday, September 28, 2007

Today's News-Friday, September 28th


Two vehicles crashed, but no one was injured in Tremont Township yesterday. An SUV driven by Ray Witmer of Muir was stopped on Molleystown Road, attempting to turn into the Raceway Truck Stop. Lindsay Wagner of Elizabethville, whose vehicle was behind Witmer's, failed to stop in time and rear ended it. Wagner, her two passengers, and Witmer were not hurt, but both vehicles were disabled. The crash happened at 3:30pm.

A crash at an all too familiar spot happened last night in North Manheim Township. Schuylkill Haven State Police say that Steve Miller of Pottsville was traveling north on Route 61 at the intersection with Manheim Road under a green light. A car driven by Paul Daubert Jr. of Pine Grove crossed at the intersection at Rita’s Italian Ice and failed to stop at the red light. Miller's car hit Daubert's. After the collision, Daubert continued on into the parking lot at Lehigh Valley Dairy, where he struck a parked trailer. He fled the scene onto Sunnyside Drive where his car got stuck in a wooded area.

A four-month drug investigation has led to the arrest of a Minersville man. 51-year-old Claude Taylor Jr. is charged with delivery of a controlled substance and related counts for selling heroin from his Carbon Street home. Undercover drug buys were made on several occasions during the investigation. According to the Republican and Herald, Taylor was arrested Wednesday and arraigned on both felony and misdemeanor counts, and was taken to county prison after he couldn't post bail. Police believed that Daubert was driving under the influence and he was taken to Pottsville Hospital for a blood test. Charges are pending.

State police at Schuylkill Haven are investigating a burglary at a North Manheim Township business. Sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, someone broke into the Altered Egos Tattoo parlor on Route 61. They gained entry by forcing open a front door. Once inside, money and several art designs were stolen. The investigation continues.

The County will soon have an actuarial study done to learn the full cost of its liabilities to its employee benefits programs. At Wednesday's County Commissioners meeting, County Controller Gary Hornberger said while actuarial studies are done for retirements funds, a new requirement by the federal government directs that they must now done for benefit programs as well. Five firms have submitted proposals to do the work. Hornberger said his staff will study the proposals and make a recommendation to the commissioners at a future meeting.
In other business, the Commissioners approved retaining Attorney Alvin Marshall to represent the county in upcoming binding arbitration hearings at the rate of $175.00 per hour. At last week's work session, Assistant County Solicitor Jay Jones said contract talks with the Teamsters Union representing prison corrections officers at the county prison have reached an impasse, resulting in binding arbitration. The contract expires at the end of the year. The Commissioners also approved extending the bid award date for asbestos removal at the 1912 building until the October 17th meeting.

A program of ethnic music and heritage opens the Schuylkill Symphony Orchestra season Saturday night. "Celebrating Our Eastern European Heritage", a concert of polkas, waltzes and other favorites will be presented at Lakeside Ballroom in Barnesville Saturday night. Jennifer Bowen, President of the Schuylkill Symphony, outlines the program:


Special guest artists include the Kazka Ukranian Folk Ensemble, with guest musicians Denny Hardock, Gary MacCready and John Stanky. The celebration of Eastern European traditions will also feature ethnic foods, and a Polka Dance with the music of local favorite Stanky and the Coalminers. Tickets are still available for the performance by calling the Symphony office at 628-2632.

It's a big day in the Little Town That Could tomorrow. The 19th edition of Schuylkill Haven Borough Day kicks off bright and early throughout the downtown area, with music, magic, arts and some of the tastiest food imaginable. The day begins with breakfast at St. Ambrose Church, and then moves downtown on Main and St. John Street. Whether you'd like to take a carriage ride, jump in a bounce house, or take a picturesque ride on the Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad, there is no shortage of things to do at Borough Day. New this year is a Geocaching GPS treasure hunt, where you use your navigation device to find hidden items throughout Schuylkill Haven. Parking is available at several locations away from downtown, with free shuttle service to all the fun. For a complete list of Borough Day activities, log on to, or check the link on wpparadio-dot-com (t102radio-dot-com).

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush promises a veto of a bill that would expand a children's health-care program. The measure has cleared both houses of Congress, but not by a veto-proof margin. The White House says it would switch funding from poor families to those with higher incomes. Backers say it would help millions more children who can't afford insurance.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush is calling for global action on climate change, but without setting mandates. He says regulations could slow economic growth and cost jobs. European officials want mandates, saying vague goals won't do much in fighting global warming.

MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. (AP) - A woman who had been missing for eight days is in critical condition after being found in her car at the bottom of a steep ravine in Washington state. Tanya Rider is suffering from kidney failure and sores from being trapped so long
in the car, according to her husband.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - First a ban on public assembly, now an embargo on the Internet. The government of Myanmar appears to have cut public access to the Web as part of its effort
to end anti-government demonstrations by monks and pro-democracy activists. Troops have also occupied key Buddhist monasteries, seen as flashpoints of protests.

MIAMI (AP) - A five-year-old Cuban girl is at the center of a custody dispute in Miami. The child has been in foster care since her mother attempted suicide, but a judge has ruled that her
father, who lives in Cuba, should get her back unless the state can show that would cause her extreme harm.

VERSAILLES, Pa. (AP) - The Associated Press has learned that highly toxic gas is lurking under a small western Pennsylvania town, yet the federal agency that found the danger never told local officials about it. The U.S. Department of Energy found high levels of hydrogen
sulfide during a survey conducted over the past two years at Versailles, where they were
searching for the source of -- and solution to -- a persistent methane problem.
Hydrogen sulfide is a naturally occurring gas often found in gas wells and in some coal mines. It can cause eye irritation and breathing difficulties at low levels and death in high concentrations.
Experts say its discovery should have immediately been reported to borough officials.
Town officials say they haven't been informed of the recent findings.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Supreme Court handed a victory to the state pension system by ruling that a retired judge can't get additional credit for his years in the state Senate.
The case centers on Commonwealth Court Senior Judge James Kelley, who won a lower-court decision to convert more than 14 years in the legislature to a higher pension bracket.
In the unanimous majority opinion, Justice Cynthia Baldwin wrote that if Kelley's efforts succeeded and others become eligible for higher pensions, it would have a substantial financial impact on the pension system. Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican and the only court member to face the voters in November, didn't participate in the case.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Irish rocker and activist Bono was awarded the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia for his humanitarian work in Africa. During the event last night at the National Constitution Center, he exhorted Americans to keep working to solve the world's problems
and spoke of those who are without freedom. They range from people who continue to be trapped by poverty to the Burmese monks marching in protest against their government this
week. Bono and the organization he co-founded -- Debt AIDS Trade Africa -- received the award from former Liberty Medal recipient President George H.W. Bush. Bono, who fronts the band U2, co-founded the group in 2002 to work with religious groups on global disease and hunger issues.

INDIANA, Pa. (AP) - Authorities have charged a state trooper in the slaying of an Indiana County dentist, whose estranged wife was involved with the trooper. Kevin Foley, of Indiana, is charged with homicide in the death of John Yelenic, who was found slain in his Blairsville home on April 13th, 2006. Attorney General Tom Corbett says Yelenic died of blood loss
from multiple cuts to his body. He says a grand jury found that Foley had a well-known hatred for Yelenic that he voiced daily. Foley was in a romantic relationship with Yelenic's estranged
wife, Michele, while the Yelenics were going through a bitter divorce.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Little League Baseball president Stephen Keener says he can't remember a single player using a wooden bat during a quarter century of watching the organization's World Series games. Aluminum bats are so prevalent that Keener says he's worried participation in youth baseball and softball will plummet if a bill to ban them for players under age 18 becomes law. Critics say the bats are dangerous, since balls can fly off of
them at high speeds that can injure younger, less experienced fielders with little time to react.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A dispute between a billionaire newspaper publisher and a rival paper over sealed court documents detailing his acrimonious divorce and family fortune has drawn to a close -- for now. On Wednesday, a judge denied a request by Richard Scaife that
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette return the documents, which were obtained by the paper after they were posted online by the court apparently in error for several days last month.
The newspaper reported information contained in the filings, including details about monthly temporary support payments of 725-thousand-dollars awarded to Scaife's wife, Margaret Ritchie Battle Scaife.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - An Allentown police officer who caused a crash that killed a 4-year-old pedestrian has been suspended without pay. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski also recommended the rookie officer's termination as the city offered 500-thousand-dollars to
settle claims arising from the accident. Thirty-one-year-old Officer Brett Guth ran a red light while responding to a police call and collided with another cruiser at an Allentown intersection on May 30th. The crash killed Daviay Legrand and seriously injured his mother's boyfriend.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Today's News-Thursday, September 27th

State Senator Jim Rhoades has weighed in on the property tax elimination debate with a new plan. During a news conference yesterday at the Capitol, Rhoades unveiled his proposed Property Tax Elimination Act, which would eliminate $9 billion dollars in school property taxes for most of the districts in Pennsylvania.


The plan would require a statewide referendum question on the November, 2008 ballot, and would increase the state sales and personal income taxes, and would reduce school property taxes, dollar for dollar, for $9-billion-dollars. That figure represents 96 percent of all school property taxes. The proposal increases sales taxes from 6 percent to 9-point-one-nine percent, and personal income taxes from 3-point-oh-seven percent to 4-point-three-six percent. It would reduce property taxes on all properties. Rhoades said that funds would be directed to districts, with at least $5-thousand-dollars for each student enrolled, or an amount equal to 100 percent of their property tax revenues. The monies must be used for reducing or eliminating property taxes.

A Pottsville woman is under arrest for attempting to buy a controlled narcotic with a forged prescription. City police report that 25-year-old Kayla Mock presented a fraudulent prescription for Oxycodone at the Caresite Pharmacy on Monday. She was unsuccessful in getting the script filled, and was charged with forgery and criminal attempt to obtain possession of a controlled substance. Mock was arraigned and taken to Schuylkill County prison, pending her preliminary hearing in lieu of bail.

A Schuylkill Haven man learned his sentence yesterday for vandalizing a Minersville church earlier this year. Before Schuylkill County Court Judge Jacqueline Russell, 18-year-old Kevin Smith apologized for spray painting ethnic slurs at the Church of the Broken Pieces building in February, according to the Republican and Herald. Smith admitted to the crime, and was charged with ethnic intimidation, conspiracy, institutional vandalism and other counts. He faces 3 to 23 months in prison, additional probation and restitution. He must also perform 80 hours of community service. A 16-year-old was implicated with Smith in the crime.

Two people escaped injury in a morning rush hour crash in West Brunswick Township Wednesday. Oliver Graeff of Leesport and Sheryl Remington of Fleetwood were stopped at the red light at the intersection of Route 61 and 895 near Molino. Graeff began to backup his truck, not realizing that Remington was behind him. The cars collided, causing damage to the front of Remington's SUV. Graeff will be cited.

State police have filed charges against several Tower City residents from fights that took place earlier this month. Schuylkill Haven troopers say that the first altercation took place on September 15th, where April Wagner and a group of male juveniles got into a fight with 42-year-old Earl Boyer in Tower City. Boyer was hurt in the melee, and Wagner and the boys left the scene. An hour later, Boyer and Sheryln Durham got into an obscenity filled shouting match in the same neighborhood. As the investigation continued, Earl Boyer shoved Durham, and had to be restrained. April Wagner, Durham and Kathy Boyer got involved, shouting obscenities, even after they were told to stop. Wagner is charges with riot, disorderly conduct and other counts. Boyer and Durham were charged with numerous offenses related to the fights and lodged in Schuylkill County Prison. Kathy Boyer was charged with disorderly conduct and April Wagner was also charged, but made bail. The juvenile males were charged with simple assault and harassment. Those counts were processed through Schuylkill County Juvenile authorities.

Two prison guards were hired during a special prison board meeting Wednesday, and the debate continued over whether or not to build a prison pre-release center. Vincent LaSelva of Palo Alto and John Yeager of Pottsville were hired to replace two guards who retired. The debate over the pre-release center led to a sometimes heated exchange between Commissioner Robert Carl and Prison Board Chairman Judge William Baldwin, Commissioner Mantura Gallagher and Sheriff Frank McAndrew. Carl and Commissioner Chairman Frank Staudenmeier have been steadfast in their determination to wait for completion of a study by a firm hired by the county to look at alternatives to relieve overcrowding at the county prison. Judge Baldwin, Gallagher and McAndrew favor moving forward on building the pre-release center. Both sides disagree over the cost of the facility and the yearly costs to operate it.
Carl says he has concerns that a tax increase would be needed to support the facility. As has happened in the past, the meeting ended without a decision on the pre-release facility. The final decision on what to do about the overcrowding must have the approval of the county commissioners.

A public hearing was held Wednesday at the Court House on Schuylkill County’s Community Development Block Grant Funding Program for 2008. Stephen Simchak, Chairman of the Rush Township Supervisors requested $50-thousand-dollars, to go toward the cost of solving problems with a sanitary sewer collection system in Hometown that serves approximately 650 customers:


Simchak said the estimated construction cost of the project is $253-thousand-dollars. Simchak said the township plans to identify the problems with the system with local funds and CDBG funds as a multi-funding year project. Repairs will be made with local funds and Penn Vest funds as needed. The Commissioners said the county expects to receive approximately $400-thousand-dollars from the Pennsylvania Small Communities Program for the fiscal year 2008. According to federal guidelines, the funds must be used for activities that benefit low-to-moderate income persons or to eliminate slums and blight.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - There are reports of several deaths as soldiers with automatic weapons fired into a crowd of anti-government demonstrators today in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The protesters are unhappy about a crackdown that included beatings and arrests.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) - Dawn is headed toward a pair of asteroids this morning, hoping to shine a light on the early solar system. NASA's Dawn spacecraft rocketed away from a Florida launch pad in the world's first attempt to journey to more than one celestial body and orbit both.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - It's not what alcohol women drink that raises the risk of breast cancer, it's how much. American scientists at a conference in Spain presented evidence that a drink or two a day raises the risk 10 percent while three or more raises it 30 percent.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - Passengers frustrated by increasing flight delays could get some help as President Bush meets today with top transportation officials. The administration is pushing to upgrade air-traffic control equipment and ease congestion, in part by giving airlines incentives to avoid crunch flying times.

CHICAGO (AP) - The FBI says it's investigating possible "sabotage" on a Chicago area's commuter rail line. It involves missing spikes that help bind the rails to wooden ties underneath. It could cause a bad derailment. An FBI spokesman says agents are checking for possible connections to a domestic violence case involving a Metra engineer.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The parents of a child who died during last year's Allegheny County 911 outage are suing the company that installed and serviced the equipment. The lawsuit says more than 200 calls didn't go through during the outage, which lasted nearly seven hours.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Camp Hill-based Rite Aid Corporation says its second-quarter loss widened as it began to integrate its recently acquired Brooks and Eckerd stores. The drugstore chain reports improved margins on substantially higher revenues.

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - A former Penn State football player's DNA was on a bloody glove found near the body of the man he's accused of killing. That's according to testimony by a state police forensic expert in the trial of LaVon Chisley.

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - A man with an unusual defense has been convicted of vehicular homicide in Centre County. The lawyer for 21-year-old Anthony Torsell said the Bellefonte man was drunk, but said the pedestrians he hit were so reckless that they caused the crash.

EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Cambria County commissioners have fired the director of the county's troubled nursing home. The commissioners declined to say why they fired Laurel Crest
Rehabilitation & Special Care Center administrator Robert Wernicki.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Today's News-Wednesday, September 26th

Three people escaped injury in a multi-vehicle crash in Washington Township Monday night.
State police at Schuylkill Haven report that 71-year-old Pearl Murphy of Tremont was attempting to turn left onto Sweet Arrow Lake Road and didn’t see the car driven by Brittany Corbacio of Pottsville. Murphy's car struck Corbacio's in the rear passenger side, then struck a parked car owned by Kathy Kurtz. Murphy's car traveled off of the road and struck a mailbox and through the Kurtz's yard, and back across Sweet Arrow Lake Road. The crash happened before 7pm Monday evening.

Two vehicles were involved in a crash in Frailey Township late last night. A van driven by 41-year-old Mary Jane Bair of Joliett and a car operated by 18-year-old Teileigh Altland of Williamstown were headed south on Route 209 around 11:30 last night. Altland's car was in front of Bair's, and when the lanes narrowed to one, Bair attempted to pass Altland, and struck her car, forcing it to spin out on the road. Bair was suspected of driving drunk, and was placed under arrest. She was taken to Pottsville Hospital for blood tests. Bair, her passenger nor Altland were injured, but their cars were towed from the scene. Charges will be filed against Bair upon completion of tests.

A Republican candidate for Pennsylvania Supreme Court made a campaign visit to Schuylkill County yesterday. Superior Court Justice Maureen Lally-Green stopped in the county to promote her candidacy for the state's highest court. A native of western Pennsylvania, Lally-Green has been seated on the appellate court for nearly a decade. She has served as a corporate attorney, a law professor and in other legal capacities during her career. Lally-Green tells WPPA/T102 why she wants to run for one of two seats open on the state Supreme Court:


The highest court in Pennsylvania's main role is to interpret the Constitution. She won the Republican nomination in May, along with Michael Krancer. They are opposed by Democratic nominees Debra Todd and Seamus McCaffrey for the two open seats. A state Supreme Court judge serves a ten year term.

An Auburn teen was assaulted in Shoemakersville yesterday afternoon. Hamburg state police report that 18-year-old Christopher Heck was allegedly struck in the face with a closed fist and a pair of metal knuckles by at 17 year old female. Heck was also injured in the left arm with a bicycle brake cable. Charges are expected to be filed with Berks County juvenile authorities.

A Frackville woman faces theft charges. Norwegian Township police say that 24-year-old Rachel Ann Fidler allegedly took merchandise from Boscov's Department Store on several occasions since June 1st, totaling over $25-hundred-dollars. The items in question include clothing. Retail theft charges against Fidler were filed at the office of District Judge Charles Moran.

Candidates for the seven Schuylkill County row offices up for election this November spoke at a coffee talk program at Luther Ridge at Seiders Hill Tuesday morning. Judy Schweich of the Government Affairs Committee of the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce explained the purpose of the event:


Each candidate was given three minutes to talk. Incumbents talked about their accomplishments and the challengers talked about their qualifications and what they would bring to the office. Chamber Executive Director Lori Kane said the event went very well:


The program was co-sponsored by Luther Ridge, Providence Place, Seton Manor, Tremont Health & Rehabilitation, the Schuylkill Chamber and the Government Affairs Committee.
The County Commissioner Candidates will participate in a debate at next month's Schuylkill Chamber second Wednesday breakfast meeting. Kane recommended Chamber members make early reservations for the debate to be held at the River Inn October 10th at 8:00am.

DETROIT (AP) - Back to work. That's the call to thousands of rank-and-file members of the United Auto Workers, which has a tentative deal with General Motors after a two-day strike. A source tells the AP that the burden of retiree health care will be shifted from the automaker to the union.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Warning shots and tear gas have been fired in Myanmar's largest city, as pro-democracy activists ignore a ban on anti-government marches. Riot police have
been seen beating some monks and dragging others away into waiting trucks.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - A large portion of the 50 billion additional dollars the Bush administration is seeking from Congress for the war in Iraq would be for mine-resistant armored vehicles. Today's request comes as Defense Secretary Robert Gates goes before a
Senate committee.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Idaho Senator Larry Craig today asks for a second chance. He wants to withdraw his guilty plea in connection with an arrest in an airport men's room sex sting. His lawyers will try to convince a judge in Minnesota that the guilty plea was a mistake.

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - The victim in the case against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs says it was about child abuse, not religion. Jeffs could get life in prison for being an accomplice to rape. He forced the woman, now 21, to marry an older cousin when she was 14.

CANTON, Pa. (AP) - Threats to students have led a Bradford County school district to shut down for the rest of the week and plan to buy metal detectors. Two students were arrested yesterday at Canton Area Junior-Senior High School and more arrests could come.
Superintendent Jeffrey Johnston says there's evidence that five male students are behind the threats, which he describes as credible. The school board has a special meeting planned tonight to discuss the threats.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Federal agents said after nine months of stakeouts, phone taps and aerial surveillance they have begun rounding up a marijuana and ecstasy distribution network stretching from Canada to North Carolina. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided suspected marijuana growing and stash houses yesterday in Philadelphia and
Berks County and arrested nine Vietnamese defendants. Technology played a role, with thermal images and electricity use patterns leading agents to an alleged indoor pot growing site
in Sinking Spring near Reading. Federal court papers accused the defendants of distributing
60,000 ecstasy pills and 100 pounds of marijuana this year.

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - The former office manager at a Washington County automobile dealership has pleaded guilty to bilking her employer out of about $400,000. Prosecutors had charged 59-year-old Joyce Piasente of Chartiers Township with theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, unlawful use of a computer, and securing execution of
documents by deception. Piasente worked at Arnold Pontiac-GMC in Houston. Prosecutors
say she stole the money to finance gambling trips with friends and family from 2002 through 2005. The car dealership's owner did not realize the theft until November.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Police say an autopsy shows a baby found in a Lancaster trash bin was a newborn girl. Investigators say yesterday afternoon's autopsy revealed little else. Further tests are expected to show whether the baby was born alive and what caused her death.
Lancaster police are asking the child's mother or anyone with information about her to come forward. Captain John Flemming says investigators think someone must be aware of a woman who was pregnant and no longer has the child, and are hoping they will contact police.

HARRISBURG (AP) - Pennsylvania's students are outperforming students in most other states.
Pennsylvania is one of only six states to make significant improvements in fourth-grade math and reading scores on national standardized tests since 2005. State education officials say the average score for fourth-graders was 244 in math and 226 in reading on the National
Assessment of Educational Progress this year. That's, up from 241 in math and 223 in reading two years ago. Eighth-grade scores on the tests averaged 268 in reading -- a one-point increase from 2005 -- and 286 in math, a five-point jump during the same period. The tests are administered every other year.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Seamus McCaffery and Republican Mike Krancer each have surpassed the (m)-million-dollar mark in their campaigns for state Supreme Court. Newly filed campaign finance reports show Republican Maureen Lally-Green more than doubled her campaign war chest to more than 829-thousand dollars in the 15 weeks ending September 17th.
The other candidate, Democrat Debra Todd, also reported an increase that pushes her total to nearly 711-thousand dollars. McCaffery, Lally-Green and Todd are judges on the state Superior Court. Krancer is a former chief judge of the state Environmental Hearing Board.
They are competing in the November sixth election for two open seats on the state's highest court.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Chicago-area woman who bought a crib that was later part of a major recall is suing its Pennsylvania manufacturer Simplicity Incorporated and retailer Target
Corporation. The lawsuit was filed yesterday in federal court in Minneapolis and seeks class-action status. According to the lawsuit, Amber Spitzer, of Hanover Park, Illinois, bought a Simplicity Aspen four-in-one crib for her daughter at a Target store in April 2006. The lawsuit does not allege the one-year-old was hurt, but says she could have been. On Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled one million Simplicity cribs, including the the model Spitzer had purchased. The recall advises consumers to contact Simplicity for repair

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The parents of a Shippensburg University student killed in a drug-related kidnapping and robbery seven years ago are suing the three men convicted of killing him. The attorney of the parents of victim Sydney Bull says they filed a one-point-five billion dollar lawsuit in Cumberland County on Friday. It was filed mainly as a symbolic gesture.
Attorney Karl Rominger says the goal is to make sure that Matthew Norris, Emmett Lockhart and Dontae Chambers are not able to inherit money or profit by selling their stories. All three are serving life sentences. Police say the three lured the 23-year-old Bull to a secluded
state forest about 10 miles from campus, then shot him. They used gasoline to burn his body, igniting a forest fire that led authorities to Bull's corpse.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The head of Pennsylvania's student-loan agency, which has been criticized by the governor and state lawmakers over its spending practices this year, says he plans to retire at the end of the year. Sixty-one-year-old Dick Willey has been president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency since 2002. He announced plans yesterday to retire effective December 31 in a letter to state Representative Bill Adolph, a Delaware County Republican and chairman of the agency's governing
board. Willey says the timing of his departure is related to his intention to serve as the agency's leader for five years and to fulfill his goal of taking it to the next level. Willey's base salary is 289-thousand dollars. He was paid a bonus of 181-thousand dollars last month.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's News-Tuesday, September 25th

The war on drugs in Pottsville and Schuylkill County got a financial shot in the arm Monday, thanks to a federal grant. US Congressman Tim Holden, along with County DA Jim Goodman and officials from the City of Pottsville gathered at City Hall to receive a check for $449-thousand, 993 dollars from the COPS 2007 Methamphetamine Initiative. The monies will be divided between the two entities in fighting drugs. Goodman explains what his department’s portion will be used for:


The DA's office portion is estimated to be about $260-thousand dollars, $190-thousand is earmarked for salary and benefits for a full-time Assistant District Attorney. The City of Pottsville will use the grant money for equipment and police overtime in fighting drug cases. Murton elaborates:


Last year, a $50-thousand-dollar grant was received for drug fighting efforts.

Traffic was shut down for a time yesterday due to a crash on Route 61. A tractor-trailer operated by Sergey Taranovich and a car driven by Lorraine Breiner were both northbound in the right lane on Route 61 near Renninger's Market. The truck was intending to turn onto Builtwell Road to deliver a load of fruit when it swung into the left lane. Breiner attempted to pass the truck, but was hit when the truck turned. The car slid across the shoulder and hit a concrete curb. Both drivers were not hurt. Breiner's car had to be towed.

America's Funniest Mom has come home to share a few laughs this week. Rubi Wahhab Nicholas, who earned the title on Nick at Nite, will be showcasing her talents on the Sovereign Majestic Theatre stage later this week. The 1987 Pottsville High graduate, who came home for her 20th class reunion, is a working mom, donning her business suit during the day, and lets her hair down doing standup comedy at night. The daughter of Dr. Abdul and Zarina Wahhab, she uses her life as the base for her act, and she has plenty of experiences, both as a child of Pakistani descent and as a working mom with a stay at home husband for her two children.
She entered the Funniest Mom contest after her daughter saw it on Nick at Nite. Nicholas said that the contest was a daunting challenge, going up against some very funny women. But, she made it all the way to the finals, and walked away with the top prize. Nicholas stopped by the WPPA/T102 studios yesterday to talk about her love for Pottsville, and what makes her tick. She tells us what people might expect when they see her show at the Majestic:


A warm-up show is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7pm, Thursday at 7 and 9pm, Friday at 9 and Saturday at 8:30pm. For tickets, call the Sovereign Majestic at 628-4647.

Firefighters battled a blaze at a Tamaqua home yesterday afternoon. A passerby saw smoke coming from the home at 100 Gay Street just after the noon hour. According to reports, there was no one home at the time of the blaze. The property incurred heavy smoke and water damage. No word yet as to what caused the Tamaqua fire.

A Pottsville man was convicted of driving an unregistered vehicle on the highway in Schuylkill County Court yesterday. Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin heard the non-jury case, where 29-year-old C. Eugene Kutz was charged with driving a forklift on the highway, according to the Republican and Herald. Kutz was charged with driving the vehicle on Route 183 in July. He was reportedly taking food and equipment to his cattle, using heavy equipment. The forklift is not licensed for highway traffic. Judge Dolbin heard testimony from state police and Kutz, but decided that Kutz's argument was without merit. Court records say that Kutz requested a jury trial, but the judge denied that as well. He was found guilty and fined $75.

A group of door to door sales people canvassing Pottsville got more than they bargained for when they were arrested yesterday. The six out-of-staters were in the area of West Norwegian Street Monday afternoon, when Jeremy Blair of Washington, Ohio, was observed trying to break into a car. Upon arrest, they found a small amount of marijuana on him. The remainder of the group was stopped about an hour later on 16th Street. Katy Lynn Gregory, who was driving the van was charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Another passenger, Jeremy Pierce of Lubbock, Texas, was also charged with possession of pot and being under its influence. Gregory, Pierce and Blair were all arraigned and taken to the county prison. The investigation into the legitimacy of the subscription sales is also continuing.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - President Bush is expected to announce new sanctions on Myanmar's military rulers today when he speaks at the United Nations. The country once known as Burma has been the scene of massive pro-democracy rallies in recent days. Bush's U.N. speech promoting freedom will mention Iran only briefly.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A businessman and peace activist from California has been freed from a Tehran prison. Ali Shakeri is one of four Iranian-Americans accused of trying to stir up a revolution in Iran. Word of his release comes hours before Iran's leader speaks at the United Nations.

DETROIT (AP) - After getting a night's rest, bargainers for General Motors and the United Auto Workers resume talks this morning, trying to end a strike by 73,000 workers. Some industry experts say a short strike could improve GM's inventory situation but one lasting more than two weeks could cost it billions of dollars.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Episcopal leaders meeting in New Orleans have an important vote today. They're weighing their response to Anglican demands that they bar any more gays from becoming bishops. An American bishops' committee has been working on a statement that
could determine whether the global Anglican fellowship splits apart.

MIAMI (AP) - Meet the newest tropical storm. Karen is the 12th storm of the season. It's far out in the Atlantic, more than 1,500 miles east of the Windward Islands.

GREENVILLE, Pa. (AP) - The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined an aluminum manufacturing company in Mercer County more than $155,000 for alleged health and safety violations. Signature Aluminum of Greenville says it "strongly disputes" many of OSHA's findings.

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - A psychologist says a man scheduled to be tried for a second time in the shooting deaths of two Ohio college students eight years ago is mildly mentally retarded. Ohio psychologist David Hammer says that 27-year-old Terrell Yarbrough has an IQ ranging from 65 to 75. Washington County prosecutors say they want to seek the death penalty.

CREIGHTON, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say a man dismantling a storm-damaged radio tower fell about 100 feet to his death yesterday in East Deer Township. Officials say the man was wearing
some sort of safety belt or harness, but they don't know how if or how it was attached.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A University of Pittsburgh lab designed to develop vaccines to counter bioterror attacks and deadly pathogens is opening today. The Center for Vaccine Research will be one of 13 in the country that will research methods to fight lethal microbes.

WARREN, Pa. (AP) - The state is working to plug abandoned gas and oil wells in Pennsylvania's drilling areas. The Department of Environmental Protection says the wells can be dangerous if people or wildlife step in them. They also present a contamination risk.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Today's News-Monday, September 24th

An Auburn man was severely injured in a two-vehicle crash last night in West Brunswick Township. Just before 8pm, 35-year-old Ronald Kriner was traveling east on Rolling Mill Road near Route 61 and a pickup driven by 27-year-old Eric Daughtry of Shoemakersville was northbound on Route 61. State police say that Kriner failed to stop for a red light and crossed Route 61 into the path of Daughtry's truck. He tried to stop and avoid the collision, but hit Kriner’s passenger side. Kriner was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment. Daughtry was not injured. Both trucks had severe damage and had to be towed from the scene.

A Barnesville man is in Schuylkill County Prison on assault and harassment charges following an incident in Mahanoy Township Friday night. Frackville state police say that 32-year-old Jonathan Kechula and 21-year-old Amy Merenda were involved in a domestic dispute on Buck Mountain Road. Kechula punched, slapped and poked Merenda in the eye during the scuffle.
He was charged with simple assault and harassment. After arraignment, Kechula was unable to post the required bail and was incarcerated at Schuylkill County Prison.

A Mahanoy City man was struck by a car while standing in the middle of State Route 4033 on Sunday night in Union Township. Police say 36-year-old William Mooney, was standing in the northbound lane when 28-year-old Stacie Kowalonek, of Ringtown, hit him with her vehicle.
Mooney was thrown 15 feet from the force of the impact and was taken to Geisinger Medical Center, with what police call moderate injuries. A nursing supervisor at Geisinger says Mooney was still being evaluated in the emergency room early this morning.

Police in Northumberland County are looking for armed robbery suspects. Kulpmont Borough police are searching for two suspects who robbed a bar shortly before midnight last night. Reports are that the two entered the West End Fire Company bar on Maple Street with guns, roughed up the bartender and fled the scene. State Police along with Kulpmont and local area police departments search the area.

A Klingerstown man escaped injury in a crash early Sunday morning. 22-year-old Eric Schreffler was traveling north on Mahantongo Street, near Route 25 in Hubley Township and lost control of his car on a left turn. The car crossed the road and struck a tree. It came to rest next to a cornfield. Schreffler faces charges in the crash. It happened around 2am Sunday.

With six weeks or so left until the general election, some of the county row office races are heating up. Last week, Republican candidate for Clerk of Courts Maria Casey held a press conference at the party headquarters in Pottsville to address several issues about the current Clerk of Courts, incumbent Democrat Stephen Lukach. Casey took issue with comments made by Lukach pertaining to the handling of bail in the Russell Rehrig case. Rehrig was convicted in Schuylkill County Court for sex related crimes against children, but he never showed for his trial, since he was out on bail. Casey contends that mistakes made by Lukach’s office were to blame. Lukach told WPPA/T102 News that his office followed the instructions given by President Judge William Baldwin when bail was set, and that fact was substantiated by Baldwin's comments after the case was decided by the jury. Casey also released the results of an audit conducted by the state Auditor General’s office in 2005 for the Clerk of Courts office. She pointed out some of the deficiencies in the report about proper internal controls in the department, specifically inadequate internal controls and unmonitored data changes.
Lukach said that the report, for the period January, 2002 to January, 2005 did have some issues which were addressed by the implementation of a new computer system. He also said that four previous findings in the audit were rectified prior to the current audit. The Clerk of Courts position is one of several row offices to be decided by voters in the November election.

Dry conditions and a stray cigarette may have caused a brush fire Sunday near Girardville.
After 4pm, fire crews from several companies from Girardville, Ashland and Fountain Springs were called to an area along Route 54 in Butler Township where the fire was already burning.
According to the Republican and Herald, neighbors were trying to extinguish the fire with a garden hose. Within a half hour, the fire was put out. Fire officials believe that a stray cigarette may have ignited it. A home was in close proximity to the fire, but was not damaged. Route 54 was closed for about 90 minutes Sunday afternoon.

A Tower City man faces charges of driving under the influence after a crash early Saturday in Porter Township. 27-year-old Daryl Witmer was westbound on Greenland Road, and lost control on a left curve. The car left the roadway and struck a mailbox, then into the front porch of a home at 31 Greenland Road. State police report that Witmer showed signs of being under the influence of alcohol and failed a field sobriety test. He was taken to Pottsville Hospital for blood testing, then released. Charges are expected to be filed after the results of those tests are known. The crash happened after 2am Saturday morning.

DETROIT (AP) - With a strike deadline just hours away, bargainers for General Motors and the United Auto Workers have been working through the night. The UAW says its members will walk off the job at 11 a.m. Eastern time if there is no contract agreement.

NEW YORK (AP) - Iran's president says his country doesn't need a nuclear bomb and isn't building one. And he says it isn't spoiling for war with the U.S. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave an interview to "60 Minutes" that aired last night. Today, he's to speak at Columbia University in
New York.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush is hoping to revive Mideast peace talks as he meets with Palestinian officials today in New York. He's trying to lay the groundwork for a peace conference in the U.S. but many Arab states are skeptical about the precise mission of the meeting.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - The crowd of anti-government demonstrators in the streets of Yangon, Myanmar, has swelled to as many as 100,000. Buddhist monks are leading the
biggest public protest since the country's military crushed a pro-democracy uprising about 20 years ago.

UNDATED (AP) - A few more days of nail-biting and scoreboard-watching for baseball fans. Five of the eight playoff spots are undecided with less than a week to play. Cleveland and
the Los Angeles Angels clinched division titles yesterday. Boston is assured of at least a wild card berth.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Dauphin County detectives are investigating a shooting involving an off-duty Harrisburg police officer. The district attorney says the officer heard several shots
fired near his home yesterday. He then went outside and ended up firing several shots.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia man injured in a fire that killed another man is charged with setting the blaze. Police say 53-year-old Jose Lorie charged with arson and homicide for
Saturday's predawn fire. It killed 71-year-old Radames Arteaga.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance says arts and cultural organizations in the region generate about 1.3 billion dollars in annual expenditures. A study says there are about 40,000 jobs tied to the spending in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

READING, Pa. (AP) - Police in Reading say a 14-year-old boy riding a bicycle was chased and bitten on the face by a pit bull named Vicious. Police say Jeramie DeJesus was treated at Reading Hospital for a deep cut to his lip and a punctured left cheek.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - Lycoming County authorities say a man who died in a motorcycle craah on Friday was from Ontario, Canada. Police say 61-year-old Dennis Barron lost control of his motorcycle on Route 44 in Brown Township. He struck an embankment and flipped
the bike.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Today's News-Saturday, September 22nd

GIRARDVILLE - A major community revitalization project to benefit several communities in our area was announced yesterday. Senator Jim Rhoades introduced the $1.6 million dollar Schuylkill County Revitalization Initiative at a press conference in Girardville. It will help reduce blight by developing residential housing on blighted sites. Rhoades said the new homes will be offered for sale to low-to-moderate income individuals and families to promote home ownership in Schuylkill County communities. The new homeownership sites will be located in Girardville, Mahanoy City, Schuylkill Haven and Shenandoah. Eight to ten blighted structures will be demolished in order to make room for seven residential housing units at the sites. Rhoades said that the revitalization plans would strengthen the local tax base of the communities and will provide enhancements to the neighborhood. Rhoades helped to secure $1 million in funding for the project from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

GREENWICH TOWNSHIP - A Pottsville man escaped injury in a three vehicle crash in Berks County Friday afternoon. A tractor trailer driven by Randy Gross of Sorrento, Florida, a vehicle driven by Leigh Smith of Trumbull, Connecticut and James King of Pottsville were all westbound on Interstate 78 in Greenwich Township when Gross's truck rear ended Smith's auto, then ran into the rear of King's truck. No one was injured, but Gross will be cited for a traffic violation. The crash happened after 1pm yesterday afternoon.

WEST BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP - A Wisconsin man was hurt in a crash Wednesday afternoon in West Brunswick Township. A motorcycle driven by Eric Modrynski of New Berlin, Wisconsin, and a truck driven by Gary Zohn of Enola, were both northbound on Route 61. Zohn was stopping for a school bus. Modrynski was unable to stop and swerved to the right, striking the truck. The cycle rolled to the ground and slid across the road, striking a building. Modyrnski's injuries were minor, and he was treated at the scene.

More Pennsylvanians than ever before are recognizing the life-saving effect a seat belt can have and they are buckling up when they get in a vehicle. PennDOT announced Friday that the 2007 seat belt rate has hit 86.7 percent, which is an increase over the previous high of 86.3 percent reported in 2006. Pennsylvania started tracking seat belt use in 1988. PennDOT estimates that with every percentage-point increase in seat belt use, eight to 12 lives will be saved. In 2006, 611 people lost their lives on Pennsylvania highways because they were not properly belted. In an effort to reduce the number of lives lost, PennDOT invested more than $1.7 million in seat belt enforcement this year. Pennsylvania State and local police conducted enforcement activities in May as part of "Click It or Ticket," under which unbelted drivers who were stopped and cited for a traffic violation received a second citation for failure to wear a seat belt. Under Pennsylvania law, all front seat passengers are required to buckle up. Failure to comply with the seat belt law can result in a penalty of $60, including the fine and other costs. PennDOT reminds motorists that children ages 4 to 8 must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat when riding anywhere in a motor vehicle. In addition, children ages 8 to 18 must be in a seat belt when riding anywhere in the vehicle. Both of these laws are secondary, which means drivers can be ticketed only when cited for another traffic violation such as speeding. Children under the age of four must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat.

DETROIT (AP) - Talks resume today between General Motors and the United Auto Workers. The union is now in its second week without a contract but the two sides are reportedly close to an agreement. It would include a historic deal transferring the automaker's retiree health-care costs to a trust managed by the union.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran is showing off its military might today with a parade of missiles and other weapons. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says threats and economic sanctions won't stop its technological progress. Ahmadinejad arrives in the U.S. tomorrow to address the U.N and to speak at Columbia University.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Another defeat for Democrats in the Senate looking to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq. The Senate rejected legislation yesterday that would have ordered most troops home within nine months. The measure fell 13 votes short of the 60 needed to pass. Republicans say a pullout would have dire consequences.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush uses his radio talk today to further explain his promise to veto a congressional plan to expand health insurance for children. Bush considers the 35-billion-dollar plan too expensive and a step toward federalized health care.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Some called it a bridge to the future. Others called it the bridge to nowhere. And yesterday, the state of Alaska decided the bridge really was going nowhere and abandoned the project. The 398-million-dollar bridge between two islands became a national symbol of federal pork-barrel spending.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Police in Delaware have questioned two people described as "persons of interest" in the shooting of two students yesterday at Delaware State University. One of the victims, a 17-year-old girl, is in serious condition. Mindful of the Virginia Tech shootings, school officials quickly shut down the campus.

ATLANTIS, Fla. (AP) - "He was the ultimate role model in showing love and caring about other people over and above himself," is how Rex Humbard's grandson remembers him. The televangelist died yesterday at a hospital near his home in Florida. The 88-year-old Humbard died of natural causes.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - People in the Florida panhandle are seeing some rain and strong winds from a tropical depression. It came ashore Friday and forecasters say it should weaken further as it heads over land. That comes as a relief to people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, still skittish from Hurricane Katrina.

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - Some 40 people are now dead in Pakistan apparently after drinking a toxic liquor Thursday. Some of the 15 other people who got sick are in critical condition. Drinking is illegal for Muslims in the predominantly Muslim country, but some resort to black-market booze that's sometimes tainted.

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) - With the release of more than 200 doves, a memorial to the Columbine shootings has been dedicated in a park adjoining the Colorado high school. It's a broad sunken oval with walls built of red stone and sheltered from mountain breezes. Twelve students and a teacher were killed in the 1999 shooting.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A San Francisco supervisor accused of attempting to extort money from a group of fast-food business owners has pleaded not guilty to a federal mail-fraud charge. Ed Jew has acknowledged taking $40,000 but says the money was for a consulting fee over a permit problem. Prosecutors say he was supposed to be paid another $40,000 later.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Some one million Simplicity and Graco cribs are being recalled after three children became entrapped and suffocated. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says in all three deaths, consumers had installed the drop-rail upside down, creating a gap for the child to slide into and suffocate.

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. (AP) - Hollywood heart-throb George Clooney and a female companion are recovering from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. Clooney collided with a car on a narrow road in New Jersey. Clooney has a broken rib and scrapes. His lady friend broke her foot.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The San Francisco Giants have told home-run king Barry Bonds that he's not going to be brought back for the 2008 season. The 43-year-old Bonds broke Hank Aaron's all-time record with his 756th home run August 7th. Bonds says he has more baseball in him and will continue his quest for a World Series ring.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Today's News-Friday, September 21st

Two Pottsville residents were hurt in a crash in Norwegian Township yesterday morning. Marcie Leonard, and her passenger Jamie Santai, were traveling northbound on Ann Street when she lost control, traveled up an embankment and hit a tree. The car then overturned, with the car sliding back down the embankment, coming to rest on its roof. Leonard suffered a facial injury. Santai complained of injuries to her hip, arm and head. Both were treated at the scene, then flown to Lehigh Valley Medical Center. According to state police, the crash scene evidence suggested that the incident was alcohol-related. The road was closed for about an hour for cleanup.

A routine traffic stop in Pottsville early this morning netted the arrest of a city man. Officers found a car blocking the road on East Market Street, and two people arguing. Police discovered a small amount of marijuana inside the car driven by 19-year-old Brandon Moyer.
A further investigation at Moyer’s home uncovered a quarter pound of pot and drug paraphernalia. He was taken into custody and arraigned before District Judge James Reiley.
The investigation continues, and additional arrests are possible, according to police.

A Tamaqua woman who set fire to her home was arraigned yesterday. 46-year-old Sue Ellen Smith is charged with setting the fire at her Van Gelder Street home in the borough earlier this month. That blaze destroyed the home. The Republican and Herald reports that Smith is charged with arson, disorderly conduct and other counts. She has been a patient at Pottsville Hospital since the fire, but after arraignment was taken to Schuylkill County Prison, in lieu of $25-thousand-dollars cash bail. According to officials, the fire was the third at the home in a three week period, but she has not been charged in the other two incidents.

A Berks County man is facing DUI charges stemming from an incident Wednesday. 26-year-old Stephen Simon of Shartlesville was found inside his pick-up truck at the jughandle of Routes 61 and 895 at Molino Wednesday night, in the middle of the road with the engine running. Troopers believe that he was drunk, and he was taken to Pottsville Hospital for a blood alcohol test. Charges are pending the results of the tests.

State police have charged a man for disorderly behavior at a casino in northeastern Pennsylvania earlier this week. 63-year-old Joseph Shamonsky was a patron at the Mohegan Sun casino at Pocono Downs Wednesday. Troopers indicate that Shamonsky was refused service of alcoholic beverages at the casino and was asked to leave. He refused, and became disorderly. Casino personnel called police. He faces charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, and was taken to Luzerne County Prison for arraignment.

DETROIT (AP) - Negotiators for General Motors and the United Auto Workers union head back to the bargaining table in Detroit today. A strike has been on an hour-by-hour hold for the past week. GM is trying to get out from under the crushing burden of retiree health care. One source says other issues have been resolved.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite little prospect of success, Senate Democrats plan another vote today aimed at getting the U.S. out of Iraq. Two other anti-war measures this week have gone down to defeat. Majority Leader Harry Reid charges Republicans are walking "lockstep with the president."

BAGHDAD (AP) - American commanders in Iraq report another U.S. death. The soldier was killed in a blast north of Baghdad. An unofficial count by The Associated Press shows at least 3,792 American service members have died in Iraq since the war began.

JENA, La. (AP) - A court hearing today in Jena, Louisiana, could free the only member of the so-called Jena Six still in jail. An appeals court ruled the teen was wrongly tried as an adult. He and five others were charged in the beating of a white youth. Thousands of civil rights marchers converged on the town yesterday to support them.

BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Public Library says it's going to repair a 19th century marble bust of Christ smashed by an unidentified woman last week. A companion sculpture of the devil
was not touched. The library has taken it off display too, figuring both busts need better protection.

YORK, Pa. (AP) - Police say shots were fired and a man was killed as officers arrived at a motel to serve warrants. York County Assistant District Attorney Bill Graff says a police officer was taken to a hospital after last night's shooting. But he declined to identify the officer or give details on how he was injured. Northern York County Regional Police Chief Carl Segatti said a
man burst from a room and started shooting when police went to the motel in Conewago Township to look for a runaway teenage girl and serve warrants on people believed to be staying there. Segatti said the gunman died of a gunshot wound, though he declined to discuss details. Graff said it was unclear whether police had returned fire.

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. (AP) - A dispute over who names an auditing panel for a casino in the Poconos could delay its scheduled October 15th opening. Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples volunteered to name a five-member audit committee required as a condition of the resort's license. But DeNaples pleaded no contest to a felony in the 1970s, and is the subject of a grand jury investigation. Republican state Representatives Doug Reichley of Lehigh County
and Mike Vereb of Montgomery County are seeking signatures on a letter urging the Gaming Control Board to have the state attorney general name the audit committee. They say DeNaples' group should not be approved until the grand jury finishes work.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - The state has ordered two centers for troubled youth to stop accepting residents after a string of injuries to inmates. State officials said staff restraining techniques caused seven injuries, including six broken bones, since March at the KidsPeace
centers in North Whitehall and Salisbury townships in Lehigh County. State juvenile justice services director Anne Marie Ambrose said the centers cannot accept new residents until they adopt methods to avoid such injuries. KidsPeace spokesman Mark Stubis said efforts to restrain outbursts by young people who may have serious emotional problems can sometimes cause an injury, but perhaps prevent worse violence or more serious injuries.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - A woman working alone in the Williamsport office of Congressman Chris Carney was attacked by a man griping about taxes and communists. Police say a man upset about taxes entered the office yesterday morning and spoke briefly with 40-year-old Rebecca Brocious about taxes. When she stood up to end the conversation the man charged at
her, threw her against the wall, then apologized. Then he said something about communists in Congress, and about killing himself, and left. Brocious called police and locked herself in the office until they arrived. The attacker is described as a 6-foot-tall man in his late 30s
with heavily gelled short brown hair.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state police commissioner is crediting his troopers with heroic actions at the scene of last year's West Nickel Mines Amish School massacre.
Commissioner Jeffrey Miller says the first trooper to breach the schoolhouse got inside by ripping out part of a window frame with his bare hands. Miller says the determined response his troopers exhibited once gunfire broke out probably helped save lives. Gunman Charlie Roberts was reloading when the first trooper got inside, and Miller thinks he planned to finish off the five girls who survived. Instead, Roberts turned the gun on himself. Five other girls
were killed in the attack. The one-year anniversary of the tragedy is October 2nd.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says U.S. police agencies need to understand the latest terrorist bomb-making techniques. In a visit to Philadelphia, Chertoff says his agency is training state and local police in several cities in the wake of terrorist bomb attacks in London, Glasgow and other cities. The Department of Homeland Security has also created a Web site on which they share information gleaned overseas with local bomb squad members and other law enforcement. Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, have caused many of the military and civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's top education official says that a performing-arts charter school will no longer allow its students to attend classes in other school districts.
It's part of an agreement to end a state investigation into the school's tuition billing and other practices. Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak says the deal resolves the state Education department's concerns and lets Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School continue enrolling students. Earlier this year, the Midland, Beaver County school was accused of violating state law because several students were going to other schools for some or all of their classes, among other concerns. Last night, the school's board of directors unanimously approved the agreement.

PARIS (AP) - Lancaster County native Floyd Landis has lost a split decision in his Tour de France doping case. The ruling by arbitrators means that Landis could become the first in Tour
history to forfeit his title and is subject to a two-year ban from competition. Lead arbitrator Patrice Brunet and Richard McLaren voted to uphold Landis' positive tests for a high testosterone level while winning the 2006 Tour, but Christopher Campbell dissented,
according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says the ruling "is a victory for all clean athletes and everyone who values fair and
honest competition." Landis calls the ruling "a blow to athletes and cyclists everywhere."
The ruling leaves Landis with only one more outlet to possibly salvage his title -- an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Today's News-Thursday, September 20th

The Pottsville school board has said no to a request from the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit for a proposed upgrade plan for the two technology centers. At their regular monthly meeting, the board considered a resolution to get on board with a $21 million dollar plan to significantly upgrade both Vo-Tech schools. Pottsville’s share would have equated to about $2.7 million dollars over 20 years, or about a half-mill of property taxes. Directors Patrick Murphy and Dr. Jack Dolbin expressed serious reservations about approving the resolution as presented because quote "there are too many unanswered questions" about the proposal, and the taxes that would have to be earmarked for the plan. But, the board as a whole does support improving the facilities in order to better educate and prepare students for the working world, and would consider another plan if all of the details were worked out. Superintendent Dr. James Gallagher said that approximately 15 percent of 10th through 12th graders attend the technology centers. Two districts, St. Clair and Tamaqua, also voted against the proposal. All member schools of IU 29 have until October 1st to vote. In other business, Pottsville's boys tennis team were awarded the Walter Jones Scholar-Athlete Team Award for having the highest grade point average of all of last year’s sports teams. Their average was 3.54. Overall, the 500 plus athletes earned a GPA of 3.2. Jones was an ardent supporter of Pottsville athletics, and employed by this radio station for many years.

A man from Lancaster County, accused of committing several robberies in our area, was arraigned Wednesday. Eric Singley stood before District Judge David Plachko to face several counts, including robbery, theft and receiving stolen property, for committing a robbery at Dairy Queen in Pottsville, and at Blockbuster Video in the Cressona Mall last month, and for an attempted robbery at a stand at Renninger’s Market. According to the Republican and Herald, bail for Singley was set at $50-thousand-dollars cash. Singley was apprehended in Lancaster County, and is linked to other robberies in neighboring counties. A joint investigation by law enforcement led to a confession by Singley to committing those crimes.

Four bids were opened during Wednesday's County Commissioners work session for asbestos removal at the county-owned 1912 building in Schuylkill Haven. The bids ranged from a low of $47-thousand-dollars, to a high of over $75-thousand dollars. County Budget Analyst and Purchasing Manager Mark Catranis was authorized last month to seek bids to remove what he said was a small amount of asbestos discovered on some exposed pipes. Catranis said an abatement contractor did a review of the building and determined asbestos pipe wrap would need to be removed from exposed pipes on three floors, in a tunnel to the east of the building and insulation above a corrugated ceiling in a section of the basement. The building, located next to Rest Haven home and hospital, is unoccupied and only used for some storage. Until recently, county records were stored in the building but have since been transferred to a heated facility the county purchased in Pottsville, near the court house. A contract for the removal and disposal of the asbestos will be awarded during next week's board meeting.

The Schuylkill County Commissioners have been asked to retain a Pottsville attorney to represent the county's interests in an upcoming binding arbitration hearing. At Wednesday's Commissioners work session, they were asked by the Human Resources Department to retain Attorney Alvin Marshall at a rate of $175 per hour. Assistant County Solicitor Jay Jones said contract talks with the Teamsters union representing Corrections officers at the county prison have reached an impasse resulting in binding arbitration. Jones said the present contract expires at the end of the year. The Commissioners are expected to take action on the recommendation at next week's board meeting.

A Port Carbon woman was involved in a crash in Pottsville Tuesday, and faces charges after she left the scene. 28-year-old Diane Bretzius was driving on West Market Street when she swerved to avoid slowing traffic. Her car struck the porch at a home owned by Martin Davis in the 12-hundred-block of West Market. Bretzius left the scene, and was later apprehended by police on Elk Avenue. Bretzius, nor her two young children, were hurt. Charges will be filed by Pottsville Police.

A man working at an area cogeneration plant was injured yesterday afternoon. The unidentified man was hurt in an accident at the Schuylkill Energy Resources plant in Mahanoy Township. The Republican and Herald reports that he suffered several fractures to his right arm while working on a conveyor belt. He was treated at the scene, and then life flighted to Geisinger Medical Center.

MIAMI (AP) - Still at the center of media attention, O.J. Simpson is back in Florida. A pack of reporters and photographers tailed him as he left the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International
Airport early today after posting bond in a alleged robbery case in Las Vegas.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The judge in the Los Angeles murder trial of music producer Phil Spector meets with lawyers for both sides again this morning. The panel's deadlocked after more than a week of deliberations. The judge is refusing to let the jury consider a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

BAGHDAD (AP) - U.S. commanders in Iraq say at least seven Shiite extremists have been captured in a raid overnight on Baghdad Shiite enclave, Sadr City. U.S. troops and Iraqi special forces were backed up by helicopter gunships. Witnesses say at least one person was killed and five wounded.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - It's apparently the biggest rally to date by the defiant citizens of Myanmar. Nearly 1,000 Buddhist monks marched through the streets of the nation's largest
city today, protected thousands of onlookers forming a human chain. They're rising up again oppressive military rule. Soldiers today did not interfere.

LONDON (AP) - The words are not new to the English language but they are new to one of its arbiters, the abridged version of the Oxford English Dictionary. There are eco expressions like "carbon footprint" and "green audit." But the new words also include "manbag," a male handbag, and "yummy mummy," meaning an attractive mother.

EASTON, Pa. (AP) - A man convicted of shooting another man in the parking lot of an Easton restaurant has been sentenced to life in prison. A Northampton County jury said it was unable to agree on whether 22-year-old Andrew Paschal should face the death penalty. Judge
Edward Smith imposed the automatic life sentence. Paschal was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in the shooting of Marcellus McDuffie in May 2006, as he left Larry
Holmes' Ringside Restaurant with his fiancee after celebrating his 29th birthday. Paschal told the judge he had nothing to say, but told family members as he was led out, "I'll be home. This is just the beginning."

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A teacher has been convicted of child endangerment for letting her 11-year-old son bring a gun to his school. Police say Linnea Holdren tried to run yesterday after the Luzerne County jury's verdict. She was handcuffed and dragged out screaming.
The Shickshinny woman is jailed pending a bail hearing scheduled for Monday. The judge insisted that she get a psychiatric evaluation before that. Holdren was a learning support teacher for the Northwest Area School District. She is suspended from her job.

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - Police say a Centre County couple took their 1-year-old in the car to a convenience store the knife-wielding man robbed. Police say they then went home and got their other two children, drove to Pittsburgh, bought crack cocaine and smoked it.
District Judge Thomas Jordan ruled that Clayton and Stephanie Shaw will face trial on charges including robbery and receiving stolen property.

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict plans to travel to the United States in the spring to address the United Nations. The Vatican says other possible stops in the U.S. - including
one in Philadelphia - haven't been confirmed. Benedict accepted an invitation from the U.N. secretary-general. Among other stops being discussed by U.S. bishops and the Vatican are Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington. A Vatican spokesman says the only confirmed stop is New York to address the U.N. General Assembly. The trip is Benedict's first international visit planned for 2008.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in Pennsylvania have lodged criminal charges against a couple that had been paid $9,000 a month to care for five adopted children, some of whom were disabled, and two disabled adults. Police allege James and Stephanie Dickinson of Lancaster kept the seven locked in a basement cell, feeding them meager meals --including something called "doggie dew stew" -- and rarely allowing them to bathe. An affidavit describes an unlit 4-foot-by-5-foot cinderblock cell that was called the "toy room." Authorities say it was used
for punishment, and it was also where a 14-year-old boy was kept most of the day, sleeping on a concrete floor with only a blanket. A portable toilet was used in the basement. Authorities say one of the children was forced to empty it each day. The seven occupants were removed from the home last October when the couple came under investigation. The Dickinsons are each being held on half a-million dollars bail.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says Ben Franklin would probably have "a lot of pithy remarks" about the need for an independent judiciary if he was around these days. O'Connor spoke yesterday in Harrisburg to a meeting of
Pennsylvania judges and lawyers. She says she's disturbed by efforts to strip federal courts of
jurisdiction, have judges impeached after unpopular decisions and eliminate the immunity judges and juries enjoy from civil claims based on their rulings. O'Connor spoke about a push by the anti-incumbent activist group PACleanSweep to defeat all but one of the 67 municipal, county and state elections.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Today's News-Wednesday, September 19th

A Pottsville man was sentenced on sexual assault charges yesterday in county court. 43-year-old Phillip Barr will go to state prison for 7 to 15 years for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and corruption of minors after he sexually assaulted a boy in Pottsville last year, according to the Republican and Herald. The 13-year-old boy was molested by Barr at the Indian Run Reservoir and at Barr's home. Barr reportedly gave the boy money after he molested him. In addition to jail time, Barr must pay costs and be registered under Megan's Law for the rest of his life.

A Pine Grove teenager suffered minor injuries in a crash yesterday morning in Washington Township. The 17-year-old was driving west on Sweet Arrow Lake Road, and lost control on a right curve. The car traveled along the north berm of the road and hit a concrete slab. The vehicle continued on, then into the yard at 3465 Sweet Arrow Lake Road and into a chain link fence, then struck a building. The driver was wearing a seatbelt and had minor injuries. The crash happened at 7:30 Tuesday morning.

The state's property tax and rent rebate program has apparently run into some delays in mailing checks, according to one Schuylkill County legislator. Representative Dave Argall's district offices in Tamaqua, Hamburg and Orwigsburg have been receiving complaints from constituents about delays in the issuance of Property Tax and Rent Rebate checks from the state Department of Revenue. Argall says the delays are unprecedented and he is trying to get answers for the people he represents. Argall said that many of his constituents count on the checks to pay property taxes. He's concerned that the delays could result in late payments. Argall said that some applications that were filed in March still haven’t been processed, and it may take another six to eight weeks to receive the rebates. He recently sent a letter to Revenue Secretary Thomas Wolf to get some answers about the delays.

A Wayne Township property was burglarized and the owner slightly injured after the intruder assaulted her on Monday. Schuylkill Haven state police say that Sherry Blankenhorn noticed some suspicious activity at the property she owns on Fair Road, Route 895. When she went to investigate, the burglar grabbed her by the neck, knocked her to the ground and fled the scene.
He was seen running from the property towards Summit Station. State police units responded, but they were unable to locate him. Blankenhorn had minor injuries but didn't need medical treatment. The intruder is described as a white male, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, wearing a dark colored shirt with white lettering on it. Anyone with information should call Schuylkill Haven state police at 593-2000.

A Tremont woman faces charges relating to ethnic intimidation of her former employer. Counts against Amber Wolfgang include making false statements to police along with the ethnic intimidation charge. Wolfgang was employed by Sam Singh at the Tremont Super Market. She was fired for poor job performance in early August, and reportedly spread an email rumor that the owner told a person wearing military clothing to leave his store. The Republican and Herald reports that Wolfgang admitted to making the false statements about the incident. Singh's business fell off, and he was forced to close the store last week. The source of the original email has been found, but police aren't saying who started it. Wolfgang could faces jail time if convicted.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A justice of the peace in Las Vegas today could let O.J. Simpson out of jail while he awaits trial on robbery charges that carry a possible sentence of life behind bars. Simpson is to be arraigned on 11 criminal counts in connection with an alleged hotel-room robbery. He says he was just trying to get some memorabilia back.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge in Los Angeles is hoping to break a jury deadlock in Phil Spector's trial on murder charges. Jurors say they can't agree on a verdict after seven days of trying. The judge is considering giving jurors the option of finding the music producer guilty on a lesser charge.

TOKYO (AP) - Yesterday's big gains on Wall Street are being matched today by most markets overseas. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank sparked the rally with a larger-than-expected interest-rate cut.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush is stepping up the pressure on Congress to extend legislation allowing wiretaps without warrants. He'll be touring the headquarters of the supersecret National Security Agency outside Washington today. Democrats want to rethink
the law to make sure it doesn't step on privacy rights.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Leaders of a South Dakota Indian tribe are appealing to the makers of Budweiser beer to help them keep Bud off the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Alcohol sales are banned there but activists say stores just outside the reservation sell four million cans of beer a year.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A former Mercyhurst College volleyball player is charged with killing the baby she secretly gave birth to. Police say 18-year-old Teri Rhodes passed a physical that cleared her to play volleyball just two days before she gave birth last month. A coroner found the infant girl had been alive for about ten minutes before being suffocated.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is going to court to stop what it says is a violation of anti-war protesters' free speech rights by the Pittsburgh police. Since September 4th, the Pittsburgh Organizing Group has been protesting outside an Army
recruiting office. Members say they've been wrongfully cited with violating city ordinances.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - An effort to designate playwright August Wilson's former home a historic structure is moving forward. The Pittsburgh Planning Commission recommended the designation on Tuesday. Last month, the Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission gave
its approval and the measure now goes before city council.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The transfer of assets from the former Pittsburgh Brewing Company to a new ownership group is complete. The company, which makes Iron City and other beers, is called Iron City Brewing Company, the name the brewery was founded under in 1861. Pittsburgh Brewing had sought bankruptcy protection in 2005.

BRADFORD, Pa. (AP) - A former McKean County woman who had owned a property where 21 Great Dane carcasses were found in June will stand trial. Cheryl Ann Magnotta, formerly of Bradford, waived her preliminary hearing yesterday on animal cruelty charges. Police
have said it appeared the dogs were starved to death.

In just a little over a year, the 2008 Presidential election will be upon us. Last night long-time NBC broadcast journalist and host of "Meet the Press," Tim Russert presented his views on the upcoming elections as part of Bucknell University's new national speakers series titled, "The Bucknell Forum: The Citizen and Politics in America." Russert was quick to point out that's it's still early in the race for the 18 presidential contenders and anything can happen for one to pull ahead of the pack. Russert says it's ultimately up to the voters, and they should do their homework, learning all they can about the candidates to make an informed vote.


Russert says the War in Iraq, Social Security, Energy Independence, and health care all rank highly in topics surrounding our next election.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today's News-Tuesday, September 18th

Pottsville's two hospitals made a major announcement yesterday. The Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center announced Monday morning that they plan to study their options to see if they should consolidate operations under a common local parent entity. WPPA/T102 News met with the chief executives of both hospitals yesterday. Pottsville Hospital CEO John Simodejka tells us how the healthcare facilities administration arrived at this point:
The two hospitals will undergo a review process, which may take as long as 6 to 9 months to complete, to study all facets of both hospitals to determine if consolidating the hospitals' operations under one parent makes sense for all involved. Good Samaritan CEO Bernard Koval explains some of the process:
The two executives met with the staffs of both hospitals yesterday to discuss the announcement. They both stressed that the long process began yesterday, and that issues of staffing, services and other matters have not been decided upon whatsoever. The Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic was founded in 1895, and operates a 200-bed facility with over 1-thousand employees. They also operate a nursing school. Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center traces its roots to 1920, and operates 159-beds and nearly 900 employees. During the review, no announcements will be made about the study's progress.

A Monday evening crash leaves one dead and one injured. Around 5:45pm, a motorcycle operated by 49-year-old David Zerbe of Ashland was driving northbound in the passing lane of Route 61 near Mount Carbon. Cars driven by Donna Wabby of Pottsville and Christine Bokunewicz of Shenandoah were also in the passing lane. A white car attempted to make an illegal left turn, rather than using the jughandle. Wabby and Bokunewicz's cars had to stop quickly, but Zerbe lost control of the motorcycle and began to slide, striking the back of Wabby’s Ford Explorer. Zerbe was thrown from the motorcycle. Bokunewicz’s car was damaged by flying debris. Zerbe was flown to the hospital for treatment and later died. He was not wearing a helmet. Wabby complained of back pain. Bonukewicz was not hurt. The woman who attempted to make the illegal turn stayed at the scene briefly, then left. State police at Schuylkill Haven are looking for her.

A Pottsville man is charged with stealing electricity from a public utility. Schuylkill Haven state police say that between the end of August and yesterday, 49-year-old Mark Omlor is accused of bypassing an electric meter owned by PPL Electric Utilities and using the electricity without permission. Troopers estimate that damages to the meter and wires, along with stolen electricity exceeds $1-thousand-dollars. Charges were filed with District Judge James Ferrier's office.

A hit and run crash occurred in Blythe Township Sunday evening. 30-year-old Lyndell Ricard of Kaska was hauling a motorcycle trailer on Route 209 and stopped, attempting to turn left onto James Street. An unknown woman, driving a black Oldsmobile failed to see Ricard's vehicle and struck it in the rear end. The car fled the scene on Route 209 at a high rate of speed. Frackville state police are looking for the driver of the car. Anyone with information on the crash should call 874-5300.

A Pottsville man faces drunk driving charges. Last night, Timmy S. Killian was driving on Route 443 near Blue Mountain High School when he was stopped by state police. Troopers suspected that he was driving under the influence. He was placed under arrest. The incident occurred just after 6pm Monday.

Nearly a week has passed since a fire ravaged a Schuylkill Haven fire company. The cause is yet to be determined. Cleanup at Schuylkill Hose Number 2 on Union Street continues by the members who saw their fire house and equipment heavily damaged by the fire last Wednesday. A 1994 engine that was out on a backup call in Pottsville is believed to be the source of the fire that caused a million dollars in damage. But, state police fire investigators and insurance inspectors have not completed their investigation. The Schuylkill Haven community and fire companies from neighboring communities have banded together to aid Schuylkill Hose as they slowly recover from the devastating fire. Monetary donations for the company are being collected on a daily basis at the office of Edward Jones Investments in Schuylkill Haven.

The Mayor of Mount Carbon has pleaded not guilty to charges that he was involved in an altercation at an establishment in the borough last month. The Republican and Herald reports that 24-year-old Jeffrey Dunkel pleaded not guilty to charges of harassment and criminal mischief. The incident, which happened in the early morning hours of August 11th at Goodfella' Café, had Dunkel confronting 45 year old Nelson Sims, who allegedly had inappropriate contact with two women at the bar. One of the women was Dunkel' girlfriend. Dunkel reportedly hit Sims, and punched his car. Sims, who will have his preliminary hearing in October, is charged with open lewdness, disorderly conduct, carrying a firearm without a license and other counts. Sims was jailed after the initial arraignment, then posted bail and was released.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A man charged with O.J. Simpson in an alleged asino-hotel robbery says the Las Vegas hotel room dispute seemed lke a setup. The man tells ABC's "Good Morning America" Simpson my have been tricked, because the memorabilia dealer who tipped
him off also recorded everything on tape.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A fourth straight month of falling food costs helped bring wholesale prices down last month by the biggest amount in 10 months. The government says wholesale prices fell by 1.4 percent in August. The decline was helped along by a plunge in the
price of gasoline and other energy products.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve is considered likely to cut interest rates today. An apparently slowing economy and a credit crunch linked with the housing market slump are seen as reasons for the move.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - It's a signal many homeowners may be in trouble. The California company RealtyTrac is reporting that the number of foreclosure filings reported in the U.S. last month more than doubled from the year before. It jumped 36 percent from July.

DETROIT (AP) - Experts say billions of dollars are at stake in contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers and General Motors. Talks are set to resume today. Both sides say progress has been made, but that the talks have been slowed by complex issues such as retiree health care.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - Erie County District Attorney Brad Foulk says he could decide this week whether to file criminal charges against a former Mercyhurst College volleyball player who gave birth in her apartment. An autopsy showed the baby suffocated shortly after it
was born.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Republican mayoral candidate Mark DeSantis says he'll appoint an ethics compliance officer if he's elected. DeSantis' promise is an attack on Democratic incumbent Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who was questioned by the city's Ethics Hearing Board.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - One of the owners of Pittsburgh's well-known Robert Wholey & Co. Fish Market says he'll run for Congress against Republican U.S. Representative Tim Murphy. Dan Wholey plans to run in the Democratic primary against Bethany Hafer.

APOLLO, Pa. (AP) - A federal agency is recommending that former Armstrong County nuclear plant workers become eligible for government aid for their illnesses. If approved, many workers would be entitled to $150,000 each if they have one of 22 cancers.

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - State officials say a Montgomery County metal tubing manufacturer has been fined more than $36,000 for a chemical release. Superior Tube officials have blamed an equipment malfunction for the July 10th problem at their Collegeville

Monday, September 17, 2007

Today's News-Monday, September 17th

A Pottsville woman was involved in a crash while avoiding a deer last night in Norwegian Township. State police at Schuylkill Haven indicate that 61-year-old Mary Strenkoski was driving south on State Route 4003, Peach Mountain Road when the deer ran across the road. She swerved to avoid the animal and her car crossed the road and struck a tree stump.
Strenkoski was not hurt. She was wearing her seatbelt.

Two people escaped injury when their pickup truck crashed early Sunday in Pine Grove Township. Vanessa Brower, and her passenger Douglas Brower were traveling west on Canal Street when she failed to negotiate a right-hand turn. The truck slid off of the road and went up a dirt embankment and struck a tree. Both driver and passenger were wearing their seatbelts. The truck sustained major front end damage and had to be towed from the scene. The crash happened before 3am yesterday morning.

The investigation into vandalism at one area school athletic field continues. Between Friday night and Saturday morning, someone spray-painted several items at the Tamaqua Soccer Field Complex in Walker Township. A light pole, the base of a flagpole, 2 benches and the side of the press box were vandalized, as well as a contractor's skid loader and a utility trailer. The amount of damage is not yet known. Frackville state police are accepting any leads in the investigation. Contact them at 874-5300.

A ceremony was held yesterday to retire worn and tattered American flags in Schuylkill Haven.
Under a bright blue sky, about 60 people gathered at Schuylkill Memorial Park along Route 61 to witness the proper retirement of America's symbol of freedom. The service was organized by the Grabowski family, owners of the cemetery. Musical selections honoring the country, speakers talking about the importance of Old Glory, and veteran’s and scout troops participated in the 75 minute service. One of the organizers, Ken Blischok, a member of the American Legion, talked about the significance of the day:
Army Sgt. Jennifer Hartman, a New Ringgold soldier who died a year ago from injuries suffered in a suicide bomb attack, was honored at the service. Hundreds of American flags were burned at the conclusion of the ceremony, with attendees given the opportunity to place a flag in the receptacle as they left the ceremony.

State police troopers from Frackville are investigating a burglary at a West Penn Township home over the weekend. Sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, an unknown person broke into the home of Robert Stabler on Summer Valley Road by smashing a second floor rear window. While inside, the burglar damaged several interior doors by forcing them open. But, nothing was reported taken. The investigation continues.

A Sheppton man is charged with several counts following an incident at the Sheppton Fire Company Saturday afternoon. State troopers report that 28-year-old Eric Matrishion arrived at the firehouse and created a disturbance. He also was driving a car without a driver’s license, which was suspended. The incident was witnessed by several members of the fire company.
Matrishion was charged with disorderly conduct and driving without a valid license by Frackville state police.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's Interior Ministry says it's pulling the license of Blackwater USA, an American security firm, after a fatal shooting in Iraq yesterday. An Iraqi official says eight civilians were killed in the shooting in western Baghdad. No comment yet from

LAS VEGAS (AP) - O.J. Simpson's lawyer says he will vigorously fight any charges filed against Simpson in an alleged robbery involving sports mementoes. Yale Galanter says witnesses have given conflicting statements and are "making deals with the government to flip." Simpson is in jail without bail.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush's apparent nominee to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general seems less likely to spark a bitter confirmation battle. Michael Mukasey is a retired federal judge who has the backing of key Democrats. Bush is to announce the nomination in the Rose Garden and will urge the Senate to quickly consider it.

PHUKET, Thailand (AP) - Officials in Thailand now say yesterday's plane crash on the island of Phuket killed 89 of the 123 passengers on board. Authorities have recovered the plane's two flight data recorders and they'll be sent to the U.S. for analysis. Stormy weather may have been a factor.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - After its final season, "The Sopranos" has claimed its final Emmy as the best dramatic series. "30 Rock" won for best comedy last night. "Boston Legal's" James Spader and Sally Field of "Brothers and Sisters" won for best actor and actress in a drama.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Today is the first day of a special legislative session on energy. Governor Ed Rendell plans to deliver a speech on the subject next week before the combined membership of the House and Senate.

KUTZTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Police investigating the death of a Kutztown University student struck and killed by a train are hoping that students returning to class today can help them. Police hope someone who was with 21-year-old Christopher Reynolds will say what was going on.

LEVITTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Police in Bristol Township, Bucks County, are seeking help from the public in a shooting death. Police say 19-year-old Jimmy Dennis Moore in the Winder Village section of the township before dawn yesterday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

WIND GAP, Pa. (AP) - Officials say two men shocked by high-voltage power lines in Plainfield Township two weeks ago remain in critical condition in Lehigh Valley Hospital. They are
23-year-old James Pensyl of Wind Gap and 22-year-old Stephen Loureiro of Bushkill Township.

SPRINGTOWN, Pa. (AP) - The tiny Bucks County village of Springtown may soon have a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission voted last week to recommend that the village be named to the register.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Today's News - Saturday Sept. 15

POTTSVILLE - Music is in the air this evening at the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts, with the Yuengling Music Festival. A celebration of all types of jazz and blues from some of the areas finest await festival goers. Scheduled to appear are Mr.Z and the Nightshift, Richie Molinaro and Mr. Lou, The Gary MacCready Ensemble and Ken Mettam and Friends. Macready, is a Minersville native with three albums to his credit. For more information on tonight's show at the Schuylkill County Arts Center in Pottsville, call 622-ARTT.

POTTSVILLE - A movie based on a sensational murder trial in neighboring Lebanon County in the 1870's made its debut in Pottsville last night. The Blue Eyed Six, a story about six men who purchased an insurance policy on a man, only to have him killed later for the insurance money, will be presented at the Sovereign Majestic Theatre through Sunday. The true story was made into a stage play and documentary by Pennsylvania Historic Dramas. A portion of the film was shot at the Schuylkill County Prison. It made its debut earlier this year. The filmmakers, Brian and Bruce Kreider, are hoping to get the film more exposure at other film festivals. Showtimes for the Blue Eyed Six at the Sovereign Majestic are this evening at 8pm, and a Sunday matinee at 2pm.

ASHLAND - A northern Schuylkill County community has declared a drought emergency. Steve Ulceski, Ashland Borough Manager, announced the emergency yesterday, after their reservoir dropped to 10 and a half feet, or 60 percent of capacity. The declaration means that mandatory water restrictions are in effect until further notice. Ashland is the second community in the county to issue such a declaration. Orwigsburg implemented the drought emergency last month. Schuylkill County is still under a drought watch.

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP - State police have released the names of two teenagers involved in a crash Thursday night. Troopers yesterday said that 17-year-old Bradley Wolfe was at the wheel of a Toyota 4-Runner which crashed on Newswanger Road near Rock, Washington Township before 8 Thursday night. Wolfe was pronounced dead after the crash. His passenger, 17-year-old Timothy Thomas of Schuylkill Haven had to be LifeFlighted to Geisinger Medical Center. He is reported to be in fair condition. State police indicate that neither of the boys were wearing their seatbelts.

PINE GROVE - State police have announced the arrest of a Pine Grove man from a hit and run accident last month near Pine Grove. The accident took place on August 18th on State Route 30-02, where 46-year-old Frederick Colbert was east bound, struck a 17-year-old pedestrian and did not stop to help. Troopers say that they received information linking Colbert to the accident, which led to his arrest on Thursday. He is charged with fleeing the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury, and other violations. Additional charges in the case are pending.

POTTSVILLE - With one week into the 2008 campaign, the Schuylkill United Way is a quarter of the way to their goal. This year's effort, "We Are...Community Strong", has a goal of $1 million dollars. Officials at the United Way report that they have pledges and contributions totaling $248 thousand, 37 dollars so far. The campaign runs until mid November. To contribute to the Schuylkill United Way, call 622-6421, or log onto schuylkillunitedway-dot-org.

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - The American flag is a symbol of our freedom. But many people don't know the proper way to care for, or dispose of them when they become tattered and worn. A ceremony in Schuylkill Haven Sunday will provide an opportunity to "retire" Old Glory in a fitting and proper way. Schuylkill Memorial Park is holding their second annual flag retirement ceremony at the cemetery Sunday afternoon at 2pm. The Flag Code is a set of guidelines for properly flying, caring for and disposing of the Stars and Stripes. There are many misconceptions about how the flag should be cared for. One fallacy is that if an American flag touches the ground, that it should be retired. According to ushistory-dot-org, if the flag does touch the ground, it may be laundered, but only by hand. If a flag becomes tattered, faded and shows excessive wear, it should be retired by a ceremony like the one being held Sunday. The program will include music, readings and the retirement ceremony, where flags will be burned in a solemn ceremony. Visitors to this free-of-charge event can bring their own flags for proper retirement.

DETROIT (AP) - Talks will continue today between the United Auto Workers union and General Motors. Bargainers are taking a break after extending their talks beyond a midnight strike deadline. Health-care costs are a key issue.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush's radio address today focuses on Iraq. He says Iraq is making crucial progress, even though an administration report card to Congress shows Iraq's government is not meeting key security and political benchmarks. Democrats have seized on the report and will try to limit the Iraq mission.

BAGHDAD (AP) - An Al-Qaida front group says more Sunni leaders who cooperate with the U.S. and the Iraqi government will be targeted for death. The warning comes in the wake of the assassination of the leader of a Sunni revolt against the terror movement. Separately, the group has announced a new offensive.

BAGHDAD (AP) - It's still legal, but buying liquor in predominantly Muslim Iraq is becoming more and more problematic. With the rise of religious parties, the trade has come under severe pressure. Liquor stores are closed for the holy month of Ramadan but customers did stock up in advance.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Contraband underwear is reported at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. There's an investigation into how two prisoners came to be wearing Under Armour briefs. One of them also had a Speedo bathing suit. The military says the items were not issued.

HOUSTON (AP) - The Atlantic season's ninth named storm, Tropical Storm Ingrid, is well out to sea and no threat to land with its nearly 40-mile-an-hour winds. Utility crews are still working to restore power to some 60-thousand homes and businesses in Texas and Louisiana knocked out by Hurricane Humberto.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush is expected to announce a nominee next week to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general. Yesterday was Gonzales' final day on the job at the Justice Department. He left amid investigations into whether he broke the law and lied to Congress about White House political dealings. He denies any wrongdoing.

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - The Utah trial of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs is on hold for the weekend after emotional testimony from his accuser. The woman described the terror and despair she felt when she was forced to get married at 14. Jeffs is charged with rape as an accomplice and could get life in prison.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - O.J. Simpson is having another run-in with the law. Police in Las Vegas say Simpson is under investigation in an alleged armed robbery involving his sports memorabilia. Simpson says he went to a hotel room to recover items he believed had been stolen from him and says there were no guns.

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The Reno National Championship Air Races have had a third fatal crash in four days. Two airplanes clipped wings yesterday, killing one pilot and injuring another. The dead man was five-time defending champion Gary Hubler. The races will resume today as scheduled.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Carol Channing's stolen signature dress from the stage production of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" has been recovered. The shimmery number she wore in the musical was found last night in a bag abandoned in a Hollywood park. It had been stolen from her hotel. The dress is to be part of a Smithsonian exhibit.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Even though security has been increased, migrants trying to cross into Arizona from Mexico are dying at what could be a record pace. A border county medical examiner in Arizona says 181 deaths in the area so far put this year ahead of the record pace set two years ago.

NEW YORK (AP) - An assistant director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says a street performer playing a drum apparently startled one of the horses that pulls carriages around New York's Central Park. The horse died after breaking loose and running into a tree.