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.


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