Additional details regarding the death of a Pottsville Army officer have been released. According to the Department of Defense, Captain David Boris died as the result of an explosive device on a road near Bermel, Afghanistan Monday morning, Middle East time. The explosion also killed a Sergeant, Adrian Hike, who was traveling with Boris. Pottsville and the entire county are mourning the loss of Captain Boris, who is being remembered as a hard-working student-athlete and Army officer. He was serving as a troop commander with the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne) in a 15-month deployment in Afghanistan. He had previously serve a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. Boris graduated from Pottsville High in 1995, and from West Point in 1999.
The Schuylkill County Assessment Bureau submitted its certification of the County's real estate value for 2008 to the Commissioners Wednesday showing an increase of nearly $71-Million 270-Thousand Dollars in assessed valuation. Total fair market valuation of property in the county was set at more than $4 point 8 Billion Dollars. The assessed valuation which is 50% of the fair market value and used by the county to levy real estate taxes was set at over $2 point 4 Billion Dollars. The county tax rate is 11 point 98 mills. The Commissioners vote to accept the certification was unanimous. Last month the county adopted a $44 point 19 million dollar 2008 preliminary general fund budget by a vote of 2 to 1. Minority commissioner Mantura Gallagher who voted against the budget had called last month's early adoption a political move to get a balanced budget in front of the taxpayers before the election and before the property valuation release date. Gallagher along with Sheriff Frank McAndrew will become the majority commissioners in January as a result of the outcome of this month's election. Frank Staudenmeier will be the minority commissioner. Robert Carl was not re-elected.
Area legislators are lending their support to an effort to bring the 1925 NFL Championship back to Pottsville. The groundswell of support began with the release of the "Breaker Boys" book by David Fleming, with a whirlwind book-signing tour in October. An online petition, spearheaded by Fleming, asking the NFL owners to reconsider the team as the best in the land in 1925, has gained more than 9-thousand-signatures. Now, Schuylkill County's delegation in Harrisburg is offering up a resolution to ask the NFL brass and team owners to look at the stripped title again.
According to reports, the resolution, which is expected to gain overwhelming support, will be presented on December 10th, with the author Fleming in attendance.
One more day to go until the completion of the 2008 Schuylkill United Way campaign. The "We Are…Community Strong" effort, with a goal of $1-million-dollars has been underway for several months, and once again, Schuylkill Countians are stepping up to help. Executive Director Kelly Malone told WPPA/T102 News yesterday afternoon that $944-thousand-dollars had been raised so far, and the push to the finish line was on in preparation for the celebration breakfast Friday morning at Penn State. The Tamaqua portion of the campaign celebrated a victory Wednesday, surpassing their $135-thousand-dollar goal. You still have time to give to the Schuylkill United Way, where all monies raised here, stay here for the benefit of the 16 member agencies. Call 622-6421.
State police are looking for the persons who shot a dog in Wayne Township on Tuesday. Jim and Jodi Spotts left their dogs out at their home on Panther Valley Road around 1pm.
Several hours later, the dogs were found at a neighbor's driveway, and one of the English Springer Spaniel's was bleeding from a gunshot wound. The animal had to be operated on.
Anyone with information should call Schuylkill Haven state police at 593-2000.
Today is the Great American Smokeout. This is the 31st anniversary of the event, that gives millions of tobacco-users an opportunity to step to the plate and give up the habit for the day, and maybe for life. With more than half of the United States protected by smoke-free laws, and a variety of cessation resources available, there has never been a better time to quit. Locally, Clinical Outcomes Group, a private non-profit health and social service organization is offering a Quit and Win smoking cessation program tonight at 6:30 at the Holiday Inn Express outside of Frackville. The 90 minute workshop helps users to build a gameplan to successfully quit. The session is free and open to the public. The American Cancer Society is also offering their toll free Quitline to help smokers who want to kick the habit. Their hotline number is 1-800-ACS-2345. If you are trying to quit, or have someone you are close to who is trying to, give them support, a shoulder to cry on or a lollipop. Quitting today, and staying quit, is possible with all of the resources available.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A former state lawmaker accused of installing two relatives in no-show state jobs is due in court today. Former Representative Frank LaGrotta, a Beaver County Democrat, is to be arraigned along with a sister and niece. They allegedly collected about $25,000 for work that was never performed. LaGrotta's lawyer says the women did perform some work. But he acklowledges that hiring LaGrotta's relatives is in itself a violation of the Ethics Act. Prosecutors also say House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese co-signed with LaGrotta a June 2006 agreement that backdated by four months the hiring of LaGrotta's sister as an education consultant. That allowed her to collect $19,000 in supposed back pay. But a grand jury found no evidence that she did any state work.
MEDIA, Pa. (AP) - A 27-year-old suburban Philadelphia man who killed his boss on his first day of work is getting life in prison. Delaware County prosecutors say 27-year-old Shawn Johnson of Ridley Township beat 24-year-old Thomas Lennox to death in February to steal Lennox's car. Johnson offered no apologies at his sentencing hearing today. Lennox had given Johnson a job at his Norwood auto detailing shop the day he was killed. It was just after Johnson got out of jail for nonsupport of his children. Johnson had testified at trial that Lennox had been the aggressor in the fight they had. Defense lawyer Scott Galloway argued that his client was guilty of nothing more than voluntary manslaughter. But the jury convicted him of first-degree murder on October fifth.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Bail is set for four men with alleged mob ties who are accused of roles in an illegal sports gambling ring run out of a high-stakes poker room in a posh Atlantic City casino. They're among 23 people -- including six Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa employees -- charged in the case yesterday. Bail was set at $100,000 for the alleged ringleader, 32-year-old Andrew Micali of Ventnor, New Jersey. It was set at $50,000 for Vincent Procopio of Brigantine and Anthony Nicodemo Michael Lancellotti, both of Philadelphia. Micali was charged with promoting gambling, money laundering and criminal usury. The other three were charged with conspiracy to promote gambling. State authorities say that since March 2006, the ring took in $22 million in bets on college and professional football and basketball. They say the Borgata cooperated with the investigation. And a Borgata spokesman says the casino did nothing wrong and assisted in the sting.
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Environmental activists say filling surface mines with coal ash could lead to groundwater contamination. They met with Pennsylvania's top environmental official Wednesday to urge better testing of the residue from coal-fired power plants and improved monitoring of mines that accept the ash. Pennsylvania has encouraged the use of coal ash for mine reclamation for more than 20 years and says the practice is safe. Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty says yesterday's meeting went well and that her staff will work with the activists on the testing issue.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A study by the State Board of Education says getting all Pennsylvania students to meet the state's academic expectations would cost roughly 22 billion dollars a year. That's about 5 billion dollars more than what is being spent now. Study consultant John Augenblick says the "costing-out" study is intended to give policymakers a starting point for rethinking how to finance public education, but it does not prescribe exactly how they should close the gap. The study was ordered last year by the state Legislature. Similar studies aimed at attaching a price tag to student achievement have been conducted in nearly 40 other states since 1991.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Las Vegas justice of the peace says there may be credibility problems with some of the witnesses but not enough to preclude sending O.J. Simpson and two co-defendants to trial. They face 12 charges, including kidnapping and robbery, in a memorabilia heist. Simpson says he was trying to recover property stolen from him.
CAPITOL HILL (AP) - The 50 billion-dollar Iraq war funding bill that has passed the House is expected to fail in the Senate and that could mean it'll be next year before another bill is considered. The House measure is similar to other measures that have failed in the past. It contains a troop withdrawal timetable.
BAGHDAD (AP) - A suicide car bomber aiming at a senior Kurdish police official in northern Iraq has wounded his target and killed at least six other people and injured 21 more. Many of the injured in Kirkuk were children walking to school.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, under fire for imposing emergency rule, is working with aides to set up a caretaker government. As the political crisis deepens, Musharraf's two main rivals are talking about forming an alliance against him.
NEW YORK (AP) - The approaching Thanksgiving holiday and the box-office bonanza that goes with it have apparently helped push striking stagehands and Broadway producers back to the bargaining table. Talks are to resume this weekend between the two sides in a contract dispute over hiring rules.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A former Democratic state lawmaker
charged with putting two relatives in no-show state jobs says his
family is his only concern.
That was the only comment to reporters by Democrat Frank
LaGrotta as he, his sister and his niece turned themselves in at a
district judge's office in Harrisburg this morning.
The two women, Ann Bartolomeo, and Bartolomeo's daughter, Alissa
Lemmon, are accused of collecting about $25,000 for work that was
LaGrotta is charged with two felony conflict-of-interest counts.
Bartolomeo and Lemmon both are each charged with single misdemeanor
counts of false swearing for allegedly lying to a grand jury.
All three are from Ellwood City, about 30 miles northwest of
WASHINGTON (AP) - Economic reports due today will be closely
watched by investors.
The Labor Department releases the Consumer Price Index for
October. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires look for an
increase of 0.3 percent. The core rate, which excludes food and
energy, is seen up 0.2 percent.
Also due, the weekly jobless claims. Analysts are looking for a
slight increase of 3,000 claims to 320,000.
Later, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve report, covering the
regional economy is also due.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Mayor-elect Michael Nutter
plans to make what is being termed a "major announcement" today
regarding "crime and safety in the city."
The announcement will be made at noontime at a West Philadelphia
Speculation is that Nutter will anounce his choice for police
The current commissioner, Sylvester Johnson, has already
announced his intention to retire from the police department's top
position at the end of the year.
Nutter has said that crime -- including the recent shootings of
police officers -- is a top priority, so his choice for
commissioner will be pivotal to his administration.
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (AP) - A preliminary hearing is scheduled
today for a doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter for a
chemical treatment that authorities say killed an autistic boy at
the doctor's Butler County office.
Dr. Roy Kerry is scheduled to appear this afternoon before
Slippery Rock District Judge Clifford Woessner (WEES'-ner).
Authorities say 5-year-old Abubakar Tariq Nadama went into
cardiac arrest immediately after receiving chelation therapy on
August 23rd, 2005. His parents had moved from England to the
Pittsburgh area for autism treatment.
Chelation removes heavy metals from the body, but it is not
approved by the government for treating autism. Some people believe
autism is caused by heavy metal poisoning.
GIBSONIA, Pa. (AP) - Teachers in the Hampton Township School
District in Allegheny County say they might take a strike vote
later this month.
They walked out of a bargaining session earlier this week.
Union officials say talks scheduled for December 11th were
canceled after the teachers left the talks on Tuesday.
They say the district is stripping benefits and other provisions
from a proposed contract.
School district solicitor Patrick Clair says the union officials
are exaggerating and the bargaining session on December 11th could
The union has a general membership meeting scheduled November
27th, at which teachers may vote to authorize a strike if the
contract talks break down.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The ballot counting goes on in Philadelphia,
but incumbent City Councilman Jack Kelly has pulled ahead of
challenger David Oh in the battle to keep his at-large council
All the absentee ballots are counted, and Kelly now holds a
140-vote margin over Oh.
Kelly tells KYW Newsradio he is "very very optimistic." But Oh
says 1,400 provisional ballots remain to be counted, and he points
out that number is 10 times Kelly's margin.
Elections officials expect to have the vote count completed by
At stake is one of the two at-large council seats reserved for
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Forever Broadcasting is buying four
Cambria and Somerset county radio stations from Results Radio.
Forever co-owner Donald Alt says his company hopes to close by
year's end on the purchase of WPRR-AM in Johnstown, WCCL-FM in
Central City and WBHV-AM and WLKH-FM in Somerset.
Alt says listeners will notice few differences and no call
letters or station formats will change. Alt says Forever plans to
keep the workers at the Results stations and may even hire more
In a related deal, Forever is selling WNTJ 850 AM to Birach
Broadcasting of Michigan.
Forever will move the stations it buys into its studios in Lower
Yoder Township, near Johnstown.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A new round of repairs on Penn State
University's nuclear research reactor is scheduled to begin this
It's been more than a month since officials said they discovered
a leak of slightly radioactive water at the Breazeale nuclear
reactor. Workers have finished repairs to the sides of half the
pool of water that cools the reactor.
University officials say those repairs have slowed the rate of
the leak. Work on the other half begins this weekend.
The reactor was shut down after the leak was found Oct. 9,
though the building remains open. Federal, state and university
officials have said there is no danger to staff, students, the
community or the environment.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Mint today is releasing its fourth
new presidential coin. It bears the image of James Madison, the
father of the Constitution.
U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy says he's hopeful the latest attempt
to introduce a dollar coin will be more successful than previous
efforts. The past two dollar coins are considered flops: the Susan
B. Anthony, introduced in 1979, and the Sacagawea in 2000.
The new coins mark an effort to tap into the success of the
50-state quarter program.
A new presidential design is being introduced every three
Officials at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia hope that the
changing designs will keep interest high and avoid the sharp
drop-off in demand seen with other coins after their initial
The George Washington dollar was released in February. Since
then, coins featuring John Adams and Thomas Jefferson have been
UNDATED (AP) - A number of hospitals are marking the Great
American Smokeout by going smoke-free. They are banning smoking
anywhere on their grounds.
Among those making the change today is Frankford Bucks Hospital
in Langhorne, Bucks County. That means all seven hospitals in Bucks
County have now instituted smoking bans.
Frankford's two campuses in Philadelphia are also going
So is Hamot Medical Center in Erie.
Geisinger Medical Center in Danville is prohibiting smoking
outdoors as well as indoors.
No smoking, even in cars on hospital property, is now the rule
at Berwick Hospital Center, Evangelical Community Hospital in
Lewisburg, and at Shamokin and Sunbury hospitals.
Geisinger wellness coordinator Diane Harlow says hospitals exist
to promote good health and want their employees healthy.
WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush is ordering a series of steps
designed to help reduce air traffic congestion and flight delays.
The Transportation Department has been drafting regulations that
include an increase in the fees airlines must pay to travelers when
they get bumped from a flight. The fee would go from the current
$200 to $600.
The airline industry's on-time performance this year has been
its worst in more than a decade. The Transportation Department says
more than 25 percent of domestic flights arrived late between
January and August.
The president's announcement today comes just ahead of the
holiday travel crunch. According to the Air Transport Association,
domestic airlines are expected to fly some 27 million passengers
worldwide over the next two weeks. Planes are expected to be about
90 percent full.
NEW YORK (AP) - Stock prices are mostly lower at midday.
Oil prices are falling again, after the government's weekly
update on fuel inventories. The Energy Department tells of
unexpected increases in crude oil and gasoline inventories last
week. Also, OPEC forecasts fourth-quarter demand for oil will be
less than expected.
The Labor Department's Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent in
October, led by higher energy and foods costs. There's concern that
rising prices, especially for energy, could crimp consumer spending
and even discourage the Federal Reserve from lowering interest
rates further in the coming months.
There's one positive development amid the credit crunch. The
market for U.S. short-term corporate debt known as commercial paper
decreased by 3.6 billion dollars in the week ended Wednesday, well
below the 15.6 billion-dollar contraction seen a week earlier.
ATLANTA (AP) - As much as an inch of rain has fallen in parts of
the Southeast, but forecasters say the rain did little to ease the
historic drought that's gripped the region for much of the year. A
National Weather service meteorologist in Georgia says the ground
is so dry that little if any rain made it into area lakes.
TOCOPILLA, Chile (AP) - Strong aftershocks from yesterday's
earthquake have been shaking northern Chile.
Some 15,000 people have been left homeless by the 7.7 magnitude
tremor and at least two people were killed in collapsing houses.
The U.S. Geological Survey says one of today's aftershocks was a
magnitude 6.8. But there have been no immediate reports of further
The port city of Tocopilla (toh-koh-PEE'-yah) and a nearby
mining town were hardest hit. Chile's president is flying to the
scene, where four Cabinet ministers are coordinating recovery and
aid efforts. A spokesman says the two towns will be declared
The government has set up a military hospital and is promising
hundreds of portable dwellings. The quake destroyed or damaged
4,000 houses and the local hospital. Some buildings are so badly
damaged they are being demolished.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
(mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS') is making his first explicit call for the
overthrow of Hamas (hah-MAHS') in the Gaza Strip.
In a speech in the West Bank, Abbas accused Hamas of "abusing
the sufferings" of the Palestinian people. Abbas also lashed out
against what he described as "outlawed gangs affiliated with Hamas
in Gaza City."
Forces loyal to Gaza's Hamas rulers opened fire on a mass rally
staged by the rival Fatah (FAH'-tah) movement on Monday. Eight
civilians were killed and dozens were wounded. Hamas also rounded
up more than 400 Fatah activists, and has announced media
restrictions and plans to curb public gatherings.
Abbas has set up a separate government in the West Bank. Until
now, the Palestinian leader had not gone beyond demanding Hamas
apologize for overrunning Gaza and reverse the takeover.
Discontent has been growing in Gaza. Israel's closure of its
borders after the Hamas takeover has driven up prices and left many
out of work.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistani police says
"indiscriminate gunfire" from protesters in Karachi has killed
two boys. They are the first reported deaths in unrest since
President Pervez Musharraf (pur-VEHZ' moo-SHAH'-ruhv) declared a
state of emergency. Meanwhile, Benazir Bhutto (BEN'-uh-zeer
BOO'-toh) says she's contacting other opposition parties in an
effort to form a national unity government ahead of elections.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The fate of a Florida child killer
scheduled to die by lethal injection later today is now up to the
A federal appeals court ruled today that the execution could
proceed, but it's still possible that the high court will block it.
The court is considering the appeals of two inmates in Kentucky
who have challenged lethal injection as cruel and unusual
punishment. Florida uses the same drugs.
Mark Schwab's execution is set for 6 p.m. If it goes forward, it
would be the state's first since the botched execution of Angel
Diaz last December. It took Diaz 34 minutes to die -- twice as long
as normal -- because guards pushed the needles through his veins.
Schwab was convicted in the 1991 death of an 11-year-old boy.
Schwab had been released from prison on a sexual assault sentence a
month before the boy was killed.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - O.J. Simpson's lawyer says his client will be
in Miami, "playing golf and taking care of the kids" over the
next two weeks. Simpson is due back in a Las Vegas courtroom on
November 28th for arraignment on kidnapping and armed robbery
charges that could mean life in prison.
WASHINGTON (AP) - National Geographic is unveiling the latest in
vacuum design, but you probably wouldn't want it in your living
room. Its a 110-million-year-old, elephant-sized dinosaur.
The creature's mouth is shaped like the wide intake slot of a
vacuum cleaner. But inside, it has 50 columns of tiny, sharp teeth
for grinding up food.
The plant-eater was found in the Sahara Desert. Paul Sereno, a
National Geographic explorer-in-residence and paleontologist at the
University of Chicago, says first evidence of its existence turned
up in the 1990s. Since then, researchers have been able to
reconstruct its skull and skeleton.
Sereno describes the 3-foot-long creature as a younger cousin of
the North American dinosaur Diplodicus. It had a feather-light
skull that hung close to the ground, allowing it to graze like an
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - Ricky Williams arrived at the Miami Dolphins
complex today in a team van. The veteran running back is talking to
coach Cam Cameron about his status with the club.
Cameron was noncommittal yesterday after the NFL reinstated
Williams from a lengthy suspension for violating the league's
The 30-year-old Williams has played in only 12 games since the
start of the 2004 season.