Monday, December 31, 2007

Today's News-Monday, December 31st


One man was killed when his sport utility vehicle slid into the path of a tractor-trailer this morning near Tamaqua. Police said the SUV was headed north on Route 309 outside of Tamaqua when the driver lost control and slid into the path of the truck. The SUV was hit on the driver's side, killing the driver instantly. The man's name has not been released. Rush Township police said conditions at the time of the crash were slick. There is no word if the truck driver was hurt. Route 309 was closed between Tamaqua and Hometown after the crash.

An Auburn couple suffered minor injuries in a crash on Route 61 this morning on the slush covered roadway. Kenton Hubble and his wife, Kathy, had passed a car on Route 61, north of Red Church Road, and lost control. The vehicle struck a cement paving stop and a mailbox, then rolled over. It came to rest in the front yard of 1177 Center Turnpike. The Hubble's were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital. Their vehicle was extensively damaged.

A Williamstown woman was seriously injured in a crash this morning in Branch Township. Schuylkill Haven state police say that 72-year-old Helen Florida was driving north on Route 209, when she lost control on the slush covered roadway. Her car spun counter-clockwise and slid into the southbound lane, and struck a tractor-trailer driven by Thomas Theis of Strasburg. Florida's car spun back across the road, coming to rest against the guiderail.
Florida was taken to Pottsville Hospital for treatment of her injuries. The crash happened before 9am today.

A man and woman were stabbed in St. Clair early Sunday morning. Their attacker is in custody. Borough police were called to a home on Nicholas Street, where a party was going on. In attendance were several people, including Lori Sleva, Justin Manhart and Steven Close.
According to the criminal complaint, Sleva was dancing for Manhart, which upset Close. He left the home, returning a short time later and attacked Sleva and Manhart with a knife. They had stab wounds to the face, head and other parts of their body. Sleva is in Lehigh Valley Hospital. Manhart, who was taken to Geisinger Medical Center, was treated and released. Close was apprehended by police, and admitted that his anger about Sleva being with another man prompted him to stab them, and that he did intend to kill both Sleva and Manhart. He's charged with two counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and other offenses. Following arraignment, Close was taken to Schuylkill County Prison, in lieu of bail.

A Zion Grove woman is suspected of driving under the influence, and crashed her car Saturday night in North Union Township. Frackville state police say that Roseann Buckery was southbound on State Route 1005 and her car left the roadway, striking a pole and a PennDOT sign. She told police that a deer was on the road. During the investigation, police say that she was driving under the influence of alcohol and was taken to Pottsville Hospital for a blood test. Charges are expected to be filed upon receipt of those tests.

A teenager was hurt in a crash yesterday near Delano. Frackville state police say that Stacy Golden of Hanover was driving her SUV on Interstate 81 Sunday afternoon when she fell asleep at the wheel. The vehicle went out of control, struck a dirt embankment and rolled over. A teenage girl who was a passenger in the car was taken to St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital for treatment. Careless driving charges will be filed against Golden.

In just a few hours, we'll bid goodbye to the year 2007. There are big plans to ring in the new year in downtown Pottsville. "Through The Eyes of Winter Carnival…Maroons are our Champions" is the theme for Pottsville's 2008 new year's celebration. The events, beginning tonight at 6pm in and around downtown Pottsville, will roll right into the Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival celebration. Carnival has been going strong for 40 years. Horse and carriage rides, a meet and greet with the Winter Carnival candidates, historical displays and more will dot the landscape at Sovereign Bank, the Sovereign Majestic Theatre and the Schuylkill County Historical Society. The festivities move to Garfield Square for the raising of the Yuengling bottle at the stroke of midnight. Winter Carnival runs throughout the month of January, with a lot of the favorite events that everyone has come to enjoy, and the 2008 edition is sure to please even more. For a complete look at all of the Winter Carnival events, log on to schuylkill-dot-com/ wintercarnival. There is also a link on our News website.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A windy, rainy New Year's Day could threaten the Mummers' strut up Broad Street in Philadelphia. Still, most of the participants are hard at work on final
preparations for tomorrow's annual parade. The event is often described as Philadelphia's version of Mardi Gras. It features dozens of string bands, floats, and plenty of feathered and sequined costumes. The parade will be held Saturday (Jan. 5) if the weather doesn't
cooperate on New Year's.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The state Supreme Court has ordered another hearing to determine whether mass murderer George Banks is too mentally ill to be executed. Banks killed 13 people in a 1982 shooting rampage in the Wilkes-Barre area. A state court ruled in February 2006 that he was delusional, psychotic and had no capacity to assist in his own defense. But the state Supreme Court says a lower court erred in barring the commonwealth's psychiatrist from testifying -- and then denied a second state expert witness time to prepare properly. The justices ordered the lower court to "expeditiously" conduct a new hearing to allow the state to "present a meaningful case" on Banks' competency. Two justices dissented, saying a second hearing was unwarranted because the evidence of Banks' incompetency was "nothing short of overwhelming." The U.S. Supreme Court held in 1986 that it is unconstitutional to execute the insane.

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - The new majority of the Lackawanna County Commission says members will be barred from asking county employees for political contributions. Commissioner Mike Washo and commissioner-elect Corey O'Brien say they plan to institute an ethics policy to that effect. O'Brien says the two Democrats have returned more than 10
contributions from county employees since the November election. The pair say they do not know whether the policy will bar commissioners from accepting unsolicited contributions from
employees. O'Brien says extending the ban that far might be unconstitutional.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - A high school senior with a love for politics will soon be sworn in as the auditor for Loyalsock Township. Chris Benson has a list of things he wants to change during his six-year term, including redeveloping the township Web site. Benson turned 18 last January and ran for township supervisor in the May primary. He didn't make it onto the November ballot, but he created a stir in the race. Then in the fall, Benson switched from the Republican to Democratic party and ran a successful write-in campaign for auditor. He received 40 of 51 votes cast. Benson, who still lives with his parents, has been involved in politics since he was 14.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Fire destroyed a Cumberland County building used by a firm that supplies municipalities with street sweepers. The large metal building in Silver Spring Township went up in flames at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday. More than 100 firefighters from 13 companies fought the blaze, but officials say it took 90 minutes to get the fire under control
and two and one-half hours to extinguish it. County spokesman John Bruetsch says the cause is unknown, but the fire is not considered suspicious. PA Public Works used the building to sell and repair street sweepers and other equipment for municipalities in 33 counties. Company officials say the five workers will likely relocate to another building in the same complex.

DARLINGTON, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania State Police say they have found the body of an Ohio hunter who drowned when his canoe capsized on a Beaver County lake near the state border.
Police say 23-year-old Brandon Davis fell out of the canoe Saturday into a private lake just off North State Line Road in Darlington Township. Searchers could not find Davis on Saturday night, but located the body in the small lake when the search resumed yesterday.

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - State police are investigating an infant's skeleton that was found in a dead woman's suitcase in Westmoreland County. Police say the skeleton was found Saturday in Hempfield Township by the adult children of the woman, who died earlier this month.
Her children were cleaning out the home and preparing it for sale when they found the skeleton in a suitcase, wrapped in some of their mother's old clothes. Police say an expert will examine the bones to determine the child's gender and, perhaps, when or how the child died. Nobody is charged in the case and police aren't identifying the dead woman or her family so far.

HARBORCREEK, Pa. (AP) - An Erie County mother asked state police to cite her 14-year-old daughter for harassment because the woman says she's tried everything else to keep the girl from running away from home. State police say they filed the citation at the mother's behest.
The girl is not being identified because she is charged as a juvenile. District Judge Mark Krahe says he has handled similar cases in the past, brought by parents at their wit's end with their
children's behavior. The girl's mother tells the Erie Times-News that she has never before gone to police to help discipline her child.

LUTHERSBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Public Utility Commission is cracking down the operators of unlicensed "Amish taxis." Those are people who drive members of the religious group in
exchange for money, goods or services. Amish religious beliefs don't permit them to drive motor vehicles. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the PUC is targeting the unlicensed taxis, or jitneys, serving more than 300 Amish families in Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties. The PUC says it is responding to complaints, including those from some drivers who have paid to become state-certified to carry passengers.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The 2008 election races for state treasurer, auditor general and attorney general are still taking shape. Auditor General Jack Wagner and Attorney General Tom Corbett both intend to seek re-election. Treasurer Robin Wiessmann will not seek another term. Possible candidates for treasurer include outgoing Republican Montgomery County commissioner Tom Ellis; Democratic former state representative John Cordisco of Bucks County; and Democratic Montgomery County venture capitalist Rob McCord. Corbett, a Republican, is expected to face Democratic Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli in the race for attorney general. But Democratic Philadelphia District Attorney
Lynne Abraham is a wild card. No one has so far challenged Wagner, a Democrat, as auditor

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - How far would someone go to be the New England Patriots' "Fan of the Year"? How about 440 miles for nearly every home game in the past 32 years? That's how far Swiftwater resident Pat Noone has driven round-trip to cheer on the Patriots at their home field in Foxborough, Massachusetts. He's only missed two games since 1975. The team honored Noone for his loyalty on December 23rd at a ceremony at Gillette Stadium. Noone received the Patriots' "Fan of the Year" trophy in front of a crowd of about 70,000 before a game against Miami. Noone even has a room in his house that is a replica of the Patriots' locker room.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Election officials in Pakistan have decided to delay parliamentary elections that had been set for next Tuesday. An announcement is expected tomorrow. One official predicts the vote will be put off by about six weeks. With Pakistan roiled by the murder of Benazir Bhutto, he says elections sooner would not be free or fair.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The people of Iowa this week cast the first votes that count in the 2008 presidential race. Republicans and Democrats hold caucuses Thursday. Polls show it's too close to predict a winner on either side.

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - A contested presidential election in Kenya is causing deadly unrest in one of Africa's most stable democracies. At least 15 people are dead in rioting that followed
yesterday's surprise win by the incumbent. Opponents say the election was rigged. More people voted in one district than the number of eligible voters.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq is closing out the year on a violent note. Two Iraqi soldiers have been killed in an attack on their patrol near the Iranian border. At least two people are dead in a clash north of Baghdad. Several more have been wounded by mortar fire. That includes three people in Baghdad who were hurt when a round landed on their house.

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - This is the year we learned about "carbon footprint," the amount of Greenhouse gases each of us generates. In Berkeley, California, Ari Derfel wanted to find out
how much trash he generates. So he saved every speck of it this year. The result is a 96-cubic-foot heap of trash.


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