Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today's News-Wednesday, October 31st.

Voting machine demonstrations continue up until Tuesday's general election. The Schuylkill County Election Bureau announced the locations at four different sites, in addition to the bureau offices in Pottsville. Director Betty Dries said the outreach effort is to reacquaint the voters with the touch-screen voting system, and to give first time voters an opportunity to try the system out before Tuesday's general election. For a complete list of demonstration locations, follow the link on our News webpage on (, or call 628-1467.

Link to Voter Demonstration locations-

An Ashland man who was burned in a fire has died. 85-year-old Frank Bagdonas, who suffered severe burns in a fire at his home on Chestnut Street, died at Lehigh Valley Hospital late on Monday. He was found outside of his home by fire crews when they arrived Monday morning.
The state police fire marshal is still investigating the cause.

Three men were injured in a crash yesterday afternoon on I-81. Folly Amenoune of Wilmington, Delaware, slowed his rig in the northbound right-hand lane past the Minersville exit, deciding to go on to the next exit. Kenneth Milam of Memphis, Tennessee did not realize that Amenoune was traveling at a slower speed, and struck the rear end of Amenoune’s truck.
Milam was seriously injured and taken to Geisinger Medical Center. Amenoune and Hubert Jones Jr., a passenger in Milam's truck, were treated for minor injuries. The investigation continues. The right lane of I-81 was closed for several hours.

Police in Rush Township are looking for a man and woman who broke into a home earlier this week. During the overnight hours early Monday, police say that the pair stole credit cards and used them at a gas station in the Mahanoy City area and at two stores in the Chambersburg area. Police say that the pair were seen in a dark green Dodge Ram 4 by 4. If you have information, call Rush Township police at 668-4242.

Motorists should take notice of some traffic changes on Thursday and Friday in Pottsville. Repaving work will commence tomorrow on Centre Street, from Laurel Boulevard to Nichols Street. City officials say that traffic may be down to one lane, or closed off completely during the project. Drivers may want to avoid the area.

A Hazleton man, serving time for murder in state prison, had his most recent request to have his sentence overturned denied. According to the Republican and Herald, the state Superior Court ruled that James Pavlichko will remain in prison for killing Dale Nelson in 1996. He was sentenced to life in prison for the crime, in which he was a co-conspirator. This is not the first time that Pavlichko sought to have his sentenced overturned. The three-judge Superior Court panel said that Pavlichko did not file his petition in a timely fashion, and ruled that there was no reason for the court to overturn the sentence. Nelson was beaten by Pavlichko and two other men in Schuylkill County, then dumped his body in a stripping pit near Hazleton.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - A Phoenixville man accused of kicking an argument with his neighbor up a notch by removing his shirt to reveal a two-word expletive tattoo faces 90 days probation and a $50 fine. That's Jason Kaminski's sentence after a guilty plea Tuesday to
a summary charge of disorderly conduct. Neighbor Chris Carr says following a noisy party he asked Kaminski if he could keep the noise down in the future. He says Kaminski cursed, bared the expletive tattoo on his chest, kicked Carr's vehicle and motioned as though to break off his rear view mirror. Carr didn't attend the court hearing in West Chester. Assistant District Attorney Beth Bowers says Carr doesn't object to Kaminski's summary plea.

Pa. House gets public records access law in shape for final vote

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - In a marathon session, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has put the finishing touches on an open records bill. The debate over nearly 13 hours disposed of nearly 100 amendments. Democrats successfully fought back Republican-led
attempts to delay consideration of the freedom-of-information bill. A final House vote is expected in mid-November. The bill now barely resembles what was introduced early this
year by freshman Representative Tim Mahoney, a Fayette County Democrat. But it does have what's known as the "flip of presumption." That means if it becomes law government records will be presumed open to public inspection unless there's a specific reason for secrecy.

Reid son taken into custody after failing drug test

BRIDGEPORT, Pa. (AP) - A lawyer for the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid says he hopes a judge will consider the rehabilitation of his client when he's sentenced
Thursday. Garrett Reid was taken into custody again yesterday after failing a drug test. The 24-year-old man has acknowledged he had used heroin when he ran a red light and hit another car in January. He is to be sentenced Thursday. His brother Britt is also in jail, in connection with a January road-rage confrontation. He is to be sentenced Thursday as well.

Fort Dix case leads to political tussle for Assembly candidate

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - The case of five men accused of plotting an attack on soldiers at Fort Dix has suddenly become complicated by a race for the New Jersey Legislature. The concern centers on a Republican campaign mailer criticizing Democratic Assembly candidate Tracy Riley. She is married to one of the court-appointed defense lawyers in the case. The attack ad features a picture of masked men carrying automatic guns. It criticizes Riley and questions her values, suggesting she might be sympathetic to terrorists. Her husband, Michael Riley, told a judge Tuesday that the mailing could taint the jury pool. The plot to attack Fort Dix never happened. Prosecutors say trips to the Poconos were training missions for the attack.

Peeps candies maker tests outsourcing in China

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The maker of Peeps has tapped an overseas manufacturer to make candies for the first time in the company's history. Just Born Incorporated is making its Spooky Friends treats for Halloween in China. That could be a scary thought for American consumers concerned about products made in China. Bethlehem-based Just Born said it was making the foray into outsourcing for the first time in its 84-year history because its plant in Bethlehem cannot individually wrap the Spooky Friends candies. The company found a factory in China that can do the job and meets their quality standards. Just Born said it wanted to make sure there's demand for the product before investing in equipment to make the treats in the
United States.

Authorities exhume unidentified pregnant woman slain in 1976

WEATHERLY, Pa. (AP) - State police say they hope applying today's technology to a cold case will yield some leads to a particularly gruesome murder from 1976. The still-unidentified
pregnant woman was dug up yesterday from a pauper's field in rural Carbon County. The body of the woman known as "Beth Doe" is to be studied by Dr. Isadore Mihalakis, a forensic pathologist from Allentown. Two forensic dentists will examine her teeth, a forensic anthropologist her bones. Her DNA will be run through a missing persons database, even though that will only help if a maternal relative's DNA is in the database. Police don't think that's likely. The woman was strangled, shot, dismembered and stuffed into three suitcases that were flung over a bridge along Interstate 80 near White Haven.

Researchers find full-body imprints of ancient amphibians

DENVER (AP) - A rock that sat untouched in a Pennsylvania museum's fossil collection for years has rare full-body imprints of not just one, but three, ancient amphibians. Researchers found the imprints in sandstone rocks taken from the Mauch Chunk Formation decades ago and stored in the Reading Public Museum. The body impressions of the salamander-like creatures are estimated to be 330 million years old, or about 100 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared. Many ancient footprints have been found, but a full-body animal impression is unusual. The three impressions show the foot-long tem-no-spon-dyls had webbed feet and smooth skin similar to modern-day amphibians, rather than armored bodies.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A magnitude-5.6 earthquake has shaken the Bay area. There are no reports of injuries or serious damage. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake was centered about nine miles northeast of San Jose.

MIAMI (AP) - Forecasters are advising residents of southeastern Florida to keep an eye on Tropical Storm Noel. The National Hurricane Center says the storm's top sustained winds have
died down to about 40 miles per hour after it battered the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As many as 36 people were killed.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities in Southern California say a boy has admitted playing with matches and accidentally setting the Buckweed Fire in Los Angeles County last week. Twenty-one homes were destroyed in the 60-square-mile blaze. The sheriff's office says the case will be presented to prosecutors.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Buddhist monks have been marching again in the streets of Myanmar , the first public demonstration since the government's deadly crackdown last month.
In telephone interviews, two monks say more than 100 monks marched for nearly an hour today before returning without incident to their monasteries.

KENNEDY SPACE STATION (AP) - NASA engineers are examining pictures of the damaged solar wing that astronauts tried to unfurl on the international space station yesterday. NASA says the wing can still provide power, but engineers are trying determine how bad the damage is and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Today's News-Tuesday, October 30th

An Auburn man has been arrested and faces a homicide by vehicle charge in what police say was the road-rage death of a woman forced off the road late last month. Authorities say the arrest of 60-year-old William Moyer culminates a month-long investigation starting with witnesses' descriptions of the vehicle involved in the Sept. 28 fatality. Moyer is also charged with involuntary manslaughter and traffic violations, and was ordered imprisoned in lieu of $20-thousand-dollars bail following arraignment Monday. It's not immediately known if he has
an attorney. Authorities say 23-year-old Angeline Francisci of Hazleton was pronounced dead at the scene after a car swerved toward hers and forced it off Route 61 near the Schuylkill-Berks county line. The car didn't stop.

A man was burned yesterday during a house fire in Ashland. Fire officials say that Frank Bagdonas was found outside of the Chestnut Street home with burns when emergency responders arrived. The state police fire marshal and local authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, which was contained to a basement area of the house. The fire broke out after 6:30am Monday.

A St. Clair teen who shot a gun at a girl earlier this year will serve probation until he turns 21. That was the determination in Schuylkill County Court for 17-year-old Justin Snyder, who shot a handgun at 14-year-old Amanda Moser at her home in New Castle Township. The Republican and Herald indicates that Snyder’s attorney petitioned the court to have him tried as a juvenile. He was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and other offenses. However, two of the most serious charges were dropped.
The court determined that he will be supervised by county juvenile authorities until he turns 21. He must pay restitution and be evaluated for therapy.

Fire damaged two homes in Lansford yesterday. Authorities say that the fire started in the Suzanne Hough home at 41 South Walnut Street and spread to the Jae Lehman home, which adjoins it Monday morning. While its not clear how the fire started, Hough was arrested by Lansford police for being uncooperative with police and fire officials. She was taken to Gnadden Huetten Hospital for evaluation, according to the Republican and Herald. Both homes had fire, smoke and water damage. Adjoining homes had smoke damage as well. Several pets perished in the fire.

A Pottsville woman was arrested and charged for assaulting her brother. 19-year-old Alycia Hunt is charged with simple assault, domestic violence and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident where she bit and scratched her brother Andrew at a Second Street home in the city. Hunt was arraigned and taken to the Schuylkill County Prison.

HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) - It's been more than 30 years since an unidentified pregnant woman found dismembered and stuffed into suitcases. The body known as "Beth Doe" was found in White Haven on the banks of the Lehigh River near Interstate 80. Today, the body is to be dug up and re-examined by experts. The woman is believed to have been in her late teens or early
20s. The coroner estimated she had been dead less than 24 hours. Police didn't say yesterday what has renewed their interest in the case.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Drexel University in Philadelphia is getting ready to host tonight's debate of Democratic presidential hopefuls. The two-hour debate starting at 9 p.m. features seven Democrats seeking their party's presidential nomination. They are Senators
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd; former Senator John Edwards; New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania officials say they've developed a protocol for closing interstate highways in response to the February storm that left many motorists stranded.
Also, they now have a uniform system of grading road conditions. There are short-term and long-term solutions for a problem stretch of Interstate 78 in Berks County. That's where heavy truck traffic, steep inclines, Jersey walls and inadequate shoulders and medians made it impossible for many drivers to get off the road.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Governor Ed Rendell has given a big push to two state programs designed to give relief to the mortgage crisis. The state programs are called Refinance to an Affordable Loan, or REAL, and Homeowner Equity Recovery Opportunity, or HERO. They
are designed for homeowners victimized by predatory lending or facing unaffordable increases in their mortgage payments. Rendell promoted the programs yesterday at a news
conference at Philadelphia City Hall. The programs have been around since summer and were crafted by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bill has unanimous approval from a state Senate committee to overhaul the state law that sets limits on public access to government records. The bill is expected to be brought up for a vote on the Senate floor in three weeks. However, some critics say the rewrite does not go far enough in peeling back secrecy, particularly when it comes to the
Legislature's records. The state House of Representatives is expected to debate its own
bill later this week. Pennsylvania is generally thought to have one of the nation's weakest laws regarding public access to government records and information.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The University of Pennsylvania has set up a "Guest Chef" program that turns a college cafeteria into a culinary destination for one night a month. A university official says the program began in the spring to treat students to something different and allow local chefs to show off their talent. It also gives dining staff a chance to learn new techniques.
Chefs aren't compensated but the university pays for the ingredients. The guest chef for one night last week, Michael Solomonov, says cooking on such a large scale is a bit overwhelming. He says he tends to order 30 pounds of short ribs for his restaurant, but the campus executive chef ordered 300 pounds.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - A Philadelphia-based public radio station is coming to the Lancaster area. WXPN-FM, broadcast out of the University of Pennsylvania, begins transmitting live from its new tower in Middletown today. The new frequency will be found at 88.7 FM on the radio dial in Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. The station also broadcasts out of Harrisburg, the Lehigh Valley and the Baltimore area. WXPN plays a mixture of rock, folk, blues and roots music. Station managers are planning a free concert on Saturday at the Chameleon Club in downtown Lancaster.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A deal to grant immunity to Blackwater guards involved in a shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead last month has delayed a criminal inquiry into the incident. The AP has learned that the State Department has promised immunity, and that may make any prosecutions more difficult.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A human rights expert with the U.N. wants the U.S. to either try or release suspected "enemy combatants" and move quickly to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. The Defense Department says it would like to close the prison, but that the U.S. has to act cautiously so "dangerous men" aren't freed.

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (AP) - Astronauts at the international space station will work to install a solar power tower during a spacewalk today. One of the spacewalkers will also
inspect a rotary joint on a solar panel to help engineers figure out what's wrong with a gear that controls other solar wings.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Pilots are being advised to avoid flying over part of Iowa after a massive chemical facility explosion sent clouds of smoke into the air yesterday, hampering visibility. Two people suffered injuries in the fire.

CHICAGO (AP) - Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois will start testing all incoming patients for a drug-resistant form of staph, amid reports suggesting that the bacteria is becoming more widespread. A new law in Illinois already requires the testing of
high-risk and intensive-care patients.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Today's News-Monday, October 29th

Shenandoah police arrested a borough man on drug charges. Friday night, Shenandoah PD apprehended 27-year-old Sandy Sanchez at the intersection of East Lloyd Street and North Market Street after obtaining an arrest warrant. Sanchez is charged with delivering a controlled substance. The arrest was the result of two undercover buys of cocaine during July, 2007. A quantity of marijuana was found in his car during a search of his vehicle. He was arraigned at the Schuylkill County Prison and remains there after he couldn’t post bail. Additional charges will be lodged against Sanchez for having drugs in his car at the time of his arrest.

A blown tire forced a Vermont man to crash his vehicle on Interstate 81 yesterday. Jacques Trahan of Burlington, Vermont was driving south on the Interstate when the right front tire blew out, causing him to lose control. The car went off the right berm of the road and struck the guiderail. Trahan wasn’t hurt, but his car had moderate damage during the Sunday afternoon crash.

Two people were hurt in a crash just outside of Pottsville Friday afternoon. Schuylkill Haven state police reported this morning that cars driven by Rita Stanchick of Minersville, Steven York of Pottsville and Keith Shellhamer of Orwigsburg were traveling east on the Gordon Nagle Trail, Route 901 around 12:30pm. Shellhamer was stopped behind a car making a left turn onto Glenworth Road, with York behind him. Stanchick's vehicle couldn’t stop on the wet roadway and rear-ended York and Shellhamer's car. Stanchick and York had minor injuries, and both cars had severe damage. Shellhamer, nor three passengers in his car, were hurt.
Stanchick will be cited in the Friday afternoon crash.

PennDOT will begin a road improvement project at a busy Route 61 intersection today. Spokesman Sean Brown tells us that work gets underway today at Route 61 and Tunnel Road across from Fairlane Village Mall. The work includes upgrades to traffic signals, line painting and the installation of crosswalks. Some lane restrictions may result from the work, which is expected to take until May of 2008 to complete. The cost of the project is estimated to be about $186-thousand-dollars.

Some traffic delays and a road closure is expected while drainage work is completed in Orwigsburg. Borough officials say that South Liberty Street will be closed from Ridge Road to the borough line for installation of a new drainage system. The street will be closed from 7am till 3pm daily, with some evening closures as well. Its expected to take two weeks to complete.

Cold and flue season is coming, and wise parents are lining up flu shots for their kids. A Penn State Cooperative Extension child care expert says flu shots are especially important for children who go to child care facilities.

Vaccination remains the best protection against catching the flue, and medical experts have recently lowered the recommended age for children getting the treatment. Penn State Better Kid Care program specialist Nancy Wilson says now's the time to get immunized. She recommends that all children from six months to five years should be given a flu shot to prevent them from getting really ill later in the winter. And especially children in childcare. They're around groups of people, and its important to try to protect them from getting so sick. Especially children with asthma. Wilson says children getting a flu shot for the first time will need two doses of the vaccine, given at least 28 days apart. Protection usually starts about two weeks after the second shot.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review have both endorsed Republican challenger Mark DeSantis for mayor. DeSantis takes on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in the race to complete the remaining two years of a term left open when Mayor Bob O'Connor died from a rare brain cancer last year. The Post-Gazette hasn't endorsed a GOP candidate for mayor since 1969.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A woman accused of planning an elaborate bank robbery that ended in the death of a pizza deliveryman in Erie County in 2003 says she is "totally innocent" and denies making incriminating statements to federal investigators. The Erie Times-News reports that 58-year-old Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong said in two phone conversations from prison that she didn't know Brian Wells, the pizza deliveryman.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A career Army member has left the service two years short of retirement to move to Johnstown try his hand at politics. Forty-five-year-old Republican William Russell wants to challenge longtime Democratic Congressman John Murtha in 2008 and
says he knows taking on the 18-term congressman is an uphill battle.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that an unreleased May 2006 U.S. Coast Guard investigation report states that gates at Beaver County lock and dam on the raging Ohio River were raised just before a towboat sank in January 2005. The Elizabeth M was swept over the Montgomery Lock and Dam in Industry on January Ninth, 2005, killing four crew members. The paper says the report states the dam gates were raised from 83 feet to 89 feet, increasing the flow rate over the dam.

BOSTON (AP) - About 40 people have been arrested in Boston, where Red Sox fans are celebrating the team's World Series clincher. The Red Sox finished a sweep of Colorado with a 4-3 win in Denver. Boston police say most of the arrests they made were for disorderly conduct.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - State and federal investigators haven't determined what caused yesterday's deadly fire at a North Carolina beach house. The blaze killed seven college students, including six from the University of South Carolina, where grief counselors will be working as students go back to class today.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Shelters are closing and people are going home but fire officials in southern California say they're not ready to celebrate yet. Forecasters say strong winds that fanned the
destructive wildfires could return later in the week. The fires have destroyed some 2,800 homes.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Recruits were getting ready to begin the day's training at an Iraqi police camp in Baqouba today when a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up in the crowd. About 30 people were killed and 20 more wounded by the blast.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - He was famous for his showmanship, his pompadour and his rhinestone suits. Country music legend Porter Wagoner died of lung cancer last night in Nashville. He was 80. Wagoner had his own syndicated TV show for more than 20 years and
helped launch Dolly Parton's career.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Today's News-Saturday October 27th

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY - The annual Make a Difference Day is today. The USA Today editorial board came up with the idea of setting aside one day each year for individuals and groups to work at a project to better the community. While a project can last longer than today, some work must be done on this last Saturday in October. Whether it's a cleanup effort, slapping some paint on a building or whatever the endeavor, Make A Difference Day truly does just that. We reported to you earlier this week that 35 projects were registered in the county for the observance. As of yesterday, 56 projects signed up to help the community. We salute all who are Making a Difference today!

POTTSVILLE - A Pottsville man will serve time in prison for a fall in which his son was injured. Christopher Mease learned his fate in Schuylkill County Court before Judge Jacqueline Russell yesterday. Mease was charged with endangering the welfare of his children from an incident last September, where his son fell from a second-story window, causing severe injuries. According to the Republican and Herald, Mease left his son and daughter in a second floor room, and the child got to the unsecured window, then fell. Mease pleaded no contest, which neither admits to the crime, but agreed to be sentenced if he had pleaded or been found guilty. He will serve 1 to 23 months in prison.

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - Schuylkill United Way donors who "set the pace" for the annual campaign were honored Thursday for their efforts. The 2008 Pacesetters reception was held at Schuylkill Campus to recognize the importance of these donors, who commit at least $500 dollars to the campaign every year. More than 300 contributors make up the group. This year, the Schuylkill United Way has 15 more Pacesetters than last year, contributing over $215-thousand-dollars toward the $1-million-dollar target. "We Are… Community Strong" is this year's theme, and is led by General Campaign Chairman Dr. R. Keith Hillkirk, Chancellor at Penn State Schuylkill. The Schuylkill United Way serves 16 member agencies with contributions from the campaign. All monies collected stay right here in the county. You still have time to contribute to the 2008 effort. Call Schuylkill United Way at 622-6421,

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY COURT - Two teachers are suing several area school districts for not giving them a job after the student pool they taught at IU 29 dried up. The Republican and Herald indicates that a lawsuit was filed in Schuylkill County Court by Brian McMullin of New Philadelphia and Marcia Smith of Reading. The two taught vocational math to high school students at the IU, but when the districts stopped sending their kids there, the IU laid them off. Among the districts named in the suit are Blue Mountain, Mahanoy Area, North Schuylkill, Pine Grove, Pottsville, Shenandoah Valley and Tamaqua. The court documents say that the plaintiffs contend that the school districts must hire them for open math positions, and not new employees because they stopped sending students to the IU. The district's named reportedly had math positions opened in November, 2006, but McMullin and Smith were not hired. The suit also asks for lost wages and benefits.

RAMONA, Calif. (AP) - For some Californians returning to once fire-threatened homes, life won't be easy. Thousands are facing polluted air, power outages and no drinking water. For those whose homes were destroyed, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is promising that there won't be a let-up in recovery efforts.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Kurdish rebels say they hope to "end the issue" of eight Turkish soldiers captured less than a week ago. The rebels responded to a Turkish lawmaker's request for the soldiers' release in order to help defuse tensions between the rebels and Turkish forces near the Iraqi border.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Assignment Baghdad: it's not exactly the hottest ticket in the U.S. diplomatic corps. The State Department says it'll begin ordering diplomats to serve in Iraq because of a lack of volunteers to work at the Embassy in Baghdad.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) - Now that a new live-in compartment at the international space station has been installed, it's time to go in and have a look. Astronauts will enter the Harmony module today. It's a bus-sized addition that will be used for science work on future missions.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Three Afghan soldiers and one Afghan civilian are dead after a suicide bomber struck outside a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan. Four other Afghans were wounded. No Americans were hurt in the attack.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Today's News-Friday, October 26th

Two county men escaped injury in a crash in northern Dauphin County Wednesday night. A car driven by Joseph Klinger of Minersville was westbound on Clarks Valley Road, driving too fast for conditions and lost control of his vehicle. The car hit the guide rail, traveled 100 feet and ended up on the shoulder of the eastbound lane. Klinger, and his passenger, John Liptok of Pottsville, left the scene, but were located by state police. KIinger was apparently intoxicated, and submitted to a breath test at the Lykens barracks. He faces charges.

Tremont police arrested two men in connection with making a homemade chemical bomb and detonating it Monday night. Police said they were called to 37 West Main Street for a report of a loud explosion and learned from witnesses that two men dropped the bomb from the third floor of a building. The investigation led to the arrest of Justin Blouch and Darrin Schneck, both of 37 West Main Street. Both men were charged with causing or risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person, disorderly conduct and related counts. Both are locked up on $15-thousand dollars bail each.

A Girardville man was flown to Geisinger Medical Center, after a fire at 323 East Main Street in Girardville yesterday. Borough fire officials say 38-year-old John Stapinski, was cooking on the stove in the kitchen of his home about noon when the oil he was using caught fire. Fire officials say Stapinski's shirt caught fire. He ran to the bathroom and took off the shirt and threw it into the tub where earlier in the day he had dumped paint thinner which then exploded. Officials say there was more damage in the bathroom than in the kitchen. Damage to the home was moderate and, the fire was ruled accidental. Stapinski remains in serious condition at the hospital.

A federal researcher says he hasn't ruled out an environmental link to an elevated number of cases of a rare blood cancer in our area. But Vince Seaman says finding a cause is "somewhat of a fishing expedition." The government reported that it confirmed a higher-than-expected incidence of polycythemia vera, or PCV, in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties on Wednesday night. But that its yearlong study found no link to something in the environment. Seaman says his findings suggest an "external factor" is at play. But he noted that until researchers discover the cause of PCV, it could be anything.

A deer crossing the road caused an accident in Barry Township last night. Tyler Swinehart was driving north on State Route 4020 around 10pm when a deer ran across the road. In attempting to avoid the animal, he swerved his car, and struck an embankment. The car then struck a utility pole and rolled over onto its roof. Swinehart was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. His passenger, Justin Klinger, was not injured. Swinehart's car was severely damaged.

The County Prison board announced two retirements during their Wednesday meeting. Elzabeth Antalosky and David Devlin will retire within the next several weeks. The personnel committee will begin the process of seeking replacements. The status of a $35-thousand-dollars study of prison issues such as overcrowding, was discussed. County Administrator Darlene Dolzani said representatives from Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates met with the Warden earlier this month and also looked to see if any land was available near the prison. She said the only land is the jury parking lot and it’s not available. The county solicitor's office presented the board with a report pertaining whether, and to what extent the county prison has a right to refuse to accept an inmate who is in need of medical treatment at the time they are initially presented for commitment, and who is responsible for the costs associated with any necessary treatment at that time. The report will be studied to determine if the present prison policy conforms with the Pennsylvania Administrative Code regarding prison procedures and administration.

The Schuylkill County Commissioners Wednesday authorized Rest Haven to solicit bids for resident furniture and dietary equipment. Bids will be opened at the November 14th meeting.
In other business, approval was granted to the Solid Waste Department to enter into a contract with Hazleton Scrap recycling for various services provided during the 2007 county fall cleanup program at $12-thousand-five-hundred dollars. The Public Works Department was authorized to accept a proposal from Losch Plumbing and Heating Inc. of Schuylkill Haven to replace a grate in the boiler at the Prison at a cost of $20,225. The Commissioners authorized extending the bid award date for asbestos removal at the Rest Haven 1912 building to the November 14th meeting. Two proclamations were issued during the meeting. October 23- 31 was designated Red Ribbon week and October 27th was designated Make-A-Difference Day. The Commissioners also announced that the court house will be closed Tuesday, November 6th in observance of Election Day. The next scheduled commissioner's work session will be held November 8th at 10am at the Hofmann Room of the commissioner’s office.

The North Schuylkill school district has made some changes to their school handbook regarding attendance at school functions. At this week's board meeting, directors okayed the change, where students, and non-district guests at proms or formal dances, may be required to submit to a random drug test. The Republican and Herald reports that previously, parent were required to attend an information session about drugs and alcohol before purchasing tickets. Now, the parental sessions will be voluntary, but the tests will be done, based on a formula established on ticket numbers for the event. Officials say that the results of the drug tests would be known immediately, and any issues turned over to Butler Township Police. The Spartan Task Force, a group of faculty and concerned parties have been working to inform and increase awareness of the drug and alcohol problems among students and the community.

A distinguished alumni of Penn State Schuylkill will be honored for his professional achievements next week. Leon Krushinski has been selected as the 2007 Penn State Schuylkill Alumni Achievement Award Winner. A dinner on November 2nd at the campus will honor his award. Krushinski serves as Deputy Director for Strategic Business Management of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) of the U.S. Department of Defense. He has received numerous awards for his work in government, spanning 30 years.

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Representative John Peterson is hitting the road again in his oppostion to turning Interstate 80 into a toll road. Peterson is expected to testify at a state House Republican Policy Committee field hearing in Bloomsburg this morning. Local politicians and representatives from the trucking industry are also scheduled to attend.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A woman who prodded the Pennsylvania Department of State to drastically reduce the price of its statewide registered-voter list is now contemplating a new
public-records battle. Stephanie Frank Singer of Philadelphia says she's now concerned about the department's refusal to release a list of polling places in Pennsylvania.

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) - Federal investigators blame excessive heat in a training fire for the death of an instructor at a state fire academy class two years ago. Investigators say the heat caused a
"catastrophic failure" in Robert Gallardy's face mask. The 47-year-old Altoona man collapsed at the Lewistown academy and died two days later in a hospital.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Longtime Pocono Mountain tourism leader Robert Uguccioni is making a big change from mountain hawk to Florida-wintering snowbird. Uggucioni says he is
retiring as executive director of the four-county Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. Deputy Director Carl Wilgus of the Idaho Department of Commerce will succeed him.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State's 80-year-old head coach got the rock-star treatment from sweatshirt-wearing students camped out in front of Beaver Stadium. Coach Joe Paterno and his wife, Sue, dished out slices of pizza to the line-standers yesterday. The students and others are hoping to get prime seats for Saturday's night's game against top-ranked Ohio State.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today's News-Thursday, October 25th

The federal government says it found an elevated number of cases of a rare blood cancer in Schuylkill, Carbon and Luzerne counties. But a study found no link to something in the environment. The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry became
involved after residents expressed concern about polycythemia vera, or PCV. That's a cancer that results in the overproduction of red blood cells and can lead to heart attack or stroke.
A large crowd gathered in Hazleton last night to hear the results of the study, which confirmed 38 cases of PCV in areas surrounding a Superfund cleanup site near McAdoo. Nearly 7-thousand-drums of hazardous waste was removed from the site in the early 80’s. According to reports, residents were not satisfied about the results of the study, and believe that contaminated water from the dump has sickened people.

An Ohio man who was killed in a truck crash Tuesday night has been identified by state police.
Jonestown troopers say that the deceased is 51-year-old Jerry Saunders of Defiance, Ohio. The crash happened in Frailey Township. Saunders lost control of his tractor-trailer on a downhill curve, crossed the highway and went down a 60-foot-embankment. He was ejected from the cab of the truck. Saunders was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday night after 9pm.

Police in Port Carbon continue to dig into vandalism cases of residents vehicles. We reported to you on Monday that a number of vehicles were scratched on Coal Street, some with obscenities and one with a racial slur. The Republican and Herald reports that police are gathering leads, and are considering whether they were hate crimes. If anyone has information, call Port Carbon police at 622-5411.

The cause of a devastating fire at the Split Vein Coal Company in Ralpho Township, Northumberland County, can't be determined. State Police Fire Marshal Norman Fedder has officially ruled the cause of the fire undetermined in origin. The fire broke out Tuesday morning and kept fire crews busy for over seven hours. It was a total loss, with damages estimated at $100-thousand-dollars. Owner Joseph Kleeman didn't have insurance.

By a vote of 2-1, Schuylkill County adopted a $44 point 19 million dollar 2008 preliminary general fund budget during Wednesday’s County Commissioners meeting. Chairman Frank Staudenmeier said he believes it's the first time in county history that a sitting commissioner has a problem with a balanced budget. Democrat Minority Commissioner Mantura Gallagher, who voted against the motion, said adopting a preliminary budget before the assessment certification date has never been done before in the history of the county and called it a political move…..

Gallagher (1136)

Staudenmeier said that according to the county administrator, the expected assessments will not only enhance the budget but the revenues will be greater. In an interview with WPPA / T-102 News after the meeting, Commissioner Bob Carl commented on Commissioner Gallagher's no vote….

Carl (1137)

The county's real estate tax remains at 11 point 98 mills, and the $5.00 per capita tax remains in place.

The issue of responsibility of inmate health care in a proposed pre-release center came up during Wednesday's discussion on the county’s 2008 preliminary budget. Commissioners Gallagher and Robert Carl differ over who has the ultimate responsibility for the health care of inmates in that setting. In an interview with WPPA / T-102 News after the meeting, Commissioner Carl explained why he believes the county could be held responsible for the costs……

Carl (1138)

In a discussion with prison board Chairman Judge William Baldwin after Wednesday's prison board meeting, he said inmates presently in the work release program are responsible for their own health care costs. Baldwin said if they are injured on the job, they are covered by workmen's compensation and if injured during their overnight stay in the prison, they are covered by the county's liability coverage.

A St. Clair tavern that's scheduled to open a museum dedicated to the Molly Maguire heritage of our area has gained an important piece of art. The Wooden Keg Tavern, One West Caroline Avenue, has acquired a rare Molly Maguire statue, sculpted by Zenos Frudakis. There are only 4 of these statues in existence. One is being readied for display at the State Museum in Harrisburg, and one being bronzed for display at the Molly Maguire Park in Mahanoy City. They are 7 feet tall. The smaller statue will be displayed in the Molly Maguire Tunnel Room at the Wooden Keg. The final one is in the home of Sean Connery, who starred in the Molly Maguires movie, filmed at the Eckley Miners Village in Luzerne County. Tavern owner Jim Croley has been working diligently to complete the Tunnel Room in the basement of his business to mark the history and traditions of the Molly Maguires, and is converting a portion of it into a tavern room for parties. Croley said that the addition of the statue will only add to the historical significance of the property. The room is expected to open to the public in November.

A Mount Carmel man is charged with a host of offenses after breaking in to two homes outside of Pottsville yesterday. State police at Schuylkill Haven say that 30-year-old Wayne Lewis broke into a home on Maple Avenue, but after the owner called the burglar alarm company, he fled the scene. Lewis proceeded to another home on Bull's Head Road when he was confronted by the owner inside. After jumping from a second floor window, Lewis threatened the homeowner, who called 9-1-1. State police troopers spied Lewis and gave chase on foot, but was apprehended. Lewis was arraigned on charges including burglary, theft, robbery, simple assault, and other related offenses. Another home was broken into in that vicinity, and police are investigating whether it is connected to the two other burglaries.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A House Republican spokesman says a state representative's aide complained to party leadership last year that she was pressured to perform campaign duties on state time. Steve Miskin, spokesman for Republican Leader Sam Smith, says Lisa Deon's allegations about then-Representative Matthew Wright prompted Republican leaders to offer her a job with another representative. Miskin says there wasn't proof about Deon's claims and Wright denied them. At least two political Web sites have posted a lengthy document
that purports to be a sworn statement by Deon about illegal campaign work by Wright's legislative employees. Deon and Wright didn't return phone messages seeking comment.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - State Supreme Court candidate Michael Krancer says he admires U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- who says judges should only look to the law as it's written. Rival candidate Debra Todd says her role model is former Justice William Brennan Junior -- who believes the courts have a role in advancing civil rights. Both spoke yesterday at a forum for judicial candidates. They spoke along with Maureen Lally-Green, who says she
doesn't legislate from the bench, but considers both doctrine and evolving court precedents.
The fourth candidate for the two seats on the state's highest court, Seamus McCaffery, didn't attend. Todd and McCaffery are Democrats. Krancer and Lally-Green are Republicans.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A man who escaped from a New Jersey prison 28 years ago is being held in Philadelphia after his life on the lam ended yesterday. He is Maximo Jurado, who's now 75 years old. He was arrested yesterday in Philadelphia. Jurado served less than four months of a three- to 10-year prison sentence before he escaped. He will have to complete the
original sentence -- and could get up to five more years in prison, if convicted of escape.

BALTIMORE (AP) - The founder of a church being sued by a York man over a protest at the funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq has taken the stand. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church testified that he hadn't considered whether children would see a sign carried by
protesters with the words "Semper Fi Fags" and two stick figures that appear to be engaged in sodomy. Under cross-examination by the plaintiffs yesterday, Phelps agreed he didn't believe his presence was wanted at the funeral and could just as easily have protested somewhere else.
The Topeka, Kansas, church is being sued by Albert Snyder, of York, Pennsylvania. It's over a protest at the funeral of his son, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, in Westminster, Maryland, in March 2006.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A man accused of stealing an art masterpiece from a transport truck in the Poconos last year has made his first appearance in federal court. Steven Lee Olson of Carlstadt, New Jersey, is accused of taking "Children with a Cart," a 1778 painting by famed Spanish artist Francisco de Goya. The painting disappeared as it was being shipped to a Manhattan museum last November. It was stolen as the transport drivers spent the night at a Stroudsburg (Pennsylvania) motel. Within days, an attorney for Olson contacted federal authorities to say Olson had found the painting in his basement. But authorities later concluded that Olson, a self-employed truck driver, had lifted the piece himself.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush sees the California fire devastation first-hand today. He'll get a helicopter tour and have lunch with emergency responders near San Diego. The fires have destroyed about 1,500 homes since Sunday and led to the largest evacuation in California history.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration is expected to announce new sanctions today, aimed at Iran's Revolutionary Guards, which U.S. officials blame for stirring up trouble in Iraq. A senior official tells the New York Times it will involve "freezing assets."

JOHNSON SPACE CENTER (AP) - Space shuttle Discovery delivers the newest crew member to the international space station in a few hours, when it docks with the orbiting lab. NASA says it has found no signs of launch damage on Discovery but there will be a final check during its final approach.

BOSTON (AP) - Early and often. The Boston Red Sox got a leadoff homer from Dustin Pedroia last night and kept rolling to a 13-to-1 win over Colorado in Game One of the World Series. Curt Schilling starts for Boston against Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies in Game Two tonight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Today's News-Wednesday, October 24th

A truck driver from Ohio is dead following a crash in Tremont Township last night. Details are sketchy at this point, but we do know that the tractor-trailer veered off of the road and went down an embankment. The unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene after he was ejected from the rig. The crash happened between exits 106 and 107 off of Interstate 81. More information is expected to be released from State Police later today.

Twelve men who came to Schuylkill County to sell drugs are now spending extended stays in federal prison. At a press conference at the Schuylkill County Courthouse yesterday, federal, county and local law enforcement announced the closure of the 2 year investigation into drug sales, that all started with a traffic stop in Minersville. Ringleader Bremen Miranda, ten other New Yorkers and a county resident were trafficking heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine. Collectively, they will spend more than 90 years in prison. Police officers from Pottsville, Minersville and Shenandoah, a county detective and probation officer, and two undercover officers were recognized for their work in the successful investigation. Martin Carlson, Acting US Attorney, said that residents must be vigilant in helping law enforcement in the war on drugs in our backyard.


Fire destroyed one of the oldest and still used coal breakers in Northumberland County Tuesday morning. The blaze was reported around six a.m. at the Split Vein Coal Company along Route 61 in Ralpho Township. Fire Chief Bob Dluge says the five story wood structure and burning coal inside made it a challenge for the nearly 100 volunteers who showed up to fight the blaze.


Plant owner, Joe Kleeman says it's a loss but not an end.


The breaker, built in the 1920's was destroyed. The state police fire marshal will investigate.

A truck driver from Georgia was hurt in freak accident in Tremont early this morning.
It happened just after two a.m. on route 125 near East Main Street in Tremont. Police say 46-year-old Robert Beall Jr. of Newnan, Georgia was taking a detour when the trailer's landing gear became hung up on some asphalt. Beall got out of his rig and loosened the trailer but forgot to put the brakes on the tractor. The tractor began rolling down the hill. Beall was able to catch up to the moving vehicle, but was hit by several branches and became stuck between between the vehicle and a wall. Police say Beall eventually fell to the ground and was run over by the tractor's rear axle. He was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center for treatment.

The federal government is releasing the findings of its study into a possible cancer cluster in our area. Polycythemia vera, a rare blood cancer, has sickened dozens of people near the site of a former toxic waste dump in McAdoo. The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry plans to report on its findings this evening at a community meeting in Hazleton.

The heating assistance program for low-income households is back in business for the coming winter. LIHEAP applications are now available at the county assistance office, according to Brian Hallick, Executive Director. The program provides help to low income households who struggle to pay their heating bills. Assistance can come by way of direct payments to the fuel company or crisis assistance during weather related emergencies. November 5th is the first day of this season’s program, and it closes March 21, 2008. Contact the county assistance office at 621-3072 for more information.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The House Republican leader is suspending a former state representative's $95,000-a-year contract as in-house litigator for the House GOP caucus pending an ethics review. Former state Representative Brett Feese has had the contract in
addition to holding the $155,000-a-year post of chief counsel to the caucus. House Republican Leader Sam Smith says he will seek an Ethics Commission ruling on whether this runs afoul of a law prohibiting state officials or staffers from having separate government contracts. Smith says the arrangement costs taxpayers less than hiring law firms for the litigation work.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California Attorney General Jerry Brown says his state is holding off on suing the Environmental Protection Agency. Officials in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Washington state say their states plan to join Brown in his lawsuit over greenhouse gases. Brown had been planning to file his lawsuit today, but he says now that he'll likely sue next week. The EPA hasn't decided whether California and 11 other states can force automakers to produce cleaner cars. The EPA has been considering California's request for the past 22 months.
California wants to implement a 2002 law so cars, pickup trucks and sports utility vehicles emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions by model year 2009. But the law can only take effect if the EPA grants the state a waiver under the Clean Air Act.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic Senator Bob Casey is threatening to block re-nomination of a government energy board chief. He says he will do so until the Bush administration scales back its push for new high-voltage power lines in Pennsylvania. Casey took to the Senate floor to denounce the boundaries of what the administration calls a "national interest electric
transmission corridor." The goal is to promote the construction of new power lines in the mid-Atlantic states. The corridor was finalized earlier this month. It includes most of Pennsylvania as it stretches from Virginia north to upstate New York. A 2005 law seeks to prevent future blackouts by giving the federal government authority to permit construction of new
high-voltage transmission lines.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Supreme Court is looking into whether a county grand jury has the authority to investigate licensing matters under the state's slot-machine law. The court has asked has asked for an opinion from the state attorney general's office. The request relates to a Dauphin County grand jury inquiry that's focusing on a northeastern Pennsylvania businessman, Louis DeNaples. He is the sole owner of Mount Airy Casino Resort in the
Pocono Mountains, which opened Monday. A spokesman for Attorney General Tom Corbett says the response likely will be sealed because it relates to a grand jury matter.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - House Republicans have received a subpoena for documents in the long-running investigation into bonuses for legislative employees. A spokesman for House Minority Leader Sam Smith says the documents were "protected information" related to personnel that could only be released with a subpoena. A grand jury is looking into whether bonuses paid to workers were illegal rewards for campaign work. Investigators seized 20 boxes in a search of a House Democratic research office in August. The grand jury has subpoenaed employees of the House Democratic caucus.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The debate on changes to Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law isn't going to occur on the floor of the state House until Monday at the earliest. A bill known as the Open Records Act that would completely revamp the state's system of access to government records and information is in the House Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations staff has been analyzing the bill's fiscal impact, and a spokeswoman says the panel may consider it today or early next week. The Open Records Act would make all government records beyond a
long list of exceptions available to the public and force government agencies to justify denials. It also would create an agency to handle disputes over access. A competing bill pending before the state Senate is expected to be considered by the Senate State Government Committee today.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - An Allegheny County jury resumes deliberations today in the trial of a Pittsburgh man accused of fatally shooting a state trooper. Prosecutors say 32-year-old Leslie Mollett shot Corporal Joseph Pokorny in December 2005 after Mollett wrecked his car while the trooper was pursuing him for speeding just outside the city. The defense says the prosecution hasn't proven its case. If jurors find Mollett guilty of first-degree murder they must
then decide whether he deserves the death penalty. The trial began October first.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Beaver Falls man has been convicted of hiring another man to kill the father of a police informant against him. Yesterday's verdict means the same federal court jury in Pittsburgh must now hear evidence to help them decide whether 28-year-old Jelani Solomon receives the death penalty or life in prison. The jury deliberated over two days before finding that Solomon paid another man cash and drugs to shoot Frank Helisek Junior at his home in January 2004. Authorities say the shooting was meant to frighten Helisek's son Shawn, who was in the Beaver County Jail and scheduled to testify against Solomon in a drug case.

BALTIMORE (AP) - A member of a fundamentalist church being sued by a York man over a protest at his son's funeral says she's motivated by a fear of God -- not a desire to harm anyone.
In an opening statement yesterday, Shirley Phelps-Roper compared members of her church to biblical prophets who vainly sought to save doomed nations that had strayed from God.
Phelps-Roper is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church. The Topeka, Kansas, church is being sued by Albert Snyder over over a protest at the funeral of his son in Westminster, Maryland. The protesters at the funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder carried signs such as that read "God hates fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers." They say the deaths are punishment for the country's tolerance of homosexuality.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Allegheny County Council has unanimously approved a bill that would keep registered sex offenders from living close to schools, child care facilities, community centers and public parks. The measure passed yesterday prohibits offenders from living
within 2,500 feet of such facilities. Violators would face up to 45 days in jail and $500 in fines.
The law takes effect March 1st. The county has 759 registered sex offenders and four registered sexually violent predators registered. Offenders already living in permanent homes near such facilities could stay. The law also won't apply to those living in a county- or state-run facility. But tenants in such areas would have to move when their leases or rental agreements expire.

CHICAGO (AP) - The United Auto Workers says more than 4,000 workers in six states are striking against International Truck and Engine, alleging unfair labor practices. Workers at eleven local unions in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Texas and Georgia began striking at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The union has filed a complaint with the National Labor
Relations Board. Roy Wiley is a spokesman for Warrenville, Illinois-based ITE -- a unit of Navistar International. He says the company has been "negotiating in good faith." He says company officials don't yet know what impact the strike will have on operations, adding that ITE has both union and non-union facilities. He says production will continue as planned
at non-union plants.

SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) - Two officials have withdrawn their lawsuit to stop Somerset County from using tax revenue to fund a 24 million dollar water pipeline project. Windber Mayor Art Palumbo and Windber Councilman Simon Ohler say in a court document that they're withdrawing their lawsuit and it can't be refiled. Palumbo and Ohler sued as private citizens, saying the county commissioners were using tax revenue for a project that wouldn't
benefit the entire county. Ohler says the decision to pull the lawsuit wasn't based on
threats of sanctions made by the county solicitor last week. The county closed on 10 million dollars in bonds yesterday. That's the final piece of funding for the 21-mile pipeline that
would deliver water from the Quemahoning Reservoir to Somerset.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County will join forces to buy electricity for several of their facilities. The two governments will work with Pine Township-based Co-exprise. The company holds online auctions to find the lowest electricity rates for municipalities. The auction likely will take place next month or in December. Although not all city and county facilities will be included in the auction, officials hope to include the city's Water and Sewer Authority and the city-county Sports and Exhibition Authority. Co-exprise officials say the company has been able to save government entities between 4 and 10 percent in electricity costs.

NEW YORK (AP) - Comcast Corporation is now acknowledging "delaying" some subscriber Internet traffic. But the Philadelphia-based company says any roadblocks it puts up are
temporary and intended to improve surfing for other users. The statement is a response to an Associated Press report last week that detailed how the nation's largest cable company was
interfering with file sharing by some of its Internet subscribers. The AP also found that computers of Philadelphia-based Comcast masqueraded as those of its users to interrupt file-sharing connections. Internet watchdog groups call Comcast's actions an example of
the kind of abuse that could be curbed with a law requiring Internet providers to treat all traffic equally. That has largely been the case historically.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is appearing at a series of campus events organized by California-based conservative activist David Horowitz, including
three in Pennsylvania. The Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week appearances include stops
Tuesday at Penn State and Wednesday at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University in Philadelphia. Santorum says Americans do not understand the gravity of the
threat from Islamic extremism. Critics, including many in the Tuesday night crowd in State
College, argue that he seems to lump all Muslims and Islam into one terrorism-supporting category.

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - The organizer of this weekend's convention for fans of the NBC comedy "The Office" says the show has improved her city's image. Michele Dempsey says people used to feel sorry for her when she said she was from Scranton. But she says now, the reaction is, "I
love 'The Office."' They show is set in Scranton and fans have been traveling there to check out real-life landmarks referenced on the show. Starting Friday, the city is hosting a weekend blowout for thousands of fans. Dempsey says she's hoping people will leave town saying they had a great time in Scranton. About 2,000 tickets have been sold so far -- 70 percent of them to out-of-town fans. Fourteen actors from the show are scheduled to appear, but none of the ones who play the show's main characters.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Today's News-Tuesday, October 23rd

Three people had minor injuries in a Hubley Township crash on Sunday evening. Bernadette Buffington and two passengers, Nicholas and Rebecca Buffington, were traveling west on State Route 25 when the driver fell asleep. The car traveled across the eastbound lane, then struck a utility pole, snapping it off. All three were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital for treatment.
Power was disrupted to homes near the accident scene.

A Pottsville establishment was left without power Friday night following a crash. Details were released by city police yesterday. Based on witness accounts, a blue Dodge Durango driven by Jeremy Lutz of Minersville was traveling at a high rate of speed on Nichols Street. After losing control, the SUV struck the electrical panel alongside Maroons Sports Bar and Grill, causing power to be lost. Lutz fled the scene before police arrived, but turned himself in on Saturday.
Pottsville police are continuing their investigation.

More than 30 years ago, an abandoned mine in Pennsylvania's hard-coal country was turned into a repository for toxic waste. When government officials finally shut down the site in 1979,
they found nearly 7,000 storage drums, and dead birds and animals. Years later, after a cleanup, officials say the site does not pose a health hazard. But residents who live nearby are skeptical: They say they seem to be getting cancer and other serious diseases in startling numbers. By one unofficial estimate, 70 of 100 homes within a half-mile of the site have been touched. Tomorrow night, a meeting will be held in Hazleton to learn the findings of a government report on a possible cluster of a rare blood disorder that has sickened dozens of people in Schuylkill, Carbon and Luzerne counties.

A spree of vandalism in Port Carbon has car owners up in arms. Sometime Sunday night, an estimated nine vehicles were vandalized along Route 209, also known as Coal Street. The vandals carved racial slurs and obscenities. into the side of the vehicles. According to the Republican and Herald, this is the second instance of vehicle vandalism this month.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Judicial candidates in Pennsylvania may now find it easier to decide whether to speak out on controversial issues. A federal judge in Philadelphia has issued a ruling that says aspiring judges are free to discuss the issues of the day on the campaign trail, so long as they do not promise to rule in a particular way once they're on the bench. The ruling by Senior Judge Marvin Katz stemmed from a lawsuit filed in the spring by a conservative group that sent questionnaires to more than 100 candidates for state and county judgeships. The group was soliciting their views on such hot-button issues as abortion and school prayer.
Only 19 candidates responded. The plaintiffs said the state's rules violate judicial candidates' freedom of speech.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state House of Representatives has dealt a blow to its reform commission. The House voted yesterday against a proposal to select four of the eight Ethics
Committee members at random. The final vote came about an hour after the chamber had voted in favor of the same proposal by a single vote. The sudden reversal came after opponents of the random selection argued it made more sense to continue the current system, under
which each party leader picks four members. The Speaker's Commission on Legislative Reform had recommended a partially random selection process. The House passed a separate recommendation to require members to undergo two hours of ethics education each two-year session.

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. (AP) - A news conference with the owner of Pennsylvania's first freestanding slot-machine casino ended abruptly. Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples walked off when a reporter asked him if he has ties to organized crime. DeNaples remains a focus of a grand jury investigation. His slots parlor in the Poconos opened to the public yesterday, with gamblers surging in around noon. The casino was built on the site of the Poconos' most storied resort, the Mount Airy Lodge. The resort had its heyday in the
1960s and '70s but fell on hard times in later years.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Montgomery County judge has released the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid from jail. Garrett Reid is now on house arrest until his sentencing a week from Thursday. The 24-year-old man has acknowledged he had used heroin when he ran a red light and hit another car in January. A prosecutor says under the terms of house arrest set yesterday, Reid is allowed to leave his house only for treatment and to go to his brother's high school football games with his parents. Reid was jailed last week for failing to show up for show up for a scheduled drug test. Reid testified yesterday that he failed to show or call his probation officer because of a miscommunication.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush publicly honored a fallen Navy SEAL by presenting his grieving parents with the Medal of Honor. He was Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a Penn State graduate who is the first to earn the medal for combat in Afghanistan. Murphy gave his
life to make a radio call for help for his team. Murphy and three other SEALs were searching for a terrorist in the Afghan mountains on June 28th, 2005. Their mission was compromised after they were spotted by locals, who presumably alerted the Taliban to their presence. An intense gun battle erupted. Although wounded, Murphy is credited with risking his life by
moving into the open for a better position to transmit a call for help. He was killed.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's top elected government watchdog says a bill intended to end state employee bonuses could allow the state's student-loan agency to continue awarding them. Auditor General Jack Wagner says lawmakers should eliminate an exception from the bill that would allow annual "incentive payments" for employees who meet specific performance goals written into employment contracts or labor agreements. The bill was passed by the Senate on Wednesday and awaits a vote in the House State Government Committee.
Wagner's office is conducting an ongoing performance audit of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency -- including its spending on bonuses. A spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Dominic Pileggi defends the exception and says public employees should be rewarded for good job performance.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Closing arguments are expected today in the trial of a Pittsburgh man accused of killing a state trooper. Prosecutors say 32-year-old Leslie Mollett shot Corporal Joseph Pokorny in December 2005 after Mollett crashed his car while the trooper was pursuing him for speeding just outside the city. Mollett could face the death penalty if he's convicted.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Stock Exchange is up for sale and plans to accept bids from prospective buyers today. Founded in 1790, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange is the nation's oldest stock market. It holds about 15 percent of the options market.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Allegheny County Council is expected to consider a proposal today to to restrict the county's real estate assessment Web site. County Executive Dan Onorato wants to make it so people cannot search by owner name. Onorato says people have used the site to search for law enforcement officials, teachers, judges and crime victims. He wants to limit searches by parcel number and street address. In 2005, the county removed the names of about 100 judges from the site. Officials acted after the husband and mother of a federal
judge were killed in Chicago and a county judge was killed in an Atlanta courthouse.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia is getting 250 new security cameras. Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Gaittens says the first of the new cameras will go up in the area of 52nd and Market streets in West Philadelphia. That neighborhood has been plagued by violence for years. Gaittens says the camera equipment will be able to receive signals from a two-mile radius, so police won't be looking only at one intersection. The first of the cameras should be in operation within about two weeks, as a result of a deal between the city and Unisys worth
nearly nine million dollars. Authorities hope to expand beyond the 250 cameras in the future.

WORTON, Md. (AP) - Maryland Natural Resources Police have concluded their investigation into the discovery of the body of a Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) man this summer in Worton Creek in Worton, Maryland. The body of 54-year-old Francis Bevenour was found near the
shoreline on June 30th. His death has been ruled an accidental drowning. Police say abuse of prescription drugs was a contributing factor in his death. Bevenour was last seen near Green Point Marina, where his boat was docked. His wife reported him missing June 28th.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - President Bush had declared a state of emergency in California, where over a dozen wildfires have scorched more than 240,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes. Bush's declaration is aimed at speeding up federal disaster relief to the area.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - More rain is forecast in New Orleans, after more than eight inches fell yesterday, flooding some areas. Officials closed a gate on a canal in suburban New Orleans, where waters threatened to top the walls. Authorities are asking residents to help clean out catch basins so standing water can drain from the streets.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush talks missile defense and terrorist surveillance during a speech in Washington today. Bush will discuss his defense strategy, a day after asking Congress for more money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - An intelligence official in Pakistan says two suicide bombers were behind the deadly attack on the homecoming procession of former premier Benazir Bhutto last week. The government says it's confident it will catch those responsible for the attack and it doesn't need outside investigators.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) - NASA is pumping fuel into space shuttle Discovery but the weather may prevent blastoff this morning. Forecasters say low rain clouds could delay the launch of the shuttle on a space station construction mission.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Today's News-Monday, October 22nd

A Shoemakersville man was arrested for driving drunk over the weekend. State police, making a traffic stop on Saturday night around 8:30pm on Route 61 in West Brunswick Township, found that Glen Sayer was driving under the influence. He was charged with DUI and other traffic citations.

Two men escaped injury in a crash on Route 61 last night. 56-year-old Joseph McDemus of Schuylkill Haven was attempting to turn left onto Manheim Road. Thomas Smith of Pottsville was traveling south on Route 61, and the cars collided head-on. Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts. The investigation is continuing. The crash happened after 6pm Sunday night.

Criminal mischief is being investigated by state police at a work site in East Union Township.
Frackville state police have just reported the incident at the Green Mountain South Abandoned Mine Reclamation site, off of Schoolhouse Road. Sometime between October 13th and 16th, an unknown person put sand in the fuel tank of a bulldozer on the site. Troopers are continuing the investigation.

A Mahanoy City man crashed his vehicle into two parked cars early Saturday in New Boston.
20-year-old Edward Bubnis was attempting to pull out of a driveway onto Roosevelt Drive. He reportedly struck two parked cars, doing minor damage. State police say that Bubnis was intoxicated. He was taken to Pottsville Hospital for a blood test. Charges are pending the results. The incident happened just after midnight Saturday night.

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) - Firefighters are straining to keep up with all the wildfires blazing across Southern California. At least a dozen fires have burned more than 35,000 acres from the high desert to the Pacific Ocean. One person has died near San Diego. Thousands are on evacuation alert.

BAGHDAD (AP) - At least seven people are dead and two-dozen others are wounded after several Shiite areas in Baghdad were struck by bombs. Meanwhile, police say an adviser to a prominent Sunni politician has been gunned down in a western section of the Iraqi capital.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - A Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan will be awarded the Medal of Honor today at the White House. President Bush will present the nation's highest military honor to the family of Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who gave his life to make a radio call for help for his comrades in 2005.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Air traffic controllers are retiring in higher numbers than the government expected. The Associated Press has learned that the Federal Aviation Administration recently considered offering cash bonuses to top-rated veteran controllers
who delay retirement two years.

BOSTON (AP) - Boston will host Colorado when the World Series opens Wednesday night. The Red Sox beat Cleveland 11-2 last night to win the American League pennant, touching off a celebration in the streets around Fenway Park.

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. (AP) - The Poconos' newest attraction - casino gambling - is poised to make its debut today with the opening of Pennsylvania's first freestanding slots parlor.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board yesterday gave the 412 million dollar Mount Airy Casino Resort permission to open after two successful dry runs over the weekend.
Mount Airy spokesman Kevin Feeley says officials can't wait to let people see the new resort. It is built on the site of the storied Mount Airy Lodge, a resort that had its heyday in the 1960s
and 1970s but later fell on hard times. The casino plans a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. The first patrons will be allowed in at noon to try the 25-hundred slot machines and four restaurants. A 188-room hotel is scheduled to open next month and a nightclub and spa by the end of the year.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Thousands of black men are answering the call to patrol Philadelphia's streets and work with community groups to help reduce violence in their communities.
The men lined up for several blocks to register at yesterday's kickoff rally at Temple University. Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson and music producer Kenny Gamble spoke along with other black community leaders. The "Call to Action: 10,000 Men, It's a New Day" campaign comes as Philadelphia endures a reputation as one of America's deadliest cities.
Organizers had announced plans for the 10,000 volunteers to patrol Philadelphia streets. But they now say that some will help out established community groups, such as youth organizations. Johnson, the police commissioner, says that volunteers can do more to curb crime than hiring more police to lock people up.

BALTIMORE (AP) - A fundamentalist church that protests at soldiers' funerals faces its first lawsuit today in Baltimore from the Pennsylvania family of a fallen serviceman. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church face an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit filed by the father of a fallen Marine. Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania, says the church interrupted his grieving process at the funeral for his son, who was killed in Iraq last year. Church members say they were only exercising their free speech rights. The lawsuit is the first in the nation to be filed against the
church by a grieving relative. The church believes war deaths are God's retribution for America's tolerance of homosexuality, and their protests have inspired almost two dozen states to put new limits on protests at funerals. Last week, a judge threw out defamation claims against the church, but Snyder's lawsuit is proceeding on invasion-of-privacy grounds. He also seeks damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A newspaper says retired Pennsylvania lawmaker Brett Feese is now the highest-paid legislative employee in the state. The former Appropriations Committee chairman left office in December and started a new job as the chief counsel to House Republicans. His salary was listed as 155,000 dollars. But The Philadelphia Inquirer says its review of a House discretionary account says Fees is earning another 95,000 dollars a
year as the in-house litigator for the minority caucus. That's a combined salary of 255,000 dollars. By comparison, Governor Ed Rendell makes 164,400 dollars and the state's chief justice makes 180,300 dollars. Feese, a Lycoming County Republican, downplays the distinction
and says his current position was "not, by far" his highest offer. He says he chose government work for the chance to argue before the state's top judges.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The University of Pennsylvania has launched a 3.5 billion-dollar fundraising drive. The campaign is well short of Stanford University's record 4.3 billion-dollar drive. But it dwarfs Penn's previous formal campaign that brought in 1.5 billion dollars and ended in 1994. The money from the five-year campaign will help pay for increased financial aid and 18 new professorships that bridge disciplines within the university, as well as new buildings and green space. Penn president Amy Gutmann says the university has already raised 43 percent of its goal during two years of quiet campaigning.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Fire officials say a blaze that killed an elderly man and woman in Philadelphia's Yorktown section was started by a basement freezer. The fire started at about 7 a-m in the home on the 1100 block of West Thompson Street. The bodies of the man and woman were found in the kitchen. Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the house had no working smoke detectors. The couple tried to escape, but were blocked by an illegal security door that was locked from two sides. Officials have not released the names of the victims.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The largest Lutheran denomination in southwestern Pennsylvania has a new bishop. Bishop Kurt Kusserow was officially installed Saturday during a ceremony attended by more than 700 people at Pittsburgh's Calvary Episcopal Church. The church was chosen because no Lutheran church in the city was considered large enough. The 44-year-old bishop is expected lead the more than 200 congregations of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with deep faith and a down-to-earth touch. The ceremony was attended by other area church leaders, including Bishop David Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Lawrence Brandt of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg and Episcopal Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A World War II veteran's name has been added to a monument 60 years after it was omitted due to a misunderstanding. Eighty-five-year-old Frank S. Pistella of Verona watched with his family yesterday as his name was added to an honor roll listing
those from Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood who served. A new plaque with Pistella's name appeared beneath the name of his late brother, Lewis. There were supposed to be two plaques bearing the name Frank Pistella, the other belonging to a cousin who also served. But the
company that engraved the plaques believed one of them was an unintentional duplicate, even though the names had different middle initials.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Director Kevin Smith plans to shoot a new film in Pittsburgh beginning in January. Smith wrote on the Internet blog that filming of "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" will take about 40 days. He says he may announce the cast in the next two weeks.
Smith's career kicked off with 1994's "Clerks." He directed the movie "Dogma" in Pittsburgh in 1998.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Today's News-Saturday, October 20

POTTSVILLE - A packed house rocked and rolled, danced and sang to America’s greatest rock and roll band for kids last night. The Sovereign Majestic Theatre was sold out for the high energy performance of the Dirty Sock Funtime Band. Kids and grown ups were encouraged to dance in the aisles and scream the words to the New York-based entertainers, who have appeared on Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Noggin TV networks. During the 60-minute show, members of the band ran up and down the aisles, singing and dancing with the audience, sort of like a mosh pit for kids. The program was sponsored by the Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic.

PINE GROVE TOWNSHIP - A woman from Pottsville was hurt in a Pine Grove Township crash Friday afternoon. Brittany Corbacio was driving north on Lovers Lane and slid through a curve on the wet road. The car hit a telephone pole and came to rest facing north. Corbacio was taken to Pottsville Hospital for her injuries. Her passenger, Ashley Dudash, was not hurt. Both were wearing their seatbelts.

NEW CASTLE TOWNSHIP - A Gilberton woman suffered minor injuries when her car crashed yesterday afternoon on Route 61 near St. Clair. Shannon Martofel was traveling north when the car left the roadway and struck a guiderail. After impact, the car overturned and ended up on its roof. She was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The accident happened after 3pm Friday.

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY - As ghosts, witches and superheroes will soon be trick or treating on streets across the state, PennDOT urges motorists to slow down and watch for the kids. Parades and trick-or-treat nights bring children out in droves, and due to nighttime travel, drivers may not see the children and their parents crossing streets until its too late. Parents can also take the lead in protecting their children by purchasing brightly colored, highly visible costumes that do not interfere with the child’s ability to see, hear or walk. Stripes of reflective tape should be added to darker-colored costumes and trick or treat bags. Carrying a lightstick or flashlight also helps. Finally, Moms and Dads should take time to review safety behaviors with their little Halloweeners, paying attention to their surroundings and the dangers that traffic may present. Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

POTTSVILLE - Just like a football team who's leading at halftime, the Schuylkill United Way 2008 campaign is building momentum for a great second half. With a month left in the million-dollar campaign to help 16 member agencies, the organization is slightly ahead of last year's total, with 38 percent, or $380-thousand-dollars accounted for so far. Schuylkill United Way relies on people from all walks of life to help them reach their goals. From individual contributions, Pacesetters who give a quick start to the employee campaigns at area businesses, every dollar helps those in need. The Tamaqua portion of the campaign typically raises 10 percent of the overall goal. Currently, they stand at just over $31-thousand-dollars, or 23 percent of its $135-thousand-dollar goal. All monies raised during the Schuylkill United Way campaign stays right here in the county. The "We Are…Community Strong" campaign ends in mid-November. To contribute, call Schuylkill United Way at 622-6421.

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY - More communities are getting a financial boost to help their recycling efforts. Another round of $5.5 million dollars is going to 267 communities, including three in Schuylkill County. Governor Rendell announced the awards this week. Mahanoy City is in line for $812 dollars, Schuylkill Haven borough will receive nearly $17-thousand-dollars, and Tamaqua, $76-hundred-dollars. The commonwealth's commitment to recycling has helped lead to record collection levels. In 2005, Pennsylvanians recycled a record 4.86 million tons of municipal waste, saving consumers and industries nearly $263 million in waste disposal costs and providing businesses with materials valued at $577 million. The grants awarded reflect 2005 collections.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A threat from Iran. A top commander of the country's Revolutionary Guards says Iran is capable of firing 11,000 rockets into enemy bases within the first minute of any attack. State media say the Guards will soon have rockets with a 155-mile-range.

BAGHDAD (AP) - At least three people are dead after a roadside bomb hit a minibus on the road from Baghdad to the mostly Shiite city of Hillah today. In southern Iraq, police say 30 suspected Shiite militants have been rounded up in joint U.S.-Iraqi raids.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Several stores in Washington have boarded up their windows to prevent vandalism by people protesting the weekend meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Police say there were no arrests during protests last night, but one woman was struck in the head with a brick.

DETROIT (AP) - Authorities in Detroit have charged a man with killing "a very close associate," a woman and her two children in their sleep. The four were found in a house that neighbors call a hub of drug activity. The suspect, Patrick Smith, is being held without bail.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Bill Maher has taken security into his own hands. The political comedian helped security push a rowdy protester out of the audience of his weekly HBO show last night. The man was shouting about a 9/11 conspiracy and wouldn't shut up.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today's News-Friday, October 19th

A North Manheim Township auto dealer was the victim of thieves in several cars earlier this week. Schuylkill Haven state police just released the information about the incident this morning. Someone came to the R&R Auto Group lot on Route 61 between Tuesday night and Wednesday, and smashed the windows on 4 vehicles. They removed a stereo and wheels from two of the cars, and a tail light assembly from another. Total loss is estimated at $14-thousand-dollars. The investigation continues.

A Pottsville man's car was stolen yesterday. Shawn Klinger's white Pontiac Sunfire was parked in the lot at Van Heusen on Route 61 near Schuylkill Haven. After 1pm, someone entered the car and drove off. If you have any information, contact Schuylkill Haven state police at 593-2000.

State police are looking for a hit and run driver from a crash in East Union Township yesterday.
Sandra McCoog of Girardville was driving south on Route 924, and an unidentified Chevy Cavalier was headed north. The driver of the Chevy crossed over the center line and hit McCoog's car then left the scene. Frackville troopers are continuing their investigation.

The water situation in Schuylkill County is bad and people are wasting it. That was the message county resident Ed Pautienus gave to the Commissioners during their work session Wednesday. Pautienus is a bioscience expert. He asked the commissioners to get the word out that people need to conserve and provided 150 tips to save water. Pautienus said the average metered water use in the county is 32 to 40 million gallons per day, and water is drying up in a lot of areas. Mandatory water restrictions were put in place last week for individuals and businesses served by the Ashland and Shenandoah Municipal Authorities. Schuylkill and surrounding counties have been under a drought watch since October 5th according to the State DEP. Pautienus said water conservation begins in the home and that the three R's of conservation are "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle".

Schuylkill County voters who need a refresher on using the touch-screen voting machines will have two chances to try them out next week. The County Election Bureau will conduct voting machine demonstrations at the Schuylkill Regional Resource Center on West Center Street, Mahanoy City on Wednesday, October 24th from 10:30am to 1pm. Saturday, October 27th, demonstrations will be held at the St. Clair Wal-Mart from 8:30am till 2pm. Check out Schuylkill County's website,, for additional times and information.
The general election is November 6th.

As a Schuylkill Haven fire company continues to recover after a devastating fire last month, more people are stepping up to help. Among the events planned to help Schuylkill Hose Company Number 2 to raise funds are a car show sponsored by R&R Auto Group, Schuylkill Haven Saturday afternoon. Classic car and motorcycle owners can show off their rides, with judging in 12 different classes. Registration will be held from 9 to noon at the Route 61 dealership. Entry fee is $10. Food and refreshments will be available. For more information, call R&R at 385-2881. Michael B's Restaurant and Tavern, Deer Lake, are hosting a benefit dinner weekend tonight and Saturday, with 20 percent of all food sales being donated to Schuylkill Hose. Saturday, October 27th, a benefit golf outing will be held for the fire company at Hidden Valley Golf Course, Friedensburg. The 4 person scramble tees off with a shotgun start at 10am. Call Matt at 573-0961 to sign up. Last weekend, a softball tournament was held in Schuylkill Haven to help Schuylkill Hose. A number of teams got together to have fun and raise funds to help the cause. The company suffered a multi-million dollar fire on September 12th.

Students from thirty-two Pennsylvania school districts have been named award winners for their artwork by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, including several from our area.
The 2007 Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest was open to students in grades K through 12, and the winners best exemplified the message that underage drinking is dangerous. PLCB Chairman Patrick Stapleton explains the importance of kids getting the message out:


More than 15-hundred students participated in the contest, promoting healthy alternatives to drinking alcohol, like regular exercise and participation in sports activities. Among the local winners were Megan Collins and Leah Lengel from Pine Grove, Aaron Joyce, Kailee Romanchick and Brynn Smela from Jim Thorpe, a first grader from Blue Mountain, and Felicia Stine from Minersville.

A Pottsville man is charged with two hit and run crashes in the city Wednesday night. City police say that 18-year-old Scott Parsons borrowed a pickup truck owned by Joseph Marhon and drove through the city, breaking off a mirror on a van on Elk Avenue. Parsons reportedly was speeding on West Market Street, and hit the side of a building in the 700 block, causing minor damage. Parsons and a 14 year old passenger fled the scene but were quickly apprehended. He will be charged with driving without a license, hit and run and other motor vehicle offenses.

A rock concert that entertains little kids and adults? Can't e… But that' exactly what’s coming to the Sovereign Majestic this evening. The Dirty Sock Funtime Band, dubbed the "First Real Rock Band for Kids" will bring their music and a whole lot more to Pottsville at 7pm. The band members have musical and education backgrounds, and create an exciting program that gets the kids out of their seats and expanding their imaginations, as member Stephen Jacobs tells us:


They got their start on Nickelodeon's Noggin Jack's Big Music Show, and have been spreading their high-energy entertainment across the country for the past three years. The Dirty Sock Funtime Band show at the Sovereign Majestic is open to all ages. Call the box office for tickets to this evening’s show at 628-4647.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania National Guard officials
expect to get official word today that nearly 4,000 Guard members
could be sent to Iraq within a year. It would be the state Guard's
largest deployment there. The soldiers are members of the 28th
Division's 56th Stryker Brigade in Philadelphia, but they're spread
out in roughly 30 armories across the state.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The homicide rate in Philadelphia has slowed
in recent months and police say the death toll was at 320 by
midnight Wednesday. For a change, that was one less than the number
on the same date last year. Homicides have run about five percent
above last year's level for much of the year, and police say they
don't know the reason for the change.
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - A Williamsport man who tried to rescue
his wife from a fire that killed her has died of his own injuries.
Officials say 80-year-old Carl DiMassimo died Thursday at Lehigh
Valley Medical Center of complications from second- and
third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body. His 84-year-old
wife, Shirley DiMassimo, died in the fire October 1st.
HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Blair County Treasurer James Carothers
will reduce his public office hours because his staff has been cut
due to budget constraints. The treasurer's office sells dog
licenses, as well as licenses for hunting, fishing, boating and
small games of chance. Carothers' staff will still work full time,
but also handle banking and revenue collection.
MOUNT LEBANON, Pa. (AP) - The Pittsburgh Presbytery says a
conservative congregation can leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)
and take its property, too. Reverend Rick Wolling says his church
is leaving because central doctrines, including the divinity of
Jesus Christ, are under attack in the national church. Beverly
Heights is joining the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania National Guard officials expect to get official word today that nearly 4,000 Guard members could be sent to Iraq within a year. It would be the state Guard's largest deployment there. The soldiers are members of the 28th Division's 56th Stryker Brigade in Philadelphia, but they're spread out in roughly 30 armories across the state.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The homicide rate in Philadelphia has slowed in recent months and police say the death toll was at 320 by midnight Wednesday. For a change, that was one less than the number on the same date last year. Homicides have run about five percent
above last year's level for much of the year, and police say they don't know the reason for the change.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - A Williamsport man who tried to rescue his wife from a fire that killed her has died of his own injuries. Officials say 80-year-old Carl DiMassimo died Thursday at Lehigh Valley Medical Center of complications from second- and third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body. His 84-year-old wife, Shirley DiMassimo, died in the fire October 1st.

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Blair County Treasurer James Carothers will reduce his public office hours because his staff has been cut due to budget constraints. The treasurer's office sells dog licenses, as well as licenses for hunting, fishing, boating and small games of chance. Carothers' staff will still work full time, but also handle banking and revenue collection.

MOUNT LEBANON, Pa. (AP) - The Pittsburgh Presbytery says a conservative congregation can leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and take its property, too. Reverend Rick Wolling says his church is leaving because central doctrines, including the divinity of Jesus Christ, are under attack in the national church. Beverly Heights is joining the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A man who was one of the most wanted fugitives in the U.S. is to be arraigned today in Spokane, Washington. Kenneth Freeman is accused of raping his daughter and posting footage of the abuse online. He had fled to China and was arrested in Hong Kong before being sent back yesterday.

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - The subject of an international manhunt is to be extradited to Canada after being prosecuted for child-sex crimes in Thailand. Christopher Neil was arrested there today. He's accused of sexually abusing young boys. Thai police say a friend led them to the house where Neil was hiding.

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq (AP) - A U.S. Army officer has been acquitted in Iraq on charges of aiding the enemy. Lieutenant Colonel William Steele had been accused of letting Iraqi inmates at a U.S. prison use his cell phone for unmonitored call. He was found guilty today on a number or lesser charges, including failure to obey an order.

NEW YORK (AP) - An anniversary today that businesses won't be celebrating. It's been 20 years since the stock market crash of 1987. On that day the Dow fell 508 points, nearly 23 percent of it's value. Those working on Wall Street remember it as a day filled with fear, disbelief and frustration.

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Red Sox are still alive in the baseball chase. Boston beat Cleveland 7-1 last night in game five of the American League Championship Series. Cleveland leads the series,
3-2. Game six is tomorrow in Boston.