Monday, January 28, 2008

Today's News-Monday, January 28th

An Auburn man has died from injuries suffered in a traffic accident last Tuesday. Schuylkill Haven state police report that 85-year-old Mark Brensinger died at Lehigh Valley Hospital over the weekend. He was involved in a four vehicle accident in West Brunswick Township. Brensinger's vehicle crashed into two of the other cars, and debris from the crash hit another along Route 61. Brensinger's car ended upside down inside the basement of a home near Deer Lake. Two other people involved in the crash had minor injuries.

A traffic stop in Pottsville Sunday morning resulted in a drug arrest of a Philadelphia man. Pottsville police stopped a Dodge Neon driven by 18-year-old Craig Taylor in the 300 block of Howard Avenue. Officers found 10 grams of crack cocaine, valued at $12-hundred dollars, a small amount of marijuana and a large sum of money. Taylor broke free from police, and a foot chase ensued, but he was captured a short time later.
Officers also found a BB pistol under the seat of his car. Taylor admitted to police that he carried the weapon in the drug trade, as well as admitting to selling the crack cocaine. He was arraigned on various drug charges, as well as escape and resisting arrest. He was taken to Schuylkill County Prison after he couldn’t post the $35-thousand-dollars bail.

The ongoing problems with Schuylkill County's computer system may come to a head in the next several weeks. The million dollar operating system has been fraught with problems ever since it was installed two years ago, and county officials have now put New World Systems of Troy, Michigan on notice that the company either fix the numerous problems, or the contract will be cancelled and Schuylkill County will sue.
Commissioner Chairwoman Mantura Gallagher, Assistant County Solicitor Jay Jones and County Administrator Darlene Dolzani traveled to New World's headquarters last week to deliver the termination notice, according to the Republican and Herald. The contract would be cancelled as of February 13th unless New World makes progress to fix the problems. If some headway is made by that date, Schuylkill County may extend that date. But, if there is no progress, the county will sue New World. In November, the county told New World that they had 90 days to straighten out the mess or they would be sued.

State troopers from Schuylkill Haven and Orlando, Florida police are investigating a fraud committed at a Orwigsburg area convenience store. An unknown female called the Hess Mart on Route 61, identifying herself as a technician from Western Union. She requested that the clerk conduct two tests of the money transfer machine. But in fact, they were not tests at all, but two money transfers for $700 dollars each, which were sent to a 7-Eleven store in Orlando, Florida. The female received the funds at the store. Orlando Police and local state police are continuing the investigation into the stolen funds.

The Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival crowned two young ladies as royalty Saturday night. The Snowdrop and Snowflake Pageant was held at Wachter Auditorium at Pottsville High, with 43 candidates vying for the Snowdrop crown, and 17 girls from area high schools for the Snowflake’s top spot. After rounds of questioning about this year’s theme “Through the Eyes of Winter Carnival, the Pottsville Maroons are Our Champions” and various events through the month, the finalists were chosen. Blue Mountain High School Junior Kelsey Fanelli was crowned Snowflake Princess, and John S. Clarke second-grader Gillian Revenis of Seltzer was coroneted the Snowdrop Princess. Saturday night, the Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival comes to a conclusion with the Senior Princess Coronation Pageant will be held held at Pottsville High School.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pennsylvania has one of the tightest, most restrictive liquor control systems in the country. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the system generates millions for state coffers but frustrates critics who say it remains susceptible to political influence. Proponents say the state's position as one of the largest single buyers of wine and spirits in North America allows it to offer quality wines at reasonable prices while making millions for the state treasury. But critics maintain that the system imposes exorbitant taxes and burdensome regulations while forcing party planners to make separate stops to buy beer, wine and food.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The trial of Cyril Wecht is about to begin. Federal prosecutors say Wecht used resources from his day job as Allegheny County coroner to pursue some of his lucrative private consulting work. He's also accused of trading unclaimed cadavers for laboratory space at a university. Wecht successfully staved off similar accusations in the early 1980s, when he was accused of using county morgue employees to
examine slides for his private practice. The case led to his ouster, although he would later settle a related suit for $200,000 and return in 1996 to serve a second 10-year stint as coroner. He resigned after he was indicted in January 2006. Even while under indictment, Wecht continues to be in demand as a consultant. The trial begins Monday.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Two state lawmakers are calling for training all police officers in Pennsylvania about when they may strip-search people. Republican Sen. Stewart Greenleaf and Democratic Rep. Harold
James say officers need to be trained on when searches are legal. James is a former Philadelphia police officer.
Federal courts have ruled on when people arrested for minor offenses may be strip-searched. The courts say police may do so only when there are clear reasons to believe arrested people are hiding drugs or weapons.
Greenleaf and James say they're responding to a December investigation by The Philadelphia Inquirer. The newspaper found some police departments and county jails were strip-searching thousands of people charged with minor, nonviolent crimes.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A laptop recently reported stolen from a Penn State faculty member contained personal information on several hundred former students. The computer held files from 1999 to 2004. They included Social Security numbers for 677 students who attended Penn State during that period. University officials say the laptop was stolen while the faculty member was traveling. They say it appears to have been a random theft. Chief privacy officer David Lindstrom said in a statement Friday that he has no knowledge that the information has been accessed by unauthorized individuals. The school is notifying those who may be affected.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Inquirer is endorsing Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain in the presidential primary races. In the Republican primary, the paper's editorial board calls McCain "the authentic candidate in a field of wannabes and flip-floppers." On the Democratic side, the paper says Obama can "lead this nation past the nasty, partisan, Washington-as-usual politics." Pennsylvania's primary isn't until April, but neighboring New Jersey and Delaware vote a week from Tuesday.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Two members of the state Legislature who were elected in 2006 say they're so frustrated they won't seek second terms. They are Rep. Lisa Bennington, an Allegheny County Democrat, and
Rep. Carl Mantz, a Berks County Republican. Both are citing frustration at the slow pace. Many major bills are stuck in gridlock. Other freshmen in the Legislature acknowledge such frustration, but say they're going to seek second terms. Rep. Patrick Harkins, an Erie County Democrat, says he "wouldn't trade it for the
world" -- even though he has been discouraged by the level of cynicism in Harrisburg.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - The economy and Iraq will be two of the topics highlighted by President Bush in his final State of the Union address tonight. Bush is expected to call for Congress to quickly approve an economic stimulus package and argue that troop withdrawals will happen when they won't undermine Iraq's success.

HONG KONG (AP) - World markets are showing volatility for a second week as Asian stocks are stumbling amid worries about a possible U.S. recession. China's benchmark index is at its lowest point in six months. U.S. stock index futures are pointing lower.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Mormon church leader who oversaw one of the greatest expansion periods in its history has died. At 97, Gordon Hinckley was the oldest president in the church's history. According to church tradition, the most senior apostle will become president. That man is 80-year-old Thomas Monson.

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) - The average gas price across the nation has dropped by about nine cents over the last two weeks. The Lundberg survey reports the average price of regular gas to be $2.98 a gallon. The cheapest gas can be found in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while Honolulu has the most expensive.

NEW YORK (AP) - The agent for Roger Clemens has put out an 18,000 word report to challenge allegations that the pitcher's career rebounded about the time he's accused of using steroids. The report claims Clemens was able to "adjust his style of pitching as he got older." Clemens denies accusations in baseball's Mitchell
Report that he used performance-enhancing drugs.


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