Thursday, January 24, 2008

Today's News- Thursday, January 24th

The remains of a Schuylkill Haven boy who died under mysterious circumstances more than 20 years ago will be exhumed today. State police investigator Trooper Robert Betnar said yesterday that David Reed's remains will be removed from their resting place at Schuylkill Memorial Park at 1pm today. Reed disappeared in August, 1985 and his decomposed remains found four months later near the Schuylkill Haven/Cressona borough line. A firm conclusion as to the cause of death was not able to be made at that time, but new information and the availability of forensic technology will hopefully give investigators answers as to the boy’s death. The remains will be sent to a forensic pathologist's lab in Florida for study. An area of the cemetery will be cordoned off for the media and family and friends of David Reed today.

A Schuylkill County woman, who was fired last year for posing in a men’s magazine while a Berks County Prison guard, is back on the job. 29-year-old Holly Hull appeared in Playboy last March in a simulated corrections officer's uniform. She was fired by the prison warden in April for improper conduct. An arbitrator recommended that Hull be reinstated to the job as a guard, and Warden George Wagner agreed to allow her to return to the $41 thousand dollar a year position, but she was not granted back pay. Hull told the Reading Eagle that she didn’t think anyone would recognize her in the photo shoot when she posed for the layout in 2006. Prisoners at the Berks County facility are allowed to subscribe to men’s magazines like Playboy, but does not permit magazines that depict graphic sexual acts.

The Schuylkill County Sheriff's office has a new weapon to help control prisoners in their care, thanks to a gift from the Pottsville Housing Authority. At Wednesday's work session, Sheriff Harold Rowan asked the Commissioners for a supplemental budget appropriation of $1-thousand-dollars to purchase the TASER weapon, with monies from the Housing Authority. County DA Jim Goodman requested that the Salary Board consider the hiring of two full-time Assistant District Attorneys. Attorney Bill Reiley resigned his part time position, and Attorney Jennifer Lehman of Washington Township would fill one full time slot, with the difference in salary paid for through a budgetary line item adjustment. A second position, funded for three years by a drug fighting grant through the City of Pottsville, was approved for Michael Stine Jr. of Tamaqua. Both positions pay over $40-thousand-dollars a year. A new Interim Assistant County Clerk position was filled by the board. Marc Freligh of Pottsville had been appointed to the position at last week's meeting, but he chose not to take the job. Patricia Hotsko of Tamaqua was appointed to the position from the secretarial pool at an hourly rate of $16.68 per hour.

The County Election Bureau is gearing up for the April 22nd primary. Director Betty Dries told the Commissioners at Wednesday's work session that poll workers will receive an increase in pay for their work, beginning in April. The raises were budgeted for 2008, and approved by the Commissioners. Dries also said that she is gathering prices for new scanners from Preimer Election Systems, formerly Diebold Election Systems, to read absentee paper ballots on election night. Dries explains what she is looking for:
The Commissioners also approved the annual contract from Premier for programming, audio and site support for the touch-screen voting machines. That contract totals over $46-thousand-dollars. Dries also informed the Commissioners that a Voter Registration Campaign is under way for the upcoming primary, with applications now online through the county's website, She noted that in a Presidential election year, voter turnout is higher than other elections. The effort focuses on 18 year olds who are able to vote for the first time, as well as those who are not registered with either the Republican and Democratic parties. People who are affiliated with other parties are not able to vote in the primary, but may do so in the general election. The deadline for registering to vote in the April primary is March 24th.

Firefighters in Shenandoah made quick work extinguishing a fire in the borough yesterday afternoon.
The call came in around 2:30, where flames were coming from a single home at 219 North Chestnut Street.
Owner Roy Bowen was in the process remodeling the home. It is believed that the fire started in the basement of the home, according to the Republican and Herald. The state police fire marshal and borough fire investigators will continue to investigate an exact cause. No one was injured in the blaze. Shenandoah fire companies were assisted by the Englewood Fire Company from Frackville in fighting the fire.

A Tower City man who looked to run for the Republican nomination for the state house has changed his mind.
Dan Daub, former county GOP party head, had announced his intention to run for the 125th District party nomination on Monday. He tells the Republican and Herald that he will not run, and is throwing his support behind county Recorder of Deeds Matt Dudish, who is considering a run. Citing time and family concerns for the change of heart, Daub said that he is not supporting Gary Hornberger, who also announced his candidacy Monday morning. Hornberger is running a grass roots campaign, and not seeking the county Republican party's blessing nor support. The winner of the nomination will face incumbent Democrat Tim Seip in the November election.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - Four people are dead in two early morning fires in Luzerne County. The first happened in Duryea around 2:30 a.m. Thursday. The second occurred minutes later at an apartment house in
Wilkes-Barre. The Luzerne County deputy coroner confirms three people died in the fire on South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre. Officials say about a dozen people lived in the six apartments building. The ages and names of the three who died have not yet been released. The coroner also confirms that one person died in the fire at a house on Main Street in Duryea. The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. but that victim's name also
has not been released. At least one rescue worker went to the hospital after an ambulance on its way to the fire in Duryea was involved in an accident.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - Erie County is under a lake effect snow warning, with up to eight inches possible. The National Weather Service says the heaviest snow will fall Thursday morning and that it should taper off in the afternoon. The warning runs through 4 p.m. About four to six inches of snow is expected by late morning
in most areas.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Hillary Clinton says the tension between her and presidential rival Barack Obama will end once the Democratic nomination is finalized. Clinton spoke yesterday in Philadelphia, where she picked up the endorsement of Gov. Ed Rendell. Rendell expressed displeasure with the recent infighting between Clinton and Obama.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas will testify before a Senate committee in Washington today about his dismay at the Environmental Protection Agency's refusal to allow his state and 15 others to regulate vehicle emissions. Douglas will join governors from Pennsylvania and Maryland who object to the agency's decision not to grant California a waiver that would have allowed for its first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas limits on cars.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Hershey, the nation's largest candymaker, says its fourth-quarter profit dropped almost 65 percent as it spent heavily to close plants in North America and expand overseas. Sales were almost flat in what The Hershey Company says is an increasingly competitive environment.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Cedrick Wilson says his ex-girlfriend has kicked him and he fears she would shoot him if she gets a gun. Wilson has made those claims in a protection-from-abuse court order he obtained against 26-year-old Lindsey Paulat of Fawn Township after she allegedly fired two shots
in Wilson's home.

LONDON (AP) - European markets are surging today following yesterday's big rebound on Wall Street. Meanwhile, trading in Asia has closed mixed for the day. U.S. futures show stocks look to be headed toward a moderately higher open.

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Minority Leader John Boehner has promised more information today on a potential bipartisan deal between Congress and the White House on an economic stimulus package. An agreement appears to be close following movement in negotiations last night with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

UNDATED (AP) - Republican John McCain may have the best chance to beat either one of the two Democratic front-runners for the White House in the fall. A new Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg poll shows McCain even with Barack Obama and just four points behind Hillary Clinton. Clinton and Obama each lead the other GOP
contenders by more than 10 points in the survey.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A liberal group is planning on shelling out 8.5 million dollars to ensure President Bush's approval ratings don't improve during his final year in office. Americans United for Change plans an advertising campaign to keep what it calls Bush administration failures in the public eye.

BAGHDAD (AP) - An Iraqi police chief and two other officers have been killed by a suicide bomber while touring the site of yesterday's explosion in Mosul. That attack left at least 34 dead and 224 hurt. Yesterday's violence is still under investigation. The U.S. military is blaming al-Qaida in Iraq for today's bombing.


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