Friday, February 29, 2008

Today's News-Friday, February 29th

A fire that heavily damaged a Friedensburg home earlier this week is being deemed accidental. The James Gordon family of four were ousted from their home on Monday at 1390 Long Run Road. Investigators say that the homeowner started a coal furnace with a propane torch and set it aside in the laundry room. According to the Republican and Herald, the torch was still burning and started the fire. Damage estimates are in the neighborhood of $50-thousand-dollars.

A toxic pile of material that has troubled the residents of Rush Township is expected to be cleaned up by fall. The "fluff" pile, the remnants of recycled wire and by-products at the former Eastern Diversified Metals plant near Hometown has been on the EPA's priority list for a number of years. The federal agency reports that the pile will be capped by September, according to the Republican and Herald. Folks who live in that area wanted the pile removed, but federal officials determined that placing a permanent cap on the site would be a better way to contain the problem. Soil around the pile was also contaminated, and local water supplies were potentially at risk. The two year project to construct the cap began in September, 2006.

Are you fed up with the rising prices of gas, oil and other fuels? Everyone is! Oil futures for a barrel of crude went above $102 yesterday. Motorists are reeling from a 19 cent per gallon increase over just the past two weeks, and some experts are predicting that it will reach $4 per gallon by the spring. All of this is getting attention in Harrisburg, where the state House is expected to vote on a plan that would break Pennsylvania’s dependence on Middle East oil. State Representative Tim Seip says that the plan would boost the economy by investing in the production of homegrown fuels and other alternative energy sources like wind and solar power:
SEIP
Governor Rendell has also made energy independence a priority in his second term.

Motorists planning to travel through east central Pennsylvania tomorrow are advised to be alert for potential snow and freezing rain in their travels, based on weather forecasts. A snow advisory will be in effect for this afternoon and tonight for Schuylkill County. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) encourages all motorists to pay full attention to their driving, especially during winter when weather can quickly change and turn driving conditions sour in an instant. PennDOT is warning motorists to be prepared in the event today’s weather escalates into a rapidly-moving “clipper” storm with white-out conditions and low visibility.

PennDOT is planning for this potential storm and will activate its interstate message boards tomorrow with warnings to motorists to be prepared. Simple, common sense tips for safe driving include reducing speed in response to decreasing visibility, maintain a safe distance between vehicles and be aware of the potential that vehicles may be stopped on the highway or along the shoulder. PennDOT reminds motorists that state law requires drivers to turn on their headlights anytime their vehicles wipers are in continuous or intermittent use due to weather or other atmospheric conditions such as fog or mist. Motorists who do not comply with the law could face a fine of $25, but with fees and other associated costs, the penalty would approach $100.

Schuylkill County's office of Veterans Affairs has received the praise from the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Major General Jessica L. Wright sent a letter to County Commissioner Frank McAndrew thanking Brenda Zechman and her staff of the County Office of Veterans Affairs for their outstanding job of serving the needs of the veterans of Schuylkill County. Major General Wright said the office’s customer service-oriented outreach and support have enabled Schuylkill County to maximize federal compensation awards and pensions for its veterans. She said the county office was one of the premier veterans support agencies within the Commonwealth in providing first-class service to veterans and their beneficiaries.

A New York man was arrested by Cass Foster Township police Wednesday afternoon. Officers conducting a speed trap on Route 901 and the Old Buckhorn Road clocked Stephen Arzoomanian of Haverstraw, New York going 75 miles an hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. Police had to pursue Arzoomanian onto I-81 before stopping him. A records check also found that he was driving with a suspended license. His vehicle was impounded.

Are you getting enough sleep? New figures from the Centers for Disease Control suggest fewer and fewer of us are. Ten percent of the almost 20-thousand-people surveyed say they did not get enough sleep any day of the prior month. Thirty-eight percent said that they didn't get enough sleep on seven or more of those days.

Wilkes-Barre Catholic students plan walkout

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - Some students at Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre say they'll walk out of class Friday. It's to show support for their teachers' effort to unionize. The Diocese of Scranton has been unwilling to recognize the union. Classes were canceled Thursday because most teachers called in sick. The sickout was organized by the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers. Union president Michael Milz says the student protest is a surprise. He says the teachers didn't discuss the labor dispute with their students because it would have been unprofessional. The diocese didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

NRC chairman says napping guards report wasn't fully reviewed

WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says more should have been done to investigate a tip that security guards took naps on the job at a nuclear plant. The NRC announced a special investigation at the Peach Bottom plant in south-central Pennsylvania in September. But that wasn't until a video of guards sleeping in a "ready room" surfaced. Months before, the NRC got a letter from a former employee who was writing on behalf of current employees. NRC Chairman Dale Klein says the letter's author asked not to be contacted. Klein says the agency made a mistake by honoring that request. Klein's remarks came in tesimony in a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee hearing.

Former Pa. state representative, aide charged with forgery

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A former state representative from Erie and her aide are being accused of forging dozens of signatures on the lawmaker's nominating petitions. Linda Bebko-Jones and chief of staff Mary Fiolek were charged based on a grand jury investigation. Bebko-Jones is a Democrat who served from 1993 until last year. Prosecutors say the two generated the fake signatures in March 2006 by combing the Erie phone book and Bebko-Jones' personal address book. Bebko-Jones is facing charges of forgery, tampering with public records, false swearing, conspiracy and other offenses. Fiolek is charged with similar offenses. They're scheduled to turn themselves in next week.

LONDON (AP) - Britain's Prince Harry is being immediately withdrawn from Afghanistan after news of his front-line deployment leaked in the media. The British Defense Ministry says there was concern that news coverage could put Harry and his fellow troops at increased risk. Britain's prime minister calls the prince's service in Afghanistan "outstanding."

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) - Police in Georgia have a suspect in custody in connection with shooting deaths of a sheriff's deputy and her two young daughters last night. Their bodies were found by police inside their home in suburban Atlant. Police aren't releasing any information on the suspect.

UNDATED (AP) - While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton lead rallies in Texas today, their campaigns are sending high profile stand-ins to Tuesday's other prized state. Bill Clinton will be stumping on behalf of his wife in Ohio. Caroline Kennedy will be visiting the suburbs of Cleveland to recruit Obama voters. Tuesday's primaries in both states are considered crucial in the Democratic race.

SINGAPORE (AP) - For the first time in history, oil prices broke the $103-a-barrel mark in trading overnight. The combination of a weak dollar and the prospect of lower interest rates is drawing more cash into the oil market. One analyst predicts prices will drop at some point, but not in the near future.

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) - She was born in 1912, but a Wisconsin woman is only celebrating her 24th birthday on this leap day. Tillie Iverson was born on February 29th 96 years ago. She says she doesn't like being a leap-year baby because she's had to celebrate her birthday February 28th some years, and March 1st on others. With her true birth date coming only once every four years, Iverson feels she's been a little "shorted on birthdays."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Today's News-Thursday, February 28th

The Schuylkill County Commissioners Wednesday approved the payment of $8-thousand-dollars in filing fees in connection with the pending litigation involving New World Systems and the county. Schuylkill County purchased software from New World Systems for $1-Million Dollars in 2005 that has not worked properly, and after efforts to resolve the problems failed, the county decided to terminate the contract and proceed with litigation. After the commissioners meeting, WPPA/T-102 News and local media met with County Solicitor Eric Mika to question him about the status of the litigation. Mika said there were provisions in the contract that governs what the county can say about the dispute. He did say that the contract contains what is called "Alternative Dispute Resolution", a term that he said has become popular in contracts as alternatives to litigation. Mika said the dispute will now go through the process spelled out in the contact. The media has requested copies of the contract under the open records law and Mika said he will comply with the requests.
Earlier this month, the county hired Dallas Texas Attorney Peter Vogel, an expert in computer technology to evaluate the software. He spent a few days in the county before returning the Texas. The outcome of that visit has not yet been announced. The software was purchased to reconcile differences in budget periods between the county and some human services departments, which run on the state's budget calendar.

The County Commissioners approved an appraisal agreement on the 1912 building and land during Wednesday’s Board meeting. The appraisal of the building and 34 acres of land will be done by Hudack Appraisal Service, Frackville at a cost of $45-hundred-dollars and will be completed by April 1st. The Advisory Board of Penn State Schuylkill has offered $450-thousand-dollars for the property. North Manheim Township is also interested in the property. Township officials were given a tour of the building Tuesday. Township officials have been critical of the Commissioners in recent weeks claiming they had not been offered the opportunity to purchase the building. At last week's Commissioners work session, Township Solicitor Thomas Lisella said he would like to have the county, township and Penn State sit down to discuss the matter. He also said sub-division of the land might be a part of the discussion. University officials had said acquiring the land is part of Penn State's master plan for campus expansion. They also said the 1912 building would be demolished to make way for a 12-thousand-square foot multipurpose center.

Schuylkill Products Incorporated are moving oversized loads in the next several days to a construction project in Maryland. The Cressona-based concrete beam manufacture will begin transporting loads at 9 and 11am this morning, and at the same times Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Traffic delays are expected at the intersections of Routes 901 and 183, and 183 and 61. The beams will head south on Route 61 to Interstate 78 then onto Interstate 81. Their final destination is the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project in Maryland.

We now know the name of the trucker who got his rig stuck under the Cressona railroad bridge early Wednesday. WPPA/T102 News first reported the crash yesterday morning. 39-year-old Eduard Tengo of Palm Coast, Florida was traveling north on Route 183 and failed to follow signs indicating an 11 foot 8 inch clearance. The trailer, owned by Swift Transportation, became wedged under the bridge around 3am. Tengo will be cited by state police. Ironically, a meeting was held last Friday to discuss the problem area. A number of options were discussed to reduce or eliminate the problem, including additional signs warning of the approaching bridge, traffic pattern changes and other means. This is the second rig to get stuck under the Cressona railroad underpass this year.

A woman from Schnecksville was arrested Saturday in Tamaqua on drug-related charges. Tamaqua borough police indicate that 22-year-old Ashley Snyder was picked up near the Tiki Bar. She reportedly displayed cocaine inside the establishment and refused to put it away when asked. A member of the bar staff called police. Snyder was in her vehicle when police arrived. She was asked if she had cocaine, and responded no, and also refused police when they asked to search her vehicle. Snyder became belligerent with officers while they were taking her into custody. Police uncovered marijuana, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, a handgun and cash in the search. She was charged, arraigned and taken to Schuylkill County Prison, in lieu of $50-thousand dollars bail.

Ashland police are investigating two break-ins at borough businesses. On Sunday, February 17th, unknown burglars broke into the Mineshaft Restaurant at 11th and Centre Street and Black Diamond Video at 927 Centre Street. Anyone with information should contact Ashland police at 462-1991. A reward for information is being offered by Downtown Ashland Incorporated that could lead to the arrest of the culprits.

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. (AP) - About 1,200 more Pennsylvania National Guard troops are being told they may go to Iraq within a year. The soldiers are members of the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, headquartered at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County. The mission is flying and caring for helicopters ferrying troops, cargo and dignitaries around Iraq.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - An aluminum company based in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain says in a federal lawsuit that Alcoa bribed former company and government officials to gain a controlling share of the Bahrain firm and forced it to overpay for alumina. The suit by Aluminum Bahrain BSC seeks more than $1 billion in damages. An Alcoa spokesman in Pittsburgh has no comment yet.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Amtrak says it must spend tens of millions of dollars to replace defective railroad ties on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. The railroad is warning Congress the problem could delay trains and cost Amtrak business if not addressed quickly. Amtrak says the concrete ties purchased in the 1990s have begun to crack. They normally last about 50 years.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A new report points to a big gap in what local governments pay to keep the Great Lakes clean - and what the U.S. and Canadian federal governments spend. The report estimates local governments spend about $15 billion a year on Great Lakes environmental programs. The federal total is unclear, but the report claims it's "not even close" to that amount.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Dairy Queen is facing a rebellion from a growing number of mostly mom-and-pop franchise owners - in Pennsylvania and nine other states - who've been asked to update their restaurants. They're suing the Minnesota-based company for breach of contract. Dairy Queen CEO Chuck Mooty says the costs aren't as high as the franchise owners claim.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Four people, including three children, are listed in critical condition following a shooting yesterday at a South Los Angeles bus stop. Four other people suffered minor wounds. The gunman is still at large and police are trying to find a motive.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Consumer Product Safety Commission says more than 240 children died from 2002 to 2004 in incidents involving nursery products. Many of the deaths involved cribs, usually from suffocating in soft pillows or other bedding.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush hears today from key advisers about the latest economic growth figures. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has described the economy as wobbly but Bush rejects the notion of a recession. Since summer, housing has slumped, the credit crunch has worsened and unemployment is up.

UNDATED (AP) - Democrat Hillary Clinton stumps for votes in Ohio again today, while her husband campaigns on her behalf in Rhode Island. Later in the day she'll be in Texas, where Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama is also campaigning. Tuesday's primaries in Texas and Ohio could determine whether Clinton keeps going.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Turkey should end its offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as soon as possible. But he says he's told Turkey's defense minister the U.S. is not making any threat. Turkey wants to eliminate rebels it considers terrorists.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today's News-Wednesday, February 27th

Less than a week after officials met in Cressona to talk about solutions to the problems getting stuck under the railroad bridge, another one did just that. After 3am, a truck was northbound on Route 183 and failed to obey the 11 foot 8 inch warnings and its trailer became wedged under it. No other information was released.

State police have made an arrest in the case of an Auburn house overrun with cats. Earlier this month, the owner of 2256 West Market Street contacted the Hillside SPCA after he discovered the property overrun with cats. Shelter staff found 39 cats still alive, and 13 deceased, and the floors covered with animal feces. The tenant, 54-year-old Rita Rollman, lived in the home for more than 3 years, but the cats continued to breed until they became too much to handle. Rollman left the property on February 14th, leaving the animals without food and water. Rollman will be charged with cruelty to animals.

A Hamburg man is looking to make changes in Harrisburg by running an independent campaign for the state Senate. 58-year-old Dennis Baylor has announced that he is seeking the seat currently held by long term incumbent Jim Rhoades. He is trying to collect the required number of signatures to get on the November ballot. Among the items on his platform are property tax relief by changing the way taxes are assessed, education and blight in communities. A Pottsville native, Baylor is married and has one daughter. He is an engineer.

A two vehicle crash in northern Berks County yesterday afternoon shut a portion of Interstate 78 down for several hours. 21-year-old Andrew Boyer of Friedensburg was passing a tractor trailer driven by Rogelio Valdez of Mechanicsburg when he lost traction and began to spin. Valdez, in attempting to avoid Boyer's car, ran into the back of Boyer's Mustang. The truck rolled over onto its left side. The left lane of I-78 in Bethel Township was closed for 4 hours for cleanup. State police at Hamburg are planning to cite Boyer for not having much tread on his tire. The crash happened after 1 o'clock yesterday.

An Orwigsburg man accused of setting a fire at the borough manager's home was in Schuylkill County Court yesterday. 50-year-old Carl Zehner and his attorney appeared before Judge D. Michael Stine to respond to charges of arson, risking a catastrophe and other offenses for the incident last July at the home of Michael Lonergan, Orwigsburg’s borough manager. The Republican and Herald reports that Zehner admitted to setting the fire, after the borough shut his water off for non-payment of his bill. However, Zehner asked the court to dismiss the charges or have his admission statement thrown out. Police reportedly had been watching Zehner's home to see if he turned the water service back on, as he had done before. Officers told him of his rights and questioned Zehner further about what took place. Lonergan's home incurred about $27-hundred-dollars in damages to his home from the fire, started by a lighted gas bottle thrown on the porch. Judge Stine gave both sides another two weeks to file briefs in the case.

A unique combination of basketball teams will play at Penn State Schuylkill Campus tomorrow night. The PSU-Schuylkill Lady Lions are headed to the Penn State University Athletic Conference tournament this weekend, and the US Army World Team is in training for the World Armed Forces Championship at Indiantown Gap. So, the two teams will lace it up in an exhibition at the campus tomorrow night at 7pm. Penn State Schuylkill Athletic Director John Cooper said that the Lady Lions are the top seed in the tournament, and will play their first game Sunday against PSU-Dubois. The US Army World Team has dominated the World Armed Forces Championship, winning 26 of the last 36 years. Tickets are $4 at the door, and free to Penn State students with valid student ID.

A Tamaqua woman had minor injuries in a crash on a slush covered road Tuesday night. Moira McHale was traveling north on Old Route 209 and slid on the road, causing her to lose control of her Jeep Grand Cherokee. The vehicle spun into a tree. McHale was taken to Pottsville Hospital for treatment. A juvenile passenger was not hurt. State police are expected to cite McHale in the crash that happened around 8:10 last night.

Pa. college-aid agency temporarily suspends federal student loans

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The acting chief executive of Pennsylvania's student-loan agency says it's temporarily suspending new loans it makes through a federal program in response to a credit crunch that has created turmoil in the bond markets. James Preston says the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency decided two weeks ago to suspend loans made outside the state through the Federal Family Education Loan Program. Preston says it will also send out notices to colleges and universities that it will suspend in-state loans effective March 7. The federal program provides federally subsidized, low-cost student loans to about 500,000 Pennsylvania students. Preston says it's not profitable for PHEAA to finance the federal loans, but the agency will continue to originate, guarantee and service student loans.

South-central Pa. sees more bank robberies, more violence

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The FBI says bank robberies in south-central Pennsylvania are on the rise - and they're getting more violent. FBI agent Arturo Canedo says he's concerned about the high-powered weapons used today. In some cases, robbers are taking hostages. Canedo says it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. Canedo says robbers are picking the area because of the ease of getting onto a major highway for a getaway. He can't explain the increase in violence.

Murtha's Republican opponent tossed off primary ballot

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Democratic Congressman John Murtha could still have a Republican opponent in November. A court says lone opponent Bill Russell doesn't have enough signatures to be on the ballot in the Republican primary. But if a write-in candidate gets at least 1,000 votes in the GOP primary, the leading write-in becomes the party's nominee. Russell says he's looking into that option. Murtha has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1974 and has been a leading Democratic critic of the Iraq war. He represents the heavily Democratic 12th District in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Casino critic gives earful to Pa. gambling conference

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, one of the Legislature's most strident opponents of legalized casinos, rarely, if ever, rubs elbows with gambling industry executives. But on Tuesday, the Dauphin County Republican delivered the keynote speech at an industry conference. In his speech, Piccola told the Pennsylvania Gaming Congress that Pennsylvania's law is inadequate to allow a thorough background check of all prospective casino owners. He cited the case of Louis DeNaples, the Mount Airy Casino Resort owner who is now charged with lying about his connections to organized crime figures to win a license. He is proposing numerous changes, including putting background checks under the supervision of the state attorney general's office, instead of state gambling regulators.

Pa. woman testifies in brother's robbery trial

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - The sister of a Centre County man accused of committing nine armed robberies last summer says she drove him to the crime scenes. But Caroll Patton says she thought they were going to the places in Centre, Clinton, Blair and Huntingdon counties to buy drugs. She says she had a cocaine addiction. She testified Tuesday in the trial of her younger brother, 33-year-old George Patton, formerly of Patton Township. In addition to the armed robberies, George Patton is accused of committing two attempted robberies. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday morning in Centre County Court. Caroll Patton also faces charges. Her case hasn't gone to trial yet.

2 rapes reported at Kutztown University

KUTZTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Kutztown University officials say two rapes were committed on campus about an hour apart. University spokesman Matt Santos says the first attack happened around 3 a.m. Sunday in the Old Main building, which houses a dormitory, classrooms and offices. The woman attacked in Old Main said she knew her attacker. The second attack was in a stairwell of a dormitory building. The unidentified man was described as a while man of college age with dark brown hair. Santos says at the time of the attack, he was wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts at the time, and had a day's worth of facial hair. Campus police say three rapes were reported the Berks County campus during all of 2007.

UNDATED (AP) - The Democratic presidential candidates campaign one more day in Ohio, following last night's debate in Cleveland. Barack Obama will rally at Ohio State University and Hillary Rodham Clinton visits eastern and southeastern Ohio. Last night, they blasted each other's campaign tactics. Ohio and Texas hold
primaries Tuesday.

UNDATED (AP) - Northern New England could get as much as eight inches of new snow today. Upstate New York could get up four. Two highway fatalities are being blamed on storms in Ohio and in Alabama. Alabama and Georgia also saw tens of thousands of storm-related power outages.

ROBERT LEE, Texas (AP) - While part of the U.S. battles winter weather, Texas is dealing with wildfires. Most are in West Texas where the worst one has charred 250,000 acres. Evacuees in the town of Robert Lee were allowed back home, but were told to stay alert.

BERLIN (AP) - It's a record high for the euro against the dollar in European trading today. The euro peaked at nearly $1.51. Europeans think the U.S. Federal Reserve is going to continue cutting interest rates. The surging euro affects tourists in Europe and the U.S., along with exports and imports.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke goes before Congress today to give his take on how the economy is doing. Analysts think he'll hint at another interest-rate cut today. If that's the final decision, it'll come at the next Fed meeting March 18th.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

WEATHER WATCH-TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH

ALL ON 2 HOUR DELAYS:
UPDATED 6AM

HAMBURG
JIM THORPE
LINE MOUNTAIN
LOURDES REGIONAL
MOUNT CARMEL
PANTHER VALLEY
SHAMOKIN

Today's News-Tuesday, February 26th

Fire damaged a house in Friedensburg yesterday morning, leaving a family of four displaced from their home. Firefighters were called to the blaze at 1390 Long Run Road around 10am. The home is occupied by the James Gordon family. Reports indicate that a neighbor spotted the fire on the kitchen side of the home. There is no estimate of damage, nor a cause of the fire as yet. The Gordon's were not home at the time of the fire.

An Oneida man was hurt in a one vehicle crash in East Union Township yesterday morning. Frackville state police report that Walter Kuchinsky was driving south on Nuremberg Road. It is not clear why his car left the road, but his car struck a utility pole. Kuchinsky was life-flighted to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. The crash happened just before noon Monday.

State police are investigating a weekend theft from a business in Mahanoy Township. Troopers indicate that between Saturday and Monday, unknown thieves cut a lock off of a lock box in the office of New Tilapia Company on Yatesville Road. More than $25-hundred-dollars in cash and two checks made out to the company were taken. The investigation continues.

Three people from Northumberland County are in Schuylkill County Prison after they reportedly took items from the Hometown Farmers Market. The Republican and Herald reports that Rush Township police arrested Rachel Geise and Harry Wheary the Third of Shamokin, and Anthony Calladine of Coal Township Sunday night. Police found more than 300 DVD's, phones, jewelry and other items hidden near an exit door at the market. The thieves were identified by surveillance video. A search of an apartment in Shamokin uncovered other stolen merchandise. Geise and a 17 year old female were found inside of a vehicle at the market. They denied having anything to do with the thefts, but were stopped later in Mahanoy City. Additional thefts took place on two other occasions. Wheary and Caladine were charged with burglary and related offenses. Geise was charged with criminal conspiracy. The minor female also faces charges through juvenile authorities. Another unidentified man is also implicated in the thefts. After arraignment, Wheary, Caladine and Geise were lodged in Schuylkill County Prison.

Two Schuylkill County legislators have come to the aid of the Schuylkill Alliance for Healthcare Access, securing some much needed funding to keep the operation open.
Representatives Tim Seip and Neal Goodman secured $20-thousand-dollars to allow the organization, to remain open while they await receipt of promised federal, state and other grant funding. The Alliance, in operation since 2003, works with healthcare providers to get people who don't have insurance, basic health care services, at reduced cost.

A Milton man was hurt in a crash Monday afternoon in Hubley Township. According to Schuylkill Haven state police, Timothy Buehler was driving east on State Route 25 and fell asleep at the wheel of his Chevy Astro Van. His car struck the guiderail and traveled about 75 feet before coming to rest against a tree. Buehler was trapped for about 45 minutes before rescue personnel could free him. He was transported to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment via Life Flight.

A gun club in Valley View was burglarized last week. Schuylkill Haven state police now say that the Valley View Gun Club was broken into by smashing the main door of the property. Liquor was taken in the theft. Troopers are continuing the investigation.

Former official charged in township embezzlement dies

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A former official charged in the embezzlement of $2.5 million from Lower Macungie Township has died. Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin says 73-year-old Margaret Szulborski died Saturday at her home. Her attorney, Philip Lauer, says the grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of four has been battling brain cancer. She underwent surgery in August 2007. Szulborski was charged with stealing millions from a sewer fund she controlled when she worked for the township from 1999 to March 2006. In a February 2007 response to a township lawsuit, she acknowledged stealing sewer connection fees. She had said she planned a defense of insanity, or mental infirmity. County Judge Kelly Banach, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steven Luksa and Lauer had planned to visit Szulborski next month to gauge her condition. Martin says her death ends the criminal case over the missing funds.

Man who ran over motorcyclist after leaving bar faces prison

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A man who ran over a motorcyclist with his pickup truck after leaving a Bucks County bar faces 1 to 7 years in state prison. Thirty-five-year-old Paul Spaeth, of Middletown Township, was sentenced Monday. He pleaded guilty to hit and run and other charges. County Judge Rea Boylan says he must pay a $1,000 fine and undergo drug and alcohol treatment. Investigators say Spaeth had left a bar about 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 28 when he ran over motorcyclist Jesse Cartlidge. Cartlidge is a 24-year-old Levittown musician who had just left the same bar. Prosecutor Robert James says Cartlidge was dragged more than 600 feet. He was in intensive care for three weeks, had eight surgeries, and is still recovering. Spaeth acknowledges that he drove to Philadelphia, abandoned his truck and took a train home after the crash. He surrendered to police the next day.

Williamsport's most-wanted list gets quick results

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - A north-central Pennsylvania city that tried releasing a list of the 25 most wanted fugitives has gotten quick results. Williamsport police say 33-year-old Terrence Starling, also known as "Tank," turned himself in Monday after hearing his name was on the list. Starling, who's charged with aggravated assault, says he's innoncent and didn't know there was a warrant out for him. Starling is accused of beating another man with a metal baseball bat in 2005. Police have also captured an 18-year-old woman accused of stealing a sport utility vehicle from an acquaintance. Williamsport Mayor Gabe Campana got the idea for the most wanted list after seeing a similar list in Philadelphia. It was released last week.

Indicted Scranton housing director suspended

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - The indicted executive director of the Scranton Housing Authority has been suspended. The authority's board voted unanimously Monday to suspend David Baker while the case works its way through the courts. He will still get his salary of more than $104,000 a year plus benefits. The vote also made Gary Pelucacci the acting executive director. He has been Baker's assistant for the 12 1/2years Baker has held the job. The indictment charges that Baker illegally misapplied federal money intended to fund low-income housing. He is charged with obstruction, wire fraud, theft of federal funds and other offenses. Baker didn't attend Monday's meeting and hasn't returned phone calls from reporters seeking his side of the story.

Temple U. beating outside Jewish frat is called a hate crime

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Officials at Temple University say an attack outside the former house of a Jewish fraternity was a hate crime. Four Temple students are charged in the Feb. 15 attack, during which they allegedly used anti-Semitic slurs. University officials say the victim, who isn't a Temple student, was seriously hurt in the beating. The four students are suspended. School officials say they are awaiting results of the police investigation before deciding whether to expel them. The attack happened outside a building that just to house the Temple chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi, an international Jewish fraternity. Alpha Epsilon Pi recently moved to a new fraternity house.

Lack of full slate won't affect Clinton's share of Pa. delegates

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton fell at least 10 candidates short of fielding a full slate for the 103 delegate slots to be allocated in Pennsylvania's primary. Sen. Barack Obama has a full slate, but that disparity has more symbolic than substantive impact. Some Clinton detractors have suggested that the shortfall reflects her campaign's overconfidence or lack of a strategy beyond the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests. But the state party's leader says if Clinton wins more delegate slots than she has candidates in any district, it won't matter. Executive Director Mary Isenhour says the state committee would fill them with additional Clinton-pledged delegates when it meets in June.

Fired Philly news anchor's cop-assault charges reduced

NEW YORK (AP) - Charges have been downgraded for a former Philadelphia TV news anchor accused of hitting a New York City police officer. Prosecutors reduced the felony assault charges against 35-year-old Alycia Lane to misdemeanors. Authorities say the plainclothes officer's injuries weren't serious enough for the felony charge. Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Dina Douglas told Lane on Monday that the charges will be dismissed if she is not arrested in the next six months. Lane also made the news in reports that she e-mailed bikini shots of herself to a married NFL Network anchor. And she tearfully discussed her divorce with "Dr. Phil" McGraw. Lane has been fired and says she is unsure about her next career move.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Musical diplomacy in North Korea where the New York Philharmonic is playing a historic concert in a country that considers the U.S. the enemy. The Philharmonic is the first major American cultural group to perform in the country.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A mortgage research firm says the home foreclosure rate jumped 57 percent in January. RealtyTrac Incorporated says there was one foreclosure filing for every 534 homes.

WASHINGTON (AP) - If the housing and credit crunches aren't enough, a look a decade into the future suggests health care costs will have people feeling faint. By 2017, the 4 trillion dollar cost will translate to one of every $5 spent.

GREENSBORO, Ga. (AP) - In a land where segregation once ruled, one east Georgia county will try separation by gender in the fall. Educators hope it will improve rock-bottom test scores and reduce teen pregnancy and discipline problems.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A senior general says there will probably be about 8,000 more troops in Iraq after the surge than when it began. And the Army's chief of staff goes before Senators today as lawmakers vote on a proposal to cut Iraq war funding. The vote is expected to fail.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Today's News-Monday, February 25th

A Mahanoy City man was injured in a crash in Ryan Township Saturday afternoon. Frackville state police report that a 17-year-old male, from Mahanoy City was driving north on State Route 1013 and lost control rounding a right curve. In trying to correct his vehicle, his car struck a tree on the passenger's side. 18-year-old Stephen Hair was in the front seat and suffered major injuries. He was flown to Lehigh Valley Medical Center for treatment. The driver had minor injuries. A 17-year-old male in the back seat was not hurt. The crash happened around 1:40pm Saturday.

It was a night to honor the 16th President Saturday, as county Republicans gathered for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner. More than 150 people were in attendance for the 50th celebration. Among the speakers were incumbent state Senator Jim Rhoades and 124th District Representative Dave Argall, who are seeking re-election. The Republican slate also got a little bigger for state office, with the announcement of James "Jamie" McGovern as a candidate for the 125th District. McGovern formerly worked for the state Treasury department, but is now operating two businesses on his own. He said that politics are in his blood:
href="http://www.blogger.com/PBCRadio/McGovern.WAV"> video
His mother, Jackie McGovern, is Schuylkill County Treasurer. Democrat Tim Seip is the incumbent in the 125th. Also in attendance were several state-wide candidates, including Tom Ellis, who is running for state Treasurer, Chet Beiler, candidate for Auditor General, and Toni Gillhooley, who is seeking the 17th Congressional seat, held by St. Clair Democrat Tim Holden.

A Cressona man was jailed following an incident Friday night. Schuylkill Haven state police say that 32-year-old Paul Dembinsky was reportedly standing in the middle of Railroad Street in the borough around 10pm, shouting obscenities. He was warned several times to stop, but failed to do so. He was arrested for persistent disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and criminal mischief. In addition, Dembinsky is alleged to have damaged a fence on a neighbor's property. He was arraigned before District Judge Jim Ferrier and was lodged in the county prison, being unable to post bail.

Charges have been filed against a Port Clinton man for an accident in December, 2007. State police at Schuylkill Haven now say that Elmer Steinbrunn was over the legal limit when he was driving his car at a high rate of speed on Main Street in Landingville, December 12th. He lost control of the vehicle and struck Kathleen Kline's car head-on. Steinbrunn, his passengers Glenn Widel and Samuel Aregood were hurt, as well as Kline. Steinbrunn is charged with DUI, aggravated assault with a vehicle while under the influence and other charges.

A Tamaqua man required hospitalization for a head injury as the result of a crash on Interstate 81 last night. State police at Frackville indicate that 38-year-old Joseph DiBonifazio exited the interstate at Exit 138 when his car left the road and ran on to the shoulder, striking a parked tractor trailer in the rear end. DiBonifazio was taken to Hazleton General Hospital. Police believe he was intoxicated. Chemical blood tests were done, and charges of driving under the influence are pending the outcome of the tests. The crash happened around 11pm Sunday.

State police are investigating a burglary at a home in East Union Township over the weekend. Between Friday and Saturday, someone broke into Zella Brooks’ home on Walden Drive in the Eagle Rock development. Three TV sets, a computer, stereo equipment, jewelry, tools and other items were taken. The investigation continues. If anyone has any information, please call Frackville state police at 874-5300.

A Pine Grove woman and her two passengers escaped injury from a crash in Wayne Township Friday afternoon on the snow and ice covered road. 38-year-old Linda Bushold was driving north on Route 183 when she lost control on the slick road. Her van left the road, struck an embankment and flipped over onto its roof. Bushold, Mark Bushold and an 11 year old child were not hurt. However, Bushold will be cited for driving at an unsafe speed for conditions, according to Schuylkill Haven state police. The crash happened before 4pm.
Appeals court overturns woman's cruelty conviction in dog's death.

JIM THORPE, Pa. (AP) - A state appeals court has overturned a woman's conviction in the shooting death of her pet dog. Thirty-four-year-old Wendy Kneller of East Penn Township was convicted in October 2006 of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals. She was sentenced to six months to a year in jail. Prosecutors say she told her boyfriend to shoot their 6-year-old pit bull-chow mix named Bouta. But a three-judge state Superior Court panel says Pennsylvania law allows a dog owner to kill a pet with a firearm. The court says the state's law on killing animals is confusing. It is a misdemeanor to willfully and maliciously kill, mutilate or torture a dog or cat. But a subsection allows owners of a dog or cat to kill it, as long as the killing is not malicious. The judges say another part of the state code lets humane societies use a gun to destroy animals.

Penn State dance marathon raises more than $6.6 million
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Hundreds of Penn State students have raised more than $6.6 million for charity in the annual dance marathon. The 708 dancers went without sleeping or sitting for 46 hours beginning at 6 p.m. Friday in Bryce Jordan Center. They paused hourly to do a line dance loaded with pop culture references. Marathon spokesman Mike Petrasek says the center "just went nuts" when the total was posted at the end of the event Sunday. The amount is almost $1.4 million more than last year's total. Participants at the event known as "Thon" raise money for a charity that benefits pediatric cancer research and care at Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey.

Greyhound bus flips over on Pa. interstate; 41 injured
MOSCOW, Pa. (AP) - Two people are hospitalized after a Greyhound bus flipped over on Interstate 380 in northeastern Pennsylvania, injuring more than 40 people. State police say the bus was headed north when it went off the road and rolled over on the median around 4:15 a.m. in Covington Township. Authorities say 41 people were taken to nearby hospitals. Two are listed in stable condition at Community Medical Center in Scranton. State police say other passengers were treated and released. Emergency personnel took the remaining passengers to a fire hall. Investigators say bus was headed from New York City to Syracuse. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Deloitte Consulting gets $414M in Pa. contracts over 5 years
HARRISBURG, PA. (AP) - Deloitte Consulting, which has strong ties to Gov. Ed Rendell's administration, has gotten more than $400 million in state contracts over the last five years. State Department records show campaign contributions by Deloitte employees total $77,625 to Republicans and Democrats in state races over that period. That's according to a report in The Patriot-News of Harrisburg. Deloitte received more state money last year than the auditor general's office, the Department of Banking and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Art Stephens, Rendell's deputy chief of staff and a former Deloitte partner, says the contracts were obtained through competitive bids. Deloitte says it has lost more bids for state contracts than it has won.

Rendell: Race comment shows he would be liability as running mate
HARRISBURG (AP) - Gov. Ed Rendell says he would be a "terrible liability" as a presidential running mate. Rendell supports Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. But he reiterated yesterday that he has no interest in being a vice presidential candidate. He says controversial comments like ones he made earlier this month show he could hurt a presidential candidate's chances. He was criticized after saying that some rural whites in Pennsylvania probably would not vote for Barack Obama because he is black. Rendell also says he would not leave the governor's mansion early to join a presidential cabinet. His term ends in 2011.

Police: Boy, 5, shoots self with stolen gun as dad sleeps
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Police say a 5-year-old Allentown boy found a stolen gun in his father's bedroom and shot himself in the shoulder. Police say Derrick Victorian was sleeping Saturday morning when the gun went off. The 33-year-old Victorian has been charged with child endangerment, illegally possessing a weapon and other charges. Officials say he is barred from owning a gun because of a prior conviction. Police believe the boy, Tahlik, was playing with the gun when it went off. The child was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital.

$17K paid for hair thought to have come from George Washington
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - It might not even really be George Washington's hair - but it still sold for $17,000. Four strands reportedly clipped from the first president were sold at auction Friday night to a Richmond man who declined to give his name. Colorado resident Christa Allen says she was given the hair by her father, a Philadelphia attorney. It was pressed under glass in a locket and accompanied by a watch. Jamie Bates, owner of auctioner Thompson & Riley, had hoped it would bring at least $75,000. The hair is believed to have been snipped from Washington when he was briefly disinterred in 1837.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The stars are gearing up for Hollywood's biggest night, the Academy Awards show. Jon Stewart will host. "No Country for Old Men" is the heavy favorite with eight nominations, including Best Picture.

HAVANA (AP) - Fidel Castro's younger brother, Raul, is widely expected to formally take over as Cuba's president today. The 76-year-old Raul Castro has been running the country since July 2006 when Fidel Castro fell ill. He's 81 and announced his retirement last week after 49 years in power.

CINCINNATI (AP) - Hillary Clinton campaigns in New England today after angrily refuting claims by Democratic rival Barack Obama in mass mailings to voters in Ohio. Clinton says the fliers distort her positions on health care and NAFTA, giving aid and comfort to Republicans. Obama says the mailings are accurate.

BREA, Calif. (AP) - Police in Orange County, California, say five people are dead, including three children, in what appears to be a murder-suicide at a condo. Officers were called by a 14-year-old boy who had been wounded. They found the bodies of a woman, three children under ten, and a man with a shotgun beneath him.
LONDON (AP) - It's said to be the world's first commercial flight powered by biofuel. A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet took off from London today on a short flight to the Netherlands. Airline president Richard Branson says it's a step toward dramatically reducing aviation's carbon footprint.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Today's News-Saturday, February 23rd

CRESSONA - Officials from PennDot met with representatives from Cressona, Schuylkill Haven, North Manheim Township among other area Legislators to discuss the on going concerns with the Cressona Bridge yesterday. According to information provided to WPPA News from Penn Dot the following remedies were discussed for the plagued bridge that catches tractor trailers on a regular basis.

1. PennDOT will be designing an overhead warning device that trucks will "hit" before they get to the bridge, sometimes known as a "headache bar." This would not cause damage to the truck, but would surely be enough to get the operator's attention. Penn Dot is unsure at this time how long it will take to design and the construct.

2. Penn Dot will also be looking into revamp the signs to direct trucks where to go (over Wilder Street and Beckville Road). The current signs only have restriction verbiage, i.e. "No Trucks Over X Height."

3. Stricter truck restrictions that may limit the size (width, length) of trucks (i.e. 102" wide, or a general 40' in length restriction). Also may be put into place. However, municipal officials will need to agree on the size(s) of the restrictions.

4. Penn Dot would be willing to work with local officials to contact large employers and business parks to have them alert their drivers and their contracted delivery services to let them know what routes they may take (not the 183 Bridge).

5. Penn Dot is taking all comments into consideration and plan to have answers in two weeks with our proposed changes.

PORT CARBON - Port Carbon police picked up a Mahanoy City man on outstanding warrants Thursday morning. Nineteen year old John Liptok was arrested when he came to the Port Carbon police station to make a complaint regarding an unauthorized use of an automobile. A subsequent computer check revealed that he was wanted in both Schuylkill and Dauphin counties. Liptok was lodged in Schuylkill County Prison, awaiting further court action.

RINGTOWN - The Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement's district office in Allentown released reports of numerous businesses with violations, including one in Schuylkill County. According to the Republican and Herald, Happy Louies Inc., 371 Brandonville Road, Ringtown, operated the establishment without a valid health permit or license from March 1 until Sept. 6, 2007, according to the report. These charges will be brought before an administrative law judge, officials said. The judge has the authority to impose penalties ranging from $50 to $1,000 for minor offenses and up to $5,000 for more serious offenses. In addition, the judge can also impose a license suspension or revocation of the license based on the severity of the charge brought and can also mandate training for the license in an effort to educate them on the requirements of being a licensee.

TURKEY RUN - Shenandoah firefighters battled a blaze that destroyed an unoccupied building on Old Turkey Run Road about 2 a.m. Friday. According to the Republican and Herald, Borough fire Chief Richard P. Mensick said firefighters were called about 2 a.m. to an area now known as the 600 block of South Main Street for a structure fire. It was there that Mensick said fire was discovered in a structure where someone had stored wooden pallets. The chief said there was no building at the site, only the foundation of a structure with pallets inside on fire. Since there was no building or utilities, Mensick said the fire was "definitely suspicious." The chief said no one was injured and firefighters had the blaze under control in about 30 minutes but remained on the scene until about 4 a.m. to make sure the fire was out. Shenandoah EMS assisted at the scene, Mensick said.

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - Two Air Force pilots are safe after their B-2 stealth bomber crashed today shortly after taking from the U.S. Air Force Base on Guam. Service officials say the plane was on its last flight out of the island after a four-month deployment there. It's the first time a B-2 has crashed.

BAGHDAD (AP) - The U.S. military confirms the heavily protected Green Zone in Baghdad has been hit in a rocket or mortar attack. There is still no word on damage or injuries but nearly ten rounds apparently landed in the area. It's the fourth time this week that U.S. installations have been targeted by rocket or mortar fire.

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) - Serbia's top state prosecutor says authorities are hunting for those who took part in Thursday's attacks on the U.S. and other embassies in Belgrade. Serbian police say they've arrested nearly 200 rioters from the incident, which has been strongly condemned the U.S.

UNDATED (AP) - Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are splitting their time between Texas and Ohio this weekend in a scramble for support ahead of the two states' March 4th primaries. Last night, Clinton rallied in the Buckeye State, while Obama spoke to a crowd in Austin.

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Will Smith isn't up for an Academy Award this year, but he can claim he got one anyway. He's being honored by cadets at the U.S. Military Academy. He's getting West Point's first-ever, Cadet Choice Movie Award for his role in "I Am Legend." The Military Academy award goes to the best personification of West Point leadership qualities on the silver screen.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Today's News-Friday, February 22nd

We are beginning this late February weekend with another winter storm. Snow began falling across Schuylkill County after midnight. It is expected to continue throughout the day until a changeover to sleet and freezing rain this afternoon. That icy mix should continue until the evening, then back to snow. Storm totals, depending on the changeover, could be more than six inches in some places. We are under a Winter Storm Warning across Schuylkill County until early Saturday. Roads are snow covered and slippery. Those conditions warrant motorists to drive defensively. Leave extra time for travel. A Weather Watch is in effect.

A Rhode Island woman is dead following a truck crash in Hegins Township yesterday.
A box truck operated by Ralph Fontanez of Jamaica, New York was northbound on Route 125, and was unable to negotiate a right hand curve and went straight onto Grove Road. The vehicle struck an embankment and rolled onto its right side. Fontanez was taken from the scene. His passenger, 28-year-old Ivelisse Velazquez was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Sandra Poletti. The investigation continues.

2007 was a positive year for the city of Pottsville, according to Mayor John Reiley’s State of the City address last night. More than 80 people attended the annual event at the Sovereign Majestic Theatre, including a number of students from Jim Toomey's 7th Grade Ancient History class, and members of Girl Scout Troop 1324 who are working on their Bronze Award, the highest in Junior Girl Scouting. They opened the gathering with an original composition "This City is Your City"
GIRL SCOUTS
Reiley outlined the accomplishments of City Council and its employees for the year, and talked about the major items that were tackled during the year…including blight, public safety, and the war on drugs and crime in Pottsville:
REILEY
The Mayor also discussed the improvements made to the city's infrastructure, and the beautification of parks and the downtown area. Finances for 2007 ended in the black, and cost control is a priority for 2008. The ongoing effort to return the 1925 NFL Championship to Pottsville will continue with a debate being planned in the next two months between Breaker Boys author David Fleming and Joe Horrigan of the NFL Hall of Fame.

A Philadelphia man was picked up on an outstanding warrant for a robbery in Mahanoy City. The Republican and Herald reports that 20-year-old Donovan Curtis was apprehended during a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. He was brought back to the county for arraignment on charges relating to a June, 2007 robbery at an apartment on East Pine Street. Curtis and a second man, Carl Smith, beat up Ryan Arroyo and took cash and a cell phone, then fled to the Hazleton area. Their car was found by police a short time later. The pair apparently were temporarily living in the apartment. Curtis was lodged in the Schuylkill County Prison following arraignment. Smith is currently in Luzerne County Prison, but will be returned to Schuylkill County to face charges.

A former Girardville woman has pleaded guilty in the death of her daughter and the neglect of her son in 2005. 23-year-old Amanda Trindle, of Levittown, entered the plea before Judge D. Michael Stine of involuntary manslaughter and neglect. Her daughter, Jade Lynn Leonard died and her son Leland Leonard, became severely ill after being starved and dehydrated. The children's father, Donald Leonard the Third, pleaded guilty last year to child endangerment and related offenses in the case. He is serving a 5 to 10 year sentence in state prison. The Republican and Herald reports that Trindle wept as she appeared in court. She faces a possible 19 year prison sentence. That will be handed down in April. Trindle was returned to Schuylkill County Prison.

A Minersville woman is facing charges of drunk driving following an incident in Branch Township Wednesday afternoon. Schuylkill Haven state police report that a Jeep Wrangler was sitting idle on Silverton Road, near Route 209 on Wednesday afternoon. Behind the wheel was 47-year-old Terry Mooney. Troopers noticed an odor of alcohol on her breath. She was asked to perform a field sobriety test and left her vehicle. However, she quickly ran back to her Jeep and locked the doors. She refused a second request to leave her car, but finally agreed and was arrested.
Mooney was taken to Pottsville Hospital for a blood alcohol test.

A prisoner who walked away from a federal correctional institution here in the county last month may spend more time in prison. 48-year-old Louis Palumbo, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville walked away from the facility on January 17th. He was arraigned on escape charges earlier this week, and could do 5 years in prison for it. Palumbo, of Dunmore, was serving a 2 ½ year sentence for forgery when he left the camp. Authorities believe that Palumbo became unnerved when he was told he was being relocated to another prison, in this case, the Lackawanna County Prison, for charges relating to another crime. Palumbo is accused of selling a motor home that belonged to his father without permission.
He pleaded guilty to those charges last month, and is awaiting sentencing.

Pennsylvania American Water customers have their voluntary water conservation measures lifted. The company, which provides water service to 35 Pennsylvania counties, made the announcement earlier this week. The conservation guidelines affected approximately 23-hundred customers in the Frackville service area.

Disputes over who will appear on Pa.'s primary ballot go to court

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - About 60 legal challenges over whether candidates qualify to be listed on the primary election ballot have been filed. The deadline to do so was 5p.m. The results could shape races for state treasurer, the Legislature and Congress.
Two of the four Democrats competing for state treasurer face challenges. Dennis Morrison-Wesley and state Rep. Jennifer Mann are accused of lacking at least 100 signatures from five different counties. If they are ruled ineligible, it would narrow the field to Rob McCord and John Cordisco. McCord's campaign manager filed both challenges. There's also a challenge to the candidacy of William Russell, the lone Republican seeking to unseat longtime Congressman John Murtha. The incumbent Democrat doesn't have a primary opponent.

NY father accused of killing daughter, dumping her in boiler

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York City man accused of killing his 14-year-old daughter and stuffing her body into a burning boiler tried to hang himself while in police custody. Thirty-four-year-old Miguel Matias is being held at a mental hospital, awaiting arraignment on charges of murder and manslaughter. To neighbors, Matias was a doting father who was always taking his three children to restaurants and buying them presents. But the unassuming Bronx building supervisor also had a dark
side, including a history of violence and mental problems. His wife left him and moved to Allentown, Pa., but his kids continued to visit him.

Former employee of House Democratic caucus sues over firing

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - One of the seven Democratic aides forced out in November in response to an investigation into bonuses given out to legislative staffers is pursuing a wrongful termination lawsuit. Stephen Keefer of Fredericksburg, the caucus' former information technology director, says he was fired to draw attention and suspicion away from members of the House of Representatives. He's asking for past and future lost pay and benefits, as well as more than $27,000 in sick pay, vacation and personal time. The lawsuit was filed last week. Keefer's lawyer Harry Fenton and a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese didn't return phone messages seeking comment.

Obama, Clinton, to court Pa.'s 1 milliion independent voters

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Democratic candidates for president are eying Pennsylvania's nearly 1 million independent voters as a potentially rich source of new supporters. That's because the Keystone State could be crucial in deciding the presidential nomination. The April 22 primary is closed to voters not registered as
Democrats or Republicans. But residents who want to vote in either party's primary have barely a month - until March 24 - to join or switch parties. Campaign spokesmen for Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York say independents can expect phone calls, Internet appeals, mailings and door-to-door visits from campaign volunteers soliciting support.

Berks County couple's son dies in Iraq

DOUGLASSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Family members say the son of a Berks County couple has been killed in Iraq. Relatives said Thursday that 26-year-old Army 1st Lt. Nathan Raudenbush died Wednesday in southern Baghdad because a vehicle he was riding in hit a roadside bomb. The tank commander was the son of Brian and Mary Raudenbush of Earl Township. He is survived his wife, Casey, and their 20-month-old son, Jackson, of Port Wentworth, Ga.

Hershey will build distribution center in Utah

OGDEN, Utah (AP) - With a financial incentive from the state of Utah, The Hershey Co. says it will build a distribution center in Ogden. That's about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City. The center will create about 125 full-time jobs. Hershey is expected to invest $38 million. The Pennsylvania company is the nation's largest candymaker, know for Hershey's Kisses, Reese's, Kit Kat bars and Twizzlers licorice. Hershey had nearly $5 billion in revenue last year and employs about 13,000 people worldwide. Construction will start in spring. The incentive offered to Hershey is worth as much as $2.6 million.

Pa. teacher accused of assaulting students to stand trial

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A 41-year-old Luzerne County teacher accused of smacking her special education students with a ruler has been ordered to stand trial.
Angela Kairo-Scibek is charged with simple assault and endangering the welfare of children. The Wyoming Valley West School District has suspended her. At a preliminary hearing on Thursday, witnesses testified that some of the abuse was severe enough to leave bruises. One girl testified that Kairo-Scibek put a pillow over her face, told her not to scream and hit her with a ruler. Defense lawyer Frank Nocito says there are "numerous inconsistencies" in the prosecution's account of events. For example, he noted that police didn't find a pillow or a ruler when they searched his client's classroom.

Microsoft's Gates sees further expansion of software in sciences

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Bill Gates says the computer keyboard might not be used much in the future. The Microsoft Corp. chairman says people will increasingly interact with computers through such means as speech and touch screens rather than a keyboard. Gates was speaking Thursday to about 1,200 students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Gates says software is proliferating into various branches of science, including biology and astronomy. He says Microsoft is trying to establish ties not only with university computer science departments but also with researchers in other scientific areas to understand where new inventions are needed. Gates plans to retire as Microsoft's chief software architect in
July and focus on philanthropy.

2 die in suburban Philadelphia murder-suicide

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Montgomery County authorities say autopsies confirm that a murder-suicide caused the deaths of two people in a Hatfield Township home. Authorities say 35-year-old Paula Beres and 48-year-old Kevin Braun each died of a gunshot wound to the head. Braun's wound was self-inflicted. The bodies were found Tuesday morning by a co-worker of Beres' who went to the house after getting concerned when Beres didn't show up for work. First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele says it appears that Beres was afraid of Braun. He says she told a co-worker that she feared for her safety because Braun was coming to visit for the weekend. But he says no restraining orders had been found to document a history of domestic violence.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Washington calls yesterday's mob attack on the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade "intolerable." Secretary of State Rice says Serb protection of the American mission was lacking, allowing a building to be set on fire. She says Serbia must do whatever it takes to prevent more violent protests over U.S. recognition of Kosovo's declaration of independence.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered a six-month extension of the cease-fire he proclaimed for his Iraq militia last summer. The surprise action could give Iraq more time to recover from sectarian violence. Al-Sadr's aides say the decision is designed to stop Shiite-against-Shiite violence.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Three people are dead after a bomb hidden under a horse-drawn cart exploded in downtown Baghdad today. Two police officers were killed north of the capital when a booby-trapped car exploded. At least 10 people were wounded in the two blasts.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) - Military prosecutors say unaired footage of a CBS "60 Minutes" interview given by a Marine squad leader contains admissions of crimes in an attack that killed 24 Iraqi civilians. The network is asking a military judge to throw out a subpoena seeking the footage of Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich. CBS says it's not an investigative arm of the government.

NEW YORK (AP) - People magazine says Jennifer Lopez is a mommy-times-two. It says she gave birth to twins this morning at an undisclosed location on New York's Long Island. The boy and girl are J-Lo's first children, but they are the third and fourth for hubby Marc Anthony.

WEATHER WATCH-FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22ND 5pm

UPDATED AT 5pm

BUSINESSES:

Boscov's and Fairlane Village Mall-closed at 5pm. Value City will remain open.
Good Will Bookstore-Bible School preview cancelled Saturday
Schuylkill Mall closed at 5pm-Sears, KMart and Movies open

SPORTS:
NEW SCHEDULE FOR DISTRICT 11 CHAMPIONSHIPS:
AA Boys
Northern Lehigh vs North Schuylkill-Martz Hall-Sat. 7:00pm- T102
A Boys
Williams Valley vs Pius X-Martz Hall-Sat. 2:30pm- T102
AAA Girls
Allentown Central Catholic vs Blue Mountain-William Allen HS- Sat. 2:30pm- WPPA
AA Girls
Pine Grove vs North Schuylkill-Martz Hall-Sat. 5:30pm- T102
A Girls
Marian vs Nativity-Martz Hall-Sat. 4pm- WPPA

Pottsville Sports Physicals-ppd from Saturday till Thursday, 2/28

TRANSPORTATION:

OTHER:

CHURCHES:

Stations of the Cross at St. Ambrose-cancelled
Stations of the Cross at Mary Queen of Peace-cancelled
St John's Ukranian, Maizeville-Lenten services cancelled

MISCELLANEOUS:

St. John’s Church, Pottsville-Lenten Supper-cancelled
Novelty games at Mechanicsville Hut-cancelled
Novelty games at St Joseph's Ashland-cancelled

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's News-Thursday, February 21st

The North Manheim Township Supervisors will get their chance to tour the county-owned 1912 Building in Schuylkill Haven. The tour of the building will take place on February 26th , after which the Township will decide if it wants to make and offer for the building and its 38-point-one acres of land. Township Supervisor Barbara Miller and Township Solicitor Thomas Lisella attended Wednesday’s County Commissioners work session and said they wanted to make an offer but needed to see the building first. Penn State Schuylkill's Advisory board has made an offer of $450-Thousand Dollars. Miller said talk of the Township wanting the property for nothing is not true. She said the township has enough money to match Penn State's offer. A small amount of asbestos discovered in the building last year has since been removed. Until it was removed, no one was allowed inside. Miller said because of the asbestos problem they had been unable to take a recent tour and decide if they want to make a proposal. County Solicitor Eric Mika said county and township representatives met previously about the building, but at least seven years passed, and the township has still not submitted a proposal. Township Solicitor Lisella said he would like to have the parties, along with Penn State sit down to discuss the matter. He said sub-dividing the land might be part of the discussion.

Arson caused a fire at Lake Wynonah Lodge in South Manheim Township Wednesday morning. That's the determination from State Police Fire Marshal John Burns, who investigated the early morning blaze at the recreation center located near the center of the development. Firefighters from Summit Station, Friedensburg and Schuylkill Haven were called to the scene, where the fire started on the outside of the building. The interior incurred minor smoke damage. Burns said that the fire was deliberately set. About $5-thousand-dollars in damage resulted from the 3:30am fire.

Sheriff's across Pennsylvania are looking to have their arrest powers restored.
Schuylkill County Sheriff Harold Rowan, in a press release, are asking for the support of citizens, law enforcement and representation in Harrisburg to have legislation move forward to make that happen. Republican State Representative Craig Daily of Northampton County has introduced a bill to authorize over 23-hundred deputy sheriffs to participate in law enforcement and emergency activities as needed. Rowan says that sheriffs deputies are not looking to replace law enforcement, but rather to support them in situations deemed necessary. Currently, if a deputy sheriff witnesses a felony crime in progress, they may make an arrest. A state Supreme Court decision in 2007 effectively eliminated sheriffs' powers of arrest in certain situations, according to Rowan.

Even PennDOT trucks are not immune to theft. Sometime over the weekend, an unknown thief took about 50 gallons of diesel fuel from a truck parked at the PennDOT stockpile site in Brandonville, East Union Township. Frackville state police are investigating.

No one was injured in a two vehicle crash in West Brunswick Township on Tuesday evening. Victor Suciu of Rochester, Michigan was stopped at the light at the intersection of Routes 895 and 61. Kathleen Gallo of Orwigsburg was waiting at the light on Rolling Mill Road and Route 61. When the light changed to green, Gallo went straight ahead and Suciu attempted to turn onto 61 and the cars collided.
Gallo's car had to be towed from the scene. The crash happened around 6pm Tuesday.

Two Kulpmont women are charged with harassment following an incident in the borough Wednesday afternoon. State police at Stonington say that 21-year-old Heather Bohn and 43-year-old Chevelle Ann Walker got into an argument at 935 Scott Street. Bohn is alleged to have slapped, pinched and scratched Walker. Walker reportedly grabbed and punched Bohn. Both had minor injuries. Harrassment citations wee issued against both women at the scene.

Police in Schuylkill County are looking for a stolen tractor trailer truck. The truck was taken sometime Sunday or early Monday from Madonna Enterprises located along Route 183 in Wayne Township. Police say the rig was loaded with 40-thousand pounds of stainless steel.
(WGRC)

A Tower City man has been charged with stealing over $16-hundred dollars from his employer in Schuylkill County. Police say 22-year-old James Schoffstall stole the cash from a safe while he was employed at the Hampton Inn along Route 443 in Pine Grove Township. The thefts happened between July and August.
(WGRC)

A group of fellow students, teachers and administrators from the North Schuylkill School District lent a helping hand to a family who lost two children and all their belongings in an Ashland fire. The Klinger family, whose children Victor and Audrey died in a January 29th fire, were on hand yesterday to accept over $27-hundred-dollars in Wal Mart gift cards from the school family. The monies were raised through a dress down day, according to the Republican and Herald. Victor Klinger was a kindergarten student at the North Schuylkill Elementary School.

The County is expected to approve an appraisal agreement on the 1912 building and land during next week's commissioners meeting. At Wednesday's work session, county engineer Lisa Mahall (muh-hall) said appraisal of the building and 38-point-eight acres of land will cost the county $4,500. The appraisal is part of the procedure the county must adhere too when considering disposing of property. The Penn State Schuylkill Campus Advisory board had made an offer of $450-thousand-dollars for the property and North Manheim Township is also interested in it. In other business, Scott Krater, Director of the 9-1-1 center asked for permission to buy a new logging recorder for the Office of Public Safety. Krater said the 88 channel audiolog Max Pro Recording system cost just over $157-Thousand Dollars and will be purchased through a state contract. He said the money will come from the wireless Act 56 funds. Approval was sought to reappoint six people to the County Children and Youth services advisory committee for three-year terms. They are; Edward Butler of Minersville, Sharon Chiao of Mahanoy City, Patricia Domalakes of Frackville, Jennifer Gensemer of Orwigsburg, Gayle Rehnert of Pottsville and Beverly Weikel also of Pottsville. Approval was also sought to appoint Mary Kate Davis of Mahanoy City as a student representative to the same advisory committee for a term of two years. Two appointments were also sought for vacancies on the Schuylkill County Industrial Development Authority created by the passing of two board members. Joseph Branko Sr. of McAdoo would fill the unexpired term of James Babcock until December 31, 2010 and Martin Brophy of Shenandoah would fill the unexpired term of John Kellner until December 31, 2008.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania businessman charged with perjury for allegedly lying to state regulators to win a casino license is asking a judge to throw out the charges. Lawyers for Louis DeNaples made the filings Wednesday in Dauphin County Court. Among other things, DeNaples' lawyers say the jury did not understand the legal requirements for a perjury charge and that DeNaples' testimony was not knowingly false. DeNaples opened Mount Airy Casino Resort in October. State police charged him Jan. 30 with four counts of perjury. They say he lied to state gambling investigators about the extent of his relationships with two reputed mobsters and two other men at the center of a federal corruption investigation in Philadelphia.

SHILLINGTON, Pa. (AP) - A Berks County school district canceled afternoon and evening activities at two schools yesterday due to an unspecified threat. The Governor Mifflin School District shut down its middle school and high school early due to the threat. This is the same district that got a threat to its high school three weeks ago. School opened as scheduled the following day, but students were scanned upon entering the building. Also, students weren't allowed to bring backpacks, oversized purses or musical instrument cases into the school.

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - The executive director of the Scranton Housing Authority is facing federal charges that he obstructed a federal investigation and retaliated against employees who cooperated with auditors. A grand jury in Harrisburg indicted 60-year-old David Baker on Wednesday. The indictment charges that Baker illegally misapplied federal money intended to fund low-income housing. Auditors discovered the problem and told Baker to stop, but the indictment says Baker continued to misapply the funds and then lied to auditors about it. Prosecutors say Baker then retaliated against employees who cooperated with federal investigators by taking away their overtime. He's also accused of underpaying day laborers and placing friends and family into public housing. Baker is charged with obstruction, wire fraud, theft of federal funds and other offenses.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Republican candidate has dropped out of the race for Pennsylvania auditor general. The decision by 52-year-old Chris Walsh leaves only one candidate for the GOP nomination - Lancaster County businessman Chet Beiler. Walsh, an accountant from York and a political newcomer, said he decided to quit the race after Beiler pointed out problems with some of the signatures on his nomination petitions. Walsh had gathered only 28 signatures more than the required 1,000 signatures, and he said he concluded that it would likely be futile to fight a challenge if one were filed. The GOP state committee had already endorsed Beiler when Walsh filed his papers less than a week ago. The incumbent auditor general, Jack Wagner, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination for re-election.

MARSHALLS CREEK, Pa. (AP) - A man accused of starting a fire that killed the elderly Monroe County man he was caring for says it was an accident. But police say 26-year-old James Wyatt Miller of Upper Mount Bethel Township confessed to starting the Feb. 10 fire. Police say Miller ignited a towel and threw it in a closet. Police say Miller woke up 81-year-old Jack Bates after starting the fire and helped him escape. But Bates returned to the burning house to retrieve personal items. He died days later in a hospital. Miller was arraigned on a homicide charge Wednesday. He told his parents before the judge entered the court that the fire was an accident and he needed a lawyer.

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (AP) - The owner of a Bloomsburg sporting goods store is accused of being a bookmaker, laundering gambling money and holding IOUs for up to $1 million from bettors. D&R Sports Center was closed for part of the day Wednesday while state and federal authorities searched the store. Investigators carried out a computer and boxes of documents, and seized gambling ledgers and papers from a trash bin. The owner, 46-year-old Theodore Komoroski, of Bloomsburg, is charged with bookmaking and dealing with money from unlawful activities. A preliminary hearing is scheduled. Also accused of taking bets is 39-year-old Mark Mullery. Komoroski's brother, 45-year-old Mark Komoroski, was arrested in a raid last month on D&R Sports Center's Nanticoke store. He is accused of illegally selling guns and accessories. He denies the charges and is free on bail.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A representative of Israel tells Penn State students and officials the United States should pass legislation to stop Iran from enriching uranium. Philadelphia-based Israeli consul general Uriel Palti visited the campus in State College on Wednesday. In addition to legislation in America, Palti says he hopes the free world will take action through the United Nations Security Council. He also urges action by the International Atomic Energy Commission and through international sanctions. Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says Palti visited with university President Graham Spanier. She says the two discussed campus events, U.S.-Israeli relations, and Penn State's overseas programs. This is Palti's second visit to Penn State's main campus.

MOSCOW, Pa. (AP) - Police say a Lackawanna County man suspected of drunken driving was released in custody of his sister, who took his keys. But four hours later police got another call. This time it was to a Covington Township intersection where authorities say the man crashed his car into a state Department of Transportation end loader. State police say 56-year-old Daniel Corbett, of Spring Brook Township, was taken to Community Medical Center both times – about 2 a.m. Wednesday and again about 6 a.m. Corbett had his blood alcohol tested, but a state police news release does not say what, if any, charges he is likely to face. State police say following the second accident, Corbett was taken to Community Medical Center with moderate injuries. A hospital spokeswoman told The Times-Tribune in Scranton she had no further information about him.

Pentagon (AP) - The Pentagon says a U.S. missile strike smashed a disabled spy satellite, and debris from it is being tracked over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. An official says he can't rule out that hazardous material could fall to Earth, but nothing larger than a football has been seen so far.

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - John McCain is planning a news conference this morning to discuss published reports about a relationship with a lobbyist. The reports say McCain's staff urged him to stay away from Vicki Iseman during the 2000 presidential campaign. Aides were worried because she had business before a Senate committee McCain served on.

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - President Bush says the U.S. is committed to helping Liberia bring "hope and peace" to its people. Liberia was founded by freed American slaves and is trying to become a viable democracy after 14 years of civil war. Bush is there as he wraps up his six-day Africa trip.

OSLO, Norway (AP) - There are no reports of casualties or damage from what is being called the strongest earthquake ever recorded on Norwegian territory. The magnitude 6.2 quake was centered off some Arctic islands. A seismic expert says it could have been catastrophic if it had hit a densely populated area.

BEIJING (AP) - A Chinese Olympic official is disappointed that the U.S. Olympic Committee will take its own food to the games in Beijing. The U.S. is worried about reports of tainted products and heavy use of drugs and insecticides in Chinese food.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today's News-Wednesday, February 20th

Nearly 200 school districts in Pennsylvania may have received beef that has been recalled by the packaging company. Several are from our area. According to the PA Department of Agriculture website, schools received some of the 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef products from Hallmark/Westland Meat Packaging of Chino, California. The US Department of Agriculture has deemed the recall a "Class Two" recall, meaning it only has a remote probability of causing adverse health consequences. Schools received the beef products through the National School Lunch program, and all have been notified about the recall. Officials have directed districts to remove any inventories and destroy them as a precaution. The state identified Blue Mountain, Mahanoy Area, Schuylkill Haven, Shenandoah Valley, Tri Valley and Williams Valley as having received the meat products from Hallmark.

Residents of East Brunswick Township took the state's Attorney General to task last night about using sewage sludge to fertilize farms. Attorney General Tom Corbett was in Pottsville last night for a campaign fundraiser, and was confronted by about 50 township residents about the issue, according to the Republican and Herald. The use of biosolids to fertilize farmland has been a hot button issue for some time. East Brunswick’s supervisors passed a law in 2006 that challenges the practice, citing environmental and health concerns for their residents. However, a state law passed in 2005 limited local governments ability to control the use of sludge, among other practices. East Brunswick Township and the state are embroiled in a lawsuit about the issue. Corbett’s office filed suit against the township after negotiations broke down, according to officials from the Governor's office. That case will be heard in Commonwealth Court later this spring. Residents who protested against Corbett last night blame him for taking their rights away. Corbett reportedly told the gathering that he was only doing his job.

Schuylkill Haven is in the market for a new borough administrator. Jim New, who has served the borough for nearly two years, announced his resignation at Tuesday night's meeting. According to the Republican and Herald, he is moving to New Mexico to be closer to family and to a warmer and drier climate. The search for a new administrator is already under way.

A Catawissa man is suspected of driving under the influence following a crash early Tuesday in Mahanoy Township. 45-year-old Dale Houser was driving west on State Route 54 at the intersection of Patriotic Hill Road. He lost control while attempting a right hand turn. The car struck an embankment. While state police were talking with Houser, they smelled alcohol on his breath. He was taken to Pottsville Hospital for a blood alcohol test. Charges may be filed pending the outcome of those tests. A passenger in Houser's vehicle, Marie Wahalec of Shenandoah, was not hurt. The crash happened after midnight Tuesday morning.

A Pine Grove man had to be removed from his vehicle as the result of a crash in Pine Grove Township early Tuesday. 60-year-old James Snyder was southbound on Bethel Road, traveling uphill trying to negotiate a left hand curve. His car hit a patch of ice and he lost control. Snyder's truck hit a tree. He was trapped inside. He was taken to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for treatment. State police believe that Snyder was traveling at a high rate of speed when the crash happened.
The incident happened around 5:30am Tuesday.

An Emmaus woman escaped injury in a Sunday afternoon crash in Port Clinton.
30-year-old Rebekah Soulouff was northbound on Route 61, in an area where traffic merges into a single lane. She swerved to avoid a vehicle in front of her that was slowed for traffic. Soulouff lost control and hit the gas pedal by mistake and struck the concrete bridge retaining wall, then crossed the highway. Soulouff wasn’t hurt. The crash happened at 12:45pm Sunday.

Pa. boy sent to mental health facility after school stabbings
READING, Pa. (AP) - A 13-year-old boy who says he stabbed four other students because he was bullied at a Reading school is being placed in a mental-health program. Berks County Juvenile Judge Scott Lash found the boy delinquent on four counts of aggravated assault and possessing a weapon on school property. He's ordered him placed in a residential program at Devereux Kanner center in West Chester. Police say the Antietam Middle-Senior High eighth-grader burst into an English classroom on Jan. 9, wounded one girl in the back, and injured three others before students took the knife away. The principal and some teachers subdued the boy until police arrived.

Pa. man charged with stalking trooper who investigated son
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - A Florida man has been jailed on charges that he stalked a Pennsylvania state trooper who investigated sexual misconduct allegations against his son. A judge has ordered 49-year-old Gregory Walker, of Kissimmee, Fla., held in the Centre County Prison in lieu of $500,000 bail. He was arraigned Tuesday on charges including stalking, harassment, retaliation and false reports. Police say Trooper Shawn Inlow helped investigate allegations against Walker's son, Benjamin Walker, who began serving a sentence in August. Authorities say Inlow was followed, photographed, and investigated by private investigators. Walker is accused of making phone calls, sending harassing e-mails, driving around Inlow's house and harassing him in court and in public places. Police say he has made rape accusations against Inlow that were investigated and found untrue.

Police say marijuana amid the mushrooms at Berks County farm
READING, Pa. (AP) - Federal agents say they found more than mushrooms being stored and shipped out of a Berks County farm. Authorities say the seizure of 1,500 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $3.4 million is one of the largest drug seizures ever in the county. A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday says the January raid at a Maiden Creek Township farm has been kept under wraps while an investigation continued. Investigators say two men arrested in the raid have been arraigned on charges of conspiracy and possessing and intending to distribute marijuana. A federal warrant has been issued for a third man in charge of transporting the marijuana. Officials say the farm is not being identified because the owner was not involved in the drug operation.

Pa. college owners settle consumer-protection allegations
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The parent companies of a for-profit college near Allentown that plans to close soon have settled allegations that the college violated consumer protection laws. The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office had alleged that Lehigh Valley College misrepresented information about student loans, job placement and the ability to transfer credits elsewhere. The college says it didn't break any laws and it cooperated with the investigation. The state and the college's owners signed an agreement in which the owners agree to pay $200,000 to settle the allegations. The agreement was filed in court Tuesday. Earlier, the college had announced it planned to close by the end of 2009. It was formerly known as the Allentown Business
School.

Families of NJ victims of serial killer nurse settle lawsuit
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The families of New Jersey patients murdered by serial killer nurse Charles Cullen have reached a settlement with the hospitals where Cullen worked. That's the word tonight from Michael Barrett, an attorney representing two of the families. Barrett says the confidential settlement with five hospitals was
reached Friday after a court-ordered mediation that lasted four days from late January into early February. The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey Superior Court more than four years ago. Cullen told investigators he might have killed as many as 40 patients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He pleaded guilty to killing 29 people and attempting to kill six others. He's now serving life in New Jersey State Prison.

Abu-Jamal loses bid for hearing into claims of witness perjury
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected a request from Mumia Abu-Jamal. He says witnesses in his trial for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer lied on the stand. The court says he waited too long to request a hearing for that claim. Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. In 2001, a federal judge overturned Abu-Jamal's death sentence but upheld his conviction. Both sides are appealing that ruling. Prosecutors are seeking to have the death penalty reinstated and Abu-Jamal's lawyers are trying to overturn the conviction. His case has attracted international notoriety.

NYC officials work to identify burned body dumped in boiler
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York City medical examiner is still working to identify the remains of a burned body found stuffed in a boiler. Police believe the remains are from a 14-year-old Allentown, Pa., girl killed by her father. Police say 34-year-old Miguel Matias called 911 on Saturday morning, claiming he had strangled 14-year-old Ana Matias the night before. Police say he told officers he was upset with her for text-messaging a boy. When officers searched his apartment building, where he served as superintendent, they discovered the body in the boiler believed to be his daughter. Police say Ana had been visiting Matias but lived in Allentown, Pa., with her mother and two sisters. The parents were separated.

Pa. legislative primary challenges down by half from '06 level
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - About half as many incumbent Pennsylvania lawmakers are facing opponents in the April primary as did two years ago. That's a sign that the 2005 pay raise's potency in state politics may be on the wane. Sixty-one incumbents found themselves locked in primary battles in May 2006. When 17 of them lost, it rattled the political establishment. This time around, only 32 legislative elections feature a primary battle, and that's an unofficial number that could be
reduced by candidate dropouts or court fights over nominating petitions. Opposite-party challenges have been launched against 97 incumbents for the fall campaign. That includes leaders of both parties in the House, and the two highest-ranking Senate Republicans. Twenty-four incumbents are retiring this year, compared to 31
who left voluntarily in 2006.

Gaming board, police spar over secrecy of DeNaples probe
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A noisy debate over how a man now charged with perjury received a casino license has gone up a notch. Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board chairwoman Mary Colins says police had no legal reason to stay silent about their perjury investigation into Louis DeNaples. She says her agency would have put off a vote on DeNaples' license application if officials there had known about the
investigation. But state police, who charged DeNaples with lying to the gaming
board to win a license, say the law prohibits such a disclosure. DeNaples' lawyers say he is innocent of the perjury charges filed by state police, and they are asking the state Supreme Court to intervene. DeNaples opened Mount Airy Casino Resort in October.

WASHINGTON (AP) - In taking his ninth and tenth straight presidential nominating victories, exit polls show Democrat Barack Obama cutting into what's been viewed as Hillary Rodham Clinton's usual base. That includes a majority of white and working-class people and women. John McCain won two more Republican contests yesterday.

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) - President Bush says the people of Pakistan have spoken in their election yesterday that handed a major defeat to President Pervez Musharraf's party. Bush says the vote was fair and the opposition parties' win is a "victory in the war on terror."

PENTAGON (AP) - The Navy could use a heat-seeking missile as early as tonight in an effort to destroy a dead spy satellite spiraling back to Earth with dangerous fuel aboard. The Navy had to scramble to reprogram its system, which is really designed to knock down enemy ballistic missiles.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Six people are in custody and about 150 dogs have been confiscated by sheriff's deputies who busted an alleged breeding operation for fighting dogs in Arizona. The raid capped a yearlong investigation. One of those arrested is a man described as one of the top breeders of fighting dogs in the
country.

LONDON (AP) - A former top British intelligence official says the MI6 agency did not assassinate Princess Diana as alleged by the father of Diana's boyfriend. Sir Richard Dearlove, who was the director of special operations at the time of the Paris car crash, also says rogue agents couldn't have pulled it off.