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"
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:
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.


At 11:32 AM, Blogger ceecee said...

I was very hurt to come to the understanding that my friend Ivelisse Velasquez lost her life to soon. I think the state need to pay attention to the signs on route 125 which can be changed truck drivers should not even be able to take that road due to dangers. There should be signs on the main road WARNING: TRUCK DRIVERS NOT TO TAKE ROUTE 125 DANGERS if they had made changes in the past when the first family lost there love one we wouldn't have had to loss such a LOVELY DIVA IVY. The State should give her belovett daughter a schlorship in her mothers LOVING MEMORY


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