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.

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.

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.


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