Monday, March 31, 2008

Today's News-Monday, March 31st

Girardville became the largest community in Schuylkill County on Saturday for the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. The event normally draws more than 10-thousand-people, but the visit of former President Bill Clinton more than doubled that total. Clinton was a guest of Congressman Tim Holden, and is campaigning across the state for his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. They came from all over the state to catch a glimpse of Bill Clinton, like Laura Nork of Danville:
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Clinton had breakfast at a home in Girardville, sampling pierogies for the first time. He walked in the parade, accompanied by county Democratic party dignitaries, then stopped at St. Joseph's Church to make remarks. One of the key issues Clinton discussed was the need to increase the use of cleaner burning coal:
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After marching in most of the parade, Clinton and his entourage left for an appearance in Williamsport at Lycoming College. Whatever your political persuasion, Saturday was a historic day for Girardville and the entire county.
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That's Dave Holley, president of the Schuylkill Chapter, National Football Foundation, announcing the winner of the 2007-2008 Scholar Athlete at the 47th honors banquet last night. Travers Schmidt is a senior from Tamaqua High School, where he was a four-year starter at quarterback, linebacker and fullback. Schmidt received several all-star honors this year. He also lettered in football and swimming. In the classroom, Travers Schmidt ranked second in his class, and has committed to play football at Cornell University. Schmidt said that it takes hard work to receive such an honor:
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Fourteen young men were nominated from schools all across the county for the award.

A Pottsville teenager escaped injury in a crash in Blythe Township Saturday night. State police say that a 17-year-old male was traveling north on Route 209 and attempted to make a right turn onto Trolley Road. He reportedly turned too soon and crashed his Jeep into an embankment. He will be cited by state police for a traffic violation. The crash happened before 11pm Saturday.

A Pottsville teenaged girl was injured in a crash in North Manheim Township Saturday morning. Schuylkill Haven state police say the 17-year-old was traveling east on Greenview Road and attempted to cross Route 61. Her car hit a Volkswagen Jetta operated by 36-year-old Dawn Shellhamer of Orwigsburg, which was southbound on 61. The teen's car came to rest on the grass shoulder. The girl was taken to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for treatment. A 15-year-old female passenger was not injured, nor was Shellhamer. The crash happened around 10am Saturday morning.

The Great Pottsville Cruise unveiled this year's prize Corvette yesterday. The annual event was held at Pioneer Pole Buildings, Route 183, the car's sponsor. This year's prize vehicle is a 1995 admiral blue Corvette, one of only 1-thousand-six built. The Great Pottsville Cruise will be held on Sunday, August 10th. In a check presentation prior to the car's unveiling, the Cruise presented a $500-check to the Hillside SPCA, who are going through some tough times right now.

Harrassment charges are pending against a Frackville man after an incident in Ringtown Saturday night. 29-year-old Christopher Lawson came to the home of Lori Grohol at 2613 Melanie Manor and damaged the front door of the home with an unknown object. Lawson reportedly shouted obscenities at her. State police at Frackville are expected to charge Lawson with criminal mischief and harassment. The incident happened around 10pm Saturday.

Clinton, Obama in central and eastern Pennsylvania on Monday

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Both Democratic presidential candidates will be campaigning in central and eastern Pennsylvania today. Sen. Barack Obama begins the day with a town hall meeting at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster. He'll then travel to Muhlenberg College in Allentown for a rally. Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will host a roundtable discussion at the Capitol Diner in Harrisburg. She'll then head to Bucks County for a rally in Fairless Hills.

Obama draws thousands to rally on Penn State lawn

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Barack Obama told about 20,000 people at Penn State University yesterday that he can win the Democratic presidential nomination even if rival Hillary Rodham Clinton stays in the race. The Illinois senator also told the crowd in State College that the hard-fought, drawn-out race is not hurting the party's chances to win in November. Pennsylvania's primary on April 22 is the next contest in the Obama-Clinton fight for the nomination. The state, which will allocate 158 delegates, is the biggest single delegate prize remaining in the Democratic primaries. Before the rally, Obama visited a university-run dairy farm and fed a bottle to a slurping month-old calf. Later in Harrisburg, he delivered the same call for party unity and also took aim at Republican nominee-to-be John McCain. Obama says the Arizona senator undercut his own credibility by supporting the lengthening of Bush administration tax cuts he previously opposed.

Police await autopsies for 4 found dead in Pa. home

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - The Delaware County Medical Examiner's office says autopsies will be completed today on the bodies of four people found dead in an apartment in Chester. Officials have not yet released the names of the victims -- a man, two women and a child. Chester Police Chief Floyd Lewis says police responded to the apartment at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday after getting a call from a relative. Once inside, police found the bodies of the adults, all of whom appeared to be in their 20s, and a toddler. Lewis says there was no sign of trauma on the victims, who were found in the living room and the bedroom. But authorities have classified the deaths as suspicious.

Trout season opens in southeastern Pa.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Get out those rods and reels - trout season is open in 18 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. For the second straight year, trout season opened early in the region to provide the same amount of quality fishing time that the rest of the state enjoys. Waters tend to warm earlier in southeastern Pennsylvania, and trout are coldwater fish. The season, which opened Saturday, runs until Labor Day. Trout season will start April 12 in the rest of the state. About 2 million anglers fish in Pennsylvania, and about 1 million licenses are sold each year. Fishing has a more than $1.5 billion impact on the state's economy.

McCune Foundation loses $130 million in subprime mortgage crisis

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The McCune Foundation has lost $130 million in assets due to a drop in the value of National City's stock, highlighting how the subprime mortgage crisis has affected charitable organizations. The foundation is one of the largest in western Pennsylvania. Its losses have forced it to halt grant-giving until at least June. James Edwards, chairman of the foundation's distribution committee, says about $27.5 million will still be awarded this year. That's down $1.4 million from 2007. National City Corporation has lost almost two-thirds of its value in the subprime mortgage crisis. The McCune Foundation was established in 1979 by the will of Charles L. McCune, a banker and oilman.

State College mayor holds commitment ceremony for 4 gay couples

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - State College Mayor Bill Welch has presided over a commitment ceremony for four gay couples. The state does not legally recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions. But Welch led a ceremony Saturday at Penn State University for two gay and two lesbian couples. More than 500 people cheered for the couples after the event, which looked very much like a wedding. The couples exchanged vows and rings, and sealed their pledges with a kiss. A Penn State student group called Orthodox Christian Fellowship protested outside by singing softly and holding plaques depicting Jesus. The Pennsylvania Family Values Coalition, which is a conservative Christian group, held a rally elsewhere on campus to support traditional marriage.

Open treasurer's seat ignites 4-Democrat contest in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Four people are running for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer. But the race has been overshadowed by the high-profile presidential battle. Candidate John Cordisco, a Bucks County lawyer and former legislator, says it's been hard to get attention. But another hopeful, retired venture capitalist Rob McCord of Montgomery County, says high turnout for a presidential primary could boost votes in the treasurer's race. Candidate Jennifer Mann, a state representative from Lehigh County, says Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's candidacy could mean a large turnout by women. Mann says that could favor her, since the state treasurer has been a woman for 18 of the past 20 years. The fourth candidate is Dennis Morrison-Wesley of Harrisburg, an investment adviser who has recently worked as a salesman for cable company Comcast Corp. He could not be reached.

Crime in trendy Pittsburgh neighborhood brings police crackdown

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh will install surveillance cameras and increase police activity in a trendy area of the city after a wave of shootings made residents nervous. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Police Chief Nate Harper met Friday with about 50 residents, many of whom moved to the
Mexican War Streets area because they believe in the city's revitalization plan. But a string of crimes, including the shooting of a postal worker last week, made some residents wary. Ravenstahl says the neighborhood is key to the city's growth. As part of the effort to crack down on crime, the city will install surveillance cameras, increase police patrols and look for people with outstanding warrants.

Vandals paint swastikas on northeastern Pa. synagogue

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - Police in Wilkes-Barre are investigating after vandals spray-painted swastikas on a synagogue. Congregation members discovered the Nazi symbols and other graffiti when they showed up for services at Congregation Ohav Zedek on Saturday. Vandals marked one door with a swastika and a German slur. Another door had a swastika and a Star of David. Murray Ufberg is a member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Wilkes-Barre. He says the hurtful vandalism brings back terrible memories for his city. Police say they are searching for suspects and looking for any previous, similar vandalism.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Today's News-Saturday, March 29th

Even though the calendar says that it's the end of March, there will be a wearing of the green in Girardville today for the Annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. The huge parade, complete with marching units, bands and many others will step off at noontime. The parade is sponsored by the Jack Kehoe Division, Ancient Order of Hibernians. Organizers usually keep the parade till after St. Patrick’s Day in order to avoid conflict with other parades, and this year, Holy Week.
The parade is also historic because of the attendance of former President of the United States Bill Clinton, who is campaigning on behalf of his wife Hillary. She is seeking the Democratic nomination for the nation’s Chief Executive. Clinton will be accompanied by US Congressman Tim Holden. President Clinton is expected to march in the parade, offer remarks, and then leave for an event at Lycoming College in Williamsport. Enjoy the fun and frolic of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Girardville.

Schuylkill County's Administrator has filed a lawsuit against the County Controller. Darlene Dolzani's attorney, Harry Crosswell filed the suit against Melinda Kantner over alleged comments that Kantner made about Dolzani's employment as a banking executive. Those remarks were supposed to have been made to a reporter from the Pottsville Republican and Herald. A dispute has been brewing between the two women over the performance of the county’s finances, and the performance of the retirement fund. Kantner is supposed to have said that Dolzani was fired from her job at Schuylkill Savings and Loan, and First Federal Savings and Loan, for poor performance. The lawsuit states that those statements are false. Dolzani worked for more than 2 decades for those organizations, and stayed on as a consultant at First Federal after the predecessor bank was acquired. The lawsuit is seeking $1 in damages, plus attorney's costs.

A group of Pottsville Junior Girl Scouts are working to help those in need. Twelve members of Troop 1324 are conducting a Disaster Victim and Soldier Support Drive at WalMart in St. Clair on April 3rd and 10th from 6 to 8pm. Junior Girl Scout leader Lisa McGovern explains what the girls are collecting:
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Seven of the troop members are working on their Bronze Award, the highest recognition for a Junior Girl Scout. Five of the troop are working on Community Service Badges. The donations will help the American Red Cross for victims of disasters close to home. Donations for the troops will go to area servicemen and women who are in harm's way. In addition to donations of personal items, cash donations are also being accepted. The girls will make up baskets of the collected items. McGovern said the girls are working very hard….
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For more information on this worthwhile endeavor of Jr Girl Scout Troop 1324, call McGovern at 622-5052.

Four teenagers are facing charges stemming from a burglary earlier this month in Hegins Township. Schuylkill Haven state police say that 18-year-old Cory Rudisill of Elizabethville, 19-year-old Justin Klinger and two unnamed male juveniles burglarized Rausch Creek Land LP between March 12th and 13th. The thieves took a Chevy pickup truck, a printer and some alcohol during the break in. The truck was recovered in Mount Carmel. Rudisill and Klinger face charges of burglary, theft and related offenses. The two juveniles also have charges pending against them.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Two women have pleaded guilty to conspiring to run an illegal gambling ring and launder money around Washington County. Forty-nine-year-old Kim Zullo, of Westland, and 53-year-old Georgianna Gebhardt, of Washington, face up to five years in prison
when they are sentenced in July in federal court in Pittsburgh.

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Police in Westmoreland County say a university student grabbed a police officer's Taser gun and shot her with it while she was trying to arrest him for a separate
assault. Nineteen-year-old Jeremy Spisak of McDonald has been charged with aggravated assault, disarming a law enforcement officer, burglary, robbery of a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris will serve on the board of a scholarship program for city high school students. Harris is among seven people who will oversee the Pittsburgh Promise program. Also on the board will be Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Zoo's oldest resident has died. A yellow-footed tortoise named Big Mo died on Saturday. He had been suffering from a respiratory infection and other health problems. Big Mo was estimated to be more than 70 years old.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A temporary northbound lane on Pittsburgh's Birmingham Bridge will be closed while crews remove conflicting lane markings. The lane will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Southbound traffic will not be affected during that time. But a southbound onramp from Forbes Avenue to the bridge will be closed from noon to 5 p.m.

INDIANA, Pa. (AP) - An Indiana County man has been charged with causing more than $34,000 in damage to a church cemetery. State police say 19-year-old David Christian Williams was arrested for the Feb. 21 desecration and destruction of headstones, statues and light fixtures at the St. Bernard Catholic Church Cemetery in White Township.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A man accused of fatally shooting his wife and another man in the parking lot of a Monroeville restaurant has been ordered to stand trial. Police say 34-year-old John Lang shot Tracy Braverman-Lang and Louis Goldenson on March 15 outside Don Pablo's restaurant.

BAGHDAD (AP) - The U.S. military is checking a report by Iraqi police that eight civilians were killed in an air strike overnight, including two women and a child. U.S. forces are trying to help
Iraqi troops struggling in their battle with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's army.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush will be talking about the economy today in his weekend radio chat. Bush is plugging a lenders' alliance that's working on problem loans. And he'll also
be pointing to the coming tax-rebate checks he hopes will spark consumer spending.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The power of the Federal Reserve would be greatly expanded under a sweeping proposal by the Bush administration to overhaul regulation of the nation's financial
industry. It's an effort to prevent a repeat of problems that contributed to the current housing and credit crunch.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Virginia state police say they've solved a series of shootings this week along Interstate 64 near Charlottesville. Two teenagers are in custody. They're identifed as a trouble-making 19-year-old and a 16-year-old friend.

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - A lightning show was the brightest part of Sydney, Australia, as it became the first major city to turn its lights off for this year's Earth Hour. Hundreds of cities around the world are taking part in the climate-change awarness campaign, turning off lights at 8 p.m. local time today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Today's News-Friday, March 28th

Former President Bill Clinton will attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Girardville tomorrow. After a week filled with rumors that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton would attend the annual celebration, the official confirmation was received by WPPA/T102 News yesterday afternoon by county Democratic party chairman Ed Kleha. The Clinton campaign has not released formal details of his visit as of this morning. The former President, along with daughter Chelsea Clinton, have been stumping across the Commonwealth on Hillary's behalf. The New York Senator is reported to hold a comfortable margin in Pennsylvania over Barack Obama, with less than a month to the pivotal April 22nd primary. Security will no doubt be tight, with local and state officials working with the Secret Service to ensure Clinton’s safety during his visit. The annual parade, sponsored by the Kehoe Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, will step off at noon. A large crowd was already expected, and that can only grow with Bill Clinton's visit.

A county-based amusement vendor has been stung by theft over the winter. The owners of Otto's Amusements discovered that during the off-season, someone cut locks on storage trailers located on Keystoker Lane in North Manheim Township, removing power cables from numerous rides and carnival generators. The thieves also removed about 450 gallons of diesel fuel from the parked trucks. State police believe that the stolen goods were removed from the scene by a tractor trailer. Total value of the items is in excess of $30-thousand-dollars, although an itemized inventory could push that total further. Anyone with information about the theft should contact state police at Schuylkill Haven at 593-2000.

A West Lawn man is lodged in Berks County Prison after attempting to kill his estranged wife yesterday morning. Hamburg state police say that 38-year-old Ronald Marks entered the home of 37-year-old Drema Marks on First Street around 4:30am by jumping through a window. He went to her bedroom and began attacking her with a knife. She was able to fight off the attack without suffering life threatening injuries. The Marks' two small children came to the bedroom, running to their mother. Ronald Marks stopped the attack, then Drema Marks and her two children fled the home. State police and Hamburg officers picked up Marks. A Protection from Abuse Order was in place against him. Ronald Marks was arraigned on attempted murder charges, along with a host of other offenses. His bail was set at $1-million-dollars.

The fourth annual Downtown Pottsville Business Plan competition gets underway on Tuesday, April 1st. PADCO is sponsoring the program to attract and retain new business in Pottsville. PADCO Executive Director Amy Burkhart tells us more:
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There are three phases to the competition. Entrants must complete a preliminary questionnaire by May 9th. The completed business plan is due by July 11th, and a formal presentation by finalists will take place in August. The prize package is valued at more than $20-thousand-dollars, including a $10-thousand-dollar, zero percent loan from PADCO, reduce rent at select locations in the city and a host of in-kind services from area businesses to help the winner succeed in their new business. Applications for the Pottsville Business Competition are available by calling PADCO at 628-4647.

A Mount Carmel man is charged with arson and burglary. Police say 28-year-old Kevin Mazur set the blaze Easter morning that caused about $150-thousand-dollars damage to the office of state Representative Bob Belfanti. A police affidavit filed against Mazur on Thursday says Mazur confessed to the crime after a probation officer found a baseball bat, glass shards, two hammers and drug paraphernalia in Mazur's home in Mount Carmel. Court records don't indicate why Belfanti's office was targeted, but it's located on the same street where Mazur lives. Mazur's bail is set at $100,000. Court officials say he doesn't have a lawyer.

Cass-Foster Township police announce several arrests. A Philadelphia man was arrested after officers on patrol observed ATV's on the roadway. Officers patrolling in the area of Valley Road and Sunbury Rd observed three ATVs traveling west on Sunbury Road. Officers pursued the ATVs and they were observed traveling on SR901 towards I-81 at a high rate of speed, passing vehicles. David Guiteras of Philadelphia was apprehended. Charges were filed in District Court. In a separate incident, a Cass Township woman was arrested after a traffic stop near Flag Lane and Condor Lane. 36-year-old Pamela Ann Maley was observed driving without a valid license in the area and she was stopped. During the traffic stop, it was learned that Maley was wanted on an outstanding warrants from Shenandoah Police, Minersville Police and the Schuylkill County DA's office. Maley was arraigned on the outstanding warrants and the traffic violations.

Subsidized child care in Schuylkill County is in line for an increase in state funding in the upcoming fiscal year. The County Commissioners Wednesday approved a request from the Child Development office to submit a continuation grant to the PA Department of Welfare. The grant for just over $4-million-24-thousand-dollars represents an increase of just over $3-hundred-4-thousand-dollars above the present year's funding. At last week's work session, Mary Ann Devlin of Child Development said over 2-thousand county children were helped during the year. Child Development was also given approval to submit an application to the state Department of Education for a $236-thousand-dollar HeadStart supplemental assistance grant. The money will be used to serve 107 HeadStart eligible children and families in the county. In other business, the Commissioners approved a contract with Orwigsburg Ambulance for non-emergency transport services for residents at Rest Haven. The fee for the service is estimated at $30-Thousand dollars per year. Also approved was a $25-Thousand Dollar contract with Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for laboratory services for Rest Haven residents.

Emergency life-support equipment specifically designed for children has been donated to the Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic. The Schuylkill County Medical Society contributed two Broselow Pediatric Advance Life Support Carts, worth more than $5-thousand-dollars. Each cart contains items used in emergency situations, and are color coded to match a child's size. One will be used in Pottsville Hospital’s Emergency Department, the other on the "Just for Kids" Pediatric Unit.

Court says famed death-row inmate deserves new penalty hearing

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal appeals court has ordered a new penalty hearing for celebrity death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Abu-Jamal's conviction for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer should stand. But it says he should get a new sentencing hearing because of flawed jury instructions. If prosecutors don't want to give him a new death penalty hearing, Abu-Jamal would be sentenced automatically to life in prison. A Philadelphia jury convicted Abu-Jamal of killing Officer Daniel Faulkner after the patrolman pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother in an overnight traffic stop 27 years ago.

States, cities scramble to refinance debt, limit budget damages

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - States, cities, hospitals and major public agencies are getting battered by wild interest rate swings in one sector of the municipal bond market. They are scrambling to refinance the debt as they add up the damages to their budgets and nurse some hard feelings. The highest-profile fallout so far is the tightening of the student-loan market. Agencies in Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan have suspended new student loans. Budgetmakers had planned on paying around 4 percent on borrowed funds as recently as December. Now they are searching for ways to fit rates of 5 percent to 10 percent into their budgets. So far, most affected institutions appear to be withstanding the tens of millions of dollars in additional costs without laying off workers or shutting down crucial services.

Comcast to stop hampering file-sharing, will treat data equally

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Comcast Corp. says it will treat all types of Internet traffic equally. That's an about-face for the Philadelphia-based Internet service provider under investigation for hampering online file-sharing by its subscribers. Comcast says it will collaborate with BitTorrent Inc. to come up with better ways to transport large files over the Internet instead of delaying file transfers. BitTorrent Inc. is the company founded by the creator of the popular BitTorrent file-sharing protocol. Since user reports of interference with file-sharing traffic were confirmed by an Associated Press investigation in October, Comcast has been vigorously defending its practices. Consumer and "Net Neutrality" advocates have been equally vigorous in their attacks on the company.

Jefferson Co. man charged with killing parents

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A Jefferson County man is charged with killing his parents to avoid going to rehab and then attempting to flee to Canada. Forty-four-year-old Richard Reed is in the custody of Pennsylvania State Police and awaiting extradition from New York. He has been charged with killing his 74-year-old parents John and Mary Lou Reed. According to court documents, Reed confessed to customs officers at the Canadian border that he had killed his parents after they found a .38 caliber handgun and other suspicious items in the car he was driving. Reed told police he first shot his father and then his mother. He then says he spent a couple of nights in a Clarion hotel and headed to the Canadian border to avoid being caught. State Police Trooper Jamie Levier says it is unclear when the Reeds died. An autopsy will be conducted in Erie in the coming days.

Standoff on Philadelphia to New Jersey bridge ends peacefully

GLOUCESTER CITY, N.J. (AP) - A three-hour stand-off on a major bridge connecting Philadelphia to New Jersey has ended peacefully. officials say a man is in custody and a woman and child who were also inside the sport-utility vehicle on the Walt Whitman Bridge are unhurt. Police say a toy gun and baseball bat were recovered from the SUV. Shortly before the stand-off ended, an armored police vehicle pulled up bumper-to-bumper facing the SUV, and SWAT officers positioned themselves behind it. Authorities say they tried to stop the vehicle in New Jersey for speeding, but it continued to the middle of the bridge. The standoff blocked bridge traffic on both sides at the height of the evening rush hour.

Police: Philadelphia subway attack victim was chosen at random

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia prosecutors say the 16-year-old boy arrested shortly after a subway attack has been arraigned as an adult on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy. Kinta Stanton is being held without bail pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday. Police say Stanton was among a group of teens who attacked 36-year-old Sean Conroy on Wednesday afternoon at random for no apparent reason. Conroy died and the medical examiner says his death was caused by asthma contributed to by blunt force injuries. It happened in a subway concourse near Philadelphia City Hall.

Scher appeals conviction in 1976 love triangle slaying

MONTROSE, Pa. (AP) - A doctor is challenging his conviction in the 1976 murder of his good friend. Stephen Scher was convicted of first-degree murder earlier this month for shooting 30-year-old attorney Martin Dillon. Prosecutors say Scher killed Dillon so he could marry Dillon's wife. Scher's lawyer has filed a series of motions challenging the conviction. Joshua Lock alleges judicial misconduct and asks for either a hearing on the allegation or a new trial. Scher was also convicted of Dillon's murder in 1997 but an appeals court later vacated the conviction and ordered a new trial.

BAGHDAD (AP) - A British military official says coalition jets have dropped bombs on Basra. Iraqi security forces have been fighting Shiite militias in the city all week. The British official says the Iraqis requested the airstrikes on at least two locations.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic Party chief Howard Dean says the party's presidential contenders and their supporters need to stop tearing each other down. Dean says it's demoralizing the Democratic base and could harm either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the White House.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush is looking to put a spotlight on administration efforts to save struggling homeowners from foreclosure. He's planning to visit a mortgage counseling company in New Jersey this afternoon. It's part of the "Hope Now" alliance, an industry group organized by the Bush administration to coordinate a response to the mortgage crisis.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's former governor is getting out of prison today. A federal appeals court ordered Democrat Don Siegelman's release pending his appeal in a corruption case. The order came just hours after the House Judiciary Committee said it wants Siegelman to testify about possible political influence behind his prosecution.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - An audio historian has discovered a recording which scientists say appears to be from 1860. That would make it the oldest known recording of the human voice. It's a spooky, 10-second clip of a woman singing "Au Clair de la Lune." The recording was made with a needle that etched sound waves onto paper coated with soot and was found in France's patent office.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

LATE BREAKING NEWS!

Schuylkill County Democratic officials have confirmed that former President Bill Clinton will participate in the Girardville St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday.

More details on WPPA/T102 News Friday morning.

Today's News-Thursday, March 27th

No one was hurt in a kitchen fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in a double home in Pottsville. The fire was called in just before five p.m. on the 229 side of the double home at 227-229 North Ninth Street. The Republican Herald reports the accidental fire began in the kitchen as Lynell Whitter was cooking. The kitchen and living room was heavily damaged and heavy smoke damage was reported on both sides of the double home. William and Lynell Whitter and their four children, are being aided by The American Red Cross.

We're still awaiting word on the possible visit of Hillary Clinton to the region Saturday. Rumours continue to swirl about a visit from the Democratic presidential candidate at the Girardville St. Patrick's Day parade. WPPA/T102 News spoke to a representative from the Clinton campaign yesterday afternoon. They stated that Mrs. Clinton's calendar is not released more than 48 hours in advance, and would not offer any other information. Emails received late last night and this morning did not shed any more light on a possible visit. The New York Senator holds a comfortable margin here in Pennsylvania over Barack Obama, according to recent polls. Schuylkill County Democratic officials said earlier this week that they had been in contact with the Clinton campaign about a possible stop at the St. Patrick's Day parade. We expect to know more as the day progresses.

The County Commissioners held their first of four scheduled board meetings outside the Courthouse this year, with a visit to Schuylkill Haven on Wednesday. Commissioner Chairwoman Mantura Gallagher thanked Schuylkill Haven Mayor Gary Hess for the borough's hospitality:
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Fellow Commissioner Frank McAndrew also thanked the Mayor:
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The Schuylkill County Commissioners Wednesday approved the hiring of people needed for next month's primary election. Eight people were hired to the computing board. Eleven were hired as drivers to deliver the voting machines to various precincts in the County. Nineteen were hired as rovers to prepare equipment for the election. And four were appointed as members of the resolution board. A & J Security was hired to provide security at the S.T.S. Building in the Saint Clair Industrial Park on election night at a cost of $11.00 per hour. Approval was also granted to temporally change the polling site for Ashland Borough's 2nd precinct from the American Legion building to the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on 9th Street. Speaking on behalf of the County Election Bureau, Commissioner Chairwoman Mantura Gallagher urged voters to visit any of the 67 scheduled voting machine demonstration sites where voters can cast a demonstration ballot on the machine prior to Election Day. The sites can be found under Election information on the County web site at http://www.co.schuylkill.pa.us/.

A Pottsville businessman has received the official endorsement of the county Republican party in the 125th District. At a gathering last night, James "Jamie" McGovern was given the official nod for the 125th Legislative District seat. That position is currently held by Democrat Tim Seip. Former County Controller Gary Hornberger, also a Republican, announced his candidacy for the seat in January, but was not seeking the party's endorsement.

A celebration of Schuylkill County's rich cultural and ethnic heritage is being planned for early May. A group of community and civic leaders came up with the idea of hosting "Celebrate Schuylkill" at the Fairlane Village Mall on Sunday, May 3rd as a way of bringing people together from all parts of Schuylkill County. Mall Marketing Director Heather Stine explains:
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Food, dance, singing and more are planned for Celebrate Schuylkill, spotlighting all of the ethnic and cultural gems that make up the region. The event runs from 11am till 5pm. Celebrate Schuylkill is a partnership between Schuylkill County's VISION, the Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau, the Council for the Arts and Fairlane Village Mall. If anyone has something that they would like to display or offer, please contact Heather Stine at 429-1563. The deadline is April 11th.

Governor Rendell announced another round of grant funding for an area transportation provider and a Cressona aluminum manufacturer. As part of PennDOT’s rail freight assistance program, SAPA Industrial Extrusions, Cressona, will receive $375-thousand-dollars to rehab rail lines around their plant and along the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad. The company uses rail service to transport goods to their plant. The railroad will receive nearly $500-thousand-dollars to service rail lines at four businesses at locations in Luzerne and Schuylkill counties. Pennsylvania as more than 6-thousand miles of railroads.

A Shenandoah man was picked up by state police on an outstanding warrant. 38-year-old Kenneth Csak was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on Route 924 Wednesday afternoon. A records checked indicated that Csak was wanted by the Schuylkill County DA's office on a bench warrant for aggravated assault with an axe. Csak was taken to Schuylkill County Prison.

16-year-old boy charged in stabbing of Reading girl

READING, Pa. (AP) - Police say a 16-year-old Reading boy is being held on attempted murder charges in the stabbing of a teenage girl in the vestibule of her apartment building. Miguel Gonzalez Jr. is charged as an adult, accused of stabbing the 16-year-old girl eight times in the stomach, arms and legs while a companion held her from behind. Police earlier said the girl, whose name hasn't been released, was 17. She was taken to Reading Hospital, where information on her condition is unavailable. Police are seeking two males who were with Gonzalez on Tuesday night. Following arraignment Wednesday night, Gonzalez is lodged in Berks County Prison in lieu of $750,000 bail. He told District Judge Stuart Kennedy he is a 10th-grader at Reading High School.

Comcast, Sprint, Google in talks to fund WiMax wireless network

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Comcast is one of several major cable, telecom and Internet companies that are in preliminary, but serious, talks to create a national wireless network. That's according to a person familiar with the talks who asked The Associated Press not to be named because the person was not authorized to discuss the talks. The proposed network would link devices such as computers, televisions and cell phones. In addition to Philadelphia-based Comcast, the companies involved are Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Google, Intel, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire. Sprint and Clearwire have already announced their plans to build out a network using WiMax technology, but had been looking for outside funding.

Figuring out the Catholic vote in Pa. critical for Clinton, Obama

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has fared well among Roman Catholic voters in early primary states. She holds a substantial lead over Sen. Barack Obama among Catholic Democrats in Pennsylvania polls. But Obama is unwilling to concede the Catholic vote. He plans small round-table meetings and "listening sessions" with Catholic voters in Pennsylvania's urban and rural areas. He also plans e-mails and phone banks targeting Catholics. Clinton spokesman Mark Nevins said Catholics connect with Clinton's message and Pennsylvanians value her ties to Scranton. That's where her father was born and raised and she was christened at the Court Street Methodist Church. Clinton is a Methodist and Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ.

Rendell drops plan for stimulus checks for lower-income families

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Ed Rendell says he's abandoned his proposal to give lower-income families special payments of up to $400 this year to help stimulate the economy. Rendell said at a state Capitol news conference Wednesday that there wasn't sufficient support in the Legislature for the proposal. Even fellow Democrats balked at the idea, which called for dipping into the state's fiscal reserve to pay the $130 million cost. The plan would have directed the payments to about 475,000 families, typically those who have at least one dependent but don't earn enough to pay state income taxes.

Federal regulators review Three Mile Island security

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Federal regulators are reviewing a security problem that occurred last year at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. But they aren't saying what happened. Diane Screnci of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the agency examined the issue as part of a routine security inspection that was completed last month. A preliminary report characterized the problem as having moderate to serious significance. Screnci says she can't provide any details because federal rules prohibit the disclosure of nuclear plant security deficiencies. The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports that the problem was identified last summer by the plant's operator, AmerGen Energy, and was quickly corrected.

Use of physical restraints on patients declines in nursing homes

WASHINGTON (AP) - Fewer nursing home patients are being physically restrained in Pennsylvania - and nationally. A government agency says the use of physical restraints on nursing home patients declined nearly 40 percent nationwide in recent years. In Pennsylvania, 6.4 percent of patients were repeatedly restrained in 2002, declining to 3.7 percent in 2006, well below the national average for both years. Physical restraints, such as bed rails, were once regarded as necessary to keep patients from falling or wandering off. But that mind-set has changed over the past two decades. The nursing home data was part of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report that compares states on numerous health
issues.

Man dies after teens attack him on Phila. subway platform

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police say a 16-year-old boy is charged with murder and conspiracy in an attack on a man on a subway platform. It happened in the afternoon at a station just east of Philadelphia City Hall. Police say several teens beat 36-year-old Sean Patrick Conroy of Philadelphia. A transit police officer saw the beating from across the tracks and ran to Conroy's aid. The teens fled, but the officer was able to identify one of the attackers. Police say that one is the boy who was charged. His name wasn't released because he's a juvenile. Conroy appeared to be in cardiac arrest and wasn't able to give any information to police before he died. Police are looking for the other teens.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush flies to Dayton, Ohio, today to deliver a speech drawing attention to political and economic progress in Iraq. Bush is also expected to praise Iraqi raids on
Shiite militiamen in Basra and Baghdad.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Rockets and mortar rounds are hitting Baghdad's heavily-guarded Green Zone for a fourth day. U.S. officials say the attacks are coming from breakaway factions of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's army. But tens of thousands of Shiites are taking to the streets to protest a government offensive against the militia.

COLD SPRING, Minn. (AP) - Officials in Minnesota are trying to find out what caused a chlorine gas leak at a high school that sent 36 students and a gym teacher to the hospital yesterday. The leak was discovered by students in the school's pool area.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) - NASA is rejoicing over Endeavour's successful 16-day mission to the international space station. The shuttle touched down safely in Florida last night after logging six and a-half million miles in space.

LONDON (AP) - London's Heathrow Airport has cut the ribbon on a brand new British Airways terminal. The 8.6-billion-dollar facility is able to handle 30 million passengers a year. The new terminal is experiencing some opening day glitches. One passenger says it took an hour for him to get his bag.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today's News-Wednesday, March 26th

A daylight robbery took place at a Tower City pharmacy yesterday morning. Schuylkill Haven state police indicate that a white male walked into the Williams Valley pharmacy on East Grande Avenue after 11:30, brandishing a gun. He walked up to the counter, displayed a note and demanded prescription pain medication. The pharmacist complied with the demand, and the man fled. The suspect took off in an unknown direction. He is described as being 6 feet, to 6 feet two in height, weighing about 200 pounds. The robber was wearing dark colored clothing and a gray knit cap. Anyone with information about the robbery should call Schuylkill Haven state police at 593-2000.

A daylight robbery took place at a Tower City pharmacy yesterday morning. Schuylkill Haven state police indicate that a white male walked into the Williams Valley pharmacy on East Grande Avenue after 11:30, brandishing a gun. He walked up to the counter, displayed a note and demanded prescription pain medication. The pharmacist complied with the demand, and the man fled. The suspect took off in an unknown direction. He is described as being 6 feet, to 6 feet two in height, weighing about 200 pounds. The robber was wearing dark colored clothing and a gray knit cap. Anyone with information about the robbery should call Schuylkill Haven state police at 593-2000.

Will there be a special guest at Girardville's St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday. The area's largest celebration of Irish heritage steps off in the northern Schuylkill County community at noon, rain or shine. And one of the Democratic presidential candidates may make an appearance. The rumour that Hillary Rodham Clinton may attend has been circulating around the county for several weeks. Now, Schuylkill County Democratic party leaders have acknowledged that they have been in contact with the New York Senator's campaign to see if a visit is possible for the parade, according to the Republican and Herald. A decision should be known shortly. Hillary Clinton has a fairly comfortable lead in the polls in the Keystone state over Senator Barack Obama. But, she trails in the delegate count right now. Former President Bill Clinton is expected to be in Montgomery and Berks counties Thursday. Senator Obama is vacationing in the Virgin Islands with his family, but expects to return to Pennsylvania by week's end.

An Orwigsburg man is facing more charges of sexual assault. Scott Donati will face two sets of charges of sexually assaulting a boy in Auburn and Schuylkill Haven during 2006 and 2007, after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. Those charges include attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and attempted indecent assault, according to the Republican and Herald. Prosecutors dropped charges of statutory sexual assault and other charges in the two incidents. The 26-year-old Orwigsburg man already pleaded guilty to four sets of sex-related charges last year, and is awaiting sentencing on those charges. Those offenses could carry a maximum sentence of more than 150 years in jail, fines and registration on the Megan's Law sexual predator list for life. Donati reportedly assaulted the same six year old boy in the two incidents.

A Minersville woman is expected to be charged with criminal mischief following an incident in New Philadelphia yesterday. Frackville state police say that 48-year-old Deborah Slavena of Minersville and 30-year-old April Miller of New Philadelphia were involved in an altercation at a home on Wiggans Street. During the fight, Slavena damaged some electronic equipment belonging to Miller. State police will charge Slavena.

A nationally known recording artist is slated to appear at the Sovereign Majestic Theatre Friday night. Doylestown native Christy Jefferson will bring a combination of folk, cabaret, rock and pop to the theatre for one show at 7:30pm Friday. A trained pianist and guitarist, Jefferson has 5 albums of her own music under her belt, and has opened for acts like Kansas and Jeffrey Gaines among other headliners. She says that she got the music bug early on:
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Jefferson is working on a new album now, and continues to tour. She is looking forward to returning to the Sovereign Majestic this weekend, where she performed with Celtic Heart. Christy gives us a preview:
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For more on Christy Jefferson, log onto her website: http://www.christyjefferson.com/. Tickets are available at the door.

Rosie Perez: Opposing degrading contest in club launched career
KUTZTOWN (AP) - Actress Rosie Perez encourages people to follow their activist impulses. Perez spoke to a Kutztown University audience of more than 450 on Tuesday night. She says at age 19, she was a biochemistry student with no acting plans. Then she went with friends to a nightclub. Perez says a man was leading a contest for women with big behinds, and she couldn't stand it. She jumped on the stage and told the women it was degrading. The man was director Spike Lee, who had just made the movie "She's Got to Have It." He introduced himself, told her their meeting was fate, and said he wanted her to be in his next film. Her role in "Do the Right Thing" launched her entertainment career. Perez says, "My life would not have changed if I didn't have that activist spirit."

Reading girl stabbed several times with large kitchen knife
READING, Pa. (AP) - Police in Reading say a 17-year-old girl was stabbed several times with a large kitchen knife in her apartment. Paramedics say she was stabbed at least four times in the abdomen and once on each arm. She was taken to Reading Hospital, where information on her condition was not released. Police did not immediately say if they had identified a suspect in the Tuesday night stabbing. An 18-year-old city man was stabbed Monday night in an alley in another part of Reading. It was unclear if the stabbings were related.

Phila., Williamsport mayors meet to discuss crime tactics
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - The mayor of Williamsport says he got a lot out of a meeting with the mayor of Philadelphia to discuss crime-fighting tactics. Williamsport Mayor Gabriel Campana says his meeting with Mayor Michael Nutter in Philadelphia lasted for about two hours on Monday. He says they discussed police surveillance cameras in high-crime areas, community policing and recruiting more minority police officers. Other subjects included strategies to get guns off the streets, crime mapping and programs to reach children before they make bad decisions. He is working on scheduling a similar meeting with Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J. Campana also says Nutter accepted an invitation to visit Williamsport.

Pa. landlord sued over fire that killed 6-month-old girl
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A lawsuit alleges that a Wilkes-Barre apartment fire that killed a 6-month-old girl was caused by faulty wiring that the landlord refused to fix. Fire Chief Jacob Lisman says the cause of the July 31 fire that killed Emily Joan Hockenbury is still under investigation. The lawsuit says the girl's parents complained to landlord Anthony Balucha about insufficient smoke alarms and defective electric outlets. The lawsuit claims there were frequent electrical shorts, random power surges and lighting problems. Court papers say the girl's father, Scott Hockenbury, asked Balucha to fix the problems, but he refused. Balucha told a reporter he's not supposed to comment.

Pa. man pleads guilty in marijuana-influenced double fatal
READING, Pa. (AP) - A 19-year-old man has acknowledged that he was driving under the influence of marijuana when his car crashed, killing two of his passengers. Benjamin Ruth of Topton pleaded guilty Tuesday in Berks County juvenile court to homicide by vehicle and other charges. The 2005 crash killed 16-year-old Shay Keiper and 17-year-old Amber Krammes. Defense lawyer Allan Sodomsky acknowledged the victims' families suffered a great loss. The prosecutor asked the judge to detain Ruth pending sentencing, noting that police say Ruth had a small amount of marijuana when he was stopped for speeding in January. Charges from that arrest are pending in adult court. The judge allowed Ruth to remain free, but ordered him to surrender his driver's license.

In college towns across USA, record stores bite the dust
UNDATED (AP) - The owner of City Lights Records in State College says it's only a matter of time before he closes his storefront and sells online only. Rival State College record stores Arboria and Vibes have closed as students increasingly download their music. Downloading music has hurt the business of record stores everywhere, but stores in college towns are hurt even more. College students are the perfect market for music downloads. They have low incomes, small living quarters and endless bandwidth. Near the University of North Carolina, Schoolkids Records is closing down. Owner Mike Phillips says he's been getting a lot of e-mail messages, some from angry customers. He says if they're so concerned, they should have stopped in once in a while and bought a CD.

Clinton says she would have split with Obama's pastor
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton says she would have left the church that Barack Obama attends if her minister had talked about America the way Obama's pastor has. Clinton's comments to reporters in Greensburg marked a clear shift in her handling of the Obama church controversy, which she had generally avoided until now. Clinton was ready for the question at her news conference, and read much of her response from notes, unlike her handling of other questions. An Obama spokesman says Clinton's remarks are an attempt to distract people from her own controversy about how she characterized a 1996 trip to Bosnia.

WASHINGTON (AP) - More weakness is being seen at American factories. Orders for manufactured goods fell for a second straight month in February. The government says demand for durable goods dropped 1.7 percent.

PENTAGON (AP) - President Bush will head to the Pentagon this morning to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the next steps for the Iraq war. Meanwhile, 55 people have been killed in Basra and Baghdad in two days of clashes between Iraqi forces and militia fighters.

BEIJING (AP) - China is demanding an investigation and a detailed explanation into the mistaken shipment of U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile electrical fuses to Taiwan. The fuses have been recovered and a probe has been launched into the incident.

DETROIT (AP) - Ford is selling its luxury Jaguar and Land Rover brands to an Indian company. The 2.3 billion-dollar deal is less than half of what Ford paid for the two British automakers.

GRETNA, La. (AP) - What celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme thought was a bee sting on his arm turned out to be a bullet wound yesterday. Prudhomme was hit by what police think was a falling .22 caliber bullet on a golf course near New Orleans. Despite some broken skin, the chef continued cooking at the PGA Tour event for six more hours.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today's News-Tuesday, March 25th

Authorities have released the cause of death of a Pottsville man. The ongoing homicide investigation involving Norman Nickle, of 13th Street, Pottsville, continues to evolve after the bodies of 17 year old Cayla Turner, Port Carbon, and Joshua Yevak, age 19, were found late last week. An autopsy was conducted on Yevak's remains yesterday. According to the Republican and Herald, Yevak died of a shotgun wound to the chest. Cayla Turner died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to autopsy findings. Norman Nickle reportedly shot the two on March 4th, and had their bodies stored in the building where Nickle had an apartment. He was charged with criminal homicide and related offenses. Nickle remains in Schuylkill County Prison.

The sister of the man charged in the shotgun slayings of two teenagers in Pottsville says her brother was hit in the head with a brick in 1990. Bonnie Nickle of West Chester says 53-year-old Norman Nickle of Pottsville has been troubled ever since. She told The Republican & Herald
that her brother has experienced seizures, rage attacks and blackouts over the years. Police told the newspaper they were unaware of the health problems his sister said he had. The bodies of 19-year-old Joshua Yevak and 17-year-old Cayla Turner were found Thursday in the basement of Nickle's home. They had been killed more than two weeks earlier.

A Schuylkill Haven man escaped injury in a crash in Berks County yesterday. Hamburg state police say that 45-year-old Kim Wolfe was northbound on Route 183 in Upper Tulpehocken Township when he struck a vehicle driven by 43-year-old Frederick Kellenberger of Bernville, in the rear end. Kellenberger lost control of his car upon impact. He suffered minor injuries and was taken to Reading Hospital. The crash happened before 5pm Monday.

Residents of Orwigsburg borough gathered last night to hearing a presentation about their water and sewer system and a possible takeover by the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority.
The Republican and Herald reports that the meeting, held at the Orwigsburg Historical Society, drew a crowd of more than 70 people. The Municipal Authority outlined several options for taking over the borough's water and sewer systems. The proposal could save water customers money. Among the options put on the table were the elimination of the borough's debt that's owed on the system, plus payments for constructing a new garage and a $1-million-dollar payment for land in West Brunswick and Blythe Townships. That land was used for Orwigsburg's watershed. There is no timetable for a final decision on which way Orwigsburg plans to proceed.

A Pine Grove man was involved in a one-vehicle crash Sunday afternoon in Tremont Township. According to Schuylkill Haven state police, 36-year-old Corey Leininger was driving his pickup truck southbound on Route 125 when he failed to stop in time for other traffic that was turning left onto Birch Street. Leininger's vehicle skidded off the roadway and struck a tree. He escaped injury, but will be cited by state police.

Monday was the deadline to register to vote, or change party affiliations. And many county voters took advantage. County Election Bureau Director Betty Dries tells WPPA News that 217 people were at their Pottsville office yesterday, with 206 voters changing their party affiliation to Democrat, 6 changed to Republican, and the remainder changing to other parties. In the month of March alone, 543 voters registered. 341 new Democrats, 133 Republicans and a number to other affiliations. In the weeks leading up to the election 1-thousand registered Republicans changed their affiliation to Democratic. The hotly-contested race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama is a contributing factor. There are now 92,142 registered voters in Schuylkill County. Of that total, just over 38-thousand-four-hundred are Democrats, and 45-thousand, ninety-seven Republicans. The registration totals are not yet complete, as mail requests continue to come in. Dries said they will be accepted, as long as they are post-marked by yesterday. Touch screen demonstrations begin again across the county today, with a stop at the Tremont Township Municipal Building from 5 to 7pm.

Going organic…The idea is growing on one state legislator, who introduced a bill that would help farmers who make the switch. Lauren Rooney reports from Harrisburg:
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - There are now more than 4 million registered Democrats in Pennsylvania - the highest membership of any party in state history. That benchmark was reached on the last day for Pennsylvanians to register to vote in the state's April 22 primary. The figures show modest declines in the ranks of Republicans and independents.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns this afternoon in Greensburg. Speaking in Philadelphia yesterday, Clinton proposed several remedies to the nation's home mortgage problems. She also called on President Bush to appoint "an emergency working group on foreclosures" to recommend new ways to confront housing finance troubles.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Sen. Barack Obama plans to return to Pennsylvania on Friday with a bus tour. His presidential campaign says the tour will begin in western Pennsylvania and conclude in southeastern Pennsylvania with numerous stops in between. The specific locations haven't been announced. Obama is taking a break from the campaign with his family in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Cumberland Valley school teachers say they will go on strike Thursday and the district says all classes will be canceled. The teachers and school district haven't been able to close a $1 million gap between pay raises the teachers are seeking and the amount the board is offering. State officials will determine how long the strike can last.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Wegmans Food Markets has won permission from the state Liquor Control Board to sell beer at six Pennsylvania supermarkets. That prompted a court challenge by the state's beer distributors' association. Wegmans was issued liquor licenses for the restaurants in its stores in Bethlehem, Dickson City, Lower Nazareth, State College, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The annual report card on the financial health of Social Security and Medicare is due out today. The assessment is expected to offer only small changes to last year's estimates on when the two government programs will be out of money.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - John McCain will tackle the mortgage mess in a California speech today. In remarks to local business leaders in Orange County, the presumed Republican nominee will promise to look at all options when deciding on the best plan to deal with the housing crisis. But he says it's not the duty of government to bail out banks or borrowers "who act irresponsibly."

SUPREME COURT (AP) - The Supreme Court will hear arguments today on the case of two Americans who want U.S. courts to keep them out of Iraqi custody. The Bush administration is fighting the effort. One man is an accused insurgent, the other has had an Iraqi kidnapping conviction overturned.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Families of the victims in the Virginia Tech massacre would receive $100,000 under a settlement being proposed by the state. At least 20 families have filed notice that they may file lawsuits. If families accept the settlements, they give up the right to sue.

WASHINGTON (AP) - More than a dozen people, most of them firefighters, were taken to hospitals in the nation's capital, after authorities found a vial of a hazardous substance next to a
man who apparently committed suicide. No confirmation yet on what the hazardous material is.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Today's News-Saturday, March 22nd

POTTSVILLE - In rambling, contradictory statements, a Pottsville man with a history of public drunkenness admitted to shooting only one of two teens whose bodies were found stacked in his apartment building's basement for more than two weeks, according to court papers released Friday. As reported in today's Republican and Herald, Pottsville police citing "numerous false statements" and contrary physical evidence, however, Norman E. "Ed" Nickle, 53, was arraigned early Friday on two counts of criminal homicide in the deaths of Joshua Brian Yevak, 19, whose last known address was 917 Davis Ave., Pottsville, and Cayla Turner, 17, of 210 W. Market St., Port Carbon. Nickle was committed to Schuylkill County Prison without bail. He also faces two counts each of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, abuse of a corpse and crimes committed with a firearm, and one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. After first denying involvement, Nickle said his shotgun went off and struck Yevak, 19, as he tried to take the weapon from the teen inside his 700 N. 13th St. home on March 4, Pottsville police Lt. Richard Wojcie-chowsky said. "I shot him," Nickle said, according to the court papers. Schuylkill County Coroner Joseph Lipsett said Yevak and Turner were each shot twice. Lipsett said Schuylkill County pathologist Dr. Richard P. Bindie will conduct an autopsy today and the second on Monday. Nickle told police that he dragged Yevak and Turner into the basement of the building and covered them with a blanket so he "didn't have to look at them every time he used the washer and dryer." Nickle was taken into custody for questioning shortly after the bodies were discovered about 4 p.m. Thursday. In Wojciechowsky's Affidavit of Probable Cause, Nickle changes his story several times before finally stating "I'm done," refusing to answer any more questions and asking to "go see the judge" or "go to the lockup."

POTTSVILLE - The Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement is filing charges against two Pottsville bars. According to the Republican and Herald, Strikers Pub, 2501 West End Ave., is being charged for allegedly permitting the sale of alcoholic beverages to a 20-year-old female on Jan. 24. Lazmat Inc. Stadium Bar, 337 Peacock St., is also being charged for allegedly permitting the sale of alcoholic beverages to a 20-year-old female on Jan. 24. The Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement's District Enforcement Office No. 9, Allentown, announced the charges Friday in press releases. The charges will be brought before an administrative law judge who has the authority to impose penalties ranging from $50 to $1,000 for minor offenses and up to $5,000 for more serious offenses, according to the press release. The Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement accuses the bars of violating Section 493(1) of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code by selling, furnishing and/or giving or permitting the sale, furnishing or giving of alcoholic beverages to a minor. The judge can impose a license suspension or revocation based on the severity of the charge brought or mandate training in an effort to educate them on the requirements of being a licensee, reads the press release.

BAGHDAD (AP) - The U.S. military says three American soldiers and two Iraqi civilians have been killed in a roadside bombing northwest of Baghdad. At least 3,996 Americans have died in Iraq since the war started.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Vice President Cheney and Saudi King Abdullah have discussed ways to stabilize the energy market. President Bush wants OPEC to boost production but it's unclear if that came up. Cheney has also spoken with other Saudi officials on a range of Mideast topics.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Germany, Japan, Brazil and India could get a shot at becoming members of the U.N.'s Security Council. A proposal suggests boosting the number of council members from 15 to 22. Under the proposal, the 192-member nations would be left with the task of picking who fills the new slots.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Both the State Department and Congress will be looking into unauthorized viewing of the presidential candidates' private passport information. Two companies that provide workers for the department say those responsible have been fired or otherwise punished.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - The White House has told a federal judge that possibly missing e-mails at the center of a lawsuit may be gone for good because hard drives have been destroyed. The White House says a regular replacement program involves the destruction of older drives.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A statement by Bill Clinton apparently questioning Barack Obama's patriotism has drawn the ire of a retired Air Force general. Merrill McPeak, a co-chairman of Obama's presidential campaign, compares Clinton to 1950s communist-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Abandoned by his deputies, the police chief of a Mexican border town has fled to the U.S. and wants asylum. Emilio Perez, the chief of Palomas, Mexico, says he needs protection. His Mexico town is racked by smuggling-related violence.

UNDATED (AP) - Southern Ohio is doing flood cleanup while the northern part of the state is bracing for more snow today. There's also flooding in Missouri and Arkansas. In a town in eastern Missouri, the Army Corps of Engineers says it's "100 percent confident" a levee will hold against a 40-foot river crest.

CHICAGO (AP) - The price of grain isn't anywhere near this high but two sisters from Virginia have sold a single corn flake on eBay for $1,350. The flake is shaped like the state of Illinois and was purchased by the owner of a trivia Web site.

HOUSTON (AP) - Astronauts aboard the international space station have one last spacewalk scheduled tonight. A laser-tipped boom being left behind by the shuttle will be attached to the orbiting lab. It'll be used by the next shuttle to inspect its heat shield.

TOWNSEND, Tenn. (AP) - Two men and two teenagers reported missing after going caving in Tennessee have been rescued in good shape. They were found at the bottom of a vertical drop that's basically a waterfall. The four were inexperienced at caving and were too tired to climb out.

DENVER (AP) - Dozens of cases of salmonella poisoning have been linked to municipal water in a town in southern Colorado. Bottled water is being brought in and officials say it could be three weeks before the regular supply is up to snuff. Seven people are hospitalized.

BEIJING (AP) - People familiar with the situation say the Chinese government has thrown a monkey wrench into plans for live Olympic broadcasts from Tiananmen Square. The telecasts might be barred because of nervousness over unrest among Tibetans and fear of protests in the square.

MIAMI (AP) - Unreleased Beatles recordings dating back to 1962 are the object of a suit by lawyers for the group. The company that protects the Beatles musical legacy says they're bootlegs and the firm that has them has no right to release them.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Another short Hollywood marriage hits the rocks. Pamela Anderson's new husband of two months agrees in court papers that the marriage to the "Baywatch" actress should be annulled. Both parties mention fraud but the documents don't elaborate.

Friday, March 21, 2008

WPPA / T-102 SPORTS / Friday

03/21/08

DM TAMAQUA MAN CITED FOR HARASSMENT

A TAMAQUA MAN WAS CITED AFTER AN INCIDENT IN THE BOROUGH.OFFICERS WERE DISPATCHED TO 11 LEHIGH STREET FOR A DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE.UPON ARRIVAL OFFICERS SPOKE TO JAMES ACEVEDO AND TANYA HUNSICKER.HUNSICKER ALLEDGED THAT AN ARGUMENT BETWEEN HER AND ACEVEDO ESCALATED AND THAT ACEVEDO PULLED HER HAIR AND KICKED HER IN THE LEG.ACEVEDO CLAIMED HE PUSHED THE WOMAN IN SELF DEFENSE.ACEVEDO WAS CITED FOR HARASSMENT AND DISORDERLY CONDUCT.


03/21/08

DM STATE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING MISCHIEF AND BURGLARY INCIDENTS

STATE POLICE AT SCH.HAVEN ARE INVESTIGATING CRIMINAL MISCHIEF AND BURGLARY INCIDENTS THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN MARCH 2 AND SUNDAY MARCH 16TH IN BARRY TOWNSHIP.ACCORDING TO STATE POLICE SOMEONE ENTERD THE SUMMER HOME OF KRISTEN AND TODD SANTOS AT 27 LAKE DRIVE BY REMOVING AN EXHAUST FAN BY FORCE.ONCE INSIDE THE HOME THE PERSON RUMMAGED THROUGH THE HOUSE BUT NOTHING APPEARED TO BE STOLEN.THEN SOMEONE WENT TO THE HOME OF JOSEPH SMITH AT 27 KING FISHER DRIVE AND PUSHED ON A METAL ARCHWAY IN THE FRONT OF THE HOME AND ALSO SMASHED A FLOOD LAMP THAT WAS MOUNTED ON A SHED AT THAT LOCATION.ANYONE WITH INFORMATION IS ASKED TO CALL POLICE AT 593-2000

03/21/08

DM FIRE IN POTTSVILLE SLOWS DOWN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC

A SMALL FIRE IN THE BASEMENT OF A VACANT BUILDING AT 206 NORTH CENTER STREET SNARLED TRAFFIC IN DOWNTOWN POTTSVILLE FOR ABOUT 2 HOURS THURSDAY AFTERNOON.THE FIRE BEGAN IN THE BASEMENT OF A VACANT STOREFRONT NEXT TO THE ET TROPHY SHOP.WHILE THE CAUSE IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION FIRE OFFICALS SAID IT MAY HAVE BEEN LINKED TO AN OIL BURNER.THE 93 YEAR OLD BUILDING WAS FORMERLY OWNED BY JOHN MANSELL WHO OPERATED MANSELLS WALLPAPER AND PAINT STORE AT THE SITE FOR 42 YEARS BEFORE CLOSING SHOP IN 2000.POTTSVILLE ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF JAMES MISSTISHEN SAID FIREFIGHTERS HAD THE FIRE UNDER CONTROL IN ABOUT 15 MINUTES.TRAFFIC WAS BLOCKED ON CENTERSTREET BETWEEN WEST MARKET AND WEST ARCH STREETS WHILE FIREFIGHTERS WORKED TO CONTROL THE FIRE.

03/21/08

DM FOUR ARRESTED ON MULTIPLE DRUG CHARGES IN SHENADOAH

SHENADOAH POLICE ARRESTED FOUR PEOPLE WEDNESDAY ON MULTIPLE DRUG CHARGES.POLICE SAY THEY EXECUTED A SEARCH WARRANT AT 322 OAK STREET AND ARRESTED 26 YEAR OLD BARBARA ANNE DUGAN OF THE SAME ADDRESS,22 YEAR OLD JUAN MONTAVLO OF READING AND A MAN IDENTIFIED AS JOHN DOE WHO USES AN ALIAS OF JUAN CARLOS MERCADO AGE 33 ALSO OF READING.ALL THREE WERE ARRAIGNED BEFORE DISTRICT MAGISTRATE HAZEL SWISHER ON CHARGES OF POSSESION WITH INTENT TO DELIVER A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE,POSSESION OF A CONTOLLED SUBSTANCE,POSSESION OF A SMALL AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA,POSSESION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA,CRIMINAL CONSPRIACY AND CORRUPTION OF MINORS.A 17 YEAR OLD BOY WAS ALSO CHARGED WITH POSSESION WITH INTENT TO DELIVER AND OTHER CHARGES AND WAS TURNED OVER TO SCH.COUNTY JUVENILE AUTHORITIES.ACCORDING TO POLICE THE SEARCH WARRANT WAS EXECUTED AT DUGANS APARTMENT AS THE RESULT OF AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION.

O3/21/08

DM BODIES OF A MAN AND WOMAN HAVE BEEN FOUND IN A CITY BASEMENT

THE BODIES OF AN UNIDENTIFIED MAN AND WOMAN WERE FOUND IN THE BASEMENT OF A POTTSVILLE APARTMENT HOUSE AT 700 NORTH 13TH STREET THURSDAY AFTERNOON.A MAN WHO POLICE WOULD NOT CHARACTERIZE AS A SUSPECT WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY.ACCORDING TO POLICE NO ONE HAS BEEN CHARGED .NEIGHBORS IDENTIFIED THE MAN TAKEN AWAY IN HANDCUFFS AS NORM NICKLE A FIRST FLOOR TENANT.ACCORDING TO THE REPUBLICAN AND HERALD POLICE WOULD NOT CONFIRM NICKLE WAS THE PERSON IN CUSTODY LATE THURSDAY BUT SAID THE REASON THE MAN WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY WAS BECAUSE HE LIVED ON THE PREMISES WHERE THE BODIES WERE FOUND.POLICE COULD NOT REVEAL THE IDENTITY OF THE DECEASED BECAUSE NOTHING HAS BEEB ESTABLISHED YET AS FAR AS IDENTIFICATION.THE FAMILIES HAVE YET TO IDENTIFY THE BODIES.A PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE FORENSIC SERVICES UNIT FROM READING ASSISTED POTTSVILLE POLICE AT THE SCENE.THE APARTMENT HOUSE IS OWNED BY DAVID AND NOREEN SEMANSKI OF POTTSVILLE.THE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

WPPA / T-102 NEWS / Thursday

03/20/08 EAST UNION TOWNSHIP APPROVES ORDINANCE ON AIRCRAFT BAN

DM

ILLEGAL AND UNENFORCEABLE IS WHAT GLADSTONE PARTNERS LP CALLED A RECENTLY APPROVED AIRCRAFT BAN IN EAST UNION TOWNSHIP.TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS OK’D AN ORDINANCE THAT BANS AIRCRAFT FROM FLYING INTO AND OUT OF THE TOWNSHIP AT THEIR MEETING TUESDAY NIGHT.GLADSTONE WHICH PROPOSED THE AIRPORT REITERATED ITS COMMITMENT TO THE CARGO AIRPORT PROJECT AND REFUTED STATEMENTS MADE AT THE MEETING.IN A STATEMENT MADE BY GLADSTONE THE ACTION OF THE EAST UNION TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS IS SHORT SIGHTED,BACKWARD THINKING,ECONOMICALLY IRRESPONSIBLE AND CONSTITUTIONALLY UNENFORCEABLE.WHEN THEY APPROVED THE LAW TUESDAY NIGHT EAST UNION TOWNSHIP SUPERVIVORS CHAIRMAN EDWARD SHAMANY SAID THE TOWNSHIP EXPECTED THE ORDINANCE MAY GO TO COURT.GLADSTONE SAYS THAT SINCE THE TOWNSHIP DOES NOT HAVE A ZONING HEARING BOARD THE AIR CARGO AIRPORT PROJECT COMES UNDER THE PROVINCE OF THE SCH. COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISION.GLADSTONE WILL SUBMIT ALL REQUIRED INFORMATION TO THE SCH. PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISION FOR REVIEW IN MAY.


03/20/08

DM ORWIGSBURG POLICE WARN OF PHONE SCAM

ORWIGSBURG POLICE HAVE REPORTED RECEIVING SEVERAL CALLS FROM RESIDENTS REGARDING A TELEPHONE SOLICITATION FOR A LOTTERY CONTEST.POLICE SAY THE THE CALLERS ARE TELLING RESISDENTS THAT THEY HAVE WON THE CANADIAN LOTTERY AND ARE ASKING FOR BANK INFORMATION IN ORDER TO CLAIM THE PRIZE.POLICE REMIND EVERYONE NOT TO GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION OVER THE TELEPHONE.


03/20/08

DM BARNESVILLE MAND FACES HARASSMENT CHARGES

A 27 YEAR OLD BARNESVILLE MAN WAS ARRESTED BY STATE POLICE AT FRACKVILLE AND CHARGED WITH HARASSMENT AFTER AN INCIDENT IN THE AREA OF THE YATESVILL COGENERATION PLANT IN MAHANOY TOWNSHIP SUNDAY EVENING.TROOPERS SAY THAT CAINE BROBST WILL HAVE TO ANSWER TO THE CHARGE BEFORE DISTRICT JUDGE HAZEL SWISHER.STATE TROOPERS ARRESTED BROBST AFTER HE PUNCHED 41 YEAR OLD BRIAN ABRACHINSKY OF BARNESVILLE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE FACE.


03/20/08

DM BARNESVILLE MAND FACES HARASSMENT CHARGES

A 27 YEAR OLD BARNESVILLE MAN WAS ARRESTED BY STATE POLICE AT FRACKVILLE AND CHARGED WITH HARASSMENT AFTER AN INCIDENT IN THE AREA OF THE YATESVILL COGENERATION PLANT IN MAHANOY TOWNSHIP SUNDAY EVENING.TROOPERS SAY THAT CAINE BROBST WILL HAVE TO ANSWER TO THE CHARGE BEFORE DISTRICT JUDGE HAZEL SWISHER.STATE TROOPERS ARRESTED BROBST AFTER HE PUNCHED 41 YEAR OLD BRIAN ABRACHINSKY OF BARNESVILLE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE FACE.