Saturday, May 31, 2008

Today's News-Saturday, May 31st

POTTSVILLE - A medical helicopter from Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network's University MedEvac crashed about three minutes to nine Friday night after taking off from the helipad at 14th and Cedar streets in Pottsville. According to reports, the helicopter's flight nurse and flight medic suffered non-life threatening injuries but were taken to Nativity Field at Lawton's Hill and flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown. The pilot was reportedly not injured but was examined at a local hospital. Agents from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the site today. Pottsville firefighters, Pottsville ambulance crews, members of the Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency and representatives from the FAA were at thr scene Friday night. Lehigh Valley Hospital is leasing the Pottsville helipad from Mazzuca Enterprises Inc. MedEvac 7 was moved to from Joe Zerbey Airport in Mount Pleasant to Pottsville in May 2007.

FRACKVILLE - Sunday will be the last day of business at a Schuylkill County Uni-Mart, after the convenience store's parent company announced today that it is closing 45 under-performing locations. The announcement comes a day after State College based Uni-Mart, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Republican Herald reports the Frackville Uni-Mart on South Lehigh Avenue will close for good at the end of the business day Sunday. There is no word yet if the Uni-Mart in Mahanoy City will be closed as well. The Uni-Mart in Ashland is privately owned and will remain open. The company also owns Choice Discount Cigarette outlets and many of those stores could be affected as well. The company has not said yet what other stores will close. They stress only a small percentage of Uni-Mart and Choice stores throughout the region will close.

PINE GROVE - State Rep. Tim Seip will host a public meeting June 4 for area hunters and owners of sporting dogs to hear about proposed changes to Pennsylvania's Dog Law. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 4 at Schuylkill County Park in the Sweet Arrow Lake clubhouse. In attendance will be Jessie Smith, special deputy secretary of agriculture for dog law enforcement, and staff of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Committee Chairman Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, may attend if that day's House session schedule permits. Additional directions to the meeting site are available by visiting Seip's Web site:

UNION TOWNSHIP - A driver who fell asleep while driving crashed early Friday morning in Union Township. 29-year-old Charles Bartusik of Zion Grove was driving his truck on Ferndale Road when he fell asleep and sheared off a utility pole. State police report that he was wearing his seatbelt, and was not injured. However, Bartusik will be cited for careless driving. The crash happened at 3am.

PORT CARBON - The Mechanicsville Hut was burglarized recently. Police say that equipment used in their bingo operation was taken. Port Carbon police report that items stolen during the break in on May 15th included video and audio equipment valued at $17-hundred-dollars. Anyone with information should contact Port Carbon police at 622-5411.

CASS TOWNSHIP - A California man escaped injury in a truck crash early Friday morning in Cass Township. Ever Diaz of Asuza, California was traveling west on Highridge Road. The brakes on his vehicle locked up while traveling down the hill, and lost control of the rig. Diaz' vehicle flipped onto its passenger's side and traveled through the intersection. The crash happened around 4:40am Friday.

SINGAPORE (AP) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates says responsibility for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Myanmar lies solely with the military junta. He blames the government for blocking international aid after a devastating cyclone four weeks ago.

MIANYANG, China (AP) - Nearly 200,000 people have been evacuated in China because of a flood threat from a lake created by the May 12th earthquake. More than a million others are being told they may have to get out in a hurry. The confirmed death toll has gone up again to just under 69,000.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic party leaders meet in Washington today to figure out what to do about Michigan and Florida. Both states are currently banned from sending delegates to the August convention because they held their primaries too early.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The long round of Democratic primaries and caucuses is about to end. Puerto Rico votes tomorrow. South Dakota and Montana hold the final primaries Tuesday. Barack Obama campaigns in South Dakota today and Hillary Clinton is in Puerto Rico, where she's expected to do well tomorrow.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) - Space Shuttle Discovery is set for liftoff shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern time. Astronauts on the international space station will be happy to see a new pump coming up with it to fix a balky toilet.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Nearly two-dozen vehicles have been involved in a chain-reaction pileup near New Orleans, caused when a dump truck spilled a load of mud inside a traffic tunnel. Eighteen people were taken to hospitals, including a woman in labor.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Emergency crews have been going through an Indianapolis apartment building heavily damaged in violent storms overnight. Winds estimated at more than 70 miles-per-hour knocked down trees and power lines, leaving thousands in the dark.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A 13-year-old boy from Indiana is the latest winner of the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. Sameer Mishra correction spelled the word "guerdon (GURD'-in) last night." It means "something that one has earned or gained," like a spelling championship.

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - Dozens of mothers in a polygamist group in Texas who thought they'd be getting their children back soon, will have to wait a while longer. A Texas judge is holding up a compromise agreement until the women all sign it, and they are now scattered around the state.

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - The pilot of a small plane is hospitalized in North Carolina after his plane crashed on Interstate 85 near Durham. Richard Fuller was the only one on board when the plane went down. He's listed in critical condition.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actor Charlie Sheen is married for the third time. He tied the knot with real-estate investor Brooke Mueller Friday night.

CORRENS, France (AP) - So did Angelina Jolie deliver newborn twins yesterday in France? The TV show Entertainment Tonight maintains she did, but a manager for husband Brad Pitt says it's not true. Jolie has said she's not due until August.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Today's News-Friday, May 30th

Catholic churches in the Diocese of Allentown will learn more about structuring plans for their parishes this weekend. A press release issued by the church's headquarters yesterday indicates that letters will be read from Bishop Edward Cullen about the changes that congregations will undergo in the months to come. The restructuring plans were developed by committees of each regional Deanery and reviewed by the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Council of Priests. The more than two year process addresses a growing shortage of priests, projected for the more than 151 parishes in the Diocese. The process is not yet finished, according to the press release from the Allentown Diocese. The plans will also be posted on the Diocese Web site, after noon on Sunday.

Two hot button issues were discussed last night in the North Schuylkill School District. A crowd of about 100 people attended the meeting, to discuss the closing of the Ringtown Elementary School. The board brought the issue up earlier this month, planning to move the 140 elementary students to the new school at the Fountain Springs campus. Four years ago, the district said that they wouldn't make the move. Now, the students will have a new home in August, according to the Republican and Herald. A proposed dress code for students was rejected by the North Schuylkill board last night, after public input was heard. A first reading of the policy had been ratified by the board earlier.

A St. Clair man was arrested earlier this week for possessing a concealed weapon in Minersville. Borough police say that 55-year-old Gregory Sharockman was involved in a disturbance after entering a home on North Street. When officers arrived, Sharockman was carrying a 9 millimeter pistol.
He was taken into custody and arraigned on charges of carrying a firearm without a license, disorderly conduct and harrassment. Sharockman posted bail and was released. Minersville police were assisted by officers from St. Clair and Cass/Foster Township.

Pottsville police arrested two men following an altercation in the city Wednesday night. A woman was injured. Officers were called to the 400 block of West Market Street, where the woman was lying unconscious in the street with a head injury. Witnesses say that two black men had been fighting, and one had punched the woman, knocking her to the ground. Police found the pair, 18 year old Iashe Thompson of Mahanoy City, and a juvenile male hiding in a house on West Race Street. Thompson was arraigned on a host of charges, including criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. He was taken to Schuylkill County Prison. The juvenile was arraigned on assault and related offenses, and was handed over to the custody of juvenile authorities. He was taken to the Berks County Juvenile Detention Facility. The woman was taken to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.

State police are investigating a case of theft by deception on line, affecting a Donaldson man. Schuylkill Haven state police report that a 53-year-old man, who is not being identified, applied for a loan to purchase a home via an online lender. The man reportedly had to send nine payments to an address in Ontario, Canada over the past month. He then realized that he had been ripped off for more than $83-hundred-dollars. The investigation is continuing.

The state House returns to Harrisburg Monday after the Memorial Day recess. One Schuylkill County legislator is concerned about the slow pace of the budget negotiations, as Mike Davies reports:

DAVIES (click to listen)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jurors in Philadelphia are considering the case against a former teenage skinhead accused of driving to North Philadelphia nearly 20 years ago to kill a random black person and "earn" a spiderweb tattoo. Several witnesses told federal authorities that 35-year-old defendant Thomas Gibison of Newark, Del., had bragged of such a slaying.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation says it will add 135 jobs in Pittsburgh to its treasury services group. The company pledged to create 1,000 to 2,000 new jobs in the Pittsburgh area after it was formed in January 2007. The corporation was formed when The Bank of New York acquired the Pittsburgh-based Mellon Financial Corporation.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown has received a donation of $12 million from an anonymous alumnus for scholarships for commuter students. The estate gift was the largest in the school's 81-year history and will pay for tuition, books and fees for about 40 commuter students annually. Tuition and fees for commuter students at the university currently cost $11,300 per academic year.

PIPERSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has canceled today's scheduled campaign event in Bucks County. McCain was to have visited Worth & Co., a mechanical contracting and maintenance company in Pipersille. But McCain's campaign says the candidate has a cold. Instead, he will campaign in Wisconsin today. He'll return to the Philadelphia area in the near future.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will open Mellon Arena for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals so fans can watch the team play the Detroit Red Wings on the Jumbotron. Game 5 will be played Monday at 8 p.m. in Detroit. The team says $5 general admission tickets will go on sale today at 10 a.m. Proceeds will go to the Mario Lemieux Foundation for cancer and neonatal research.

UNDATED (AP) - Another day. Another penny. Another record for soaring gasoline prices. Triple-A's daily Fuel Gauge report puts the average price of regular at $3.96 cents a gallon. That's a penny more than yesterday.

CHENGDU, China (AP) - China says it plans an evacuation drill tomorrow in the earthquake region, in case it needs to order the real thing. The government says more than one million people may have to leave due to a flood threat caused by a dammed-up lake.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - The U.N. has a new complaint about Myanmar's response to cyclone victims. The U.N. says Myanmar is forcing people to leave refugee camps and dumping them back near their devastated villages with virtually no aid.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic party leaders say the presidential nominating campaign should end quickly after Tuesday's final primaries. They want uncommitted delegates to make up their minds. Hillary Clinton campaigns in Puerto Rico today. Barack Obama stops in Montana.

TOKYO (AP) - If it weren't for the disappearing food, a homeless woman living in a closet in Japan might still be there. Authorities say the woman sneaked into a man's house and lived undetected in his closet for a year. He got suspicious when his food started disappearing. The woman has been arrested.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today's News- Thursday, May 29th

DUI fines that were deposited in Schuylkill County's General Fund will be transferred into accounts for the county Prison and Drug and Alcohol program for their exclusive use. The County Commissioners adopted the necessary resolutions during their Wednesday meeting, after learning of the problem during last week's prison board meeting. Commissioners Chairwomen Mantura Gallagher said the funds will be split evenly between the two and will be put to good use:

Gallagher #1 (click to listen)

Gallagher credited County Administrator Darlene Dolzani with discovering that nearly $200-Thousand Dollars in DUI fines were placed in the general fund over the last several years, instead of the separate accounts as required by state law:

Gallagher # 2 (click to listen)

A Pottsville man was injured in a motorcycle crash Wednesday night in Norwegian Township. 30-year-old Allen Johns was driving his Harley Davidson bike on Ann Street in the township around 10:45pm, when he laid the motorcycle down on its left side while negotiating a sharp curve. The cycle slid 60 feet before striking the guiderail. Johns was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Several sick employees at the county courthouse prompted a visit from Pottsville firefighters yesterday. After the reports of workers feeling dizzy and nauseous, officials contacted Pottsville fire officials to check the building for carbon monoxide, according to the Republican and Herald. The courthouse is heated by coal, known to give off carbon monoxide fumes. A room to room check found no traces of the odorless, colorless gas. Officials believe that some form of virus was the cause of the employees illness.

An Ashland man, charged by federal authorities for running a drug ring, is out of jail, but subject to electronic monitoring. 46-year-old Michael Stockunas was charged by the US Attorney's office for running a gambling operation to fund a large methamphetamine distribution network. Stockunas had been jailed last week on counts of conspiracy, distrubuting meth, illegal gambling and money laundering. But, a federal judge yesterday released him, placing him under electronic monitoring and restricting contact with others involved in the case, among other conditions. Stockunas' arrest came after a cooperative effort between federal, state and local authorities, along with witnesses testimony. A federal judge has been assigned the case.

A Hazleton man was injured in a crash in East Union Township yesterday afternoon. Frackville state police indicate that 31 year old Christhian Denunez was pulling out of the Office Max Warehouse lot onto Green Mountain Road, into the path of a truck operated by Carlos Diaz of New Jersey. The truck hit Denunez's Jeep, forcing it into a drainage ditch. Denunez was injured, but the extent of those injuries is unknown. The crash happened at noontime Wednesday.

Frackville state police are looking for a burglar who tried to rob a Girardville home Tuesday. Just before 10pm, Sarah Hennessy was walking toward her home on Pine Street when she saw a man fleeing from the rear of the building. Apparently, the man gained access to the property through a rear door. The man is described as being 6 feet tall, thin build, with dark hair, wearing a light orange shirt and jean shorts. Anyone with information should call the Frackville barracks at 874-5300.

Today is 529 College Savings Plan Day in Pennsylvania, a day to learn more about saving for your children's college education. Lauren Rooney has more:

ROONEY (click to listen)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Thirteen states, including Pennsylvania, are taking the EPA to court. They're suing to overturn federal ozone standards that the states say are too weak. The federal lawsuit says the Environmental Protection Agency's new smog-control standards are not stringent enough to protect the elderly, children, and people with respiratory problems.

WASHINGTON (AP) - While cities are hot spots for global warming, people living in them turn out to be greener than their country cousins. Researchers at the Brookings Institution say in a report being released today that each resident of the 100 largest metropolitans areas is responsible on average for nearly two and a half tons of carbon dioxide in energy consumption each year. That's 14 percent below the U.S. average.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A new report says climate change could worsen a litany of problems plaguing the Great Lakes. Troubles range from low water levels to depleted fish populations. The report was released by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which represents more than 100 advocacy groups. The U.S. Senate is preparing to debate global warming legislation next week.

HOMER CITY, Pa. (AP) - The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a fish kill in a stream that supplies drinking water to Homer City and other nearby communities in Indiana County. Officials with the Central Indiana Water Authority say recent water tests from the Big Yellow Creek are normal. That's why officials are mystified by the deaths of 1,000 fish in a four-mile stretch of the creek on Tuesday.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Mayor Michael Nutter's administration is suspending land-acquisition activities by Philadelphia's ambitious anti-blight program pending an audit. The audit will look at the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative enacted by former Mayor John Street. The program was designed to demolish blighted buildings and package property for development to revitalize neighborhoods.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The economy picked up a little steam during the first three months of the year, but was still plodding along. The Commerce Department says the gross domestic product -- the measure of all goods and services -- rose at an annual rate of nine-tenths of a percent. That's a bit better than the initial estimate and stronger than in the final quarter of last year.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the latest administration official to weigh in on an insider's book that charges that the American public was misled about going to war with Iraq. While she would not comment specifically on charges made by ex-press secretary Scott McClellan, she did say President Bush was honest and forthright about the reasons for the war. She also says she's convinced that toppling Saddam Hussein was right and

BAGHDAD (AP) - Officials say at least 16 men were killed and 14 others were wounded today when a bomber blew himself up in a crowd of police recruits in northwestern Iraq. While nobody has claimed responsibility, officials say it appears to be the work of al-Qaida in Iraq.

NEWTON, Mass. (AP) - Investigators are looking into the cause of yesterday's commuter train wreck near Boston, which left the operator of a trolley dead and several passengers injured. Officials say the two-car trolley piled into the back of another two-car train approaching a station during the evening rush hour.

BOSTON ( AP) - A Dunkin' Donuts ad featuring Rachael Ray has disappeared from the Internet. The coffee and baked goods chain pulled the ad after complaints that the celebrity chef's fringed black-and-white scarf looks like the Arab headdress popularized by Yasser Arafat. Critics claim it offers symbolic support for Muslim extremism and terrorism.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Today's News-Wednesday, May 28th

Graffiti artists vandalized Tremont borough property over the weekend. Borough officials are offering a reward of $25-hundred-dollars for the arrest and conviction of the individuals who spray painted obscene art at the municipal building and the letters KKK at the bottom of the borough pool, according to the Republican and Herald. Officials believe that the vandalism took place between Friday and Saturday. The pool is slated to open by mid-June. The damages are estimated to be around $1-thousand-dollars.

A Tamaqua man will stand trial for pushing another into a mine last month. 23-year-old Richard George waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday on charges that he pushed 23-year-old Nathan Bowman into the hole after the two men argued on April 25th. George is charged with aggravated and simple assault and other offenses. Bowman suffered broken bones and head injuries in the incident.

State police are investigating criminal mischief at an area elementary school over the Memorial Day holiday. Schuylkill Haven troopers say that playground equipment at Blue Mountain Elementary west was damaged sometime over the long weekend. Estimates of damages are at $800 dollars. The investigation as to who damaged the sliding boards is continuing.

Firefighters in Schuylkill Haven were called to a borough manufacturing plant for an oven fire last night. Reports indicate that the oven caught fire at Draka Cableteq on Willow Street, the former Tamaqua Cable Company before 10pm. The blaze didn't cause much damage, but smoke forced employees out of the building. There were no injuries.

A rash of fires in Port Carbon over the past month prompted residents and borough officials to rally the troops to find out who set them. A special meeting was held last night to discuss the fires, which included several brush fires, two trash bin fires and four structure fires. The most recent, a garage fire, was set on Saturday. Officials don't have any suspects as yet, according to the Republican and Herald. But, they are asking all residents of Port Carbon to keep their eyes and ears open for any suspicious activities, and to report them to police immediately.

The Coaldale American Legion Home Association has been charged with possessing gambling machines. The Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement in Allentown released the information that the organization permitted gambling on its premises, relating to a March 19th incident. Among the charges filed were possessing or operating gambling devices, permitting gambling, pool selling and lotteries and other offenses. The charges could bring fines and a possible license suspension.

Next week, experts will gather for a working conference to address the environmental impact of the state's agricutural production. A specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences says, even if you're not a farmer, you can weigh in on the state's environmental future. Gary Abdullah has more:

ABDULLAH (click to listen)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The cable TV box is moving toward extinction. A leading television manufacturer, Sony Electronics, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association say they've signed an agreement with the nation's six largest cable companies, including Comcast. It will allow viewers to rid themselves of set-top boxes, yet still receive "two-way" cable services, such as pay-per-view movies.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - There's a shake-up in Luzerne County's juvenile court. President Judge Mark Ciavarella will no longer preside over juvenile cases. He faced intense criticism recently, including claims that he failed to tell juveniles they had the right to a lawyer. Luzerne County Judge David Lupas will take over juvenile court matters starting today.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A local Boy Scouts chapter embroiled in a battle over gay rights is suing the city of Philadelphia to avoid eviction from their headquarters. The federal lawsuit seeks to stop the city from evicting the Scouts or from charging the group about $200,000 a year in rent. The Scouts currently pay $1 annually for the space. The city says it cannot keep subsidizing the rent of a private group that discriminates.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh-area sports radio host Mark Madden has been permanently taken off the air by ESPN. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has quoted Madden as saying he had hoped Sen. Edward Kennedy "would live long enough to be assassinated." The Massachusetts Democrat has a brain tumor. Madden made the remark during his show Wednesday.

SPRINGBORO, Pa. (AP) - The Crawford County coroner says a grinding machine wheel exploded and killed a man at a factory. Coroner Pat McHenry says the victim, 35-year-old Michael Robinson, of Conneautville, was working at Erie Tool & Forge near Springboro when the explosion happened shortly before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. McHenry ruled the death accidental due to multiple blunt force trauma.

WHITE HOUSE (AP) - President Bush is in the Rocky Mountain region today. He'll speak at the Air Force Academy's commencement and also hit two fundraisers for John McCain in Utah.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Democratic Party analysis says the rules require Michigan and Florida to lose at least half their convention delegates for holding their primaries too early. Hillary Clinton won the majority of the vote in both states and says their delegates should be fully restored.

CHARLESTON, W.V. (AP) - Across the country, natural gas companies and speculators are trying to lock up long-ignored drilling rights. But, stories of fast-talking industry representatives using scare tactics to strong-arm people into
signing lowball leases are on the rise.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) - The mother of a college student missing in Vermont says her son's body has been found in a creek. Police confirm a wallet found on the body belonged to 19-year-old Nicholas Garza. An autopsy is scheduled today.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - An Israeli tourist who stripped naked when New Zealand road workers whistled at her is now in a mental health unit after a second incident. The woman was arrested Friday night after allegedly stubbing out a cigarette in the face of a bar worker.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today's News-Tuesday, May 27th

A truck became wedged under the Cressona railroad bridge yesterday afternoon, snarling Memorial Day traffic. After 3pm, a box truck delivering Chinese food was caught under the 11 foot, 8 inch underpass on Route 183. State police report that the driver, Chao Jiang, had difficulty speaking English, and may have not understood the warning signs of the approaching underpass. No one was injured. Additional signage was placed in both directions last month to warn truckers of the impending bridge.

A Pottsville man is lodged in county prison after he made repeat calls to 9-1-1. Pottsville police were notified that 39-year-old Joseph Sadusky of Race Street was continuously calling the emergency number and Schuylkill Haven state police. He had no emergency, and was told to stop, but failed to do so. Sadusky was taken into custody at his home, and attempted to strike a Pottsville police officer and made threats to kill him. He was charged with making false alarms to public agencies, persistent disorderly conduct and making terroristic threats.

With 11 suspicious fires since April 9th, police and fire officials in one part of Schuylkill County have scheduled a town meeting to ask residents to keep an eye out for anyone or anything suspicious in their neighborhoods. Port Carbon police Chief Jon Bowman says the meeting will be at 7 p.m. today at borough hall. At the meeting, all the suspicious activity will be explained and a plan will be formulated to find those responsible. Bowman says all of the fires have been nuisance fires with the exception of a blaze at 8:25 a.m. Saturday that destroyed a garage and its contents on Spruce Street. The fire caused over $12-thousand dollars in damage. Authorities believe the fires can be the action of school-age children since the blazes occur after school hours and not too late in the night or early in the morning. Anyone with information on those responsible for setting the fires are asked to call police at 622-5411 or the Schuylkill County 9-1-1 Center.

Pottsville police arrested a city man Friday night for assaulting his girlfriend. Officers now say that a domestic disturbance took place on Peacock Street, where 31-year-old Carla Wolak and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Scott Sargent, were arguing. The fight escalated, and Sargent began hitting Wolak with his fists, choked and kicked her. He also threatened to burn her house down, and tried to light carpeting in the home on fire. Sargent fled the scene before police arrived, but was apprehended a short time later. He was arraigned on charges of simple assault and making terroristic threats. Sargent was taken to Schuylkill County Prison.

A Shamokin couple, driving an ATV, was injured when the vehicle crashed yesterday near Trevorton. Stonington state police report that Donna and Scott Fisher were riding in a stripping area in Zerbe Township around 4:30pm when the vehicle went over a steep embankment covered with large rocks. Donna Fisher, the driver, was life flighted to Geisinger Medical Center, while Scott Fisher was taken to the same hospital via ambulance. State police believe that the couple were not wearing helmets.

A Schuylkill Haven man suffered minor injuries when his car struck a stone wall yesterday in Wayne Township. 19-year-old Ryan Malone was westbound on Route 895, approaching a curve. Malone told Schuylkill Haven state police that a large group of motorcycles were approaching from an easterly direction on Fair Road, and several were in his lane. He swerved to avoid them, and struck a stone wall and utility pole. The crash happened around 6:45 Monday night. A New Jersey man and woman were injured in separate ATV accidents Sunday afternoon in Northumberland County. Stonington state police say that in the first accident, 48-year-old Robert Bishop Jr. of Asbury, New Jersey was riding on Reading Anthracite property, known as the Sand Pit in Zerbe Township round 3pm. Bishop was negotiating a steep downhill trail when he lost control and was thrown from the ATV. The second mishap occurred about a half hour later in the same area. 28-year-old Heather Cordes of Annandale, New Jersey, struck a rock with her ATV. She was thrown from the ATV. Bishop was life flighted to Geisinger Medical Center. Cordes was taken to the hospital for treatment of a knee injury.

Police: Church leader shot to death at fundraiser

NEWARK, Del. (AP) - A Pennsylvania man is accused of fatally shooting the leader of a church over religious differences. Delaware State Police say 58-year-old Monir George of White Hall, Pa., shot 63-year-old Malak Michael of Bear, Del., once in the upper chest Sunday evening. It happened during a fundraiser to for building a new house of worship for St. Mary Coptic Church. Police say George had two handguns and 10 magazines consisting of 150 rounds of ammunition and he fired three shots before bystanders subdued him. Police say Michael was taken to Christiana Hospital, where he died. George was charged early Monday with first-degree murder and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was ordered held without bail.

Major changes urged in transracial adoption

NEW YORK (AP) - Several child welfare groups are urging an overhaul of federal laws dealing with transracial adoption. They argue that black children in foster care are ill-served by a "colorblind" approach meant to encourage their adoption by white families. A key recommendation in a new report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute calls for amending the law so race could be considered as a factor in selecting parents for children from foster care. The change also would allow race-oriented pre-adoption training. John Mould and Margaret Geiger, an Ambler, Pa., couple, have two white biological children and five black adopted children. Mould says he worries about any changes that might make training and screening requirements too rigid. He says there are many children in need of homes and perfect matches aren't always out there.

Study aims to find health needs of troops from rural areas

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - Washington & Jefferson College researchers want to find out what behavioral health needs troops returning to rural areas in southwestern Pennsylvania may have. Mary Ann Lauffer is coordinating the Combat Stress Intervention Program, a three-year research project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. Lauffer says it's normal for troops returning from war to have transition difficulties. The project's first step is hearing from their family members or significant others. Researchers want adult family members or the significant others of National Guard or Reserve personnel who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom from January 2003 to December 2007 to share their opinions at four sessions in Cambria and Fayette counties this month and next month.

Cause of fire that killed 10 in Jefferson Co. still unknown

PITTSBURGH (AP) - State police fire marshals are waiting for laboratory results before they can determine the cause of a Jefferson County house fire that killed 10 people. Police spokesman Bruce Morris says it's unknown how long it will take for results to be made available to the fire marshals investigating the April 3 blaze in Brockway. Investigators say the fire, which began in the living room, isn't suspicious. Space heaters were being used and gas service had been shut off in 2005. Nine victims were from one family and most were children.

Young firebugs in central Pa. program get counseling, help

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - When Dan Soulier interviewed a girl suspected of starting a fire at a public housing complex, he found a chaotic home life that included violence and prostitution. Soulier, an assistant fire chief in Harrisburg, says the girl "was fighting for survival." He says he knew he didn't have the expertise to help her. Soulier helped organize a counseling program for potential firebugs that has enrolled more than 200 juveniles from several counties since 2005. Many suffer from anger, depression or other mental health problems. The South Central Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program works to educate and rehabilitate children who are prone to starting fires or playing with matches. The number of referrals is rising, from 56 in 2005 to 86 last year.

Andrew Wyeth granddaughter gives one-of-a-kind museum tours

CHADDS FORD, Pa. (AP) - Looking for the inside scoop on some famous American artists? Then head over to the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford. That's where Victoria Wyeth shares her insight on art by three generations of her relatives. The 29-year-old tour guide is the great-grandchild of N.C. Wyeth, only grandchild of Andrew Wyeth and the niece of Jamie Wyeth. The museum has hundreds of pieces by the Wyeths, who are often called the first family in American art. Victoria Wyeth gives her one-of-a-kind tours six days a week. She regales visitors with unscripted stories about what inspired the paintings and the unconventional ways they came to be. But don't look for any of her work on the walls. She doesn't paint.

High gas prices have more police officers back on bicycles

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Since even the long arm of the law can't rein in fuel prices, some police departments are dusting off their bikes and turning to pedal power. In the tiny western Pennsylvania borough of Hollidaysburg, police Chief Jeff Ketner says high gas prices prompted him to resume daily bike patrols several weeks ago. The department's regular bike patrol had fallen by the wayside and was mainly being used for special events. Ketner resurrected the program after realizing he was on pace to go $6,000 over budget on the department's four vehicles by the end of the year. Hollidaysburg Sgt. David Gehret says there's another advantage: It keeps officers in better shape.

Jazz, blues organist Jimmy McGriff dies at 72

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Longtime jazz and blues organist Jimmy McGriff has died. The Philadelphia native known for the 1960s recordings of "I've Got a Woman" and "All About My Girl" was 72. According to his Web site, McGriff was born in Philadelphia's Germantown neighborhood and started a music career in the late 1950s. He left the music business for a while and worked as a motorcycle policeman. But a friend, fellow organist Richard "Groove" Holmes, talked him into coming back to his music career. His recording of "I Got A Woman" on Sue Records became one of McGriff's greatest hits. McGriff's death on Saturday was confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday by his wife, Margaret McGriff. They lived in the Philadelphia suburb of Voorhees, N.J.

PHOENIX (AP) - President Bush will be headlining three different fundraisers in the Phoenix area today on behalf of Republican John McCain's presidential campaign. McCain himself will be at only one of them.

UNDATED (AP) - Barack Obama continues his swing through the southwest with a campaign stop in Nevada today. Yesterday he was in New Mexico. Hillary Clinton is back on the mainland from Puerto Rico and has a campaign event scheduled in Montana today.

LONDON (AP) - Hundreds of truckers plan to jam part of central London to protest the rising price of fuel. They want the government to compensate truck drivers for the soaring cost of gas, which is equal to about nine dollars a gallon.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A van ran a red light and smashed into a second van, causing a fiery six-vehicle collision that killed five people in Los Angeles. Several others were sent to the hospital in critical condition.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sydney Pollack is being remembered today not just as a Hollywood legend, but also for being what George Clooney calls a "class act." The Academy Award winning director succumbed to cancer at the age of 73 yesterday.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Today's News-Saturday, May 24th

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY - Its the unofficial kickoff to the summer. But Memorial Day is so much more. The federal holiday, marked on the last Monday of May, was originally known as Decoration Day, to honor Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. After World War One, it was changed to honor all men and women who gave the last full measure and died in military service, and to pay tribute to those who served our country. Parades, ceremonies and observances will take place in nearly every community in Schuylkill County. We owe those who died, and those who have served, a truly sincere debt of gratitude and thanks for protecting our freedom. If you see a veteran today, thank them for their service. And have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

POTTSVILLE - Schuylkill County Prison employees thwarted an escape attempt Wednesday, according to Warden Eugene Berdanier. According to a press release issued Friday, Berdanier said a correctional officer discovered a cell window had been "tampered with" during a routine cell check Wednesday morning. After a search of the cell, corrections officers found the cell's inmates were hatching an escape plan. As reported in the Republican Herald, the window was "intentionally damaged … to compromise the security of the window for use as an escape route," the press release stated. Corrections officers also found a homemade, 30-foot rope in the cell. Pottsville police are conducting an investigation and Berdanier said criminal charges against the inmates, who were not identified, are pending. No further information was available Friday.

ASHLAND - An Ashalnd man has been charged on various drug related counts by federal prosecutors. The U.S. Attorney's office filed charges against 46-year-old Michael Stockunas of distributing methamphetamine, illegal gambling and money laundering. A federal grand jury handed down the indictments Wednesday, according to the Republican and Herald. From January, 2004 until this year, Stockunas would gather methamphetamine from California, Nevada and in Pennsylvania, and distribute it across the county. He allegedly used bookmaking profits to pay for the drugs. If found guily, Stockunas could face a long prison sentence and possible forfeiture of a million dollars. A hearing is expected next week in federal court.

CRESSONA - Transportation for three area schools was disrupted due to vandalism Friday. We first reported to you early yesterday that unknown individuals left the air out of tires, and damaged valve stems on more than a dozen buses at R&J Transportation, causing the start of classes to be delayed two hours for Blue Mountain, Schuylkill Haven and St. Ambrose schools. Several field trips had to be cancelled for those schools. Sometime overnight Thursday, the vandals entered the company property along Route 183. R&J is the bus contractor for the districts. While it is not certain, several buses had the number "08" painted on the back of the bus windows, possibly a prank by graduating seniors. State police at Schuylkill Haven are investigating.

TAMAQUA - PennDOT is planning to update motorists about improvements to Route 309 next week. A public plans display will be held Tuesday from 7 to 9pm at the Tamaqua Community Center , 223 Center Street. Engineers will discuss plans for Route 309 in the business district, designed to reduce congestion. PennDOT estimates that average daily traffic volumes exceed 14 thousand cars in downtown Tamaqua.

NEW YORK (AP) - The summer driving season is under way and gas prices continue to climb. In previous years, prices would peak around Memorial Day. Now, the best bet is they'll continue to go up into the summer. The average as of yesterday was $3.88 a gallon.

WINDSOR, Colo. (AP) - There are no reports of injuries from a set of tornadoes that rolled through parts of Kansas last night. It's the second straight night that twisters have hit the region.

YINGXIU, China (AP) - The earthquake death toll in China has surpassed the 60,000 mark. And China's premier says it could eventually break 80,000. The estimate is an increase over what officials had previously said was the expected number of deaths.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Foreign aid agencies are expressing hope, but also skepticism, about a promise by Myanmar's military government to open its doors to outside cyclone relief help. Agencies are calling on the government to clarify the rules for operating in Myanmar's devastated areas.

SILVER LAKE, Wis. (AP) - Three children, their school bus driver and a trucker have been seriously injured in a crash in Silver Lake, Wisconsin. The bus was stopped with its lights flashing yesterday when a semi hit it from behind. Authorities think the trucker had been choking on some soda.

GILROY, Calif. (AP) - Fire crews are struggling to gain control of a persistent wildfire in California's Santa Cruz Mountains. The five-square-mile blaze has torched 28 buildings, most of them homes. Only about a-quarter of the fire is under control. Gusty winds have hampered firefighting efforts.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - More than 45 countries and regional organizations are planning to take part in a donors conference in Myanmar tomorrow to gather funds for cyclone survivors. Myanmar's rulers estimate the losses from the storm at about 11 billion dollars, although relief officials doubt that's accurate.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Pennsylvania soldier who gave his life to save those of his comrades in Iraq will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Nineteen-year-old Army Private First Class Ross McGinnis jumped on a grenade that had sailed into a Humvee. The explosive killed him, but the four other soldiers in the vehicle survived.

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Two missing scuba divers from the U.S. and Britain have been rescued after spending a night floating in the ocean over Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The man and woman were spotted today, nine miles from their dive site after an 18-hour search.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both campaign in Puerto Rico today. Clinton has apologized for a reference to the assassination of Robert Kennedy who was gunned down while campaigning in June 1968. Clinton was trying to explain why she shouldn't drop out.

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - A minor leaguer is on his way from Calgary, Canada, to Texas after being traded this week for the unlikely price of a bag of bats. John Odom is headed to the Laredo Broncos who got him from the Calgary Vipers for 10 maple-wood bats. Odom says he "doesn't really care" about his small price. And he says it'll make a better story if he makes it to the big leagues.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Today's News-Friday, May 23rd

Three area schools were placed on a two hour delay today due to vandalism at their bus contractor. Schuylkill Haven, Blue Mountain and St. Ambrose all had the start of classes delayed because of reports of vandalism with the buses that the schools use. Additional details are unavailable at this time.

There is now a dress and grooming policy in the Blue Mountain School District. Directors made it official at a meeting of the board last night, according to the Republican and Herald. Blue Mountain joins Tamaqua and Minersville districts in adding these policies to provide safety and uniformity for their student population. According to Blue Mountain Superintendent Dr. Joyce Romberger, parents were mostly supportive of the changes, which will be effective when school resumes in August. Among the items that will not be allowed at Blue Mountain are jeans, athletic wear, hooded sweatshirts, open toed shoes and flourescent hair.

A Hometown woman has admitted to taking money from a school organization. 34-year-old Melissa Gensure entered guilty pleas yesterday in Schuylkill County Court to taking over $34-thousand-dollars from the Tamaqua Elementary PTO. Gensure wrote checks from the PTO group to herself, and failed to make deposits of more than $17-thousand-dollars during a two year period. Counts against Gensure included improper solicitation of funds, failure to make required deposits, theft and receiving stolen property. Several charges of theft by deception and forgery were dropped. Judge Jacqueline Russell said that Gensure will be sentenced within the next few months.

A Pottsville man pleaded guilty in Schuylkill County Court to charges of corrupting the morals of a minor. 19-year-old Kristian Carl was charged by Pottsville police last November of having sexual relations with a 15 year old girl, after she ran away from home and stayed with Carl. The Republican and Herald reports that Carl had contended that he was a werewolf/vampire when originally charged. He now denies those claims. Judge D. Michael Stine placed Carl on three years probation, pay costs and a fine, and undergo a sex offender treatment program.

A Shenandoah doctor will serve time in jail for providing prescription drugs to his wife. According to court records, Dr. Adolph Wychulis pleaded guilty to selling/giving a controlled substance to a drug dependent person and other offenses. The state Attorney General filed the charges against Wychulis of giving Oxycontin and Duragesic to his wife Nancy during 2004 and 2005. She got the prescriptions filled using her mother's ACCESS card to pay for them. Dr. Wychulis was sentenced to serve 18 to 36 months in state prison.

Frackville state police are looking for a hit and run driver involved in a crash earlier this week. Troopers say that Tuesday night, the unidentified vehicle struck a wooden shed along Mount Olive Boulevard in William Penn, then fled the scene. The car is believed to be a Volkswagen Jetta, teal blue in color. Anyone with information should contact state police at 874-5300.

He was bankrupt once. Now, Dave Ramsey shares his experiences with listeners and viewers all across the country, how to get out of debt. Ramsey, a Tenneessee native had the world by the tail, buying real estate, building debt and living the American dream. Then, his world came crashing down, and he was broke. Now, he provides tough love and solutions for people who are in a financial hole. Ramsey, an author and motiviational speaker, hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, heard on WPPA, weekdays from 3 to 6pm. He explains why people get into the financial mess they do:


Dave Ramsey travels the country with his Financial Peace University program, and is also seen on Fox Business Network weeknights at 8pm.

Pa. moms sentenced for fire that killed 5 children

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Two women whose house burned down while they were at a bar, killing five of their children, have received sentences of one to two years.
Shakita Mangham and Furaha Love were also sentenced Thursday to five years' probation. The 26-year-old mothers pleaded no contest in February to involuntary manslaughter for the June fire. The women left the children in the care of two 8-year-old boys and initially told police the children were with a baby sitter. An investigation revealed they had lied. Authorities say the fire was started by children playing with matches.

Pittsburgh's mayor will pay his own way for Stanley Cup playoff tickets

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins' first trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 16 years has some city officials wringing their hands -- and not about the outcome of the games. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl wants to attend the two games guaranteed to be played in Pittsburgh, but was concerned he'd run afoul of ethics rules if he accepted gift tickets or paid for them using campaign funds. As a result, Ravenstahl says he'll pay his own way, at $350 a pop, to attend Games 3 and 4 at Mellon Arena. An ongoing squabble over how billboards are regulated in the city has also squelched plans to hang giant banners picturing
Sidney Crosby and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from a couple of large buildings downtown. The posters were to be sponsored by Reebok. Cities face uphill battle making police firings stick

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Just two weeks after the videotaped beating of three suspects, Philadelphia's new police commissioner fired four officers, suspended three others and demoted a sergeant. But if history proves the rule, most of the officers may never lose a day's pay. Two of the fired officers were recent hires who were on probation and have no appeal rights, but that's not true of the others. Criminologists and civil-rights lawyers say the appeals process over police discipline in Philadelphia and some other U.S. cities tends to favor officers. They say police unions often have more experienced labor lawyers than city law departments. Witnesses and evidence dry up as the appeals drag on for years. And arbitrators who judge the cases often try to reach compromises.

2 US carriers postpone launch of new China routes

NEW YORK (AP) - Two airlines that only months ago won federal approval to begin highly coveted routes to China are postponing the launch of the new services. US Airways and United Airlines say it's because of high fuel costs.
The routes in question affect planned US Airways flights between Philadelphia and Beijing and United service between San Francisco and Guangzhou. Access to routes between the U.S. and China is highly competitive because air service between the two countries is restricted by bilateral agreements. A July agreement between the two countries was intended to double the number of daily flights allowed between the two nations over the next five years.

Corbett has $1.1M to spend on his re-election campaign

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Attorney General Tom Corbett is heading into the general election cycle with more than $1.1 million to spend on his re-election campaign. Corbett and other candidates for state offices were required to file campaign finance reports Thursday to the state elections bureau for the five weeks through May 12. Corbett, a Republican, is running against Democrat John Morganelli, the Northampton County district attorney. Auditor General Jack Wagner has slightly more than $370,000 to spend on his re-election campaign. Wagner is running against Republican Chet Beiler of Lancaster
County. Democrat Rob McCord, a retired venture capitalist who is running for the open state treasurer's job, has $345,100 to spend. But he is carrying a campaign debt of more than $1 million, practically all of it to himself, after spending heavily to win a three-way party primary. Reports from other candidates for row offices were not immediately available.

Pa. gets permission to spend Medicaid money on adult autism

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The federal government is giving Pennsylvania permission to spend $20 million in Medicaid dollars annually on services for adults with autism. Gov. Ed Rendell says it's the first time that a state is being
allowed to spend Medicaid money on services that enable autistic adults to live more independently. A Department of Public Welfare spokeswoman says the money can be used for a variety of services, such as providing respite care for family members who care for autistic adults. The program is expected to serve up to 200 adults. Federal special-education mandates require public schools to provide services for children with autism through age 21. Rendell says the state wasn't previously able to provide services for autistic people who had completed school.

Pa. landfills lose attempt to recover fees

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A dozen Pennsylvania landfills have lost an appeals court decision in their effort to recover $4.6 million in disputed tipping fees. Commonwealth Court says the Department of Environmental Protection doesn't have to repay the companies for the overpaid solid-waste tipping fees. A previous decision meant landfills could stop paying the $4-a-ton fee on sand and other materials used to cover up landfill deposits at the end of each day. But they've been battling with the DEP over how much in refunds they should get for fees they already paid. A lawyer for one of the landfills says no decision's been made about whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

2 dead in small plane crash in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A student pilot and an instructor are dead from a small plane crash in Philadelphia. The airplane was registered to Herbert Hortman. He is the owner of Hortman Aviation Services, a flight school and rental company at Northeast Philadelphia Airport. Hortman says the pilot was on one of his final practice flights before taking his pilot's license test. He describes the passenger as a veteran instructor. Hortman says the plane was a few hundred feet off the ground at the time of the accident. He says the tower had just asked the student to make a right turn and the pilot apparently made the turn too steep. A Philadelphia police spokesman says no one on the ground was injured.

Police cleared in arresting thong-clad protesters

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal appeals court says state police acted easonably in arresting six nearly naked protesters who posed as Abu Ghraib prisoners in 2004. The protesters gathered in Lancaster County along President Bush's travel route. They wore only thong underwear as they re- enacted an image from photos taken inside a prison near Baghdad. They gathered in a pyramid, as Iraqi prisoners had been forced to do by U.S. captors.
The protesters were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, but the District attorney later dropped the charges. The appeals court says although the protesters' acts were protected by the Constitution, it was a confusing situation and the police didn't violate their rights on purpose.

Pa. education board to allow appointment of student members

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's high school and college students are getting an opportunity to serve on the State Board of Education. The board's unanimous vote on Thursday means current students or recent graduates are included as members for the first time in its 45-year history. The board's vote came a day after the proposal got the OK of a board committee. Under changes to the board's bylaws, its chairman appoints four students to one-year terms. One member and one-member elect each represent high school and college students. The changes student representatives will in place by the 2008-09
school year. The students won't have voting privileges.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Oil company executives say record profits are the result of tight supply and increased demand. They were grilled by a House panel yesterday. The hearing came amid record gasoline prices approaching $4 a gallon.

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says his talks with Myanmar's leaders have produced what he thinks is a breakthrough. He says they've agreed to allow "all aid workers" in to help cyclone survivors.

WINDSOR, Colo. (AP) - Crews are cleaning up debris after a large tornado hit several northern Colorado towns, killing one man. Governor Bill Ritter has declared a state of emergency and toured the area.

UNDATED (AP) - Hillary Clinton is in South Dakota today. She's getting some criticism from one of her superdelegate backers, New York Governor David Paterson. He says she should drop efforts to have the primary votes from Michigan and Florida included. Both states violated party rules by moving up their primaries. Barack Obama campaigns today in Florida.

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - An appeals court in Texas has torpedoed child protection officials, saying they had no right to take more than 440 children from a polygamist sect. The state hasn't decided whether to appeal or send them home.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Today's News- Thursday, May 22nd

Joseph Cress has been found guilty of third degree murder in the 2007 death of Roseann Barrett. The Girardville man learned his fate yesterday, having been found guilty of charges, including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated and simple assault and other counts, according to the Republican and Herald. Judge John Domalakes presided over the two day hearing. Cress ran Barrett over with his pickup truck on June 15th, 2007, after she spurned his advances after leaving a bar together. Cress is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Schuylkill County's Prison board met yesterday. County Adminstrator Darlene Dolzani told the board that half of the nearly $200-Thousand dollars in DUI fines that have been placed into the county's general fund over the last several years, belongs in a separate prison account. Dolzani said state law provides that half of the fines be placed in a prison account and the other half must be placed in an account for exclusive use by Drug and Alcohol. She believes the way it's done now is in violation of state law. County Controller Melinda Kantner said in order for the money to be taken out of the general fund and placed into the two accounts, the county Commissioners will have to approve budget resolutions to set up the transfer of the money. Prison board Chairman, Judge William Baldwin said it's important that the issue be resolved so the prison can get the funding. Warden Eugene Berdanier said the prison is in need of kitchen equipment.

The Pottsville School District passed a tentative budget last night for the next fiscal year, with no projected increase in taxes. Property tax millage will remain at 34 mills. Directors anticipate some capital improvements to facilities and textbook purchases in the coming year. They also plan to add $500-thousand-dollars to the budgetary reserve. The $37.3 million dollar spending plan will lay over for 30 days for public review. It is anticipated that it will be passed at the June 18th meeting.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Trucking companies are hard hit by the rising cost of diesel fuel. Some Schuylkill County companies tell The Republican & Herald the cost of fuel now exceeds their personnel costs. Pennsylvania's average cost of diesel fuel has hit $4.68 a gallon. Owner Alan Felty of Harold M. Felty of Pine Grove says fuel costs for his 11 trucks are now double what they were last year.
Co-owner Terry Ernst of J. Marlin Ernst & Sons Trucking in Orwigsburg says fuel is his number one expense, above drivers' wages and any other costs.
President Bert Evans Jr. of Schuylkill Haven-based Evans Delivery says he's putting a 65 mph speed limit on his trucks, and programming computers to allow only 3 minutes of idling time to cut fuel consumption.

A Pottsville police officer has been honored for heroism. Officer Joseph Murton Jr. received the Emergency Medical Services Outstanding Provider of the Year award from Geisinger Medical Center on Tuesday for providing medical assistance to civilians and fellow officers. Murton, a five year member of the force, was cited for providing life saving assistance on two occasions. The first occurred when a city hall employee went into cardiac arrest. Murton provided CPR and revived the fallen individual. He also provided emergency care to a teacher at John S. Clarke Elementary School who also went into cardiac arrest.
Officer Murton will be formally honored by Pottsville City Council on June 9th.
Murton's father is Pottsville’s Police Chief.

A former priest who served churches in Schuylkill County has been sentenced in New York. A 10-year prison sentence has been given to Thomas Bender, who admitted driving to Long Island intending to have sex with a teenage boy. Bender had a prior conviction for molesting a boy in Gordon in the 1980s. He admitted last year to a federal charge of enticing a minor for sex. He was arrested in March 2006. Prosecutors say he arrived at a Levittown pizzeria intending to meet a boy and take him to a motel for sex. The "boy" turned out to be an undercover police officer.

The County Commissioners saluted the Executive Director of Senior Services during their work session Wednesday on her upcoming retirement. Marie Beauchamp of Orwigsburg will retire at the end of the month after 20-years with the county. Georgene Fedoriska of Pottsville will take her place. Fedoriska was promoted from her position as Aging Care management supervisor. Action on the retirement and promotion will take place at next week's board meeting. Fedoriska'a salary was set at $54,352.00. In other business, the Commissioners were asked to approve splitting duties of the Solid Waste and Recycling and Demolition Coordinators into two other departments. Grant writer Gary Bender's position would become grant writer and demolition coordinator and Michelle Kintzel will become acting solid waste and recycling coordinator. Kintzel was a solid waste and recycling specialist. The Commissioners will take action next week on a request to approve Joseph Groody of Ashland as Chief Deputy at the prison. Former Sheriff, now County Commissioner. Frank McAndrew, said the position is not a new one, but has been unfilled since September, 2005. County Controller Melinda Kantner questioned the need for a position that hasn't been filled in three years. McAndrew said he assumed both duties when he was Sheriff because he didn't find anyone he felt was qualified to replace the retiring Harold Rowan. Rowan came out of retirement to become acting Sheriff when McAndrew resigned to become commissioner. The job pays just over $35-thousand-dollars annually.

Specter: Republicans must do more to regain Pa. voters

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Arlen Specter says the Pennsylvania Republican Party needs to do more to win back voters who switched parties for the Democratic presidential primary. Specter told reporters Wednesday that those are the independent voters he wants on his side when he is up for re-election in 2010. He says he has asked presumptive Republican presidential nominee
John McCain to help out with the effort to increase Republican registration.
Thousands of Republicans switched to the Democratic party to cast ballots in the state's April 22 presidential primary between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Democrats had more than 4 million voters registered for the primary, a nearly 8 percent increase from the November election. Republican registrations dropped nearly 2 percent from the fall.
Pittsburgh moms to be sentenced in fire that killed 5 kids

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Two Pittsburgh mothers are to be sentenced Thursday in the deaths of five children who were home alone when a fire broke out. Authorities say Shakita Mangham and Furaha Love, who are both 26, left the children in the care of two 8-year-olds while they went to a bar. The June 12 fire was started by children playing with matches. Three of Mangham's children died as did two of Love's. Love and Mangham pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in February. Prosecutors dropped charges including endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.

Drexel to offer masters programs in Calif.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Drexel University plans to announce that it will begin offering master's degree courses in Northern California. The master's programs are in business administration, engineering, education, information systems and library science. They are targeted at working adults and will be offered at a
location in downtown Sacramento. Drexel's main campus is in Philadelphia.
University President Constantine Papadakis says Drexel sees the Sacramento area as an "innovative region" with an exciting future.

Psychologist: Erie collar-bomb suspect competent to be tried

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A forensic psychologist says a woman accused in the collar-bomb death of a pizza deliveryman in a suburban Erie bank robbery is competent to stand trial. Dr. William Ryan also says Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong does not have bipolar disorder. She has been diagnosed with the disorder in
the past. Diehl-Armstrong was indicted in July on bank robbery, conspiracy
and a firearms violation in the August 2003 robbery that left Brian Wells dead.
Ryan was testifying Wednesday at a competency hearing for Diehl-Armstrong.
Her attorneys say she has a history of mental illness. Wells told police he was forced at gunpoint to wear a bomb around his neck and rob the bank. As officers waited for a bomb squad, the device exploded, killing him.

Pa. budgetmakers will sort through plans to borrow billions

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Plans to borrow money are all over the table in this year's state budget negotiations. Both Republicans and Democrats looking to finance everything from new alternative energy projects to water and sewer facilities. All told, more than $4 billion in borrowing is tucked into various proposals that will be poked, prodded and plugged over the next six weeks. Negotiators from the House, Senate and governor's office are shaping a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Gov. Ed Rendell and Democrats say borrowing is a way to smooth over a rough economy and create job and business opportunities. Republicans have sought to characterize their own proposals as more affordable than the governor's competing plans and attacking desperate needs.

Pa. education board panel approves student member proposal

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's State Board of Education is moving a step closer to expanding its membership to include students. A board committee voted unanimously to recommend that two students be added to the 22-member board as nonvoting members. One student would serve on the board's basic-education council and the other would serve on its higher-education council. Each council would also have a student member-elect who would become a full board member after one year. Committee chairman Francis Michelini says the board will benefit from having student perspectives on state education policies and regulations. The full board is expected to consider the proposal at its meeting Thursday. The National Association of State Boards of Education says 16 other states, the District of Columbia and Guam currently have students serving on their state education boards. Ex-congressional candidate charged before primary enters plea

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A former congressional candidate says he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors because his lawyer advised him to get the charges behind him. Derek Walker says his ex-girlfriend was being harassed by
Clearfield County authorities over an encounter he describes as an "immature moment." Police say he snuck into his ex-girlfriend's home and took a cell phone video of her in an intimate encounter. Walker is getting a year's probation after reaching the plea bargain that caused prosecutors to drop felony charges. Walker lost the Republican congressional primary, which was held days after he was charged. He says he's planning to run for office again and he's considering suing Clearfield County authorities.

Pa. guardsman, 2 others killed by bomb in Afghanistan

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania National Guard soldier and two others were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Military officials say 35-year-old 1st Lt. Jeffrey Deprimo of Pittston was killed near the town of Ghazni early Tuesday along with a Navy lieutenant and an interpreter. The driver and gunner, both state Guard soldiers, were injured in the attack and evacuated to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. DePrimo worked as a car detailer at a Ford dealership in Exeter. Co-workers say he volunteered to go to Afghanistan.
Deprimo attended Seton Catholic High School and was a 1996 honors graduate of Marywood University in Scranton, where he earned a bachelor's degree in music.

Former restaurant explodes in Dauphin County; no serious injuries

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - The fire chief in the Dauphin County borough of Hummelstown says he's amazed that more people weren't hurt in a gas line explosion. Three people were taken to a hospital by ambulance and a fourth
showed up in a private vehicle. But Fire Chief Charlie Cogan says nobody was seriously injured, despite the blast completely leveling the building that used to house Rosie's East End restaurant. The restaurant had been closed for about a year. Work was being done on curbs and sidewalks in the area and the explosion happened when a backhoe operator hit a gas line. Cogan says it helped that workers were behind a dump truck, which shielded them from flying debris.

BEIJING (AP) - The death toll in China's earthquake has passed 51,000. The announcement comes on a day when an official three-day mourning period came to an end with the resumption of the Olympic torch run. A Chinese government spokesman says 51,151 people are confirmed dead. More than 29,000 people are missing and nearly 300,000 were hurt.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is stressing the solidarity of the international community's willingness to help Myanmar recover from a deadly cyclone. Ban is in Myanmar to meet with its military rulers and try to get them to let foreign experts in to help cyclone victims.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Oil executives could be in for another rough day on Capitol Hill. They'll appear before a House panel to answer questions about record profits amid skyrocketing gas prices. Senators yesterday accused the executives of pretending to be "hapless victims" while raking in record profits.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - The Senate is scheduled to vote separately today on a war funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan and domestic measures that had been included in the bill. President Bush wants a war funding measure with no strings. The other legislation would increase veterans' education benefits and extend unemployment benefits.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows there's been an increase in the number of children who drown in pools and spas. The agency estimates that 319 children under five drowned in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That's 74 more deaths than in 2004.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Today's News- Wednesday, May 21st

The degree of guilt hearing for 43-year old Joseph Cress of Girardville will continue today in Schuylkill County Court. Cress, pleaded guilty in April to killing Roseann Barrett, also of Girardville, in June of last year. The Republican Herald reports the first day of the combined degree of guilt hearing and non-jury trial wrapped up mid-afternoon Tuesday, after state police officers testified and went over what was at the crime scene. Following the two days of testimony, Judge John Domalakes will determine whether Cress is guilty of third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, and also if he is guilty of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Discussions continue about a proposal for Schuylkill County to switch from coal to natural gas. The County Commissioners have been in negotiations with Honeywell Incorporated to implement a change from coal to natural gas at the courthouse and prison. The company has guaranteed several million dollars in savings from their plan over 15 years. According to the Republican and Herald, a meeting was held between county officials, representatives from Honeywell, and Brian Rich of Reading Anthracite, a leading producer of coal, to discuss the continued use of coal at the county's buildings. Reading Anthracite has been asked to submit a proposal within 30 days. County officials stress that they are looking for the most cost effective manner to heat the buildlings. The furnace at the prison needs to be replaced, and they hope to have a definitive plan in place before the heating season returns. Rich reportedly asked to review Honeywell's proposal, but county officials declined to do so. Forensic pathologist Saralee Funke will testify for the prosecution.

A Shenandoah man is locked up in county prison on arson charges. Borough police arrested 23-year-old Michael Galuppi last night, accused of setting a fire that damaged a vacant building on Atlantic Avenue on April 8th. Galuppi reportedly was with some friends were gathered in Girard Park on the night in question. He reportedly left, went to the building and set the fire, then told friends that he committed the crime. State police Fire Marshal John Burns determined that the fire was set outside of the building. Galuppi was arraigned on arson and other charges and was taken to Schuylkill County Prison.

An Auburn woman escaped injury in a crash on Route 183 yesterday. Schuylkill Haven state police report that 54-year-old Bonnie Nyer was driving north on Route 183 in the vicinity of Summit View Restaurant when she apparently fell asleep at the wheel. Her car crossed the southbound lane, struck a mailbox and the brick sign for the restaurant. Troopers will cite her for careless driving. The crash occurred around 4:30pm.

Five people were involved in a crash in Pine Grove Township Tuesday afternoon. Holly Gerlesky of Pottsville was driving her Chevy Impala on Sweet Arrow Lake Road, when she failed to negotiate a curve on the road and lost control. Her vehicle struck a tree and an embankment. One passenger, James Culbert of Pottsville, was injured. Three other passengers and the driver were not hurt. The crash happened around 5:30pm yesterday. When you go to college, you write almost as many checks as term papers. One House Democrat in Harrisburg wants to make it easier for students and their families to budget for that college degree, as Roseann Cadau reports.

CADAU (click to listen)

Worker charged with vandalizing military helicopter in Pa.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The lawyer appointed to represent a man accused of vandalizing a military helicopter says her client is "very concerned and very remorseful." Mara Meehan is the public defender for 33-year-old Matthew Kevin Montgomery of Trevose. She says one of the reasons he's undergoing
a mental health exam is because he's so upset. Prosecustors say he cut a bundle of about 70 wires because he was upset about a pending job transfer at the Boeing plant near Philadelphia. Court papers say Montgomery admitted to cutting wires on the morning of May 10, his last day working on the Chinook line. Federal prosecutors say they are still trying to determine who damaged a second helicopter at the plant.

Senate GOP says tax cuts can help invigorate Pa. economy

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Six weeks before the state budget deadline, Republicans who control the state Senate say more should be done to help businesses and low-income families. The tax cuts they are proposing would cost the state more than $200 million a year. They want to let businesses carry forward more losses to offset taxes on future profits, and to lighten the tax burden on businesses for property and equipment. Republicans and business advocates say that will encourage more investment. They also want to exempt another 150,000 to 200,000 of the lowest-income households from the state personal income tax to help people afford gas and food.

Erie collar-bomb defendant to appear at competency hearing

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A woman accused in the collar-bomb death of a pizza deliveryman in a suburban Erie bank robbery is expected at a court hearing to determine if she's mentally competent for trial. Fifty-nine-year-old Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong was indicted in July on bank robbery, conspiracy and a firearms violation in the August 2003 robbery that left Brian Wells dead.
Her attorneys say she has a long history of mental illness and has been found incompetent in the past. She's expected in court Wednesday. Wells told police he was forced at gunpoint to wear a bomb around his neck and rob the bank. As officers waited for a bomb squad, the device exploded, killing him. Diehl-Armstrong is in prison for killing her boyfriend. Prosecutors say she killed him so he wouldn't tell of the plot.

Pa. court says school must admit teen living with grandma

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania court has ordered a Monroe County school district to re-enroll a teenager who lives with his grandmother. A three-judge Commonwealth Court panel says 17-year-old Jose Velazquez should be allowed to return to school in the East Stroudsburg Area School District. The ruling overturns a county court ruling that barred Velazquez from attending district schools because his grandmother receives child support from his mother. The lower court cited a law that requires relatives to care for children without receiving compensation. But Len Rieser of the Philadelphia-based Education Law Center says the law is intended to prevent "district shopping" - a practice in which parents enroll their children in neighboring school districts without paying out-of-district tuition.

Philly DA says grand jury will consider police beating

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A prosecutor says a grand jury will consider whether Philadelphia police officers who were videotaped beating three men should face criminal charges. District Attorney Lynne Abraham said Tuesday there will be "a full, thorough investigation." As for Monday's announcement that four officers would be fired, Abraham says she has nothing to do with that decision and won't comment on it.

Ex-chief justice says slots-pay raise suit is 'preposterous'

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's former chief justice says allegations in a lawsuit against him are "preposterous." The lawsuit accuses Ralph Cappy of negotiating a judicial pay raise in exchange for the court upholding the state's slot-machine gambling law. The League of Women Voters says the alleged deal violates its constitutional rights to due process. That's because the league was one of the groups that filed the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's 2004 slots law. Cappy left the bench in January. He's vowing to defend himself vigorously.

UNDATED (AP) - With the Democratic primary season finally nearing an end, Barack Obama is edging closer to sewing up the party's nomination for president. He split a pair of primaries yesterday with Hillary Clinton and now needs fewer than 100 delegates to capture the nomination. Obama and Clinton both campaign today in Florida.

BOSTON (AP) - Tributes and well-wishes continue to pour in for Ted Kennedy, diagnosed yesterday with a brain tumor. Fellow Massachusetts Democratic senator John Kerry calls him "one unbelievable fighter." Doctors for the 76-year-old Kennedy are weighing a treatment of drugs and radiation.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Cell phone users who want to switch services could be getting a break. The Associated Press has learned that the government is negotiating an end to the customary contract cancellation fees. Users can now find themselves staring at a charge of $175 or more if they want to bail out.

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - Some of the Texas polygamist sect mothers who've been held in state foster care as children turn out to be adults. One was 27. At least eight have been reclassified and officials say 15 more could be. Texas courts continue to pour over the cases of more than 460 children removed from the group's ranch.

TOKYO (AP) - In another bow to exorbitant gas prices, Honda says it's introducing a hybrid car next year, described as new, improved and affordable. The new gas-electric hybrid will be sold in the U.S., Japan and Europe. No name yet for the car, which will cut the size and weight of the engine and feature seating for five.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Today's News-Tuesday, May 20th

A Pottsville man was jailed following a domestic assault in the city on Saturday.
Officers were called to 918 West Race Street around 10pm, and found that 45-year-old Brenda Martin had been assaulted by her live-in boyfriend Harold Hoy. Both were in an upstairs bedroom where an argument ensued, after Hoy sprayed Martin in the face with a cleaning product. Hoy also reportedly struck Martin in the back with a metal rod. The pair went to the first floor, where Hoy struck Martin again. Hoy was taken into custody and charged with simple assault due to domestic violence. He was arraigned and jailed in lieu of bail.

No one was injured in a two vehicle crash on Interstate 81 last night. Michael Kelly of Ashland was driving north on the highway near mile marker 116. Lawrence Sollenberger of Newville was following behind. Sollenberger ran into the back of Kelly's car, pushing it off the road. After impact, Sollenberger's car hit a concrete barrier and then crossed the road. The crash happened after 5pm Monday.

Schuylkill County now owns a Jeep used in drug deals. That was the ruling from County Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin, after the DA's office asked that the vehicle, a Grand Cherokee, be turned over to them as part of drug transactions carried out by a McAdoo woman. 44-year-old Barbara Sammond reportedly used the vehicle for numerous drug deliveries. No one contested the DA's office request, according to the Republican and Herald. Sammond pleaded guilty last year on various drug counts. She is serving 3 to six years in state prison. Officials say that they aren't sure what they will do with the vehicle.

Three people walked away from the scene of a two vehicle crash in Ryan Township Sunday evening. Timothy Yanchuck of Lebanon was stopped in the eastbound lane of Route 54, waiting to turn left at a home on Barnesville Drive. Tracey Fuehrer of Girardville failed to observe an another car behind Yanchuck's, and struck Yanchuck's car. Fuehrer's vehicle kept going, hit an embankment and ended up against a utility pole. The crash took place after 5pm Sunday.

A Pine Grove woman suffered minor injuries in a Saturday morning crash on Sweet Arrow Lake Road. 18 year old Tessa Beck was westbound and lost control of her VW Jetta. She crossed the road, and struck a parked car. Beck continued on and hit the side of a home. She was treated for minor injuries.

Lawsuit: Pa. justices won pay raise for upholding slots law

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The League of Women Voters is alleging that the state Supreme Court upheld Pennsylvania's slot-machine gambling law in exchange for approval of a judicial pay raise. The allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Harrisburg. The defendant is former Supreme Court Chief Justice Ralph Cappy. The suit cites an allegation by an unnamed senator, although the lawsuit does not say how the senator knows about the alleged deal. The suit also says Cappy told legislators during a meeting that "he needed the pay raise to secure the votes of Republican
justices" on cases important to them. Cappy did not immediately respond to a message left at his Pittsburgh law office.

Turnpike lease bid gets cool reception in House

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's House majority whip says a $12.8 billion bid to least the Pennsylvania Turnpike for 75 years is "less than overwhelming." Keith McCall, a Carbon County Democrat, says the plan isn't
dead, but its prospects are far from certain. Gov. Ed Rendell says he's "strongly in favor" of the bid from Spanish company and a unit of Citigroup. But the Legislature must approve any deal. The governor has pursued the plan to have a private entity operate and maintain 500 miles of the turnpike system to raise
billions for Pennsylvania's transportation needs. He predicted the Abertis-Citi deal would generate an average of $1.1 billion a year for roads, bridges and mass transit in the first 10 years.

Comcast does poorly in customer satisfaction survey

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index says Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. has its lowest rating ever. Comcast is tied with struggling Charter Communications for last place among cable and satellite firms. Comcast rated 54 points out of 100. Rick Germano, Comcast's customer operations chief, says he's not happy about the rating but the company is improving. He says Comcast has improved its internal processes and stepped up training of its customer service employees
and technicians. Germano says Comcast has hired 15,000 of these "front-line" workers in the past 18 months. The industry as a whole is tied with the newspaper industry for second-to-last in customer satisfaction. Only airlines score lower.

Girl, 17, acquitted in fire that killed adoptive father

INDIANA, Pa. (AP) - An Indiana County jury has acquitted a 17-year-old girl of charges that she set a fire that killed her adoptive father in March 2007. Codee Wheeler was charged with homicide, arson and related offenses. Prosecutors say Wheeler set fire to her home while 57-year-old William Wheeler, a former township supervisor, was inside. Police say she talked about killing her father while staying with another family as county officials investigated allegations about his behavior. Police say Wheeler claimed her adoptive father would walk in on her while she was showering and would walk around the house in his
underwear. Authorities cleared him of wrongdoing. Codee Wheeler's adoptive and biological mothers both wept as the verdict was delivered Monday evening.

Philly police to fire 4 over videotaped beating

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia's police commissioner says four officers are going to be fired and four others will be disciplined for their roles in the beatings of three shooting suspects. The encounter was captured on videotape and it prompted widespread outrage. The commissioner says another eight officers who had physical contact with the suspects will undergo additional training on the policies concerning the use of force. Commissioner Charles Ramsey says the disciplinary decisions were made after a review of frames from an enhanced tape of a video from a TV news helicopter. It showed the suspects being pulled from their car, and groups of officers kicking, punching and beating the men. A total of 18 city police officers and one transit officer were
involved. Police said they had been pursuing the car in connection with a triple shooting.

Online retailer Amazon to open Hazleton distribution center

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Online retail giant Inc. is opening a distribution center in Hazleton that is expected to create more than 1,100 jobs within three years. Gov. Ed Rendell says the state has offered Amazon as much as $1.75 million in taxpayer-financed incentives. Spokesman Luke Webber of the Department of Community and Economic Development says the company plans to have a 600,000-square-foot facility at a Hazleton industrial park by the end of the year. Besides the full-time jobs, the project is expected to create more than 800 seasonal jobs. Amazon is investing about $20 million in the project. The state has offered the company a $1.25 million opportunity grant and $500,000 for job training.

Judge to hear arguments Tuesday on Philly gun-control effort

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A judge plans to hear arguments Tuesday on Philadelphia's attempt to enforce local gun-control laws. The National Rifle Association argues that local governments, under Pennsylvania law, do not have the power to enact gun legislation. The five city ordinances passed April 10 would ban the sale of assault weapons; require owners to report a lost or stolen gun within one day; and limit firearms purchases to one a month. The arguments are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon before Common Pleas Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan.

New Pa. university chancellor's salary to exceed $300K

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A spokesman for Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education says the incoming chancellor's salary is probably slightly below the national average. John Cavanaugh is to get $327,500 a year. He says he's eligible for annual raises and performance bonuses, but doesn't expect to
get them in the current economy. The president of the union for faculty members at the 14 state-owned universities says high executive salaries appear to be the norm in higher education nationally. Pat Heilman says she doesn't like what she calls "the corporate model" but she can't dispute that Cavanaugh's salary is typical for that sort of job. Departing Chancellor Judy Hample is leaving to be president of University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.

Man in custody after body found in trunk of car in Pa.

MORRISVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Police in Bucks County are investigating the discovery of a man's body inside the trunk of a car. The car was found parked in Morrisville. District Attorney Michelle Henry says a 54-year-old man who used to live nearby was taken into custody, but was not immediately charged. Henry wouldn't say why the man was taken into custody. Henry also wouldn't answer questions about how the middle-aged man might have died. Henry says the body found Monday morning may be the result of a series of events that began in Maryland. She told reporters Monday afternoon that authorities from Maryland were planning to question the man in custody, but she wouldn't elaborate.

Pa. professor takes 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' seriously

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A professor at Ursinus College in suburban Philadelphia thinks "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is worthy of serious academic study. The TV show went off the air in 2003, but Professor Lynne Edwards is still leading scholarship about it. She edits Watcher Junior, an online journal of undergraduate research into "Buffy" and its spinoff series, "Angel." And she's the editor of a book, "Buffy Goes Dark," which is to be published in September.
Edwards is far from the only academic with an interest in the show. The third academic conference dedicated to "Buffy" is planned in June at Henderson State University in Arkansas.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - As Kentucky polling places open this morning, Barack Obama is nearing a majority of pledged delegates from all the Democratic caucuses and primaries. But Hillary Rodham Clinton is fighting on, telling Kentucky crowds there's "no way that this is going to end anytime soon." Oregon also holds a primary today.

CHENGDU, China (AP) - Doctors from Japan, Germany and Italy are enroute to aid the quake recovery effort in central China. A portable hospital from Russia arrived today. While the search for bodies continues, survivors remain nervous because of warnings that more aftershocks are coming.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Myanmar has begun three days of mourning for some 78,000 cyclone victims and the military government insists it is meeting the immediate needs of survivors. A top official of the World Bank says it won't be giving Myanmar financial aid or loans because of the country's decade of unpaid debts.

RIDGECREST, Calif. (AP) - Investigators hope a dig starting today in the California desert will answer lingering questions about the Charles Manson case. Searchers are looking for possible grave sites at the ranch where Manson and his followers hid out. There have long been rumors about other victims of the group arrested for a murderous 1969 rampage.

BOSTON (AP) - Cancer survivor Jon Lester has a lifetime of major league memories at age 24. He won the World Series-clincher for the Boston Red Sox last fall. And last night, he pitched the first no-hitter of this season, blanking Kansas City 7-0.

Today's News- Monday, May 19th

A Tamaqua man was killed early Saturday morning in a one car crash just a short distance from his home. Walker Township police chief Eric Leiby is investigating the crash along Valley Road that claimed the life of 21 year old Matthew Breiner. According to the Republican Herald, Breiner was heading home at 4:30 am when his Chevrolet Cobalt struck a tree along the south berm of the roadway in front of a home at 880 Valley Road. The car struck two more trees before coming to rest. Breiner was just a quarter mile from reaching his destination. Sch. County Deputy Coroner Larry Neff pronounced Breiner dead at the scene. The road was closed for several hours.

Charges will be filed after a crash at Routes 61 and 895 that occurred about 2am Saturday. According to state police at Schuylkill Haven , 37 year old Wilbur Shaw of Orwigsburg was driving south on Route 61 at a high rate of speed, left the roadway and struck a guard rail. The vehicle than traveled about 36 feet before crossing both the northbound and southbound travel lanes and struck a concrete bridge wall on the east side of the roadway. Shaw was transported by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment and was listed in critical condition. A passenger in the vehicle, 36 year old Justin Christman of Auburn refused treatment. Charges will be filed against Shaw pending blood alchohol tests.

Two women escaped injury Saturday morning when when their car veered off the road and into a guide rail according to state police at Frackville. The driver 36 year old Susan Cooney of Shenandoah will be charged with making improper or erratic lane changes. The mishap took occurred at 11:20am as Cooney was headed east on route 54. While rounding a sharp left curve she traveled off the south edge of the road steered back, lost control and again veered off the south edge and struck the guide rail head on. Cooney and her passenger, 42 year old Helen Kufrovich of Lost Creek refused medical treatment.

The Pine Grove police department will implement a proactive enforcement program to protect the safety of school children and school crossing guards. According to police chief Joshua Reager, the reasons for the high frequency of accidents involving school children and school crossing guards across the nation include the number of vehicles on the roadways. A large percentage of students are driven to school resulting in congestion in school zones far beyond what the streets were designed to handle. Another reason is that many drivers are distracted because they are eating or drinking behind the wheel, using cell phones or simply not paying attention. The enforcement details will target aggressive and inattentive drivers in and around the Pine Grove school district campus. Violations of the posted speed limit will also be enforced. Chief Reager requests that any person seeing an incident of unsafe driving including double parking or unsafe conditions such as blocking the view of a crossing guard should notify the police department.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Spanish company and a unit of Citigroup have teamed up to submit the largest bid for the right to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike for 75 years. Gov. Ed Rendell told a news conference Monday that Barcelona-based Abertis Infraestructuras - along with partners Criteria CaixaCorp of Spain and Citi Infrastructure Investors - offered $12.8 billion. That was $700 million more than their nearest competitor. Rendell said he
was "strongly in favor of it," but the Legislature must approve any deal.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia police commissioner is seeking to terminate four officers and discipline four others over the videotaped beating of three suspects. Commissioner Charles Ramsey says a detailed review was made of an enhanced videotape. In all, 19 officers - 18 city police and one transit officer - were involved in the apprehension of the three shooting suspects two
weeks ago.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is telling University of Pennsylvania graduates they must push the presidential candidates to "break the death grip that partisanship has on Washington." Bloomberg spoke Monday at Penn's commencement ceremonies. He sayd many of the graduates must think very carefully before voting in their first presidential election.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A skittish financial market is forcing the Jewish Healthcare Foundation of Pittsburgh to delay making grants. Foundation President Karen Wolk says the foundation will not make a final decision about grants until it learns what its assets are going to be toward the end of the year. She says it's the first time the foundation has had to delay grants.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia electrical contractor Donald "Gus" Dougherty Jr. has pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally providing $115,000 worth of free renovations on the South Philadelphia home of labor leader John Dougherty. Donald Dougherty, no relation to John Dougherty, pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of providing illegal payments to a union official.

CHICAGO (AP) - John McCain is accusing Barack Obama of inexperience and reckless judgment for saying Iran poses less of a threat than the Soviet Union did in its day. Obama responded that McCain prefers tough talk over "tough, disciplined and direct diplomacy."

MAYSVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Democrat Hillary Clinton says her opponent Barack Obama may be getting a little ahead of himself in acting like the party's nominee before the final contests of the primary season are over. But after tomorrow's balloting in Oregon and Kentucky, Obama is expected to reach a majority of the pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses.

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks have settled mixed, with the blue chips in positive territory. The Dow gained 41 points to close at 13,028. The market got a boost from the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators. The forward-looking gauge was positive in April.

NEW YORK (AP) - Oil prices have soared to yet another closing high. They jumped 76 cents to settle at $127.05 a barrel. Meanwhile, prices at the pump ahead of the holiday weekend are hitting records of their own, with Americans paying an average of $3.79 a gallon for regular.

SUPREME COURT (AP) - The Supreme Court has ruled that leading someone to believe you have child pornography to show or exchange is a federal crime. Opponents have said the law could apply to movies like "Traffic" or "Titanic" that depict adolescent sex or to the marketing of other material that may not be pornography.