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.


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