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 Amazon.com 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.


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