Today's news - Monday, June 30, 2008
Deal on Pa. budget averts threatened shutdown
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State lawmakers and Gov. Ed Rendell struck a deal on a new state budget early this morning, averting possible furloughs of 25,000 state workers and a partial government shutdown. Rendell, flanked by state House and Senate leaders from both parties, called it "a good budget." He says there was a lot of give and take on the budget:
The fine print will be hammered out by legislative staffers in the coming days. But leaders described it as a $28.2 billion spending plan that represents a 3.8 percent increase over the past year's spending. The "rainy day" contingency fund will not be tapped, but a transfer from the past year's surplus also will be withheld. The governor says the deal involves a compromise on energy policy and will result in $350 million spent this year to fix about 400 of the state's most dangerous bridges. He says the deal will also result in $800 million going to water and sewer system upgrades over the next few years. The budget accord was announced less than 24 hours before the expiration of the fiscal year at midnight.
Pottsville man dies in motorcycle crash
We now know the identity of the man who died in a motorcycle crash in Pottsville Saturday night. 42-year-old Bryan Harman died around 10pm when his motorcycle lost control on a curve near Dunkin Donuts on Route 61 He hit a guide-rail and a utility pole. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. Police say that Harman was not wearing a helmet.
Senate passes bill for PACE enrollees
PACE and PACENET enrollees received some good news Saturday from the state Senate. Senate Bill 4 passed, preventing PACE and PACENET enrollees from losing prescription benefits due to cost of living adjustments. State Senator Jim Rhoades is the prime sponsor of the bill. Participants could still remain enrolled and eligible for the programs, if they exceed the maximum income limit due to a Social Security cost of living adjustment. Under the legislation, the exemption for PACENET would be retroactive to December 31, 2007, while the exemption would begin for PACE recipients on December 31, 2008. The exemption would remain in effect until the end of 2010. The bill now moves onto the House of Representatives for consideration.
DUI related crash on Route 61 Sunday morning
A Pottsville man suffered only minor injuries in a Sunday morning crash on Route 61. Schuylkill Haven state police say that 27-year-old Jason Hewes was northbound on 61 near Enterprise Rent A Car when he lost control and his car went up an embankment. The vehicle rolled over several times, coming to rest on its roof. Troopers believe that Hewes was driving under the influence of alcohol. He consented to blood tests at Pottsville Hospital. Charges are pending the result of those tests. The crash happened after 2am Sunday.
Indecent exposure at KMart
Frackville state police are looking for a man who exposed himself at a local shopping mall last night. Around 5:30pm, a white male, in his 50's, exposed himself to two juveniles while they were shopping with their grandmother at K-Mart at the Schuylkill Mall. The man is described as being 5 feet 5 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, approximately 200 to 225 pounds., with a goatee and brown, graying hair. If anyone has information about this man, please call Frackville state police at 874-5300.
Assault in McAdoo
A McAdoo man is jailed following an altercation with another man Saturday night. Just before midnight, 54-year-old Francis Ruta and 27-year-old Dominic Yates were fighting at an East Washington Street home in McAdoo. According to state police at Frackville, Ruta attempted to hit Yates in the head with a frying pan, then threatened him with a knife. After pushing and shoving continued, Yates left the home and called police. Ruta was arraigned on charges and taken to Schuylkill County Prison. A preliminary hearing will be held in the near future.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State lawmakers and Gov. Ed Rendell havestruck a deal on a new state budget. The early-morning agreementaverts possible furloughs of 25,000 state workers and a partialgovernment shutdown.
SAYRE, Pa. (AP) - A Bradford County man is dead afterconfronting police with a gun. Police went to the home of44-year-old Norman Fuller in Ridgeburg Township near Sayre earlySunday to check on his welfare. Police say Fuller was shot andkilled by state troopers.
LATROBE, Pa. (AP) - State police say a tree fell on a car inWestmoreland County, causing fatal injuries to the driver. The manwas pronounced dead at Westmoreland Hospital after the tree fell onthe car in Unity Township on Sunday.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police say a man with a sawed-off shotgunforced five employees of a Philadelphia restaurant into a walk-infreezer during a robbery. The gunman took the Boston Marketworkers' personal belongings and money from the cash register andfled.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal appeals court in Philadelphia is scheduled to hear arguments about an Egyptian man fighting deportation. Sameh Khouzam, a Coptic Christian, says his murder conviction is a sham and that the Egyptian government wants to torture him over his religion.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Feeling the pinch over soaring gas prices? Nine in 10 people in a new Associated Press-Yahoo News poll expect the ballooning costs to squeeze them financially over the next six months. Nearly half think that hardship will be serious. AAA saysthe average price today is $4.09 a gallon. Oil has topped $142 a barrel.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The head of a helicopter company involved in the deadly Arizona collision says it would be rare fortwo medical helicopters to be trying to land at a hospital at the same time. Six people died and a seventh person was critically hurt when two choppers collided in mid-air near Flagstaff Medical Center. Two patients are among the dead.
FOLEY, Mo. (AP) - Barring any major storms, the Mississippi River is expected to crest in St. Louis today and in southeastMissouri by Wednesday. As the water recedes, people in some rivertowns in Missouri and Illinois are left to ponder whether they should rebuild, or move away, to higher ground.
AUSTELL, Ga. (AP) - The Batman roller coaster at Six Flags over Georgia will remain closed today out of respect for the SouthCarolina teenager killed when he was struck by the ride Saturday. Asia Ferguson's father says they may never know why he hopped twofences to enter a restricted area.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - No bombs, just a sonic boom. Pakistan's air force says a fighter jet that broke the sound barrier caused the loud blasts near the capital, Islamabad, today.The noise triggered fears of a militant attack amid a Pakistan in offensive against extremists.