Saturday, July 26, 2008

Today's News-Saturday, July 26, 2008

Three charged in beating death of Shenandoah man

Three suspects are charged in the beating death of 25-year-old Luis Ramirez. 16-year-old Brandon Piekarsky and 17-year-old Collin Walsh are charged with one count each of criminal homicide-aggravated assault-ethnic intimidation along with multiple felony charges. 18-year-old Derrick Donchak faces one count each of aggravated assault-ethnic intimidation-hindering apprehension-selling and/or furnishing liquor to minors and other offenses. The trio were arraigned yesterday by District Judge David Plachko. Piekarsky and Walsh were taken to Schuylkill County Prison. Donchak will be held on 10 percent, $75-thousand-dollars bail. Their preliminary hearings will be held on August 4th in Shenandoah. Ramirez died of injuries suffered a fight in the borough on July 14th.

Attempted theft by deception

Frackville state police are looking for the culprits who attempted to scam an Illinois man out of personal financial information. A call was made from a pay phone at the New Ringgold Market to Jim Crowe of Marysville, Illinois. The caller attempted to disguise their voice like an automated attendant for a collect call. They tried to get Crowe's credit card number, but were unsuccessful. Police remind consumers to never give out personal information to suspicious callers.

Police still on the lookout for robbers/shooters in Berks holdup

The victim of a shooting during an armed robbery in Berks County Wednesday is improving, but state police are still looking for the bandits. Hamburg State Police were able to interview 48-year-old Louis Lucibello of Fair Lawn, New Jersey yesterday, but was unable to shed much light on the robbery and shooting at Mancino's Pizza Shop in Mount Aetna. The three are described as dark-skinned Hispanics, who gave orders in both English and Spanish during the robbery. Crime Alert Berks County are offering a reward up to $5-thousand-dollars for information in the case, leading to arrest. Their number is 877-373-9913.

Silver anniversary for Schuylkill County Fair

Its a silver year for the Schuylkill County Fair, which gets underway tomorrow. The annual rite of summer at the Fairgrounds in Summit Station is sure to please young and old alike. Contests, competitions, rides, food and entertainment pack the week. Opening ceremonies get underway at 6pm Sunday. Scheduled to appear on the M&T Bank Stage during the week are country, oldies and gospel acts. The headliner on Friday is country sensation Mark Chestnutt, and Monkees front man Davey Jones closes the fair on Saturday. For a listing of all thats going on at the Schuylkill County Fair, log onto

Quick work by bystander saves man's life in Tamaqua

Quick work by a Tamaqua man saves the life of a Lansford man following a crash in Tamaqua early Friday. Robert Hertzog was driving on East Broad Street when his car hit a house after losing control. His vehicle ended up on its side. 19-year-old Matthew Houser raced to Hertzog's aid, putting out the fire and helping him until emergency crews arrived. Houser is in Lehigh Valley Hospital in critical condition.

New ways to garden

Environmentally conscious gardeners are concerned about the cost of keeping a lush, green garden through the brown days of mid-summer. But, a horticulturist in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences presents an option that uses less water. More from Gary Abdullah.


A Tower City man is the victim of a burglary at his business. Between Wednesday and Thursday, thieves broke into Darryl Koperna’s business on Hill Street and took three chainsaws, then cut 300 feet of copper wire which was connected to a generator. State Police at Lykens are investigating.

Pa. mother of 4 beaten, drowned in pool

REINHOLDS, Pa. (AP) - Police are searching for the killer of a mother of four who was severely beaten, then drowned in her family's swimming pool in southcentral Pennsylvania. Forty-five-year-old Jan Roseboro died at her home in Reinholds on Tuesday night in what investigators say was a homicide. No charges have been filed and authorities have not identified a suspect. Investigators say Roseboro's husband, Michael, called 911 about 11 p.m. Tuesday and told dispatchers he found his wife in the pool. When police and medics arrived, they found him performing CPR on her. Jan Roseboro was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.
Lancaster County's coroner says an autopsy on Wednesday found that Roseboro was "brutally beaten" and had water in her lungs.

Erie merchant cleared in counterfeit Nike case

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - Swoosh! There go the criminal charges against an Erie shop owner who was accused of selling counterfeit Nike athletic shoes. An Erie County jury has acquitted 28-year-old Adam Swift. Swift's M&T Clothing store was one of four stores police raided in February after a security firm hired by Nike traced counterfeit shoes from China to the Erie area. But defense attorney David Ridge says prosecutor's couldn't prove Swift knew the shoes were counterfeits. While other store owners had previously received "cease and desist" letters from Nike, Ridge says Swift never got one. More than 100 pair of the shoes were seized at the store. Authorities say the shoes were shipped directly from China to Erie.

Professor whose 'last lecture' touched hearts dies

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Randy Pausch has died. The Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor's "last lecture" about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book. In it, Pausch talked about living the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on his impending death. The book "The Last Lecture" jumped to the top of nonfiction best-seller lists after its publication in April, and remains there. Pausch says he dictated the book to Jeffrey Zaslow of the Wall Street Journal by cell phone. He later wrote that the lecture was intended for his three young children, but "if others are finding value in it, that is
wonderful." At Carnegie Mellon, he became recognized as a pioneer of virtual reality research.
Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2006 and chronicled his treatment on his Web site. The university says he succumbed this morning at his home in Virginia. He was 47.

Bikers, pedestrians seeking better Web maps

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - With the old gas-guzzler in the garage, you've got your bicycle ready and your sneakers laced up. Now all you need is a map of the quickest, safest routes for riding around town. But, not so fast. As more commuters consider ditching their cars to save money on gas, Internet mapping services, cities and community groups are being pushed to lay out the best routes for biking and walking - just like drivers have found online for years. Technical and practical roadblocks stand between such a network becoming ubiquitous, but there are signs of progress. Google just launched a walking-directions service. MapQuest is reporting more use of its "avoid highways" function and offering a walking directions service on cell phones. And some cities have developed detailed online maps to help walkers, bikers and transit-riders find the fastest routes.

Obama wrapping up overseas trip

PARIS (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's election-season trip abroad wraps up today in Britain. He's holding talks with British officials and is planning a news
conference. Obama has intended his trip through war zones, the Mideast and Europe in part as his debut on the international stage. He's hoping it will reassure skeptical voters in the United States about his readiness for the presidency. Yesterday in France, Obama warned Iran not to wait for the next president to take office before yielding to Western demands to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. He said the pressure on Tehran is only going to build. Obama held private talks and a news conference with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy.

McCain takes to the airwaves

UNDATED (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain gets in some electronic campaigning today. He'll speak by satellite to a forum on disability issues and has a morning radio address scheduled. McCain has been stepping up his criticism of Democratic candidate Barack Obama over Iraq. Yesterday in a Denver speech to Hispanic veterans, McCain ridiculed Obama, saying his Iraq policies amount to "the audacity of hopelessness." Still, McCain told CNN that Obama's call for a withdrawal from Iraq in 16 months is "a pretty good timetable," but only if conditions on the ground permit. McCain has struggled this week against Obama's overseas tour. He's repeatedly emphasized his own long background in the military and Congress and scolded Obama from afar.

FDIC takes over two more banks

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Come Monday, customers of 1st National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank will be doing business with Mutual of Omaha Bank. The latest two banks to fail were shut down by federal regulators yesterday. They were owned by the Scottsdale Arizona-based First National Bank Holding Company. First Heritage operates in California. First National has branches in Nevada and Arizona. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says all depositors in the failed banks will still have access to all their money, including funds in excess of FDIC insurance limits. The FDIC also says account holders can access their funds over the weekend by writing checks or using ATMs and debit cards. The FDIC says the takeover of the failed banks is the least costly resolution of the situation.

Housing bill headed for passage

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate is set to give final congressional approval today to what's being called the most significant housing bill in a generation. The bill is aimed at helping hundreds of thousands of people keep their homes by getting them into more affordable mortgages. It also creates a financial lifeline for the nation's mortgage giants should they need it.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd calls it a win-win. But many conservative Republicans are blasting the bill as a bailout for unscrupulous lenders and irresponsible homeowners who got way in over their heads. President Bush originally threatened a veto but now plans to quickly sign it as vital for the economy.

Bush praises AIDS bill

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush is welcoming congressional approval of a big boost in America's global fight against AIDS. The president is using his weekly radio address for a rare
thank-you to the Democratic-led Congress. Lawmakers this year authorized a new, five-year, 48-billion-dollar commitment to the campaign against AIDS, malaria and other diseases, especially in Africa. It's a signature, Bush initiative already credited with saving or prolonging millions of lives. Though some conservatives balked at the cost, the measure passed with bipartisan support. Bush is to sign it Wednesday, cementing what he sees as a key and largely overlooked piece of his presidential legacy. The current 15-billion dollar effort ends in September.

Two girls killed in Kentucky hit-and-run accident

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Police in Louisville, Kentucky, have arrested a man in connection with a hit-and-run accident that killed two children yesterday. Louisville Police Sergeant Mike Minniear says the driver ran a red light while fleeing a traffic stop and hit the four and five-year-old girls and a woman. The woman has been hospitalized with injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening. It happened during the evening rush hour near the University of
Louisville campus. Police say an officer had pulled the car over about a-half mile from where the girls were hit. And when the officer approached, the car drove off at what police say was "a
very high rate of speed." The officer gave chase, then stopped to help when he saw the girls. The fleeing car was found abandoned about three blocks away.

Fatah supporters arrested in beachside blast

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip have arrested dozens of supporters of the rival Fatah organization after an explosion apparently directed at Hamas
members having a picnic on a beach. The explosion in a parked car near the crowded Gaza City beach yesterday killed three Hamas members and a six-year-old girl. Two more members of the group died today at a hospital. If the blast did target Hamas activists, it would be the
deadliest such attack since the Islamic militants ousted Fatah-allied security forces from Gaza in a violent takeover more than a year ago. One Fatah member says at least 40 of the group's supporters were rounded up early today. Gaza's Hamas government meets today but hasn't yet directly accused Fatah of involvement.

Australian investigators study jet hole

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Australian investigators have arrived in the Philippines to begin looking at a Qantas jumbo jet with a giant hole in its fuselage. The Boeing 747-400 was cruising at 29,000 feet with 346 passengers aboard yesterday when it was shaken by what passengers
describe as a loud bang. Oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and the plane descended rapidly as debris flew through the cabin from a hole in the floor. The jet was en route to Melbourne, Australia, from London, and passengers had just been served a meal after a stopover in Hong Kong. The pilot managed to land it safely minutes later at the airport in Manila. Nobody was hurt. Qantas Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon tells reporters he
was horrified when he saw pictures of the gaping hole near where the right wing attaches to the fuselage. He says it's too early to speculate on what caused the damage.

China bends one-child rule in quake area

BEIJING (AP) - China's strict controls on the size of families is being relaxed in the region devastated by an earthquake in May. Lawmakers in the hardest-hit province are waiving the typical rule of one child per family for parents whose children died or were disabled in the disaster. State media report that exemptions passed by the Sichuan legislature Friday formally relax the family-planning rules. Under the exemptions, families whose only child died or was disabled or whose two children were both disabled may now have another child. So can families in which one parent was disabled by the quake. The magnitude-7.9 quake left nearly 70,000 people dead in China's worst natural disaster in 30 years. Among them were children from 18,000 families. The deaths of many children in school buildings that collapsed stirred public anger across China.

AG sues Missouri funeral home over mishandled bodies

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The state attorney general's office is trying to shut down a mid-Missouri funeral home accused of improperly handling bodies. According to a lawsuit, the body of a woman who died from hepatitis was stored in an electrical room for 10 months without
being embalmed or refrigerated. The lawsuit comes after state inspectors found several bodies,
some in advanced states of decay, that had been left outside refrigerators and not embalmed. In one coffin, inspectors found a body along with a garbage bag filled with organs from other people. The lawsuit names the Warren Funeral Chapel, along with Harold Warren Senior and Harold Warren Junior. It seeks civil fines and a court order blocking the company from operating.
No comment yet from the Warrens.


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