Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today's News-Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Change at the helm of SKIP

There is a changing of the guard in one county agency. Louise Huegel, who served at the helm of Schuylkill Keep It Pretty for the past 15 years, has announced her resignation. Her replacement as Executive Director, Robert Stablum, a retired Minersville school teacher. Huegel will wrap up her duties on August 29th.

Break ins at area businesses

Schuylkill Haven state police are investigating break ins at two Wayne Township businesses. Troopers have just released details about the incidents from last week. A large window was removed from Suglia's Pizza on Long Run Road to gain access, and about $300 dollars was taken from the business office. Unknown burglars also attempted to break in to offices at Hidden Valley Golf Course earlier that same morning. An alarm scared off the thieves. State police are still investigating both incidents.

Corona wins Schuylkill County Idol

A Shenandoah teen wins Schuylkill Idol 6. 19 contestants opened the event nearly a month ago, and now, 18-year-old Aldaliz Corona's musical talent earns her the coveted title. She beat out competitors Heidi Quinn of Mahanoy City and Samantha Wood of Pottsville. In addition to a $1-thousand-dollar Schuylkill Mall shopping spree and other goodies, Corona will perform Saturday night at the Schuylkill County Fair.

Pottsville teen suffers minor injuries in Berks Crash

A sleepy Pottsville teen suffers minor injuries in a Berks county crash Sunday morning. 18-year-old Ashley Spitler was northbound on Route 61 and fell asleep. The car went into a ditch and hit a barrier at Kuzan's Hardware. Spitler's Honda Civic then hit several pieces of equipment in the parking lot. The crash happened at 4:15am Sunday.

Boscov's chief says company not ready to collapse

A Pennsylvania retail chain is not on the brink of collapse. Boscov's Chairman Kenneth Lakin said that the 49-store-retailer is not filing for bankruptcy protection, but acknowledges that sales are "weak" overall. Rumours surfaced about the future of the company last week after a story in the New York Post indicated that Boscov's was in trouble. The company has closed a store in New York state and is considering closure of others. Retail consultant Burt Flickinger the Third said that he expects Boscov's to survive the slowdown in sales, due to the economy.

Winners at County Fair, from left:
2008 Queen Darla Romberger, Miss Pennsylvania 2008 Kendria Perry, Princess Emily Field and Little Miss Allison Mika


That's 18-year-old Darla Romberger of Pitman, the 2008 Schuylkill County Fair Queen, who was crowned last night. She is joined by 12 year old Princess Emily Field of Pottsville, and 11 year old Little Miss Allison Mika of the Williams Valley area. All totaled, 19 girls competed in the three categories for the fair crowns. For Field, who has competed before, the feeling is great:


Monday was Family Day at the fair, with the music of the country rock band Abilene. Another full day of fun is on tap today for Kid's Day. Musical entertainment tonight features the oldies, with the Fabulous Greaseband.

Report says 1 in 4 U.S. bridges needs upgrading

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Pennsylvania's secretary of transportation calls the commonwealth "a poster child for bridges with significant needs" for repair. Allen D. Biehler says the average age of bridges in Pennsylvania is 51 and there are roughly 6,000 deficient bridges. A report released Monday by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials says one out of every four U.S. bridges needs to be modernized or repaired. The group
estimates that cost to be at least $140 billion. The news conference announcing the report was held in North Philadelphia near the spot where a 6-foot crack in a concrete support pillar beneath Interstate 95 forced three days of emergency repairs in March. The work shut down the busy highway and choked secondary roads with 185,000 vehicles that were detoured daily.

Trial to open for driver accused in shooting death of 14-year-old cyclist

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Opening statements are scheduled Tuesday in the case of a driver accused of shooting a 14-year-old bicyclist to death a year ago in Philadelphia. Defendant Charles T. Meyers is charged with murder and firearm violations in the death of Tykeem Law on July 14, 2007. A prosecutor and defense attorney spent most of Monday picking a jury
before Common Pleas Judge Shelly Robins New. Law and other youths were riding near the Italian Market when police allege that Meyers honked and yelled at the group. At a September preliminary hearing, Meyers' attorney at the time suggested that his client felt threatened after Law reached under his T-shirt. The youth was unarmed. Authorities allege that Law was standing on the side of the street, and he and Meyers argued briefly before the defendant fired
a .22-caliber handgun.

Suburban Pittsburgh man acquitted of 1999 strangling death of Pittsburgh man

PITTSBURGH (AP) - An Allegheny County jury has acquitted a suburban Pittsburgh man of strangling a man to death nearly a decade ago. Jurors cleared Sean Carter, of Wilkinsburg, on Monday in the September 1999 killing of 41-year-old Curtis Tolliver in the victim's apartment.
Carter was arrested last year after police said a witness had recently come forward with information that led to Carter's arrest.

Philadelphia store owner's wife dies of injuries from robbery shooting that killed husband

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Friends and relatives are mourning the death of the wife of a murdered Feltonville store owner who died of injuries she suffered in a robbery that killed her husband last month. Police say 45-year-old Bintou Soumare died Sunday night at Temple University Hospital. Forty-one-year-old Amissi Ndikumasabo was pronounced dead at the scene of the July 15 robbery at his Urban Wear clothing store. Nineteen-year-old Thomas Foggy has been charged with murder and related offenses. Police say he will now face a second murder charge, and they are seeking a second suspect in the case. Relatives and friends say they will try to raise money to have her body sent back to her native Mali, where her husband was laid to rest Saturday. A four-day mourning period begins Tuesday at the Masjid Tawbah mosque in the Frankford section of the city.

Philly-area priest, ex-principal named in abuse probe; Church relieves him of duty

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Philadelphia-area priest has been removed from duty while the church investigates a sexual-abuse complaint. The Rev. Gerard J. Hoffman served as principal of the city's Roman Catholic High School from 1993 to 2002. He previously led St. Piux X High School in Pottstown. The 63-year-old Hoffman most recently worked at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Doylestown. Messages left for him there were not immediately returned.
The archdiocese says the abuse allegedly occurred more than 30 years ago and involved a minor. The church will now determine if the complaint is credible. A 2005 Philadelphia grand jury report accused church leaders of covering up decades of abuse by at least 63 priests.

DA decides against seeking death penalty in Pa. campsite stabbing, burning of body

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Prosecutors in Adams County say they will not seek the death penalty against a man charged with stabbing a teenager to death and setting his body on fire.
Jason R. Armstrong, of Carroll Valley, is accused of killing 19-year-old Andrew Scott Bosley, of Orrtanna, in May. Prosecutors allege that Armstrong stabbed Bosley 142 times and then set his corpse on fire. The body was found in a wooded area where the two had been camping near the Ski Liberty resort, where they formerly worked together. District Attorney Shawn Wagner calls the case "horrendous," but says the crime does not fit the legal criteria for the death penalty.
Public defender Jeff Cook says his client is relieved. Authorities have said Armstrong told an ambulance team that Bosley became enraged and pulled a knife, and he pulled his own.

Consol plans W.Va. coal-to-liquid plant

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia political leaders are applauding a plan by Pittsburgh-based mine operator Consol Energy to build an 800 million-dollar plant to turn coal into methanol and gasoline. Governor Manchin says the Marshall County plant will lead to
more environmentally friendly uses for coal and could be key to America's energy security. Senator Jay Rockefeller says the plant shows West Virginia isn't waiting around for others to solve the energy crisis. The plant would use mostly marginal coal that would be thrown
away from Consol's Shoemaker Mine to produce 720,000 metric tons of methanol annually for the chemical industry. Methanol also would be used to produce about 100 million gallons of 87-octane gasoline annually.

US Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled to hold hearing on Great Lakes compact this week

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Judiciary Committee this week takes up a compact to prevent the diversion of water from the Great Lakes, one of the world's largest sources of fresh water. Lawmakers from Great Lakes states including Pennsylvania unveiled legislation last week that would provide congressional approval for the compact. Minnesota Democrat Jim Oberstar is leading efforts in the House. Under the agreement, negotiated among eight states, remote states or countries are prohibited from tapping into the lakes from their natural drainage basin with rare exceptions. The hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, will be chaired by Senator Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat. President Bush, in a statement released Monday night, urged Congress to approve the compact.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House has revised its economic predictions, offering a gloomier outlook on both growth and unemployment. It now says gross domestic product will grow only 1.6 percent, while the jobless rate is expected to climb to 5.3 percent this year, and 5.6 next year.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush has affirmed the execution of a former Army soldier convicted in four murders and eight rapes 20-years-ago. Bush's decision about the life of Ronald Gray marks the first time in 51 years a president has made that decision about a member of the U.S. military.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Operation "Omens of Prosperity" is underway in the Iraqi province of Diyala. The goal is to clear al-Qaida in Iraq militants from what's considered the last major insurgent
stronghold near the capital.

MARIPOSA, Calif. (AP) - A wildfire burning almost completely out of control near California's Yosemite National Park has burned 25 homes since Friday. About 3,000 firefighters, some from as far away as Greece, are trying to protect hundreds of other homes that have been evacuated.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission wants the entertainment industry to start tying popular TV and movie characters to more nutritional products, instead of the typical
cereals and soft drinks they're usually attached to. In 2006, 1.6 billion dollars were spent on marketing directed at young people.


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