Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Today's News- Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Homicide case now being handled by DA, state police

The investigation into the death of Luis Ramirez is now in the hands of the Schuylkill County District Attorney's office and the Pennsylvania State Police. While no charges have been filed yet in Ramirez's beating death on July 12th, DA Jim Goodman and other officials met at the courthouse yesterday to continue the probe. Goodman told WPPA/T102 News that the case has many facets and they are making sure that its being done in a thorough manner before any charges are filed. Ramirez died from injuries on July 14th at Geisinger Medical Center.

Blight Hearing


That's State Senator Jim Rhoades during opening statements of yesterday's hearing of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee at the county courthouse. The panel convened its second hearing to gather testimony about the problem of neighborhood blight. Senate Bill 1291 has been proposed to hold property owners accountable for maintaining their properties, and the legal means to cut down on run-down properties. Testimony was offered by local and state authorities who say they are doing all they can to fight blight, but current laws don't provide enough teeth to go after those who own the properties. Schuylkill Community Action Director of Housing and Community Development Jeff Feeser says that there are several thousand vacant and blighted properties in Schuylkill County:


A similiar bill has been introduced in the House by Representative Todd Eachus of Luzerne County. The bills are expected to be considered when the Legislature reconvenes in the fall.

Three finalists are left in the Schuylkill County Idol competition. They are Aldaliz Corona of Shenandoah, Samantha Wood of Pottsville and Heidi Quinn of Mahanoy City. The contestants performed three songs each, two personally chosen by them, and one by the judges. 28-year-old Quinn added some props to her performances of "Puttin on the Ritz" and "Don't Rain on My Parade". Quinn said she's having a ball:


The public has until this Sunday to vote for the winner. The champion will be named on Monday, July 28th. The prize package includes a one-thousand-dollar shopping spree, and the opportunity to perform at the Schuylkill County Fair.

Historical Society burglarized

Shenandoah police are searching for clues as to who broke into the borough Historical Society. According to the Republican and Herald, someone broke into the building on South Main Street and removed copper tubing from the building's heating and plumbing system. The thieves also took other items as well. The break-in was discovered on Monday. Losses, not including the value of the copper, are in excess of $1-thousand dollars. Anyone with information should call Shenandoah police.

Thefts in Berks

State police are investigating two thefts in northern Berks County. Someone took $800 dollars in tools from Roger Dyer's pickup truck in Upper Bern Township overnight Monday. Thieves found a hidden key for the vehicle and took the items. In a separate incident, someone took copper wire and aluminum from Carol Ann Reinert's pickup truck in Greenwich Township. The items are valued at $975 dollars. Anyone with information should contact Hamburg State Police at 610-562-6885.

UNDATED (AP) - While Democrat Barack Obama is in the Middle East continuing his overseas trip, Republican John McCain will be campaigning today in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. McCain's presidential campaign has not been helping tamp down speculation that he may soon announce his pick for a running mate. McCain is scheduled to travel to New Orleans later today.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Hershey, the nation's largest candymaker, is reporting higher second-quarter sales and profits as it benefits from a price increase and streamlined production. The Hershey Co. says it earned $41.5 million, or 18 cents a share, for the three months ended June 29. Sales were up 5 percent , boosted by a price increase and growth in some of Hershey's key brands.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Hundreds of legislative employees believed to have been illegally paid from state coffers for political campaign work will likely not be asked to return any money. Instead, the attorney general plans to pursue repayment from the dozen people charged in alleged House Democratic schemes to illegally use millions of tax dollars for politicking.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal appeals court says it agrees that the Child Online Protection Act is overly broad and vague. The decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia also found the law violates the First Amendment. That's because online filtering and other parental control tools offer a less restrictive way to protect children from inappropriate content.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A former state lawmaker convicted of conflict of interest and a bizarre fake anthrax threat will serve the remainder of his sentences in a halfway house or under house
arrest. Jeff Habay had been scheduled to report to jail by Aug. 1. But a judge said Tuesday that Habay did not deserve to go to jail after losing his office, his pension and his reputation.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - Forecasters say Hurricane Dolly could approach Category 2 status, where winds blow at least 96 miles-per-hour, when it slams into coastal towns straddling the Texas-Mexico border today. Winds are blowing around 85 miles-per-hour right now.

JERUSALEM (AP) - Palestinian leaders say Barack Obama promises to immediately be a "constructive partner" in the peace process between Israel and Palestine, should he win the presidency. An aide to President Mahmoud Abbas says Obama told Abbas he would "not waste a minute."

SINGAPORE (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is talking about her meeting with North Korea's foreign minister today. The two talked informally about the next step in the dismantling of the north's nuclear weapons program. Rice says the discussions were "interactive" and "actually very good."

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House expects to vote on a massive mortgage rescue bill today, and it could become law as early as this week. The Treasury Department's request for a federal lifeline for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sped up the deal, and led the White House to drop most of its objections to the bill.

CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Sun-Times says friends of Drew Peterson, whose third wife was murdered and fourth wife is missing, wore a wire when they were with him for Illinois State Police. The husband and wife duo recorded seven months of conversations, starting shortly after Stacy Peterson disappeared last year.


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