Saturday, August 23, 2008

Today's News-Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chopper crashes at charity event

Two men are hospitalized this morning following a helicopter crash at a charity event near Barnesville. Around 6:45pm, the chopper flew over Mountain Valley Golf Course to drop golf balls on the course when it appeared to develop problems. Ettore DiCasmirro of New Boston was on the practice range and recounts what he saw:


He helped to free the two men from the helicopter. Al Roman, the pilot, and the unidentified passenger were injured and flown from the scene to Geisinger Medical Center and Reading Hospitals. Sheila Davison of Access Services, the event sponsor, asks for the public's prayers for the two men who volunteered their time:


The Federal Aviation Administration is expected on the scene today to investigate.

Piekarsky seeks bail

One of the young men charged in the Shenandoah beating death of an illegal immigrant is asking to be bailed out of jail. Attorneys for 16-year-old Brandon Piekarsky have asked to have a hearing to consider bail on Tuesday before President Judge William Baldwin. Piekarsky and 17-year-old Colin Walsh have been in the Schuylkill County Prison since July 25th when they were charged in the death of 25-year-old Luis Ramirez. Counts of first and second degree murder were dropped against the two at a preliminary hearing. 18-year-old Derrick Donchak is also charged with aggravated assault and related counts in the case.

Haven couple will have their case heard in federal court

A Schuylkill Haven couple who believe they have been targeted by the federal government as possible terrorists will have their case heard in federal court. Erich Scherfen, a commercial airline pilot and military veteran, and his wife, Rubina Tareen are believed to be on terrorist watch lists, and Scherfen's job is on the line because of it. The Republican and Herald reports that a federal judge in Scranton will hear their case in mid-September. Scherfen's employer was planning to terminate his job September 1st if the matter wasn't resolved. That date has been pushed back to October 1st, while their case is heard. The American Civil Liberties Union is providing legal representation.

Firemen's Convention rolls out today in Haven

A massive display of fire apparatus and manpower, along with bands, floats and more roll out on the streets of Schuylkill Haven this afternoon. The 54th Annual Schuylkill County Firemen's Convention is being sponsored by the Liberty Fire Company Number 4th, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. More than 200 units are scheduled to participate in the parade, culminating a week long celebration of volunteer firefighting in Schuylkill County. The parade moves out at 1pm.

Friedensburg man found with drug paraphernalia possession

State police at Schuylkill Haven are charging a Friedensburg man with possessing drug paraphernalia following a stop Friday morning. Troopers say that 19-year-old Aaron Bartosic was parked near the First National Bank of Fredericksburg branch on Route 443 around 2am, when police made a search and found a ceramic pipe inside of Bartosic's vehicle.

Fired Philly TV anchor admits hacking e-mail

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -A fired Philadelphia TV newscaster says he illegally hacked into his co-anchor's e-mail accounts after he ended what he said was a flirtatious and improper relationship with her. Larry Mendte says his actions grew out of a feud with Alycia Lane that began after he ended their long dinners and late nights out together. Mendte pleaded guilty to one federal count of illegally accessing a protected computer. He admitted he obsessively read Lane's e-mails from March 2006 to May 2008, including ones from her agent, her then-husband and
lawyers representing her after she was arrested in New York last year and fired from the station. Lane's attorney, Paul Rosen, says there had never been an an inappropriate relationship and he called Mendte "sick and narcissistic." The charges could bring a jail sentence when the former KYW-TV anchor is sentenced November 24.

Pa. court gives win to casino in fight with Phila

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Philadelphia's mayor can't revoke a license to build on submerged riverfront lands that his predecessor legally granted to the planned SugarHouse Casino.
That's according to a four-to-two decision issued Friday by Pennsylvania's highest court, which handed what appears to be a big victory to the owners of the casino. The administration of Mayor Michael Nutter has fought to get two planned casinos to move off property along the Delaware River. The casinos' owners have resisted those efforts, and several of their fights with the city have already landed before the state Supreme Court. Last year, the court ordered the city to sidestep objections by the City Council and issue building permits to SugarHouse.

Telecom rollouts raise ire over utility boxes

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Several towns have a message for telecom companies that want to install ugly equipment on their street so hey can offer advanced video, Internet and phone services. Not in my front yard!" T&T's nearly refridgerator-sized units are drawing particular
ire - especially after a few caught fire or epxloded. David Crommie, president of a San Francisco neighborhood group, says the companies are putting 21st century technology in 19th
century packaging. Comcast has utility box problems too. Several residents in Lower Makefield, a Philadelphia suburb, are upset about new green boxes Comcast has installed around town,
sometimes between driveways. Resident Bernie Goldberg wants the boxes buried. But Comcast says they need the boxes above ground so they can access them.

Pa. woman in Jordan case to remain in jail for now

MEADVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A northwestern Pennsylvania woman who claims Michael Jordan fathered her son is still in jail because a judge says she hasn't promised not to bother Jordan.
A Crawford County judge barred 35-year-old Lisa Miceli of Meadville from contacting the former NBA star, his family or his representatives. But the judge who jailed Miceli last week, says a letter she wrote promising to comply wasn't good enough. In an order Thursday, the judge says Miceli will serve all of her two- to six-month contempt sentence unless she writes another letter "that states without question" she will follow the court order. Jordan sued Miceli this year to enforce a 2005 agreement to stop contacting him after two DNA tests showed he wasn't the boy's father.

W.Pa. woman to trial in baby snatching, murder

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A suburban Pittsburgh woman has been ordered to stand trial on criminal homicide, kidnapping and other charges for allegedly cutting an infant from his mother's womb and then killing the woman. A district judge says there's enough evidence for 39-year-old
Andrea Curry-Demus to stand trial in the death of 18-year-old Kia Johnson, of McKeesport. Johnson's body was found in Curry-Demus' Wilkinsburg apartment on July 18. Authorities say Curry-Demus tried to pass off Johnson's son as her own. Authorities say the two women met several days before while visiting other inmates at the county jail. Curry-Demus' attorney Angela Carsia says her client has a history of mental problems, but another judge has so far rejected defense arguments that's she's mentally incompetent.

Kerosene company probes if death tied to recall

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh-area kerosene company recalling its product for fear it could explode is now probing whether the June death of an Amish woman could have been tied to the faulty fuel. Pittsburgh Terminals Corp. of Coraopolis issued the widespread recall late Wednesday. Company spokesman John Arnold says tests found the kerosene was mixed with gasoline, a problem caused by a malfunctioning valve at a storage facility. Pittsburgh Terminals spokeswoman Karen Walsh says the June death of 25-year-old Ada Kurtz is being investigated. Kurtz died of burns caused when she bent to light a heater. The heater exploded. Firefighters believe Kurtz thought she was lighting kerosene, but it was actually gasoline. On Thursday, the company called on the public to inform the Amish of the recall since they have little access to television and radio.

Kutztown opens new 856-student dorm on Saturday

KUTZTOWN, Pa. (AP) - One of the largest dormitories in Pennsylvania's state university system opens this weekend. Kutztown University will welcome 856 students into Dixon Hall.
The new residence hall has a retail and convenience store, an ice cream shop, and an amphitheater. Kutztown University says enrollment is up every year and occupancy in the residence halls has always been 100 percent. Officials describe Dixon Hall as a junior style suite building, with two single rooms or two double rooms sharing bathrooms. The suites and junior suites are offered to upper classmen or honors students. The building is loaded with technology to keep students safe. Two full-time building directors will live in Dixon Hall, and it will have 40 student employees.

8-miles of eastbound turnpike closing in W. Pa.

IRWIN, Pa. (AP) - An eight-mile stretch of the eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike in western Pennsylvania will be closing for six hours so crews can install concrete beams for a new overpass. The lanes will close between the Irwin and New Stanton exchanges in Westmoreland County at midnight Friday and remain closed until 6 a.m. Saturday. Traffic will be detoured onto Route 30 and toll Route 66 to bypass the closed section of road. The westbound lanes of the road were closed last Saturday as part of the same project. The new overpass is part of a larger plan to widen that stretch of the turnpike, which is the site of frequent accidents.

PennDOT tests soy sealant on Pittsburgh-area road

PITTSBURGH (AP) - It could be the cheaper, vegetarian alternative to road paving.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Pittsburgh region believes a liquid soy product it is testing on a local street could be a cheaper alternative to petroleum-based asphalt
for road paving. PennDOT Pittsburgh-area materials engineer Mike McCart says while most alternative materials are unsuccessful, the new soy product is promising. He says everything is working out well so far for the new bean byproduct road, but he does not say where in the Pittsburgh region the newly paved soy street is located.

Pittsburgh-area record collector shuts down store

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh-area record collector who hoped to sell his vintage vinyl for at least $1 a record has instead, bitterly, closed up shop. Paul Mawhinney locked up his Record-Rama Sound Archives for good on Thursday, saying he's been squeezed out of business by the
recording industry and big-box retailers who can sell compact discs for about two dollars less than his wholesale cost. Mawhinney stopped buying CDs in 2002 and sold off his 300,000-disc collection in recent weeks. But efforts to sell more than a half-million albums, a million more 45 rpm singles, and thousands of tapes foundered. One buyer went bankrupt while another on eBay turned out to be bogus. The 68-year-old started collecting records in 1951 when he
bought a Frankie Laine single called "Jezebel."

WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite promises of first dibs to supporters who signed up for text messages, Democrat Barack Obama's vice presidential choice leaked to the media first. Obama today chose Delaware Senator Joe Biden, balancing the ticket with an older congressional veteran.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Today's the big coming out party for the Democratic ticket in the presidential election. Barack Obama and Delaware Senator Joe Biden plan to appear together at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) - Troops backed by helicopter gunships have retaliated for a string of suicide bombings in Pakistan. Military forces pounded Islamic militants in northwest Pakistan
today, killing 37.

GORI, Georgia (AP) - Residents who fled the strategic Georgian city of Gori are returning to see what they have left after Russian troops pulled back. The Russians haven't gone far and the U.S.
France and Britain have protested that the withdrawal is not complete.

STEINHATCHEE, Fla. (AP) - Tropical Storm Fay is back in Florida for a record fourth time. It's the first storm in recorded history to hit the state with such intensity four different times. Fay
crossed over the central Florida Panhandle early this morning.


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