Friday, September 19, 2008

Today's News-Friday, September 26th, 2008

Shenandoah man jailed after high speed chase

A Shenandoah man is jailed in Schuylkill County prison after leading state police on a high speed chase through the county Thursday morning. Troopers noticed 39-year-old Christopher Vari driving his motorcycle at a high rate of speed on Route 61 South. When police tried to stop him, he took off, sometimes in excess of 120 miles an hour. Vari forced vehicles from the road, avoided roadblocks and struck a state police officer with his motorcycle, finally being thrown from the bike. Vari was treated for injuries, arraigned and taken to Schuylkill County Prison on a host of charges and a probation violation. The state police trooper, David Mayes, was also treated and released.

Hearing held about health insurance in Pottsville

The cost of healthcare is a burden to individuals as well as doctors and hospitals. The state House Policy Committee, chaired by Democrat Todd Eachus of Hazleton, along with Reps Tim Seip and Neal Goodman heard testimony from the healthcare community, advocates and individuals at Schuylkill Medical Center South yesterday. They talked about PA ABC, an affordable health insurance program for those who don't have regular coverage. The low-cost plan can help individuals and small businesses, but doctors are still struggling because of the cost of malpractice insurance and reduced reimbursements from insurance companies. The premium rebates that doctors got are gone...and the future is scary,according to Schuylkill Medical Center Emergency Room Director Dr. Jeffrey Narmi:


The ABC plan was approved by the House earlier this year, but its been hung up in the Senate since then. Another hearing will be held next Thursday in Montgomery County on PA ABC.

Versa makes bankruptcy purchase bid for Boscov's

The Boscov's department store chain is seeking approval of a Delaware bankruptcy court for a possible buyout. Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management has emerged as the lead bidder for Reading, Pennsylvania-based Boscov's, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in August and announced that it would close 10 of its 49 stores. According to papers filed with the court, Versa has offered to pay $11 million in cash and assume Boscov's debt. Attorneys for Boscov's are asking for a hearing next week to approve the proposed bid procedures and schedule an October auction or sale date. The court filings indicate that Versa wants to operate the department store chain as a going concern, and that Boscov's senior managers will remain involved with the business. But attorneys for Boscov's say any sale must be closed before the upcoming holiday season, the most important period of the year for the retailer. They say that failing to close by the end of October could hurt Boscov's ability to avoid liquidation. Boscov's has a location at Fairlane Village.

Reiley given ARD for driving under the influence

A Pottsville District Judge will begin the probationary phase of his DUI case after a judge's ruling yesterday in Schuylkill County Court. 46-year-old James Reiley was arrested for driving under the influence, highest rate, in June, 2007. He's been admitted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first time offenders. In addition to paying costs for the program, Reiley must attend classes, have his license suspended for two months and perform 10 hours of community service. Reiley will not be able to hear DUI related cases during the year long ARD program. He can, however, begin to hear cases involving the Pottsville police department, a restriction that has been in place since his arrest. Charges against James Reiley will be dismissed if he completes the program satisfactorily. Reiley has been District Judge in Pottsville since 1993.

Central Pa. county cuts administrator post

CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) - One central Pennsylvania county is eliminating a key administrative post in a cost-cutting move. Cumberland County Commissioners said Thursday they are eliminating job of county administrator on Oct. 3. The job carries a $72,832-a-year salary. Commission Chairman Gary Eichelberger says there will be some pay increases for other top administrators who take on some of the county administrator's duties. Eichelberger says commissioners have discussed the move for some time. He says Rich Moore, a former Monroe Township supervisor hired for the post in 2004, has known his job was ending.
Cumberland County also eliminated a human services administrator
post this year, and commissioners say they are looking for other cost-cutting opportunities.

Pittsburgh Episcopal bishop ousted from ministry

NEW YORK (AP) - Episcopal Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh has
been ousted from the national church. The Episcopal House of Bishops voted 88-35 Thursday to remove Duncan from ministry on a charge of abandoning the communion of the church. There were four abstentions.
Duncan's conservative Pittsburgh diocese is set to vote October 4 on a proposal to split from the liberal denomination. Duncan is also a leader in a national network of conservative parishes that are breaking with the church. The Pittsburgh diocese says it will move ahead with a secession
vote despite Duncan's removal. Duncan's ouster is the latest fallout from the church's 2003 decision to consecrate the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Souderton teachers back to work Friday

SOUDERTON, Pa. (AP) - Striking teachers in the Souderton School
District in suburban Philadelphia will be back in the classroom Friday after agreeing to nonbinding arbitration. Robert Broderick of the teachers' union says the teachers voted unanimously to go back to work on Friday and will work through arbitration with the school board on a new contract. School district Superintendent Charles Amuso said in a statement he is delighted a wonderful year is about to begin. Teachers had been on strike since Sept. 2.

Gorbachev urges caution in Rice's call for action

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is
urging Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to use more caution in her call for the West to stand up against what she called Russian aggression.
In a scathing criticism of Moscow on Thursday, Rice called on the West to stand up to Russian aggression following its invasion of Georgia last month. Gorbachev says Rice should be "more careful and show greater
calm and responsibility" for her judgment in calling for the West to unite against Russia. Gorbachev is in Philadelphia to receive the Liberty Medal on Thursday night for his role in ending the Cold War.

Poll shows tight race in 7 Big Ten states

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Barack Obama and John McCain are statistically tied in their race for the presidency in seven of the eight states home to Big Ten universities, according to a poll released Thursday. The race is within the Big Ten Battleground Poll's margin of error in Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Obama has a 16 point lead in his home state of Illinois, a Democratic stronghold he represents in the U.S. Senate. The poll, the inaugural from a partnership of eight Big Ten universities, asked 600 randomly selected registered voters in each of the eight states for their views on the candidates. Pollsters say they show the region's states are again the most competitive in the country and will help determine who becomes the next president.
"We all expected this to be tight - it's extraordinarily tight," said poll co-director Ken Goldstein, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist. "What it's really going to come down to is the next president is going to be the one to win the Big Ten." His co-director and UW-Madison colleague Charles Franklin said the states have moved back to highly competitive races after both parties held their national conventions "with neither candidate having a clear lead, except in Illinois." The eight states account for 117 electoral votes and both
campaigns are spending big money to advertise on television and
organize their supporters in them. On Thursday, McCain was
campaigning in Iowa and Wisconsin while Obama's running mate Joe
Biden visited Ohio. Obama had slim leads in four of the seven competitive states - Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Minnesota. The candidates were tied in Iowa and Pennsylvania. McCain was ahead only in Indiana, a Republican-leaning state that Obama is trying to win. All seven of those states were within the poll's margin of error of four
percentage points. Poll results show voters in the region overwhelmingly believe the country is on the wrong track and that the economy has gotten
worse in the last year. That pessimism should work in Obama's favor
after eight years of President Bush, whose favorability rating was in the 30s in most states, pollsters said. But voters view McCain much more warmly than Bush. Both he and Obama had favorability ratings above 50 percent in the eight states in the poll, which will be conducted again in late October.

NEW YORK (AP) - The government is working on a plan to rescue banks from bad debts. The legislation could take some of the immediate pressure off the two remaining major independent investment banks, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, to reach deals to ensure a steady flow of funds for their operations.

HONG KONG (AP) - Word of a possible U.S. government plan to rescue banks has sent Asian stock markets soaring. In Tokyo, Japanese stocks roared back Friday as investors welcomed yesterday's rally on Wall Street.

PANMUNJOM, Korea (AP) - No comment yet from the White House on
North Korea's announcement that it plans to begin restoring its nuclear reactor. The communist regime accuses the U.S. of failing to fulfill its obligations under a six-party disarmament deal.

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) - Barack Obama is promising fresh ideas to
calm America's financial meltdown. The Democrat says he will unveil
new proposals today in Florida. Obama has been ridiculing John McCain's promise to fire the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission if elected president.

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City police say a young bull made a dash for freedom through the streets of Queens before being lassoed and tranquilized. But it died suddenly before it could be taken to an animal sanctuary. No word on what the bull died of.


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