Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's News-Friday, October 31st, 2008

Pastor charged with sexual assault and related charges

An Auburn minister is locked up in Schuylkill County Prison on charges he sexually assaulted a teenaged girl. Schuylkill Haven state police say Alan Ray Sienkiewicz is alleged to have sexually assaulted the girl, now 14 years old, on several occasions between January, 2007 and April of this year while she was in his care. The incidents took place at Sienkiewicz’s home in Auburn, at the church parsonage on Beaver Dam Road and in the man’s company truck. Charges filed include 6 counts of aggravated indecent assault, 6 counts of indecent assault and 3 counts of corruption of the morals of a minor. Sienkiewicz was arraigned via video conference at the county prison, and bail set at $50-thousand-dollars. Sienkiewicz is pastor of churches in Ashland and Lavelle.

Fire damages Schuylkill Haven home

A fire damaged a home in Schuylkill Haven today early this morning. Crews were called to the Moyer home at 135 Haven Street right after midnight, and were on scene for several hours. Stay tuned for more details.

Voters may wait Tuesday to cast votes

Voters can expect longer lines at the polls Tuesday according to county election officials. Voter bureau director Betty Dries says that voter turnout is expected to be heavy, but people can help to make the process easier by having proof of identification ready for poll workers if required. If voters are unsure of your registration status, contact the Election Bureau at 420 North Centre Street by calling 628-1467. Dries stresses that the importance of casting your vote far exceeds any inconvenience that may occur.

Tamaqua man jailed after Wednesday night incident

A Tamaqua man is in the county prison following an incident in the borough Wednesday night. Borough officers were called to 222 Pine Street, where 22-year-old Norvell Young was intoxicated, and was demanding money from a woman as she returned home from work. Young reportedly threw the woman down and threatened her, keeping her from leaving the basement of the home. Young was arraigned on charges of terroristic threats, false imprisonment and other charges.

All tickets taken for Phillies rallies at stadiums

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - All tickets for the Phillies World Series celebrations at the stadiums are taken. The Phillies made free tickets available on their Web site for rallies at their own ballpark and at the nearby football stadium. They were all spoken for quickly. Those without tickets can watch the parade going down Broad Street from the central business district to the sports complex in South Philadelphia. The parade begins downtown at noon on Friday, and is expected to take about 90 minutes to make its way to the sports complex.

Pa. judge rules in ACORN, voter attire cases

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Commonwealth Court won't force a community activist group to turn over a list of the 140,000 Pennsylvania voters it says it has registered. A judge says he's not convinced the Republican Party can prove that ACORN is fostering voter-registration fraud.
In another election-related case, the court hasn't resolved whether wearing campaign T-shirts and buttons counts as "electioneering" that's banned by state law in polling places. But the judge says the state had the right to give an opinion to counties that it's OK for voters to wear such items. He says, however, that he's concerned about the legal basis for allowing voters to wear them, but not poll workers or watchers.

Rendell identifies $311M in Pa. state budget cuts

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Ed Rendell says he's found $311 million in cuts to help Pennsylvania cope with declining tax revenues. The Democratic governor announced Thursday that agencies under his jurisdiction exceeded his target of $200 million in reductions. Rendell says the savings will be $39 million higher if the General Assembly and other independent state entities cut 4.25 percent from their own coffers. The governor's office says Community and Economic Development is cutting $35 million. The State System of Higher Education found $22
million worth of belt-tightening, and Corrections is slashing expenses by $27 million. But the biggest reductions are $72 million for public welfare and $78 million for education.

Little League birthplace draws political spotlight

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - One visit alone from a major-party national candidate five days before Election Day is unusual for north-central Pennsylvania. But in an embarrassment of political riches, Williamsport is getting two in one day, both Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Dave Troisi has worked at the Williamsport Sun-Gazette for 34 years, the last 15 as editor. He says when national candidates come, it's usually earlier in the campaign. They tend to be done
with the region by this time. Biden, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, had his rally
at a gym at Lycoming College. Palin, his Republican counterpart, spoke at Bowman Field, an old, minor-league ballpark. Biden also spoke in Allentown the Palin also spoke in Erie.

Murtha seeks campaign cash

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic Congressman John Murtha has brought in a high-profile adviser and is scrambling to raise money to shore up support against Republican challenger William Russell. Murtha's new adviser is Tony Podesta, Pennsylvania manager for Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid and former President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election. The challenger has gained momentum since Murtha said some residents of his western Pennsylvania home base were racist. The 17-term Democrat was considered safe for re-election until
he recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area." He apologized, but then later told WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, that "this whole area, years ago, was really redneck."

US appeals court weighs local Pa. immigration law

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal appeals judge has questions for a small Pennsylvania city that wants to bar illegal immigrants from working or renting apartments in town. Circuit Judge Theodore McKee asked both pragmatic and philosophical questions about Hazleton's law at Thursday's hearing. Where would asylum-seekers live after their visa expires but before
they learn if they will be granted asylum? What due process do alleged violators have? And he wondered what other rights cities might deny illegal immigrants. If they can be denied shelter, might they be denied the right to buy food? Earlier, a federal judge ruled Hazleton's law was
unconstitutional, but an appeals panel in Philadelphia is now considering that decision. There's no word on when a ruling is likely. Whoever loses is likely to make another appeal.

Pa. judge found to have broken conduct rules

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A Luzerne County judge accused of professional misconduct has been found to have violated the state Canons of Judicial Conduct. Former employees of Judge Ann Lokuta testified before the Judicial Conduct Board that Lokuta was as an overbearing and
abusive boss. They testified that she snapped over minor issues, compromised security in the courtroom and had a former employee do chores at her house. Lokuta has 10 days to decide whether to file an objection to the board's opinion, which was released Thursday. Her lawyer, Louis Sinatra, says he's reviewing the opinion, which is more than 200 pages long, and will decide after that what to do. If no objection is filed, another hearing will be held to determine a penalty. That could go as far as removal from office.

Suburban Phila. woman guilty in church slaying

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A suburban Philadelphia woman has been found guilty of first-degree murder for shooting another member of her church. Bucks County authorities say 66-year-old Mary Jane Fonder of Springfield Township shot 42-year-old Rhonda Smith on Jan. 23.
Prosecutors say Fonder had romantic feelings for the pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church and was jealous Smith was getting attention from him. The jury convicted Fonder on Thursday evening after a nine-day trial. Fonder did not testify and her lawyer, Michael Applebaum, presented no evidence. Applebaum told jurors that the circumstantial evidence left a reasonable doubt about who shot Smith.

YUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - John McCain plans to spend a second traight day rumbling across Ohio by bus. He'll be pushing his conomic plan in the hopes it'll persuade enough voters to give him Ohio's 20 electoral votes. Barack Obama will start the day in Iowa, before swinging home to see his kids for Halloween. He'll wrap up with a stop in Indiana.

UNDATED (AP) - John McCain trails Barack Obama by 13 points in the latest CBS News-New York Times poll. That lead narrows when Bob Barr and Ralph Nader are taken from the mix. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 points.

ZIARAT, Pakistan (AP) - A Pakistani official says the death toll from the earthquake earlier this week will likely rise above 300. So far 215 people are confirmed dead, but officials are still
getting reports of more deaths from remote areas of the country.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Child welfare authorities in Texas have released all but 37 children from court oversight in their case against a polygamist group. At one time there were 439 children in
state custody, amid fears underage girls were being forced into marriages and sex and that other children were at risk of abuse.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new study suggests women running for elected office need to appear both competent and attractive. But it says men just need to show competency. The study can be found online in the journal PLoS ONE.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today's News-Thursday, October 30, 2008

Armed robbery in Shenandoah

An afternoon strong armed robbery in Schuylkill County has officials looking for suspects. Borough police in Shenandoah say it happened in the 100-block of East Centre Street. Shenandoah Valley School Superintendent Dr. Stanley Rakowsky relesased students from the school around 4:15pm. We can confirm that two of the perps have been caught and were arraigned before District Judge Charles Moran. Both are locked up in Schuylkill County Prison. There are conflicting reports from borough officials this morning as to the number and description of those still on the run. Late last evening, police said they were looking for a hispanic male, last seen in the Brownsville section of West Mahanoy Township wearing a white t shirt, with a leg injury. Anyone with information is being asked to call Shenandoah borough police at 462-1008.

A water boil advisory has been issued for about 100 homes and the Pine Grove school district buildings after repairs had to be made to a cracked water main valve. Officials say the repairs were to be completed overnight, but the boil advisory will remain in effect for three days for residents in Whispering Pines, Pine Crest Village Drive, Pine Ridge Road, American Legion Boulevard from Lover's Lane to Pine Hill Drive, School Street from Pine Hill Drive to First Street and from Second Street to American Legion Boulevard and Oak Lane, and the Pine Grove school district buildings.

Parade set Friday to honor Phillies' World Series championship

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says a parade will be held Friday in honor of the Phillies' World Series championship. Philadelphia defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Wednesday in the final 3 1/2 innings of the first suspended game in World Series history. The parade is to begin at noon Friday at 20th and Market Streets and travel south down Broad Street ending at the sports complex.

Fans celebrate first Phillies title in 28 years

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - At least two cars have been overturned in Philadelphia and the windows of a TV van smashed as a few of those celebrating the Phillies' World Series victory turned to vandalism. Some have been celebrating the championship by climbing light poles and knocking down traffic signals, spraying beer and shooting off fireworks. But police say most revelers have been well behaved, just whooping it up. Police had Broad Street cordoned off for more than a mile in South Philadelphia, turning the area into a giant street festival. Fans waved flags and towels, crowd-surfed and climbed on each other's shoulders.

Judge: Pa. must allow paper votes if machines fail

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The state won't appeal a federal judge's ruling requiring paper ballots available to Pennsylvania voters if half the machines at a polling place break down. The state had argued that such an order will cause chaos because poll workers have already been trained. Poll workers had been instructed to make paper ballots available only if all the machines are broken. Voter-rights groups said having half the machines not working at a polling place could cause lines to get unacceptably long. The federal judge's ruling only applies to Pennsylvania, but a lawyer for the plaintiffs says other states should take notice.

Judge promises swift ruling on GOP's lawsuit against ACORN

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Commonwealth Court judge is promising a ruling as soon as possible on the Pennsylvania Republican Party's lawsuit against the community activist group ACORN. The GOP accuses ACORN of fostering voter-registration fraud, which ACORN denies. Spokesmen for the group say it carefully inspects registration applications and flags any suspicious ones for local election officials. The Republican Party's lead witness at the eight-hour hearing was vague on many details during nearly two hours of testimony. Anita Moncrief, who worked for an ACORN affiliate in Washington, acknowledged that she had never visited ACORN's Pennsylvania operation. Moncrief also acknowledged that she had been fired from the ACORN affiliate in January for using its credit card to cover personal expenses.

Hazleton's illegal immigration crackdown appeal due in court

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal appeals court in Philadelphia is about to hear arguments about Hazleton's law cracking down on illegal immigration. The Hazleton City Council approved the Illegal Immigration Relief Act in July 2006. The law sought to deny business permits to companies that employ illegal immigrants, fine landlords who rent to them and require tenants to register and pay for a rental permit. A federal judge struck down Hazleton's ordinance as
unconstitutional. Arguments before the appeals court are to be heard Thursday.

Kanjorski, Barletta square off in only debate

PITTSTON, Pa. (AP) - Republican congressional candidate Lou Barletta is trying to tie incumbent Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski to the Wall Street crisis. In their only debate, Barletta assailed the 12-term incumbent for accepting thousands in campaign contributions from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Barletta says Kanjorski also is tied to other financial firms he helped to regulate as the chairman of a House subcommittee.
For his part, Kanjorski repeatedly linked Barletta to President Bush, whom he blamed for the financial meltdown. Kanjorski has the toughest re-election battle of any Democrat in Congress. Barletta is the mayor of Hazleton. He rose to national prominence when he cracked down on illegal immigrants in his small city.

AP poll: Obama maintains lead over McCain in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Barack Obama is winning the battle for working-class whites in Pennsylvania. They are a highly coveted group in a state where the economy and concern about the country's overall direction weigh heavily on voters' minds. An Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday shows Obama leading John McCain 52 percent to 40 percent among likely voters. The margin is wider among white voters earning less than $50,000 a year - the kinds of voters who helped Hillary Clinton beat Obama in the state's April primary. Fifty-nine percent said they supported Obama, while 31 percent said they would vote for McCain. The two candidates' support among whites earning more than $50,000 a year was about even. The poll, taken over five days consisted of telephone interviews with a nationally representative random sample of 607 adults deemed likely to vote. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Nighttime trick-or-treating returns to Pa. town

OIL CITY, Pa. (AP) - Nighttime trick-or-treating is returning to Oil City. The city about 80 miles north of Pittsburgh limited the Halloween tradition to daytime hours after an 11-year-old girl was abducted off the street and murdered in 1992. A child's petition drive got city officials to allow nighttime trick-or-treating again.

Pa. Sen. Fumo defense questions estranged protege

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The estranged son-in-law of indicted state Sen. Vincent Fumo says he felt "betrayed" when he realized work he was doing for Fumo was improper. Christian Marrone was a Senate aide to the Philadelphia Democrat before marrying Fumo's daughter. He says he did extensive personal
and campaign work for Fumo on Senate time. Marrone says a rift between the two began as he started to date Fumo's daughter Nicole more seriously. Christian Marrone ended up marrying Fumo's eldest daughter and says he treated her poorly. According to Marrone, Fumo had once written a letter to the private Baldwin School asking that Nicole be denied admission. The Marrones, married for five years, live in Virginia. They have two children that Fumo has never met.

Fatalities on the rise in vehicle-animal crashes

WASHINGTON (AP) - Pennsylvania has the third-largest number of people killed from traffic accidents involving deer and other animals. A study by by an auto insurance-funded highway safety group says since 1993, 112 people have been killed from crashes with animals. The only states with more such crashes over the last 15 years are Texas with 227 and Wisconsin with 123. The Highway Loss Data Institute and its sister organization, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, looked at both insurance claims and federal crash data. According to the report, most accidents involving animals are with deer. The Governors Highway Safety Association cautioned that the numbers need to be looked at in context. That group says there are more than 12,000 drunk driving deaths each year.

UNDATED (AP) - Fresh off his 30 minute prime-time commercial and two raucous rallies in Florida, Barack Obama begins the day with another event in Florida. He'll then head to Virginia and Missouri. John McCain has several events planned in Ohio, beginning in the town of Defiance.

HONG KONG (AP) - A record 12 percent gain in South Korea's stock market set the pace across Asia. The major markets there all finished up for the day after the Federal Reserve announced another cut in interest rates.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The finance industry and consumer advocates are pushing a pilot program for those with too much credit card debt. They want permission to cut the amount of debt some people owe, so banks can recoup some of the money they'd otherwise write off as defaults soar.

GAUHATI, India (AP) - Police say at least 30 people have been killed and dozens wounded after 12 bombs and one hand grenade exploded across a state in northeastern India. Four blasts in the state capital have killed 15 people, while explosions killed 15 more elsewhere.

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - Barack Obama says he's not too concerned about the "Bradley Effect," telling Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" he doesn't "think white voters have gotten this memo." Staying with that theme, he also joked about how having a black father and white mother could influence him in the voting booth.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today's News-Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain rally draws thousands

A crowd of nearly 5-thousand men, women and children packed Martz Hall in Pottsville to see Republican nominee John McCain and his wife Cindy as he fights for the state's 21 electoral votes. Opening remarks were made by legislative candidates Gary Hornberger and Dave Argall before McCain took the stage. Beth Laubaugh, a longtime Republican supporter and her son, 12 year old Dean, of Bloomsburg said that vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin helped bring her on board to support McCain's candidacy:


A large number of teenagers under voting age were in attendance to support McCain and to learn more about the political process, as explained by Brianna Rauenzahn, a student at Blue Mountain High School.


Several dozen Barack Obama supporters were outside, protesting McCain's visit.

The fire that destroyed the engine house at the Forestville Fire Company in Schuylkill County was determined to be an accident. The fire is believed to have started from radio and flashlight chargers in the engine room. The fire which was reported around 12:30 Monday morning destroyed three engines and all the company's fire gear resulting in about $750-thosuand dollars in damage. A special fund has been established to help the Forestville Fire Company. Donations can be sent to the First National Bank of Minersville, care of Forestville Fire Company Fire Loss Fund, 260 Sunbury Street, Minersville, PA 17954.


A spirited John McCain rallied thousands of Republican party faithful Monday night at a Road to Victory Rally at Martz Hall, knowing full well that the 11th hour is at hand in the race for the White House. McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have spent a large amount of time and money in Pennsylvania, and is running behind in pre-election polls in the Commonwealth. With money largely on people's minds, McCain pointed directly at the economy and creating jobs:


McCain and Palin will be together today for rallies at the Giant Center in Hershey, with a week to go until Election Day.

Obama targets red states

ST. DAVID'S, Pa. (AP) - Barack Obama is almost exclusively targeting tossup states that trend Republican over the final week of the campaign. Still ahead in the polls, Obama is spending time defending only one state that's leaned Democrat recently: Pennsylvania. Both he and John McCain have events in the state today. Obama will start things off with a rally Tuesday morning at Widener University in the Philadelphia suburb of Chester. After that he heads to Virginia, a state that hasn't given a Democrat its electoral votes since 1964. Rallies are planned in Harrisonburg and Norfolk. The coming days include more stops in North Carolina, Florida
and Missouri -- all states President Bush won in 2004.

McCain and Palin together today

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) - John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin are reuniting to rally the faithful in largely conservative areas of Pennsylvania. They plan to attend rallies at the Giant Center in Hershey on Tuesday morning before going their separate ways. McCain goes to North Carolina, another hotly contested state, while Palin stays in Pennsylvania. She'll attend an event in Shippensburg on Tuesday afternoon and another one in State College on Tuesday night.
McCain has been trailing Barack Obama in the polls but he's sounding scrappy, telling a noisy rally in Pottsville last night that he's "not afraid of the fight" and his supporters shouldn't
be, either. McCain vows to "shake up Washington" if elected.

PPL vows investigation of alert at Pennsylvania nuclear plant after nitrogen leak

BERWICK, Pa. (AP) - PPL says there will be a follow-up investigation of an alert at the Susquehanna nuclear plant in northeastern Pennsylvania. The Allentown-based utility says a worker fixing a water line was evacuated Monday morning after higher-than-acceptable levels of nitrogen were detected inside the room. The worker had been using a device containing the gas at the time. PPL says workers used the plant's ventilation system and fans to return oxygen levels to normal. They were then able to get into the room and shut off the source of the nitrogen, and the alert ended at 5:26 p.m. The company says both reactors at the plant continued to operate normally and no injuries were reported.

Philly mayor delays for a week city's plan on how to deal with growing deficit

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says the city is delaying for a week an announcement of how it will deal with its growing deficit. Nutter says the most recent estimates put the city's five-year deficit at $650 million to $850 million. He pleaded for more
federal assistance and says major cities across the country are facing similar challenges.
Nutter signed a $4 billion spending plan in April. The budget was his first and called for eliminating the city's gross-receipts tax over the next 10 years. It also included reductions in the city's net income business tax and wage tax. But last month, Nutter told City Council that the nationwide economic downturn could mean a city revenue shortfall of up to $450 million over five years. He says that all departments are being ordered to cut spending.

Fumo's estranged son-in-law testifies

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - State Sen. Vincent Fumo's estranged son-in-law says Fumo lived like a medieval lord in a 33-room mansion with a large staff of state-paid underlings to heed his
demands. Christian Marrone says taxpayers footed the bill for the time he spent overseeing the restoration of the historic mansion. Marrone, now a Pentagon lawyer, says he spent more than 80 percent of his time on the project in the late 1990s. Fumo and an aide, Ruth Arnao, are charged with defrauding the state Senate, a nonprofit group and a maritime museum of more than $3.5 million. The trial is expected to last several months. Defense lawyer Dennis Cogan has suggested that any work Fumo's staff did for him came after a full day for the Senate. But
Marrone's e-mail messages appear to support his contention that he spent most of his Senate work days over an 18-month period on the house renovations.

Jury in Fort Dix case to hear from informant

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - An informant is expected to take the stand Tuesday to talk about his role in the investigation of five men accused of planning to shoot soldiers at the Army training base in New Jersey. A witness told jurors in the case Monday that the informant in the Fort Dix case has been well-paid. John Stermel, an investigator assigned to an FBI counterterrorism task force, says informant Mahmoud Omar wore a wire for 16 months and recorded 200 conversations. Beginning in August 2006, Omar went with one of the men to check out Fort Dix
and other military installations in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. By year's end, Omar will have received nearly $240,000 for his help, and authorities will recommend that he be offered legal resident status and perhaps even citizenship. Defense lawyers say it was Omar who tried to plot an attack, not their clients - all foreign-born Muslims in their 20s who are all
charged with conspiracy to kill military personnel and attempted murder. The men lived for years in the Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill. They have been in custody since they were arrested in May 2007. No attack happened.

Pa. high court says police were allowed to suspend DUI checkpoint to keep traffic moving

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court says police did not need prior authorization to temporarily suspend a sobriety checkpoint to relieve traffic congestion.
The high court ruled Monday that police in Monroeville didn't violate constitutional search and seizure rights when they let some cars go by at three different times to prevent traffic backups in May 2002. The decision overturned an Allegheny County judge and the Superior Court, which had sided with defendant Mark Worthy. Two judges who dissented said administrative guidelines should be established ahead of time to deal with whether or when to suspend or resume a checkpoint. Worthy's lawyer Tim Sheerer says he doesn't think decisions about how to run sobriety checkpoints should be left to field officers.

Game 5 suspended because of rain

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Phillies had hoped to be soaked in champagne Monday night. They were soaked all right. The Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays were tied 2-2 after five and
a-half innings in Game 5 of the World Series at Philadelphia when play was suspended by rain. Commissioner Bud Selig wasn't sure when the game would resume, saying "we'll stay here if
we have to celebrate Thanksgiving" in Philadelphia. There has never been a rain-shortened game in Series history. It will resume with the Phillies about to hit in the bottom of the
sixth. But more rain is in Tuesday's forecast, which could force the teams to try to finish the game Wednesday. The Phillies lead the series three games to one.

NEW YORK (AP) - Some signals point to a rebound on Wall Street, as investors await the start of a Federal Reserve meeting today. Another reduction in interest rates could come tomorrow. Markets in Europe traded higher after Asia finished with major gains.

ST. DAVID'S, Pa. (AP) - It's clear both presidential candidates really want to win in Pennsylvania. Barack Obama starts his day with a rally near Philadelphia before he moves on to Virginia. John McCain is holding two rallies in Pennsylvania with Sarah Palin, who also headlines two other events in the state later today.

BAGHDAD (AP) - An Iraqi court has sentenced a militant to death by hanging for the grisly 2006 killing of three U.S. soldiers south of Baghdad. That, after two other suspects were found not guilty for lack of evidence.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington area's subway and bus system plans to start randomly searching passenger bags in an effort to deter terrorist attacks. Officials say it's not a response to any specific threat. Transit systems in New York, Boston and New Jersey conduct similar searches.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal judge says parts of Missouri's new law restricting the activities of registered sex offenders on Halloween are unenforceable. But the judge found no fault with
requirements that sex offenders remain inside their homes with the outside lights off and post signs saying they have no candy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Today's News-Monday, October 27, 2008

Fire burning in Tamaqua

Crews in Tamaqua were called to a fire at a garage at 225 Cedar Street in the borough before 6am. Original reports had the blaze in the 100 block of Broad Street in Tamaqua. The extent of the damages is not yet known, but cleanup is pretty well complete.

McCain coming to Pottsville

With just over a week to go until the general election, John McCain is heading to the heartland of the battleground state of Pennsylvania...Pottsville. The event, announced last week, will bring the Road to Victory Rally to Martz Hall. Doors are scheduled to open at 4pm, with the rally scheduled to get underway at 4:30pm. Senator McCain is slated to speak around 6:30pm. Tickets have been going quickly, but campaign organizers say that tickets are still available at their campaign headquarters at 217 North Centre Street in Pottsville from 9am this morning.

Forestville fire company destroyed

Fire destroyed a firehouse in Forestville this morning. The blaze broke out around 12:30 a.m. at One Line Avenue at the building in which the Forestville Fire Company's equipment is stored. Company officials report that several vehicles, including an antique truck, were destroyed, as well as fire gear. One truck was saved from the blazing structure when a volunteer was able to ram it through a garage door. The adjoining social hall suffered some smoke damage as well. One firefighter suffered minor injuries. The state police fire marshal will investigate the cause.

Theft from motor vehicle at Schuylkill Country Club

State police at Schuylkill Haven are looking for the vandals who robbed an Auburn couple's vehicle at the Schuylkill Country Club. Sometime between 12:45 and 6pm Sunday, jewelry, cash and credit cards were removed from a vehicle owned by Wayne and Kathleen Haas. Anyone with information should call state police at 593-2000.

Bernville man dies in northern Berks crash

A Bernville man is dead following a Saturday evening crash in northern Berks County. A truck driven by 40-year-old Corey Kissinger was exiting Interstate 78 in Upper Tulpehocken Township and ran into the rear of a tractor trailer stopped on the shoulder of the road. Kissinger's vehicle burst into flames, trapping him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The tractor trailer driver, 39-year-old John Hoover of Reading, was not injured. Exit 19 was closed for about 4 hours following the accident Saturday night.

Obama, McCain return to Pennsylvania to open final full week of presidential campaign

POTTSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Candidates Barack Obama and John McCain will both be in the battleground state of Pennsylvania to open the final full week of the long presidential campaign. Obama, the Democratic nominee, will speak at Mellon Arena in
Pittsburgh on Monday evening. He'll then cross the state to speak at Widener University in Chester on Tuesday morning. McCain, the Republican nominee, will attend a rally at the
Pottsville School District in eastern Pennsylvania on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, he and running mate Sarah Palin will be at a rally at the Giant Center in Hershey. Palin, the Alaska governor, will then be at an event in Shippensburg on Tuesday afternoon and
in State College for another rally on Tuesday night.

Key informant with a shady history to take the stand in Fort Dix terror plot trial

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - A shadowy ex-convict who secretly recorded five men charged with planning to kill soldiers on Fort Dix is expected to testify at their trial this week. Prosecutors say paid informant Mahmoud Omar is likely to take the stand Monday or Tuesday for several days of testimony. While the government will portray his infiltration as key to arresting the men, defense attorneys will attack his credibility. In opening statements, defense lawyers suggested that Omar was a professional scam artist conning the government. The five defendants are all foreign-born Muslim men in their 20s who have spent much of their lives in the southern New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia. They were arrested in May 2007 and accused of plotting to sneak onto Fort Dix to attack soldiers. The Army base primarily trains reservists for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. No attack was carried out and lawyers for the men say there was no plot. The men face charges of attempted murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses. They could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on all counts.

Guantanamo prosecutor who quit in protest still watching over war crimes cases

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A former prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay who roiled America's war-crimes trials with accusations that the Pentagon withheld evidence from detainees says he will continue to monitor his old cases for any wrongdoing. Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld quit as prosecutor of a half-dozen cases at Guantanamo last month. He accused the government of keeping material from defense teams that could have helped their clients. The U.S. military then dropped charges against five Guantanamo prisoners who Vandeveld had been prosecuting but says it plans to charge at least some of the men again. The reservist told The Associated Press that military prosecutors named to take over his cases are honest, dedicated professionals. But he says he will be watching and would testify if subpoenaed about any missteps. Vandeveld, a 48-year-old Iraq war veteran from the Erie area, is returning to his civilian job as a deputy Pennsylvania state attorney general. He is the fourth Guantanamo prosecutor to resign.

Former Pa. police officer convicted in sex case; was accused of molesting girls while on duty

NEW BLOOMFIELD, Pa. (AP) - A former central Pennsylvania police officer accused of molesting or propositioning more than a dozen teenage girls while on duty was convicted of several sex offenses. A jury deliberated for about 10 hours Saturday before finding
Robert Pavlovich Jr. guilty of charges including corruption of minors, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and bribery in official matters. The 40-year-old Camp Hill resident denied the charges during the three-day trial. He says he had never had sex with any of the accusers, touched them improperly or asked them to sneak out of their homes. Pavlovich says he did ask three teenage girls to meet him late at night at locations in Marysville as part of an investigation into drug activity and underage drinking. Pavlovich remains free on $250,000 bail. A pre-sentencing investigation will be done before a sentencing date is set.

Trial to resume for northeastern Pa. man in baby's death; prosecutors seeking death penalty

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania man accused of beating a 7-month-old child to death is expected to take the stand in his own defense when trial resumes this week. Lackawanna County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against 30-year-old Michael Blakey, who is charged with first- and third-degree murder. He is accused of slamming Khayr Cash into a concrete floor in June 2007 at a Scranton apartment. The baby later died in a hospital. Prosecutors wrapped up their case last week as expert witnesses presented conflicting testimony. A pathologist called by the prosecution said there were at least six blows to the infant's head. But a defense witness said all of the damage was due to a single impact.

Mass remembers state Sen. James Rhoades, who died of injuries in car crash

MAHANOY CITY, Pa. (AP) - Longtime Pennsylvania senator James Rhoades is being remembered as a man dedicated to faith, family and his constituents. Hundreds attended a funeral Mass over the weekend for the 66-year-old lawmaker in the Mahanoy Area School District auditorium. Rhoades, who served 28 years in the Senate, was critically injured in a car accident Oct. 17 and died the following day. His wife, Mary Edith, was hospitalized for several days and required surgery to repair a crushed knee. She attended the service in a wheelchair, but did not speak publicly. Those who knew Rhoades say holding the funeral service in a school auditorium was fitting. He was a teacher, principal and football coach and also served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Rhoades, a Republican, was being challenged by Democrat Peter J. Symons and independent Dennis Baylor in the Nov. 4 general election. His name remains on the ballot; if he wins, the seat will be filled in a special election.

R. Crumb gets 'kicked upstairs' from 1960s underground comic scene to fine art museums

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A sojurn in drug-laced San Francisco of the 1960s turned Robert Crumb into the father of underground comics. Crumb's satiric, surreal and sometimes sexually explicit images helped illustrate the emerging counterculture. They also chronicled what he has called the "seamy side of America's subconscious." Compared to Brueghel and Goya and denounced as a pornographic misogynist, Crumb finds his work popping up in fine art museums these days. Now the 65-year-old Philadelphia-born artist is having a homecoming of sorts in "R. Crumb's Underground." The career-spanning exhibition of more than 100 works is on view at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art through Dec. 7. Curator Todd Hignite says it was just a matter of the art world catching up to Crumb.

CHICAGO (AP) - Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is intensifying his campaign with a speech and rally this afternoon in Canton, Ohio. In remarks released in advance, Obama urges voters to end divisiveness and turn away from fear he says is being sowed by Republicans. He'll also be in Pennsylvania.

CLEVELAND (AP) - Republican John McCain is in Ohio and Pennsylvania today, where he'll try to rally voters in a campaign heavily disdainful of rival Barack Obama. McCain hammers his theme that Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are "tax and spend" Democrats.

LONDON (AP) - Stocks around the world are sliding dramatically. Japan's Nikkei index hit the lowest point in 26 years. European markets are losing ground. The Dow futures are heavily in negative territory. The surging Japanese currency along with fears of a lurch into serious recession are driving the markets.

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - The University of Central Arkansas is reeling from last night's deadly shooting. Witnesses say as many as five gunshots rang out. Two students were killed and a third person was wounded. Classes are canceled for today. Grief counselors are being brought in. The motive is not known. A person of interest is being questioned.

CHICAGO (AP) -A New York hospital study suggests no harm is caused by moving emergency room patients to hallways when they're ready for admission. The study was done by the Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York. That hospital says other medical facilities should consider hallway medicine as a way to ease crowding in emergency rooms. The findings are being presented this week in Chicago.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Today's News - Saturday, OCtober 25, 2008

Thousands pay respects to Senator Rhoades

A throng of mourners paid their respects to the late Senator James Rhoades at a viewing held at Mahanoy Area High School Friday night. Lines began to form at the school well before the scheduled opening at 4pm, and continued through the evening. The Mahanoy City native and 7 term senator died from injuries suffered in a crash near Broadheadsville in Monroe County last Friday night. His wife, Mary Edith, was also hospitalized, but released earlier this week.

Today, at 11am, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Harrisburg Diocese will officiate at the mass, also at the school. Governor Ed Rendell and other dignitaries are expected to be in attendance.



King Frost Parade postponed until November 1st.

The threat of heavy rains across eastern Pennsylvania has forced the postponement of the King Frost Parade in Hamburg tonight. The parade is expected to step off at 7pm on Saturday, November 1st.

Pottsville Haunted Trail goes on rain or shine

Pottsville Recreation Commission’s Haunted Trail will be held rain or shine this weekend. While the haunted hayride was sold out on both nights, walk ins will be accepted when space is available. Music, games and refreshments will be served to welcome in the Halloween season.

Make A Difference Day In Schuylkill County

Today is Make A Difference Day across the nation and locally over 100 projects have been registered through Community Volunteers in Action. According to Janice Johnston, Coordinator for CVIA, many projects are going on. One is in Gilberton where a local resident is organizing the revitalizing the local playground for the youth in the area. Mrs. T's Pierogies staff is taking part in the National Day of Giving by preparing breakfast for the residents in the Shenandoah Hi Rise this morning as well. If your community minded spirit is moved today and you have not registered your project please give Johnston a call at 628-1426 and thanks for making a difference.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The deadline is Tuesday for Pennsylvanians who want permission to vote in the Nov. 4 election by absentee ballot. Voters who want absentee ballots have to get their applications in to county elections officials by the end of the business day Tuesday.
Absentee ballots are allowed for military and overseas citizens, out-of-town college students, people traveling for work and those whose are too sick or disabled to get to their polling place. In most cases, absentee ballots have to be in by Oct. 31. But ballots for military and overseas voters have to be postmarked by Nov. 3 and they have to be received by Nov. 12. No one can collect or submit an absentee ballot for someone else unless the voter is disabled.

READING, Pa. (AP) - The Reading School District is halting its planned purchase of a Hershey candy factory slated for closure after the discovery of asbestos and benzene there. The Reading school board voted unanimously this week to invoke an opt-out clause in the $3.85 million sale agreement with The Hershey Co. The district wanted to build three elementary schools on the
9-acre site. The district hopes to build seven new schools in the next three years.
Superintendent Thomas Chapman Jr. says the district still plans to build smaller, safer schools, but wouldn't say if he's looking at another location. He says the district might reconsider the site if Hershey cleans it up. Hershey plans to close the factory early next year.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Sports and music fans are in for lots of entertainment this weekend in Philadelphia. But it's all taking place about the same time in the same area, and that's going to mean big traffic problems around the South Philadelphia sports complex. The Flyers host the New Jersey Devils at 4 p.m. Saturday. At 8 p.m., the Phillies entertain the Tampa Bay Rays for Game 3 of the World Series. Also at 8 p.m., the Celtic Thunder Show begins at the Wachovia Spectrum. Things don't get any better for motorists on Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons in NFL action at 1 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., The Who in Concert gets under way at the Wachovia Center. And at 8 p.m., it's Game 4 between the Phillies and Rays at Citizens Bank Park. Best bet for getting there: take public transportation.

NEW YORK (AP) - Fears of a global recession have stocks in a tail-spin. Benchmark indexes in Asia and Europe have fallen by 9 or 10 percent, while prices on Wall Street have been down from the opening bell. The Dow is off its lows for the day, after falling 500 points at the opening bell.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Association of Realtors is reporting some positive housing news. It says sales of existing home rose 5.5 percent last month. That's the best showing in more than five years. Still, the median sales price continues to fall. It's just over $191,000 dollars, down about 9 percent from a year ago.

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (AP) - Sarah Palin says families with special-needs children will have a friend in the White House if the Republican ticket is elected. Campaigning in Pennsylvania, Palin
outlined plans that would increase federal educational funding for families and help them get up-to-date treatment information. Palin's six-month old son Trig was born with Down syndrome.

ATLANTA (AP) - There are reports of problems with early voting in at least two states. Election officials in Tennessee say some voters were given ballots for the wrong state House district, while in Georgia the oval on ballots in Gwinnet country are too thick for the optical scanning machines.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Florida Congressman Tim Mahoney has canceled a planned debate today, because organizers wouldn't ban TV cameras. The first-term Democrat is embroiled in an adultery scandal. His campaign says it feared a circus-like atmosphere if
cameras were allowed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Today's News-Friday, October 24, 2008

Tamaqua fire injures two, displaces 7

Amy Fifth

That was fire victim Amy Fifth-describing the exact moment she knew her house was on fire. That three alarm blaze broke out shortly after one o'clock along the two hundred block of Schuylkill Avenue in Tamaqua. It quickly consumed the triplex as crews arrived on scene. One person was taken to St. Luke's Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and a firefighter escaped serious injury after falling through the second floor of one of the homes. It took nine companies and close to one-hundred volunteers to put out the heavy fire. Tamaqua police chief -Dave Mattson-explains what's next:


The Red Cross and Salvation ARmy were on scene caring for the family that lost their home and also the volunteer firefighters.

Tractor trailers crash, one injured

A New York truck driver was injured in a multi-vehicle crash in Delano Township early Thursday. 42-year-old Ronald Burdick Jr. of Oswego,NY was driving north on I-81 and didn't see the rig driven by Steven Kissel of Tonawanda, New York in front of him and rear ended it. The force of impact drove the vehicles into a parked rig, where William Fiske of Cayuga New York was asleep. Burdick was flown to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment of injuries, where he's in fair condition. Traffic was hampered for hours for cleanup. The crash happened around 3:40am.

Water boil advisory in Pine Grove

More than 100 homes are under a water boil advisory through the weekend in Pine Grove. Water customers on Lover's Lane, Whispering Pines Development, Pine Ridge Drive, Oak Lane, and American Legion Boulevard between Lovers Lane to Pine Hill Drive will have to boil their water through the weekend due to a main break that was repaired Thursday. Residents who have questions about this advisory should call Pine Grove borough hall at 345-3555.

Abandoned snakes to be sold

An animal rescuer is asking a court to allow him to sell venomous and other snakes he has been sheltering for months since they were found abandoned in a closed exotic pet store in eastern Pennsylvania. Police and animal rescue officers confiscated 160 snakes found abandoned in July inside the closed Serpent's Den store in Lehighton. A boa constrictor was found crawling loose and other snakes were found in unsecured boxes. Investigators found nine dead snakes and three have died since. Authorities say they are seeking the store owner, 44-year-old Steven Markevich, who has disappeared. Officials say warrants have been filed charging him with reckless endangerment, maintaining a public nuisance, animal cruelty and violating an ordinance that prohibits keeping exotic pets in Lehighton Borough.

Lawsuit: Paper ballots should be on hand in Pa.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Several voter-rights groups have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to ensure that Pennsylvania voters have access to emergency paper ballots if electronic machines break down. The groups filed suit Thursday in Philadelphia against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes. They want a judge to ensure that paper ballots are available on Election Day if more than half the voting machines break down at a polling site. The coalition claims that, when voting machines broke down in past elections, voters were told to wait in line or to come back later to vote. They don't want that to happen again. The plaintiffs include the NAACP, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Voter Action, a voting rights organization.
McCain volunteer claims attacker cut 'B' into face

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A McCain campaign volunteer told police she was robbed at knifepoint at an ATM and knocked down by a man who then carved a "B" in her face after noticing a McCain sticker on her car. Police say the woman, 20-year-old Ashley Todd, of College Station, Texas, refused medical attention. A police spokeswoman says an officer saw the injury, but the police report did not describe its size or severity,. Todd reported the attack late Wednesday. She was to be reinterviewed by investigators late Thursday. Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard says they are looking at all angles of the incident.

Pa. universities seek 6 percent state aid boost

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities are seeking a 6 percent increase in state aid next year, even as they're preparing for possible budget cuts this year.
The State System of Higher Education's governing board approved a request Thursday for nearly $527 million in state funding for the 2009-10 fiscal year - a roughly $28 million increase. The request would help pay for a proposed operating budget of more than $1 billion. The system is also eyeing a possible $214 tuition increase for full-time students who are Pennsylvania residents. But the board also agreed to comply with Gov. Ed Rendell's plan to trim state spending in the face of declining revenue, freezing part of the universities' state aid for the current year.

Slow economy limits interest in Pa. gas drilling

PORTAGE, Pa. (AP) - Some landowners eager to get a windfall from the rights to natural gas beneath their western Pennsylvania land are finding out that they may miss out. Energy consultant Jackie Root told a group of Cambria County landowners Wednesday night that a sluggish economy and stock market slide has sapped interest in drilling on the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation beneath their land. Landowners meeting with Root at Portage Elementary School heard that oil and gas leases that were going for $2,500 an acre a few months ago are down to $200 per acre. Root's company sought lease proposals from 40 companies on the landowners' tracts. But just two companies bid, and neither chose to bid on the entire 7,000-plus acres owned by the group.

Shields, Rays squeeze Phillies to tie World Series

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Squeeze plays, a wacky checked swing and a fresh face out of the bullpen. These plucky Tampa Bay Rays pulled out all their tricks at Tropicana Field to tie the World Series. James Shields stymied the slumping Philadelphia Phillies, rookie David Price got the final seven outs and Tampa Bay rebounded from a rare home loss with a 4-2 victory Thursday night that made it 1-all. The Rays scored on Jason Bartlett's safety squeeze and built
another rally when Rocco Baldelli walked on a checked swing that seemed to confuse players and umpires alike. Tampa Bay never really got a huge hit, but neither did the Phillies as Jimmy Rollins & crew fell to 1-for-30 with runners in scoring position. Palin guarantees win at western Pa. rally

BEAVER, Pa. (AP) - Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin set aside Joe the Plumber for Joe the Quarterback - as in Joe Namath - at a rally in western Pennsylvania near where Namath grew up. She told supporters in Beaver on Thursday that she and John McCain are still in the game and they're going to win. She says just like Namath's guarantee before the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III -- she guarantees that she and McCain will win Pennsylvania. Palin is scheduled to appear at another event near Pittsburgh on Friday morning.

3rd quarter Pa. foreclosure filings up 73 percent

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The number of Pennsylvania homeowners falling behind on mortgage payments rose slightly faster than the national average in the third quarter. However, new figures released Thursday by RealtyTrac Inc. show that the foreclosure rate in Pennsylvania remains about one-third of the national average. The number of properties in Pennsylvania with foreclosure filings jumped by 73 percent from the third quarter of 2007 to the third quarter of 2008. Nationally, filings rose 71 percent. In addition, foreclosure filings in Pennsylvania rose nearly 18 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter this year. Nationally, filings rose 3.5 percent. In September, about 1 in every 1,300 Pennsylvania households received a foreclosure filing, compared with 1 in every 475 nationally.

PNC Bank to open branches in Giant Food stores

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - PNC Bank plans to open dozens of branches in Giant Food stores. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Giant announced an agreement Thursday in which the bank will open branches at supermarket stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia. Initial plans call for 41 in-store branches and 180 ATMs to be in place in 2009. The companies say more branches and ATMS will be added during the 10-year agreement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement comes several months after Chevy Chase Bank began closing 54 branches in Giant stores across the region after its 10-year contract with the supermarket expired.

Pa. man accused of threat against President Bush

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania man is under indictment for allegedly threatening the life of President George W. Bush. U.S. Attorney Martin Carlson says the Secret Service began investigating 50-year-old Patrick Bloodsworth, of Red Lion, after he was admitted to York Hospital following an altercation with family members. According to Secret Service Agent Kenneth Werley, a hospital nurse heard Bloodsworth making threats Oct. 8. Carlson says in a news release that a grand jury returned the indictment on Wednesday. If convicted, Bloodsworth faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The Secret Service declines to answer questions about the case. Most of the case documents have been sealed by a federal magistrate.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Seven people are homeless today after row homes were destroyed in Tamaqua. Fire was in a full roll when crews arrived after 1pm on Schuylkill Avenue. The homes at 209-213 were destroyed. A family of six saw their rented home go up in flames, and a single man suffered smoke inhalation. Traffic on Routes 209 and 309 was closed down at the Five Points in Tamaqua as the fire was battled.

More details on WPPA and T102 News Friday morning.

Today's News-Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain to speak at Martz Hall rally

Republican presidential candidate John McCain will make a campaign stop in Schuylkill County Monday evening. Plans are in the works for the Arizona Senator's visit at Martz Hall on the campus of Pottsville High School, with a speech expected around 6:30pm. WPPA will provide live coverage of the event.

Burglary at Pine Grove beer distributor

State police at Schuylkill Haven are continuing to look for clues as to who burglarized a Pine Grove beer distributor recently. During the overnight hours of October 7th, someone entered into Daubert Distributors on Tremont Road in Pine Grove Township by breaking through drywall and paneling. Office equipment was damaged and items taken. Total costs of the crime are nearly $6-thousand-dollars.

Aluminum stolen from Lynn Ladder

An Orwigsburg area ladder manufacturer was broken into earlier this week, and aluminum ladder parts stolen. Schuylkill Haven state police say that sometime overnight Monday, thieves broke into the Lynn Ladder warehouse on Chestnut Road in West Brunswick Township by prying open a steel door. Three barrels full of aluminum ladder pieces were emptied and removed from the building. Value of the items is not known. The investigation continues.

PennDOT begins preliminary engineering work on Route 61 project

Preliminary engineering is getting underway on a troublesome section of Route 61 in Schuylkill Haven. The project is being designed to improve safety and traffic flow on a nearly two mile stretch of highway between Penn State Schuylkill and Route 183. The design work is being handled by Alfred Benesch and Company of Pottsville.

Pine Grove man to be charged in Lebanon County fatal

A Pine Grove man is expected to be charged in a fatal crash earlier this week that claimed the life of a Frackville girl. State police at Jonestown report that Joseph Heil the Third was driving under the influence when he allegedly caused the crash near mile marker 89 in Lebanon County Sunday night. Mellisa Fogel died in the crash, and four others were injured. Heil faces charges of DUI, homicide by vehicle while DUI and related counts.

GOP vice presidential nominee Palin returning to western Pennsylvania to campaign on Thursday

BEAVER, Pa. (AP) - Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin is scheduled to stump in western Pennsylvania on Thursday. Beaver County Republican Committee chairman Marty Matthews says the Alaska governor will appear at Beaver Area High School on Thursday evening. Palin's running mate, GOP presidential nominee John McCain, will be in Pottsville on Monday for a 3:30 p.m. rally at Martz Hall in the Pottsville School District.

Prosecutor says Fumo used other people's money to fund lifestyle; defense says he worked 24/7

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a wealthy, powerful state senator used staffers as personal assistants to spy on his ex-lovers, chauffeur his children, and do a lot of other chores.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pease painted that picture in opening statements in the trial of 65-year-old Sen. Vincent Fumo of Philadelphia. He says the longtime Democratic powerbroker operated out of "greed, power and a profound sense of entitlement" as he spent $3.5 million from the state and two nonprofits. But lawyers for Fumo say he and his staff worked tirelessly for the state and his Philadelphia district. Attorney Dennis Cogan argues that the chores Fumo's staff performed helped make him a more effective senator, and were thereby legitimate under Pennsylvania law. Defense attorneys also say the staffers often did the extra work on their own time.

NY man gets 25 to 58 years for stolen body parts scam; Philadelphia brothers get 8 to 20 years

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Three men were sentenced to prison terms for conspiring to plunder corpses and sell the sometimes diseased body parts. Michael Mastromarino, the owner of New Jersey-based biomedical tissue company, was sentenced to 25 to 58 years in prison. Brothers
Louis and Gerald Garzone provided bodies from a pair of funeral homes and a crematorium they ran in Philadelphia. They will serve eight to 20 years. Mastromarino says "words cannot express" how sorry he is. He called his crimes "nothing less than disgusting and embarrassing," and then broke down and cried. Prosecutors say Mastromarino paid the Garzones for at least 244 corpses that were carved up without families' permission and without medical tests. Skin, bones, tendons and other parts - some of them diseased - were then sold around the country for dental implants, knee and hip replacements and other procedures.

Defense attorney: Army soldier accused of 'fragging' 2 superiors is victim of rush to judgment

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - Military prosecutors say the first soldier accusing of killing a direct superior in Iraq told other soldiers he hoped his company commander would die in action and he
wanted to "burn" him. Prosecutors say New York National Guard Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez was frustrated with Capt. Phillip Esposito's strict oversight of the supply room where Martinez worked. Martinez is accused of planting an anti-personnel mine that detonated June 7, 2005, in a window of the officers' room at Saddam Hussein's Water Palace in Tikrit. Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis Allen of Milford, Pa., were playing the board game Risk when the mine sent hundreds of steel balls hurtling into the room. Martinez is charged with two counts of premeditated murder and could be sentenced to death if convicted. Defense attorney Maj. John Gregory says Army investigators assumed Martinez was guilty after learning of his feud with Esposito, and they probably missed important evidence.

Prosecutor: Retired Pa. judge used his title, told lies to collect $440,000 in insurance money

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A federal prosecutor says a state appellate judge told lies and half-truths about injuries from a slow-speed fender-bender to collect $440,000 from two insurance companies. Former Superior Court Judge Michael Joyce, who has since retired, is charged with two counts of mail fraud and six counts of money laundering. If convicted, he could face prison and fines. He could also lose his state pension from the $165,000-a-year job he left after a federal grand jury indicted him last year. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Trabold accused the judge of lying to insurance companies and misleading his doctors about neck and back injuries after what he called a "2- to 3-mile-per-hour fender-bender." But Joyce's attorney, Philip Friedman, says there's a reason Trabold doesn't focus on the medical records. He says the records prove Joyce was injured or, at least, truly believed he was injured. Trabold says that makes it impossible for the government to prove fraud.

Pa. appeals USDA plan to end universal Philly school breakfast, lunch program

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Pennsylvania is appealing a federal decision to end a 17-year-old universal feeding program in Philadelphia schools. To maximize participation, the breakfast and lunch program doesn't require students or their families to fill out application forms for the free or reduced-price meals. The program feeds about 121,000 students. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the Agriculture Department has decided to end the application-free plan following the 2009 school year. The federal agency says it needs the applications to better monitor the program. Backers of the universal feeding program say the lack of paperwork saved the district money and removed any stigma connected with receiving the free meals.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Current and former regulators will be on Capitol Hill talking about their role in the financial meltdown. Yesterday the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee blasted credit rating agencies for giving inflated credit

WASHINGTON (AP) - While people are skittish about the economy right now, a new poll suggests most Americans are optimistic about the way things will be in a few months, and even more so in a year. There's less optimism about an improvement in unemployment rates
and home values in the near future.

UNDATED (AP) - John McCain is breaking out the "Straight Talk Express" for a series of events across central Florida's heavily populated Interstate-4 corridor. Early voting started in Florida
back on Monday. Barack Obama holds a rally in Indianapolis before heading to Hawaii to be with his sick grandmother.

BAGHDAD (AP) - At least 13 people are dead after a suicide car bomber targeted a government convoy in the streets of Baghdad. The attack comes on the same day the Iraqi military was given control of a province south of Baghdad that includes an area once known as the triangle of death.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Cole Hammels is building off his MVP performance in the National League Championship Series. He gave up two runs over seven innings of work in Philadelphia's 3-2 win over Tampa Bay in game 1 of the World Series. Game 2 is tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Today's News-Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Father shakes baby, lands in jail

A New Castle Township man is jailed for shaking his infant son. Frackville state police have just released information about the case, where 25-year-old Justin Wilson was watching his 2 month old son. He reportedly shook the baby on at least three occasions while watching the child. The baby had to be hospitalized for treatment of his injuries. Wilson was arraigned on charges of aggravated and simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment.

Bail was set at $50-thousand-dollars.

Referendum on bond issue to appear on ballot

The November 4th general election is less than two weeks away, and most voters are focusing on electing a new President. But Pennsylvania voters are also being asked to consider authorizing the state to borrow $400 million dollars for infrastructure improvements to water and wastewater systems. Acting DEP Secretary John Hanger was in Schuylkill County yesterday to encourage voters to approve the referendum. The bond issue's funds would be used to fix deteriorating pipes and sewer lines through PENNVEST grants. A recent study by the Sustainable Infrastructure Task Force estimates that improvements totaling more than $36 billion dollars are needed over the next 20 years across the state to maintain reliable service. The additional funds are on top of $800 million dollars in spending approved by the state legislature to improve systems, flood control projects and high hazard dams. Those projects will be repaid with gaming revenues.

Former presidential candidate to stump for McCain-Palin in Schuylkill tonight

A former presidential candidate will be in Schuylkill County tonight for a town hall meeting to promote the Republican presidential ticket. US Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas will be joined by former Lehigh Valley Congressman Pat Toomey at Penn State Schuylkill's Morgan Auditorium at 7pm. Pennsylvania is a battleground state in the race for the presidency.

Phillies begin quest for baseball's championship tonight

Pennsylvania sports fans are anxiously hoping for a World Championship to return to the Commonwealth, as the Philadelphia Phillies face the Tampa Bay Rays in game one of the World Series. It has been 15 long years since the Phils appeared in the fall classic. Game one can be heard on WPPA beginning at 8pm. First pitch is scheduled for 8:35 from Florida.

VIST Financial posts third quarter loss

The collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac affects the third quarter earnings of a regional banking company. VIST Financial, with a branch location in Schuylkill Haven, reported a third quarter loss of $4.6 million dollars for the period ending September 30th. The company reports that it recorded charges of about $7 million dollars after it had to write down preferred stock they owned in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and a charge of $104 thousand dollars for Wachovia Corporation stock. The quarterly loss of 81 cents per share compares with a 45 cents per share profit for the same period a year ago.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Opening statements are scheduled Wednesday morning in the sweeping corruption trial of longtime Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Fumo. Two men and 10 women have been chosen, along with four female alternates. The lawmaker's trial is set to open Wednesday in Philadelphia and last three months. The 65-year-old Fumo, a South Philadelphia Democrat, is charged with defrauding the Senate, a maritime museum and a nonprofit of more than $3.5 million. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including obstruction, fraud and money laundering. During the final jury selection Tuesday, the defense alleged that prosecutors were trying to select jurors based on race. Prosecutors denied the charge and, after a long sidebar, the judge overruled the defense objection. Three blacks and nine whites were chosen.

3 to be sentenced in scheme to sell body parts stolen from fumeral homes

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Three men are scheduled to be sentenced in Philadelphia for their roles in a scheme to plunder cadavers at funeral homes and sell their stolen parts. Michael Mastromarino and brothers Louis and Gerald Garzone have pleaded guilty to charges including abusing corpses and theft. Prosecutors say the scheme entailed carving up bodies without families' permission and without medical tests. Authorities say the sometimes diseased parts were then sold around the country for implants and other procedures. Family members and alleged recipients of tainted tissue are expected to make statements in court Wednesday before the sentencings. Mastromarino is already serving 18 to 54 years in prison for running the scam in New York. Jury selection continues in retired Pa. judge's fraud trial; trial opening likely Wednesday

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A judge says he expects opening statements Wednesday in the federal fraud trial of a retired Pennsylvania appellate judge in Pittsburgh. Retired Superior Court Judge Michael Joyce is charged with mail fraud and money laundering because federal prosecutors say he faked or exaggerated neck and back injuries following a 2001 fender bender to collect $440,000 in insurance claims. The selection process was delayed when a judge temporarily closed jury questioning to the media at the request of prosecutors. The judge relented after he was contacted by a newspaper attorney who objected. More than 60 jurors are being screened based on a 19-page questionnaire they filled out Monday to probe for any potential biases. Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill says he expects opening statements on Wednesday.

Police: 2 Philly officers shoot man who pulled gun after stop

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police say two officers shot and killed a man after he pulled a gun on them following a traffic stop. Police say the two highway patrol officers made a routine stop of a car at about 7 p.m. Tuesday in West Philadelphia. Capt. Mel Singleton says the driver fled, and the officers chased him, and when they caught up with him there was a struggle and he pulled a weapon. Singleton says both officers fired their weapons, and the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

Voter registration in Pa. continues to climb, surpasses 8.7 million

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania elections officials say there are now more than 8.7 million registered voters in the commonwealth. The total includes 4.4 million Democrats, 3.2 million Republicans and more than 1 million independents and members of minor parties. Secretary of State Pedro Cortes says a system of safeguards is in place to ensure that only qualified voters can register and cast ballots in next month's election. The measures include a statewide voter-registration database, a signature-verification system at all polling places and laws that criminalize voter fraud. Oct. 6 was the registration deadline, but county elections officials are still processing applications.

Son, 51, charged with strangling Pa. woman, 85, hiding her body on under brush on game lands

BOLIVAR, Pa. (AP) - The son of an 85-year-old woman whose body was found hidden on state game lands in western Pennsylvania has been charged with her murder. Fifty-one-year-old Frederick Phillips Jr. is charged with first-degree murder and other crimes. Authorities allege that he strangled Anna Phillips earlier this month in her home in Upper Yoder Township near Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh. Township police say the son then drove several miles to the game lands in Westmoreland County where he covered her body with leaves and brush. Police say the suspect is in a West Virginia hospital recovering from a traffic accident. Police say they interviewed him after the crash and that led them to her body Sunday night.

Penn senior sentenced to 3 months, probation in hacker attack that crashed server

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A University of Pennsylvania senior has been ordered to serve three months in federal prison after admitting he helped crash a school server. Twenty-two-year-old Ryan Goldstein of Ambler also was sentenced to five years probation, including three months in a halfway house. Officials say Penn's engineering school server crashed in 2006 after a deluge of requests for downloads. It was disclosed in court Tuesday that agents found child porn on Goldstein's computer, but he wasn't charged with that offense. Goldstein pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and lawyers for both sides say he worked long hours helping the FBI investigate a worldwide hacking enterprise. U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson says it bothers him that Goldstein is getting far less prison time than people with child porn convictions.

Pa. woman is sentenced for trying to kill husband 3 times, claiming he molested her children

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - A Centre County woman accused of trying to kill her husband three times has been sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 years in prison. Authorities say the first attempt occurred after the couple had been married just 93 days. Fifty-year-old Christine Balliet, of Muncy, pleaded no contest to stabbing her husband in the chest on Feb. 28, 2007, and running him over with her car. While she was in prison, authorities say, she tried to hire a hit man to kill him and make it look like a suicide. Balliet was also ordered to pay more than $4,000 in restitution to her husband and she was directed not to have any contact with him.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Barack Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, will meet with a group of the campaign's national security advisers today in Virginia. Afterward, Obama plans to talk publicly about his approach to world affairs, and how it differs from John McCain's.

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - John McCain has always done well in New Hampshire. But polls show the state he'll begin his day in leaning toward Barack Obama by at least 7 points. After a morning rally in New Hampshire, McCain heads to Ohio for a series of events.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghan officials say a U.S.-led airstrike mistakenly killed 9 Afghan soldiers and wounded 3 at an Army checkpoint. The U.S. says it may have been a case of mistaken identity "on both sides." Fighting in southern Afghanistan has also left 35 Taliban militants dead, according to an Afghan official.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Jurors are set to begin deliberating in Senator Ted Stevens' corruption trial, less than two weeks before voters in Alaska decide if Stevens should serve another term in the Senate. He's charged with lying on Senate financial disclosure forms about $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The World Series starts tonight, with the Tampa Bay Rays hosting the Philadelphia Phillies. National League Championship Series MVP Cole Hamels will start for the Phils, who haven't played in a week. Scott Kazmir gets the start for the Rays.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today's News-Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Four injured, one dies in Lebanon County crash

A head-on collision on Interstate 81 in Lebanon County has left a Frackville teenager dead and four injured. The Sunday night accident happened near mile marker 89 around 9pm, when 56-year-old Joseph Heil the Third of Pine Grove was driving south in the northbound lane when he struck a northbound vehicle operated by Edward Fogel of Frackville. 17 year old Mellisa Fogel died from injuries in the crash. Edward Fogel is in critical condition at Hershey Medical Center, and two children, ages 9 and 12, were also hurt. Heil also remains in critical condition at Hershey. Jonestown state police are continuing their investigation.

Armed robbery in Mechanicsville

State police at Schuylkill Haven are asking for the public’s help in finding three black males who committed an armed robbery last night in Mechanicsville. 19-year-old Kevin Warmkessel of Port Carbon was walking on Pottsville Street when a car with three black males inside stopped and attacked him. Reports indicate that one of them produced a gun and another a knife while the third assailant looked through Warmkessel’s pockets. Cash and an I POD were taken. Warmkessel had minor cuts and abraisions but refused medical treatment.

Rhoades services set

Services have been set for the late Senator Jim Rhoades, who died from injuries in a weekend crash in Monroe County. Clyde "Champ" Holman, the Senator's chief of staff, explains the service schedule:


Bishop Kevin Rhoades, a relative of the Senator, will celebrate the mass. The longtime educator and legislator will be laid to rest in a private internment. Mary Edith Rhoades, the senator's wife, was also injured in the crash. Governor Ed Rendell ordered flags at all state facilities to half mast Monday in honor of Senator Jim Rhoades.

Pine Grove chief back on job

The police chief in the borough of Pine Grove is back on duty. Reports circulated Monday that Joshua Reager would return to duty after a suspension and administrative leave. The chief has been embroiled in controversy for several months about his department's operations and questions about his website for Reager's skateboard business. WPPA/T102 News spoke with a staff member at Pine Grove borough hall Monday afternoon, who declined comment. Attempts to reach Mayor Morris Williams were also unsuccessful to talk about Reager's return.

Shenandoah mayor announces resignation

The Mayor of the borough Shenandoah will step down at the end of the year. Thomas F. O'Neill submitted his resignation last night, and was accepted by a 4 to 1 vote by council. The Republican and Herald reports that O'Neill cited the health and medical needs of his wife and political confilcts as the reason for his resignation. The borough of Shenandoah has been in turmoil since the beating death of illegal immigrant Luis Ramirez in July. Four Shenandoah area teens have been charged in the case.

Late Pa. state senator's name to stay on ballot

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The late state Sen. James Rhoades may get elected to an eighth term.
That's because Republican Party officials say his name will stay on the ballot in a three-way race in his northeastern Pennsylvania district. The 66-year-old Rhoades died Saturday from injuries he suffered in a car accident the night before, a little more than two weeks before the Nov. 4 election. The Schuylkill County Republican will have a viewing on Friday at Mahanoy Area High School, with Mass on Saturday. State officials say that should Rhoades win the election, a
special election would be held to pick a successor. A special election cannot be held less than 60 days after one is ordered by the Senate's presiding officer.

John McCain, Cindy McCain to stump in Pennsylvania on Monday and Tuesday

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential nominee John McCain is scheduled to appear at rallies across the commonwealth Tuesday. McCain's campaign says he will be in Bucks County for an 8 a.m. rally at T.C. Millwork in Bensalem. In the afternoon, he will be at rallies at The Forum in Harrisburg at 1 p.m. and at Robert Morris University in Moon Township at 4:30 p.m.
McCain's wife, Cindy, was in Philadelphia on Monday and urged supporters to get out the vote. She says the presidential race will be close. McCain joined former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Supriya Jindal, the wife of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, at a rally at the
National Constitution Center. McCain talked about her two sons on active duty in the military and praised her husband's service to the country.

Fumo corruption trial likely to open Wednesday; Philly Democrat charged in $3.5 million fraud

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Opening statements will probably come Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of longtime Pennsylvania powerbroker Vincent Fumo. The Democratic senator from Philadelphia is charged with defrauding the Senate, a maritime museum and a nonprofit of more than $3.5 million. Prosecutors say he used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and potent political machine. The trial has been delayed several times - and caps an FBI investigation that's been underway since about 2003. Fumo is in court this week as lawyers whittle the list of
potential jurors. Many have been excused because of health, child care or job issues. The trial is expected to last three months. Fumo and former aide Ruth Arnao have pleaded not guilty.

Pa. woman ordered out of chemical-free 'bubble'

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Ten hours a day, every day, Elizabeth Feudale-Bowes confines herself to a galvanized-steel-and-porcelain shed outside her easatern Pennsylvania house. The place is as austere as a prison cell - but it's also her sanctuary from an outside world that she says makes her violently ill. She and her husband call the structure "the bubble." But the bubble may be about to burst: A judge has ordered it taken down by the end of the month.
Some of the couple's neighbors in suburban South Whitehall Township complained that the 160-square-foot building is unstable and so unsightly that it could drag down their property values. The couple also hooked up electrical, water and sewer service without securing permits.
Judge Carol McGinley said earlier this month that she sympathizes with the woman's medical problems, but there was "no excuse" for defying the township's orders. Fifty-two-year-old Feudale-Bowes says she was diagnosed several years ago with "environmental illness," described as extreme sensitivity to everyday substances. Some doctors, however, question
whether that is a genuine physical disorder and suggest that it is psychological. The zoning board has recommended that the couple explore other options, such as an addition to their house.

Pa. governor orders parole to resume for nonviolent offenders only

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Ed Rendell says he is lifting a moratorium on the parole of nonviolent offenders that he ordered three weeks ago. But a moratorium will remain on the parole of state prison inmates who committed violent offenses. Rendell halted the parole of state prison inmates before they had served the maximum number of years in their sentencing range
after a paroled felon killed a Philadelphia police officer. But Rendell says the Temple University professor he asked to lead a review of state parole procedures recommended that the normal parole process resume for nonviolent offenders only. Last month, parolee Daniel Giddings fatally shot police Officer Patrick McDonald after a traffic stop. Police later shot Giddings
to death.

New Pa. regulations bar dentists from dating patients

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Under new regulations in Pennsylvania, dentists who find their perfect love match sitting in the patients' chair must end the professional relationship and wait a few months before dating. The changes will make any sexual conduct with a current patient
subject to disciplinary action by the State Board of Dentistry, even if it is consensual. The rules take effect in the coming weeks. The regulations will apply to dentists, hygienists and other
state-licensed dental practitioners engaged in sexual conduct with patients they have treated within the past three months. There are exceptions for relationships in which the patient is a spouse or a lives with the employee. The Pennsylvania Dental Association says the rules are
excessively broad, and current regulations prohibiting sexual, verbal and physical abuse of patients are adequate. Pennsylvania's dentistry board says its proposal is consistent with other states' laws and regulations. The board notes that California, Iowa, Maine and Mississippi have similar definitions of sexual misconduct.

Key Pa. lawmaker says constable changes a priority

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A key state lawmaker says he wants to change Pennsylvania's troubled constable system to make it more accountable, improve operational standards and beef up training. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Tom Caltagirone is working with the state constables' association to address some of the problems described in a two-part series published in July by The Associated Press. The Berks County Democrat says he'll introduce a bill early next year and then convene hearings around the state to get the public's input. He wants to weed out those who shouldn't be serving as constables, generally elected officials who serve warrants, transport prisoners and perform other duties as independent contractors for the state's district courts. The AP found constables involved in dozens of cases of serious misconduct over the past decade, from homicide and sexual assault to theft of court funds and weapons offenses.

Central Pa. house fire that killed 2 sparked by unattended cooking

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (AP) - A state police fire marshal says cooking left unattended sparked a central Pennsylvania house fire that killed two people. The bodies of 61-year-old Gerald Kreiser II and 44-year-old Karen Kreiser were found after Saturday's 6 a.m. blaze in Dauphin County. Officials say an autopsy determined that their deaths were caused by smoke inhalation.
Trooper Patrick McKenna says the fire on Newberry Road in Londonderry Township has been ruled accidental. The house burned to the ground, with damage estimated at $100,000.

Pa. woman, 85, found slain on state gamelands

BOLIVAR, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in western Pennsylvania say an 85-year-old woman was strangled and left on state game lands under a cover of leaves and brush. The Westmoreland County Coroner has tentatively identified the victim as Anna Phillips. Dental records are being examined to confirm the identification. The coroner has ruled the death a homicide. Upper Yoder Township police say Phillips' family reported her missing about 7 p.m. Saturday. Police went to her home near Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh, and could not find
her. An investigation led to state game lands several miles away, where the body was found at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday. Local authorities are not saying what led them to search the game lands or whether they have a suspect. Cambria County District Attorney Patrick Kiniry and state police in Greensburg are also investigating but have not returned calls seeking comment.

Honeck extends tradition of Pittsburgh maestros

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The contract to conduct the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was on Manfred Honeck's desk when he got another offer: to be music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The Austrian-born conductor said the decision was easy. In an interview with The Associated Press he said, "You have to decide with your heart and my heart was with Pittsburgh." Honeck celebrated his 50th birthday and began his three-year contract with the Pittsburgh Symphony in September. He will have eight weeks of conducting in the first season with 10 weeks in subsequent seasons. He will also tour with the orchestra to Vienna's famed Musikverein concert hall in 2010 and 2011, and the Proms in London in 2010. Honeck was music director of the Swedish Radio Company from 2000 to 2006 and music director of the Stuttgart State Opera. He has had guest engagements at the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.

TOKYO (AP) - Investors in Japan seemed to like what they heard from the Fed chairman yesterday on further steps to shore up the sluggish U.S. economy. Japan's Nikkei index was up more than 3 percent, the third consecutive day of gains.

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Barack Obama is holding a jobs summit in Florida. He'll be joined by the governors of several states that voted Republican four years ago, as he tries to make the economy the top issue before the election. Meanwhile, John McCain is going after comments from Joe Biden, who says he expects Obama will be tested by a "generated crisis" if he's elected.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The shrinking number of people who think the country is moving in the right direction say if the U.S. has made it through tough times before, it can do it again. Those
respondents to an AP-Yahoo News poll tended to be older, less educated, conservative and supporters of John McCain.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Protesters outside the annual Mortgage Bankers Association convention in San Francisco want more foreclosure relief. One woman got past security yesterday and demanded that the heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac enact a moratorium on all foreclosures.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Geologists say they have discovered prehistoric animal tracks so densely packed they're calling it a "dinosaur dance floor." More than 1,000 tracks were found on a three-quarter acre site on the Arizona-Utah border. They say it could date back 190 million years.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Today's News-Monday. October 21, 2008

Region mourns Rhoades


That's Bob Ames, chairman of the Schuylkill County Republican Party, commenting on the passing of longtime Senator Jim Rhoades, who died Saturday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital from complications suffered in a three car crash Friday night in Monroe County. His wife, Mary Edith, was injured in the crash, and underwent knee surgery Sunday afternoon at Lehigh Valley. The 28 year legislator, a former teacher and administrator, was an advocate for improving education, and his impact was felt all across the Commonwealth:


Rhoades' name is on the ballot for re-election, and Ames said that the campaign will continue. The investigation into the accident is being conducted by state police at Fern Ridge.

No matter where you traveled over the weekend, the topic of conversation was the tragic death of state Senator Jim Rhoades of Mahanoy City. The 7 term legislator and his wife were involved in a 3 car crash near Broadheadsville in Monroe County Friday night. Both were flown to Lehigh Valley Medical Center, but Rhoades died of complications before 10am Saturday. Mary Edith Rhoades remains hospitalized today. A colleague of the senator, Representative Dave ARgall of Lake Hauto comments that Rhoades cared for his constituents and worked hard for them, as evidenced by his longevity in Harrisburg:


The Senator's re-election bid will go on according to campaign officials. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Game Commission releases report about mountain lion, considers it a hoax

Pennsylvania game commission officials have released their findings about an alleged mountain lion attack in Lancaster County. Officials say their investigation found no evidence that the attack occurred. 42-year-old Samuel Fisher of Sadsbury Township was said to have shot one large cat and then was attacked and injured by a second large cat. The investigation was conducted by state police and the game commission on evidence found at the scene. Fisher may be charged with making false statements. The game commission says that there is no evidence of wild, breeding populations of large cats in Pennsylvania.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Cindy McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are in Philadelphia for a morning rally at the National Constitution Center. The two will also attend an afternoon rally at Shady Brook Farms in Yardley, Bucks County. Republican presidential nominee John McCain will be in Pennsylvania on Tuesday for rallies in Bensalem, Harrisburg, and Moon Township.

WATER STREET, Pa. (AP) - State police and volunteer crews are searching for a 20-month old boy who wandered away from his foster parents' home and may be lost in wooded central Pennsylvania. State police say little Donavin Miller of the tiny town of Water Street in Huntingdon County was last seen outside his house about 5:30 p.m. Sunday by his foster mother.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jury selection is to resume in Philadelphia in the federal corruption trial of state Sen. Vincent Fumo. The selection process was winding down in September when the
proceedings were delayed because the judge was ill. The case later was transferred to another judge and is scheduled to resume on Monday. Opening statements could get begin as early as Tuesday.

ELKTON, Md. (AP) - A Mount Laurel, N.J., man goes on trial Monday in Maryland in connection with a boating accident that killed a Philadelphia woman. Mark Rosati is charged with negligent homicide by vessel while under the influence. Prosecutors say Rosati was impaired by alcohol when his 42-foot boat crashed into a personal watercraft on the Elk River in July 2007, killing 21-year-old Kristy Szewczak.

UPPER ST. CLAIR, Pa. (AP) - A father tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that one of his 9-year-old twin sons accidentally shot the other in the head on Saturday. Police have said they won't
comment until later Monday on how Christian Lanese was killed in the family's Upper St. Clair home. But his father, Michael, tells the newspaper that he had hidden the rifle in a closet because he was planning to sell it.

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks are higher in early trading, as global credit markets show signs of easing. Investors are hoping the improvement in the credit markets will mean stocks have reached a bottom. They're waiting to see what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has to say today to a House panel about the financial system and the economy.

WASHINGTON (AP) - An AP-Yahoo News poll says the number of likely voters who think things in the U.S. are going in the right direction has plunged over the last month. Those same voters also express widespread concern about the value of their investments and an ability to afford unexpected medical expenses.

WASHINGTON (AP) - John McCain says he's not surprised his longtime friend Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama's run for presidency. McCain also points out he has the support of four other former Secretaries of State who served in Republican administrations.

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors could be close to acquiring Chrysler, with one source telling the AP officials hope to have it done by the end of the month. Talks are said to be at the point
where top executives from both companies have been reviewing the deal.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Senator Jim Rhoades of the 29th Senatorial District has died following complications from a crash he and his wife were involved in last night in Monroe County. The Senator died at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Champ Holman, the Senator’s Chief of Staff confirmed Rhoades death this afternoon to WPPA/T102 News. Rhoades has been in the state Senate since 1980.

Our condolences to the Rhoades family, constituents of the 29th Senatorial District and the State Senate.