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.


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