Thursday, October 23, 2008

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.


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