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.


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