Monday, November 24, 2008

Today's News-Monday, November 24, 2008

Three accused of shooting gun from car

Three young people are accused of shooting a rifle from a car in Washington Township. Early Sunday morning, the trio identified as 20 year old Kyle Kocher and 19 year old Natashia Nester of Pottsville, and a juvenile were shooting a .22 caliber rifle from a car on at street signs. State police say several of the rounds hit a home at 3503 Sweet Arrow Lake Road, one of which nearly struck 59 year old Charles Hoover, the homeowner. Kocher will be charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. Nester will be charged with reckless endangerment. The juvenile will be charged with charges similar to Kocher's through the juvenile justice system.

Two escape injury when car catches fire

A Minersville couple escaped injury when their car caught fire while driving in Cressona Saturday night. Eugene and Georggine O'Brien were driving on Tioga Street in the borough around 6pm when they smelled something burning, and flames were coming from underneath the dashboard. The O'Brien's were able to escape from the blaze, but their pickup truck was destroyed.

Fire destroys barn, kills all animals inside

A weekend fire in Schuylkill County destroys a pole barn-killing all farm animals inside. It happened on Rabbit Run Road in West Penn Township. The fire chief in charge said the cause looks to be electrical:


Property owner Dennis Faust denied comment to the WPPA/T102 reporter on scene. The West Penn Fire Chief explains what was lost in that barn fire:


Multiple crews from around the area responded to that pole barn fire in West Penn Township.

Koch's Turkey farm busy

They're a local family business who specializes in a holiday dinnertime favorite. But they're not you're typical once a year turkey. WPPA/T102 reporter Kerry Dowd was down in the Lewistown Valley and has their story:


Bank robber picked up

A bank robber suspected in a Berks County holdup last week has been apprehended. State and Reading city police picked up 43-year-old James Weitzel at a shopping mall in Reading Saturday afternoon after a dragnet was issued for his arrest. Weitzel was identified by a bank teller after he held up the Wachovia Bank branch in Shoemakersville a week ago. Reports indicate that Weitzel may have been involved in other robberies in Berks County. He is in jail, awaiting a preliminary hearing.

Penalty phase opens for manager convicted of killing company intern in Pa. during drugging, attempted rape

MEDIA, Pa. (AP) - Jurors in suburban Philadelphia return Monday to try to decide whether a businessman should be sentenced to death or to life in prison for the murder of a company intern. Forty-three-year-old William Smithson, of Glen Mills, was convicted Friday in Delaware County Court of first-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Jason Kyle Shephard. The body of the North Dakota college student was found in Smithson's home in September 2006. Prosecutors say Smithson hosted gay sex parties at his house and drugged the victim, tried to rape him and then strangled him when he fought back. Smithson was also convicted of attempted rape, kidnapping, drug and other charges. Defense lawyer G. Guy Smith blamed another man who supplied drugs to Smithson and later lied to police about the night of the death.

Reputed Pa. mobster to be sentenced; attorney says he cooperated in probe of casino owner Louis DeNaples

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - The reputed boss of a northeastern Pennsylvania crime family is scheduled to be sentenced Monday on counts of witness tampering and conspiracy to launder money. The attorney for William D'Elia says in a sentencing memorandum that his client has helped Dauphin County authorities in their prosecution of Mount Airy Resort Casino owner Louis DeNaples and his attorney. DeNaples was charged in January with perjury. A grand jury says he lied to state investigators about his relationships with D'Elia and others in order to win a $50 million slot-machine license. The sentencing memorandum for D'Elia, the alleged boss of the Bufalino crime family, seeks a sentence of less than nine years. Sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of nine to slightly more than 11 years.

Prisons beefing up teleconferencing to save money

SOMERS, Conn. (AP) - With high fuel prices and tight state budgets, Pennsylvania and at least 10 other states report using teleconferences between judges and inmates more often to improve public safety and save some cash. Some inmates say they'd prefer to plead their cases in person, but correction officials say the technology offers a fair alternative to spending millions of dollars moving inmates in person. In Pennsylvania, prison system spokesman Susan McNaughton says teleconferencing has been used since the mid-1990s. It was originally used to let inmate patients meet with a doctor. Today, it's used for court cases, parole hearings and immigration hearings. McNaughton says there are video conference coordinators at each of the state's 27 prisons.

Philadelphia police sergeant killed in crash to be laid to rest Monday

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A veteran Philadelphia police sergeant killed in a traffic accident a week ago as he was responding to a robbery call will be laid to rest Monday. A funeral Mass is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. for Sgt. Timothy Simpson at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. He will be buried Monday afternoon in a cemetery in Bensalem. Simpson's squad car was struck Nov. 17 in the Port Richmond section of the city. Authorities say 41-year-old William Foster, of Levittown, was trying to elude another police car. He was charged with third-degree murder, vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, drug offenses and other counts. Simpson was 46 and had been on the force for 20 years. He is the fifth Philadelphia police officer killed in the line of duty in just over a year.

Pennsylvania can claim 3 of the 32 Rhodes Scholars in 2008

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An anthropology major who curated an exhibit about Lenape Indians living secretly in Pennsylvania is among three people with ties to the state who have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. Abigail Seldin organized the exhibit "Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania." It opened at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in September. The Penn student said that although history books say the Lenape left the state by 1803, there were some who intermarried with whites and appeared to assimilate, but continued their indigenous traditions. Also chosen was Caitlin Mullarkey, a biology major and chemistry minor at Swarthmore College. Mullarkey wrote a thesis on a type of brain tumor and says she's espeically interested in developing vaccines. Another new Rhodes Scholar is Gregory Lippiatt, who's from York and attends the Virginia Military Institute.

Pa. cycling arena has financial, management woes

TREXLERTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A newspaper reports that dropping ticket sales and management turmoil have been causing headaches for an indoor arena for bicycle races in the Lehigh Valley. The arena was founded in 1975 as the Lehigh County Velodrome and is now known as the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. It remains a world-renowned track and held many top-tier internationally sanctioned races on Friday nights over the summer. But The Morning Call of Allentown says its review of tax records shows that the arena has lost $564,000 since the year 2000, and only two fiscal years since then have been profitable. The paper says tax records show that ticket sales peaked in 2003 at more than $86,000 and were down about 25 percent from that peak in 2007.

Union cancels meeting in Pittsburgh transit dispute amid possible Dec. 1 shutdown

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh transit workers have called off an informational meeting a little more than a week before a possible Dec. 1 shutdown. The 2,200 members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 had been scheduled to meet Sunday to review their position in a contract dispute with the Port Authority of Allegheny County. But union president Pat McMahon says he's in meetings with union officials in Washington, trying to find a way for all parties to get back to the negotiating table. The Port Authority says the new deal includes 3 percent annual raises, but it also increases the cost of health care and the retirement age for its employees. The authority plans to impose the contract Dec. 1. If the drivers walk out, customers who take about 230,000 rides a day could be stranded.

LIMA, Peru (AP) - On the last day of a summit of Asian and Pacific nations, President Bush is meeting with his host, the president of Peru. Bush is expected to emphasize the benefits of free trade, which has been a key theme of his visit.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama has reportedly repeated his promise that Afghanistan will be a top priority of his administration. The office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Obama made the comment to Karzai in a phone call yesterday.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Two members of the Iraqi cabinet have a warning for colleagues about the proposed new security agreement with the U.S. The Cabinet members say if the deal doesn't pass parliament, the security problems that result will hurt economic growth.

TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) - Police in Tukwila, Washington, say they expect to make an arrest soon in yesterday's deadly shooting at a crowded shopping mall. One person was killed and another critically wounded. Police say it may have been gang-related.

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Vatican media are praising the music of the Beatles, compared to what it calls the "standardized, stereotypical" songs of today. Last week, the Vatican newspaper and radio noted the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' "White Album."


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