Friday, December 26, 2008

Today's News-Friday, December 26, 2008

Auburn man has minor injuries in crash

An Auburn man had minor injuries in a crash on Christmas Day in northern Berks County. 46 year old Thomas Rhymer Sr. was southbound on Route 813 near Worman Road, when he lost control on a left curve. His Jeep Cherokee hit an embankment and ended up on its left side. Rhymer complained of pain at the scene and was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center South for treatment. The crash happened before 9am Thursday.

Blood bank reaccredited

Schuylkill Medical Center East has received re-accreditation by the American Association of Blood Banks for its transfusion operation. The intensive on-site assessment means that Schuylkill Medical Center-East joins 18-hundred similar facilities across the United States and abroad.

Pine Grove man charged at casino

A Pine Grove man is charged with several counts following an incident at the Hollywood Casino earlier this week. Stae police report that 67 year old William Moyer became upset that the slot machine he was playing was not working right. Casino employees reportedly did not come to his aid, so he poured a cup of soda into the machine. Moyer was charged with criminal mischief for causing over $800 dollars damage to the machine.

Pa.'s new law improves state's access reputation

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - It was a dubious distinction that may have done more than any other factor to produce a new Right-to-Know Law: Pennsylvania's long-standing reputation as one of the worst states when it comes to letting people know what their government is doing. Those pushing for changes in recent years have often cited a 2002 study of certain aspects of public access by the Chicago-based Better Government Association that ranked Pennsylvania an abysmal 47th. Pennsylvania moved up to 22nd place later that year when a revision of the Right-to-Know Law imposed new timelines for agencies to fulfill information requests and made other reforms. With the new changes, Pennsylvania will shift the burden of proving a record should be produced from the requester to government agencies. But some criticize a provision that allows access to only a list of specific legislative records, and they say some of the penalties for violating the law are weak.

Police identify frozen body found near Erie

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - The frozen body found in the woods near Erie has been identified as a man whose family has been looking for him since the mid-1980s. Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook says the father of 59-year-old James Burchett was notified on Christmas Eve that his son's body had been found near the northwestern Pennsylvania city. Cook says Burchett's father, who lives in Tennessee, told police he has been looking for his son for more than 20 years. Cook says it remains unclear what Burchett was doing in Erie. Burchett was apparently living in a dry culvert in the woods behind a Sam's Club in Summit Township. Police found a sleeping bag and clothes near where the body was found last weekend. Cook is waiting for Burchett's body to thaw before conducting an autopsy.

Peco sends 33 workers to Mass.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Peco Energy says all 33 of its employees who went to Massachusetts to restore electric service following a major storm there have returned home. In a common practice with utility companies, Philadelphia-based Peco sent the workers at the request of Unitil Corp., whose employees were overwhelmed. Many of the customers rely on wells for water, so with no electricity to run the pump, they had no water. Peco spokesman Ben Armstrong says the workers put up 100 utility poles in Ashby, Mass., rebuilding the entire town's electric system. The workers returned home by Tuesday.

Pa. hotel fire displaces guests

FOGELSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A hotel in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley is closed following a fire that broke out Christmas morning. Gene Opdyke, of Summerville, Fla., was among about 30 guests of the Hawthorn Suites in Fogelsville displaced by the fire. He says people didn't panic and the evacuation was orderly. Fogelsville Fire Chief Doug Guth says firefighters were called at about 7:40 a.m. Thursday and the fire was reported contained at 10:30 a.m. The fire damaged the hotel's roof and some guest rooms. The cause was not immediately known.

Winds prevent Washington from crossing Delaware

WASHINGTON CROSSING, N.J. (AP) - Once again, strong winds and a fast current stopped George Washington from crossing the Delaware - by boat, anyway - on Christmas. Portrayer Ronald Rinaldi II, who also played Revolutionary War general last year, instead marched across a bridge from Pennsylvania to New Jersey during the 56th annual re-enactment of the military leader's daring Christmas crossing. For Rinaldi, playing the military leader was the role of a lifetime. It was also a family affair - his father, Ronald Sr., and his 11-year-old son, Ronald III, joined him on the march.

Philly trying to preserve jobs as it makes cuts

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Nearly a year ago, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter took office promising to add hundreds of police officers, scale back taxes and help more people get college degrees. That was before the economy collapsed. Now, Nutter won't be hiring 200 more police officers he promised or cutting back taxes as fast as he hoped. He's also getting an earful for closing down 11 libraries and 68 pools, and for plans to deactivate seven fire companies. With the city facing a $1 billion deficit over the next five years, Nutter is scaling back programs across the board. But one thing has emerged largely unscathed in this union stronghold: jobs. Fewer than 80 of the city's 23,000 workers are being laid off. That's a stark contrast to measures being proposed in other cash-strapped cities.

Couple now charged with murder in February death of 3-year-old brought to Pa. hospital

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in northeastern Pennsylvania have filed murder charges against a man and woman who vanished after bringing the body of her 3-year-old daughter to a hospital in February. Child endangerment charges were filed earlier against 26-year-old Darak Williams and 25-year-old Kashema Reddish following the Feb. 21 death of Kavannah Salvador. She was pronounced dead on arrival at a Scranton hospital, and authorities say the pair dropped out of sight soon afterward. The Lackawanna County coroner ruled the death a homicide, and final autopsy results this week say the child died of multiple traumatic injuries. Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola says most of the injuries were recent, but others were older and indicated a pattern of abuse. Williams was charged Tuesday night with first- and third-degree murder and Reddish with third-degree murder and other counts.

HONG KONG (AP) - A slow day for Asian markets finished mixed. The economic news in Japan was bad, but the Nikkei finished up on the day as investors picked up down-beaten shares. The market in Hong Kong, as well as the major markets in Europe, are all closed.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Retailers are doing what they can to finish a dismal holiday shopping season on a high note. Toys-R-Us says some post-holiday prices are getting slashed by as much as 60 percent. A spokesman for Sears and Kmart says "It has a Black Friday feel to it."

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Those in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas are all waking up under a winter storm warning. Some parts of the Rocky Mountains could see up to 20 inches of snow, along with 80 mile-per-hour wind gusts.

COVINA, Calif. (AP) - Police say a man who went on a shooting spree at a Christmas party dressed like Santa was avenging a bitter divorce. The suspect shot and killed eight people at his former in-laws' house before torching it. He later committed suicide at his brother's home, where a car he parked also exploded last night.

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's lawyer wants a House panel considering
impeachment to subpoena a dozen people, including President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff. The committee meets Monday, and it's unclear what its answer will be.


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