Monday, December 22, 2008

Today's News-Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter comes with a vengeance

Mother nature welcomed winter with a blast of arctic weather, with stiff winds and wind chills around 8 below zero. Whatever snow melted under sunny skies Sunday has refrozen, so commuters should watch for black ice patches on area roads, and parents should make sure that the kids are bundled up to send them to school, as a Wind Advisory and a Wind Chill Advisory are in effect until 10am.

Break in at East Union home

State police are looking for the burglars who broke into a home in East Union Township over the weekend. Sometime between Friday and Saturday, unknown persons broke into the home of Bernard and Margaret Kulkusky on Arapahoe Circle in Nuremburg. The couple were not home at the time, and a number of items were taken. Frackville troopers are investigating, and need your help. Call them at 874-5300.

State police enforcement for holidays

As you visit with family and friends this season, you may want to enjoy a bit of holiday cheer. However, state police will be looking for drivers who may overimbibe. Troopers will be out in force, looking for speeders, aggressive and drunk drivers to keep the roads safe. State police remind you to allow for extra time while traveling, wear you seatbelts and use a designated driver if you plan on drinking alcohol. The Christmas enforcement period runs from Christmas Eve through Sunday.

New Pa. open records seen as key to public access

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - An overhaul to Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law takes effect Jan. 1. The changes are expected to dramatically expand what people can find out about what goes on behind the scenes of the state and local governments. The new Right-to-Know Law will repeal the 52-year-old original, long regarded as one of the nation's weakest. No longer will journalists, activists and other citizens interested in mining government records have to cross their fingers and hope the document they want fits into one of a half-dozen narrow categories. Nor will they have to go court - and probably need to hire a lawyer - to challenge an agency's refusal to turn over a record. The new law is built on the presumption that most government records are open. It also places on public agencies - from state bureaucracies to county governments and local school districts - the legal burden of showing why a record should be withheld, instead of forcing requesters to establish why it should be made public.

Jewish holiday of Hannukah begins

UNDATED (AP) - Sundown Sunday marked the start of Hannukah, the eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates a military victory over the Greeks. And people across the country are dusting off their Menorahs. Hanukkah celebrates the Maccabees victory over the Greeks and the rededication of the Holy Temple and altar as told in the Book of Maccabees. Lighting the menorah symbolizes the oil that burned in the Holy Temple days longer than expected.

Court denies appeal in Pa. electronic voting suit

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Supreme Court has denied an appeal by the secretary of the commonwealth in a lawsuit filed by a group of Pennsylvania voters who say electronic voting machines violate state election code. The ruling clears the way for the Commonwealth Court to determine whether touch-screen machines violate the state code. The suit filed by 25 voters in August 2006 asks the Commonwealth Court to decertify direct recording electronic voting machines used in 50 of 67 counties. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the lawsuit says the machines are flawed, that they drop votes and register votes for the wrong candidate, and violate the state election code requirement to have a physical record of each vote.

UNDATED (AP) - Parts of the country start the week in a deep freeze. In Maine, state government offices won't open before noon because of the frigid weather. It was 35 below zero yesterday in Allagash. The entire northern tier of the nation is in the throes of winter weather.

UNDATED (AP) - Winter storms in the Northeast and Midwest have disrupted road, rail and air travel plans ahead of the holiday. Flights were canceled, or late, yesterday at Chicago's O'Hare
International Airport. Some flights arrived two to three hours late at New York's Kennedy Airport and Boston's Logan Airport.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Dick Cheney says President George W. Bush didn't want to preside over the collapse of the auto industry just as he leaves office. Cheney blames Congress for failing to bail out automakers and says Bush had "no choice but to step in."

NAGOYA, Japan (AP) - Japan's top automaker is expected to barely break even this fiscal year, as auto demand drops and the yen strengthens. Toyota's president says even emerging markets are slowing down.

UNDATED (AP) - The nation's economic troubles are affecting pet owners and their beloved companions. Several shelters and animal advocates say Americans are giving their dogs and cats to animal shelters in growing numbers because they can't afford to pay for the food, the veterinary bills and grooming.


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