Today's News-Saturday, January 31. 2009
FIRE HEAVILY DAMAGES CRESSONA HOME
Firefighters from Cressona and surrounding communities battled the cold fighting a fire in the borough overnight. Crews were called to the home at Third and Maple street, where a home was fully engulfed in flames. Early reports indicate the call came in around 2am.
SENAVITIS LEAVES DISTRICT COURT FRIDAY
SENAVITIS TO STAND TRIAL ON CHARGES IN RHOADES ACCIDENT
A Kunkletown man will go to trial on charges that he was driving drunk when his pickup hit a car operated by Senator Jim Rhoades in Monroe County. District Judge Debby York bound the charges over during a 45 minute hearing Friday in Brodheadsville, Monroe County. DA David Christine and Assistant District Attorney Colleen Mancuso called state police trooper Jason Beers, first on the scene of the crash, and Lehigh County Chief Deputy Coroner to the stand to lay out their case that Thomas Senavitis was drunk when the accident happened on Route 209 in October, 2008. Christine says they are ready to go to trial:
Senavitis was represented by Public Defender Wes Niemoczynski, who questioned the validity of the crash reconstruction report compiled by state police Corporal Douglas Shook and the blood alcohol analysis conducted at St Luke's Hospital, where Senavitis was flown after the crash. Rhoades died from multiple blunt force injuries and his wife was seriously injured. Senator Rhoades son James Jr. and son in law, Attorney Christopher Hobbs were among those in attendance. Senavitis remains free on bail.
DEP DENIES BLACKWOOD PERMIT
One Schuylkill County legislator offered praise to the state Department of Environmental Protection's denial of a permit revision application for a dumping site in Branch and Reilly Townships. 123rd District Rep. Neal Goodman has been adamant in his opposition to dumping biosolids by Blackwood Incorporated. The company wanted approval to dump those biosolids on the site of a mine reclamation project. The permit was denied last month.
TURKEY HILL ANNOUNCES VOLUNTARY RECALL OF SELECT ICE CREAM DUE TO
PEANUT SALMONELLA PROBLEMS
One Pennsylvania dairy has announced a recall of a number of ice cream products following the FDA's investigation into salmonella problems with Peanut Corporation of America. Turkey Hill Dairy of Lancaster County is recalling 6 ice cream and frozen yogurt items that used peanut pieces from PCA. The federal govenment probe was expanded this week to include all peanut products processed by tthe company, which are linked to a salmonella outbreak. Turkey Hill products made with peanut butter or paste are not included in the recall. The products affected were distributed in Pennsylvania and other states in the Mid Atlantic region. The complete list is posted below or you can call 1-800-MY-DAIRY (1-800-693-2479).
Turkey Hill Tin Roof Sundae Premium Ice CreamContainer Size: 1.5 QuartsUPC Code: 0-20735-11013-3From Sell By Code: 08/09/2009 to 01/20/2010
Turkey Hill Chocolate Nutty Moose Tracks® Stuff’dContainer Size: PintUPC Code: 0-20735-42080-5From Sell By Code: 10/09/2009 to 01/19/2010
Turkey Hill Chocolate Nutty Moose Tracks® Light Recipe Ice CreamContainer Size: 1.5 QuartsUPC Code: 0-20735-12122-1From Sell By Code: 08/05/2009 to 01/06/2010
Turkey Hill Nutty Caramel Caribou® Frozen YogurtContainer Size: 1.5 QuartsUPC Code: 0-20735-12505-2From Sell By Code: 11/25/2009 to 12/19/2009
Turkey Hill Peanut Brittle No Sugar Added Recipe Ice CreamContainer Size: 1.5 QuartsUPC Code: 0-20735-13506-8From Sell By Code: 01/01/2008 to 12/12/2009
Turkey Hill Peanut Butter Mania Light Recipe® Ice CreamContainer Size: 1.5 QuartsUPC Code: 0-20735-12116-0From Sell By Code: 01/01/2008 to 01/06/2010
GOP WRAP UP
The week ahead will be an important one in Harrisburg, as Governor Rendell announces the state budget plan in these tough economic times. Chuck Nichols has this week's Republican digest:
Rendell says he wants dime-a-pack cigarette tax increase
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Cigarette smokers in Pennsylvania could soon be paying $1.45 a pack in taxes. Gov. Ed Rendell's plan to balance the state budget includes the cigarette tax increase, which is 10 cents a pack more than the current tax. Rendell says he also favors $50 million in taxes on smokeless tobacco and cigars, which are not currently taxed. Rendell revealed the idea and other details of his coming budget proposal during a conference call with about a dozen reporters at medium-sized newspapers around the state. Also, Rendell plans to seek $150 million a year in new taxes on the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale rock
Pa. appeals court says owners can shoot dogs, cats
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The lawyer for a northeastern Pennsylvania woman who told her boyfriend to shoot her own dog says not everybody can afford to have pets euthanized at an animal clinic. Paul Levy got the Superior Court to overturn Wendy Colleen Kneller's conviction for conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals. The court says Pennsylvania law on cruelty to animals is so ambiguous that a reasonable person can't tell whether it prohibits shooting one's own pets. The court says the Carbon County woman told a state trooper that the dog had bitten her child. Prosecutors say Kneller gave her boyfriend a .40-caliber handgun and told him to shoot the dog.
No death penalty for triple killing in Pa.
TOWANDA, Pa. (AP) - A man convicted of killing his parents and brother in northeastern Pennsylvania is being spared the death penalty. A Bradford County jury couldn't reach a unanimous agreement Friday on whether 32-year-old Steven Colegrove, of Deposit, N.Y.,
deserves capital punishment. That means he automatically gets life without parole. The bodies of 60-year-old Joseph Colegrove, 56-year-old Marlene Colegrove and 36-year-old Michael Colegrove were found in their home near Towanda on Aug. 8, 2007. Prosecutors say Steven Colegrove killed his family to collect an inheritance.
2 men charged in Pa. Molotov cocktail attack
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - Police say a Molotov cocktail attack in north-central Pennsylvania began with a dispute over a gold chain. No one was injured in the Jan. 21 attack in Williamsport because someone in the apartment picked up the gasoline-filled bottle and threw it outside.
Police say 40-year-old Christopher Gordon Crissman and 31-year-old Harry Damian Lykens tried to sell a gold chain to Greg Amos for $100. He wouldn't buy it and they got into an altercation, but Crissman and Lykens left. Police say they have surveillance video of Crissman and Lykens filling a bottle with gasoline minutes before the attack. Crissman and Lykens, who both live in State College, were arrested Friday. It wasn't immediately clear if they had lawyers.
Pa. panel says Philly fire dept. discriminated
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says city officials haven't decided whether to appeal a ruling saying the Fire Department illegally discriminated by age. Seven job applicants were removed from consideration because they were over age 40.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission says job qualifications aren't strictly tied to a person's age, "even when they include physical agility." The panel says that after the applicants were rejected, all took and passed the physical skills test required of firefighters. The department has been ordered to reinstate the candidates and stop treating applicants over 40 differently.
Pa. judge tosses state mercury pollution rule
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A judge has thrown out Pennsylvania's rule that requires coal-fired power plants to reduce mercury emissions. Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini says the rule is unlawful, invalid and unenforceable. The two-year-old rule was challenged by Allentown-based PPL Corp., which has several coal-fired power plants in the state. PPL argued that Pennsylvania cannot enforce its mercury rule because it is based on a federal mercury rule that a judge struck down last year. Under Pennsylvania's rule, the state's three dozen coal-fired
plants had until 2015 to reduce their mercury emissions by 90 percent over 1999's emission levels. Federal officials say children and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to the toxic metal.
5 Pa. lawmakers to attend Obama's Super Bowl party
WASHINGTON (AP) - Five members of Congress from Pennsylvania plan to attend President Barack Obama's Super Bowl party. Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter plan to attend along with
three members of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania: Charlie Dent, Mike Doyle and Patrick Murphy. The only other state with more than one elected official attending is Super Bowl rival Arizona. Reps. Trent Franks and Raul Grijalva plan to be there Sunday. Overall, 11 Democratic and four Republican members of Congress plan to be in the White House to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Arizona Cardinals.
Pa. bar panel rates more Democratic candidates for appellate courts
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania bar panel is issuing ratings for a half-dozen Democratic candidates for the statewide appellate courts on the eve of the party's endorsements. The Judicial Evaulation Commission gave its top "highly recommended" rating Friday to Philadelphia Judge Teresa Sarmina in her bid for a single opening on the state Supreme Court. The only other Democratic candidate is Superior Court Judge Jack Panella of
Northampton County, who also was highly recommended. The panel also rated other Democratic candidates for Superior and Commonwealth courts. The state Democratic State Committee meets in Harrisburg tomorrow to endorse its favorites for the May primary.
Pa. dairies recall ice cream due to peanut risk
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Two Pennsylvania dairies are voluntarily recalling some ice cream and frozen yogurt flavors because of a possible link to salmonella-tainted peanuts. The recalls announced Friday by Galliker Dairy in Johnstown and Turkey Hill in Lancaster County are because the Peanut Corporation of America expanded its recall. Turkey Hill is recalling six flavors: Tin Roof Sundae Premium, Chocolate Nutty Moose Tracks Stuff'd, Chocolate Nutty Moose Tracks Light Recipe, Nutty Caramel Caribou Frozen Yogurt, Peanut Brittle No Sugar Added Recipe and Peanut Butter Mania Light Recipe. Galliker is recalling Rocky Road Ice Cream and Sundae Nut Cones. NutriSystem Inc., a provider of weight management products and services, announced a voluntary recall of its NutriSystem-branded Peanut Butter Granola Bar as a result of the expanded recall.
Pa. court says state must prove it owns prison log
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania judge says a dispute over who owns a rare state prison log book must go to trial. Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini on Thursday rejected requests for an immediate ruling from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Philadelphia antiques dealer Edward Marshall. State police seized the book from Marshall in September after he tried to sell it on eBay. The book lists the 744 convicts
incarcerated from 1839 to 1850 in the Eastern State Penitentiary Prison, which is now a museum. The state claims the book was stolen. Marshall's lawyer says it was purchased legally at auction in 1999.