NICKLE SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON
Life without parole. That's the sentence that a Pottsville man will serve for killing two teenagers last year. Norman Nickle, 54, pleaded no contest last week in county court to shooting 19 year old Joshua Yevak and 17 year old Cayla Turner at a city home on March 4th 2008. Nickle hid their bodies for more than two weeks before they were discovered. He had been charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, abuse of a corpse and other counts. Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin handed down the sentence Monday.
TREMONT MAN CHARGED AGAIN IN MINE EXPLOSION CASE
Its back to court again for a Tremont man involved in the death of miner in 2006 explosion. The Republican Herald reports that the state Attorney General's office filed charges of involuntary manslaughter, risking a catastrophe and related counts against 43 year old Jeffrey Klinger. The charges relate to the death of Dale Reightler, who died in a mine explosion at the R&D Coal Company in Tremont Township on October 23, 2006. Similar charges filed against Klinger were dismissed by Judge Jacqueline Russell for lack of sufficient evidence. The owner of th mine, David Zimmerman and his son Steven still are facing charges in the death. A hearing for Klinger is scheduled for April 30th in Tremont.
MEDS THEFT IN PALO ALTO
State police are looking for the individual who took prescription drugs from a home in Palo Alto over the weekend. Someone took Methocarbannol and Endocet prescribed to Brenda Stoffregen. Schuylkill Haven state troopers are handling the investigation.
PSP ON HUNT FOR VANDALS
Troopers from the Frackville barracks are on the hunt for vandals who shot up windows at two homes in Gilberton over the weekend. Someone with a BB gun shot at and broke windows at 437 and 500 Main Street. State police believe the culprits fled in a vehicle with a loud muffler. The investigation is ongoing.
GIRL STILL HOSPTIALIZED AFTER MAULING
One day after being mauled by a dog in Northumberland County, a nine year-old girl remains in critical but stable condition at Geisinger Medical Center. Nine-year-old Amanda Smith remains at Geisinger after being flown there Sunday afternoon with serious facial injuries from the attack by a bullmastiff in an alley off Chestnut Street in Kulpmont. Smith and a friend were walking the dog when anther dog jumped a fence. The Mastiff became enraged and turned on Smith and the other girl. The other girl received 32 stitches to repair a torn lower lip. Amanda's mother, Jennifer Smith says Amanda suffered multiple fractures to her sinuses, her skull was punctured, jaw broken and the bridge or her nose was ripped away, and she faces reconstructive surgery.
THEFT AT WORK SITE
SAINT CLAIR - Items stolen from a work trailer in Schuylkill County. Troopers say someone pried open a door on a trailer belonging to Total Landscaping that was parked along Burma Road near Saint Clair in East Norwegian Township at Reading Anthracite. The theft happened over the weekend. The thieves made off with 4- 50 pound bags of grass seed, a small refrigerator, a laptop computer, docking station and printer and 12 compact discs. Anyone with information is asked to call State Police at Schuylkill Haven.
DEMOCRAT VOTER EDGE DOWN A BIT
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Total voter registration figures for Republicans and Democrats in Pennsylvania are both down since November, and they suggest the GOP may be ending its recent slide in popularity. State figures through Thursday show Democrats holding a 1.2
million voter edge on Republicans, but their lead has shrunk by about 30,000 voters since the closely watched November presidential election. The deadline for voters who plan to cast ballots in the May 19 primary was yesterday, so final figures aren't yet available. The Department of State says there 8.6 million registered voters. That's down from 8.8 million about five months ago. Democratic ranks have fallen by about 100,000. Republican numbers are down some 70,000.
OFFICER'S TAVERN JOKES
Pa. mayor: Police probe should be done Tuesday
ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A northwestern Pennsylvania mayor says he expects an investigation into a police officer's off-duty behavior will be complete by Tuesday. Some have said that Erie Police Officer James Cousins II should resign over his behavior in a tavern on April 6. Someone with a
cell phone camera recorded a video of Cousins laughing about a homicide victim and joking about punching and Tasering a suspect in another case. Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott said Monday that he expects the internal-affairs investigation to be complete by Tuesday and that a news conference will likely be called then.
GRAYS FERRY SLAYINGS
2 Philadelphia teens slain; 1 was Police Explorer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police say one victim of a double homicide in Philadelphia's Grays Ferry neighborhood was in a Boy Scout-affiliated program for young people interested in police work.
He is 15-year-old Harvey Lewis, a cadet in the Police Explorer Academy. He was shot dead along with 18-year-old Dominique Smith, who family members described as a volunteer at his church. Each was killed Sunday night with a single gunshot wound to the head after they left a friend's house. Police say it appears that Lewis and Smith were the intended targets, but a motive was unknown late Monday. Police Capt. James Clark said Monday he wasn't aware of any brushes with the law by either victim.
Pa. bike depot to close at end of month
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) - A longtime hub for bicycle commuters in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley is closing at the end of the month because it's losing its lease. The Coalition for Appropriate Transportation has leased space in downtown Bethlehem for about 12 years. It provides showers, lockers and laundry equipment, allowing bicyclists to step into the office smelling good after a sweaty ride. Coalition executive director Steve Schmitt says he believes there's enough demand for a new bike commuter center and expects one will be ready soon. One possibility is a bus depot and parking garage already in the works. But bicycle commuter Dave Trautmann isn't waiting for that to happen. He says he plans to get a membership in a nearby gym so he'll have a place to shower.
Death penalty sought in Pittsburgh police slayings
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a man accused of killing three Pittsburgh police officers. A spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen
Zappala Jr. said Monday that the paperwork to support the death penalty against 22-year-old Richard Poplawski should be filed by the middle of next week. Poplawski is accused of lying in wait and killing three officers summoned by his mother during an argument this month.
Bridge repair causes Philly-area road closure
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (AP) - A busy suburban Philadelphia road has shut down for about a month to make an emergency repair to a small bridge used by about 16,000 drivers a day.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Eugene Blaum says a busy portion of King of Prussia Road was closed to all but local traffic Monday evening. Repair work on a section of a bridge over Gulph Creek in Radnor Township is expected to begin Tuesday. The closed section of King of Prussia Road is in a heavily traveled suburban area and the emergency repairs are expected to make congestion worse.
Rendell now opposes cutting Philly's casino money
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Ed Rendell no longer supports cutting off Philadelphia from the state's slot-machine gambling revenues. Rendell said through a spokesman Monday that he believes there's been enough progress toward building two licensed casinos in Philadelphia to make such a law unnecessary. Pennsylvania's gambling revenues help cut taxes and build civic
development projects. But legislation is on the move anyway. A state Senate committee voted 10-to-4 Monday to cut off Philadelphia from any gaming revenues that support civic development projects. Last month, Rendell said he would sign such a bill out of frustration with political opposition to the construction of SugarHouse Casino and Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia.
But Philadelphia officials now support changes in the casinos' plans.
AP: Pa. auditor warns feds on stimulus oversight
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner is warning that state government may lack the transparency and accountability needed to handle federal stimulus money. A letter from Wagner to a federal Government Accountability Office director obtained Monday by The Associated Press followed up on a meeting last month in which Wagner's aides had discussed their concerns. Wagner says internal controls are too weak and information about
how stimulus funds are spent won't be reliable unless an independent audit agency provides oversight. As examples of problems with state spending of federal money, he lists Medicaid, low-income heating aid and weatherization assistance. A spokesman for Gov. Ed Rendell disputes Wagner's assertions.
Philly news CEO testifies on alleged taping
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A judge wants bankrupt Philadelphia Newspapers to focus on its financial reorganization while others investigate claims an investor illegally tape-recorded a sensitive financial meeting. The judge Monday appointed unsecured creditors to pursue the
allegation so it does not remain a "sideshow" of the bankruptcy case. Both sides appear pleased by the decision. The ruling follows testimony Monday from Brian Tierney, chief executive of Philadelphia Newspapers. Tierney says a representative of New York-based CIT Group Inc.
recorded a November meeting in his office. He says the pre-bankruptcy negotiations soured after he raised concerns about the taping. Philadelphia Newspapers filed for bankruptcy in February.
Lack of schooling blamed for Philly joblessness
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A nonprofit group says 45 percent of Philadelphia adults aren't working or looking for work. The Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board says the problem is a lack of education and job skills. In a report released Monday, the group describes the unemployed as a "latent workforce" that could help the city prosper if mobilized properly. The group says a big problem for Philadelphia to overcome is its lack of formal education. It says the 20 percent of residents with college degrees means Philadelphia ranks 92nd among the nation's 100 largest cities. Also, 25 percent of city residents left high school with no diploma, which the group says it double the state average.
Study paints picture of collegiate mental health
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A pilot study done at Penn State University hopes to provide a fuller picture of the mental health of college students. The university's Center for the Study of Collegiate Mental Health released a study Monday with information it got from college counseling centers. Most schools collect data of counseling center clients on their own. Study organizers say that until now there have been no national data to help study perceived trends.
Among the study's findings: 1 percent of students who said they engaged in binge drinking reported doing so 10 or more times in the previous two weeks. Nearly half of those respondents said they had considered suicide in the past.
PIKE COUNTY SLAYING
3rd defendant's trial begins in NE Pa. slaying
MILFORD, Pa. (AP) - The man accused of being the triggerman in the shooting death of a retired prison guard in northeastern Pennsylvania is standing trial. Trial began Monday for 20-year-old Marquis Evans Keeys of Bushkill, who's charged with first-degree murder. Pike County
prosecutors allege that Keeys was one of three men who broke into the Lehman Township home of 46-year-old Barry Rose in 2007 to steal guns. A jury convicted co-defendants of second-degree murder and other charges last month. Keeys' trial is being held without a jury, so a
judge will decide if he is guilty.
INVESTMENT ADVISER SUED
Pa. investment adviser and firm sued, funds frozen
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The lawyer for a Philadelphia-area financial adviser isn't commenting on allegations that he swindled investors out of more than $23 million. Federal officials say 38-year-old D.A. Walker Young of Coatesville spent some of the money on luxuries including a
vacation home and race horses. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says Young
misappropriated money from investors in Acorn II LP, which he founded. The SEC says Young used funds to pay other investors "in the nature of a Ponzi scheme" as well as buy a $2.1 million home in Palm Beach, Fla., boats, limousines and other luxuries. U.S. District Judge John Padova issued an order freezing Young's and the investment partnership's assets.
Phila. HS student dies after charity run
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Officials have identified the teen who collapsed and died during a weekend charity race in Philadelphia. Officials say 19-year-old Alvin Way collapsed Sunday during an organ donation awareness charity run. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Way was a senior at Furness High School in Philadelphia, where black ribbons adorned the doors Monday. He was at Sunday's race with students and faculty from the school.
School officials say a letter will be sent home to parents explaining what happened.
Allentown, Pa., gets $200,000 to stop gangs
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's junior senator says Allentown is getting $200,000 in federal money to fight gangs. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, says he worked with Republican U.S.
Rep. Charlie Dent to secure the funding. In announcing the funding Monday, Casey said Allentown is a longtime leader in gang-fighting programs. He says the money will be used for early intervention to stop young people from joining gangs.
Manager at Phillipsburg pipe plant gets 70 months
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A former plant manager for a Warren County pipe company has been sentenced to prison for his part in a conspiracy to violate environmental rules and compromise worker safety. John Prisque was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Trenton to a 70-month term. Four other employees of Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co. also face sentencing.
Prisque, of Bethlehem, Pa., was convicted of obstructing a federal investigation and violating clean air and water regulations. Atlantic States, a division of Birmingham, Ala.-based McWane
Inc., was convicted of polluting the Delaware River and with lying to investigators about safety conditions at its Phillipsburg plant, where one worker was killed and several others suffered serious injuries.
NEW YORK (AP) - A gaggle of cameras and reporters greeted a Somali pirate as he arrived at a federal jail in New York City last night. The gunman faces charges of attempting to hijack a U.S.
cargo ship and then holding the captain hostage. Abduhl Wali-i-Musi appears in court today.
BOSTON (AP) - Boston's police commissioner says the Boston University graduate student accused of fatally shooting a masseuse who placed an ad on Craigslist is someone who was preying on people who were in a vulnerable position." Philip Markoff will be arraigned Tuesday morning on murder charges.
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel came to a standstill for two mournful minutes today as air-raid sirens pierced the air in remembrance of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. At the opening ceremony for the memorial day last night, Israeli leaders vowed that there would not be a second Holocaust.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn says there are indications that the U.S. economy may be poised to stage a gradual recovery later this year. He cites steadier consumer spending and home sales, together with favorable earnings results from some banks. Kohn spoke last night at the University of Delaware.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A new report says nearly 1.3 million Americans are living with a spinal-cord injury, five times more than previous estimates. Overall, 5.5 million people in the U.S. have some degree of paralysis due to a variety of neurologic problems, from multiple sclerosis to strokes.