Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today's News- Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seven hours...that's all that took to seat 12 primary jurors who will hear the case against Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky in Schuylkill County Court. President Judge William Baldwin, attorneys for the teens and the prosecution methodically questioned about 60 of the 70 members of the jury pool who were called for the first day. Most of the issues raised to the panel members came from a questionaire that each had to complete before coming to the courthouse Wednesday. Many of the panelists were questioned about the issue that Luis Ramirez, who died from injuries sustained in a beating at a Shenandoah playground last July, was in this country illegally. Six men and six women were selected yesterday, and four alternates to be selected today. The trial starts Monday.

Officials at Shenandoah Valley school district have established policies for students to planned to attend the trial of two teenagers charged in connection with the death of a Mexican illegal. At last night's board meeting, the administration and school directors decided that if students choose to skip school to attend the trial will not be able to participate in graduation activities. The Republican and Herald reports that the district wants to ensure that students will come to school rather than attend the trial for Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak, who are charged in connection with the death of Luis Ramirez, a Mexican illegal who died from a beating last July. The policy also applies to rallies that may take place during the school day, and for 7th to 11th graders for subsequent years as well. School authorities will be monitoring student's attendance at the trial in Pottsville, which begins on Monday.

A Pine Grove woman avoided injury following a crash on Route 61 Wednesday. 77 year old Jean Minnich was traveling north on 61 near Mt Carbon when she lost control of her vehicle and it struck a concrete barrier and wall. The car continued on for 175 feet, ending up on the shoulder of the road. The crash happened before 7:30 last night.

A woman who has dedicated her life to the city of Pottsville will receive an award for her work this weekend. The Allen-Rogowicz chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will give Wilhelminia "Billie" Payne the Kadel-Keating-Carusella Community Service Award for her commitment to the betterment of Pottsville, Schuylkill County and its people. A tireless volunteer, Payne has been an organizer of such projects as the Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival, American Way Fair and Sovereign Majestic Theatre. The award will be given Saturday night at Pine View Acres.

HEGINS - A home on Valley Road in Hegins was destroyed by flames Wednesday. The fire was reported around 11:30 a.m. Fire crews from six fire departments responded to the fire at 123 Valley Road and found the home to be fully engulfed in flames. The home is owned by father and son, Dennis and Richard Klouser. Hegins Fire Chief Jack Cray tells the Republican Herald the fire is suspicious and has called a state police fire marshal to investigate. No one was living at the property, which was being remodeled. The home is now a total loss.

LANCASTER - A 32-year-old Denver man charged with the 2007 robbery of the Dairy Queen in Pottsville and two other robberies in Schuylkill County was in Lancaster County Court on Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to a string of robberies that covered three counties. Eric Singley, is charged with nine robberies, forgery offenses and three high-speed chases with police. Singley's 2007 crime spree included the robberies in Schuylkill County and the remaining heists in Lancaster and Berks counties. Singley is also charged with two robberies investigated by state police at Schuylkill Haven, including the Blockbuster Video store at the Cressona Mall, and at a pretzel stand inside Renninger's Market in North Manheim Township. Singley faces a maximum of 211 years in a state prison.


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