Saturday, May 30, 2009

Today's News - Saturday May 30, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Ed Rendell wants the Justice Department to file federal charges against two Pennsylvania teenagers in the fatal beating of a Mexican immigrant. Rendell calls the 2008 attack on 25-year-old Luis Ramirez "senseless and cowardly." In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Rendell on Friday urged the Justice Department to pursue civil rights charges against the white teenagers from Shenandoah. Earlier this month, a Schuylkill County jury acquitted 17-year-old Brandon Piekarsky of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation and 19-year-old Derrick Donchak of aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. Both were convicted of simple assault. Two other teens have pleaded guilty in connection with the attack.

One of the two co-defendants charged in an animal cruelty case in Pine Grove has petitioned for a bail hearing in order to move in with his fiance who is his also charged with 118 counts of cruelty to animals. Andrew Oxenrider was in Schuylkill County Court yesterday to make his case to be released from the County Prison in order to live with Virginia Justiniano before they are tried in the case. Judge Jaqueline Russell was not keen on the idea and the lack of home is what is keeping Oxenrider in custody. In April, Oxenrider stated that he would live in St. Clair, however now states that he cannot live at his former residence, instead would live in Enola with Justiniano. During his hearing yesterday, Oxenrider denied that the animals at the former Cats With No Name shelter were mistreated.

Today is the 2nd annual Kielbasy Festival in Shenandoah. The fun, food, and entertainment will run from 11 - 5 today in the borough with local favorites Kowalanek's, Lucky's and the Capitol Food Market providing their flare for the polish delights. Mrs. T's Pierogies will be on hand, as well as bleenies and bean soup and other traditional treats. There will also be a kilbo making contest judged by the proprietors of the three smokehouses and you can join WPPA's Step Up to the Mike Crew, J.Z., Deb Dougherty and Kerry Dowd will be in Shenandoah between 12 and 2.

WERNERSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Jon, Kate and their eight children have attracted a huge TV audience, screaming tabloid headlines and, now, a state labor investigation. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor says it's looking into whether the hit reality show "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is complying with child labor laws. The TLC series follows Jon and Kate Gosselin as they raise their eight young children, including 8-year-old twins and sextuplets who just turned 5. The show drew nearly 10 million viewers for its fifth-season premiere Monday following reports of trouble in the Gosselins' marriage. Labor Department spokesman Justin Fleming tells The Associated Press that the department is looking into a complaint against the show. TLC says it "fully complies" with state laws and regulations.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Bail is set at $1 million for a woman accused of staging an abduction hoax that began near Philadelphia and ended at Florida's Walt Disney World. A district judge in the Philadelphia suburb of Richboro said Friday night that he was concerned that 38-year-old Bonnie Sweeten of Feasterville would flee before her trial. She can be released if she posts 10 percent of the bail amount, or $100,000. Sweeten faces misdemeanor charges of false reports and identity theft. Police are also investigating whether Sweeten stole money from a family member or others, but no related charges have been filed.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A man charged in a Pennsylvania stabbing death has told police that he acted in self-defense. Court records show that 35-year-old Peter Rojas of Allentown told police that the 23-year-old man he killed before dawn Thursday hit him on the head and demanded money. Rojas told police that he used a box cutter to defend himself and stabbed the man multiple times. The body was found later Thursday morning by a child on his way to kindergarten. Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim said Friday that the body has been positively identified but the man's name wasn't being released because of difficulty in notifying the man's family.

PANMUNJOM, Korea (AP) - A South Korean defense official says spy satellite images suggest North Korea may be preparing to transport another long-range missile to a test launch site. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports test preparations will take about two weeks.

SINGAPORE (AP) - A response to North Korea's nuclear test and other recent militaristic activities is a top topic today for military officials and diplomats at an annual security conference
in Singapore. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls North Korea's actions "reckless."

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's official news agency reports Iran has hanged three people convicted of involvement in a mosque bombing in southeastern Iran that killed 25. A statement from the judiciary says the three men supplied explosives to the perpetrators.

DETROIT (AP) - The board of directors of General Motors meets today to continue to mull its response to a Monday deadline for a reorganization plan. Bankruptcy appears more likely with two additional hurdles cleared. Chrysler learns Monday whether a judge approves its sale to Fiat.

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) - Jay Leno says goodbye to "Tonight" after 17 years. He also welcomed new host Conan O'Brien, who starts Monday. As the show drew to a close last night, Leno said, "now comes the hard part." He'll move to a prime time show on NBC.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sports Postponements-Friday

District 11 Softball

Class A

Williams Valley/Tri Valley- ppd till Saturday at 2pm

District 11 Baseball

Class AA

Schuylkill Haven vs Pine Grove ppd till Saturday at 2:30pm

Class A

Williams Valley vs Pius X ppd till Saturday at 2:30pm

Today's News-Friday, May 29, 2009


A Schuylkill County man has pleaded guilty in county court to charges related to shaking a baby, causing significant injury. The Republican Herald reports that 23 year old Kyle Bluge admitted to shaking the child last year, causing brain injuries. Bluge was charged with aggravated and simple assault and endangerment charges. Bluge reportedly harmed the child at a New Ringgold home after he couldn't get the baby boy to stop crying. He faces significant jail time and will be sentenced later.


Police in Shenandoah have charged a man for setting a fire in the borough earlier this month. Officers charged 27 year old David Reidel with arson and related counts Thursday for setting the fire on West Penn Street on May 21st. Fire extensively damaged that home and two adjoining structures. Reidel was arraigned and placed in Schuylkill County Prison, where he was lodged due to violating a PFA. Bail was set at $50 thousand dollars.


Three people were injured in a crash in Lebanon County Wednesday afternoon. Jonestown state police say that 21 year old Clay Fleagle of Tower City was driving south on the winding Gold Mine Road in Cold Spring Township around 4pm when he lost control of his vehicle and slid off the road. The car struck several trees and rolled over onto its roof in a ditch. Fleagle and his two passengers were able to get out of the vehicle. They were taken to Good Sam Hospital, Lebanon for treatment.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The 9-year-old suburban Philadelphia girl at the center of what police say was an abduction hoax perpetrated by her mother has returned home. Julia Rakoczy and her father landed at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday evening. Thirty-eight-year-old Bonnie Sweeten remains jailed in Orlando, Fla. She's facing charges of false reports and identity theft in Bucks County.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The man accused of killing an employee at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino also wrote a letter accusing the casino of cheating. The letter from 57-year-old Mark Magee of Norristown, Pa., to Philadelphia television station WPVI doesn't contain any threats. But it says the Atlantic City casinos have been cheating for 20 years.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal appeals court has overturned a murder conviction handed down by a jury in a state court. A panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled
unanimously Thursday that there was not enough evidence to convict Paul Kamienski. He was one of three men convicted in 1987 of the 1983 murder of Nick and Barbara DeTournay during a drug deal in Toms River, N.J.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The head of the agency that runs Pennsylvania's 117 state parks says at least 35 of them would have to close under the budget plan that passed the state Senate. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources acting Secretary John Quigley said Thursday that his agency would also have to close 1,000 miles of state forest roads.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Ric Flair still has a few more trademark "Woooooo's!" left to howl inside the squared ring. The former World Wrestling Entertainment champ is working for Ring of Honor. The Philadelphia-based wrestling company hopes the 60-year-old "Nature Boy" can give the next generation of stars a brand-name boost.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea says it will take further "self-defense" measures if it's provoked by the U.N. Security Council. The Security Council is discussing how to punish Pyongyang for conducting a nuclear test earlier this week in defiance of previous resolutions.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says digital security is a top priority for his administration. He'll announce later this morning that he's creating a "cyber czar" to oversee an enhanced security system for the nation's computer networks, whether they are systems that manage electrical grids and air traffic control or those protecting customers who pay bills online.

NEW YORK (AP) - After a marathon session that ended just before midnight, Chrysler's bankruptcy hearing resumes this morning. A judge is trying to determine whether it's in the best interests of Chrysler and its stakeholders to sell most of the company to Italy's Fiat Group SpA.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government originally estimated that the nation's economy shrank at a 6.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter. A revised estimate is due today and analysts expect it will be a little better, though still a steep tumble. They're guessing 5.5 percent.

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A recent fire in a Milwaukee public school turned up an American flag that had sat unused in an attic for more than a century. District officials say the flag is from 1897 and
has just 45 stars, representing the number of states at that time. School officials plan to restore and display the flag.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today's News- Thursday, May 28, 2009


Catholics in the Allentown Diocese have a new spiritual leader. The Vatican announced Wednesday that Monsignor John Barres of the Diocese of Wilmington will replace Bishop Edward Cullen, who has retired. Barres, 49, will take over in July. In a press release from the Diocese, Barres was ordained in 1989 and served in various churches in Delaware and on the staff of several Bishops there as well. 76 year old Cullen reached the mandatory retirement age last year.


A Northumberland County man has pleaded no contest to charges in the death of his wife in 2007. Stephen Wolfgang made the plea in court in Sunbury Wednesday. Wolfgang was charged with third degree murder and abusing a corpse, and avoided the death penalty. Sherry Wolfgang’s body was dumped in a creek in Schuylkill County in January, 2007. Investigators say that she was murdered at the couple's Mount Carmel home, and her vehicle set on fire. Wolfgang faces a long prison sentence, which will be handed down within a few months.


Two Mahanoy City men face charges of burglary and theft following an investigation by state police. 65 year old Howard Jones and 24 year old Randy Jones allegedly burglarized a cabin owned by Lewis Jordan of Frackville in late April in Blythe Township. The pair removed tools from the property, and they were identified by Jordan's family members. A search of Jones' home uncovered some of the stolen items, and the men admitted to their involvement. Charges were filed in District Court. Both men were released on bail.


A Shenandoah teenager made it through three rounds of the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, but was not able to advance to the semi finals on points. Sarah Daugio spelled all her words correctly, but did not meet the 28 point minimum to advance, and now will watch the remainder of the competition from the sidelines. According to spellingbee-dot-com, Daugio successfully spelled planetary in round two, and niveau in round three. The Shenandoah eighth grader is the first student from the district to win the county spelling bee. Congratulations on a great run, Sarah.


A ruling by a federal judge may afford a Mahanoy City man an appeal of his life sentence. Judge John Jones the Third made that ruling in US District Court in the case of 57 year old Elwood Hopkins. Hopkins was sentenced to life in prison in 1990 for arson and involuntary manslaughter charges. Hopkins set a fire at his home in Mahanoy City, and spread to an adjoining personal care home which claimed the life of Harry Kraut. Other appeals for Hopkins' case were overturned before, but Jones ruled that in spite of the 1 year statute of limitations, according to the Republican Herald. But, the judge says that prosecutors didn’t raise the statute of limitations claim, Hopkins must be notified of the issue and given a chance to respond.


POTTSVILLE - Schuylkill County's role in a $35 million federal loan guarantee to Boscov's was made final at Wednesday morning's county commissioners meeting. Schuylkill joins Blair, Cambria, Butler, Lebanon and Lackawanna counties as "pass-through agents" for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development loan money. Each county will funnel about $5.8 million to Boscov's, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. Snyder County rejected the loan guarantee proposal. There is no risk to the County as the state is guaranteeing the loan, it would be responsible for repaying the money to the federal government if Boscov's defaults.

DA: Missing Pa. mom, girl found at Disney World; Mom arrested
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A prosecutor says a Feasterville mother who claimed she and her daughter had been abducted and stuffed in a car trunk was taken into custody in Florida after the two were found at Disney World. The mother and daughter had flown to Florida hours
after the mother called 911 and said they were abducted. Bucks County prosecutor Michelle Henry says 38-year-old Bonnie Sweeten will be charged with false reports and identity theft. Both are misdemeanors. Henry told reporters Sweeten borrowed a co-worker's driver's license and presented it as her own when she bought an airline ticket and flew to Orlando. The prosecutor says Sweeten then checked into the Grand Floridian Hotel with her daughter. The two were taken into custody at the hotel last night. Sweeten had withdrawn about $12,000 from several bank accounts over recent days and authorities were investigating whether that
money had been stolen. The prosecutor says investigators believe there were some domestic concerns and some financial concerns as well. The child was to be picked up by her father, Sweeten's ex-husband, and Sweeten was to be sent by authorities back to Pennsylvania. In her frantic 911 calls, Sweeten said two men had bumped her 2005 GMC Denali, carjacked her and stuffed her in the trunk of a dark Cadillac. Police said she implied that her daughter was with
her in the trunk. The report set off a search for the mother and child.

State: computer glitch delays checks for 100,000
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state says a computer glitch has delayed unemployment compensation payments for nearly 100,000 Pennsylvania residents. The payment is the extra $25 a week in jobless benefits that was added through President Barack Obama's stimulus package in February. The state Department of Labor and Industry says people who filed a jobless claim on May 10 were to have received the payment May 19, but it was delayed about a week. Spokesman Troy Thompson says the department has fielded numerous questions from recipients about the missing money. He says the problem has been corrected and it won't happen again. Thompson advises claimants to log on to for more

Pa. AG refiles charges against Veon and ex-aide
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The lawyer for a former high-ranking Democrat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives says prosecutors will never have a case against his client because he
didn't do anything wrong. Prosecutors have refiled corruption charges against former Rep.
Mike Veon, who represented a Beaver County district. Prosecutors say a Harrisburg district judge improperly let defense lawyers delve into irrelevant issues and inadmissible evidence during a preliminary hearing. The new charges are to be heard by a Dauphin County Common Pleas judge. Defense lawyer Dan Raynak also says the prosecution was politically motivated. Attorney General Tom Corbett is widely considered to be a likely candidate for the Republican
gubernatorial nomination next year. Veon and a former aide are both charged with theft counts,
misapplication of entrusted property, conflict of interest and conspiracy.

Pa. man gets death sentence for double murder
READING, Pa. (AP) - An eastern Pennsylvania man has received a death sentence for the January 2007 slayings of his ex-girlfriend and her 5-year-old daughter. A Berks County jury deliberated for two hours before sentencing 28-year-old Albert Perez to death on Wednesday for killing 22-year-old Duceliz Diaz-Santiago and her daughter Kayla on Jan. 15, 2007. Perez was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder on May 19. Prosecutors say he hanged Diaz-Santiago and her daughter in an apartment in Bernville, about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Investigators say Perez tried to cover up the killings by making the deaths appear to be a murder-suicide. Prosecutors say he fabricated a suicide note to try to pin the deaths on Duceliz Diaz-Santiago.

Pa. labor panel rules against outdoor smoking ban
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities are appealing a labor panel's ruling against a ban on outdoor smoking on the campuses. The state Labor Relations Board ruled that the State System of Higher Education and other public-sector employers can't impose such a ban without the consent of unions that represent the employees. At issue is a policy the system imposed when a state law banning most indoor smoking took effect last September. Chancellor John Cavanaugh said he interpreted the law to extend to all campus
grounds because some classes are held outdoors. The union representing faculty members and coaches challenged the policy in an unfair labor practice complaint. System spokesman Kenn Marshall says it will appeal last week's board ruling in Commonwealth Court.

Search is suspended for missing central Pa. pastor
LEWISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The search has been suspended for a central Pennsylvania pastor reported missing on Sunday. State police say they looked by air, on foot and horseback for
52-year-old Rev. Jose Rosa but found nothing. Witnesses say they last saw Rosa walking through a housing development near his home in Lewisburg around 11 a.m. Thursday. He
was wearing shorts and sneakers and was carrying a backpack. State police Trooper Matt Burrows says the search was suspended around 3 p.m. Tuesday. Rosa was pastor of Congregacion Menonita Shalom in New Columbia. He and his wife, Maggie, moved to the area from Lancaster about seven years ago. Church officials say a new pastor was appointed on Sunday, but it was not related to Rosa's disappearance.

Pittsburgh-area school confirms 1 swine flu case
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh-area middle school has confirmed one case of swine flu and says there are three other children and a teacher showing flu symptoms. The North Allegheny School District says in a letter posted on Friday on their Web site that the student with the confirmed case of H1N1 flu has recovered after being treated with Tamiflu. In the following days, three other students at Carson Middle School reported suffering from mild flu symptoms. A teacher also reported flu symptoms. Allegheny County Health Department says it recommends keeping the schools in the district open. On Tuesday, the state's Department of Health confirmed 106 cases statewide.

$3.2 Philly school budget proposal is up for vote
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia School District's $3.2 billion budget for next fiscal year is up for a vote. The plan before the School Reform Commission on Wednesday includes $300 million that Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell included in his budget proposal. But the level of state funding is in question. Citing Pennsylvania's $3 billion budget deficit, the Republican-controlled
Senate deleted the funds from the budget bill it approved earlier this month. The Philadelphia school budget proposal does include $209 million in federal stimulus money. If approved, the spending plan would eliminate a deficit that's plagued the nearly 200,000 pupil district since 2006. It also includes dozens of new classroom initiatives, including reducing class sizes.

Group claims W.Pa. e-cycling fundraiser a scam
PITTSBURGH (AP) - An environmental group claims that old computers and other electronics intended to be recycled for a Western Pennsylvania Humane Society fundraiser were instead loaded onto ships bound for South Africa and Hong Kong. Basel Action Network says toxic electronic waste often ends up in developing countries. The Seattle-based group says it's
contacted authorities to have the items returned to EarthECycle of Tulsa, Okla. But EarthECycle President Jeffery Nixon disputes that he's sending dangerous waste. He says the items can be taken apart for useful materials. He says the items from the recent fundraiser were shipped in a legal and moral way. The Humane Society says it expects to make $150,000 from the event.

Philly official leaving for Olympic post in London
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A deputy mayor in Philadelphia is leaving for a post in London, where he will help the city prepare for the 2012 Olympics. Andrew Altman had served as Philadelphia's deputy mayor for planning and economic development. He's leaving to be the founding CEO of Olympic Park Legacy Company. The company has been established by the mayor of London and the British government. Altman was chosen after an international
search. In his new post, Altman will oversee the redevelopment of Olympic Park. The project involves a 400-acre site that will become home to more than 10,000 new housing units, as well as educational and sports facilities.

Pa. mom faces murder charge in teen girl's death
SHARON HILL, Pa. (AP) - For the second time a judge has thrown out first-degree murder charges against a woman accused of fatally stabbing her daughter in suburban Philadelphia.
Magisterial District Judge Edward Gannon Jr. ruled Tuesday that there is not enough evidence to charge Maribel Rodriguez with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, 17-year-old
Yeydilyss Acevedo, in Sharon Hill. Police say Rodriguez told investigators she was arguing with her daughter on Feb. 28 and grabbed a knife before Acevedo lunged forward into the blade, causing the fatal injury. Gannon had denied an earlier request by prosecutors to add a
first-degree murder charge to the third-degree murder charge Rodriguez faces. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Fatal Pittsburgh-area fire ruled arson
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A fire just outside Pittsburgh that killed a culinary student from New Jersey has been ruled arson. Allegheny County Fire Marshal Donald Brucker said the May 15
fire that killed 22-year-old Mehran Memon of South Plainfield, N.J., was set in a storage room of his apartment building. Memon was a student at the Pittsburgh Culinary Institute and he lived at the Bellevue Mansions apartment building in suburban Pittsburgh. No arrests have been made, but homicide detectives have been questioning several people.

Pittsburgh police nab suspect in jogger attack
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh police have made an arrest in an attack on a female jogger on a recreational trail. A 36-year-old man was arrested Saturday but at first was only charged with open lewdness and indecent exposure. He was arrested after he tried to strike up a conversation with a woman and mentioned the May 20 attack, unnerving the woman, who called 911. Police say now that the man will be charged with aggravated assault for the attack on the jogger.

Pittsburgh teen acquitted of murdering Texan
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh teenager accused of fatally shooting a man during a 2007 street robbery has been acquitted of murder but convicted of robbery and conspiracy. A jury reached the mixed verdict Wednesday in the case of 17-year-old Lester Jackson III. The victim was 20-year-old Christopher Evans of Dallas. Police said Jackson was one of several teens who accosted Evans and that Jackson shot Evans when he resisted the robbery. Evans was studying graphic design at the Community College of Allegheny County as part of the Job Corps program when he was killed. Evans attended a Job Corps program in Tulsa, Okla., before coming to Pittsburgh. Jackson was 15 at the time of the crime and is to be sentenced July 28.

Employee shot dead at NJ's Taj Mahal, patron held
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - A 57-year-old Norristown, Pa., man is in custody in Atlantic City, N.J., accused of fatally shooting an employee of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. The victim was Ray Kot, a shift manager who had been with the casino since the day it opened in 1990. The suspect's name wasn't immediately released, but he's described as a regular customer of the casino who knew the victim. Police say they recovered the gun used in the shooting after
arresting the suspect in a parking garage.

17 drug suspects charged in Hazleton, Pa., area
HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett says charges against 17 cocaine trafficking suspects in the Hazleton area won't solve the drug problem. Corbett said that as long as there's a demand for cocaine, somebody will come along to supply it. The latest charges are from a yearlong investigation that Corbett's office dubbed "Operation Second String." He says the latest suspects are those who filled the vacuum after another group
of dealers was busted in 2007. Forty suspects were arrested in that bust. Corbett said Wednesday that 12 suspects were in custody from the latest bust and five remained at large.

Former teacher allegedly stole tuition payments
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - A former southeastern Pennsylvania school teacher is charged with more than 100 misdemeanor counts for allegedly stealing tuition payments from students.
Kenneth Umbrell, of Christiana, in Lancaster County, was an instructor in charge of the driver training program at the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center. According to a police affidavit, Umbrell received tuition payments from students but never deposited the funds.
Last year, an auditor determined the school was missing $77,735 in tuition funds. Umbrell waived a preliminary hearing Tuesday on 104 counts of theft by failing to make required deposits. According to the affidavit, Umbrell was fired last fall after an unrelated incident at the school.

Son of Steelers player, bitten by dog, is released
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The agent representing Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison says the player's young son has been released from a hospital after an attack by the player's pit bull. Harrison's agent, William Parise, says 2-year-old James Harrison III was released late Tuesday afternoon. He says the boy is doing fine and that his father is missing practice Wednesday to be with the boy. The boy was bitten on the thigh after his mother let the dog out
of its pen Thursday afternoon. Also hurt were the woman and the player's massage therapist, who needed three stitches. Parise says he's trying to find a place for the dog so it doesn't have to be euthanized.

Arizona cancer doctor to get $18 million grant
PHOENIX (AP) - Two prominent cancer doctors and their team are getting an $18 million grant from a nonprofit group created by scientists and members of the entertainment industry. The grant is the largest going to five research teams from the nonprofit Stand Up to Cancer. The goal is to quickly turn scientific discoveries into better care and cures for cancer patients. The five teams will focus on breast, ovarian, cervical, uterine, brain, lung, rectal, prostate and colon cancers. The team headed by Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, the physician in chief of the Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, in Phoenix, Ariz., and Dr. Craig B. Thompson, the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center, will focus on new approaches to treating pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

Philly shows mixed results in aid for the homeless
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia is making progress in finding homes for homeless families and individuals, but the number of people living on the streets continues to rise. Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled a plan a year ago for reducing homelessness, promising housing for 705 people.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that to date, the city is three-quarters of the way there, but a regular, quarterly spot count by the nonprofit Project HOME showed an increase in people
living outdoors. The count the night of May 20 found 456 people not in shelters; that was up 62 from the 394 counted a year earlier. Deputy mayor and health commissioner Donald Schwarz says officials are analyzing the numbers. Plans for the coming year will be announced Thursday.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama continues talks with Mideast leaders today. Officials traveling with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas say he'll press Obama to facilitate peace with Israel through a larger solution to the Middle East conflict. They say Abbas wants to revive a Saudi proposal to exchange Arab land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war for normalized relations with Arab countries.

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) - The Taliban in Pakistan is claiming responsibility for an attack yesterday on police and intelligence agency offices that killed about 30 people in Lahore. It says the attack was revenge for the army's current offensive against the militants.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea says it's preparing for an American-led attack. Tensions have been growing on the Korean peninsula since Pyongyang's underground test of a nuclear bomb earlier this week. South Korean and U.S. troops have raised their alert to the highest level in three years.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Myanmar's military government says its trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi "will not have any political impact." In a statement, Myanmar's Foreign Ministry says the trial is strictly related to the rule of law and multiparty general elections will be held next year.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A report from the advocacy group Families U.S.A. says the average family with health insurance shells out an extra $1,000 a year in premiums to pay for health care for the uninsured. The group is releasing the report on what it calls a "hidden tax" to support its goal of extending coverage to all the 50 million Americans who are now uninsured.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sports Postponements-Wednesday, May 27, 2009

District 11 Baseball

Blue Mountain vs Southern Lehigh-ppd till Thursday at 4:30pm

Today's News-May 27, 2009


For the second time in a few days, an area man dies from injuries suffered in an ATV crash. Frackville state police say 37 year old David Moyer was traveling on a dirt trail in a farm field in Ryan Township Monday night when he lost control of the vehicle and thrown from it. Troopers say Moyer was wearing a helmet. Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner Larry Neff pronounced him dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing.


A Memorial Day hike by a Pottsville man turned into a very long day as he became lost. Gina Hoffa called city police and said her boyfriend, 48 year old Jeff Ridge text messaged her, stating that he was lost while hiking in Indian Run. Hoffa said that Ridge had lost his bearings while hiking before, but when he didn't return, a search was conducted by firefighters, a K-9 unit from West Penn Township and search and rescue crews from Monroe County. Ridge was located at 9:30pm, having found his way to the highway in western Schuylkill County and then got a ride back to his vehicle.


State police are on the lookout for a man who burglarized a Walker Township business over the Memorial Day weekend. The man forced his way into a garage owned by Tamaqua Transfer and Recycling, took some equipment and smashed windows of two vehicles on the property. Surveillance footage spotted the man, described to be in the mid 5 foot range. He reportedly fled on a bicycle. State police at Frackville could use your help in locating the burglar by calling 874-5300.


A Pottsville man is in jail for Megan's Law violations. City police picked up 43 year old Robert Stewart Jr. over the weekend for failing to change his address when he moved into the city as required by law. Police found a switchblade in his possession when apprehended. Stewart was jailed after arraignment.


State health officials are remaining mum about details on Schuylkill County's first confirmed case of swine flu. WPPA/T102 News spoke with Deputy Press Secretary Holly Senior in Harrisburg yesterday afternoon, who would only confirm that the swine flu case was confirmed Friday. Senior declined to give specifics about the sex, age or location of the infected person, nor their current condition, stating department policy. Senior did remind residents to wash their hands frequently and to stay at home when you are sick. Twenty counties in Pennsylvania have confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus, the largest concentration in neighboring Berks County.

State Swine Flu information

Pa. court says just viewing child porn is a crime
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's highest court says merely viewing child pornography on the Internet is a crime and that prosecutors do not necessarily have to prove a defendant
intentionally downloaded the material. The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the 2005 Delaware County conviction of Anthony Diodoro on 30 counts of sexual abuse of children and one count of criminal use of a communications facility. Diodoro's computer automatically saved child pornography images to the hard drive. The court's opinion says the law "should not and cannot be read to allow intentional and purposeful viewing of child pornography on the Internet without consequence." Diodoro's lawyer Mark Much had no immediate comment, and a phone
message left at the county prosecutor's office late Tuesday wasn't immediately returned.

States demand details from Craigslist on screening
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Attorneys general from seven states, including Pennsylvania, are asking online classified site Craigslist for details on how it will keep pornography and prostitution off its newly created adult services section. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and others are making the request two weeks after Craigslist agreed to eliminate its "erotic services" ads. The Web site came under intense scrutiny after a Boston man was charged with killing a masseuse he met from Craigslist online classifieds. Craigslist has not prescreened ads in the past, but says postings in its new adult services section are reviewed before being posted.
Blumenthal says attorneys general from Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mississippi and New Hampshire signed the request asking Craigslist for more detail on the screening process.

Stimulus funds go to Pittsburgh summer youth jobs
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh will use $1 million in federal stimulus funds to create some 500 youth jobs this summer. Pittsburgh will also use about $650,000 in local grants to fund the project. The idea is to create jobs for economically disadvantaged youths. Cities and towns nationwide have received stimulus funds for similar purposes. In Pittsburgh, the youth will either do outdoor jobs, including restoration and conservation of city parks, or office internships.

12 gun shop protesters acquitted in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia judge says a prosecutor didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 12 religious activists committed trespass and disorderly conduct during a January protest at a gun store. Municipal Judge Karen Yvette Simmons gave no other explanation for why she acquitted the protesters. Police testified that five of the defendants refused to leave Colosimo's Gun Center when asked, while others blocked the store entrance and sidewalk outside. Assistant District Attorney Guy D'Andrea says his office will continue to prosecute people who commit such acts, regardless of their motivation.

Philly suburbs sue over airport expansion plans
MEDIA, Pa. (AP) - Suburban officials are suing the city of Philadelphia over its plans to expand Philadelphia International Airport. The city-owned airport is partly in the city limits and partly
in neighboring Tinicum Township, Delaware County. The township and the county sued the city Tuesday in Delaware County Court. They are asking a judge to declare that the city can't acquire land in Tinicum Township without permission from the township and the county. The lawsuit says the city believes it can do so without permission.

43 swine flu cases confirmed in Pa. county
READING, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania health officials say they've confirmed 14 more cases of swine flu in the Reading area. Tuesday's announcement raises the total number of confirmed flu cases in Berks County to 43. That's 40 percent of the total for the entire state. A Berks County elementary school closed for a week earlier this month after officials discovered a case of swine flu. The Department of Health says it has confirmed 106 cases statewide. Investigators are looking into another 16 probable flu cases in Pennsylvania.

Crews find body of missing Malaysian in Smoky Mts
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Authorities say the body of a 20-year-old man believed to have drowned has been recovered in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park spokesman Bob Miller told WBIR-TV that the body of Nublan Zaki Norhadi was recovered on Monday afternoon about 30 feet down in the pool beneath a waterfall. The man, originally from Malaysia, was with a group of about 30 Penn State University students who were visiting the park. He was reported missing on Sunday evening. The Abrams Falls are located at the end of a 2.5-mile trail that begins in Cades Cove and is popular with tourists. A 14-year-old boy drowned under the same falls in April 2004.

FBI seeks Pa. woman reported being held in trunk
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The FBI says a suburban Philadelphia woman who called 911 said she'd been forced into the trunk of a car with her 9-year-old daughter after her SUV was rear-ended.
FBI Special Agent J.J. Klaver says 38-year-old Bonnie Sweeten of Feasterville told the 911 operator that a Cadillac with two men inside rear-ended her sport utility vehicle in Upper Southampton Township, Bucks County. She said the men forced her and her daughter into the Cadillac's trunk and then one drove off in the Cadillac and the other drove her SUV away. Sweeten said she was phoning from the trunk of the Cadillac and her daughter was with her at the time. Klaver says the call was traced to a downtown Philadelphia cell phone tower. The crime happened Tuesday afternoon and both vehicles remained missing late Tuesday night.

Closing arguments complete in Pa. murder retrial
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Closing arguments are complete in the second trial of a man accused of killing a marijuana dealer in the Lehigh Valley. The first trial of 29-year-old Kendall Richardson ended with a Lehigh County jury unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The
Allentown man is accused of killing 23-year-old Alfredo Suarez Jr. and could face the death penalty if convicted. The victim, a Marine Corps veteran, was shot during a 2007 robbery at an Allentown apartment. Defense lawyer Karen Schular told the jury Tuesday that Suarez was killed by someone he owed money to. But the prosecution has one witness who identified Richardson as the shooter and another who saw Richardson leaving Suarez' apartment after the shooting.

Suspects in major Pa. cocaine ring busted
HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) - A number of suspects accused of being part of a major northeastern Pennsylvania cocaine trafficking operation are in jail. The arrests made Tuesday in the Hazleton area followed a yearlong investigation by local police and the Pennsylvania attorney general's office. At one arraignment on Tuesday, nine people were in custody and warrants were out for several others. The attorney general's office wouldn't release information Tuesday but planned to hold a news conference Wednesday.

W.Pa. town tackles arson rampage on vacant homes
NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) - A western Pennsylvania town is trying to find an arsonist who has set at least 35 vacant structures on fire in the past 18 months. New Castle Fire Chief Thomas Maciarello says 90 percent of the fires have been in the same part of town. All have targeted vacant structures. Fire officials believe arson is to blame for another 10 fires though they have not been able to make a final determination. Maciarello says the fires are all set with either diesel or gasoline. He says police have failed to pinpoint anyone though several suspects have been questioned. Maciarello says often several fires are set simultaneously, stretching the department's resources thin.

W.Pa. county tackles handicapped-accessible voting
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A western Pennsylvania county is revisiting handicapped accessibility at several polling places after a disabled mayoral candidate from Johnstown couldn't vote in the May primary. Mayoral candidate Anthony Gergely uses an electric scooter to get around.
On May 19, Gergely says he tried to complete a paper ballot outside his precinct after being turned down at several other polling places. Election director Fred Smith says Gergely left before help arrived to bring him inside. He says Gergely would have been better accommodated had he notified officials a week in advance. Cambria County commissioners say five of the county's 165 precincts are not handicapped-accessible. Four of them are in Johnstown. Gergely lost to incumbent Thomas Trigona.

Ex-teacher's aide jailed in Pa. for sex with teens
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A former western Pennsylvania high school teacher's aide will spend three to six years behind bars for having sexual contact with teenagers and giving them drugs and alcohol. Thirty-six-year-old Abbie Jane Swogger pleaded guilty Tuesday to 10 charg es related to a party she threw in a New Kensington hotel room in February. New Kensington is about 10 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Police found Swogger in the room with three teenagers. They say
they found beer in the room that reeked of marijuana. They also found crack. Swogger is also accused of stripping for teenagers on different occasions and having sexual relations with them.
Swogger was also sentenced to 36 years of probation. She will have to register as a sex offender.

School bus rams post office in south-central Pa.
BROGUE, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say 18 children escaped injury when a school bus clipped a pickup truck and crashed into a post office in south-central Pennsylvania. The accident happened just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in Brogue as the bus was on its way to the York County School of Technology. A state police spokesman says the bus was northbound on Route 74
when the driver apparently tried to swerve around a pickup truck making a left turn but clipped the back end and ran through the front wall of the post office. Police say the bus driver was taken to York Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The pickup truck driver
and the youngsters aboard the bus, including the driver's young child, were uninjured. No one was in the post office.

Silo collapses onto business in suburban Philly
BENSALEM, Pa. (AP) - Fire officials say a 35-ton silo collapsed and crashed through the roof of a suburban Philadelphia concrete business. No injuries were reported. The silo was used to collect dust on top of CGM Concrete in Bensalem. It collapsed through the roof of the business around 7:30 p.m. Monday. Investigators say the collapse severely damaged the building,
which may have to be demolished. The crash also ruptured gas and water lines inside the building. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

GOP group criticizes climate bill
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Republican Congressional group says the climate bill passed by the House committee will amount to a massive tax increase and must be defeated. Rep. Mike Pence, the chairman of the House Republican Conference and the American Energy Solutions Group, says a cap and trade feature in which pollution permits could be traded on the open
market won't work. Instead, The Indiana congressman favors a plan which he says
would make America energy independent by developing domestic gas, coal and oil reserves; developing solar and wind projects, increasing conservation and using new technologies to store or use carbon dioxide. Pence made the remarks during an energy summit in suburban
Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Another summit will be held Wednesday in Indiana and Thursday in California.

Philly plans to upgrade emergency radio system
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia officials plan to upgrade the city's emergency radio system in hopes that will solve some of the problems that plague the current system. Plans call for a $35 million improvement of the police and fire radio network. The current vendor, Motorola, would be used, and the company is promising reliability - something often missing from the
present system. Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison says the upgrade will include two separate systems. If one fails, communications will seamlessly move to the other. Included in the upgrade will be nearly 3,000 new handheld radios for police, firefighters, and prison guards. Gillison hopes for City Council approval before the summer break, with the system upgrade in operation by mid-2011.

WASHINGTON (AP) - If you're feeling better about the economy, so do the pro's. More than 90 percent of leading economic forecasters surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics think the recession will end by the end of the year. But they also see a slow recovery with unemployment still climbing.

NEW YORK (AP) - Chrysler heads to court today to get an OK from a bankruptcy judge to sell most of its assets to Fiat. The alternative would be to be sold off piece by piece. And General
Motors is expected to announce that only a few of its bondholders have agreed to a debt for equity swap. It means a bankruptcy court-run restructuring is all but certain.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A report says a North Korean weapons-grade nuclear plant is up and running again. And the combative North has served notice to South Korea that joining an
effort to block the flow of Weapons of Mass Destruction would equal a declaration of war.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. is getting some help from two countries that have been friendly toward North Korea to unite against its recent nuclear test. Russia has spoken out strongly
against the test. And the State Department says China is also playing a constructive role.

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) - It's one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan this year. Officials say gunmen set off a car bomb near police and intelligence agency offices in Lahore today killing
about 30 people and wounding at least 250. There's no claim of responsibility.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sports Postponements-Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sports Postponements:


Tri Valley vs Marian-ppd till Wed 6pm
North Schuylkill vs Pen Argyl-ppd till Wed 7pm


Blue Mtn vs Southern Lehigh-ppd till Wed 4:30pm
Tamaqua vs Pine Grove-ppd till Wed 4:30pm
Nativity vs Williams Valley-ppd till Wed at 7pm

Today's News-Tuesday, May 26, 2009


A case of swine flu has been confirmed in Schuylkill County. Emergency Management Director Art Kaplan, says the Department of Health has confirmed a case of the disease. Kaplan says county officials were told of the case of swine flu Thursday and it was confirmed Saturday. Kaplan says officials do not know the location or status of the infected person. There have been nine U.S. swine flu deaths. That's low compared with the seasonal flu. The problem is the virus is new and the medical world does not yet have any immunities. The single case of swine flu, the first in the county, brings the total number of Pennsylvania counties with confirmed cases to


A Pottsville man is dead following a crash of his ATV in Cass Township late Saturday. 23 year old David Frey was traveling west on High Road when his ATV left the road and struck a tree. State police say Frey wasn’t wearing a helmet and was thrown from the vehicle, struck a tree and suffered a fatal head injury. The incident happened before 11pm Saturday.


State police are continuing their investigation of a hit and run crash in Wayne Township Sunday night. A Ford van was parked in the Sovereign Bank parking lot along Route 183, and attempted to enter traffic when his vehicle was struck by a car operated by 21 year old Samantha Thompson of Summit Station. The unknown driver and three passengers in the van fled the scene. Two of the passengers in the van and Thompson were taken to Reading Hospital for treatment. A juvenile passenger in Thompson’s car was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center East. Troopers are continuing their investigation.


State police have charged a Schuylkill Haven man with drunk driving following a crash in East Brunswick Township early Sunday morning. 19 year old Wayne Jordan Jr was operating a Jeep on Route 443 when he lost control, struck a utility pole and flipped onto the driver’s side. Troopers ordered a blood alcohol test, believing that he was intoxicated. Jordan faces charges. A 17 year old teenager was cited for underage drinking.


A long running dispute about building storage sheds in a floodplain in Schuylkill Haven and been ruled a no go by a state court. In a filing from Commonwealth Court, the three judge panel said that Paul and Deborah Becker cannot build 92 storage sheds because they didn’t get all of the necessary variances. The Beckers wanted to build the sheds in a low lying area of the borough on St Charles Street, and had received some, but not all of the necessary approvals. The Republican Herald reports that the ruling, which was fostered by an appeal from neighbor Richard Sterner and the borough of Schuylkill Haven last summer, overturned the county court ruling. The area proposed is prone to flooding.

Trial to begin for Philly gun shop protesters
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An interfaith group plans to gather at a downtown Philadelphia church for prayer before 12 people go on trial following their arrests in a gun shop. The activists from the group Heeding God's Call were arrested at Colosimo's Gun Center because they wouldn't leave the store when asked. They are to go on trial today on charges including conspiracy, obstruction and disorderly conduct. They wanted the store owner to sign a 10-point code of conduct for gun sales. But owner James Colosimo says he objects to a stipulation that involves purchase monitoring, saying it invades customers' privacy. He says he follows all laws. The activists say they targeted Colosimo's because hundreds of guns sold there ended up being used in crimes. Colosimo says that's because he runs a high-volume business.

Allegheny County to conduct energy audit
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Allegheny County plans to conduct an energy audit of its cars and buildings in hopes of saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. County Executive Dan Onorato says he's committed to operating an efficient and sustainable government. Recently, the county replaced hundreds of incandescent lights at its jail with energy-efficient
LED lights. The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives-Local Governments will conduct the audit next month. The county has more than 1,000 vehicles and 138 buildings and facilities. Angela Vincent, a regional director for the Oakland, Calif., group, says the audit will provide a benchmark of the county's energy use and emissions. The information can help the county decide how to reduce energy use.

Pastor reported missing in central Pennsylvania
LEWISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A pastor in central Pennsylvania has been reported missing after witnesses last saw him headed out for a walk. State police say the Rev. Jose Rosa was reported missing Sunday. But they say the 52-year-old may have been missing since Thursday. That's when witnesses saw him walking through a housing development in Lewisburg, wearing shorts, sneakers and a backpack. Rosa is pastor of Congregacion Menonita Shalom in New Columbia.
Rosa and his wife, Maggie, are both pastors. They moved to the area about seven years ago to open their church.

Baltimore boy killed in Pa. hit-run
GLEN ROCK, Pa. (AP) - Police say an 11-year-old boy from Baltimore has been killed in a hit-run crash in south-central Pennsylvania. York County Deputy Coroner Onalee Gilbert says an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday. Police say Derek Johnson II was riding a bicycle Sunday night when he was struck by a vehicle in Springfield Township, York County, and the driver kept going. Police say the victim was in the area visiting family.

Swimming in Pa. quarry kills 19-year-old man
SLATINGTON, Pa. (AP) - In Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, divers have recovered the body of a young man who jumped into a quarry while swimming with friends. State police have identified him as 19-year-old Dwayne Sommers of Whitehall. Slatington Fire Chief Keith Weaver says a friend who jumped into the quarry to try to save Sommers was hospitalized with a cut on
his foot. The call reporting the emergency came just before 4 p.m. Monday. The quarry is just outside Slatington, which is about 60 miles north-northwest of Philadelphia.

Pa. man dies of burns suffered in mower accident
JERSEY SHORE, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania man has died after being seriously burned in a lawnmower accident. Officials say 73-year-old Kenneth Fisher died Sunday at Lehigh Valley Hospital. That was two days after he was hurt when the mower flipped upside-down in the town of Jersey Shore. He was trapped underneath the machine and then caught fire. He suffered serious burns and was flown to the hospital. Authorities say they don't know how it happened. A woman driving by spotted the accident and called for help.

Pa. hunter's 2007 death still a mystery
LONG POND, Pa. (AP) - The mother of a hunter killed more than a year ago in a shootout in northeastern Pennsylvania is pleading for justice. Lee Van Luvender was killed Dec. 4, 2007, near state game lands in Tunkhannock Township, Monroe County. No arrests have been made.
His mother, Charlene Sebring, recently wrote an open letter to Van Luvender's killer saying, "He will haunt you for the rest of your life unless you turn yourself in." She notes that the 22-year-old Bartonsville man left behind a son, Sean, who is now 3 and only knows his father from photos and stories. Billboards publicizing a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Van Luvender's killer haven't yielded any information so far.

Motorcycle hits bear in western Pa.
BUTLER, Pa. (AP) - A motorcyclist has been taken to a western Pennsylvania hospital after crashing into a bear. Butler County dispatchers say it happened Monday evening on Route 422 in Butler Township, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. It was not immediately clear how serious the motorcyclist's injuries were. The bear couldn't be found after the accident and
was presumed to have run off.

Pa. parade features men in women's shoes
CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) - A Memorial Day parade in south-central Pennsylvania featured about 40 men wearing women's shoes. Frank Baird is the founder of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march. He says it's an international men's movement that aims to stop violence against women. Monday's fund-raiser in Camp Hill generated about $5,000 for Rape Crisis of Cumberland County and Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry counties.

Pa. Hiking Week runs through Sunday
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The annual Pennsylvania Hiking Week has four events planned Tuesday around the state. The first two are held during hours when most people are at
work. At French Creek State Park in Berks and Chester counties, there's a morning three-mile hike that's rated easy to moderate. At Parker Dam State Park in Clearfield County, a hike that's a mile and a half long starts after the lunch hour and is rated as moderate to strenuous. The other two begin at this evening. In Dauphin County, there's a scenic hike of moderate difficulty up Peter's Mountain from Clark's Ferry using the Appalachian and Susquehanna trails. And in
Monroe County, there's a five-mile moderate to strenuous hike up Mount Minsi via the Appalachian Trail. Pennsylvania Hiking Week continues through Sunday.

NE Pa. school labor dispute settled
MOUNTAIN TOP, Pa. (AP) - A labor dispute at a northeastern Pennsylvania school district has been resolved. Luzerne County's Crestwood School District has agreed to give its support staff higher pay in exchange for union members paying part of their health premiums. The agreement reached Sunday night must be ratified by the school board and the full membership of the Crestwood Education Support Professionals Association. The agreement follows a strike last week involving 118 workers including custodians, secretaries and cafeteria workers. On Friday, a judge ordered both sides to keep negotiating until they'd worked out a deal. Union members had been working under the terms of a contract that expired in 2001, though agreements including pay raises were reached through June 30, 2004.

Sun Ra exhibit shows jazz pioneer's spacy imagery
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Sun Ra told of having a mystical experience in his youth in which he was transported to Saturn and instructed to speak to the world in troubled times to come. For the rest of his life, Sun Ra's avant garde jazz, outlandish dress and sometimes obscure pronouncements confounded the music establishment and many listeners. A decade and a half after his death, he is credited with having been a forerunner of the Afrofuturist movement that uses technology and science fiction to re-imagine the black experience. Sun Ra's work is being celebrated in "Pathways to Unknown Worlds" at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of
Contemporary Art. The exhibit, which runs through Aug. 2, was first shown at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. It has now come to the city where Sun Ra lived for the last quarter-century of his career.

Sanofi wins swine flu vaccine order
PARIS (AP) - Sanofi Pasteur says it has won a $190 million order from the United States government to make a swine flu vaccine. The company is a unit of French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis SA. It says in a statement that it is the first of what is expected to be a series of orders from the U.S. Sanofi Pasteur operates influenza vaccine production facilities at Swiftwater, Pa., in the U.S. and in Val de Reuil in France. It says it is also talking to other governments about the
vaccine needs. The company says it could begin commercial production in June.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Reports say North Korea has test-launched two more short-range missiles already today and may be preparing to fire a third. The North remains defiant after world condemnation of yesterday's nuclear test. South Korea's spy chief says the U.S. and China knew there was going to be a test a few minutes before it happened.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the world must "stand up" to North Korea. But the question is how. The president says the underground test -- and its companion short-range missile firings -- are yet another step by the North in exactly the wrong direction and he's mulling the proper response.

TORONTO (AP) - In a lopsided vote, Canadian Auto Workers members have approved a cost-cutting deal with General Motors Canada. A union leader says the industry's crisis meant they had no choice. Approval is expected to make it easier for the company to get more loans from Ottawa.

PHOENIX (AP) - Phoenix police call it a "tragic accident. Mike Tyson's 4-year-old daughter is on life support after she was found with her neck caught in the cord of a treadmill machine yesterday. Tyson left Las Vegas immediately to be with his family. The child's mother removed the cord, called 911 and tried to revive her.

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona officials say a wrong-way driver is dead after he hit three other vehicles on an interstate north of Phoenix. Four members of the same family and several other people were critically injured. Police don't know why the man was going the wrong way.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Today's News-Friday, May 22, 2009


Two families were displaced in a fire in Shenandoah early Thursday, and investigators say it was intentionally set. Crews responded to 320 West Penn Street before 1am, and found the property full of smoke. The fire apparently started in the basement of that property, and two adjoining homes had minor damage. Police and fire officials are looking for the persons who set the fire.


A Dauphin County woman was flown to a hospital following a motorcycle crash on I-81 late last night. The crash happened just after 11 p.m. in Kline Township. Police say 22-year-old Jessica Swidinsky of Middletown, lost control of her motorcycle, left the roadway and overturned her motorcycle in the grassy median. She was flown to St. Luke's Hospital where she remains in fair condition.


County residents should be on the lookout for possible scam artists who are on the prowl. Earlier this week, Pottsville police say that two white men, possibly a father and son, stopped at an elderly woman's home, offering to seal her driveway. The woman indicated that other work was needed on the driveway, but the pair began sealing it anyway. The woman confronted the men and they packed up and left. The truck they were driving had the name Jim written on the side of it. If anyone had a similar experience, they should contact police.


A chain reaction crash in Pottsville leaves one person injured. The crash happened Wednesday afternoon. According to city police, 68 year old Gloria Shadle of Mechanicsville was driving east on West Market Street when her vehicle struck a car operated by Desiree' Muench who was stopped in the eastbound lane. The force of the impact pushed Muench's car into another stopped vehicle. A passenger in Shadle's car was taken to the hospital.


A Tamaqua man will spend months in prison for pushing another into a stripping pit last year. The Republican Herald reports that 24 year old Richard George was sentenced to 11 to 22 months in prison after on a plea deal on reckless endangerment, simple assault and obstructing emergency services. George pushed Nathan Bowman into a pit owned by Lehigh Coal and Navigation in April of last year, causing him to fall several hundred feet. An aggravated assault charge was dropped by prosecutors in the deal.


Schuylkill County leaders have been looking for a new home for an agency that has been busting at the seams. They may have found an ideal site near the county courthouse. Schuylkill County Children and Youth have been in desperate need of new facilities for some time, and appraisals are being considered for the former Empire Beauty School on North Centre Street and two parking lots on North Second Street, only a block or two away from the courthouse. A half million dollar grant is available to purchase the buildings.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) - It used to be Bethlehem Steel. But as of 9 this morning, it will be the Sands Casino Resort Bethlethem. It's the eighth Pennsylvania casino to open since the state legalized gambling in 2004. Sands debuts with 3,000 slot machines and four restaurants.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Montgomery County math teacher is accused of having sex with one of her students and sending sexually explicit messages to another. Montgomery County prosecutors charged 36-year-old Heather Lynne Zeo with four counts of corruption of minors and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's job losses continue to mount. But the new figures for April show the loss rate has eased. Pennsylvania now has fewer jobs than it did in September 2004. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate remained unchanged in April at 7.8 percent, as fewer people appear to be looking for work.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell tells Temple University Law School grads new lawyers getting rich through law practice should not be a priority. Rendell, a lawyer, served as Philadelphia's mayor and later the state's governor. He gave the commencement address to graduates one of whom is his son, Jesse Rendell.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia City Council is counting on the state legislature to back its $3.8 billion budget that depends on a one-cent sales tax hike in the city. Without those tax hike
approvals, Mayor Michael Nutter says Philadelphia will have to make drastic service cuts.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has overwhelmingly backed President Barack Obama's efforts to step up the war in Afghanistan. Lawmakers passed a bill granting $91 billion for Afghanistan and Iraq, but stripped it of Obama's request for $80 million to close Guantanamo.
The legislation goes to congressional negotiators to work out a compromise with a similar measure the House passed.

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) - An ex-soldier has been sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of raping and killing an Iraqi teen and murdering her family. According to the jury verdict forms,
several panelists said combat stress was a mitigating factor against choosing a death sentence.

CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (AP) - The Air Force says a military jet crash in Southern California has killed the pilot. A senior navigator on board the training flight was able to eject from the
craft. He's in stable condition at a hospital.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - A bank that accidentally gave a New Zealand couple a more than $6 million credit limit says it has recovered less than a third of the money. Authorities are searching the globe for the couple who vanished shortly after the bank's

ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) - Former President George W. Bush says now that he's out of office he no longer feels "that great sense of responsibility." And, Bush says, it's a "liberating feeling."
Bush tells a graduating high school class in New Mexico after eight years in the White House, "life is returning back to normal."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's News-Thursday, May 21, 2009


Several fire trucks remained on scene at daybreak following a fire at a Shenandoah home. A Schuylkill County Comm center supervisor tells WPPA News that the call came just before 1am. All borough companies responded to the home at 320 West Penn Street. No injuries were reported.


State police are looking for people who have been victimized in a crime spree. Three males were identified by troopers for shooting up vehicles with pellet guns, rummaging through and taking items from unoccupied vehicles and committing retail thefts. The crimes occurred in the Tower City and Pine Grove areas. Their identities haven't been release. If you believe you have been affected by this crime spree, contact Schuylkill Haven state police at 593-2000.


An area man was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in state prison Wednesday for bilking people out of more than $300 thousand dollars. The Republican Herald reports that Thomas Wiley Jr admitted he took the money, but can't remember what he did with much of the money. Wiley took money from the victims, with the intention of investing it for them. The guilty plea includes theft related charges, forgery and bad check counts. Judge John Domalakes mandated that Wiley make restitution to his victims.


A northern Schuylkill County man has admitted to participating in a drug and gambling operation with his father. 23 year old Mickey Stockunas pleaded to the federal charges in connection with the ring worked with his father, 46 year old Michael Stockunas, and two other men. Mickey Stockunas allegedly set up a meth delivery service and collected debts from gambling bookies for his father. Sentencing will take place on the charges later. Stockunas could see up to 9 years in jail and a half million dollar fine.


Shenandoah borough police are looking for the individuals who broke into a business last week, taking a big piece of equipment. Reports indicate that Crespin Garrido-Rijo, Reading said that the business he owns on North Main Street was entered through a rear garage door and thieves took a 500 pound tire changing machine. Anyone with information on the burglary should call Shenandoah PD at 462-1991.


A construction site in Mary D was burglarized earlier this week, according to Frackville state police. Between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, two large electric pumps, a laser level and other equipment was taken from a storage shed on Walnut Avenue. The building is being used by Berner Construction Incorporated, Gap. If you have information that can aid state police in the investigation, call 874-5300.


In a follow up to a story we told you about yesterday, a Pottsville man got more than he bargained for when he tried to flee from police. 37 year old Anthony Holland led state police on a chase in excess of 80 miles per hour in Pine Grove Township. Holland drove wildly to elude state police, and ended up in a marshy area near Sweet Arrow Lake. After the wreck, Holland fled on foot, but was quickly apprehended in a creek. Charges against Holland include aggravated and simple assault, fleeing police, driving with a suspended license and other traffic violations. He remains in Schuylkill County Prison.

Ex-Fumo aide gets 30 months for destroying e-mails
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A loyal aide to former Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Fumo has been sentenced to 30 months for obstructing an FBI investigation of his boss. Computer technician Leonard "Lenny" Luchko of Collingdale admits he destroyed years worth of e-mails sought by the FBI. The long-powerful Fumo faces more than a decade in prison at his July sentencing on 137 counts. Luchko pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction, but continued to support Fumo in e-mails and blog postings. Prosecutors had to scratch him as a witness at Fumo's trial.
The 52-year-old Luchko testified Wednesday that he realized only belated that Fumo was "a crook" and that he was "a criminal." He calls his 10 years of work for Fumo a lie.

Democratic Philly DA candidate looks to November
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Democratic nominee for Philadelphia district attorney expects to be busy between now and the general election. Forty-two-year-old Seth Williams dispatched four other former prosecutors in Tuesday's primary. If elected in November, he would
be Philadelphia's first black DA. Williams will be the heavy favorite against little-known
Republican Michael Untermeyer. Democratic voters outnumber Republicans nearly 7-1 in Philadelphia. Williams says he will study the practices of prosecutors in other cities. He's also planning to meet with police, community groups and local officials in Philadelphia. He plans to visit New York to talk about efforts to prosecute big businesses. He'll go to San Francisco to talk to the DA there about a program for first-time, nonviolent offenders.

Erie, Pa., TV station has transmitter failure
ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A northwestern Pennsylvania television station was off the air for about two hours because the transmitter failed. The transmitter for Erie Fox affiliate WFXP-TV failed just
before 8 p.m. Wednesday and the problem was fixed just before 10 p.m.. The failure happened just before the season finale of "American Idol." The station is seeking permission from the network to rebroadcast the show.

Pa.'s newest slots parlor to open Friday
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) - After two days of testing, Pennsylvania gambling regulators have granted approval for a slot-machine parlor to open to the public Friday. Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem spokesman Ron Reese says people can start gambling there at 9 a.m. Friday.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman Richard McGarvey says testing finished at 8 p.m. Wednesday with everything running smoothly. The casino's profits from the two test days were donated to nonprofit groups.

Pa. city tries to collect old trash fees
CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - The southeastern Pennsylvania city of Chester is trying to collect $3 million in delinquent trash collection fees. Mayor Wendell Butler says many people thought their trash fees were part of property tax payments, but that's not so. For a decade, the city's computer system couldn't track delinquent trash bills. A state-funded $80,000 upgrade fixed that problem, so 4,000 property owners in the city got letters telling them to pay. City officials say they need the money. They say they'll accept payment plans and they're working on an amnesty plan to eliminate interest fees. Also, seniors with incomes below $15,000 qualify for
an exemption.

Northern Ky. lime plant lays off 43
BUTLER, Ky. (AP) - A mine and lime plant in northern Kentucky has laid off 43 employees since last month. The facility near Butler in Pendleton County is owned by Pittsburgh-based Carmeuse Lime & Stone. Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Philip Johnson told
the Lexington Herald-Leader that the facility laid off 34 workers in early April and nine more this month. The Black River Kentucky plant produces lime that is used for industrial applications in businesses such as the steel industry. Johnson notes the steel industry has been devastated this year and said Carmeuse had to reduce production capacity. The Butler plant is still operating but at a lower capacity. Vice President of Operations Carroll Laufmann says it will employ about 160.

Heavy write-in turnout in Pa. mayors' races
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - In two Pennsylvania cities, there were more write-in votes in the Republican primary for mayor than for the only candidate on the ballot. In Scranton, there were twice as many write-in votes than for Bob Bolus, the only Republican on the ballot in the mayor's race. Bolus isn't conceding defeat, noting that those write-ins haven't been tallied yet. He says "they could be for the pope." And in Harrisburg, there were 426 write-in votes in the
Republican mayoral primary, topping the 405 votes cast for Nevin Mindlin. Longtime incumbent Mayor Stephen Reed conceded defeat in the Democratic primary on Tuesday but has gotten the GOP nomination through write-in votes in past elections.

Fake Cherokee chief guilty in Pa. investment fraud
ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A former Pennsylvania man who pretended to be a Cherokee Indian chief with ties to a charitable organization and the oil industry has pleaded guilty in federal court to a
multimillion-dollar wire fraud conspiracy. Seventy-nine-year-old Robert Eugene Cheney, who now lives in Las Vegas, will be sentenced Sept. 3. Federal prosecutors in Erie say Cheney and another man stole at least $2.5 million from at least 10 investors in the U.S. and Canada who believed they were investing in oil exploration ventures through a joint venture involving the bogus entities. A judge is still determining whether the other defendant is competent to stand trial. The men lived in Conneaut (kaw-NEE'-awt) Lake in northwestern Pennsylvania during the scam which ran from 2003 until last year.

Police: Pa. sex offender had teen pics on phone
SALTSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A convicted sex offender is jailed on charges he had sex with four teenage girls whose explicit pictures were found on his cell phone. State police say 20-year-old Shawn Simms, of Saltsburg, is also charged with not registering under Megan's Law after he was
convicted in 2007 of sexually assaulting a minor. Megan's Law requires people deemed sexual predators to alert police so their neighbors can be notified of their criminal sexual history.
Simms was charged after he was arrested on an unrelated theft count and his phone was seized when he was found to be in violation of his parole. Two of the alleged victims are 15, two are 17.

90 chow chows seized from Pa. home
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Police and animal officials have seized 90 chow chow dogs from a south-central Pennsylvania home. Two dead dogs were also found in the home in East Lampeter
Township, Lancaster County, about 60 miles west of Philadelphia. The Humane League of Lancaster County has turned to other animal welfare organizations to care for the dogs seized Tuesday afternoon. A Humane League official says the woman who owns the home was
apparently trying to rescue the dogs and became overwhelmed.

WWII ship guns arrive at Pa. military museum
BOALSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Two massive gun barrels from the World War II-era battleship the USS Pennsylvania have arrived at their final home. The 14-inch barrels arrived Wednesday at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg. The 66-ton tubes were transported from a U.S. naval testing facility in Dahlgren, Va., where they had been stored since shortly after the ship was fitted with new guns in 1945. The barrels were on the ship on Dec. 7, 1941, when it survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. The tubes laid in storage until they were rediscovered in 1999, setting off a decade-long effort to bring the barrels to the museum outside State College.
Museum education Joe Horvath said repairs are planned before the tubes are lifted onto a permanent cradle this summer.

Boy, 4, walks home from Pittsburgh preschool
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Public Schools officials are trying to figure out how a 4-year-old boy slipped away from his preschool and walked home about a mile away. School officials are still investigating Monday's incident at Greenway Early Childhood Center. School officials had already begun to search for Maurice Floyd when they learned he'd made it home about 10 minutes later. His mother, Markeya McCary, says her son told her he left because someone tried to lock him in a closet School officials are still investigating that claim. To prevent a repeat of Monday's incident, safety caps are going on doorknobs so only adults can open doors. Also, an extra teacher has been added to the classroom and teachers are getting walkie-talkies.

Pittsburgh schools: Snake wasn't used as jump rope
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A spokeswoman for Pittsburgh Public Schools says a high school student swung around a snake from a biology class, but didn't use it as a jump rope as police had said.
Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said Wednesday, "It's not a big enough snake to jump rope with." She also says the albino corn snake is OK and didn't need to be treated by a veterinarian after Monday's incident. Police say the 17-year-old Taylor Allderdice High School student
will be charged with theft and cruelty to animals.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is preparing to deliver a major address on national security this morning after the Senate denied his request for $80 million to close Guantanamo. Yesterday's 90-6 vote underscores widespread apprehension among lawmakers over Obama's plans to shut down the prison.

WASHINGTON (AP) - An Obama administration official says a top al-Qaida suspect will be moved from Guantanamo to stand trial in New York. The detainee was indicted in New York for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa that left 224 dead.

HONG KONG (AP) - Asian stock markets are following Wall Street lower after the U.S. central bank predicted America could suffer through an even deeper recession than first thought. Benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major markets were about 1 percent lower.

MAGETAN, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesia's military is insisting a plane that crashed and killed nearly 100 people yesterday was in good condition. The military says the C-130 Hercules plane passed a flight test the day before it nose-dived into a village and erupted in flames. Indonesia's president is promising a thorough investigation.

CAPE CANAVERAL (AP) - Atlantis' astronauts are hoping to wrap up their last day in orbit today. They're conducting routine tests on landing systems before their planned touch down. Before they're due back on Earth, the crew will testify briefly about NASA's budget before Congress.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Today's News-Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For full election results, log onto the Election Information on Schuylkill County's website


Tuesday’s primary and special elections didn’t draw a huge turnout. Unofficial returns indicate that just under 29 percent of eligible voters cast ballots countywide. Normally in primary races, only Republicans and Democrats can vote, but in the 124th Legislative District special election, registered voters of all party affiliations were eligible. The low turnout made tabulation easy for election workers, with the final totals completed just after 10:30pm last night.


Jerry Knowles of Tamaqua is headed back to Harrisburg with a new title. State legislator. Knowles defeated Democratic challenger Bill Mackey in the special election for the 124th district seat held for two decades by Dave Argall. In unofficial tallies, Knowles garnered 70 percent of the vote compared to 30 percent for Bill Mackey. Mackey had tried to unseat Argall in the past two House elections. Knowles has spent a considerable amount of time in the political arena, as a Tamaqua councilman and Mayor and as a Schuylkill County Commissioner.


Schuylkill County Sheriff Joseph Groody will have the opportunity to be elected to a full term in November following yesterday’s win over Democratic challenger Joe Devine. The race was tight throughout the evening, a few votes separating the men at one point. Republican candidate Dale Repp was uncontested on the Republican ticket.


Incumbent District Attorney, Democrat James Goodman, will face former Assistant DA, Republican Christine Holman, in November for the county’s top prosecutor’s job following Tuesday’s election. Both were unopposed. Goodman won the seat from former DA Frank Cori four years ago.


Two incumbent Magisterial District Judges won nomination in Tuesday’s primary. David Plachko defeated Leonard Gravish and Anthony Kilker defeated Douglas Litwhiler by three to one margins. Plachko has been in office 18 years, while Kilker was appointed last summer.


Voters in the St Clair Area School District soundly defeated a referendum to raise property taxes by an 84 to 16 percent margin. The question of raising property taxes to cover teacher salaries and benefits by 5 mills more than the cap of 1 and a half mills is set under state law.


There were several contested races for Mayor in Schuylkill County communities Tuesday. According to unofficial results, in Frackville, Democrat Chester Huss will face Republican Kim Phillips in November. Phillips defeated two other candidates. In Minersville, Democrat Joseph Post will face incumbent David Dutcavich in November. Post defeated one challenger. In the borough of Tamaqua, incumbent Democrat Christian Morrison and Republican Richard Hadesty are headed to the November general election. Morrison downed challenger Stephen Tertel.


Several area school board race fields were full Tuesday, and in the North Schuylkill School District, the incumbents didn’t fare well. Issues surrounding the closing of the Ringtown Elementary School, the appointment of an interim Superintendent and a lawsuit may have played a part. Among the top vote getters were Deborah Hampton, Daniel Holderman, Grace Glowacki, Kelly Moran and, Robin Hetherington . None are incumbents. In the Pottsville school district, Denise Kleckner Fanelli, Dr. Michael Smink, John Boran, Scott Thomas and Dr. Jack Dolbin garnered top vote slots. In the Blue Mountain School District, unofficial vote tallies indicate that Edward Guisewite, Mary Jo Moss, Dr Gerald Ravitz and Thomas Wehr were up for four spots in November. In Tamaqua, Mark Rother, Thomas Rottet, Bryan Miller and Aaron Frantz were top vote getters for 4 spots and will head to November.


The best and brightest actors and actresses from area high schools were honored Tuesday night at the Sovereign Majestic Awards. The Tony-award style ceremonies at North Schuylkill High School spotlighted this years productions at 11 high schools. Twenty four awards were handed out. Outstanding lead actress went to North Schuylkill’s Mary Wofford and lead actor went to Evan Terwilliger of Tri Valley High School. The Outstanding Production award went to Pottsville High’s drama troupe for their musical Once on This Island.


Two people suffered minor injuries in a two vehicle crash on Route 61 in West Brunswick Township Tuesday afternoon. 18 year old Ryan Creitz of Orwigsburg was traveling east on Coal Mountain Road and tried to cross Route 61 when his car was struck by a vehicle driven by 59 year old William Betz of Schuylkill Haven. Creitz’s vehicle came to rest against a utility pole. Both were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Creitz will be cited in the crash.


A Pottsville man is locked up following a chase by state police Tuesday afternoon in Washington Township. Schuylkill Haven state police say 37 year old Anthony Holland was stopped for a speeding violation, and lost control of his vehicle while trying to elude police. His car left the roadway and ended up in a marshy area. Holland was charged with various counts related to the incident and was jailed in lieu of bail.


A Pottsville woman is jailed following a dispute with her teenaged son Tuesday. City police were called to the 2100 block of West Norwegian Street where 39 year old Shannon Azbell got into a verbal argument with her son. When he tried to call police, Azbell tried to take the phone from him and caused a cut on his neck while choking him . Azbell was arraigned on simple assault charges.HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania Republicans have picked Joan Orie Melvin to be their standard-bearer for an open seat on the state Supreme Court this fall. She's a Superior Court judge from Pittsburgh who carried the Republican State Committee's endorsement. Melvin outpolled Superior Court Judge Cheryl Allen and Philadelphia Judge Paul Panepinto.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Seth Williams is the winner of the five-way Democratic primary for Philadelphia district attorney. Williams has 40,192 votes, or about 41 percent, with 86 percent of precincts reporting. If he wins the general election, he would be Philadelphia's first black DA. Incumbent Lynne Abraham isn't running.

YORK, Pa. (AP) - A third suspect is in custody in the Mother's Day fatal shooting of a 9-year-old girl in south-central Pennsylvania. The arrest of a 22-year-old York man in the death of
Ciara Savage was announced Tuesday. Ciara was being raised by her mother in Lancaster and was visiting an aunt in York when she was caught in gunfire. Her father is imprisoned Philadelphia drug kingpin Kaboni Savage, but police say her killing appears unrelated to who her father was.

MILFORD, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania fire chief says a small plane is stuck in a tree about 20 feet above the ground but nobody knows who was flying it. Dingman Township Fire Chief William Mikulak says the single-engine Piper sighted Tuesday was owned by Robert Stephanoff of Piscataway, N.J., but it's unclear if Stephanoff was flying it.

MILAN (AP) - An Italian judge says the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians accused of orchestrating a CIA-led kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect will go on. He had to decide whether the politically sensitive trial could continue after Italy's Supreme Court threw out key evidence that it said was classified.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Military contractor KBR is defending its work in Iraq from allegations by an electrician hired by the Army. Jim Childs today will tell Senate Democrats he and his co-workers found shoddy work in every building they inspected. KBR denies having a track record of bad electrical work and says it's not responsible for the electrocutions of three U.S. service members.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's president says his country has test-fired a new advanced missile with a range of about 1,200 miles, enough to strike Israel and southeastern Europe. The word
comes just two days after President Barack Obama said he's ready to seek tougher international sanctions against Iran if it shuns U.S. attempts to open talks on its nuclear program.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Coast Guard is searching the Pacific Ocean for a Navy helicopter with five people aboard that crashed overnight south of San Diego. The Navy says the aircraft carrier
USS Nimitz got word that the Seahawk chopper went down during a training exercise. There's nothing yet on survivors or wreckage.

LONGVIEW, Texas (AP) - Texas authorities have recaptured two inmates who escaped from the seventh floor of a jail in east Texas. One was caught late last night and the other was found this morning. One of the men is a convicted killer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009




Tamaqua native Jerry Knowles will return to work in Harrisburg, this time as a state legislator following his victory in the special election for the 124th District. The seat was vacated by Dave Argall after he won the state Senate seat in March held by the late Jim Rhoades. In unofficial tallies, Knowles garnered 70 percent of the vote compared to 30 percent for challenger Bill Mackey. Mackey had contended for the same seat in the past two legislative elections. Knowles once served as a Tamaqua councilman, Mayor and as a Schuylkill County Commissioner.


Former Ashland police officer and incumbent Sheriff Joseph Groody will face Republican challenger and former Pottsville police chief Dale Repp in November. Groody was challenged by Joe Devine of Pottsville for the Democratic nomination. Groody was appointed to the post last year, and is seeking his first elected term. The margin of victory was narrow, 51 percent for Groody and 49 percent for Devine.

Jury Commissioner

Republican incumbent Jury Commissioner Peggy Zimmerman defeated Maria Casey in Tuesday’s primary election. Ed Kleha, Schuylkill County Democratic Party chairman was unopposed as the Democratic candidate.


Incumbent District Attorney, James Goodman, will face former Assistant DA, Republican Christine Holman, in November for the county’s top prosecutor following Tuesday’s election. Both were unopposed. Goodman won the seat from former DA Frank Cori four years ago.

We'll have more results first thing Wednesday morning on WPPA/T102 News.

Today's News-Tuesday, May 19, 2009-ELECTION DAY


2009 could be known as the year of the election in Schuylkill County. Not because of the notoriety of the races, but because today is the second special election to be held in a month and a half. Voters elected Dave Argall to the state Senate on March 3rd to replace the late Jim Rhoades. Jerry Knowles and Bill Mackey are looking to replace Argall in the 124th District in a special election today. A host of local races for municipal boards, school directors and some statewide court races highlight the ballot in the primary. Incumbent Sheriff Joe Groody faces Democratic challenger Joe Devine, and former Pottsville police chief Dale Repp is alone on the Republican ballot in a key countywide race. Polls are open until 8pm. Listen to WPPA and T102 for reports after the polls close tonight, and view results online on our news website.


State police have identified the man and woman who died from a motorcycle crash Sunday night. 39 year old Michael Masser of Tamaqua was operating the bike and 44 year old Judith Coleman of Tuscarora was his passenger when they crashed into a utility pole and trees on Old Route 209. Masser was pronounced dead at the scene. Coleman died at Lehigh Valley Hospital shortly after arrival. Troopers say the pair were ejected from the motorcycle and were not wearing helmets.


POTTSVILLE, Pa. (AP) – A Shenandoah teenager has apologized for his role in the fatal beating of an illegal Mexican immigrant. Eighteen-year-old Brian Scully admitted in juvenile court Monday that he took part in a July 12 fight that pitted several white teens against 25-year-old Luis Ramirez. President Judge William Baldwin found the teen delinquent and ordered him to spend 90 days in a treatment center in York, and stated that Scully was the instigator in the incident. After that, the court will determine if Scully should spend additional time in detention. Scully was one of four youths charged in connection with Ramirez's death last summer. Earlier this month, a jury cleared Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky of all serious charges. Colin Walsh has pleaded guilty to violating Ramirez's civil rights and faces up to nine years in federal prison. Prosecutors have called the attack a hate crime.


Lykens state police are looking for a man who scammed an ice cream parlor owner over the weekend. Troopers say a short, stocky man with black curly hair purchased ice cream at Willow Tree Ice Cream Friday night and paid for the purchase with a $20 dollar coin. The suspect convinced the owner that the coin was legit, a new coin just put into circulation. The man left in a van registered to Mervin Horst of Newmanstown. State police are looking for him now. He faces theft by deception charges.


Fire damaged a home in Minersville Monday afternoon. Crews were called to the Laurel Street home occupied by Kathy Stuck and Allen Gordon and two children. An adjoining home incurred smoke and water damage. Fire officials ruled the cause of the fire accidental.


After having to hire some last minute poll workers, Schuylkill County election officials are ready for today’s primary and special election. Frannie Brennan, Director of the Election Bureau tells WPPA/T102 News that while turnout is not normally brisk for primary elections, today’s special election in the 124th District may spur more voters to come to the polls. Normally, only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in a primary, but for voters casting ballots in the 124th District race, its open to all voters. Brennan explains:


Nine hundred seventy six people will be voting absentee in today’s primary. Polls in all 167 precincts countywide will be open until 8pm tonight. You can listen to WPPA and T102 for results from the election, and see results posted as they come in from the STS building in St. Clair on our news website on wpparadio-dot-com and t102radio-dot-com.

CLAYMONT, Del. (AP) - A refinery fire that lasted nearly 24 hours has been extinguished. Firefighters put out a blaze caused by an explosion at a Delaware oil refinery that rattled nearby homes but caused no injuries. A spokeswoman for Sunoco Inc. says the fire was put out late yesterday, a little less than a day after the explosion.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A state senator says he will discuss a measure today that calls for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Similar measures in the last two legislative sessions have failed. But Republican Sen. John Eichelberger of Blair County says he will announce the bill.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia say a woman stole more than $100,000 from the law firm where she worked. Here's the kicker: They say the money stolen from the Norristown law firm was being used to pay restitution for a similar crime at a New York City law firm where the Spring City woman used to work.

MOUNTAIN TOP, Pa. (AP) - No one at a school district in northeastern Pennsylvania is serving lunch due to a strike by support staff, including cafeteria workers. Luzerne County's Crestwood School District is holding half-day classes due to the strike, which also involves teachers' aides, custodians, secretaries and other support staff.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey continues to attack Sen. Arlen Specter, even after the five-term incumbent switched parties. Toomey spoke at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon yesterday, joking that he got into the race thinking he would beat Specter in the primary. But he never expected to drive him out of the party.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concludes his U.S. visit today with an appearance on Capitol Hill. He's likely to face questions about his refusal to endorse the creation of an independent Palestinian state and lay out his vision of Mideast peacemaking.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama wants to limit what's coming out of tailpipes of cars in the U.S. He plans to propose the first-ever national emission limits for cars and trucks today. He'll also introduce a higher fuel requirement of 35.5 miles per gallon to be met by 2016.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate votes today on a credit card bill designed to give consumers a helping hand. It requires a 45 day notice before credit card interest rates can be raised and helps them get lower rates back if they've been raised for late payment. The banking industry says it could tighten credit.

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Susan LeFevre is getting out of jail today. She's the California mom who had been living a secret life after escaping from prison in 1976. She had been serving time in Michigan for a drug crime and was captured just over a year ago.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - That big wildfire near Santa Barbara, Calif., is done. Firefighters have fully contained the nearly 2-week-old blaze that destroyed dozens of homes, burned more than 8,700 acres and forced some 30,000 residents to evacuate.