Wednesday, May 27, 2009

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.


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