Monday, May 18, 2009

Today's News-Monday, May 18, 2009

A man and woman are dead in a motorcycle crash in the village of Tuscarora last night. That's according to state police at Frackville. They were traveling west on Old Route 209 before 10pm, when the driver lost control of the bike and struck a utility pole and several trees on the north side of the highway. Both were ejected from the motorcycle, and troopers say they weren't wearing helmets. The unidentified male operator was pronounced dead at the scene by Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner Jack Harley. The female passenger was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where she was also pronounced dead. We expect to learn more details later today.

Schuylkill Haven state police are looking for the driver of a vehicle that struck another car at the Citizens Fire Company in Palo Alto last night. Apparently, the driver was attempting to park when it struck the second vehicle, then left the scene without reporting it. Damage to the first car should be on the right front side of the vehicle. Troopers are investigating.

Two teenagers escaped injury in a one vehicle accident Sunday afternoon in Washington Township. The 17 year old driver from Pine Grove was traveling north on Dad Burnham's Road. Apparently, the driver realized he was traveling too fast to negotiate the curve, saw an oncoming vehicle and tried to overcompensate. The Ford F-150 truck struck a tree head on. A 14 year old passenger wasn't hurt either.

A Tower City man is charged with criminal trespass following an incident at a home in the borough Saturday night. 30 year old Jared Miller was looking for his estranged wife at her friend's home around 10pm, and entered the woman's home, looking for a cell phone in the kitchen. Miller left through the back door of the home. Charges were filed in District Judge Carol Pankake's office.

The recent order from President Obama declaring the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure, has big implications in Pennsylvania, home to the bay's two largest watersheds. It could also mean a brighter future for the water Pennsylvanian's use for drinking and recreation. Tom Joseph reports:


PennDOT crews will be doing pothole patching on Route 61 between Deer Lake and Schuylkill Haven during daytime hours. Lane restrictions and possible delays are expected. The work is expected to take all week. Rain will delay the work.

Explosion rocks refinery on Delaware River
MARCUS HOOK, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say there have been no injuries reported and no evacuations ordered after an explosion at an oil refinery on the Delaware River. The accident happened Sunday night at the Sunoco facility straddling the Pennsylvania and Delaware border.
Delaware State Police spokesman Jeff Whitmarsh says the explosion happened on the Delaware side of the border and involved ethylene. He says no refinery workers or emergency workers have been reported injured. Nearby residents say the explosion shook their homes. It was not
immediately known if refinery production was affected.

Pa. man, 73, ordered to trial on homicide charge
SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) - A 73-year-old western Pennsylvania man has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of criminal homicide in the shooting death of the 73-year-old woman he had married just a few weeks earlier. Authorities say relatives found the body of Ruth Anne
Henderson-McTonic on the back porch of her residence on April 3. William McTonic, of Jerome, was arrested that afternoon in nearby Somerset. A daughter of the victim says the two married on March 14 and almost immediately began having problems, and her mother said she was seeking a divorce. Defense attorney Joseph Policicchio during Friday's hearing challenged testimony by a witness who said the defendant told her about the murder several hours before the body was discovered. He said the revelation occurred in a second conversation several hours
after the body was found.

NJ man identified as Pittsburgh-area fire victim
BELLEVUE, Pa. (AP) - A culinary student killed in an apartment building fire west of Pittsburgh has been identified as 22-year-old Mehran Nemon of South Plainfield, N.J. Investigators say they are awaiting toxicology results before determining the cause of death. Nemon was a student at the Pittsburgh Culinary Institute. He died at Allegheny General Hospital after Friday's early morning fire at the Bellevue Mansions apartment complex. The blaze displaced about 100 residents, including many students of the culinary institute and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. The borough's fire chief has called the blaze suspicious.

Part of suit over Pa. patient's death dismissed
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A judge has dismissed portions of a lawsuit filed over the death of a dementia patient who wandered onto the roof of a Pittsburgh hospital in subfreezing temperatures last winter. Relatives have accused UPMC Montefiore of negligence and trying
to cover up the Dec. 3 death of 89-year-old Rose Lee Diggs. Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Stanton Wettick on Friday threw out references to a state Department of Health
investigation into the death and allegations that the hospital's disaster plan was outdated. But the judge declined the hospital's request to dismiss the suit entirely. Prosecutors earlier this month declined to file charges in the death, which was ruled an accident and attributed to hypothermia.

Philly agency to begin delayed anti-blight sales
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - After decades of accumulating blighted city properties, the Philadelphia Housing Authority says it is has been given the green light to move forward with the sale of 1,800 vacant houses and lots. The Philadelphia Housing Authority announced 18 months ago that it would sell 1,000 vacant houses and 800 lots to reduce its inventory and raise money. About one-third of the agency's 6,900 properties are boarded up and considered unfit for tenants. But the sales had to be approved by the federal government and the plan got bogged down. Federal and city officials met this month and came to an understanding, and authority spokesman Edward Warwick says the sales are to be staggered over three to five years.
Most of the properties are in North and Southwest Philadelphia. Even after the sales, the agency will still have 1,500 empty houses that officials hope to repair and rent. Stimulus money is to be
used for 300 of them.

Philly luxury condo heading to sheriff's sale
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A 40-unit luxury condominium project in Philadelphia that was intended as the centerpiece of a real estate empire is instead heading to a sheriff's sale.
The 63,000-square-foot 11-story American Loft was built in the city's Northern Liberties neighborhood just north of the oldest section of the city. It was one of several projects planned by Creating Real Estate Innovations in the former working class neighborhood that has seen a building and nightlife boom in recent years. But lender Abington Bank says not enough were sold and the developer has "agreed to cede control" of the project. A legal notice says the minimum price the bank will accept in the June 2 sale is just over $15.4 million.

these cars have got to go: Dealer cuts mean deals
DETROIT (AP) - At 789 Chrysler lots across America sit 44,000 potential bargains, cars and trucks that are stuck between shellshocked dealers and a troubled company that no longer wants their services. The dealers have just a few weeks to sell the Chryslers, Dodges
and Jeeps or risk losing thousands of dollars on them, giving people who want a car on the cheap a serious chance for a deal. Keith Hollern, one of the owners of Hollern & Sons Dodge in
Windber, Pa., says dealers have been told that the inventory is their problem. But he says the fact that the company is not building new cars right now has created "a little bit of a product
shortage," and some dealers being retained by Chrysler may be looking for new inventory.

Researchers: New approach may outflank AIDS virus
WASHINGTON (AP) - Like a general whose direct attacks aren't working, scientists are now trying to outflank the HIV/AIDS virus. Researchers have had little success in developing vaccines that cause the body's natural immune system to battle the virus. So they are testing inserting a gene into the muscle that can cause it to produce protective antibodies against HIV.
They report Sunday in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine that the new method worked in mice and now has proved successful in monkeys, too. But the leader of the team, Dr. Philip R. Johnson of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, says that doesn't mean an AIDS
vaccine for people is in the wings. He says years of work may lie ahead before a product is ready for human use. But Dr. Beatrice Hahn, an AIDS researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says the work shows there is "light at the end of the tunnel." Hahn, who was not part of Johnson's team, says it shows that thinking outside the box can yield results.

Pittsburgh entrepreneur John E. Connelly dead
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh-born John E. Connelly, a former coal miner turned multimillionaire entrepreneur and operator of riverboat dining and gambling cruises, has died. He was 83. Connelly's grandson, Terry Wirginis, says his grandfather died of congestive heart failure Saturday morning. Connelly worked in a coal mine to support his family after his
parents died and was also a Golden Gloves boxer. He later built a fortune coming up with bank promotions. Connelly created riverboat dining cruises in Pittsburgh, as well as New York and St. Louis, and ran riverboat gambling cruises on the Mississippi. He founded Pittsburgh's Gateway Clipper line of cruise boats and sought to bring casino gambling to the city. In 1993, he was on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is downplaying suggestions that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's first meeting with President Barack Obama today might be contentious. There are areas of disagreement. U.S. overtures to both Iran and Syria worry Netanyahu. And in the past he's opposed Palestinian statehood.

NEW YORK (AP) - A school assistant principal has become New York City's first death linked to swine flu. He'd been sick for nearly a week before his school was closed on Thursday. And in Japan, at least 121 people - most of them teenagers - have tested positive for the disease.

WASHINGTON (AP) - New research suggests smoking cigarettes may be riskier to the lungs today than it was a few decades ago due to changes in cigarette design. One researcher says up to half of the nation's lung cancer cases may be due to those changes.

CAPE CANAVERAL (AP) - Astronauts are about to touch the Hubble Space Telescope for the last time. Atlantis spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Andrew Feustel will leave the space
shuttle Atlantis this morning to replace batteries, a sensor and some insulation on the 19-year-old observer.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - Sri Lankan military officials say the leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels has been killed by government forces. He and two of his top commanders drove in an armor-plated van toward approaching Sri Lankan forces this morning and the military launched a rocket at the van.


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