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.


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