Monday, June 15, 2009

Today's News-Monday, June 15, 2009


Area law enforcement was scouring Schuylkill County woods over the weekend as part of a homicide investigation. Schuylkill Haven state police were aiding the Frederick County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department in looking for a vehicle that may have been abandoned in a wooded area near Ravine along Route 25. Air and ground search crews found the vehicle in a remote area. The identity of the suspect was not released, but troopers are continuing their joint investigation.


Various electronic equipment was taken from four cars in Tower City over the weekend. The thefts took place on East Grand Avenue where the cars were parked. Stereos, amplifiers, GPS systems and satellite radios were taken. The amount of loss from the thefts is not known, but state troopers are continuing to investigate.


No one was hurt in a two vehicle crash at a busy grocery store outside of Schuylkill Haven Sunday. Mark Infanti was attempting to turn into Bills Produce while headed west, and Sara West apparently looked away from the road and rear ended Infanti’s vehicle. State police say both cars ended up in the middle of the roadway.


A rash of vandalism is being investigated by Port Carbon police. Sometime between Thursday and Friday of last week, a vehicle owned by Jennifer Thomas had a swastika spray painted on the side of it as it was parked in the 300 block of Valley Street. A nearby dumpster had the symbol painted on it as well. Four other cases of vehicle vandalism was reported in Palo Alto as well.

Philly police officer wounded by gunfire
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A police officer wounded by gunfire during an overnight patrol in North Philadelphia is listed in good condition. Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore says 26-year-old Officer Ashley Hoggard was hit in the shoulder early Sunday. He was initially listed in stable condition at Temple Hospital but a hospital spokesman says he was upgraded to good condition later in the day. Vanore says Hoggard and a colleague were on patrol when they
heard what they thought were gunshots at the intersection of 13th and Somerset streets just before 2:30 a.m. He says Hoggard was struck by gunfire after the officers got out of their car to
investigate. Vanore says three other men in their 30s were wounded at the scene and are hospitalized in stable condition. He says police are trying to learn more details about the incident.

Suspect in bank robbery jumps off Pa. bridge, dies
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police say a man wanted in a series of robberies in Bucks County died after he jumped off a bridge over the Schuylkill River following more than four hours of negotiations. Police say 29-year-old Michael Dixon of Williamstown, N.J., was
pulled over on the bridge around 4:45 a.m. Saturday and climbed over the rail on the westbound side. Police spokesman Frank Vanore says told officers that he had "nothing to live for." Police say he started to climb back to safety three times, but jumped at 9:15 a.m. and landed on a concrete slab, and was pronounced dead at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
shortly before 9:30 a.m. Bensalem police said Dixon was a suspect in a bank robbery there
Thursday. Police also said Dixon stole cash and a jar for charity donations from a Rita's Water Ice stand Tuesday. Dixon had 27 previous arrests in New Jersey.

Old wells in Pa. still produce after decades
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Thousands of oil and gas wells, often dating back to the early years of the last century, dot the landscape in Pennsylvania. They produce a small but steady flow over a period of decades - but often draw opposition from residents. Many of the wells were drilled in the early 1900s to supply booming glass and steel industries. That was long before the
housing developments, commercial districts, parking lots and yards that have grown up around them. Such wells have a long life span in Pennsylvania because the densely packed sand and rock formations of the commonwealth release gas and oil deposits slowly. They often go unnoticed by neighbors except in rare cases, such as a 2007 evacuation in Versailles due to seepage from improperly plugged abandoned wells. But even without mishaps, neighbors do not
always welcome their presence. The state has an Orphan Well Plugging Program to seal wells and says there may be 8,000 to 10,000 abandoned wells across the state that are eligible. But officials say action is taken based on public safety concerns.

NEW: Group recreating 1919 cross-county Army convoy
BEAVER, Pa. (AP) - In 1919, a U.S. Army convoy of motorized vehicles crossed the country for the first time, mostly along the fledgling Lincoln Highway that ran from Washington to San
Francisco. The 3,251-mile trip two months, and on its 90th anniversary, a historical group is re-enacting the event with 50 to 70 restored vintage military vehicles. The 2009 Transcontinental Motor Convoy is organized by the Missouri-based Military Vehicle Preservation Association. It began Saturday in Washington and the convoy is scheduled to pass through the Pittsburgh region on Monday before heading into Ohio. The convoy in 1919 was aimed at demonstrating the need for a mechanized army and better highways, and to test newly developed vehicles under arduous conditions. Officials also wanted to find out how difficult it would be to move an army across the United States in the event of an attack on the West Coast.

8 Pa. cities try gun control despite suit threat
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Eight municipalities in Pennsylvania have approved their own gun control ordinances in an effort to curb firearms violence despite the threat of lawsuits from gun rights advocates who say such measures are illegal. Last week, Lancaster's council unanimously approved an ordinance requiring owners to report lost or stolen guns. The city joins Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading, Easton, Pottsville and Wilkinsburg. The city-to-city campaign began after state House lawmakers rejected the reporting proposal, although supporters say they hope to introduce a similar bill this fall. The measure is aimed at curbing illegal guns sales by not allowing legal buyers who sell to felons to claim that their guns were lost or stolen when the firearms are used in crimes. The National Rifle Association, however, argues that such laws threaten innocent gun owners who may not be aware that the weapons are missing.

Gasoline prices in NJ top $2.50
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - It's costing New Jersey motorists more at the gasoline pump, but drivers in neighboring states are still paying higher prices. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of regular hit $2.51 in the Garden State on Sunday, which is up from $2.15 a month ago but lower than $3.99 in 2008. Overall, New Jersey's current price is the fourth cheapest nationwide. "We're not expecting dramatic price swings like we experienced last summer, but small daily increases through July 4 are likely," auto club spokesman David Weinstein said.
The last time the price of gas was this high in New Jersey was Oct. 29, 2008, when the average price was $2.52. AAA says the average price of regular costs $2.80 in New York, $2.78 in Connecticut and $2.65 in Pennsylvania.

800,000 callers phone hot line since Monday about switch to digital TV broadcasts
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Nearly 800,000 calls were received by a federal hot line from people confused about the nationwide move on Friday to drop analog TV signals and broadcast only in digital. The Federal Communications Commission says about 317,450 calls went into the help line, 1-888-CALL-FCC, on Friday alone, the day analog signals were cut off. Another 102,000 came in Saturday by 6 p.m. Eastern time. The total is still below the 600,000 to 3 million callers that the FCC expected in early March would call on transition day. The largest volume of calls to the FCC on Friday came from the Chicago area, followed by Dallas-Ft. Worth, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. FCC Acting Chairman Michael Copps said Saturday that if it were
baseball, the digital transition is now closer to home plate. He says "We're safe on third right now." he said.

ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistan's interior minister says police in Islamabad have foiled plots to kidnap diplomats and carry out bombings in the Pakistani capital in recent days. But he says while security has already been tightened, more is needed and an additional 20,000 police are being recruited to protect the city.

KABUL (AP) - Gen. Stanley McChrystal says the Afghan people are at the center of the mission for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal took command of those forces today. He says they will operate with care as they try to protect Afghan civilians from violence, but won't be timid.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A South Korean newspaper is reporting that the U.S. and Seoul have pinpointed 11 underground sites in North Korea where a third nuclear test could be conducted. The paper quotes an unnamed government intelligence official as saying the allies have mobilized spy satellites and human intelligence networks to check for vehicle movements and other unusual activity.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Obama administration officials say they are open to compromise on an overhaul of the nation's health care system. Republicans have been fighting the idea of a government-run health insurance plan. Administration officials say a cooperative program that expands coverage with taxpayer money but without direct governmental control is one possibility.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Auditions for Season Nine of "American Idol" have already begun. Thousands braved rain and unseasonably cold winds as they waited outside Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Host Ryan Seacrest says the bad weather is good for some hopefuls because, "It makes the weak stay home."


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