Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's News - Monday July 27, 2009

The 26th annual Schuylkill County Fair began yesterday to a brisk start all though mother nature wasn't exactly cooperative. The official first-day attendance was 1,746, compared to about 1,900 in 2008. The event will be filled with rides, animals, rows of food stands, live entertainment, small games of chance and a challenging mechanical bull through Aug. 1. Also last evening the second annual church choir contest was held, judged by members of the Schuylkill County Choral Society. Four area church choirs also performed on stage during the opening ceremonies: Holy Cross Guitar Choir, New Philadelphia; First United Methodist Church of Schuylkill Haven; Christ/Zion Charge, New Ringgold, and Covenant United Methodist Church, Schuylkill Haven. This year's winner, the eight-member Holy Cross Guitar Choir, performed "Peace on Earth" and "You Are Holy" and took home a certificate and a blue ribbon, Evanchalk said. The Queen/Princess Contest will be held on the M&T Stage at 4 p.m. today. There are 25 girls competing for fair royalty titles: Four Queen candidates, nine Princess candidates and 12 candidates for Little Miss, said Kate E. Kline, Valley View, the 2005 fair queen who is now adviser for the fair royalty. Today is Family Day at the fair. The gates open to the public at 4 p.m.

A 21-year-old Mahanoy City man was electrocuted early Sunday morning while trespassing on PPL property in Mahanoy Township, state police at Frackville said. According to the Republican and Herald, Jason Oshman was treated at the scene along Tower Road near the Village of Park Place and then taken by Mahanoy City EMS to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest. A spokesperson at Lehigh Valley said that Oshman was treated and the admitted Sunday afternoon in critical condition. Due to weather conditions, medical helicopters were unable to fly. Mahanoy City EMS took Oshman to Pottsville where they picked up the Pottsville-based MedEvac helicopter flight crew who accompanied the patient to the Lehigh Valley trauma center. Troopers said the incident happened around 2:40 a.m. when Oshman and some friends were trespassing on land owned by the power company. Oshman climbed one of the massive utility poles and was electrocuted by a 66,000-volt power line causing him to fall about 70-feet to the ground below, troopers said. Troopers said their investigation into the incident is continuing and charges may be pending.

Three families are temporarily homeless following a kitchen fire yesterday in the City of Pottsville. Homes at 812 and 810 North Third Street were damaged by flames while the home at 808 North Third Street sustained some damage to it's roof but mostly smoke and water damage. City fire crews were summoned to the scene around five after nine last evening and continued to work throughout the night. The fire was deemed under control within an hour. Crews will investigate the cause of the fire today.

With the annual Great Pottsville Car Cruise less than two weeks away, city police are reminding both participants and spectators that breaking the law will not be tolerated. As reported by the Republican and Herald, police will have extra officers on duty the day of the cruise, both on patrol in uniform and in plain clothes mingling with the crowd. Police will be keeping an eye out for violations of the open container law that prohibits alcohol in public. Tickets will also be issued for any cruise participant acting up by doing things like spinning the tires on their vehicles or any other unsafe maneuvers. The cruise, sponsored by Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc., Schuylkill Haven, is in its 16th year and will feature five days of activities that begin Aug. 5 and end with the cruise on Aug. 9. Judging will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the cruise set to be held from 4 to 6 p.m. After the cruise, live music and a car show will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Martz Hall in Pottsville.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown will hold two days of services this week to ordain and install its fourth bishop, Monsignor John O. Barres. While the public can attend a celebration of Solemn Vespers at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena, 18th and Turner streets, Allentown, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, tickets for the Mass of Ordination and Installation at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the cathedral are no longer available. About 650 tickets were given out by the diocese, many to priests, deacons and friends of the bishop-elect. At 2 p.m., a procession of diocesan deacons, priests and bishops will lead the bishop-elect to the altar. The Mass, which starts at 2:30 p.m., is expected to be a 2 1/2 to 3-hour service, Kerr said.

The North Central PA Regional Sobriety Checkpoint DUI Taskforce and Expanded DUI/Underage Drinking Enforcement Program has released the following Information from a Sobriety Checkpoint held on 24 July 2009 in Schuylkill Haven . A total of 1339 vehicles were contacted. With 41 vehicles detained and 6 operators tested for DUI. There were 4 adult DUI arrests. There were 15 traffic arrests, 6 criminal arrests, and 27 warnings issued. A total of six Police Departments and 10 Officers participated. This checkpoint is part of the North Central PA Regional Sobriety Checkpoint and Expanded DUI/Underage Drinking Enforcement Program funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police say charges are imminent against at least two people in the beating death of a man during a melee outside the Philadelphia Phillies' ballpark. Police say a group from a bachelor party got into a fight with other patrons at McFadden's pub in the Citizens Bank Park complex. A 22-year-old Lansdale man died in the fight.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Ed Rendell's office has been flooded with phone calls, e-mails and personal visits to a far greater degree this year in response to talk of cuts in the state's approximately $28 billion budget. Officials say it will mean layoffs and belt-tightening at everything from veterans' homes to public television stations.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia fire officials say cooking sparked a weekend fire in a northeastern Philadelphia row house that killed a woman and a boy. It also injured five others. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says Debbie Hatchett and seven-year-old Quamier Hatchett were trapped on the second floor and died despite efforts by firefighters to reach them.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia economic development officials hope to foster an "energy campus" at the city's old Navy yard. They envision a place allowing businesses, academics and military engineers to pool their efforts to come up with commercial ventures
such as alternative energy sources or smart-grid technology.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Mine operator Foundation Coal Holdings is due to report its second-quarter financial results. Monday's announcement will come a week before shareholders of Linthicum Heights, Md.-based Foundation are scheduled to vote on a $1.4 billion takeover offer by rival Alpha Natural Resources.

WASHINGTON (AP) - When it comes to passing President Barack Obama's health overhaul plan, Democrats acknowledge they can't do it without the help of Republicans. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad tells ABC's "This Week" there aren't enough votes for Democrats to go it alone.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two days of high-level talks between the United States and China open today in Washington with opening remarks by President Barack Obama. Both sides are emphasizing the importance of the meetings, which will tackle such issues as trade,
deficits and foreign policy.

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities are looking for answers, a day after a wrong-way crash on a stretch of highway in Westchester County, N.Y. left eight people dead. Police want to know why a woman driving a minivan got onto the Taconic State Parkway heading in the wrong direction. The woman and four children in the minivan died along with three men in an SUV.

KABUL (AP) - An Afghan official says the government and a Taliban commander who controls a small part of northwestern Afghanistan have agreed to a cease-fire. A spokesman in President Hamid Karzai's office says the agreement will allow a road construction project to move forward and for presidential candidates to open offices in the region ahead of next month's election.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man convicted of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush is to face resentencing today in a Virginia courtroom. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali (AHK'-med OH'-mar ah-BOO' ah-LEE') was convicted in


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