Saturday, December 26, 2009

Today's News-Saturday, December 26, 2009


A 41-year-old Mar Lin man surrendered Thursday to face charges of having child pornography on his computer. According to the Republican and Herald, William E. Hunter Jr. was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Charles V. Moran, Pottsville, on 20 counts of sexual abuse of children-possession of child pornography, all felony offenses. Hunter was arrested by state police Cpl. Paul Smith stationed at Troop L headquarters in Reading and charged in connection with incidents that began on Nov. 30, 2008, when a person on the Internet was using a screen name of "bhunter_005" to trade images of child pornography. A check with the Internet service provider and the Internet IP address in use showed Hunter to be the person online, Smith said. The investigation continued and resulted in a search warrant being served at Hunter's home on Oct. 30 to retrieve the man's computer system. Smith said a computer was retrieved from a family room of the home and during the execution of the warrant, Hunter agreed to answer any relevant questions. After being read his Miranda warnings and signing a waiver, Smith said, the man admitted having naked pictures of children on his computer. Hunter also admitted that the day prior, Oct. 29, was the last time he was on the Internet viewing pictures of naked children, Smith said. The trooper said he analyzed Hunter's computer and found 154 image files of children under 18 and three movie files containing images of naked children under 18. Hunter was released after posting $5,000 set by Moran, who said a preliminary hearing on the charges will be scheduled in the near future. A date originally selected for the hearing had to be changed because it conflicts with the schedule of Hunter's attorney.


The North Central Regional Sobriety Checkpoint DUI Taskforce announced that Sobriety Checkpoints and Roving DUI Patrols will be conducted today and Sunday along routes 61, 183, 901, 209, 1006, 1002, 309, 443, 895, 125,25, 924, 54 and other roads in Schuylkill County. Travelers are reminded to call 911 if they suspect a drunk driver or to call, toll-free, 888-UNDER21 to report underage drinking.


A 19-year-old Mahanoy City man was arrested by Saint Clair police and charged with retail theft stemming from an incident at Wal-Mart on Tuesday and Wednesday. Police said Jacob Potter was arraigned and committed to Schuylkill County Prison unable to post 10 percent of $5,000 bail. Police said that Potter tried to steal an XBox video game around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday but dropped the item and fled in a vehicle north on Route 61 after being followed by store security. Then, around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday police said Potter again went to the store and this time left with a Sony Playstation 3 valued at $349. Police tracked down the owner of the vehicle and eventually went to Potter's home where they saw a Nintendo Wii game console on top of a television set. During an interview police said Potter admitted stealing the Playstation 3 but said he did not know what happened to it, police said, adding that the man also admitted stealing the Wii that was on top of the television set on Tuesday, also from Wal-Mart. The total value of both items is $580.88, police said. Two Shenandoah women were charged in connection with an incident at Wal-Mart about 1 p.m. Wednesday. Police said they charged Michelle M. Miller and Ashley L. Miller with one count each of retail theft and receiving stolen property. Michelle Miller was detained and placed in Schuylkill County Prison, Pottsville, on a detainer for violating her probation while Ashley Miller was released and will receive citations in the mail. Police said store security stopped the women after observing them place items inside their purses and also into an empty box that they re-taped. The value of the items inside the purses totaled $42.50 while the items inside the box were valued at $247.94, police said. Both women will have to appear before Magisterial District Judge David A. Plachko, Port Carbon.


Two seperate incidents injured three on Route 61 near "Dead Man's Curve" on Thursday. Authorities said Tara Martinez, 30, was headed south on Route 61 at 6:50 a.m. in a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo when she lost control around a right turn and hit a guiderail, police said. Her vehicle was towed from the scene and the severity of her injury was not known, police said. Later that morning, Police said Kimberly A. Link was headed south on Route 61 in a 2007 Pontiac G8 at 9:44 a.m. when she lost control around a right curve and her vehicle struck a guiderail. Link and a 14-year-old female passenger were injured and taken to a local hospital, police said.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State health officials are planning swine flu vaccination clinics at 33 locations across Pennsylvania for anyone who wants to receive it. The state Department of Health said the clinics are Jan. 8-9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. People who want to attend must make an appointment. Vaccinations are free and voluntary. To make an appointment, go to or call 877-724-3258. Health Secretary Everette James says flu activity is declining in the state, but cautions there is the potential for another wave. Doses of the vaccine are still available through some schools, doctors and other private providers.
SUNBURY, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania judge is suing over a decision to cut about $600,000 from his budget. Northumberland County President Judge Robert Sacavage is suing the county. He says the budget cut will force him to cut at least six jobs and will prevent him from running the courts properly, endangering public safety. Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Kurt Masser say they're prepared to defend their position in court. Chairman Frank Sawicki says he wants to reach a settlement. Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts spokesman Art Heinz says the development isn't surprising considering the current economic situation.

WASHINGTON CROSSING, N.J. (AP) - After months of financial uncertainty, a Pennsylvania company has donated $400,000 to ensure that George Washington continues crossing the Delaware River each Christmas. Thousands turn out every year to watch the annual re-enactment of Washington's 1776 crossing of the Delaware River in a surprise attack on British forces. But the re-enactment was imperiled by government budget cuts that have closed a visitor center on the Pennsylvania side. Besides the money, Lockheed Martin also pledged a five-year commitment of volunteer support from 13,000 employees for park maintenance and operations. Other fundraising campaigns included an auction to win a seat in the lead boat for the re-enactment.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's highest court is upholding a decision to throw out a state rule that required coal-fired power plants to cut mercury emissions beyond federal standards. The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini was correct when he called the rule unlawful, invalid and unenforceable. The 2007 rule was challenged by Allentown-based PPL Corp., which owns two coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania. The administration of Gov. Ed Rendell fought industry resistance for approval of the rule, which made Pennsylvania the first major coal-mining state to attack mercury. However, a federal judge last year required mercury to be restored to a list of hazardous pollutants that Pennsylvania state law prohibits it from regulating.

WALLINGFORD, Pa. (AP) - A suburban Philadelphia teenager has been suspended for wearing a Santa Claus suit to school. Michael Hance says he told his principal that he planned to wear the suit to Strath Haven High School and hand out candy canes. The 18-year-old senior says the principal told him that wasn't a good idea because it would be a distraction. But he wore the suit anyway, with regular clothes underneath in case he was asked to take it off. He got nabbed a few minutes after he walked into his first class on Tuesday. The district says in a statement Hance was suspended for the day for "defiance of authority." Hance says the school could have just given him a detention.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's rodent-infested Capitol cafeteria was not inspected for four years, despite a law requiring annual checks for health and sanitation. Auditor General Jack Wagner said Thursday that he received assurances in 2005 that the Agriculture Department would inspect it. He says his auditors later received false assurances that the department was inspecting it regularly. Agriculture Department press secretary Justin Fleming says the agency is looking into whether it gave false assurances or not. An inspection last week found evidence of a severe rodent infestation, which is considered an imminent health risk. The ground-floor cafeteria is now closed and is not expected to reopen until January. It is a popular coffee and lunch spot for statehouse visitors and employees.

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) - Passengers headed to the U.S. are being frisked before being allowed to board flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol (SHIP'-hohl) airport. The procedure was put in place after a Nigerian passenger allegedly attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight as it approached Detroit yesterday. Fellow passengers subdued the man.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is calling yesterday's failed attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight and act of terrorism. It's put in place stricter security measures on airline travel. Meanwhile counterterrorism officials are trying to assess the threat from the explosive mixture the suspect managed to get past security and tried to detonate.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A reformist Web site in Iran says opposition supporters have been clashing with security forces in central Tehran. The site says forces including the Revolutionary Guard and a paramilitary group confronted demonstrators today, breaking the windows of cars that were honking horns in protest.

LEGAZPI, Philippines (AP) - Scientists say magma continues to build up in the Philippines' lava-spilling Mayon volcano and that a hazardous eruption remains possible. There's been a decline in earthquake activity but volcanologists are warning evacuated residents not to be lulled into a false sense of security.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The field of possible AFC playoff teams has narrowed by one. The Tennessee Titans' hopes evaporated when they lost to San Diego last night in Nashville, 42-17. The Chargers are the AFC West champs and clinched a first-round bye with the win.


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