Saturday, May 29, 2010

Today's News-Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Schuylkill County judge on Friday rejected a Gilberton company's appeal of the Butler Township Zoning Hearing Board's rejection of its plan to build 27 windmills along the top of Ashland Mountain. According to the Republican and Herald, Judge Charles M. Miller ruled Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC did not show the board erred or abused its discretion in revoking its zoning permit for the wind turbines on 1,110 acres. The decision at least temporarily ends the proposed construction in Butler Township of the turbines, which have sprouted on many mountains in northern Schuylkill County. Township Zoning Officer Thomas Squires issued the permit to the company Feb. 4, 2008, at the request of John D. Rampolla, Broad Mountain's secretary-treasurer. The board revoked the permit July 29, 2009, ruling Squires did not have the authority to issue it because a wind farm is not a permitted use in a Woodland Conservation (W-C) zoning district. Broad Mountain appealed that ruling Aug. 25. In his opinion, Miller ruled the board had substantial evidence to support its decision and Broad Mountain could not overcome that. The board's substantial evidence included testimony from several neighboring property owners who opposed the project. Broad Mountain had challenged those owners' right to intervene in the case, but Miller rejected that contention.


Thousands of pounds of steel stolen from a Schuylkill County business. Troopers say sometime between Midnight and 7 this morning someone made off with almost 4,000 pounds of allow steel from Shalmet Corporation in the Pinedale Industrial Park near Orwigsburg in West Brunswick Township. Anyone with information about this theft is asked to call State Police at Schuylkill Haven.


A Lehigh Valley lawmaker says with just a month to go before a new state budget is's going to take discipline and the political will by the state legislature to get it done on time. Howard Ondick has this report.


Drug testing of Shenandoah Valley students may be a reality as soon as next school year. As reported by the Republican and Herald, the proposed policy calls for both voluntary and mandatory testing, which will be a requirement for almost all students involved in any extracurricular activity. That means students from seventh to 12th grades participating in football, cheerleading, band, chorus and much more will all be subject to urine testing if the policy in its present form were to pass. The Shenandoah Valley school board met Wednesday, during which the proposed policy was read aloud in its entirety by Superintendent Dr. Stanley G. Rakowsky. The first reading was unanimously approved by board members. There will be two more public readings before the school board votes on whether or not to adopt the policy. During this time, the policy can be amended. Students selected for testing will be chosen at random by an approved contractor. The district may test up to 10 of the eligible students randomly within two-week intervals during the school year or interscholastic season.

A truck stolen from a body shop in Mechanicsville. State Police are investigating the theft of a white 1989 Ford F-150 pick-up truck owned by William Stock of Saint Clair from Bill's Auto Body at the rear of 348 Anderson Street in Mechanicsville. The truck was unlocked with the keys in the ignition. It was taken between 3:45 Thursday afternoon and 7:30 Friday morning. The truck has a Pittsburgh Steelers plate on the front. Anyone with information about this vehicle theft should call Schuylkill Haven State Police.

A Cambria County lawmaker is defending his action that makes it a secondary offense for junior drivers to talk on a cell phone or text message while driving.Howard Ondick has this report.


WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressman Joe Sestak says he spoke for less than minute with former President Bill Clinton about a White House appointment that was meant to keep Sestak out of the Senate primary that he won this month. Sestak says he never considered any position the White House was willing to offer.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama will travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for an event at Carnegie Mellon University. No additional details have been released. The White House has said it's a priority for Obama to travel outside of Washington.

GREEN LANE, Pa. (AP) - A water treatment operator from a Philadelphia suburb has been charged with dumping raw sewage into the Perkiomen (pur-kee-OH'-mehn) Creek for years and submitting bogus reports to cover it up. The attorney general's office says Michael Martin of Pennsburg is charged with records tampering.

EPHRATA, Pa. (AP) - A hospital in Lancaster County says it has laid off 31 workers. Ephrata Community Hospital says the 31 employees lost their jobs this week. A recent state hospital report showed that Ephrata's profits fell 50 percent from 2008 to 2009, from $12.8 million to $6.3 million.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. military is reportedly making plans to go after the Pakistani Taliban if the terror network launches a successful attack in the U.S. That's what senior military officials have told The Washington Post. The operation would focus on air power but could also involve ground action involving special forces.

ROBERT, La. (AP) - BP says its engineers have been shooting drilling mud and assorted junk into the its blown out Gulf of Mexico oil well. The so-called "top kill" started Wednesday, but
BP says it will be Sunday or later before the verdict is known. President Barack Obama says he is ordering an increase in manpower in the Gulf Coast to deal with the spill.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Leaders of South Korea, China, and Japan are headed to a summit amid tensions over the sinking of a warship blamed on North Korea. At the same time Saturday, Top military commanders are meeting in South Korea to discuss ways to counter North Korean provocations.

ATLANTA (AP) - Travelers are being more budget conscious on the first traditional summer holiday weekend. Auto club AAA says about 28 million Americans will take road trips over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, 1.6 million more than last year. But AAA estimates families will spend less on summer travel because of a still-fragile economy.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - Jamaica's top police official says security forces will capture a reputed underworld boss who escaped a bloody, four-day assault on his slum stronghold. At a news conference in Jamaica's tense capital, police Commissioner Owen Ellington says authorities believe Christopher "Dudus" Coke, wanted by the U.S. on drugs and gun trafficking charges, is hiding somewhere on the tropical island.


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