Monday, June 28, 2010

Today's News-Monday, June 28, 2010

Frackville state police report that two men were hurt in a crash in Union Township Friday, one having to be flown from the scene of the crash. Forty four year old Raymond Witcoski of Shenandoah, and his passenger, 50 year old Walter Kuczynski, of Gilberton, were driving north on Zion Grove Road when the vehicle left the road and struck a utility pole. Kucynski, who was not wearing his seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle. He was flown from the scene to Geisinger Medical Center, where he remains in serious condition this morning. Witcoski was taken to St. Catherine's Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

ORWIGSBURG - State Police are investigating a burglary in Schuylkill County that netted thieves a large cache of guns. The break-in happened sometime Friday between three and 6:15 p.m. at the home of Charles and Darlene Stein on Chestnut Road in West Brunswick Township. Police say the bandits forced open a door to the home and removed a floor-model safe containing several rifles, old coins and personal papers. The thieves also took several pieces of jewelry and cans of coins from the home. The suspects are thought to be driving a light blue Chevy or GMC van.

Schuylkill County Democrats have reappointed Edward Kleha as chairman of the party. The Executive Committee of the Democratic Party met yesterday in Pottsville. This is the fourth term for the Shenandoah man, who works for State Representative Neal Goodman. On the Republican side, Joe Sterns defeated Robert Ames for the head of the county party several weeks ago.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania state budget negotiators say they've continued to work over the weekend on getting an agreement on a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins Thursday. Work on Sunday included a conference call among legislative leaders, staff-level number crunching and a night meeting with administrative staff. But so far there's no agreement. A Senate Republican spokesman says it's unlikely a deal will be made by the deadline, and Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell's office says a Monday end to the bargaining talks is possible but not certain. It's likely that top House and Senate members will meet again on Monday, but no word yet about where or when that might take place.

5 die as 3 motorcycles hit van in Lancaster Co.
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Police say five people were killed and two were injured in a crash in Lancaster County involving three motorcycles and a van. Penn Township police say the crash occurred around 5 p.m. on Route 72 between Auction Road and Graystone Road. Police Cpl. Rodney King tells the Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era that the motorcycles, each carrying a driver and a passenger, crashed into the van. Police are still trying to figure out exactly how it happened. King says three men and two women on the motorcycles died. He says a third woman on a motorcycle is hospitalized in critical condition, while the driver of the van is hospitalized in fair condition. The names of the victims haven't been released. Police are still investigating.

Body of triathlete recovered from Philly river
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police say they have recovered the body of a man who disappeared while taking part in the swimming portion of a triathlon in a Philadelphia river. Philadelphia police Lt. Joseph Walsh says the department's marine unit found the 40-year-old man from Prospect Park in Delaware County in the Schuylkill River on Sunday. Police say the man was taking part in a sprint triathlon. They say he entered the river shortly before 8:30 a.m. Saturday and never came out of the water. Lifeguards in kayaks said they had not seen anyone in any apparent trouble in the water. About 1,500 people were taking part in the event, which consisted of a .9K swim, 24K bicycle race and 5K run.

Confidantes: Victim in Pa. stabbings dated suspect
NORTHAMPTON, Pa. (AP) - Confidantes of a woman found stabbed to death along with three other people in her house in eastern Pennsylvania say the victim dated the man suspected in the rampage. Nicole Young identified her close friend, Denise Merhi, as one of the victims of Saturday's deadly attack in Northampton borough. Young and Merhi's cousin, Desiray Dolly, told The Associated Press on Sunday that Merhi dated the suspect briefly about two years ago. Authorities have not released the suspect's name but planned a news conference later Sunday. Another victim has been identified as 53-year-old Steven Zernhelt, Merhi's next-door neighbor. David Zernhelt says his brother rushed over to help when he heard screaming from Zerhi's house and was stabbed to death as he got through the front door.

Teen dies in suburban Philadelphia shooting
COATESVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say a suburban Philadelphia teenager has been shot and killed. Police say the 16-year-old was shot late Saturday on a sidewalk in front of a row of businesses and homes. They say he was later pronounced dead at Brandywine Hospital. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody said it did not appear to have been a drive-by shooting.

5 indoor water parks may someday call Poconos home
STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Poconos, which in days gone by billed itself as "Honeymoon Capital of the World," may be able to rebrand itself as the leading East Coast site for indoor water parks if several proposed projects come to fruition. Under the proposals, five water parks would call the region home, four of them in Tannersville alone, making up 13 acres of indoor water park space and a total of 2,500 hotel rooms between planned and existing resorts. Two of the three prospective groups have already submitted plans to Pocono Township proposing an indoor water park and hotel, and another has informed the township of its intention to build one. They would join Great Wolf Lodge, which opened in Tannersville in 2005 with a water park, and Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony, which built an indoor water park in 2008. The $140 million project at Camelback Mountain Resort is awaiting final permitting and would include a hotel and a 100,000-square-foot indoor water park. The Outback Lodge and Waterpark at the old Summit Resort is still seeking permits and more financing. The Spa Castle Pocono at the old Birchwood Resort has yet to submit formal plans.

Love triangle alleged in death of suburban Philly man found
buried; wife in custody
WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in suburban Philadelphia say a woman has been arrested and another man is being sought in the apparent bludgeoning death of her husband, who was reported missing on Father's Day. Police say the body of 33-year-old Kevin Mengel Jr. was found Saturday in woods behind Marple Newtown High School in Delaware County. His wife, 34-year-old Morgan Mengel, was arraigned on homicide and other charges. An arrest warrant has been issued for 21-year-old Stephen Shappell of Broomall, an employee of the
victim's Chester County landscaping business. West Goshen Police Chief Michael Carroll says Kevin Mengel was killed at his business June 17. His mother reported him missing after receiving suspicious text messages purported to be from him. Hours after Morgan Mengel's arrest, police unearthed his body with the aid of cadaver dogs.

Ohio man crushed inspecting pickup after vehicle fire on I-79 in
western Pa.
WHITELY, Pa. (AP) - State police in western Pennsylvania say an Ohio man was killed while inspecting his pickup truck which had broken down on an interstate. State police say 69-year-old Floyd Strader of Mount Vernon, Ohio, was heading north on I-79 at about 7 p.m. Saturday when his truck began to smoke in Whitely, Greene County. He pulled over and the vehicle caught fire, and Strader put it out. Police said he then crawled under the 1990 Fort F-150 to inspect the damage and the vehicle started drifting backward, pinning him under the left front tire. Police say he was taken to Southwest Regional Medical Center in Waynesburg, where he was pronounced dead.

Philly fire crews fight 4-alarm blaze in warehouse
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia firefighters are trying to put out a four-alarm blaze in an unoccupied warehouse, but no injuries have been reported. Fire officials say the blaze was first reported at about 2 p.m. at the intersection of 34 Street and Clearfield Avenue and rose to a fourth alarm 40 minutes later. Peco was asked to shut off power to the area while firefighters fought the blaze. The flames were declared under control shortly before 4 p.m.

Librarians show off their moves at competition
WASHINGTON (AP) - Who says librarians are boring? The sixth annual Library Book Cart Drill Team Championship was held Sunday afternoon in Washington. It's one of the less serious events at the American Library Association's annual conference, which began Thursday and runs until Tuesday at the Washington Convention Center. Drill teams made up of library workers performed themed dance routines with costumes and decorated book carts. The team from the University of Pittsburgh was judged the winner and took home the trophy, a "golden book cart." Other competitors were from Delaware; Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania; Midlothian, Texas; and Roselle, N.J. The library association says the drill teams are a great way to show communities that libraries are fun. The teams can be found at parades and festivals and travel to schools to promote literacy.

BELIZE CITY (AP) - Tropical Storm Alex could be a hurricane by tomorrow as it gains strength in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm appears headed to Mexico's northeastern coast, well clear of the Gulf oil spill. Midweek could see heavy rains lashing the Mexican coast.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen is expected to brief the media today about the latest in the effort to quell the Gulf oil spill. He's due in New Orleans today amid some criticism from local officials who feel he might not be the right man to head the team. He hasn't responded yet.

CHICAGO (AP) - Rod Blagojevich's defense team gets a crack today at the ousted governor's one-time chief of staff John Harris. Harris testified for four days last week as prosecutors tried to show jurors Blagojevich sought favors in return for his decisions as governor.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats have more than enough votes to confirm President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, whose confirmation hearing begins today. Elena Kagan, is preparing to make the argument of her professional life when she faces the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans are set to grill Kagan on hot-button issues from guns to abortion.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is getting set to try to make wireless broadband even broader. The White House says President Barack Obama will sign a presidential memorandum today to nearly double the available amount of wireless communications spectrum over the next decade. The government will auction 500 megahertz of federal and commercial spectrum.


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