Saturday, August 14, 2010

Today's News-Saturday, August 14, 2010

The 30 day county-wide burn ban lapses after Saturday August 14, 2010. The ban was put in place by the Schuylkill County Commissioners on July 16, 2010 on the recommendation of District Forester, Mark Deibler of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry. The extremely dry conditions and high temperature experienced in July have improved somewhat during early August. Though the burn ban is lifted as of Sunday August 15, the public is asked to remain vigilant when conducting any type of burning. In reviewing the pre-burn ban incidents, the Schuylkill County 911 Center had 29 reported wild land and brush fires in the 30 days prior to the ban; since the ban was enacted there have been only 7 such fire reports. Though conditions have improved, the area is still experiencing below average rainfall. The Bureau of Forestry will continue to monitor the conditions and the incidents of wild land fires in the coming weeks and months. If there is a sharp rise in wild land fires or the area become very dry again, the District Forester may request another ban. Any questions can be directed to the Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency at 570-622-3739.

A new owner has bought and started rehabilitating a Pottsville business that burned in January in what authorities say was an arson. According to the Republican and Herald, Tom McNulty intends to repair the former Mady's Car Wash site along Route 61, probably developing retail stores in part of it and rebuilding the car wash and auto maintenance facility in the other part, his lawyer, David J. Rossi said Friday. McNulty already has refurbished the former Expert Tire building, which now houses an Original Italian Pizza restaurant and a Realty Executives office, at Mauch Chunk Street and Route 61, and he wants to make the former Mady's site just as nice.

While Gov. Rendell is urging state lawmakers to take quick action this fall on a natural gas extraction tax to help balance the state budget, one state lawmaker says the legislature should not rush to action. Howard Ondick has this report.


Shenandoah's former top two police officers will go on trial next month on extortion, conspiracy and related charges, a federal judge ruled Friday. As reported in the Republican and Herald, Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo ordered jury selection for the trial of Matthew R. Nestor and Jamie Gennarini to begin at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 27 in Courtroom 3 of the Max Rosenn U.S. Courthouse, Wilkes-Barre. Federal prosecutors have charged Nestor with five counts of extortion, three of conspiracy and one each of corrupt persuasion and deprivation of constitutional rights, and Gennarini with two counts each of conspiracy and extortion and one of deprivation of constitutional rights. They allege Nestor extorted money from illegal gambling operations in the borough from 2004 through 2007, while he and Gennarini extorted money from a businessman and his family in 2007. On Wednesday, Caputo, who will preside over the trial, ruled prosecutors have produced sufficient evidence to support all charges against Nestor, Shenandoah's former police chief, and Gennarini, its former police captain. He also ruled Gennarini and Nestor should be tried together. Caputo also ordered individual questioning of prospective jurors and preparation of a questionnaire for them. He limited the questionnaire to 50 questions, and required prosecution and defense lawyers to submit proposed questions to him by Sept. 15.

The Schuylkill County Municipal Authority has received national recognition for providing safe water to its customers. SCMA was presented with the Five-Year Directors Award at the American Water Works Association's Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago in June. SCMA maintained the Directors Award for five years for the Mount Laurel Water Treatment and Filtration Plant, an honor achieved by only 165 water utilities across the country. The recognition came from the Partnership for Safe Water, a national volunteer initiative developed by the Environmental Protection Agency and other water organizations. The partnership represents water suppliers striving to provide communities with drinking water quality that surpasses required federal standards. The Directors Award is presented to water systems who have completed a successful review in the partnership's review phase, in which utilities examine the capabilities of their treatment plant and plan for improvements.

A Berks County lawmaker is proposing legislation that would allow Pennsylvania residents to vote by absentee ballot whether or not they can make it to their polling place on Election Day. Howard Ondick has this report.


JAIPUR, India (AP) - Police say a western Pennsylvania woman vacationing in India has been found killed in the western Indian state of Rajasthan and her teenage son is being questioned. Police say Cindy Iannarelli, from Cecil, Pennsylvania, was found with her throat slit at a tourist resort in the historic town of Osian.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Health officials in suburban Philadelphia fear that a local resident who contracted measles may have exposed others to the disease. Officials in Montgomery County say the unnamed resident traveled recently to Malawi in southern Africa. An outbreak there killed dozens of people.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) - An investor group seeking a casino license is banking on appealing to RV owners. The Penn Harris Gaming group wants to transform a Holiday Inn in suburban Harrisburg into a $75 million casino. It would adjoin a six-acre RV lot.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia jury will resume deliberations Monday to decide whether two men convicted in the murder of a city police officer should be sentenced to death. Levon Warner and Eric Floyd were convicted in the May 2008 death of Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A state historical agency says Allegheny County should hold off on demolishing the longtime home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bureau of Historic Preservation says the Civic Arena may be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

WASHINGTON (AP) - After skirting the issue for weeks, President Barack Obama is making it clear he supports the construction of a mosque near ground zero in New York City. Obama says religious freedom was one of the nation's founding principles and Muslims have the same rights as anyone else. He made the comments at a White House dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) - Police in Pakistan say gunmen have killed 10 people traveling on a bus in the country's southwest. The attack took place in Baluchistan province and appears to have been driven by ethnic tensions. Baluchistan has long had a nationalist movement led by armed ethnic Baluch groups. The victims were from eastern Punjab province.

STOCKHOLM (AP) - WikiLeaks says it will publish 15,000 documents from the Afghan war as planned despite warnings from the U.S. The Pentagon says the information would be more damaging to security and risk more lives than WikiLeaks' initial release of some 76,000
war documents. WikiLeaks' founder says the organization proceeds "cautiously and safely" and "will not be threatened by the Pentagon."

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is taking his wife and daughter Sasha on a quick trip to the Florida Panhandle today. The trip is being billed as part family vacation, part presidential sales pitch. Obama is looking to boost the region's sagging tourism industry in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Police in Buffalo, N.Y., say seven people have been shot, four fatally, outside a restaurant in the city's business district. Police Chief Dennis Richards says a wedding
reception had been held at the restaurant earlier in the night, but it's not clear whether anyone in the wedding party was involved.


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