Saturday, August 28, 2010

Today's News-Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Pennsylvania State Police have served notice to those students returning to area colleges and universities. In a combined effort with Liquor Enforcement Officers, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, and local Police, the target is underage drinking in and around local campuses. Officers plan to meet with administrators and campus enforcement authorities to reduce underage drinking and pre-empt alcohol related problems. Officers also plan to communicate with liquor licensees to promote awareness, improve relations, and reinforce preventing the sale of alcohol to minors. Police remind those underage that the laws will be aggressively enforced with a fine of up to three hundred dollars, up to ninety days imprisonment for the first offense and the loss of their driving privileges for 90 days. For subsequent offenses the penalties are stiffer. Anyone found with providing alcohol to minors will face a one thousand dollar fine and a year in jail for the first offense and this will become part of a person's permanent record. Any questions should be directed to District Office Commander Sgt. Timothy F. Galloway at 484-519-4500 during normal business hours.

Attorneys for the county commissioners and Controller Melinda Kantner will meet with county Judge Charles M. Miller on Sept. 3 for a pre-hearing conference on a writ of mandamus complaint filed against Kantner earlier this week. As reported by the Republican and Herald, the mandamus was filed Monday because, according to the commissioners, Kantner "has refused and continues to refuse" to complete two state-mandated county financial reports. Those reports, as well as an audit of county books, were due July 1. Requests for extensions have twice been denied by a county judge. Kantner has blamed the county's external auditor, Pottsville accountant Sam Deegan, for the delay, while Deegan and many county officials have blamed Kantner. The mandamus - a civil lawsuit which could go to trial if the two sides cannot resolve differences - would force Kantner to complete the reports within 30 days and would also order her to fully cooperate with Deegan and give him whatever financial documents he needs within 30 days.

A federal judge on Friday ruled the ex-girlfriend of Shenandoah's former police chief can testify against him in a civil trial of a claim that he and other police officers murdered a man in 2006 in the borough's holding cell. According to the Republican and Herald, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled in a 13 page opinion that Angela Pleva should be allowed to testify that Matthew R. Nestor told her that, "Things got out of hand and we killed him," referring to David Vega. However, Jones also ruled that lawyers for Nestor, former Shenandoah police captain Jamie Gennarini and the borough should be allowed to take Pleva's deposition, and conduct any necessary pretrial discovery stemming from it, and that the plaintiffs' lawyers must pay for it. Jones scheduled the trial to begin on April 4 in Harrisburg. Jones ruled that Carlos J. Vega and Genevieve F. Victor, David Vega's parents and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, knew nothing of the refusal of their former lawyer, John P. Karoly Jr., Allentown, to reveal the statement to the defendants' lawyers, and that his remedy will eliminate any prejudice the defendants might suffer. Nestor and Gennarini face federal criminal charges stemming from their alleged extortion of money from illegal gambling operations in Shenandoah, while Nestor and two other former officers are charged with obstructing the investigation of the fatal beating of illegal Mexican immigrant Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala in July 2008 on a borough street. Trial dates have no been set in those cases.

Two Schuylkill County businesses were cited by the state police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement for violations of the state liquor laws. Johnny's Tavern, 115 Sunbury St., Minersville, owned by Vito Inc., was cited for allowing a loudspeaker or similar device to be used that made the sound of entertainment able to be heard outside the business on April 4 and June 12. Club 54, 100 W. Centre St., Mahanoy City, owned by Michael L. Thomas, was charged with allowing the same offense at various times throughout 2010. Both businesses can face fines of $50 to $1,000 for minor offenses or up to $5,000 for more serious infractions. They can also have their liquor licenses suspended or revoked and be made to have owners take training to educate them on the requirements of being a licensee.

EASTON, Pa. (AP) - Police say a worker in eastern Pennsylvania was hurt when a truck ran into the cherry-picker he was working in and knocked him out of the bucket. Police say 47-year-old Honey Brook resident Jesse Scott Leslie was hospitalized after the fall at around lunchtime in Palmer Township yesterday.

SINKING SPRING, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in Berks County say an elderly man and his wife have been found dead in their home where a car was left idling in the garage. A relative found John and Jane Schlott's bodies inside their Sinking Spring home yesterday morning. Police weren't sure if the car was intentionally left running.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania officials say they're considering enforcement action after 41 of 74 companies drilling for Marcellus shale natural gas missed an August 15th deadline to report production. The state department of Environmental Protection says it will contact the companies and pursue whatever enforcement necessary it deems necessary.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Democratic party has filed a complaint with the IRS, claiming a conservative foundation is spending millions on ads in election battleground states such as
Pennsylvania is violating its status as a tax-exempt organization. Americans for Prosperity Foundation began running ads last week. They attack policies but don't mention candidates.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Broadcaster Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally is today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Beck, a Fox News personality, says that's just a coincidence. He's calling on thousands to rally. Civil rights leaders are protesting the event.

MIAMI (AP) - Hurricane Danielle continues to diminish out in the Atlantic Ocean but it's still a category 2 storm with 110 mph winds. It's expected to pass east of Bermuda and forecasters warn of dangerous waves and surf there. It's also still expected to bring dangerous rip currents to the U.S. East Coast.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) - Officials say a gunbattle closed off blocks of a northwestern Pakistani city after captured Islamist militants seized weapons from their guards and took them hostage. The incident happened during an interrogation today in Peshawar.

WASHINGTON (AP) - About 4.5 million older Americans continue to smoke and Medicare is finally catching up to private insurers and offering help. Medicare, which has been providing smoking cessation drugs, is now offering counseling for any beneficiary who's trying to quit. Dr. Barry Straube, the program's chief medical officer, says it's never too late, even for lifelong smokers.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say no inmates have life-threatening injuries after guards opened fire on a riot at Folsom State Prison in California. Seven inmates were hospitalized and no guards were hurt when about 200 prisoners rioted.


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