Saturday, December 31, 2011

Today's News-Saturday, December 31st, 2011


Goodman Seeking Applicants for Valley Forge Military College Appointment Applicants

State Representative Neal Goodman of Schuylkill County is seeking applications from students in the 123rd Legislative District to participate in this year’s Valley Forge Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative. One appointee will receive a minimum $12-thousand dollar annual scholarship to attend the school, which has been designated as Pennsylvania's official military college by the state House. The scholarships are fully funded by the college; no taxpayer money is used. Goodman says it is a great opportunity to attend one of our nation's top military colleges. The college offers an Army ROTC Early-Commissioning Program as well as a transfer program to top-tier four-year colleges and universities throughout the country. For qualifications, call Goodman’s Mahanoy City office at 570-773-3075. The deadline to apply is February 15th.

Frackville Borough Has A Budget

Frackville Borough Council formally adopted its 2012 operating budget with no tax increase at Thursday's special meeting. As reported by the Republican Herald, the budget was tentatively adopted on Dec. 14, at which time estimated expenditures exceeded anticipated revenues, but in the past two weeks, borough council worked on closing the gap, resulting in a surplus. Before the budget was brought to a vote, Councilwoman Karen Domalakes requested an adjustment on a line item for fire protection by increasing the borough's contribution on the payment of the Good Will Hose Company's new fire truck from $2,500 to $5,000. The requested amendment was approved. The budget was formally adopted on a 4-1 vote, with President Ron Jordan, Vice President Bradley Gotshall, John Morgan and Domalakes voting in favor. The dissenting vote was made by Patrick O'Boyle. The budget also includes a contribution of $10,000 to the Frackville Free Public Library in 2012, up from $5,000 in 2011.

Tools Stolen In West Mahanoy Township

West Mahanoy Township police are investigating a burglary that occurred between 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at 213 S. Wylam St. in the Altamont section of the township. Police said James Sonnon Jr., Pottsville, employed by House Doctors Contractors, reported someone entered the home and stole tools valued at $1,845 before fleeing the area undetected. Police said the home owner, Phillip Klemow, was not there at the time. Anyone with information is asked to call police through the Schuylkill County Communications Center at 570-462-1991.

Hit and Run on Schuylkill Mountain Road

State police at Schuylkill Haven are investigating a hit-and-run crash that occurred at 1340 Schuylkill Mountain Road in South Manheim Township between 2:15 and 2:30 a.m. Friday. Police said an unidentified vehicle was traveled west when the driver failed to negotiate a right curve, crossed the eastbound lane and went off the road traveling through the front yard of the home owned by William Betz. Police said the vehicle then struck and damaged about 35 feet of split rail fence before the driver fled the scene, adding that the unidentified vehicle may be a Jeep Wrangler. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 570-593-2000.

Crash on Route 443

Two people were injured in a two-vehicle crash at 8:25 a.m. Friday on Route 443 near Shady Lane Road in North Manheim Township. State police at Schuylkill Haven said the crash occurred as a 1993 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 driven by Joshua A. Sophy, 18, of Orwigsburg, was traveling west on Route 443, while a 1990 Ford Bronco driven by Michael G. Kurchock, 53, of Port Carbon, was traveling east on Route 443. As Kurchock was slowing, beginning to make a right turn, Sophy crossed into the eastbound lane and struck Kurchock head-on. Kurchock was pushed backwards and came to final rest off the side of the eastbound lane, while Sophy continued to travel forward and struck a tree on the side of the eastbound lane, where it came to final rest. Both were transported to West Reading Hospital by Pottsville/Schuylkill Haven EMS for injuries of unknown severity. Sophy was charged with misusing lanes of traffic.

Forged Check Nets Charges

State police at Schuylkill Haven are investigating a theft and forgery that occurred between 9 and 9:15 a.m. Thursday at Union Bank and Trust Company, 25 S. Centre St., Pottsville. Police said James McGuire, unknown age and location, used a check belonging to Robert Dean Steffie, 59, of Auburn, in order to defraud him of $200. Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact state police at Schuylkill Haven at 570-593-2000.


ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A pair of Allentown homes structurally damaged by a massive sinkhole may have to be demolished. Allentown fire Chief Robert Scheirer (SHY'-uhr-er) says the 19th-century rowhouses have shifted badly. He says the conditions of several other homes are being assessed. City officials are unclear on what caused the sinkhole to open Thursday.

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A suburban Philadelphia paralegal hired to administer family estates is charged with stealing $143,000 from clients. Bucks County police say Patricia Ann Fisher also paid herself about $34,000 in fees. The theft charges against the Chester County paralegal come as she faces her third DUI case since

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Republican hopeful Rick Santorum is stepping up his grassroots efforts in Iowa, turning his attention to delivering backers to next week's caucuses. The former Pennsylvania senator says his campaign is working hard on turnout efforts. Santorum has sent out a fundraising appeal on the heels of his improvement in polls.

DALLAS (AP) - Joe Paterno's son says his father is improving while undergoing treatment for lung cancer that was diagnosed last month, several days after he was fired as Penn State's head coach. Nittany Lions quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno calls JoePa "a fighter" taking on cancer as another challenge. Penn State is in Dallas preparing for the TicketCity Bowl on Monday against Houston.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have been leading polls of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa. But the two leading presidential candidates are leaving the stage their rivals today. Romney is scheduled to campaign in New Hampshire, while Paul is taking time off in his home state of Texas. Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry all remain in Iowa, where they are working to win over the many still-undecided voters.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Authorities in Southern California have not ruled out a connection between a car fire last night and a series of arson blazes earlier Friday in Hollywood. Fires were reported in nearly two dozen locations in the area during a four-hour period before dawn. Los Angeles Fire Capt. Jaime Moore says arson investigators consider the latest blaze in an underground garage in Hollywood "to be an incendiary fire similar" to the morning fires.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Police in Waterville, Maine, say they are now treating the case of a missing 20-month-old girl as a criminal investigation. Ayla Reynolds was last seen two weeks ago when her father put her to bed. Justin DiPietro reported her missing when she was nowhere to be found the following morning.

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Ethiopian troops have opened a third front against al-Shabab militants in Somalia. A resident and a military officer says the Ethiopian troops entered a Somali border town today, prompting residents to flee. Kenyan troops are also fighting al-Shabab in Somalia's south, while African Union troops in Mogadishu have mostly pushed al-Shabab fighters out of the capital.

APIA, Samoa (AP) - The New Year's Eve parties have started a whole day early on Samoa. The South Pacific island nation realigned itself from the Americas side of the international date line to the Aisa side to be more in tune with its key trading partners. That made Samoa the first country to ring in 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Today's News-Friday, December 30, 2011

Tombstones Found Off Burma Road

State police are looking for the vandals who dumped old tombstones along an area road. Schuylkill Haven troopers Wednesday report the stones, some dating back to the 1800's were found alongside the Burma Road in East Norwegian Township. While its not exactly clear where the tombstones came from, police think they may have come from a cemetery in Clinton County. Anyone with information about the vandalism should call the Schuylkill Haven barracks at 593-2000.

Tax Increase in Pottsville City

Pottsville City Council approved their 2012 spending plan Thursday afternoon, with a property tax increase. The Republican Herald reports the budget, just over $8-million dollars, includes a six tenths of a mill increase, the second such consecutive hike. Officials say the tax increase was necessary to cover rising healthcare costs, but they are looking at other possible alternatives to cover the city's 61 full time employees.

Polar Bear Plunge to Ring in New Year

When we think of ringing in the New Year, parties, football and resolutions come to mind. There are also activities for the hale and hearty folks…the Polar Bear Plunge. The 3rd annual sojurn into really cold water will take place in our area on Sunday, January 1st at 1pm at Pine Creek in Valley View. According to organizer Jim Reed, for just $20, participants can jump into the creek, then feast on the traditional Pork and Sauerkraut dinner at the Valley View Gun Club. Pine Creek Polar Plunge is a fundraiser to support the trout nursery, which grows trout for use in public and private stocking. Anyone can participate, but you’ll need your parents permission to participate if you're under 18.

Christmas Package found on Burma Road

Even though most of the Christmas presents have been opened already, one particular toy needs to be connected with its rightful owner. An area resident contacted us yesterday, stating she found the package along the Burma Road in East Norwegian Township on Christmas afternoon. The package was addressed to Jade, from Everyone. If you happen to know who the gift belongs to, contact WPPA/T102 News at 622-4440 and we'll connect you with the person who found it.

Burglary In Tuscarora

State police at Frackville continue to investigate a burglary at a home in Tuscarora between Wednesday night and early Thursday. Someone forcibly entered a home on Chestnut Street in the village, removed jewelry, coins and clothing then fled. If you can help state police, call them at 874-5300.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Elder advocates say a lack of gay-friendly affordable housing for seniors is leading many to hide their sexual orientation after years of being open about it. Gay seniors fear discrimination, disrespect or worse by health care workers and residents of elder housing facilities. Experts say the issue is becoming more urgent as baby boomers begin turning 65 this year. They say the gay elder population is expected to double, to at least 3 million, by 2030.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Some Pennsylvanians are wondering who represents them in Harrisburg amid plans to hold special elections next year to replace six state representatives who are stepping
down in the middle of their terms. House officials said Thursday the new lawmakers will be picked based on the 2012 statewide legislative redistricting plan - not the same voters who elected the present House members last year.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A bus company that took passengers from several cities to New York City has been shut down amid safety concerns. Authorities have ordered Double Happyness Travel Inc. to
immediately cease operations. Double Happyness takes passengers from Albany, N.Y., Baltimore, Md., and Wilmington, Del., to stops in midtown Manhattan and Chinatown in New York City.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in Allentown say a sinkhole
that forced residents to evacuate has spread to a nearby cemetery, threatening dozens of graves. A judge has given Lehigh County
Coroner Scott Grim the right to decide if the graves should be exhumed from the Union and West End Cemetery. Grim says no decision has yet been made. Fire Chief Robert Scheirer says 54 graves are
threatened, most more than a century old.

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - Most Republican presidential candidates are campaigning across Iowa in garishly painted buses equipped with loudspeakers blaring campaign music. But Rick Santorum is using a
pickup truck. He's also not able to afford to buy time for the number of TV commercials that others are using. But the scaled-down approach seems to be working, and some polls show him overtaking
conservative rivals like Michele Bachman and Rick Perry.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea has declared Kim Jong Un its Supreme leader and it's also issuing a warning. On the final day of official mourning for Kim Jong Il, North Korea's National
Defense Commission has declared that there will be no softening of the country's position toward South Korea and no deal with its President Lee Myung-bak, who stopped a no-strings-attached aid
policy toward the North in 2008.

CAIRO (AP) - Egyptian rights groups are accusing the country's ruling military council of using "repressive tools" like those used during ousted President Hosni Mubarak's rule. Several groups issued a joint statement accusing military rulers of waging an "unprecedented campaign" against pro-democracy organizations. Security forces stormed offices of 10 rights organizations yesterday.

MOSCOW (AP) - Firefighters are battling a blaze aboard a Russian nuclear submarine in an Arctic shipyard. The Russian military says seven crew members have been sent to hospitals after inhaling toxic
fumes and a number remain on board. It's unclear whether crewmembers are trapped or have been ordered to stay inside. The Defense Ministry says there has been no radiation leak from the fire.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York lawmakers are considering a bill that would require new registered nurses to earn bachelor's degrees within 10 years to keep working in the state. It's part of a national push to raise nursing education standards. Most registered nurses have two-year associate's degrees. No state currently
requires a four-year degree for initial licensing or afterward.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today's News Wed. December 28, 2011

Local News for Wed. December 28, 2011

Deer Lake Man Killed By Carbon Monoxide

The death of 47 year-old Richard Golab, of 116 Maple Boulevard in Deer Lake, was apparently the result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Dr. Richard Bindie performed an autopsy on Golab and he determined that death was caused by inhalation of poisonous fumes put out by a faulty coal stoker. Emergency crews were called to Golab's residence on Monday, where they found Golab dead and 51 year-old Diane Squyres suffering from the effects of inhaling carbon monoxide. Squyres was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center South Jackson Street for treatment. Deer Lake and West Brunswick Township Fire Department assisted at the scene by ventilating the house. Officials report that there were no carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

Firefighters Say Goodbye To Summit Station Chief

A somber procession made its way from the Geschwindt Stabingas Funeral Home on Main Street in Schuylkill Haven to a cemetery on Summer Hill on Tuesday as local firefighters gathered to say goodbye to one of their own. William Heffner, who was Chief of the Summit Station Fire Company, passed away last week, and was laid to rest on Tuesday surrounded by his family and the police and firefighters that he had served for over thirty years. Heffner was employed as a dispatcher for the Pennsylvania State Police, and troopers turned out in large numbers to pay their respects and control traffic. Heffner's casket was carried through a steady rain on the back of a 1950 Mack fire truck, followed by over twenty pieces of fire apparatus and many private vehicles.

Salvation Army Surpasses Kettle Collection Goal

Captain Adam Hench of the Salvation Army reported that the Red Kettle drive in Schuylkill County surpassed the goal of $75,000 that was set for the 2011 collection. The final numbers are in, and the total of all donations is $82,811.62. Captain Hench expressed his gratitude to all those who gave so generously this year, and said that the Salvation Army will be able to help many local residents with the money received.

State and National News Wed. December 28, 2011

GROVE CITY, Pa. (AP) - General Electric Company's transportation unit has announced plans to build a diesel engine plant and upgrade an existing plant in western Pennsylvania, bringing up to 150 more jobs to the area. GE Transportation says it will spend $35 million on the new Grove City plant and $37 million on the existing plant a
few miles away.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police say a north Philadelphia woman shot and killed a man she said was assaulting and trying to rob her son. Police say the woman told them her son was entering the apartment building when he was attacked in the stairwell. Investigators say the mother told them she came downstairs with a gun and shot the

ELKINS PARK, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in suburban Philadelphia say an arrest warrant has been issued in the death of a man who was shot and killed while wrapping gifts early Christmas morning. Authorities in Montgomery County say Robens Borno was sitting at the dining room table of a Cheltenham Township home with his girlfriend and her mother wrapping gifts when two men came in and one of them shot him several times.

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. (AP) - A coroner has ruled the death of a man whose torso was found wrapped in garbage bags along a northeastern Pennsylvania road a homicide. Police in Monroe County say a passing motorist spotted the black bags on Monday on Route 191 in Paradise Township.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - A neighbor says a Fort Wayne, Indiana trailer park where a 9-year-old murdered girl lived has a convicted sex offender living at just about every address. The neighbor, a sex offender himself, says 39-year-old Michael Plumadore, also shares his history. Police say Plumadore told investigators he killed the girl he was babysitting last week and then dismembered her.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Tomorrow, a national memorial service will be held for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who died Dec. 17 of a heart attack. Today, tens of thousands of North Koreans lined the snowy streets of Pyongyang to watch as Kim's black hearse wound its way through the capital for his funeral service. At one point Kim's youngest son and successor Kim Jong Un, walked with one hand on the hearse.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The Taliban says it killed three NATO service members in Afghanistan. The troops were killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in the eastern part of the country. There's no word on their nationalities, although the Taliban says the target was a U.S. military convoy.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Democrats fear that Sen. Ben Nelson's choice to not run for a third term will set the GOP up for an easy victory for the Nebraska seat. Nelson survived nearly two decades representing heavily Republican Nebraska, but the 70-year Democrat announced Tuesday that he wouldn't be running again.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The U.S. travel industry is pushing Congress to ease travel restrictions for foreign tourists. The federal government strengthened travel requirements in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Nearly 7.6 million nonimmigrant visas were issued in 2001, compared to fewer than 6.5 million in 2010. The U.S. Travel Association says fewer foreign tourists mean fewer dollars for the tourist industry.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Today's News Fri. December 23, 2011

Local News Fri. December 23, 2011

As we celebrate during the Christmas season, we should be aware of the dangers that can be associated with those big family dinners. We have more from Penn State Ag Sciences:


Local Municipalities Adopt 2012 Budgets

The Borough of Ashland formally adopted their 2012 budget at the meeting of council on Wednesday night. Ashland residents will not see an increase in property taxes in the coming year, but council did vote to increase the sewer rate by $10.00 per quarter. The final vote was not without issues, as several budget options were explored and rejected before the final vote. Rush Township supervisors also approved a final budget for 2012 during their Tuesday meeting. Residents there can also expect to pay the same tax rate, but they will enjoy a lower trash collection rate, as it will drop from $145.00 per year to $130.00.

State Police Respond To Theft of Vehicle In Girardville

State Police from the Frackville Barracks are investigating the theft of a red 2000 Ford pickup truck that was taken from the alley at 2nd and Ogden streets in Girardville. Joseph Womer, who lives at 146 North Second Street in the borough reported the truck stolen sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Anyone with information can call Frackville PSP at 570-874-5300.

Hit And Run Crash In Cressona Injures Pine Grove Woman

Cynthia Yoder, of Pine Grove, was driving her Chevrolet Blazer southbound on Route 183 through Cressona Borough on Thursday night when a green Jeep Liberty that was traveling northbound collided with her. The incident happened at the intersection on Route 183 and Route 901 near the Mobil gas station. After impact, the Jeep fled the scene eastward on Pottsville Street toward Route 61. Yoder's vehicle received major damage and had to be towed from the scene. The Jeep has damage to the left side in the front and rear. Anyone with information on this incident should call Schuylkill Haven PSP at 570-593-2000.

Shenandoah Resident Accused Of Assault Waives Hearing

Andrew Schmidt, a resident of Shenandoah, went before Magisterial District Judge Anthony Kilker on Thursday to face charges that he assaulted Jackie Sotomayor, who is the mother of his child, on November 18. Shenandoah police were called to the scene after Schmidt allegedly threw Sotomayor to the ground and choked her, telling her she was going to die. The alleged assault took place in front of their three year old son. Schmidt faces multiple charges as a result of this incident, and he waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Judge Kilker returned Schmidt to the county prison, where he is being held on $25,000 straight cash bail, to await trial.

State and National News Fri. December 23, 2011

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Republican-crafted remake of Pennsylvania's congressional districts is now law. Governor Tom Corbett signed the bill yesterday without comment. It shrinks the number of congressional districts from 19 to 18 and tries to ensure at least 12 are held by Republicans.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia prosecutors have refiled charges against a suspect in the case of mentally disabled adults found locked in a basement. Prosecutors say they're refiling kidnapping, assault and other charges against Eddie "the Reverend Ed" Wright. On Tuesday, a judge agreed to drop charges against Wright after his attorney argued he was more a victim than a perpetrator.

THOMASVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A small plane has crashed in a field in south-central Pennsylvania, killing the pilot. The crash happened yesterday evening in Jackson Township, about two miles from the York Airport in Thomasville. Northern York County Regional Police say the pilot was a 38-year-old man from California. He was the only person aboard.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The preliminary hearing transcript for two Penn State administrators charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse is now available online. Dauphin County officials announced yesterday the transcript from the December 16th hearing has been made available to the public. The hearing resulted in charges against Tim Curley and Gary Schultz being forwarded to county court for trial.

UNDATED (AP)- It's more than the holiday shopping season. It's also open season for shoplifters. During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, an estimated $1.84 billion in merchandise will be shoplifted this year. The Global Retail Theft Barometer says that's up about 6 percent from 2010.

NEW YORK (AP) - The roads should be getting more crowded as Americans head out for holiday visits with family and friends. AAA says about 92 million people will travel 50 miles or more from today through Jan. 2, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. The federation of motor clubs says 90 percent will travel by car.

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) - Police have intensified their focus on the house where a missing 20-month-old Maine girl lived. As the search for Ayla Reynolds comes to the end of its first week, police also continue to look through fields and waterways and run down leads.

ISLAMABAD (AP) - The Pakistani army has rejected a U.S. investigation into American airstrikes last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The report released yesterday says both the U.S. and Pakistan made mistakes that contributed to the deadly incident.

UNDATED (AP) - Approval numbers for Angels and Santa Claus are the stuff some politicians can only dream about. A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows 77 percent of adults saying they believe in the existence of angels. And more than 8 in 10 American grown-ups say they believed in Santa when they were children.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today's News Thu. December 22, 2011

Local News Thu. December 22, 2011

Commissioners Pass 2012 Budget With No Tax Increase

At their Wednesday meeting the Schuylkill County Commissioners approved the budget for 2012. In a statement issued by the Commissioners, they noted that there will not be a tax increase associated with this budget. They credit the hard work and dedication of the row officers and department heads for the positive financial results that have placed Schuylkill County on the solid financial footing it now enjoys. Since 2008, the unreserved county fund balance has increased to a historic high of over eleven million dollars. They also noted that Standard and Poors has upgraded the county's rating from A to A+
, and the principal on bonded debt outstanding is the lowest it has been in over twenty years.

Additional Charges Filed Against St. Clair Teacher

A teacher at the St. Clair Middle School who was arrested on December 7 on charges related to possession and distribution of child pornography now faces a trial in federal court. Todd Evans was arrested by the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation earlier this month, and was sent to Schuylkill County Prison, but he now faces federal charges as well. Evans was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday and, if convicted, could be sentenced to a maximum of twenty years in federal prison, $250,000 in fines, and five years to life of supervised release. His preliminary hearing on the county charges is scheduled for January 12, 2012 before Magisterial District Judge David Plachko of Port Carbon.

Schuylkill Haven Borough Holds Line On Taxes

At their meeting on Wednesday evening, Schuylkill Haven Borough Council gave their final approval to the 2012 budget. There will be no increase in taxes for residents of the borough next year as a result of the new budget. Mayor Gary Hess said his good-byes to those in attendance, and expressed his gratitude to council, employees, and residents for supporting him during his time in office. Hess has resigned his post because he was elected to be a Schuylkill County Commissioner. Council also discussed the formation of the Campus/Community Climate Committee, which will address the relationship between the borough and Penn State Schuylkill Campus. Borough Manager Scott Graver, Councilman Roger Spotts, and attorney Mark Semanchik were named to the committee, and they are looking for others from the community to join them.

Schuylkill Mall Will Be Home To Dunham's Sports Store

The Schuylkill Mall and Dunham's Sports have announced that Dunham's will be opening a retail location at the mall sometime next year. Dunham's has over 160 stores, and 23 of them are located in Pennsylvania. They will occupy the site where Black Diamond Antiques is currently located. Black Diamond will relocate to the former Steve and Barry's store, which was vacated in 2009. Schuylkill Mall Manager Elaine Maneval said this is good news for the mall, which recently lost the Payless Shoe store.

Salvation Army Will Have Winter Coats For Those In Need

Thanks to the generosity of the members of the Schuylkill County Bar Association, many residents who are down on their luck will be able to pick up a winter coat. According to a story in today's Republican Herald, the coats will be available at the Salvation Army headquarters located at 400 Sanderson Street in Pottsville between noon and 1:00p.m. on Friday. The Bar Association has teamed with the Salvation Army each year since 2008 in an effort to help those in need, and they have donated over a thousand coats so far. Those wishing to pick up coats need not register, and sizes will be available for adults and children.

House Passes Bill To Boost Anthracite Industry

The Pennsylvania house of Representatives has passed HB 1813, written by Rep. Mike Tobash of the 125th District, that would ease bonding regulations for anthracite coal miners. The bill would allow mine operators to free up money that could be used to reinvest in their operations. That could include re-mining closed sites, which would then be reclaimed. The bill has the support of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Council, the Pennsylvania Coal Association, and environmental groups like the Schuylkill Conservation District. Rep. Tobash stated in a press release that this bill would provide a "golden opportunity right here in our own back yard because the worldwide demand for anthracite coal is at its highest level in years." The bill passed the House by a vote of 193 to 1, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

State and National News Thu. December 22, 2011

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court says juries will have to rule when a defendant in a death penalty case wants to argue he or she is mentally disabled and therefore ineligible for execution. The high court has upheld the death penalty for Abraham Sanchez Jr. He was convicted of the 2007 random shooting death of businessman Ray Diener in Elizabethtown.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - New federal pollution standards targeting the nation's dirtiest power plants may help lead to the shutdown of some coal-fired plants in Pennsylvania, although it's not yet clear how many. The Harrisburg-based Electric Power Generation Association says low natural gas prices and high coal prices could also contribute.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Officials are trying to find out who gave birth to a newborn girl who was found inside a cardboard box on a north Philadelphia sidewalk. Police say the child found yesterday was in good condition after she was rushed to a hospital.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Three Philadelphia police officers have been injured, one critically, in a crash in north Philadelphia. A police spokeswoman says the officers' car was hit at an intersection in the Logan section of the city yesterday afternoon.

BAGHDAD (AP) - The worst violence to hit Baghdad in months has killed dozens of people and injured scores more. The bombings targeted neighborhoods around the city in an apparently coordinated campaign of violence designed to wreak havoc.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's Foreign Ministry says President Bashar Assad's regime is turning Syria into a "bloodbath." The ministry strongly condemns the continued attacks against civilians despite an agreement with the Arab League to halt the bloodshed. It says the attacks raise doubts about Syria's "true intentions."

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Some fire officials are questioning the safety of a type of flexible metal tubing used for gas lines in homes across the United States. Fire officials, researchers and manufacturers are investigating concerns that the corrugated stainless steel tubing, made of thin metal coated in plastic, is susceptible to leaks caused by lightning strikes.

NEW YORK (AP) - Eight soldiers face charges ranging from maltreatment to involuntary manslaughter in the death of
19-year-old Army Pvt. Daniel Chen of New York City. The Pentagon says it has transferred the soldiers to another base in Afghanistan amid allegations that they mistreated Chen shortly before he committed suicide.

DENVER (AP) - People trying to track the jolly old elf's annual journey have an app for that this year. Volunteer Santa-trackers at NORAD are also bracing for tens of thousands of calls and emails on Christmas Eve. NORAD Tracks Santa already has more than 754,000 "likes" on Facebook this year, and 60,000 Twitter followers. A new smart phone Santa-tracker app is also available.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today's News Wed. December 21, 2011

Local News Wed. December 21, 2011

PennDOT Working On Area Roadways

PennDOT is performing scheduled maintenance on many roads in and around Schuylkill County, including pothole patching, crack sealing, and shoulder repairs. The roads affected by this work include Route 443 between Orwigsburg and Schuylkill Haven and between South Tamaqua and Lehighton; Route 895 between Auburn and Deer Lake; Route 924 in Shenandoah; Route 125 between Tremont and Ravine; and Route 209 between Tremont and Tower City. The work is planned between 7:00a.m. and 3:00 p.m. through Friday December 23. Drivers should be alert for lane restrictions and traffic delays in these areas.

New Regulations For Teen Drivers Take Effect Christmas Eve

Teenage drivers in Pennsylvania will have to deal with new laws that take effect on Christmas Eve. These new laws require 65 hours of supervised behind the wheel driver training for permit holders younger than eighteen. That is 15 more hours than were needed before. Ten of those hours must be night time driving, and 5 hours must be during inclement weather. Drivers under the age of 18 will not be allowed to transport more than one passenger who is also under 18 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Junior drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts. Failure to do so will be a primary offense, which means officers may stop junior drivers and cite them just for failure to wear seatbelts. For more information, go to, and click on the "New Teen Driver Law 2011" button.

Multiple Collisions On Route 61 On Tuesday

Emergency responders and State Police were kept busy on Tuesday afternoon as there were two multi-car accidents on Route 61 in just over an hour. The first incident happened in North Manheim Township near Tobash Road as a car driven by Taylor Housel, of Schuylkill Haven was traveling southbound when it crossed the concrete divider and struck two vehicles that were traveling northbound. Housel and one other driver received minor injuries in the crash. Just over an hour later in Port Clinton something similar happened. Brandon Bashore of Schuylkill Haven was traveling southbound when the car he was driving crossed over the concrete divider and collided with two cars that were heading north. Bashore was taken to Reading Hospital, and Monique Brennan of Pottsville, who was struck head-on, was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital with moderate injuries.

Propane Leak At Alpha Mills In Port Carbon

An employee at Alpha Mills in Port Carbon averted a potential disaster when he discovered a leaking propane tank and took action. Maintenance Supervisor Glenn Sattizahn, who is also an Assistant Fire Chief in Schuylkill Haven, entered the building and realized there was a leak from a faulty valve on the propane tank on a forklift. Sattizahn took immediate action by turning off the heating plant in the building, opening all the doors, and calling 911. Port Carbon Fire Department responded and ventilated the building. Chief Mike Leibensberger credited Sattizahn with taking the appropriate actions to prevent an explosion.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A veteran Philadelphia sportswriter has been accused in a newspaper report of molesting children decades ago. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports three women and a man claim Bill Conlin groped and fondled them in the 1970s, when they were ages 7 to 12. Conlin is a Hall of Fame baseball writer and Philadelphia Daily News columnist. He retired yesterday from the paper.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia judge has ordered three suspects to stand trial in a case involving four mentally disabled adults who were found locked in a filthy basement. The judge dismissed charges against a fourth defendant, citing testimony that Eddie Wright was sometimes held captive as well.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Competing proposals to strengthen regulations over natural gas drilling and impose an impact fee on the industry appear headed to a joint committee of the House and Senate to iron out the differences. The House voted unanimously yesterday against the Senate's plan, which puts the bill on track for a conference committee.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Officials in Philadelphia say an ambitious plan to transform low-performing schools will improve education and help the city compete for millions of dollars in funding. The Great Schools Compact is an effort to identify and replicate best practices at the city's highest-performing schools, regardless of whether they are charter or district-operated.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - The European Central Bank is trying to reassure markets that banks will have long-term financing amid tensions triggered by the eurozone debt crisis. The ECB is making unprecedented three-year loans to the continent's banks in an effort to bolster Europe's stressed financial system. Results are to be announced today.

WASHINGTON (AP) - There's holiday acrimony across the Washington political landscape. President Barack Obama and his Republican rivals are slugging it out over efforts to prevent payroll taxes from increasing on 160 million workers on Jan. 1. House Republicans are demanding that the Senate join negotiations to produce an agreement within days. Senate Democrats say the House needs to pass a stopgap measure first.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration is about to reveal how it will tackle the problem of overtired airline pilots. Rules aimed at preventing airline pilots from flying while dangerously fatigued are to be released today. The effort stems from a deadly 2009 crash near Buffalo, N.Y.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The railroad is up and running in Afghanistan. Officials say Afghanistan's first major railroad service in the country's north should ease the U.S. military's supply flow and is key to future trade as it links Afghanistan to neighbors' railways. The train completed a 47-mile test run.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Anger in South Korea is directed against top intelligence, security and foreign affairs officials for failing to know about North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's death before an official announcement. Seoul's main opposition party is calling for the dismissal of the officials.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today's News Tues. December 20, 2011

Local News For Tue. December 20, 2011

Mahanoy Township Police Arrest Man For Burglaries

Mahanoy Township Police have been investigating a string of burglaries in the area, and a call from a resident on Roosevelt Drive has led to the arrest of 23 year old Dennis Bachman. When Michael Stetts noticed a vehicle parked near his home, he got a description and the license number, and called police. They traced the vehicle to Bachman and went to his home, where it was discovered that he was in possession of stolen property that belonged to Stetts. Bachman admitted to police that he had committed other robberies at the same location on November 25 and December 14. Bachman was charged with two felony counts each of burglary and criminal mischief, as well as receiving stolen property, theft, and loitering and prowling at night. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Carol Pankake, and committed to Schuylkill County Prison in lieu of $5000.00 straight cash bail.

Pottsville Area Superintendent Announces Retirement

Pottsville Area School District Superintendent Dr. James Gallagher has announced that he plans to retire by spring. Dr. Gallagher announced his plans during an executive session of the school board on December 5, and will make it official during the next work session of the board on January 11, 2012. His work history with the district is extensive, having begun his career as a teacher at the high school in 1973. He became Vice-Principal of D.H.H. Lengel Middle School in 1981, principal of the High School in 1987, and superintendent of schools in 1993. Dr. Gallagher's retirement date is April 5, and the school board has appointed a committee to seek a replacement.

Festival of Lights Begins At Sundown Today

Members of the Jewish faith are preparing for the start of the eight day celebration of Hanukkah at sundown today. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian army in 165 BC, as well as the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is not a high religious holiday, but a time of festivity, with games, gift-giving, and family meals of foods cooked in oil. Each day brings the lighting of another candle on the menorah, which must be done according to a strict tradition that involves a total of 44 candles.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bill to redraw Pennsylvania's Congressional districts while helping ensure the majority are held by Republicans is headed toward a final vote in the state House. Republicans defeated various Democratic amendments to the bill yesterday. A final vote is scheduled for today.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bill that would refinance Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation debt to the federal
government is back in the state Senate's hands after passing the House in amended form. The House voted 193-to-1 yesterday to authorize bonds to pay off the federal loans.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania bill to authorize $1.7 billion in new state borrowing is nearly law after the divided state House voted to approve the measure that passed the Senate about six months ago. The House voted 119 to 75 yesterday to approve the bill the Corbett administration says is needed to keep construction projects going around the state.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A mentally disabled man says he didn't see his government benefit checks for 10 years after he began living with a woman now charged in a widespread fraud and abuse scheme. Edwin Sanabria also testified he was once kept in a closet that was nailed shut by Linda Weston. Sanabria testified yesterday at Weston's preliminary hearing.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senators already have left Washington for the holidays, but House Republicans want them back. The GOP says it wants to negotiate the payroll tax cut after the Senate passed a two-month extension last week. House Republicans want a one-year extension, but the Senate's top Democrat has said he'll refuse to
negotiate until the House passes the short-term version.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - There are no signs of unrest or discord in Pyongyang as North Koreans mourn the death of leader Kim Jong Il. But the possibility of a power struggle has heightened tensions in the region. Meanwhile, state media are giving indications that Kim's youngest known son Kim Jong Un will succeed his father. They've been referring to him as "a great person born of heaven", a term previously used only for his father and grandfather.

ISLAMABAD (AP) - A Pakistani official says the CIA hasn't fired missiles at militants in the country since last month's deadly NATO airstrikes along the Afghan border. Tensions between Pakistan and the United States are at their lowest point in years following the airstrikes that killed 24 soldiers. The Pakistani army then closed its border with Afghanistan to trucks carrying U.S. and NATO war supplies.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Dangerous winter weather in the Great Plains is being blamed for at least six deaths. Two people were killed in the crash of a prison van in eastern Colorado and four people were killed in a head-on crash in New Mexico. The National Weather Service said about 10 inches of snow had fallen before dawn in western Kansas.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A man who planted a bomb along a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, Wash. in January will appear in court for sentencing today. Kevin Harpham could get up to 32 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges. Officials say the pipe bomb was loaded with lead fishing weights coated in rat poison, which can make it harder for bloodied wounds to clot.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today's News Mon. December 19, 2011

Local News For Mon. December 19, 2011

Holiday Stress Magic Number For Pennsylvania $646.00

With the Christmas shopping season entering the home stretch, financial planners say now is a good time for a check-up on the family budget. Tom Joseph reports:


2012 May Be Tough For Pennsylvania's Dairy Producers

The droughts, floods, and tornadoes of 2011 are now just a fading memory to most Americans, but an ag economist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences says the year's bad weather will impact next year's milk supply. More from Gary Abdullah:


Changes Coming To Hunting License Regulations

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has announced the passage of House Bill 735, which removes the requirement for hunters and trappers to display their licenses on an outer garment. The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Keith Gillespie of York County, has been under consideration by the House since it was introduced by Schuylkill County Rep. Neal Goodman in 2003. Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe said "With today's new license format, this change in law will make hunting less complicated, improve license management by hunters and trappers, and limit the inconveniences and troubles associated with lost or misplaced licenses." The new regulation does not take effect until February 13, so hunters must continue to display their licenses until then.

U.S. Representative Tim Holden's Territory Shifts North And East

The Pennsylvania Senate has approved the redistricting plan for the Commonwealth, and if it is also approved by the House, and signed by Governor Corbett, the Seventeenth District of Rep. Tim Holden will look dramatically different than it does now. Instead of extending southward and westward into Berks and Dauphin counties, it will now stretch north and east into Carbon, Monroe, and Northampton counties all the way to the New Jersey border. Gone will be the cities of Reading, Lebanon, and Harrisburg, but Holden will welcome Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, and Easton under his umbrella. This move would mean that Rep. Holden would represent virtually the entire anthracite coal region in Congress.

Shenandoah Police Seek Information On Armed Robbery

A man armed with a handgun walked into the Valero convenience store on South Main Street in Shenandoah at about 10:40 p.m. Saturday night. He demanded money from the clerk while brandishing the handgun, and when he got what he came for, he fled on foot. It is not known how much money the thief got, nor do police have a description of his clothing or the type of handgun he used. The robber was described as a white male about five feet seven inches tall, with a thin build. If anyone has any information about this crime, contact Shenandoah Police at 570-462-1008. All information received will remain confidential.

DUQUESNE, Pa. (AP) - Western Pennsylvania authorities say one person is dead and seven others wounded after a shooting at a Sweet 16 birthday party. Police were called to the Duquesne home before midnight on Saturday after shots rang out in the basement. Officials say 18-year-old Drew Bracey was pronounced dead early yesterday at a hospital. Police tell WPXI-TV about 50 people were inside the home for the party.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Experts say Marcellus Shale natural gas production is expected to keep rising in 2012, yet landowners may find signing lease deals isn't as easy as in years past. That's because the business of Marcellus Shale gas drilling is starting to change as new forces emerge. Among them are drilling opportunities in shale states other than Pennsylvania.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A western Pennsylvania newspaper says hospitals nationwide are spending billions on large new facilities "in a medical arms race" to dominate markets and increase profits. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says this will ultimately increase health care costs for patients, taxpayers and others. Pennsylvania ranks fourth in spending and has no agency to regulate the need for hospital construction.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A new study says poor Philadelphia residents charged with murder and represented by a court-appointed lawyer are convicted more often and serve longer prison terms than those represented by public defenders. The Philadelphia Inquirer says the federally funded RAND Corporation study concludes public defenders
reduce their clients' murder conviction rate by 19 percent and lower the probability their client gets a life sentence by 62 percent.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea is calling on the country to "faithfully revere" its new leader following the death of Kim Jong Il. The North's official Korean Central News Agency describes Kim's son, Kim Jong Un, as a "great successor" to the country's guiding principle of self-reliance.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Residents of Los Angeles' normally bustling Koreatown are reacting quietly so far to the death of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il. Few looked up from their food and drinks as news of the death played on virtually every television Sunday night in bars and cafes in the densely packed neighborhood.

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republican leaders are getting set to make changes after shunning a bipartisan payroll tax cut bill approved by the Senate. The House returns to work today, but it's initially unclear what changes House GOP leaders might make to satisfy conservative lawmakers.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Investigators aren't sure whether the video is authentic, but party officials in Iowa are taking no chances with the security of their upcoming caucuses Jan. 3 after an anonymous hacking threat. Republican Party officials have instructed precincts to use paper ballots as a backup and they've taken other steps to protect the database and website.

CAIRO (AP) - Syria's deputy foreign minister is expected to sign an agreement today allowing Arab observers into the country. The Arab League has given Syria until Wednesday to sign the deal. If not, the League says it will likely turn to the U.N. Security Council for action to try to end the Syrian regime's crackdown on a 9-month-old popular uprising.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Today's News - Saturday, December 17, 2011


As their service to the County Board Commissioners comes to a close, the Schuylkill County Commissioners chose to close another chapter in dropping a lawsuit filed against outgoing County Controller Melinda Kantner. A document filed Friday in Schuylkill County Court by county solicitor CAL Shields, the commissioners said they would withdraw the lawsuit they filed against Kantner in which they sought to force her to complete two state-mandated financial reports. That lawsuit was another piece to the continuing battle between the commissioners and Kantner to do two things within 30 days: complete financial reports for the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the Court of Common Pleas, and supply the county's external auditor, Pottsville certified public accountant Sam Deegan, with whatever he needs to audit county books. Friday's action marked the second time since the Nov. 8 election that the commissioners had dropped a lawsuit against Kantner.

Ryan Township Supervisor Champ Holman was sworn in Friday as the new deputy secretary for community affairs and development with the state Department of Community and Economic Development. According to the Republican-Herald, Gov. Tom Corbett appointed the 59-year-old Mahanoy City native to the post Nov. 14. Holman took the oath of office Friday at Magisterial District Judge Stephen J. Bayer's office in Tamaqua. He has served in various capacities in local government, including as chief of staff for the late Sen. James J. Rhoades from January 1981 until Rhoades' death Oct. 18, 2008, from injuries suffered in a car accident the day before. Holman served as a senior adviser in the office of state Sen. David Argall, R-29, from March 2009 until Nov. 11, when he was named acting deputy secretary by Corbett. The Department of Community and Economic Development fosters opportunities for businesses to grow and for communities to succeed, according to its website at DCED helps organizations fund their projects or start or expand their businesses.

County officials announced yesterday that they received a $500,000 state grant to fund 50 percent of the costs of renovating the government services building at 410 N. Centre St., Pottsville. The renovations will allow Schuylkill County Children & Youth Services to occupy the building's entire first floor in revamped, improved and secure facilities, enabling the agency to hire more workers and provide more and better services to abused and neglected children. State Rep. Neal P. Goodman, D-123, who helped secure the grant, said the project also will benefit the children and families who need the agency's help. As a result, the state allocated $500,000 from the Office of the Budget's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant Program to help fund the project.

The Minersville man charged with trying to kill another man by stabbing him in July in Pine Grove returned to prison on Friday, as a Schuylkill County judge revoked his bail. As reported by the Republican and Herald, Todd R. Gibson violated conditions of his bail by engaging in criminal activity and failing a drug test, Judge John E. Domalakes ruled. Gibson had been free after posting $1,000, or 10 percent of the $10,000 bail amount Domalakes had set on Aug. 5. However, Gibson recently has been charged with terroristic threats and harassment in another case. On Dec. 7, prosecutors dropped an indirect criminal contempt charge that also had arisen from that case due to possible double jeopardy problems.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Former Penn State officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have been ordered to trial following yesterday's preliminary hearing on charges of lying to a grand jury in the university's child sex-abuse scandal. Lawyers for the administrators say their clients will be exonerated at trial.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The sister of Republican state Senator Jane Orie and Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has surrendered to face additional charges in a campaign probe. Authorities say 57-year-old Janine Orie illegally directed the judge's former Superior Court staff to do campaign work for Melvin in 2003 and

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A northeast Pennsylvania developer at the center of one of the biggest judicial scandals in U.S. history has agreed to pay more than $17 million to settle a lawsuit filed by juveniles who were locked up in youth detention facilities built by his company. The settlement with Robert Mericle (MEHR'-ih-kuhl) and
Mericle Construction was announced affects as many as 2,400 plaintiffs. Federal prosecutors said a pair of Luzerne County judges took illegal payments from Mericle.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Pennsylvania-born cardinal who was the country's voice of the Vatican's midnight Christmas Mass for 25 years has been laid to rest at a Philadelphia cathedral. Cardinal John Foley was remembered yesterday for his humility, intelligence and humor in a homily delivered by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Foley died December 11th after a battle with leukemia. He was 76.


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's foreign minister says Tehran wanted to test U.S. reaction by deliberately delaying its announcement of the capture of an American surveillance drone. Ali Akbar Salehi is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Iran's armed forces intercepted and brought down the pilotless aircraft without
any foreign assistance. Iran has rejected U.S. demands to return the drone.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Compromise legislation to extend Social Security payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits for two months is expected to pass the Senate today and move to the House. Democrat and Republican leaders couldn't agree on enough spending cuts for a one-year extension. The Senate is also expected to send President Barack Obama a spending bill that keeps the government running.

BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is stressing the importance of adherence to new rules most of Europe has agreed on to stabilize the euro. In her weekly podcast, Merkel also says it's time to pay attention to generating economic growth.

CAIRO (AP) - Hundreds of protesters threw stones at Egyptian soldiers in a second day of clashes in central Cairo. The violence threatened to ignite a new round of clashes after two peaceful days of voting in an election considered the freest and fairest vote in the country's' modern history.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Nearly 200 people are dead and scores are missing after tropical storm-triggered flash floods in the southern Philippines. Officials say the search for victims and survivors continues.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Today's News Fri. December 16, 2011

Local News For Fri. December 16, 2011

House Bill Would Ease Inheritance Tax On Family Farms

Legislation which would alleviate the financial burden of the inheritance tax on Pennsylvania's family farms was approved by the State House of Representatives. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) would exempt transfers of agricultural assets from the inheritance tax when the receiving heir is a sibling or child of the deceased farmer. Rep. Bloom says this simple form of tax relief will allow more Pennsylvania farms to stay intact and help increase the amount of land remaining in agricultural use. Mike Davies reports:



A newly finished section of the Schuylkill River Bartram Trail was dedicated Wednesday by state and county officials. The recently completed project includes a 400 foot extension of the trail to Main Street in Landingville, as well as repair of the former railroad bridge over Mahannon Creek. The Schuylkill River Heritage Area completed the $210-thousand-dollar project in partnership with Schuylkill County, with funding coming from the county, the Pennsylvania DCNR Growing Greener Fund and Legislative Initiative Grants secured by Senator Dave Argall, the late Senator Jim Rhoades and former Representative Tim Seip. The Schuylkill River Trail project will eventually stretch the entire length of the river, from Pottsville to Philadelphia.

Frackville Adopts Preliminary Budget With No Tax Increase, Yet

At their meeting on Wednesday evening, the Frackville Borough Council reviewed the tentative 2012 budget before voting to adopt it. There is a deficit in the budget of about $15,000, but council is not finished looking for ways to trim budget items, so there are no plans for a tax increase. Questions remain about whether a grant received for roof repairs can be applied against the line of credit, but it appears that borough residents will continue to be taxed at the current rate of 15.58 mills. The final vote on the budget will be taken at a special council meeting that is scheduled for December 29 at 6:00 p.m.

PennDOT Introduces New Weapon In Fight Against Snow

PennDOT has announced that it will be using a new tool this winter to clear snow from Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County. The tow-plow is a recent addition to the fleet that will allow one plow truck to do the work of two. The tow-plow will be attached to the back of a regular plow truck, and will increase the plow width from one lane to two. PennDOT says these units can only be used on limited-access roadways because of their size, but with one truck doing the work of two, other plows will be free to focus on secondary roads. PennDOT has released a list of safety tips for motorists so they can drive safely when roads are being plowed. The list is available on PennDOT's website.

Christmas Will Be Brighter Because Of Efforts Of T102 And McDonalds

T102 radio personalities RC and Courtney Roberts visited the McDonalds restaurant near St. Clair yesterday to receive donations for Toys for Tots. The campaign has become an annual event, and featured live broadcasts every hour from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They reported that the need for toys this year is greater than other years due to the losses suffered by local families affected by flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Residents responded to the need, flooding McDonalds with several truckloads of new, unwrapped toys, and donating over $5,500 that will be used to purchase even more toys. Everyone at T102 and Toys for Tots expressed their gratitude for the generosity displayed by those who gave of themselves to help others. Many local children will have a Merry Christmas because of the donations received.

State and National News Fri. December 16, 2011

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Two of Penn State's top administrators are heading to court to fight perjury charges and allegations they didn't respond properly nine years ago after getting a report that a young boy had been sodomized in the football team's showers. Gary Schultz and Tim Curley's preliminary hearing in Harrisburg today will provide more of the alleged evidence against them.

MEDIA, Pa. (AP) - Three women have been found not guilty of abusing an elderly dementia patient at a suburban Philadelphia care home. A Delaware County judge acquitted Ayesha Muhammad, Tyrina Griffin and Samirah Traynham yesterday of all charges. Authorities say the abuse was captured on a hidden camera after the patient
complained to her family she was being abused by workers at the facility in Haverford.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bill that could force the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and insurer Highmark to settle their dispute over health coverage in western Pennsylvania is headed to the state Senate. The state House voted 186-6 to approve the bill yesterday.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The city of Philadelphia will receive a $10 million federal grant for transportation infrastructure
improvements. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in the city to make the announcement. He says the grant will pay for upgrades to 100 traffic controllers. The money also will fund upgrades to handicapped ramps and pedestrian countdown signals at crosswalks.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - It's sentencing day for Barry Bonds, who was convicted of obstruction of justice for trying to mislead a federal grand jury investigating sports doping. Bonds, who is set to appear in federal court in San Francisco, could get anything from probation to 21 months in prison.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House is expected to vote today on a massive $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package in time to avoid a possible government shutdown this weekend. The Senate could then follow suit. The spending bill has bipartisan support but is likely to encounter resistance from conservative tea party lawmakers who want far more significant cuts to government agencies.

TOKYO (AP) - Japan's prime minister says the country's tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant has reached a stable state of "cold shutdown" and is no longer leaking substantial amounts of radiation. The March 11 tsunami sent three reactors at the plant into meltdowns in the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - A Canadian sports doctor could get up to 18 months in prison for bringing unapproved and mislabeled drugs into the United States. Anthony Galea will appear in court in Buffalo, N.Y. today for sentencing. Galea had a high-profile client list, such as Tiger Woods and other pro athletes, whom he helped come back from injuries. Galea told the judge his arrest has had a devastating effect on his status as a sports doctor.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today's News Thu. December 15, 2011

Local News For Thu. December 15, 2011

High Tunnels Can Change The "Local" In Local Foods

If you are a local foods enthusiast, you are coming to Pennsylvania's toughest season. But a vegetable specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences says high tunnels can help producers and gardeners to grow local, grow longer, and make a profit. Gary Abdullah has more:


Crash On I-81 Claims Life Of Joliett Woman

A Tuesday crash on Interstate 81 near the Highridge Business Park exit claimed the life of Laurie Wolfgang of Joliett. State Police report that Wolfgang was driving her 2005 Chevrolet Equinox southbound when, for some reason, she ran into the back of a Kenworth truck tractor that was being towed by Allen Channell of Parsons, West Virginia. State Police are still investigating the accident, and ask that anyone who has relevant information call them at 570-874-5300.

Senator Argall Introduces Resolution To Study Impact Of Breweries

The Senate Law and Justice Committee unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday sponsored by Senator David Argall (R-29) to study the economic impact of breweries in Pennsylvania. Senate Resolution 216 will thoroughly examine the economic impacts, with a focus on jobs, of breweries in Pennsylvania through the General Assembly's Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.


Palo Alto Woman Charged In Pedestrian Accident In Saint Clair

Saint Clair Police were dispatched on Monday for a pedestrian who had been struck by a car on East Lawton Street outside the Buckhorn Cafe. On arrival, they found 75 year-old Ho Ching Lan lying on the pavement with serious injuries. She was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment of fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and other internal injuries. Police received information from witnesses that led them to arrest 62 year-old Joan Trayah of Palo Alto. Trayah has been charged with multiple counts related to the incident, and was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge David Plachko, who released her on $50,000 unsecured bail. She will have a preliminary hearing on December 22 in Judge Plachko's office.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Republican-designed map of Pennsylvania's 18 new Congressional districts that would take effect for a decade is over a first hurdle. State senators voted 26-24 last night to approve the proposed map, over howls of protest from Democrats who say it carves up communities simply to shore up the re-election chances of Republican congressmen. The bill still requires approval from the House and Governor Tom Corbett.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bill to impose more stringent regulations on abortion clinics is almost law over the objections of abortion rights supporters. The state Senate voted 32-18 yesterday for a bill that won approval from the House a day earlier. Governor Tom Corbett is expected to sign it.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A Penn State trustee heading the board's inquiry into child sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant football coach says he hopes the investigation will be finished by the end of the academic year. Kenneth Frazier heads the trustees committee that appointed former FBI director Louis Freeh to handle the internal investigation into the criminal charges against Jerry Sandusky.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Legislature has approved the creation of a state task force on child abuse. After more than two hours of wide-ranging debate, the House voted 191-5 last night to join the Senate in authorizing an 11-member panel to examine the adequacy of state laws designed to protect children.

UNDATED (AP) - The latest debate among six Republican presidential hopefuls is tonight in Sioux City Iowa. It'll be the last forum before the Iowa caucuses next month. Some of the candidates are squeezing in campaign events ahead of the debate. They include Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry.

BAGHDAD (AP) - The U.S. formally shuts down the Iraq war today. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Baghdad for a ceremony to help do it. The flag of U.S. Forces-Iraq has officially been retired. There are about 4,000 U.S. troops left in Iraq.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - Hurricane forecaster William Gray and his research partner have usually begun making next season's hurricane predictions by December, but not this year. Gray says that right now, it's anybody's guess how the season will turn out. So the forecasters will wait until spring, when computer modeling should be more effective.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Researchers say that your hands may be on the steering wheel but if you're on the phone your brain is elsewhere. Studies show that's why drivers get distracted during cellphone conversations, even on hands-free phones. It's part of the reason the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending an end to hands-free, as well as handheld, cellphone use while driving.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A University of Iowa journalism professor has touched a nerve with his criticism of the state's first-in-the-nation Republican presidential caucuses. Stephen Bloom paints Iowa as undereducated and an economic wasteland undeserving of its political clout. Critics have hit back hard, with some of them telling Bloom to leave.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Today's News Wed. December 14, 2011

Local News For Wed. December 14, 2011

We are just one day away from the Dec. 14th deadline to register with FEMA and return the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) application. We urge anyone with damages from Tropical Storm Lee or Hurricane Irene in Pennsylvania to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or registering online at by Dec. 14th. If Pennsylvania disaster survivors in disaster-declared counties are still in need of temporary housing, they should call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Northern Schuylkill Municipalities May Form Regional Police Force

At a meeting in Shenandoah, representatives from seven northern Schuylkill County municipalities heard about the procedure for putting together a regional police force. Shenandoah Mayor Mike Whitecavage is spearheading the effort, saying that a regional force would better provide for the safety and well being of the citizens in those communities. Representatives from Shenandoah, Mahanoy City, Girardville, and Ringtown boroughs and Union, East Union, and West Mahanoy Townships attended the meeting to hear about the procedure to follow for regionalization. Whitecavage said the first step is a feasibility study that would be conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, which would be at no cost to the participants.

New Legislative Districts Receive Committee Approval

The Legislative Reapportionment Committee released its final plan for the realignment of Pennsylvania's districts yesterday, and Schuylkill County's legislative delegation expressed their approval. There are minimal changes to the boundaries of the 123rd district, which is represented by Neal Goodman; the 124th district of Jerry Knowles is swapping some municipalities with surrounding districts; Mike Tobash's 125th district will now include several municipalities from upper Dauphin County, while losing Mechanicsville and much of Pottsville. Senator David Argall's 29th District still contains all of Schuylkill County, but now contains parts of two other counties instead of five. Goodman, Knowles, Tobash, and Argall have all expressed their satisfaction with the new alignment.

McAdoo Borough Council Passes Budget With No Tax Hike

McAdoo Borough Council met to give approval for the preliminary 2012 budget, but not without much discussion about the borough's police protection. Council had to make a difficult choice between holding the line on taxes and adding a fourth full-time police officer to the force. While some members of council expressed their concerns for increased police protection, the final vote was five to two in favor of the budget with no increase in taxes. The budget will be up for final approval during council's December 29 meeting.

Proposal For Realignment of Federal Congressional Districts Released

In a plan put forward yesterday by the joint House and Senate State Government Committees, Schuylkill County would remain in the 17th District of Representative Tim Holden. The district would look much different than it does now, though, as it would stretch from the southern border of Schuylkill County, through much of Carbon and Monroe Counties, and to the New Jersey border. Lost from the district would be the parts from Berks, Lebanon, Dauphin, and Perry Counties. The realignment would include many Democratic strongholds that were previously included in districts that were predominantly Republican.

State and National News Wed. December 14, 2011

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Lawyers for two Penn State officials charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child sex-abuse say the two men won't waive their preliminary hearing later this week. Lawyers for Gary Schultz and Tim Curley say their clients are eager for Friday's hearing in Harrisburg. Meanwhile, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky waived his preliminary hearing yesterday on child sex abuse charges.

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - A lawyer for a former Penn State assistant football coach accused of molesting boys says he didn't mean to refer to a gay sex phone line when he said anyone who believes university officials thought his client raped a 10-year-old boy and did little about it should call 1-800-REALITY. The phrase is one attorney Joseph Amendola says he's used for years to mean "get a life." But the phone number is a sex line for gay and bi-curious men.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The wife of a Philadelphia doctor has admitted performing an illegal abortion at a filthy clinic that authorities describe as a "house of horrors." Court documents indicate Pearl Gosnell pleaded guilty yesterday to charges including performing one late-term abortion and conspiring to perform another. Gosnell is the wife of Kermit Gosnell. He's charged in the deaths of seven babies and a woman who died of a painkiller overdose.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A proposed map of Pennsylvania's 18 new congressional districts drawn in private by Republican state lawmakers would shift Scranton and Wilkes-Barre into a Democratic-held district and force Democrats Jason Altmire and Mark Critz to run against each other. A Senate vote is scheduled for today and Republicans hope to make it law soon.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House is expected to vote today on a $662 billion defense bill that also would require military custody for suspected terrorists linked to al-Qaida and indefinite detention without trial for some suspects. The Senate could vote on the bill Thursday, but The White House has threatened a veto.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate votes on two dueling proposals mandating that the federal government balance its books each year. But neither bill is expected to pass today. The Senate hasn't taken up the balanced budget amendment issue since the last vote in 1997.

BEIRUT (AP) - Activists say Syrian troops have opened fire on a car traveling through the central part of the country, killing everyone inside. Activists haven't said why the car was targeted this morning in Hama province. The new shootings follow violence Tuesday that left at least 38 people dead.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The Amateur Athletic Union is expected to announce changes to its child safety policies after its former president was accused of child molestation. Police in Tennessee are investigating allegations against Robert "Bobby" Dodd, who's accused of molesting children 30 years ago. There hasn't been a formal complaint.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actress Lindsay Lohan returns to court today to give the judge her first progress report since more strict probation requirements were imposed. Lohan has been doing cleanup duty at the Los Angeles County morgue as punishment for violating her probation on a 2007 drunken driving case and a misdemeanor grand theft case.