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.


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