Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today's News, Saturday January 21st, 2012

Pottsville Man to Remain In Prison

The Pottsville man termed a "person of interest" in the November killing of another city resident remains behind bars as a Schuylkill County judge declined Friday to lower his bail in two other cases. The Republican Herald reports Edward J. Miller Jr. did not justify a reduction in his $250,000 total straight cash bail, Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin ruled after a hearing. Miller then returned to the county prison, where he is being held on $200,000 straight cash bail in one case, in which he is charged with robbery, robbery of a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, theft, receiving stolen property and simple assault, and $50,000 straight cash bail in the second, in which he is charged with escape, institutional vandalism and criminal mischief.

Senator Argall Announces Drug Testing Program

In a press release this week, Senator David Argall said that he has been meeting with constituents for some time in an attempt to learn about waste, fraud, and abuse within the welfare system. One of the suggestions mentioned during many of those meetings was to drug test welfare recipients to try to prevent welfare benefits from being used to purchase illegal drugs. As a result, the Department of Public Welfare will begin a pilot program in Schuylkill County to test applicants and recipients for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and General Assistance who have been convicted of a felony drug offense within the past five years and applicants who are currently on probation for a felony drug offense. If the trials in Schuylkill and other counties work out, a statewide plan will go into effect on July 1, 2012.

Penn State Trustees Select New Leaders

A banking executive has been selected to guide Penn State's Board of Trustees through the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Trustees elected Karen Peetz as president of the 32-member board. Peetz is a vice chairman of The Bank of New York Mellon. Peetz says the board will focus on themes of change, reform and transparency. The trustees also elected farm owner Keith Masser as the vice chair. They're replacing Steve Garban and John Surma, respectively, as trustee leaders. Garban and Surma decided not to run again. They and other trustees have been criticized by some alumni and former players for their actions after former assistant football coach Sandusky was charged with dozens of counts of child sex abuse last November. Peetz says that "all of us, including the board, with the wisdom of hindsight could have done things differently."

Two Men Charged In Schuylkill Haven Beating Released on Bail

Two of three Philadelphia men who allegedly entered a Penn State Schuylkill student apartment building last month and injured three people are free after a judge reduced their bail Friday in Schuylkill County Court. According to the Republican Herald, Alfred W. Booker Jr. and Leonard L. Stubbs had their bail lowered by Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin to $50,000 unsecured from $100,000 straight cash. A Schuylkill County Prison spokesman said late Friday afternoon that each man had been bailed out and was no longer behind bars. Assistant District Attorney J.T. Herber III said prosecutors and the defendants had agreed to the reduction, but otherwise declined to comment on the case.

Haven Man Cited In Crash

A 37-year-old man escaped injury when his vehicle hit a mailbox, traveled down an embankment and flipped over. State police at Schuylkill Haven said the accident occurred as Shawn Hunter, Schuylkill Haven, was driving east on Blue Mountain Road, 820 feet east of Route 183, and he became distracted and struck a mailbox. After hitting the mailbox, police said, his 2000 Chevrolet Blazer traveled along the embankment and flipped on its driver side and into the eastbound lane of the road onto its roof. The Blazer also hit a tree on the south berm after traveling in a southeast direction, police said. After striking the tree, it then traveled back into the eastbound lane, stopping on its roof facing northeast in both lanes of travel, police said. The Summit Station Fire Company assisted at the scene. Police said Hunter was charged with a violation of failing to drive on roadways laned for traffic.

New Gizmos

Want to control a toy car with your mind? Lounge about as a computerized drink machine mixes your favorite cocktail? Or embarrass an oversleeper with an alarm clock that takes the person's picture then posts it on Facebook? Engineering students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh invented these gizmos and others in under a week on a shoestring budget. More than 100 students demonstrated their inventions Friday at the school's third annual Build-18 festival. The festival challenge? To create a cool product quickly. Other projects involved theoretical science, such as levitating a small disk of superconducting material over magnets.

UNDATED (AP) - A scheduling quirk has put Mitt Romney and Newt
Gingrich in the same place at the same time today as they make
last-minute appeals to South Carolina Republicans voting in today's
presidential primary. And the two are locked in a tight contest for
the primary victory as well. Rick Santorum is also campaigning
today in South Carolina.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says visitors to the
U.S. spend money and are good for the economy and jobs. In his
weekly media message, he says congressional foot-dragging has
prompted him to take executive actions in several areas he thinks
could spur hiring. For the Republicans, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling
accused Obama of being long on promises but short of results.

ROME (AP) - Data says a cruise ship aground off Tuscany has
stabilized on rocks again. That's allowing divers to resume the
search of the submerged portion in an effort to find 21 people
still missing. It is unlikely any of the missing could still be

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Nevada officials say the source of a brush
fire that destroyed 29 homes near Reno is an "extremely
remorseful" elderly man who has admitted that he improperly
discarded fireplace ashes at his home south of town. The fire has
burned nearly 3,200 acres and is about 65 percent contained.

SEATTLE (AP) - It's a chilly weekend for tens of thousands of
residents in the Northwest who are without power after a winter
storm that brought snow, ice and powerful winds. The weather is
expected to warm up a bit, bringing the threat of more severe
floods. The storm system has been blamed for three deaths.


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