Thursday, January 19, 2012

Today's News Thursday January 19, 2012


Union Station Contractors Face Additional Lawsuits

The contractors who performed work during the construction of Union Station in downtown Pottsville are facing lawsuits as a result of damage allegedly caused by their work. Insurance carriers for William H. Lane, the prime contractor, and two subcontractors, H.T. Sweeney & Company and Force Drilling LLC, have been sued by AAA Schuylkill and homeowner Sarah Donohue, who owns the residence located next to AAA on South Centre Street. The owners allege that drilling work performed during construction of a retaining wall caused structural damage to their buildings, and seek compensation from the insurance companies to perform needed repairs.

Frackville Woman Charged In Handgun Incident

Kimberly Schappell, of Third Street in Frackville, was arrested by Frackville Police after a domestic incident in which she allegedly threatened Stephen Barrett with a loaded handgun. Police were called to the residence where both Schappell and Barrett live after Barrett reported that Schappell pointed a loaded 45 caliber handgun at him and threatened to shoot him. Police found Schappell in a bedroom, and found the handgun outside the house on the lawn. They indicated that Schappell appeared to be intoxicated at the time of her arrest. She was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Christine Hale, and was committed to Schuylkill County prison in lieu of $50,000 straight cash bail.

Arrest Made In Frackville After Shots Fired Into House

Frackville Police responded to a call from the resident at 221 Church Street in Ryan Township, who said that shots were fired into his house. Officers discovered that two shots hit the wall in the living room of the house, near a chair where the resident was seated. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the shooter was nineteen year old Dillon Fogarty, who lives in Shenandoah. Fogarty was arrested and charged with multiple crimes related to illegal possession and discharge of a firearm and resklessly endangering another person. He was arraigned before on-call Magisterial District Judge Carol Pankake of Tremont, and was committed to Schuylkill County prison in lieu of $35,000 straight cash bail.

Congressman Holden Releases Statement About SOPA

Congressman Tim Holden has released a statement regarding the Stop Online Piracy Act, commonly known as SOPA. Representative Holden said that he originally believed that the bill would eliminate theft of intellectual property by foreign websites. However, there are unintended consequences to the bill that might stifle innovation and limit free speech on the Internet. Holden's statement says "An open Internet requires that we find a better approach that is acceptable to all sides. Therefore, I am today withdrawing as a cosponsor of this bill and will work to find a solution that protects both the openness and innovation of the Internet as well as the intellectual property."

Schuylkill Haven Borough Looking For New EMA Deputy Coordinator

In a surprising move, Schuylkill Haven Emergency Management Deputy Coordinator Mike Gossard submitted his resignation to council during their Wednesday meeting. Gossard indicated he felt uncomfortable holding the position while living outside the borough, but that the decision of the Schuylkill Haven Fire Trustees to replace Fire Chief Robert "Boat" Peel was what pushed him to make his decision. Borough Council took no immediate action on Gossard's resignation, but will probably address it at their February meeting. The borough's Emergency Management Coordinator, Ed Yeich, has not indicated a desire to leave his position. Council also received the resignation of Mitch Tracey from the recreation board because of work conflicts. Robin Biever and Debra Davis were appointed to the two vacant spots on the rec board.

Former POW Speaks To Pottsville Rotary Club

World War Two POW Abe Barrone spoke to the Pottsville Rotary Club yesterday, and WPPA's Bobby Bechtel was there to hear his story.


State and National News Thursday January 19, 2012

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Corbett administration has cut funding by 70 percent for wildlife research projects meant to examine the impact of natural gas drilling and climate change. StateImpact Pennsylvania reports the secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources eliminated 13 projects without consulting the staffers who recommended them for funding.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Auditors have released a searing report on the financing of the costly municipal trash incinerator in Harrisburg. The report blames a lack of due diligence on the incinerator's renovation project, professionals who ignored red flags, and an unnecessarily complex debt structure that created excessive fees and increased risk.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Authorities in Philadelphia say a city dentist and his daughter have been charged with submitting almost $5 million in fraudulent medical bills to insurance companies over the past decade. Prosecutors say Dr. Owen Rogal of Philadelphia and 50-year-old Kim Rogal of Delaware overbilled at least 15 firms.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is planning events all year that it says will make it America's headquarters for the Constitution's 225th anniversary. The center is planning new exhibits, programming and online webcasts and contests to celebrate the document and its legacy of freedom.

NEW YORK (AP) - A pro-democracy group says the world continues to become less free and tolerant despite glimmers of hope like Arab Spring. The Washington-based Freedom House says in a report that 26 nations became less free and tolerant last year, while only 12 showed overall improvement. It's the sixth consecutive year that declines led improvements.

ROME (AP) - Divers are again scouring the submerged area of a cruise ship that capsized off Italy's Tuscan coast. Divers reentered the ship when officials determined it had stabilized after shifting on the rocks a day earlier. There are 21 people still missing.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - A maritime watchdog says overall worldwide sea piracy dropped slightly in 2011, dipping for the first time in five years. But the International Maritime Bureau says Somali pirates intensified their attacks.

UNDATED (AP) - The five Republicans seeking their party's nomination for president plan to get their licks in ahead of tonight's last televised debate before Saturday's South Carolina primary. Newt Gingrich is speaking at two town hall meetings while Mitt Romney plans to visit his campaign headquarters in Charleston. Rick Santorum has events scheduled in two cities.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Certified vote totals from the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican caucuses become available later this morning. The vote total reported by the party on the night of the caucuses showed an eight vote win by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over former Sen. Rick Santorum. It was the closest outcome in the event's history.


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