Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today's News Wednesday January 25, 2012

Local News Wednesday January 25, 2012

House Fire In Mahanoy City Leaves Nine Homeless

Mahanoy City firefighters were called to a report of a structure fire at 411 West Market Street at 5:13 p.m. yesterday. When they arrived they found a second floor bedroom on fire and heavy smoke in the structure. Fire Chief Randy Kalce reported that firefighters entered the building and knocked the fire down quickly, but the residence was left with damage from fire, smoke, and water. The property is owned by a man from Wilkes-Barre, and was rented to Joseph Vezo, Jennifer Taylor, and their six children who range in age from nine years to newborn. The family is being assisted by the American Red Cross, and has apparently moved in with relatives until repairs can be made. Chief Kalce credits the presence of a working smoke detector with limiting damage to the home.

Blue Mountain School Board Votes For Tax Increase In Preliminary Budget

During their most recent meeting, the Blue Mountain School Board voted 5-3 to approve the preliminary budget for 2012-2013. That budget includes expenses of just over $38 million and income of less than $37 million. That shortfall would make it necessary to increase the district's tax rate from the current 34.9 mills to over 36.8 mills. That is the maximum increase allowed by state law. The board will also apply to the state for exceptions for special education and retirement expenses. If granted, those exceptions would allow for further increases in the tax rate. Even with the proposed increases, the board still faces a shortfall of over one million dollars, which may be reduced by state and federal funding.

Pine Grove Borough Issues Water Boil Alert

Pine Grove borough officials have issued a water boil advisory for residents who live on South Tulpehocken Street between Maple and Wood Streets, and those living on Peach Street between Maple and Wood Streets. Borough workers will be making repairs to a fire hydrant in that area today, and will shut down the water main, causing a drop in pressure in the water system that may allow contaminants to enter the system. Residents should bring water to a boil for at least one minute, then allow it to cool, before using it. Residents will be notified when it is no longer necessary to boil tap water. For more information, call the Pine Grove Borough at 570-345-3555.

Men Needed For Charity Walk

The Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center, or SARCC, is looking for a few good men who are willing to participate in the next Walk a Mile In Her Shoes fundraiser. President and COO Jenny Murphy-Shifflet said the men will put on high heels for the charity walk, which will take place on February 16th at the YMCA on North Centre Street in Pottsville. The walk will be recorded and played on YouTube. Men who look good in heels are asked to call the SARCC offices in Pottsville at 570-628-2965 or in Lebanon at 717-270-6972 for more information, or go to

PennDOT Has A Website To Help Winter Travelers

When preparing for travel this winter, motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 511 or visiting The website is free, and it's available 24 hours a day. It has traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and expressways, and access to more than five hundred traffic cameras. The 511 site also provides easy-to-use, color coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. Twitter users can also follow local PennDOT information at

State and National News Wednesday January 25, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Another day of public mourning for the late Joe Paterno culminates today with a private funeral and burial service. Alumni, residents and students are expected to attend a four-hour visitation this morning before the afternoon funeral. A campus memorial service is set for tomorrow.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Jurors in the government corruption trial of state Representative Bill DeWeese are expected to hear more testimony from a former aide who handled DeWeese's campaign finances. Witness Kevin Sidella has been granted immunity. He acknowledged he devoted most of his legislative work time to campaign matters for the 2006 election.

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - Jurors in Washington County have convicted two men in the 2003 murder of an informant who was responsible for the arrest of one of the men on drug charges. John
Bronson Jr. and Michael Duncan were found guilty in the execution-style shooting death of John Newman.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Authorities have released the name of a woman who was gunned down by a masked man at the north Philadelphia convenience store where she worked. Police say Rosemary Fernandez-Rivera was shot four times Monday evening in the Caribe Mini Market. Investigators believe the gunman intended to kill her.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve policymakers will be giving their forecast for short-term interest rates later today. They'll look at where they expect rates to be at the end of each of the next three years. Many private economists expect that the Fed unlikely will increase the borrowing rate before 2014.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Fresh from his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama sets off today on a three-day tour of politically crucial states. He'll visit a conveyor belt maker in Iowa and an Intel plant in Arizona, promoting his agenda to attract more manufacturing to American soil. Obama's trip also includes Nevada, Colorado and Michigan.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Two aid workers who had been held captive in Somalia since October have been rescued by U.S. military forces. U.S. forces conducted a raid early this morning, freeing American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagan Thisted. They had been working with a de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council when they were kidnapped by pirates.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno will be buried today. Before a private funeral, thousands of people are expected to attend a four-hour visitation. Paterno died Sunday of lung cancer, just two months after being fired in the wake of child sex-abuse charges against a former assistant.

WASHINGTON (AP) - School lunches are about to get healthier. First lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are announcing today that most school meals will have less sodium, more whole grains and more fruits and vegetables as sides. Pizza still will be on the menu, but it'll be made with healthier ingredients.


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