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6/27/16

by News Department on 06/27/16

6/27/16

by News Department on 06/27/16

Park Development...


House lawmakers are reviving the idea of allowing private developers to build amenities like resort lodges, marinas and golf courses in selected state parks. 

A bill approved by a House committee last week would create a state public-private partnership board to vet and approve proposals from private companies to do state park projects. 

The Tourism and Recreational Development Committee approved the bill by a 22-4 vote. However, several statewide environmental groups criticized the legislation as being harmful to the parks and not in the public interest, stating that the bill is being fast-tracked as part of the state budget process.

 The measure would give private firms the ability to do projects that the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources can’t afford to build. 

This idea has been debated on and off in Harrisburg since the 1990s.

6/27/16

by News Department on 06/27/16

Traffic stop leads to drug bust...




Frackville Borough Police have filed DUI and drug charges against George Barlow, of Shenandoah Heights, and Jason Bredbenner, of Shenandoah, stemming from an incident that occurred in the area of 200 N. 2nd street in the borough. 

Police conducted a vehicle stop and discovered that Barlow was driving under the influence of a controlled substance. 

Inside the vehicle police found, lying in plain view, multiple bundles of empty heroin bags. 

The male passenger in the vehicle, Jason Bredbenner, was taken into custody on an outstanding drug warrant. 

Both men will have to answer to the charges before Magisterial District Judge Christina E. Hale, Frackville.

6/27/16

by News Department on 06/27/16

Drug Seminar...




Schuylkill County, District Attorney Christine A. Holman is encouraging the public to attend a free seminar, on Tuesday, hosted by Gaudenzia Inc., and titled, “Emerging Trends in Drug Abuse.” 

Ken Dickinson, Gaudenzia Inc. director of marketing, out of Norristown, will speak about “Emerging Trends in Drug Abuse” at two seminars set for 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Lori’s Angels building, located at 25 W. Main St., Suite 4, in Schuylkill Haven. 

Holman is working to develop figures which will show how serious the heroin problem is in Schuylkill County. 

To RSVP, call 570-622-6485 or 570-573-0192. Walk-ins for tomorrow’s seminar are also welcome.

6/27/16

by News Department on 06/27/16

Assault with a 2x4...




31 year old David S. McBride, of Shenandoah, was jailed Sunday morning charged with assaulting family members with a two-by-four piece of wood in Mahanoy City. 

According to the Republican Herald, Mahanoy City police Patrolman Christopher Zubris charged McBride with an incident that was reported about 7:20 a.m. at a home at 118 W. Mahanoy Ave. 

Family members reported that McBride was staying at the home for about three weeks and during that time was threatening the entire family, hitting one person in the face. 

McBride was placed in custody and arraigned by on-call Magisterial District Judge Stephen J. Bayer, Tamaqua. He was then committed to Schuylkill County Prison unable to post $50,000 straight cash bail.

McBride will now have to answer to the charges at a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Anthony J. Kilker, Shenandoah.

6/24/16

by News Department on 06/24/16

6/24/16

by News Department on 06/24/16

3 Still await trial at PSU...




Penn State's former top lawyer said in a deposition made public Thursday he advised the university's vice president in 2001 to notify a state agency of a complaint from an assistant football coach about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy in a team locker room. 

Former university general counsel Wendell Courtney also said in the deposition that no one from Penn State has ever asked him for details regarding his Feb. 11, 2001, phone discussion with then-vice president Gary Schultz or the research he did that day on reporting suspected child abuse. 

Excerpts from the deposition were attached to a filing by lawyers for former assistant coach Mike McQueary in opposing the university's effort to delay McQueary's whistleblower and defamation lawsuit against Penn State. 

McQueary has said he saw Sandusky abusing a boy, called Victim 2 in court records, in the team facility late on a Friday night and went to head coach Joe Paterno the next day. Paterno notified Schultz and then-athletic director Tim Curley before Schultz and Courtney conferred that Sunday.

 Schultz, Curley, and then-president Graham Spanier await trial on charges related to their handling of complaints about Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach, is serving a prison sentence on child sex abuse convictions.

6/24/16

by News Department on 06/24/16

Judge rules more jail/Megan's Law sanctions...




28 year old Michael J. Liptok, of Coal Township, Northumberland County will spend more time behind state prison bars after being sentenced Thursday in Schuylkill County Court for indecently assaulting a teenage girl in the city. 

Pottsville police charged Liptok, formerly of Herndon, with assaulting the girl on Aug. 2, 2014, in a wooded area of the city. Liptok plead guilty on Feb. 17. 

President Judge William E. Baldwin sentenced him to serve one to two years in a state correctional institution consecutive to his current term and ruled that he is a sexually violent predator and imposed lifetime Megan’s Law sanctions on him.

 Liptok already is serving one to two years in a state correctional institution under the terms of a sentence that Baldwin imposed on Jan. 5, 2015, in another case after revoking the defendant’s probation for a second time.

6/24/16

by News Department on 06/24/16

Shenandoah fire ruled arson...




Pennsylvania state police fire marshal, Trooper Joseph Hall of the Schuylkill Haven barracks, has determined that arson was the cause of the large fire that severely damaged or destroyed 13 vacant homes, in Shenandoah, on Wednesday. 

The first fire alarm was sounded about 10:40 a.m. and eventually went to four alarms. 

The fire affected properties along the length of the east side of the unit block of North Union Street, the 400 block of East Mount Vernon Street and another building at 401 E. Centre St. All were vacant. 

Hall and fire marshal Trooper John Burns were on the scene Wednesday and Thursday to conduct the investigation and determined the origin of the fire was to the rear of 9 N. Union St. 

Authorities are asking anyone that may have seen any suspicious activity in the area prior to the fire to call the Schuylkill Haven state police barracks at 570-739-1330 or the Shenandoah Police Department at 570-462-1991, which is the Schuylkill County Communications Center non-emergency number.

6/24/16

by News Department on 06/24/16

Yuengling agrees to pay millions...




The U.S. Department of Justice reported Thursday, that D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc., Pottsville, has agreed to pay millions to settle issues, that occurred between 2008 and 2015, involving Clean Water Act violations at its Pottsville and Mill Creek breweries. 

According to the Republican Herald, the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority has had concerns, for more than a decade, about discharge from the Mahantongo Street brewery in particular. And discussions about alleged Clean Water Act violations have been discussed for many years. 

Wendy Yuengling, chief administrative officer for Yuengling, said Thursday, that Yuengling has already made an investment toward that end by building “an $8 million state-of-the-art wastewater pretreatment system at its historic Pottsville brewery.” It went online March 8 at the former Yuengling ice cream factory at 420 Mahantongo St., Pottsville.

 The two breweries involved in the case are Yuengling’s 501 Mahantongo St. facility, established in 1831, and its Mill Creek facility, built in 1999.

6/23/16

by News Department on 06/23/16

6/23/16

by News Department on 06/23/16

Frein attorneys argue over death penalty...




A Pike County judge denied two motions that sought to bar prosecutors from seeking a death sentence for accused cop killer 33 year old Eric Matthew Frein. 

Attorneys for Frein argued the death penalty is unconstitutional on several grounds. Judge Gregory Chelak rejected arguments, noting many of the issues have been addressed previously by appellate courts that upheld the statute’s constitutionality. 

Frein is charged with first-degree murder and multiple other offenses for the Sept. 12, 2014, sniper attack outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove that killed Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson II and wounded Trooper Alex T. Douglass. 

Should Frein be convicted of first-degree murder, a separate hearing will be held in which jurors will evaluate aggravating circumstances. 

To impose death, a jury must agree unanimously that the aggravating circumstances outweigh mitigating circumstances.

 Frein pleaded not guilty and remains incarcerated at the Pike County jail pending trial, which has not been scheduled yet.

6/23/16

by News Department on 06/23/16

Teachers forgo raise...



As the school year came to a close in the Pottsville area, 14 teachers either retired or resigned. 

In a cost cutting measure, the school board decided to leave all but two of those positions vacant, drastically impacting art, gym, guidance, and reading programs. 

But, a surprise move came from the administrative team, Wednesday night, as that group decided to forgo their raises for one year in order to keep a music position in the middle school. 

Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Zwiebel said some cuts had to be made which were very difficult not only for the administrative team but the school board as well. 

In all, 3 of the 14 vacant positions will be filled, which is more than the crowd expected. Many of the programs affected by the cut backs will be restructured.

6/23/16

by News Department on 06/23/16

Shenandoah fire under investigation...




Two blocks of vacant homes were destroyed by a multi-alarm fire in Shenandoah on Wednesday. 

According to the Republican Herald, the first alarm was sounded about 10:40 a.m., with units called out to a vacant structure at 401 E. Centre St. Flames quickly engulfed the structure and spread to the unit block of North Union Street and the 400 block of East Mount Vernon Street.

 The property had been the location of arson on Sept. 28, 2014, and was severely damaged along with three other vacant properties at different locations in the borough that were also deliberately set afire.

 The fire quickly moved north along Union Street to the intersection with Mount Vernon Street, eventually spreading to four vacant Mount Vernon homes. However, firefighters were successful in keeping the flames from spreading across the streets to the many occupied row homes. 

The cause is undetermined at this time and is still under investigation by state police and local fire marshals. 

Officials are asking residents to report any type of suspicious activity that may have been seen in the area.

6/23/16

by News Department on 06/23/16

Guilty verdict...





18 year old Stanley E. Kralik is headed to state prison after a Schuylkill County jury convicted him Wednesday afternoon of third-degree murder and four related crimes in connection with the January 2014 fatal beating of 24 year old Corey M. Samuels, in Coaldale. 

Jurors also convicted Kralik of conspiracy, robbery, aggravated assault and theft, acquitting the defendant of the most serious charges of first- and second-degree murder. 

The murder and conspiracy charges each carry a possible prison sentence of 20 to 40 years in a state correctional institution. 

State police at Frackville allege Kralik and 23 year old Oliver L. Trizarri, of Reading, fatally beat Samuels with a shovel between 11 p.m. Jan. 20, 2014, and midnight Jan. 21, 2014, in a wooded area off East Miner Street. 

Prosecutors said Samuels’ remains were not found until September 2014. 

Judge John E. Domalakes presided over the three day trial and scheduled Kralik’s sentencing for Aug. 16. He ordered Kralik returned to prison without bail pending sentencing.

6/22/16

by News Department on 06/22/16

6/22/16

by News Department on 06/22/16

Frackville wastewater plant...




The replacement of the bar screen at the Frackville Area Municipal Authority wastewater treatment plant will be in July, a bit later than expected, but within the contract deadline. 

According to Entech Engineering Inc. senior project manager Donald M. Cuff, what may be the last major upgrade to the almost 25-year-old treatment plant, the fabrication of the new bar screen is almost completed. 

The bar screen installation was expected by mid-June, but the unit will not be delivered until July, according to FAMA office manager Rhonda Frantz, who said the construction will not proceed until all materials are on site and inspected.

6/22/16

by News Department on 06/22/16

High Court nixes law...




Pennsylvania's highest court is rejecting a law designed to make it easier for organizations like the National Rifle Association to challenge cities' firearms ordinances in court. 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday to void the law. 

The justices agreed with a lower court that packaging the measure into a bill on criminal penalties for theft violated a constitutional requirement that bills must be confined to one subject.

 The lower court threw it out last year, although it had already spawned NRA lawsuits against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster, and scared some municipalities into repealing their firearms ordinances.

 Under the law, gun owners no longer had to show they were harmed by an ordinance to challenge it. Instead, it let "membership organizations" like the NRA sue on behalf of any Pennsylvania member.

6/22/16

by News Department on 06/22/16

Murder trial concludes...




Testimony in the trial for a Coaldale man accused of murdering a Marine concluded Tuesday. 

On the second day of the trial of 18-year-old Stanley Kralik, the defendant took the stand, maintaining his innocence.

 In the morning, an alleged co-conspirator, Oliver Trizarri, who has already pleaded guilty in the case, described how he and Kralik allegedly murdered 24-year-old Corey Samuels in January 2014.

 Kralik, now 18, is facing first degree homicide charges. 

Closing arguments will be presented this morning with the jury entering deliberation thereafter.

6/22/16

by News Department on 06/22/16

Driver dies...



The 86-year-old Pottsville man who caused the chain-reaction crash in the city, Monday afternoon, which damaged six vehicles, has died.

 According to the Republican Herald, George Ondek, passed away late Monday afternoon as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. 

The crash occurred at 12:45 p.m. Monday on the 300 block of West Market Street. The initial investigation determined Ondek had been driving eastbound on West Market Street when, for currently an unknown reason, he struck the rear of a Chevrolet Tracker, driven by a 58-year-old woman from Tuscarora, that was stopped in the line of eastbound traffic. 

That driver had to be extricated from her vehicle and was flown to a hospital for treatment. City Police Chief Richard F. Wojciechowsky has not yet released the name of that driver. 

Ondek was flown to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.

 Wojciechowsky said the investigation to determine the cause of the accident is continuing and further information will be released when available.

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