FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014

Couple Accused Of Sexual Assault
Chartiers Township police accuse Kimberly Campbell and her boyfriend, Gary Bates, of sexually abusing two girls inside their Railroad Street home in Houston. Police told our news partners at WPXI that Campbell told a 13-year-old to go upstairs to her bedroom because it was cooler and she would give her cake. That's where they said Bates was waiting and the couple sexually assaulted the girl. Police said the couple also assaulted a 19-year-old with mental disabilities. According to police, they removed the girl's clothes, saying they were checking for cancer, before they sexually assaulted her. When officers arrived to arrest the couple Thursday, Bates needed an ambulance. "He came down the steps. He had a blanket wrapped around him, and we noticed blood on his hands. As the blanket opened up, they saw a wound in his abdomen," said Police Chief James Horvath. Campell was taken to the Washington County Jail, where police said Bates was headed after his medical treatment. Officers asked Bates what happened. Bates told them he fell on a knife, police said.

Layoffs At Alpha Natural Resources
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Alpha Natural Resources expects to lay off 1,100 workers at 11 West Virginia surface coal mines by mid-October, with the company citing dismal markets and federal regulation. An Alpha news release says the company notified employees Thursday afternoon that it expects to idle mines and related facilities. Alpha says the mines produce about 75 percent thermal coal for power generation, and 25 percent metallurgical coal for steel production. The company cited weak domestic and international coal markets and federal limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. In the past three years, the Bristol, Virginia-based company says it has laid off 4,000 employees and idled 60 mines and 35 million tons of production. Alpha is one of the country's biggest coal suppliers. It also has mines in Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Coal Dust Limitations Begin
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The Obama administration's push to reduce black lung disease by limiting coal dust in mines is taking effect. Initial requirements of the U.S. Department of Labor's coal dust rule become effective today. It was proposed in 2010. New requirements include increased dust sampling in mines and citations when coal operators don't take immediate action for high levels. In February 2016, better monitoring equipment will be required. In August 2016, the allowable concentration of coal dust will drop. Ohio-based Murray Energy and the National Mining Association sued separately over the rule. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968. It is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by coal dust exposure, where particles accumulate in the lungs.

Wildfire Progress At Yosemite National Park
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) - Residents in California's Foresta community near Yosemite National Park will be allowed to return home later today, now that firefighters are making progress battling a more than 6-square-mile wildfire.
About 50 homes have been evacuated for several days. The blaze is now 58 percent contained, up from 34 percent contained early Thursday. There are still worries that the wildfire could move west toward the Merced Grove of giant Sequoias about 2 miles away. The trees grow only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and can live longer than 3,000 years. Other fire crews are battling a blaze in Sierra National Forest about 60 miles northeast of Fresno. It's creeping closer to the Mammoth Pool Reservoir, a popular recreation spot that supplies drinking water. The blaze is only 15 percent contained.

Tropical Storm Forms In Atlantic
MIAMI (AP) - Tropical Storm Bertha has formed. It's the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. The Hurricane Center in Miami says the tropical storm's maximum sustained winds Thursday night were near 45 mph. A tropical storm warning has been issued for Barbados and Dominica.

Tank Fire Shatters Cease Fire
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Gaza officials say at least four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli tank fire nearly two hours after Israel and Hamas began observing a three-day cease-fire. The Health Ministry and Gaza police say 15 other Palestinians were wounded in the shelling east of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.
An Israeli Army spokesman in Jerusalem says the military is looking into the incident.

Travel Warning After Ebola Outbreak
NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. health officials are warning Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by an Ebola outbreak. The deadly disease has killed more than 700 people this year in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the purpose of the travel warning is to not only protect U.S. travelers, but limit their use of overburdened clinics and hospitals for injuries or other illnesses.

 



 

 

 

 

W&J Study Examines Gas Drilling Impacts
Washington & Jefferson College has released a study about communities and governments that have Marcellus Shale gas development. The white paper examines the "boom and bust" cycle that many areas experience with gas drilling. The Director of the College's Center for Energy Policy and Management, Diana Stares, says they looked at how thousands of gas wells impact issues like housing, roads, tax bases, jobs and the environment. She says one of the biggest findings concerns damage to local roads and how repairs are funded. The study, which polled local officials, also discusses the need for communities receiving impact fees and to use those fees wisely and plan for the future. Stares said they explored the best practices to forestall or mitigate a subsequent economic downturn or "bust." The study is lengthy and available on the college's website under the heading "publications."

Pozonsky Suppression Hearing Ends
A suppression hearing involving former Washington County Common Pleas Judge Paul Pozonsky has ended after District Attorney Gene Vittone was re-called to the witness stand on Thursday. Defense attorneys Mark Fiorilli (photo left) Robert Del Greco (photo right), maintain that the items taken from Pozonsky's chambers during a search should not be allowed to be used as evidence at his upcoming trial. One of the major issues centers around the use of an "administrative order" vs. a search warrant to seize evidence. Del Greco argued police and the Attorney General's office did not have probable cause for a search warrant. The district Attorney was questioned for about 30 minutes Thursday about the events leading up to--and following--a search of the former judge's office. Vittone said his main concern was to preserve the evidence before it was destroyed. Pozonsky, who has retired and moved to Alaska, is charged with stealing cocaine that was being used as evidence in criminal cases he was presiding over. He faces numerous charges, including conflict of interest, theft and possession of a controlled substance. Both sides have 45 days to submit legal arguments to the court. Visiting Senior Judge Daniel Howsare from Bedford County is hearing the case. The Attorney General's office is prosecuting. Pozonsky was not in court for Thursday's hearing.

Lawmaker Bills Taxpayers To Study Marijuana
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania state senator who is charging a nearly $5,000 trip to taxpayers to see how Colorado is dealing with marijuana's legalization says it's home to a high-tech, high-paid industry and isn't a state full of "stoners."
Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County wrote an editorial this week about his three-day trip last weekend with three staff aides. Leach is perhaps the Pennsylvania Legislature's foremost proponent of legalizing marijuana. Sen. Mike Folmer of Lebanon County traveled to Colorado for a three-day trip with a staff aide two months ago. A spokesman says they paid their own way. Folmer supports a narrower legalization of a marijuana extract for medical purposes. A bill co-sponsored by Leach and Folmer awaits a Senate vote. House GOP leaders and Gov. Tom Corbett oppose it.

Federal Highway Funding Maintained
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has approved a bill to prevent a 28 percent cut in federal highway and mass transit aid at the height of the summer construction season. The Senate voted Thursday night for a House-passed measure to augment the federal Highway Trust Fund with in infusion of $10.8 billion from the general Treasury - enough to keep the fund solvent through May. The Transportation Department set today as the date the fund would no longer be able to provide all the aid promised from incoming gasoline and diesel fuel taxes. The two houses played legislative ping pong with the issue in recent days over what critics called a "gimmick" to fund the measure by letting companies defer government-required contributions to their employees' pension plans. The bill now goes to the president.

Bayer Pulls Sign From Mount Washington
PITTSBURGH (AP) - An iconic sign atop Pittsburgh's Mount Washington won't have the Bayer name in lights much longer. The chemical and pharmaceutical giant said Thursday that it no longer wants to pay for the 30-foot-tall advertisement and asked sign owner Lamar to turn it off as quickly as possible. The Bayer name has been in lights on the sign since 1995 and the company has long complained that the 90-year-old sign is in need of lighting upgrades and repairs. A real estate manager for Lamar tells the Tribune-Review of Pittsburgh that a new advertiser is being sought and an application is pending with the city to authorize repairs and upgrades. The Germany-based Bayer has about 2,200 employees in suburban Pittsburgh where it houses the North American headquarters of its material sciences business.

Proposed Power Line
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - PPL Corp. wants to spend billions of dollars to build a 725-mile system of electric transmission lines that will bring energy from the booming Marcellus Shale natural gas fields to customers on the heavily populated eastern seaboard. The Allentown-based utility said Thursday the 500-kilovolt line would span Pennsylvania and reach New York, New Jersey and Maryland. The company says the cost would exceed $4 billion and it'll probably take a decade to build. The proposal requires regulatory approval and the precise route hasn't been determined. A rough map produced by the company shows a line running from Pittsburgh through Pennsylvania's rural northern tier and into New York. A second branches south through the Susquehanna River corridor into Maryland. A third spur runs through the Lehigh Valley and into New Jersey.


 

 

   
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