Thursday, February 2, 2023

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Local News

Chamber Offers Update On Broadband Service To County

The Washington County Chamber of Commerce held their January Breakfast Briefing at the Claysville Community Center to update members of the strides made to bring broadband service to under-served areas of Washington County, specifically the southwest corner of Washington County. A round-table discussion with Rick Newton, Vice President of the Claysville Area Business Association, John Timney, Executive Director of the Washington County Authority and Christina Sarson from the civil engineering firm HRG provided their experiences with the project so far. Sarson described difficulty reaching residents for survey input that is usually done on line. Because of the lack of broadband service, they had to resort to 20th century tactics of communication such as postcards. Newton spoke of his group’s efforts to help “Highlander Country” get access to broadband not only for entrepreneurial purposes, but for education and tele-medicine purposes that were brought glaringly to light by the COVID-19 pandemic. Timney provided background on how the county decided that the area was prime for county investment in broadband expansion. His input was the stories behind the story of students needing to drive to cell towers or restaurants to download and upload homework. Foster parents having difficulties emailing required paperwork to service agencies and seniors not being able to access health care via tele-medicine because people just a half mile outside of Claysville are not able to effectively communicate with the outside world. Jeanne Schearer from broadband supplier Kinetic states that they are providing $2.2 million of their money to the project of bringing broadband to West Finley Township. She anticipates the project to be complete at the end of 2024. (Pictured left to right:  John Timney, Washington County Authority; Christina Sarson, HRG and Rick Newton, Claysville Area Business Association Vice President) 

Phil Says Six More Weeks Of Winter

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) – A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration. People gathered Thursday at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned him from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he has seen his shadow. According to folklore, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring comes early. The annual event in Punxsutawney originated from a German legend about a furry rodent. The 2021 and 2022 forecasts also called for six more weeks of winter.

Charleroi Man Sentenced For Sexual Assault

A Charleroi man who allegedly raped a minor in their Charleroi home in August of 2019 pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday. James Heinzelman-McIvor, 18 was charged in August of 2022 when a child came forward to police and claimed that Heinzelman-McIvor raped them in 2019 and continued with inappropriate advances afterward. The victim indicated that the assaults occurred when they were 11 or 12 years old. Heinzelman-McIvor pleaded guilty to statutory sexual assault. He was facing charges of child rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child among several other felonies not prosecuted by the district attorney. Heinzelman-McIvor will spend the next 3-6 years in state prison and will have to register as a sex offender. The judge was reluctant to take the plea to reduced charges. The district attorney stated that the victim agreed with the sentence, offering that they did not want to see Heinzelman-McIvor go to jail.

Elizabeth Woman Pleads Guilty To Breaking Into School

An Elizabeth woman charged with breaking into the former Bentworth middle school with two others pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday. Amanda Disman, 30 pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and breaking into a structure. According to the police report,  Disman and two others, Jacob Keffer, 27 of Bunola and Ashlee Childs, 30 of Charleroi were observed walking toward the building carrying a suitcase and hacksaw in April of 2022. Pennsylvania State Police arrived to hear a commotion before the suspects realized the police arrived and tried to escape. Disman will serve two years probation for her role in the break in. Keffer’s and Childs’ cases are still working their way through the courts. A hearing to determine restitution is scheduled for next week.

World News

House GOP Votes To Oust Ihan Omar From FAC

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republicans have voted to oust Democratic Rep. lhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The vote in a raucous session on Thursday to remove the Somali-born Muslim lawmaker came after her past comments critical of Israel. It’s an escalation of tensions in the new Congress after Democrats booted far-right GOP lawmakers from committees over their incendiary, violent remarks in the last session. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy worked quickly to solidify wavering Republican support after some GOP lawmakers had expressed reservations about taking such a dramatic step. The Minnesota Democrat has apologized for comments that she has said she came to understand were antisemitic.

Filings For Jobless Aid Lowest Since April

U.S. applications for jobless aid fell again last week to their lowest level since April, further evidence that the job market has withstood aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve as it attempts to cool the economy and bring down inflation. Applications for jobless aid in the U.S. for the week ending Jan. 28 fell by 3,000 last week to 183,000, from 186,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was the third straight week claims were under 200,000 and the third straight weekly decline. Jobless claims generally serve as a proxy for layoffs.

Hunter Biden Seeks Probe Of Trump Allies Over Laptop

WASHINGTON (AP) — A lawyer for President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, has asked the Justice Department to investigate close allies of former President Donald Trump and others who accessed and disseminated personal data from a laptop that a computer repair shop owner says was dropped off at his Delaware store in 2019. The request was made in a letter Wednesday. In a separate letter, Hunter Biden’s attorneys have also asked Fox News host Tucker Carlson to retract and apologize for what they say are false and defamatory claims made about him on-air. The request for a criminal inquiry comes as Hunter Biden faces his own tax evasion investigation by the Justice Department.

Biden Approval Steady After Document Discovery

WASHINGTON (AP) – A new poll shows that more U.S. adults disapprove than approve of the way President Joe Biden has handled the discovery of classified documents at his home and former office. Yet that seems to have had little impact on Biden’s overall approval rating. The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 41% of Americans say they approve of how Biden is handling his job as president. That’s about the same as the 43% who said that in December. In the new poll, 77% of Democrats approve of how Biden is handling his job, while 91% of Republicans disapprove.

Impassioned Calls For Police Reform At Nichols’ Funeral

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Tyre Nichols’ family and friends remembered him with songs of faith and heartfelt tributes, blending a celebration of his life with outraged calls for police reform after the brutal beating he endured at the hands of Memphis police. The Rev. Al Sharpton and Vice President Kamala Harris both delivered impassioned speeches Wednesday calling on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It’s a broad package of police reforms that includes a national registry for police officers disciplined for misconduct, a ban on no-knock warrants and other measures. In the three weeks since his death, five officers have been fired and charged with murder, and their specialized unit was disbanded.