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LOCAL NEWS FOR TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2013

LOCAL NEWS FOR TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2013

  U.S. SEN. BOB CASEY SAYS HE NOW SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE, BECOMING THE LATEST LAWMAKER TO CHANGE POSITIONS ON AN ISSUE NOW BEFORE THE U.S. SUPREME COURT.   CASEY SAID MONDAY HE MADE THE SHIFT AFTER REVIEWING THE LEGAL, PUBLIC POLICY AND CIVIL RIGHTS QUESTIONS INVOLVED.  IN NOVEMBER, AS HE SUCCESSFULLY SOUGHT A SECOND TERM, CASEY SAID HE FAVORED SAME-SEX CIVIL UNIONS BUT DID NOT TAKE A POSITION ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE.  HE PREVIOUSLY HAS VOTED TO LET GAYS AND LESBIANS SERVE OPENLY IN THE MILITARY AND TO REPEAL THE "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" POLICY.  CASEY, A ROMAN CATHOLIC FROM SCRANTON, OPPOSES ABORTION RIGHTS, EXCEPT IN CASES OF RAPE, INCEST OR WHEN THE LIFE OF THE MOTHER IS IN DANGER.  SEVERAL OTHER DEMOCRATIC SENATORS ALSO RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THEY FAVOR GAY MARRIAGE.

  JURY SELECTION HAS BEGUN FOR THE TRIAL OF A SECURITY GUARD CHARGED WITH VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER IN A SHOOTING DEATH AT A LOCAL CLUB A YEAR AGO.  MORE THAN 60 POTENTIAL JURORS WERE BEING INTERVIEWED MONDAY BY ATTORNEYS FOR PROSECUTION AND DEFENSE.  FORTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD ANDREW GESSLEIN IS CHARGED IN THE APRIL 29 DEATH OF 23-YEAR-OLD MICHAEL RANDOLPH AT ALLENTOWN'S NORTH END REPUBLICAN CLUB.  PROSECUTORS SAY GESSLEIN SHOT THE VICTIM FOLLOWING A STRUGGLE AFTER RANDOLPH TRIED TO FORCIBLY ENTER THE CLUB.  WITNESSES SAID RANDOLPH AND THREE FRIENDS WERE REFUSED ENTRY BECAUSE GESSLEIN BELIEVED THEY HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ALTERCATION THE NIGHT BEFORE.  GESSLEIN SAID RANDOLPH HAD THREATENED TO KILL HIM.  DEFENSE ATTORNEY JAMES CONNELL HAS SAID HE WILL ARGUE THAT HIS CLIENT ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE.

  THE NAZARETH WOMAN ACCUSED OF DRIVING HER SON, HER SON'S FRIEND AND HER BOYFRIEND AROUND THE LEHIGH VALLEY TO STEAL FROM UNLOCKED CARS COULD CLEAR HER RECORD.  ON MONDAY, CHRISTINE PETCHONKA WAS PLACED INTO A FIRST-TIME OFFENDER PROGRAM THAT WILL GIVE HER A CHANCE TO AVOID A CRIMINAL RECORD IF SHE COMPLETES NINE MONTHS OF PROBATION AND PAYS COURT COSTS AND FINES.  ELECTRONICS, PURSES AND MONEY WERE STOLEN IN THE CRIME SPREE.

  THE EMMAUS APARTMENT BUILDING WHERE FOUR PEOPLE DIED IN A MARCH FIRE HAS BEEN TORN DOWN.  THE FIRE DESTROYED THE FORMER FUNERAL HOME AT 36 AND 38 SOUTH FIFTH STREET.  INVESIGATORS SAY THEY DON'T BELIEVE THE FIRE IS SUSPICIOUS, BUT THEY HAVEN'T YET DETERMINED WHAT CAUSED IT.

  A NORTHAMPTON COUNTY MAN IS IN PRISON FOR ALLEGEDLY HOLDING A GUN TO HIS WIFE'S HEAD AND THREATENING TO SHOOT HER IF SHE CALLED POLICE.  46-YEAR-OLD IAN CANTOR IS CHARGED WITH THREATENING HIS WIFE DURING A SUNDAY MORNING ARGUMENT IN THEIR HANOVER TOWNSHIP HOME.

  A YEAR-AND-A-HALF AFTER ST. LUKE'S UNIVERSITY HEALTH NETWORK OPENED UP ITS NEWEST HOSPITAL ALONG ROUTE 33 IN BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP, IT HAS EXPANDED ITS EMERGENCY ROOM THERE.  "WE'VE EXPANDED OUT EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT FROM 7000 SQUARE FEET AND 15 BEDS, BY ADDING ON AN ADDITIONAL 24 BEDS AND WITH AN ADDITIONAL 11,000 SQUARE FEET," MARK LOHMAN SAYS.  THE EXPANSION WILL DOUBLE EMERGENCY ROOM CAPACITY FROM 30,000 PATIENTS A YEAR TO 60,000.

  ALLENTOWN'S AMY BARNETT AND HER SISTER WENT TO LOS ANGELES IN FEBRUARY AND ATTENDED A TAPING OF "THE PRICE IS RIGHT" ON CBS.  SURE ENOUGH, BARNETT WAS CHOSEN TO PLAY AND HAD TO GUESS THE PRICE OF A SET OF MICHAEL KORS BAGS.  SHE DID JUST THAT, BUT WINNING THOSE BAGS WAS NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.  BARNETT WAS GIVEN FOUR CHANCES TO GUESS THE PRICE OF A FORD FIESTA.  ON HER FOURTH AND FINAL CHANCE, BARNETT GAVE THE CORRECT PRICE AND WON THE CAR.

  A STATE EMPLOYEES' UNION AND SEVERAL DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NURSES AND DEMOCRATIC STATE LAWMAKERS ARE SUING GOV. TOM CORBETT'S ADMINISTRATION OVER A PLAN TO CLOSE NEARLY HALF OF THE STATE'S 60 COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS.  THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED MONDAY IN COMMONWEALTH COURT.  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THEY CAN DO A BETTER JOB TREATING PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEMS AND REACHING MORE PEOPLE BY MAKING COMMUNITY HEALTH NURSES MORE MOBILE.  THEY SAY THE CENTERS HAVE EXPENSIVE LEASES AND ARE UNDERUSED BY THE PUBLIC.  THE LAWSUIT SAYS THE PLAN VIOLATES A 1996 LAW THAT REQUIRES LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL BEFORE CLOSING ANY CENTERS.  THE UNION SAYS 26 NURSES WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS, WHILE CLOSING THE CENTERS RUNS THE RISK OF SLOWING THE DETECTION OR PREVENTION OF OUTBREAKS OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, PARTICULARLY IN RURAL AREAS.

  TOM WOLF, A WEALTHY BUSINESSMAN AND FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REVENUE SECRETARY, SAYS HE'S RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR AND HE'S GOT $10 MILLION TO KICK OFF THE CAMPAIGN.   WOLF SAYS HE'LL PUT UP AT LEAST $10 MILLION FOR HIS CAMPAIGN IN THE POTENTIALLY CROWDED DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY 13 MONTHS FROM NOW AND HOPES TO RAISE $5 MILLION MORE.  IN HIS EMAIL, THE 64-YEAR-OLD WOLF ACCUSES REPUBLICAN GOV. TOM CORBETT OF PUTTING SPECIAL INTERESTS OVER THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS.  WOLF STRESSED HIS OWN SUCCESS IN RUNNING HIS YORK BUILDING-PRODUCTS COMPANY, HIS BACKGROUND AS A PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER IN INDIA AND HIS COMMITMENT TO PROGRAMS THAT PROVIDE EDUCATION FOR YOUNGSTERS, HEALTH CARE FOR THE POOR AND SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY.

  IT'S AUTISM AWARENESS DAY AND A NUMBER OF LOCAL BUILDINGS WILL BE CAST IN A BLUE LIGHT TO RAISE AWARENESS.  NANCY MILTENBERGER IS THE GRANDMOTHER TO TWO AUTISTIC CHILDREN AND SHE SAYS THE LOCAL COMPANIES, COLLEGES AND HOSPITALS GOING BLUE TODAY WILL BE KEEPING SOME PRETTY GOOD COMPANY.  "LAST YEAR JUST A FEW OF THE BUILDINGS AROUND THE WORLD WERE THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, THE CHRIST THE REDEEMER STATUE IN BRAZIL AND EVEN THE PYRAMIDS WERE BLUE LAST YEAR," MILTENBERGER SAYS.  LOCAL COMPANIES GOING BLUE TODAY INCLUDE AIR PRODUCTS AND JUST BORN.

  CREWS IN NORTHWEST NEW JERSEY HAVE PULLED THE BODY OF A MAN FROM ROUND VALLEY RESERVOIR IN CLINTON TOWNSHIP.  STATE POLICE CAPT. EUGENE FLURI SAYS THE BODY WAS DISCOVERED SHORTLY BEFORE 7 P.M. MONDAY IN ABOUT 70 FEET OF WATER.  THE MAN WAS LAST SEEN BY WITNESSES AT ABOUT 11:45 A.M. AFTER HIS CANOE CAPSIZED.  OFFICIALS SAY THE BODY WAS ABOUT 150 FEET FROM THE CANOE.  RESCUE CREWS ORIGINALLY WERE SEARCHING FOR TWO PEOPLE THOUGHT TO BE IN THE BOAT.  AUTHORITIES ARE WITHHOLDING THE MAN'S IDENTITY UNTIL HIS FAMILY IS NOTIFIED.  A FIREFIGHTER WAS KILLED IN THE SAME AREA LAST WEEK AFTER BEING STRUCK BY A VEHICLE DURING A CONTROLLED BURN THAT PRODUCED HEAVY SMOKE AND REDUCED VISIBILITY.

  THE NEW JERSEY MAN WHO JUST WON A $338 MILLION POWERBALL JACKPOT HAS RESOLVED A CHILD SUPPORT DEBT.  PEDRO QUEZADA APPEARED MONDAY AFTERNOON IN STATE SUPERIOR COURT IN PATERSON.  AUTHORITIES HAD SAID THE 44-YEAR-OLD PASSAIC RESIDENT OWED ABOUT $29,000 IN BACK SUPPORT FOR THREE OF HIS FIVE CHILDREN.  DURING THE COURT HEARING, OFFICIALS SAID QUEZADA HAD PAID $30,000 TO SETTLE THE DEBT.  HE ALSO TOLD THE JUDGE THAT THE THREE CHILDREN WOULD NOW BE LIVING WITH HIM.  QUEZADA CLAIMED A LUMP-SUM PAYMENT LAST WEEK WORTH $221 MILLION, OR ABOUT $152 MILLION AFTER TAXES.  THE UNPAID CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS DATE TO 2009.

  NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE HAS SIGNED LEGISLATION BANNING ANYONE UNDER 17 FROM USING A TANNING BED AND ANYONE UNDER 14 FROM GETTING A SPRAY TAN A YEAR AFTER THE STATE'S TANNING MOM BECAME A TABLOID SENSATION.  THE LEGISLATION WAS DEVELOPED AFTER A NORTHERN JERSEY WOMAN ACCUSED OF TAKING HER 5-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER INTO A TANNING BOOTH WAS CHARGED LAST YEAR WITH CHILD ENDANGERMENT.  THE DEEPLY TANNED WOMAN BECAME KNOWN AS THE TANNING MOM, BUT A GRAND JURY DECLINED TO INDICT HER IN FEBRUARY.  THE MEASURE SIGNED MONDAY NIGHT ALLOWS 17-YEAR-OLDS TO USE TANNING SALONS PROVIDED A PARENT OR GUARDIAN ACCOMPANIES THEM TO THEIR FIRST VISIT AND CONSENTS.  CHRISTIE CITES THE "DOCUMENTED AND WELL-UNDERSTOOD" RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE MISUSE OF INDOOR TANNING SYSTEMS AS A MAIN REASON FOR SIGNING THE LEGISLATION.

 

 

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