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LOCAL NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

LOCAL NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013

  A PHILADELPHIA ABORTION DOCTOR CONVICTED OF KILLING LIVE BABIES MAY BE IN COURT FOR THE FINAL TIME BEFORE SERVING OUT THE LAST CHAPTER OF HIS LIFE IN PRISON.  DR. KERMIT GOSNELL HAS DECIDED NOT TO APPEAL THE FIRST-DEGREE MURDER CONVICTION HANDED DOWN THIS WEEK FOR KILLING THREE BABIES BORN ALIVE AT HIS CLINIC.  HIS ATTORNEY, JACK McMAHON, SAYS THE DECISION TO ACCEPT SEVERAL LIFE SENTENCES AND AVOID A DEATH PENALTY HEARING RELIEVES GOSNELL.  "I THINK THAT ONCE THERE'S A FINALITY AND HE KNOWS WHAT HIS FATE IS THERE'S A CERTAIN SERENENESS ABOUT THAT  AND I THINK THAT'S PROBABLY WHAT'S AFFECTED HIM," McMAHON SAYS.  GOSNELL WAS SENTENCED IN THE FIRST TWO DEATHS TUESDAY AND ASSURED A JUDGE HE WAS MAKING THE DEAL FREELY.  HE'LL BE SENTENCED IN THE THIRD BABY'S DEATH WEDNESDAY, ALONG WITH THE OVERDOSE DEATH OF A PATIENT AND OTHER CHARGES.

  CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS IN POTTSVILLE SAY THEY HAD RECOMMENDED SMOKE DETECTORS FOR A HOME WHERE TWO ADULTS AND FOUR CHILDREN WERE KILLED IN A WEEKEND FIRE.  FIRE CHIEF TODD MARCH SAYS IT APPEARS THERE WEREN'T ANY SMOKE DETECTORS IN THE HOME WHEN THE FIRE BROKE OUT LATE SUNDAY NIGHT.  INVESTIGATORS HAVEN'T DETERMINED A CAUSE.  POTTSVILLE PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR MARK ATKINSON SAYS A DEPUTY CODE ADMINISTRATOR VISITED THE HOME IN DECEMBER AND RECOMMENDED SMOKE DETECTORS.  MARCH SAYS THE SMOKE ALARMS MIGHT HAVE SAVED THE LIVES OF THE VICTIMS.  THE BLAZE KILLED FOUR CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 2 AND 8, ALONG WITH THEIR FATHER AND AN AUNT.  THEIR MOTHER HAD BEEN AT A NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE DOING LAUNDRY. 

  A WHITEHALL MAN HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH A MORTGAGE FRAUD CONSPIRACY.  36-YEAR-OLD JOEL TILLETT ADMITS TO CONSPIRING TO DEFRAUD MORTGAGE LENDERS BY SUBMITTING LOAN APPLICATIONS WITH FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BORROWERS, SUPPORTED BY BOGUS OR FORGED DOCUMENTS.  THE MORTGAGE LENDERS THEN GAVE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN LOANS TO BUY REAL ESTATE.  MANY OF THOSE LOANS DEFAULTED AND SOME OF THEM WERE INSURED BY THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION, MEANING TAXPAYERS WERE ON THE HOOK FOR THE MONEY.  A SENTENCING HEARING FOR TILLETT IS AUGUST 14.  HE COULD GET UP TO SEVEN YEARS IN JAIL AND A $500,000 FINE.  FIVE OF HIS EX-EMPLOYEES HAVE ALSO BEEN INDICTED.

  THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM WILL BEGIN TRAINING FOUR OF ITS NEW BIKE MEDICS NEXT MONTH.  AFTER THE 40 HOURS OF TRAINING, THE MEDICS WILL BE ABLE TO RESPOND TO AREAS WHERE AMBULANCES CANNOT.  THE CITY SAYS THE BIKE MEDICS WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE ANYTHING FROM DEHYDRATION TO LIFE-THREATENING ISSUES.  THE CITY SAYS THE BIKES ARE IDEAL TO RESPOND TO EMERGENCIES ON CROWDED STREETS OR REMOTE TRAILS.  EACH OF THE FOUR BIKES WILL BE EQUIPPED WITH DEFIBRILLATORS AND MEDICATIONS.

  THE FOOD NETWORK IS COMING TO THE LEHIGH VALLEY NEXT WEEK.  THE NETWORK'S "RESTAURANT: IMPOSSIBLE" WILL BE FILMING AT THE BENNER STREET RESTAURANT IN FOUNTAIN HILL.  THE SHOW VISITS STRUGGLING RESTAURANTS AND GIVES THEM A MAKEOVER, CHANGING ITS MENU AND RETRAINING ITS STAFF.  "RESTAURANT: IMPOSSIBLE" WILL BE IN FOUNTAIN HILL TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY OF NEXT WEEK.

  A SECOND HEARING ON PRIVATIZING THE STATE'S LIQUOR INDUSTRY HAS BEEN HELD IN HARRISBURG AND A THIRD IS PLANNED FOR EARLY NEXT MONTH.  LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JIM CAWLEY SAYS THAT MEANS THE ISSUE COULD STILL BE WRAPPED UP SOON.  "I THINK WE WILL HAVE THE TIME NECESSARY IN ORDER OUR STATED GOAL OF HAVING TRUE PRIVATIZATION BY JUNE 30TH," CAWLEY SAYS.  A BILL PASSED THE HOUSE IN MARCH THAT WOULD CREATE 1,200 NEW PRIVATE WINE AND LIQUOR STORE LICENSES AND ALLOW THOUSANDS OF BARS, RESTAURANTS AND GROCERY STORES TO BEGIN SELLING BOTTLES OF WINE.  IT APPEARS THE SENATE WILL NOT APPROVE THAT BILL AND IS WORKING ON A HEAVILY AMENDED BILL.  GOVERNOR CORBETT WANTS A BILL ON HIS DESK BY JULY 1.

  DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS IN PENNSYLVANIA ARE TRYING TO FORCE THE REPUBLICAN-CONTROLLED SENATE TO VOTE ON LEGISLATION TO COMPEL GOV. TOM CORBETT TO EXPAND MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY UNDER THE 2010 FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW.  A DISCHARGE PETITION WAS FILED TUESDAY IN THE SENATE BY DEMOCRAT VINCENT HUGHES OF PHILADELPHIA.  THE PETITION IS DESIGNED TO PREVENT THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE COMMITTEE FROM BOTTLING UP THE BILL AND FORCE A SENATE FLOOR VOTE.  BUT THE PETITION CAN BE STOPPED IF MAJORITY REPUBLICANS DON'T AGREE TO A VOTE, AND A SPOKESMAN SAYS SENATE REPUBLICANS DON'T HAVE A POSITION YET ON THE PETITION OR ON A MEDICAID EXPANSION.  CORBETT ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS SAY ANY EXPANSION OF MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY IN PENNSYLVANIA PROBABLY WOULDN'T TAKE EFFECT BEFORE JANUARY 2015, EVEN IF THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR EMBRACES THE IDEA.
 

  FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS ARE SENDING PENNSYLVANIA $2 MILLION IN EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR REPAIRS TO INTERSTATE 81 FOLLOWING A FIERY TANKER CRASH.  U.S. SEN. BOB CASEY ANNOUNCED THE FUNDING TO HELP WITH REPAIRS FROM THURSDAY'S CRASH NEAR HARRISBURG, WHICH SHUT DOWN THE INTERSTATE UNTIL MONDAY NIGHT.  GOV. TOM CORBETT HAD EARLIER SIGNED A DISASTER EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION ALLOWING THE STATE TO SEEK FEDERAL AID FOR THE ESTIMATED $10 MILLION-PLUS IN DAMAGE.  AUTHORITIES SAID THE TANKER WAS CARRYING 7,500 GALLONS OF DIESEL FUEL WHEN IT FLIPPED OVER AND BURST INTO FLAMES ON A RAMP THAT CROSSED OVER I-81.  THE INTENSE HEAT BUCKLED STEEL BEAMS AND DAMAGED THE ROAD SO BADLY OFFICIALS FEARED IT COULD COLLAPSE ONTO THE INTERSTATE.  TEMPORARY REPAIRS HAVE BEEN DONE, BUT OFFICIALS SAY LONG-TERM REPAIRS COULD TAKE MONTHS.

  AUTHORITIES IN THE POCONOS HAVE CHARGED A NEW JERSEY MAN IN THE HIT-AND-RUN DEATH OF HIS BROTHER ON THE DAY OF THE ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE IN 2011.  28-YEAR-OLD KYLE RISKO OF STEWARTSVILLE, N.J., TURNED HIMSELF IN TO AUTHORITIES TUESDAY IN MONROE COUNTY.  HE IS CHARGED IN THE MARCH 2011 DEATH OF 29-YEAR-OLD WILLIAM RISKO IN STROUDSBURG.  PROSECUTORS ALLEGE THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS DRIVING DRUNK WHEN HIS BROTHER APPARENTLY JUMPED ON THE SIDE OF HIS CAR AFTER THE BROTHERS HAD BEEN PARTYING AT A NEARBY HOTEL, BUT THE VICTIM FELL OFF AND WAS RUN OVER. 

  ANGELINA JOLIE SAYS SHE'S HAD A PREVENTIVE DOUBLE MASTECTOMY AFTER LEARNING SHE CARRIED A GENE THAT MAKES IT EXTREMELY LIKELY SHE'LL GET BREAST CANCER.  TARA NAMEY, WITH LEHIGH VALLEY HEALTH NETWORK, SAYS THE PROCUDURE IS BEING DONE HERE ON OCCASION.  "PROBABLY NOT MORE THAN ONCE A MONTH, BUT I WOULD PROBABLY SAY FOR WOMEN WHO ARE POSITIVE FOR THE GENE WE PROBABLY DO AT LEASE FIVE OR 10 PER YEAR," NAMEY SAYS.  SHE ESTIMATES THAT ABOUT 50 PERCENT OF WOMEN DIAGNOSED WITH CARRYING THE GENE THAT MAKES IT LIKELY THEY'LL GET BREAST CANCER DECIDE TO HAVE A PREVENTATIVE MASTECTOMY.

  WORKERS ARE DEMOLISHING WHAT'S PERHAPS THE BEST KNOWN SYMBOL OF SUPERSTORM SANDY'S DEVASTATION ALONG THE NEW JERSEY SHORELINE.  A CRANE IS TEARING APART THE REMNANTS OF THE JET STAR ROLLER COASTER THAT PLUNGED OFF AN AMUSEMENT PIER INTO THE OCEAN DURING THE OCTOBER 29 STORM.  THE WORK BEGAN TUESDAY AFTERNOON IN THE SUMMER TOURIST DESTINATION OF SEASIDE HEIGHTS AFTER GREAT BRITAIN'S PRINCE HARRY ENDED A VISIT THERE.  THE WORK WILL TAKE ABOUT FOUR DAYS WITH CREWS WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK.

 

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