Former Cecil Chief Faces Prison Time
Former Cecil Police Chief John Pushak will spend at least three months in prison for using police funds to gamble at two local casinos. Defense attorneys argued that Pushak and his wife shared a special bond at the Meadows Casino when she was dying of cancer. While grieving her death between 2010 and 2013, Pushak repeatedly returned to the Meadows and Rivers Casinos as a coping mechanism, and on several occasions, he used a debit card to withdraw funds from a federal Drug Enforcement Administration account. He then gambled with that money, and later returned it when confronted after an audit. Pushak was sentenced Monday to concurrent 3-12 month sentences on charges of theft and failure to make a required disposition of funds. Washington County Judge Gary Gilman did not add jail time for misapplication of entrusted property, but did require four years probation and 100 hours of community service in Cecil Township after prison. Pushak was also ordered to forfeit his pension and pay more than $35,000 in restitution to Cecil Township and nearly $3,000 to Washington County. He must report to Washington County Jail by September 12, but he will have the option of serving his sentence in Greene County for his protection.
State Of Emergency Declared In Connellsville
A state of emergency was declared Sunday night in Connellsville, due to flooding that turned streets into rivers and left people stranded. Authorities say multiple vehicles were stuck in high water along Route 119 in Bullskin Township just after nine o'clock, and water rescue teams were deployed. Rescue crews brought several people to safety amid the flooding, and there were some injuries, but the extent was unclear. The east end of Connellsville, near Connell Avenue, was one of the hardest-hit areas. The Connellsville Area School District and Conn-Area Catholic School are closed today. Route 119 on the border of Connellsville and Bullskin Township is closed at East Crawford Avenue and it is unclear when it will reopen. (Photo: Youtube)
Ice Rink Owner At Southpointe Disputes Charges
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The owner of a practice rink formerly used by the Pittsburgh Penguins is facing a federal trial on charges he dodged paying more than $1 million in payroll taxes by moving the money through a shell company.
The defense attorney for 61-year-old Steven Lynch, a Pittsburgh accountant, has said the charges are totally unfounded.
Lynch was indicted two years ago in connection with the IceoPlex at Southpointe and other businesses connected with the development. Federal prosecutors contend Lynch ordered underlings not to pay the government federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes deducted from worker paychecks from 2008 to 2011.
At the trial starting today, prosecutors will try to prove Lynch ran the money through a shell company with no assets to keep the IRS from collecting the debt.
Former East Washington Mayor Dies
Longtime attorney and former East Washington Mayor Harold Fergus has died. Fergus died Sunday at his home. Arrangements are incomplete and are being handled by the Warco-Falvo Funeral Home.
New Sandy Hook Elementary School Opens
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - About 400 elementary school students are attending school at Sandy Hook for the first time since a shooting rampage there killed 20 first-graders and six educators. A new 86,000-square-foot school opened today in Newtown, Connecticut. It replaces the one torn down after the 2012 shooting. The $50 million replacement was built on the same property, but not in the old footprint. About 70 current Sandy Hook students attended the old school when the shooting occurred.
Police Investigating False Reports Of Shooter At LAX
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Investigators at Los Angeles International Airport are focusing on what prompted the first of several 911 calls falsely reporting gunshots that sent panicked travelers running onto streets and the tarmac.
Airport police Officer Rob Pedregon says the initial 911 call came in Terminal 8 around 8:45 p.m. Sunday - about five minutes after officers detained a man dressed as Zorro who was carrying a plastic sword in Terminal 7. Pedregon said Monday that police have found no connection between the two incidents. He says multiple 911 calls were made from at least three terminals. A search uncovered no evidence of a gunman or shots fired. Officials said Sunday night that loud noises spurred the reports, and police are still investigating their source.
Plane Crash Kills A Star Of "Ice Road Truckers"
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A plane crash in western Montana has killed a star of the History channel reality show "Ice Road Truckers" and another man. History spokeswoman Susan Ievoli confirmed Monday that 52-year-old Darrell Ward died Sunday in the fiery crash on the shoulder of Interstate 90, southeast of Missoula. Missoula County sheriff's Capt. Bill Burt says the pilot appeared to be trying to land at a small airstrip when "something went drastically wrong." Witnesses say the plane went through a stand of trees, hitting some of them. A statement on Ward's Facebook page said he was traveling to Montana to begin filming a pilot episode of a new documentary-style show about the recovery of plane wrecks. Burt says the pilot, 56-year-old Mark Melotz, bought the Cessna 182 on Friday. "Ice Road Truckers" follows truckers who bring supplies across frozen lakes to work camps and remote towns.
Gene Wilder Dead At 83
UNDATED (AP)- Gene Wilder, the star of such comedy classics as "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles," has died. He was 83. Wilder's nephew said Monday that the actor and writer died late Sunday in Stamford, Connecticut from complications from Alzheimer's disease. The frizzy-haired actor was a master at playing panicked characters caught up in schemes that only a madman such as Mel Brooks could devise, whether reviving a monster in "Young Frankenstein" or bilking Broadway in "The Producers." But he also knew how to keep it cool as the boozy sheriff in "Blazing Saddles" and as the charming candy man in the children's favorite "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory."
City Opens New Recycling Center
The City of Washington held a grand opening over the weekend, for its new recycling center. Mayor Scott Putnam says the center, located at Washington Park, was made possible through a grant of more than three-hundred-thousand-dollars from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Putnam says that for now, the center will accept only yard waste, such as tree and hedge trimmings, branches, etc. Putnam says there is also a small recycling bin that will take newspapers and glass. The recycling center will be open to anyone who would like to use it, Monday through Friday. The material will be chipped and shredded and used as mulch and other material around the park. (Pictured: left to right: Chris Marsh, Park Director, Mayor Scott Putnam, City Councilman Joe Manning and Lynn Galluze, Computer Systems Coordinator, City of Washington)
Mylan To Make Generic EpiPen
NEW YORK (AP) - Mylan says it will make available a generic version of its EpiPen, as criticism continued to mount over the price of its injectable medicine.
The company said today that its U.S. subsidiary will put out a generic version of the EpiPen that will have a list price of $300 for a two-pack. It will be available in both 0.15 mg and 0.30 mg strengths.
Myland N.V. said that it anticipates having the generic versions available in the next several weeks. It will continue to market and distribute branded EpiPen.
The company charges $608 for a two-pack of the branded EpiPen. Mylan said it will keep in place the $300 savings card for the branded EpiPen and the revised patient assistance program announced last week.
House Fire In Canton Township
A house caught fire early Monday morning at 65 Velti Drive in Canton Township. Firefighers were at the scene for about three hours and the fire marshall will visit the site to determine a cause. Firemen tell us there was substantial damage but the owner was at work at the time the blaze broke out. Firefighers from Washington and South Strabane Township assisted Canton at the scene.
Heavily Traveled Bridge To Close
PennDOT says starting September 6, the bridge on Route 136 near Route 519 will close for replacement. The work will take one month to complete. That bridge borders North and South Strabane and Somerset Townships. It's a $7 million project.
PennDOT tells WJPA News a section of Route 980--McDonald Street--is open again at the railroad tunnel overpass, north of Rt. 50 in Cecil and Robinston Townships in McDonald. The road had been closed to allow for repairs on the railroad overpass.
Governor Talks About Marijuana
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania needs to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession. But he remains guarded about the kind of recreational legalization in several western states. Wolf said today that some municipalities have stopped arresting people for possessing small amounts. But he says too many people are still going to prison for marijuana possession and that's clogging up prisons and hurting families.
New Study On Sports Concussions
CHICAGO (AP) - Continuing to play despite a concussion doubles recovery time for teen athletes and leads to worse short-term mental function than in those immediately removed from action, a study found.
It's billed as the first to compare recovery outcomes for athletes removed from a game or practice compared with those who aren't. The study was small, involving 69 teens treated at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center concussion clinic, but the results bolster evidence supporting the growing number of return-to-play laws and policies nationwide
The study was published today in the journal Pediatrics.
Another "Sexting" Episode Leads To Separation
NEW YORK (AP) - The latest sexting episode may have been the last straw for the wife of former Congressman Anthony Weiner (WEE'-nur). Human Abedin (HOO'-muh AB'-uh-deen) says she and Weiner are separating. Abedin -- a top aide to Hillary Clinton -- says she and Weiner "remain devoted to doing what is best for our son." According to the New York Post, the toddler appears in one of the photos it published yesterday -- taken while Weiner is in bed, texting with a woman. The newspaper says Weiner sent the photos last year -- to a woman it identifies as a "40-something divorcee" who lives "out West" and who supports Donald Trump. (Photo: CNN)
Florida Bracing For Storm
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Authorities at some locations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida are hauling out sandbags to offer residents amid predictions of heavy rains from a storm system heading to the southeast Gulf of Mexico. The tropical depression was located at 11 a.m. EDT Monday about 170 miles (275 kilometers) west-southwest of Key West, Florida, and moving west at 7 mph (11 kph) with top sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph). The National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to eventually turn to the north and then northeast in coming days amid predictions it could drop heavy rains over northern Florida.
St. Petersburg says it began offering free sandbags Monday and will do so again for several hours Tuesday at two locations. Two other local jurisdictions also were making sand bags available.
Looters Hit Quake-Damaged Homes In Italy
PRETA, Italy (AP) - Italian police have arrested two people for allegedly looting quake-damaged homes. Police say officers riding motorcycles in streets filled with rubble today arrested a Romanian man and woman in the hamlet of Preta. It's near the hardest-hit town, Amatrice (ah-mah-TREE'-cheh), where least 231 people perished in the Aug. 24 quake and hundreds of homes collapsed or became unsafe. In all, 292 people are confirmed dead in several towns in central Italy. Some people are sleeping in cars near their homes for fear of looting.
Traffic Fatalities Up
WASHINGTON (AP) - Government officials say traffic fatalities rose 7.2 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. That's the largest single-year increase in a half century. The final tally of 35,092 deaths released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is 0.5 percent lower than the 7.7 percent estimated increase released in July. NHTSA said the final numbers are still the largest single-year increase since 1966. Officials attribute the rise to more drivers on the road. The Obama administration responded to the latest numbers with a "call to action," asking researchers, safety experts, data scientists and others to find new ways to prevent traffic deaths. The National Safety Council has said that its preliminary estimates for the first six months of 2016 show the trend increasing, with fatalities up 9 percent.