Former Mayor "Chummy" Lignelli Dies
Former Donora Mayor John "Chummy" Lignelli has died. Lignelli, who was ninety-five-years-old, was a familiar face in Washington County politics. He died Thursday evening. Lignelli was re-elected to his sixth term as mayor in 2013, but stepped down a year later, after moving to an assisted living facility in another municipality. Lignelli also served as chairman of the Washington County Housing Authority. (Photo: Tribune Review)
Union Opposes Sale Of Health Center
The union representing workers at the Washington County Health Center showed up at Thursday's meeting of the Washington County Commissioners to urge the board to work with them, and not sell the facility. The workers held signs reading "Keep Washington County Health Center as a county owned facility." Earlier this week, the commissioners admitted talks to explore the possibility of selling the health center are underway, saying the county is losing millions of dollars to run the facility. Dawn Futrell, Administrative Organizer for the SEIU, told WJPA News on Thursday that the health center is a vital part of the county, and if sold to a private entity, wages will decline and the workforce would likely be reduced. The contract with union workers there expires at the end of this month and no new talks have been scheduled, although Futrell says she expects them to get underway soon.
Many Giving Up Looking For Work
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent last month, though not for the best reason: Many of the unemployed gave up looking for work.
Employers added a solid 178,000 jobs in November, nearly matching the average monthly gains this year. Those gains point to the steady economic growth that President-elect Donald Trump is poised to inherit.
Average hourly pay slipped, however, after a solid gain the previous month. Pay has increased at only a modest pace in the past year.
Death Toll Reaches 11 In Tennessee Wildfires GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - Emergency officials say the death toll from Tennessee wildfires this week has risen to 11.
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener says in a statement Thursday night that one additional death has been found in Sevier County.
Hurricane-force winds fueled wildfires on Monday night, forcing more than 14,000 residents and tourists to evacuate the city of Gatlinburg.
Recall At Ford
DETROIT (AP) - Ford is recalling more than 680,000 midsize sedans mainly in North America because the front seat belts may not hold people in a crash.
The recall covers certain 2013 to 2016 Ford Fusion, 2013 to 2015 Lincoln MKZ and 2015 and 2016 Ford Mondeo cars.
Ford says heat generated when the seat belt pre-tensioners deploy can cause cables to break. If that happens the belts may not hold people. Ford says it knows of two injuries related to the problem.
Pre-tensioners tighten seat belts when they sense that cars are stopping.
Dealers will inject insulation into the pre-tensioners to protect the cables from heat at no cost to owners. The recall is expected to begin on Jan. 16.
Most of the cars are in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Former NFL Player Shot And Killed
(AP) - Former NFL player Joe McKnight has been shot to death following an argument at an intersection with another motorist outside New Orleans.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says it happened about 2:43 p.m. Thursday in Terrytown, a suburb of New Orleans.
Normand says 28-year-old McKnight was standing outside his car when he was shot by 54-year-old Ronald Gasser.
Normand says Gasser stayed at the scene and relinquished his weapon to responding officers. He says Gasser is in custody and being questioned.
Sheriff's spokesman Col. John Fortunato says they're anticipating charging Gasser but it's unclear with what.
McKnight, who played for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, is the second NFL player this year to die as a result of a possible road-rage incident. Saints player Will Smith was killed in April.
Christmas Trees Could Be Fire Hazards
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - It only takes a minute for a crispy Christmas tree to touch off a raging inferno. That's what researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts discovered when they touched a tree with a blowtorch in a mock living room and videotaped the results. It took only 63 seconds for the entire room to become engulfed in flames. A freshly harvested Christmas tree that was left unwatered for three weeks was used for the exercise, recreating conditions that often occur after people decorate their homes for the holidays. The National Fire Protection Association says Christmas trees caused an average of 210 house fires a year between 2009 and 2013. Those fires killed seven people, injured 19 others and caused $17.5 million in property damage.
Christmas Parade Tonight
The main attraction may be the annual Christmas Parade but organizers are hoping there will alot more to attract people into downtown Washington. The parade begins tonight at 7 and will travel Chestnut Street and then down Main. Highlights include lighting of the Christmas tree at the courthouse and photos with Santa. Something new this year is a holiday market at the community pavilion on South Main across from the "Observer-Reporter" between 3-10 p.m. featuring all kinds of food and holiday gift ideas.
Fire In City
City firefighters responded to a house fire at 55 Grove Avenue around 10 this morning. Inital reports indicated everyone inside got out safely. The fire was declared under control 30 minutes later. The state police fire marshall was asked to investigate the cause.
Mattis To Lead Defense Department
WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump says he will nominate retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to lead the Defense Department.
Trump made the announcement during a post-election victory rally Thursday in Cincinnati.
Mattis retired in 2013 after serving as the commander of the U.S. Central Command.
In a tweet Sunday, Trump referred to Mattis by his nickname "Mad Dog" and described him as "A true General's General!" (Photo: AP)
Field Narrows For Supreme Court Choice
WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump says he has narrowed his choice for a Supreme Court nominee "down to probably three or four candidates."
One of Trump's first decisions after his inauguration will be to nominate a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. The high court has been functioning with just eight justices since then, with the Republican-led Senate refusing to hold hearings on President Barack Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
Trump tells Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, in an interview that aired Thursday night, that his Supreme Court candidates are "terrific people. Highly respected, brilliant people."
He says he will announce his nominee "pretty soon."
Trump Seeks To Have Recount Request Thrown Out
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump and the Pennsylvania GOP are asking a state court to throw out a Green Party-backed request for a recount of Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 presidential election, which Trump won. In a filing late Thursday, Republican lawyers accused Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein of legal antics that threaten Pennsylvania's ability to certify its presidential electors by the Dec. 13 federal deadline. A Monday court hearing is scheduled in the case. The GOP argues there's no evidence or even allegation that tampering with the state's voting systems occurred and that the law doesn't specifically allow a court-ordered recount. Stein is spearheading a recount effort in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states where Trump won narrowly over Democrat Hillary Clinton. She cites concerns cyberattacks could alter results tabulated on Pennsylvania's electronic voting machines.
Michigan Considers Recount Request
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's elections board will consider President-elect Donald Trump's request to block a hand recount of all 4.8 million ballots cast in the state he won by 10,700 votes over Hillary Clinton.
Arguments will be heard today.
A recount is already underway in Wisconsin, where the first reporting of numbers is expected Friday. In Pennsylvania, a hearing is scheduled for Monday on Stein's push to secure a court-ordered statewide recount.
Recounts aren't expected to flip nearly enough votes to change the outcome in any of the three states.
Lawyers for the Trump campaign argue that Green Party candidate Jill Stein can't seek the recount in Michigan because she wasn't "aggrieved" to the point where potential miscounting of votes could have cost her the election. She garnered 1 percent of Michigan's vote.
"Weekend At Bernies" Actor Dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Don Calfa, the film, stage and television actor whose credits included "The Return of the Living Dead," "Weekend at Bernie's" and "Barney Miller," has died. His publicist Michael Perez tells The Associated Press that Calfa died Thursday in Palm Springs of natural causes. Calfa died two days before his 77th birthday. The New York City native started out on Broadway in the 1960s. Calfa appeared in dozens of comedies, dramas and horror flicks, notably as the mortician Ernie Kaltenbrunner in "The Return of the Living Dead." Calfa worked with directors such as Steven Spielberg ("1941"), Martin Scorsese ("New York, New York") and Blake Edwards ("10"). He also had a busy career in television, working on "Barney Miller," "Hill Street Blues" and "Kojak" among other shows