Thursday March 29 2012

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THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2012

JURY DEADLOCKS ON DEATH PENALTY

A BLAIR COUNTY JURY DEADLOCKED YESTERDAY AND COULD NOT DECIDE IF NICHOLAS HORNER DESERVES THE DEATH PENALTY…SO HE IS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE FOR THE APRIL 2009 SHOOTING DEATHS OF SCOTT GARLICK AND RAYMOND WILLLIAMS. THE JURY DELIBERATED FOR ABOUT AN HOUR AND A HALF BEFORE THEY SENT A MESSAGE TO THE JUDGE SAYING THEY WERE HOPELESSLY DEADLOCKED. FOLLOWING A PRE-SENTENCING INVESTIGATION, HORNER WILL BE FORMALLY SENTENCED IN ABOUT 45 DAYS. DEFENSE ATTORNEY TOM DICKEY PLANS AN APPEAL BECAUSE THE JUDGE DIDN’T ALLOW HIM TO USE THE DEFENSE OF “NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF LEGAL INSANITY”.

HOUSE DESTROYED

FIRE DESTROYED THE HOME OF MIKE MCCRACKEN LAST NIGHT NEAR THE DOLLAR GENERAL STORE IN BELLWOOD, BLAIR COUNTY. NO WORD YET ON THE CAUSE OF THAT BLAZE. NO INJURIES WERE REPORTED.

SANDUSKY SCANDAL

ACCORDING TO HIS ATTORNEY JOE AMENDOLA, JERRY SANDUSKY WILL ATTEND NEXT THURSDAY’S HEARING TO ADDRESS THE DEFENSE REQUEST THAT ALL CRIMINAL CHARGES BE DROPPED. AMENDOLA CITES THAT THE PROCEEDING REPRESENTS “A SIGNIFICANT POINT” IN THE CASE. ACCORDING TO THE CENTRE COUNTY GOVERNMENT WEBSITE, THE HEARING WILL BE HELD IN COURTROOM NUMBER ONE OF THE BELLEFONTE COURTHOUSE.

IN LIGHT OF THE JERRY SANDUSKY SCANDAL, THE PENN STATE FACULTY SENATE HAS LAUNCHED A REVIEW OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO DETERMINE HOW THE BOARD CAN BE MORE OPEN. FACULTY SENATE CHAIRMAN DAN HAGEN SAYS THE COMMITTEE WON’T HAVE SUBPOENA POWER, BUT MEMBERS PLAN TO INTERVIEW TRUSTEES AND COMPLETE A REPORT BY THE END OF MAY. THE TRUSTEES DO NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE FACULTY SENATE.

THE SECOND MILE WILL NOT HOLD ITS ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT THIS SUMMER. VICE CHAIRMAN DAVE WOODLE SAYS THE CHARITY IS OPERATING WITH A SMALLER STAFF, WOULD HAVE HAD A SHORT WINDOW TO ORGANIZE THE EVENT, AND IS FOCUSING ON FIGURING OUT THE CHARITY’S FUTURE AMID THE CHILD SEX ABUSE CASE INVOLVING FOUNDER JERRY SANDUSKY. SINCE THE GOLF TOURNAMENT STARTED IN 1980, IT’S RAISED MORE THAN $3 MILLION FOR THE SECOND MILE. WOODLE EMPHASIZED THAT THE DECISION TO SKIP THE EVENT SHOULDN’T BE TAKEN AS AN INDICATION OF THE CHARITY’S FUTURE.

AFTER AN APPARENT CHANGE OF HEART BY PENN STATE, THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION WILL HOLD A MEET AND GREET FOR TRUSTEE HOPEFULS BEFORE THE BLUE-WHITE GAME ON APRIL 21ST.THE UNIVERSITY HAD PREVIOUSLY DECLINED TO HOST IT, SAYING IT COULD PUT CANDIDATES WHO LIVE FARTHER AWAY AT A DISADVANTAGE, BUT SPOKESWOMAN LISA POWERS CONFIRMED WEDNESDAY THAT THE ASSOCIATION IS NOW FACILITATING THE EVENT. IN LIGHT OF THE JERRY SANDUSKY SCANDAL, 86 CANDIDATES ARE HOPING FOR 3 ALUMNI SEATS ON THE BOARD. ELECTRONIC VOTING BEGINS APRIL 10TH AND CONTINUES UNTIL MAY 3. THE RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT THE TRUSTEES’ MAY 4TH MEETING.

TEACHER GETS JAIL TIME

IN CAMBRIA COUNTY COURT THIS WEEK, FORMER JOHNSTOWN SUBSITUTE TEACHER MICHAEL RAGER PLEADED GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES AND RECEIVED A SENTENCE OF 6 TO 23 MONTHS IN PRISON. RAGER WAS ARRESTED IN MARCH 2011. AUTHORITIES SAY THE 29-YEAR OLD THOUGHT HE WAS HAVING ON-LINE CONVERSATIONS WITH A 14-YEAR OLD GIRL, BUT IT WAS REALLY AN UNDERCOVER FBI AGENT. THEY HAD EXCHANGED GRAPHIC PHOTOS AND PLANNED TO MEET. RAGER WILL ALSO HAVE TO REGISTER UNDER MEGAN’S LAW FOR 10 YEARS.

MORE CHARGES AGAINST SCHOOL THIEF

47 YEAR OLD CALIXTO MELENDEZ-HERRING APPEARED AT ARRAIGNMENT IN ALTOONA YESTERDAY. POLICE SAY HE SNEAKED INTO GREAT COMMISSION SCHOOL LAST WEEK AND STOLE MONEY FROM SOME TEACHERS’ PURSES…FORCING A SCHOOL LOCKDOWN. POLICE SAY MELENDEZ-HERRING IS ALSO CHARGED WITH 7 COUNTS OF IDENTIFY THEFT, FORGERY, AND CREDIT CARD FRAUD AFTER A STRING OF CRIMES SINCE OCTOBER. HE’S IN THE BLAIR COUNTY PRISON WITH ANOTHER COURT APPEARANCE SCHEDULED APRIL 4TH.

COLLEGE STUDENTS PROTEST

STUDENTS, FACULTY AND COACHES FROM PENNSYLVANIA'S 14 STATE-OWNED UNIVERSITIES YESTERDAY PROTESTED GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT'S PROPOSED BUDGET ON THE STATE CAPITOL STEPS. THEY SAY CORBETT'S RECOMMENDED 20-PERCENT CUT TO THE STATE SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION WILL CAUSE MORE PROGRAM CUTS, LARGE CLASS SIZES, AND TUITION INCREASES. 

VACINNATION DEADLINE APPROACHING

PENNSYLVANIA STUDENTS WHO DON’T COMPLY WITH AN UPCOMING IMMUNIZATION DEADLINE WILL LIKELY FIND THEMSELVES UNABLE TO ATTEND CLASSES. THE STATE’S NEW VACCINATION GUIDELINES TOOK EFFECT THIS SCHOOL YEAR. THEY MANDATE SEVERAL EXTRA SHOTS FOR CHILDREN, INCLUDING ONES AGAINST MUMPS, CHICKEN POX AND MENINGITIS. STUDENTS WHO WERE NOT UP-TO-DATE IN SEPTEMBER WERE GIVEN AN 8-MONTH GRACE PERIOD AND THAT EXPIRES IN A FEW WEEKS. STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THE NEW REQUIREMENTS PUT PENNSYLVANIA IN LINE WITH THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

WINE DELIVERED TO YOUR FRONT DOOR

THE PENNSYLVANIA SENATE VOTED UNANIMOUSLY YESTERDAY ON A BILL THAT WOULD ALLOW P-A RESIDENTS TO HAVE AS MANY AS 24 BOTTLES OF DOMESTIC WINE SHIPPED TO THEIR HOMES EACH MONTH FROM U-S WINERIES. THEY WOULD HAVE TO SIGN FOR THE SHIPMENT AND SHOW PHOTO I-D. WINERIES WOULD HAVE TO REGISTER WITH THE STATE AND COLLECT ALL TAXES BEFORE SHIPPING THE WINE. CURRENTLY, RESIDENTS HAVE TO PICK UP THE WINE THEY ORDER AT A STATE STORE.