New York farmers lament lost chance at gas cash

ALBANY, N.Y. — While environmental groups are doing a victory dance over New York’s decision to ban fracking, farmers such as apple grower David Johnson are grieving for dashed hopes and dreams.“I’m devastated,” Johnson said after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health and environmental commissioners announced Wednesday that they were recommending a fracking ban. “I have concerns about how to continue this farm that’s been in the family for 150 y...

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AP: Frein, Cosby, Kane, Mo’ne among 2014 Pennsylvania newsmakers

PHILADELPHIA — A search for the biggest headlines in Pennsylvania this year yields … a very big search.The $11.4 million police manhunt for Eric Frein in the woods of the Pocono Mountains topped headlines for weeks in 2014. U.S. Marshals found the self-taught survivalist outside an abandoned airplane hangar 48 days after he allegedly shot two state troopers, killing one. Frein, who is awaiting trial, has not yet entered a plea.A much shorter search capped a t...

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Berwick man faces child-porn charges

BERWICK — A Berwick man is facing numerous charges after child pornography was found on his cell phone, police said.Rickie Sitler, 57, is charged with 15 counts each of manufacturing child pornography and possession of child pornography and two counts of indecent assault.On Saturday, Berwick police received a report of an individual possessing child pornography. That individual was identified as Sitler. The reporting party was in possession of Sitler’s cell p...

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Hungry customers fill new Wilkes-Barre Popeyes

WILKES-BARRE — Bob Brodbeck, Dennis Desbrow and Paul Farrell waited at least a half hour for their order at the new Popeyes restaurant late Sunday afternoon.That wasn’t unusual, given the line of customers 50 deep that wound through the building and the more than 30 cars lined up halfway around the restaurant, along a driveway behind the adjacent Walgreens and out to Coal Street.“It’s impossible in there,” Brodbeck, 90, said as he and Desbro...

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Luzerne County vehicle fee still on table

Luzerne County Council did not include $1.5 million in revenue from a proposed $5 fee on annual vehicle registrations in the 2015 budget adopted last week, but the fee may still be implemented.The fee is permitted by transportation funding Pennsylvania officials approved last fall, but council members can’t vote on enacting it until 2015. Council members who may support the fee did not want to count on uncertain revenue in the budget.If the fee is passed for 2015, ...

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Harvard survey finds Pennsylvania among most corrupt states

WILKES-BARRE — A new survey measuring corruption in the country puts Pennsylvania at the bad end of the spectrum.According to the study, which was conducted by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, the Commonwealth is ranked among the most corrupt states.Arizona ranks as the most corrupt, followed by California, Kentucky, Alabama, Illinois and New Jersey. Pennsylvania is in the next group, ranking under Georgia and New Mexico.̶...

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Dog owners urged to buy licenses

WILKES-BARRE — Have you purchased your dog license yet? If not, time is running out.Pennsylvanians can now purchase 2015 dog licenses from their county treasurers. State law requires all dogs three months and older to be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year.JoAnn Johnson, a clerk with the Luzerne County Licensing Department, said that “thousands” of dogs in the county have been licensed. She said that was a good number, and added that the county dog warden c...

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Wilkes-Barre Township Christmas party continues longstanding tradition

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The Wilkes-Barre Township’s annual children’s Christmas party drew a crowd to give children a few early Christmas goodies on Sunday.Bob Delescavage, coordinator for the event, said the party has been held for at least 50 years. The party was limited to township children and for children of clubs that sponsored the event.Delescavage looked at the line of children and their families, which stretched from inside the Wilkes-Barre Townshi...

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Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Boxing great Muhammad Ali was hospitalized with a mild case of pneumonia that was caught early and should result in a short hospital stay, an Ali spokesman said.The three-time world heavyweight champion, who is battling Parkinson’s disease, is being treated by his team of doctors and is in stable condition, said his spokesman, Bob Gunnell.“He went into the hospital this morning,” Gunnell said in a phone interview Saturday night. ...

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Diaz helps deliver ‘Annie’ to a new generation

In her 20-year career, Cameron Diaz has met her share of crazy challenges.She held her own opposite Jim Carrey in “The Mask,” got the guy instead of Julia Roberts in “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” added a dash of sweetness to the raunchfest that was “There’s Something About Mary,” voiced an ogre princess in “Shrek,” helped re-invent “Charlie’s Angels” for a new generation, and made the title scoundrel in ...

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