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Issue Home June 1, 2004 Site Home

Clary Appeal Denied
Susky Council Welcomes Lewis
Commissioners May Face Legal Action
Barracks Report
Court House Report
New Planning Commission Member
World News Briefs

Clary Appeal Denied

A Susquehanna County man who shot and killed his estranged wife and her boyfriend lost his appeal for a trial.

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania denied the petition of Michael Anthony Clary, 45, who shot and killed Victoria Ann Clary and Robert Testa in Bridgewater Township on Aug. 7, 1999. As a result, Mr. Clary will remain in a state correctional facility where he is serving two consecutive terms of 20 years to 40 years.

The punishment was agreed upon at a plea bargaining session between then District Attorney Charles Aliano and former county Public Defender Kevin Beals. It came five days before jury selection was to begin for Clary’s trial on charges of first degree murder. In exchange for his guilty pleas to two counts of third degree murder, Mr. Aliano withdrew the more serious charges that could have had the jury decide on the death penalty or life in prison with no parole.

Mr. Clary subsequently filed an appeal based upon five claims including an allegation that his attorney was ineffective. The Honorable Barry F. Feudale, who presided at a hearing on the petition, denied the appeal claiming that four of the assertions were not raised on direct appeal and that Mr. Beals acted in accordance with the provisions set forth by law.

In his petition for a trial, Mr. Clary claimed that Mr. Beals was "ineffective for failing to motion the court, at the time of the guilty plea, for an expert who would ascertain whether the defendant’s guilty plea was voluntarily entered."

In upholding Judge Feudale’s decision, the Superior Court noted that a petitioner claiming that his guilty plea was unlawfully induced, must also plead and prove that the circumstances make it likely that he is innocent. The court said the allegation that the plea was unknowing and involuntary sufficiently raises the question of innocence, but such a claim fails if the record reveals that a guilty plea colloquy was properly conducted, showing that the defendant understood the nature of the charges.

"Such a colloquy was clearly conducted here," the court said, "and appellant is entitled to no relief on this ground."

District Attorney Jason Legg, who represented the Commonwealth at the hearing, was pleased when he learned the appeal was denied. Mr. Legg said that when he pleaded before President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans, Mr. Clary understood what he was doing and that he knew what was going on.

"We are thrilled with the decision," Mr. Legg said. "We kept him in jail where he belongs."

According to an affidavit of probable cause, on Aug. 7, 1999, the Susquehanna County Communications Center received a call from a woman identified as Vesta Adriance of Montrose, informing them that Clary was at her home and that there may be a crime scene at the residence of the shooting victims. A State Police unit was dispatched to the Adriance residence where they observed Clary sitting on the front porch.

Ms. Adriance is quoted in the affidavit as telling State Police that she heard Clary pull into her driveway. Ms. Adriance said when she asked Clay what happened he told her, "They’re dead." She asked who is dead and Clary responded, "Both of them."

Meanwhile, additional State Police were dispatched to the mobile home shared by Testa and Mrs. Clary in Bridgewater Twp. They found Mrs. Clary’s body on the front porch and Mr. Testa lying in the back yard behind a detached garage.

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Susky Council Welcomes Lewis

The Susquehanna Boro Council meeting of May 25 began with Mayor Hurley administering the oath of office to newly appointed member Shane Lewis.

The next order of business was a discussion regarding the meeting schedule; with the appointment of secretary Margaret Biegert to the county Planning Commission, which meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month, as does council. After some discussion it was agreed to go back to two meetings each month (from three), to be held on the second Tuesday and the fourth Wednesday, beginning in June.

The newly formed garden club was thanked for their efforts in beautifying the areas near the Veterans memorial and outside the boro building.

The Susquehanna Community Development Association will be hosting Hometown Days, scheduled for July 23 and 24. Events will include arts and crafts, pony rides, a petting zoo, and live entertainment. The boro police are looking into an informational booth, which would also offer fingerprinting of children.

Council had previously discussed holding a fishing derby to coincide with the festivities. A committee to plan the derby was formed, with council members Matis, Williams, Frederick, Lewis, Whitehead and Kuiper. The committee will draw up rules, as well as determine where the derby should be held. Sign-up sheets with the rules posted will be made available once everything has been set.

The mayor’s report included thanks to Dermot and Brooke O’Hare, who had hosted a program on the history of Susquehanna the previous weekend, including a slide show and local speakers. Council member Pat Frederick added that she had attended the program, and had heard many favorable comments about Secretary Biegert, the consensus being how helpful she is, and that boro residents should be proud of what a force she has been behind many of the improvements and projects taking place. "Everyone was very outspoken in their praise," she said.

Rep. Sandra Major had brought a check to the boro the previous Friday, grant funding for a joint codes program with Oakland Boro. Members of the Main St. Community had attended the presentation in support of the codes program.

Continuing a discussion held at a prior meeting about large trucks causing damage to the sidewalks at the intersection of Erie Ave. and Main St., Mayor Hurley had spoken with business owners in the area who have regular deliveries; since the drivers vary too much, it would not be very effective to speak with them individually. The only solution would be to prohibit right-hand turns from Main St.; PENNDOT will assist with placing signs, which it will then be up to the boro to maintain. Streets commissioner Steve Glover pointed out that the boro’s parking ordinance would have to be amended to include this change.

The mayor reported that there has been an effective reduction of loitering on Main St. And, in response to some concerns about the proposed police bike patrol, Mayor Hurley had contacted the boro’s insurance carrier; the patrol would be covered under the boro’s policy, as the officers will be acting in a professional capacity. The equipment used would need to be added to the boro’s insurance policy, which could result in a minimal increase. The bike itself would not be covered as it does not belong to the boro. The insurance company recommended that an agreement be drawn up with the bike’s owner relieving the boro of liability for any damage caused to the bike itself while it is used for the patrol. Also, officers involved in the patrol must wear bulletproof helmets.

In response to a letter from the fire department, the streets department will be moving all "no parking" signs to thirty feet from corners. The department expressed concern about the inability of trucks to make turns; their new truck is considerably larger, which emphasized what has been a continuing problem. And there has been continuing concerns with safety issues, as vehicles parked too close to the intersection limit sight distance. Once the signs have been moved, the boro’s existing parking ordinance will be enforced on a routine basis.

Another of the department’s requests, to move a hydrant at the intersection of Main St. and Franklin Ave., will be addressed prior to paving planned for the area.

In preparation for Barnes-Kasson’s 100th birthday celebration on July 10, a committee consisting of council members Frederick and Matis, mayor Hurley and secretary Biegert will plan a float for the hospital’s parade.

Mr. Glover distributed a report of his previous month’s work, and updated council that PENNDOT is in the process of replacing the bridge on Main Street (over Drinker Creek). Main St. will be milled and paved after the bridge beams are replaced.

No word had been received as of the date of the meeting regarding a grant application for drainage and paving work on Jackson Ave.

Several areas in need of patching and paving were discussed; a definitive list of areas needing to be addressed will be discussed at the next meeting.

As part of the boro’s Agility agreement, PENNDOT will be sending a chipper to dispose of brush that has accumulated near the boro garage; in return, the boro will add hours to the street sweeping schedule.

Two street lights are in need of ballasts, one at the Drinker Creek Park and one on the Veterans Memorial Bridge, and new bulbs need to be ordered for several of the lights.

Mr. Lewis gave his monthly codes report. At his recommendation, a motion carried to begin the procedure to adopt ordinance 434, which covers property maintenance code and an existing structure code. The ordinance will include an allowance for any updates, which the state issues every three years. Mr. Lewis abstained from voting on the motion.

At a prior meeting, council had voted to designate Mr. Lewis as the boro’s building inspector, in keeping with the state Uniform Construction Code. He suggested that a third party concern, Commonwealth Codes Inspection Service, be named to conduct inspections of structures with handicap accessibility, which he is not "grandfathered" to do. Commonwealth could also conduct some commercial and electrical inspections if necessary. Although Mr. Lewis could conduct these inspections, there may be times where it would be more practical to refer some property owners to a third party, as the inspections would be quite time consuming. Under state regulations it is permissible to designate a third party inspector without bidding for the service. A motion carried to allow Commonwealth to conduct inspections of handicap accessible structures and commercial and electrical whenever necessary; Mr. Lewis abstained from the vote. A fee schedule for Mr. Lewis’ inspections is being drawn up and should be ready for council’s consideration at the next meeting.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 8, 7 p.m. in the boro building.

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Commissioners May Face Legal Action

The Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners may face legal action in the wake of last week’s decision to rescind a resolution that relinquished any county rights to a parcel of land in Montrose known as the Fair Grounds.

"Bring it on," Roberta Kelly, board chair, said of the threat to sue if the commissioners rescinded the resolution. "We did nothing wrong."

Mrs. Kelly and Minority Commissioner MaryAnn Warren teamed up to pass the motion that rescinded the resolution. Commissioner Jeff Loomis missed the meeting because he was attending a seminar in Harrisburg. Mrs. Kelly said Mr. Loomis was made aware of the impending action but she was not sure if he knew it would take place at last week’s meeting.

Mrs. Kelly said when the commissioners passed the resolution in January she was not aware that Verizon was paying the county more than $300 a month in rental fees for using a part of the county’s 911 communications tower on the site.

"We didn’t have all the facts up front," Mrs. Kelly said. "It’s not wise to give up county revenue." She said County Solicitor Michael Giangrieco did not prepare the resolution passed by the commissioners and that Mr. Giangrieco had not seen the resolution prior to its adoption.

"We are taking it back to square one and starting all over," Mrs. Warren said.

At a special meeting on April 12, Attorney Paul Kelly, who represents one of the principals involved in the matter, said if the commissioners rescinded the resolution he would take the county to court. Mr. Kelly could not be reached for comment prior to the Transcript’s deadline.

In another matter, the commissioners said action on a proposal to install time clocks in the county buildings has been delayed pending input from a new committee appointed to study the issue and make recommendations.

"We have to do quite a bit of research on this," Mrs. Kelly said. She said there is funding available for the project and she wants to make certain when a proposal for the funding is made that what they apply for is what they want and need.

"We want to do it right," Mrs. Kelly said. She said a press release on the matter issued by Commissioner Loomis, was "just jumping the gun on his part."

The commissioners hired Sylvia Beamer of Great Bend as personnel director at a salary of $24,000 plus benefits. Mrs. Kelly said Mrs. Beamer has 21 years of experience and she wants her input on the time clock issue before the county takes any action on the subject.

The commissioners agreed to borrow $220,000 from Community Bank and Trust at an interest rate of 1.69 percent. The money will be used to install an elevator in the courthouse. Mrs. Kelly said construction should begin by the end of the summer.

The following individuals were reappointed to the Advisory Council of the Area Agency on Aging: Clara May Benning of Kingsley, Josephine O’Peka of Forest City, Donald Rittner of New Milford, Rita Tiffany of Kingsley, William Wagner of New Milford, and Harold Wegman of Montrose.

Motions approved by the commissioners completed the following business:

Adopted a resolution appointing Jim Martin as acting director for the Susquehanna County Drug and Alcohol Program.

Accepted resignations of Joseph Donovan, a part time corrections officer, and Melinda DeLousia, voter registration clerk.

Hired Brian Palmer as a part time correction officer and Jennifer K. Morelli to the open position of Program Specialist in the Conservation District.

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Barracks Report


Around midnight on May 22, an unknown person(s) stole a 20’ by 20’ party tent from Greenwood Bank, Great Bend.


Sometime between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., May 18-19, someone stole the following from a truck belonging to Raymond James Lee, Thompson, while it was parked at the residence of Daniel Butts in Harmony Township: a blue Bosch drill, 1/2", a blue Mikita impact wrench, and a Pittsburgh 16-piece 1/2" drive deep sockets in a gray case. Anyone with information is requested to contact the state police at 570-465-3154.


Both Garrett Stever, 22, Kingsley, and Robert Collins, 55, Bensalem were driving in the right lane on Route 81 when Collins stopped for traffic that was slowed by another accident up ahead. Stever, driving a 2000 Ford F-250, hit the rear of Collins’ 2002 Ford Windstar. Collins was taken to CMC in Scranton and released with minor injuries. His car sustained moderate damage; Stever’s, minor damage, and both vehicles were towed from the scene in this May 24 accident.


Stacy Marie Castle, 32, Herrick Center, was apparently thrown out of a moving car by Edward J. Slick, 35, also of Herrick Center. Castle received bruises and abrasions on her arms, legs and face. Slick has been charged with simple assault and harassment in this incident that occurred on May 23 at around 1:30 a.m.


Kenneth Fish, 53, Bridgeport, NY, drove his Ford Taurus into the intersection of SR 92 and SR 106 in Lenox Township on May 19 at 3 p.m. A 1998 Dodge Neon driven by Brittany Brainard, 19, Kingsley, was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. Although the Clifford Ambulance arrived at the scene, no injuries were reported, both drivers were wearing seat belts, and both vehicles were towed from the scene in this accident that occurred mid-afternoon on May 19.


On May 22 at about 8:30 p.m., Michael Joseph Onuska, Hallstead, went to his apartment building on Dayton Street, Hallstead, and confronted Christopher James Hardy, his tenant. Hardy was attempting to turn his hot water back on, since Onuska shut it off due to unpaid back rent. An argument broke out, with both Hardy and Onuska becoming involved in a physical altercation. Onuska’s family members intervened and stopped the argument. In the process of separating the two, Roy E. Cole, Jr., Montrose, was punched in the eye by Hardy. While troopers were in Hardy’s apartment taking a statement, Onuska entered and used foul and obscene language to entice Hardy. Troopers told Onuska to leave the premises, which he did, but he remained outside and shouted profanities and acted threatening in both speech and manner. Hardy was charged with simple assault, criminal mischief, and harassment; Onuska was charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.


Mary Reynolds and Robert Fiske, both of Susquehanna, were stopped in traffic in their separate vehicles on SR 171 in Oakland Borough because two dogs were in the roadway. A car driven by Donald Richardson, Hallstead, failed to stop in time, striking Reynolds’ car, which then stuck Fiske’s. Reynolds received a neck injury in this late-afternoon, May 19 accident.


Kurt M. Niles, Friendsville, was driving his 1993 Buick Century along SR 4006 in Silver Lake Township when he swerved to avoid a deer and crashed into a tree. He was wearing a seat belt, the car’s airbag deployed, and he was uninjured in this 12:30 a.m., May 15 accident.


On May 13 around 4:30 p.m., a fight broke out between John Edwards, Lanesboro, and Ben Fitch, Susquehanna, on Grand Street in Lanesboro. The fight resulted in injury and charges have been filed.


On a private road off Bush Road in Bridgewater Township, Timothy A. Carey, 43, no address given, lost control of his Bombardier Outlander 4x4. The ATV rolled over and landed on Carey, who was not wearing a helmet. He was evacuated to CMC where he died of his injuries. The accident occurred at 6:30 p.m. on May 23.


Ryan Richard Bidwell, 24, Lenox, was observed violating several vehicles sections in his 1996 Mustang GT early in the morning of May 2. He was arrested for suspected DUI.


A traffic stop on April 29 at the intersection of SR 492 and Interstate 81 in New Milford Township was made on a vehicle for equipment and registration violations. A search of it yielded illegal drugs and paraphernalia, for which David Kinsley and Amy Cramer, both of Hallstead, were arrested.


John C. White, 60, and Noel Priest, 31, both of Forest City, were involved in a verbal altercation. White threatened Priest with harm and he was cited for harassment and two counts of disorderly conduct. Each is punishable by a $300 fine and/or 90 days in jail.


Sometime during the night of May 7 along McCarty Road in Lenox Township, someone smashed a mailbox owned by Debra Reichow. Anyone with information is requested to contact the state police at 570-465-3154.


Sometime during the night on May 9 along Day Road, Montrose, someone smashed a mailbox belonging to Carlton Chapel. Anyone with information is requested to contact the state police at 570-465-3154.


Thad Peterson, West Auburn, reported that sometime between 8:30 am and 7:30 p.m., someone entered his home through the basement. Anyone with information is requested to contact the state police at 570-465-3154.

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Courthouse Report


Jodi S. Clark, Jeffrey Michall Franklin (aka) Jeffrey Michael Franklin to Jodi S. Clark, in Rush Township for $25,000.

Verna Friling to James R. Friling, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.

Roger S. Williams and Jean Williams to Richard B. Williams and Karen A. Williams, in Springville and Auburn townships for $41,000.

Marie Washburn to Marion Lindsey, in Franklin Township, for one dollar.

Gary Sechrist and Beverly Sechrist to Theresa Pelton, in Forest Lake Township for $70,000.

Julie A. Dantini and Marian Ferguson to Marian R. Ferguson, in Silver Lake Township for $140,000.

Charles H. Snyder Jr. and Michelle L. Fox-Snyder to Dolores J. Goodger, in Jackson Township for $19,000.

Venita Alderson to Lanny Russell, in Middletown Township for one dollar.

Reginald Sanger (estate) to Florence McGowan, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Elsie Robinson to William R. Robinson and Rachel M. Robinson, in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.

Kevin Bryden and Grace R. Bryden to Kevin Bryden, in Jackson Township, for one dollar.

Johannes C.W. Bakermans and Anna Maria P. Bakermans to Johannes C.W. Bakermans and Anna Maria P. Bakermans, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

Grace Bryden to Kevin Bryden, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.

Richard Millen to Richard Millen and Ricki Millen, in Forest Lake Township for $0,00.

Richard G. States and Dorothy C. States to Robert A. Hagen, in Jackson Township for $60,000.

Jesse W. Manzer and Minerva M. Manzer to Jessica K. Louderback and James P. Louderback, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Judith M. Bartholomew (by tax claim) and Paul W. Bartholomew (by tax claim) to Habitat for Humanity of Susquehanna County, in Montrose for one dollar.

Lawrence T. O’Reilly and Christine M. O’Reilly to Mario Luigi Nardone, in Silver Lake Township for $68,600.

Manley L. Ward and Clara R. Ward to Ronald Natterer and Amy Natterer, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.

Arnold Manning and Alice Manning to William A. Paolucci and Cheryl Paolucci, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

William A. Paolucci and Cheryl Paolucci to Thomas F. Edwards, in Lenox Township, for $145,000.

Dorothy M. Barnard (est aka) Dorothy Barnard (est) to Ray Barnard, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

Clyde E. Boughton and Doris E. Boughton to Jeffery A Boughton and Nancy L. Boughton, in Oakland Township for one dollar.

Linda Lewis (nbn) Linda J. Griffis to Linda J. Griffis, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

Helen C. Spellman to Brett Vermilyea and Teresa R. Moran, in Oakland Township for $70,000.

Delbert E. Wilbur and Ann L. Wilbur to Philip J. Lewis, in Liberty Township for $8,000.

Delbert P. Marshall Jr. to Douglas W. Dirkes and Rosemary E. Dirkes, in Bridgewater Township for $15,000.

Dorothy Storr (nbm) Dorothy Canfield and Robert C. Canfield to Edward P. Ucci and Deborah A. Ucci, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

Dorothy Storr (nbm) Dorothy Canfield and Robert C. Canfield to Donald E. Tyler and Mary Ann Tyler, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

Morris C. Baker and Nancy A. Baker to Charles Restaino, in Springville Township for $68,000.

Thomas C. Bagnell and Kristen M. Bagnell to Maria Kryszon, in Springville Township for $70,000.

WGN Co., Margaret V. Rockey, John J. Lavelle Sr. (estate), John J. Lavelle Jr., Susan Lavelle, and William Gerter (estate) to John J . Evans and Lisa A. Evans, in Herrick Township for $16,500.

Sharon Wright and Charles J. Wright Jr. to Randy Sickler and Laura Sickler, in Auburn Township, for $5,000.

Daniel A. Bitetti and Jean G. Bitetti to Thomas Tarr and Mary Louise Tarr in Jackson and New Milford Townships for $253,000.

Evelyn E. Smith to Kurt D. Smith, Erik J. Smith, Ross G. Smith, in Susquehanna for one dollar.

Joseph L. Cerkvenik abd Thelma J. Cerkvenik to Michael Russo and Marie J. Russo, in Auburn Township for $199,500.

Clifford D. Sodan and Victoria J. Sodan to Jereme D. Biermann and Mandi L. Biermann, in Little Meadows Borough for $89,000.


Brian Scott Decker, RR 5, Montrose and Ann R. Moody, RR 5, Montrose.

Gary Allan Stanley, RR 5, Montrose and Kathleen Marie Thomas, RR 5, Montrose.

Thomas Jay Macleod, RR 2, Hallstead and Josi Marie Sherwood, RR 2. Hallstead.

Kevin G. Lyman, RR 1, Springville and Frances Paula Allen, Montrose.

Michael John Fisher, Hallstead and Lisa Marie Fisher, Hallstead.

Dale Alan King, Hallstead and Marina Anatolyevna Sangodzhieva, Hallstead.


Stanley E. Sanders, Springville vs. Margaret J. Sanders, Springville.

Calvin D. Sutton, Mehoopany vs. Eleanor A. Sutton, Laceyville.

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New Planning Commission Member

The Susquehanna County Planning Commission members welcomed Margaret Biegert to the Planning Commission at their May 25 meeting. She will replace Cyril Cowperthwait, who resigned after serving for several years. Biegert lives in the Susquehanna area and will represent Susquehanna, Lanesboro and Oakland.

Planning Director Robert Templeton presented a summary, in booklet form, of the 2003 County Comprehensive Plan Update, which is now in circulation. By word and photos, it gives an overview of the county; facilities, resources, as well as information on infrastructure, land use and development, growth projection, environment, and more. For those intimidated by the lengthy complete Comprehensive Plan, this provides a more reader friendly approach. The booklets are available in the Planning Commission office.

With much work having been done on Salt Springs State Park in the last few years, the Planning Commission deemed this a worthy project and voted to renew their membership at the $250 level.

Roger Hayes appeared before the Planning Commission to highlight a proposal he is working on in Bridgewater Township. He informed the Commission that he has about seventy-five Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) acres near the recycling center and has a potential buyer for five of those acres. The buyer plans to start a business there. Hayes plans to construct a road and will work to get the sight limitations under better control from Route 29. Hayes stressed that this is a future project, but he wanted to inform the Planning Commission before work started.

In other business, the Planning Commission complied with a request to write a letter of support for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church that has applied for a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museums Commission to repair the brick on the historic Susquehanna Church.

It was reported that the Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership (ESCP) has received its contract from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The contract was sent back to DCED with the County Commissioners signatures, and when it returns with DCED signatures, the ESCP can begin drawing down the funds. Templeton reported that the Nature Conservancy contacted the County Commissioners in hopes of doing a County Natural Areas Inventory in Susquehanna County. The Conservancy is presently working in Bradford and Tioga Counties and suggested that Susquehanna County consider having the work done here as well. It does not appear that there will be any monetary contributions required from the County for the study, only in-kind services of the Planning Department. Templeton and the County Commissioners will be meeting with representatives of the Nature Conservancy on June 7.

A community forum entitled "10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania" will be held on July 14.

The next regular meeting of the planning commission will be held on June 29, 7:30 p.m. in the County Office Building.

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World News Briefs

LONDON - OPEC has been asked to increase oil production by 6%. Not enough, say analysts. More must be done to curb the relentless rise in crude prices. Even if OPEC produces more oil experts say, "That wouldn’t be enough to crash prices, but it might stop them from going up."

BOSTON - Massachusetts first state to OK same-sex marriages. By Sunday night (May 16), about 1500 people had gathered outside Cambridge City Hall to get licenses to marry. It was quite a scene on TV. Men kissing men, and women kissing women. Some with children.

HARRISBURG, PA - A Pennsylvania State House bill that would let bars and restaurants have video gaming machines pump millions of dollars into municipal coffers, "does not have a chance of passing," says one legislator.

KING OF PRUSSIA - "Be on the alert for Geese," says a TV news report. A goose recently smashed through the windshield of a van carrying students to a fair. The driver was killed. The students received slight injuries.

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul named six saints. Among them, Gianna Bertetta Molla, an Italian pediatrician, who died at age 39 - a week after giving birth to her fourth child. She was told not to proceed with her pregnancy, due to a cancer, but insisted on carrying the baby to term.

WASHINGTON - Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost more than $50 billion next year, the Defense Dept. says. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress has provided $165 billion for Iraq/Afghanistan and antiterrorism efforts at home and abroad; they’re not saying what Bush will want for next year.

LOS ANGELES - Michael Eisner will keep his $1 million annual salary as chief executive of the Walt Disney Co., but he no longer serves as a board member. Eisner was chairman since 1984.

BOSTON - Pfizer Inc., has agreed to pay $430 million in fines and plead guilty to charges that a company it acquired four years ago promoted a drug for non-approved uses, in part by plying doctors with favors to get them to talk up the medication.

WASHINGTON - Federal regulators fined Riggs Bank a record $25 million for allegedly violating anti-money laundering laws in handling of cash transactions in Saudi-controlled accounts under investigation for links to terrorism financing.

HARRISBURG, PA -Former Rite-Aid Corp. Chief Executive Martin Grass has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for a role in a billion-dollar accounting fraud. Grass, 50, pleaded guilty to fraud and obstructing justice.

MIDVALE, UTAH - Briana Lane, 22, has her skull back in one piece. Hurt in a car accident, Medicaid and the hospital argued who would pay the bill. After four months - and much publicity - Lane’s skull was replaced, covered by her mother’s insurance as well as her nearly $200,000 in medical bills. (Can you imagine being left without your skull for four months?)

LONDON - A protester - Ron Davies, 44, in a VIP gallery hurled purple powder (harmless) on Prime Minister Tony Blair in the House of Commons. Davies was mad that he has been barred from seeing his children for five years.

WASHINGTON - Republicans pushed a compromise $2.4 trillion budget for 2005. But the GOP must get enough votes to get it through the Senate later.

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