Suspect with Gun Overpowered by Police Couple

Last Monday the married police deputies Susan K. Smithers, 34, and Roland Smithers, 37, were lucky when they were able to subdue a man with a rifle after he attacked both of them.

At 3:17 p.m. that day, Deputy Roland Smithers responded to an alarming emergency call coming from Rumphannock. The caller was farmer Clem R. Kadiddlehopper, 69, who complained about shots being fired. The incident took place at his property at the intersection of County Highway K and Cussville Road.

When arriving at the scene, Kadiddlehopper already waited for the deputy and shouted out of his house that there is an armed man in the field behind his barn. A few minutes later, Deputy Susan Smithers arrived at the scene for backup. What happened next was a battle and a life threatening situation.

Hiding behind an open barn door, both deputies shouted for the suspect to drop his gun and come out of his hiding place with his hands up. The man had just fired his first rifle shot. Two more shots followed. After that, the suspect finally appeared out of his hiding place, carrying a rifle as well as a liquor bottle.

After the couple shouted again for the man to drop his gun, the armed suspect finally followed their orders. After he fell on his knees and appeared to be crying, the deputies approached him in attempt to arrest him.

What happened next was a real shock. The suspect lunged at Susan Smithers and grapped her neck in a choke hold. She dropped her weapon and began a struggle with the man. Roland Smithers could break his wife free but then got attacked himself.

Luckily, Smither’s wife had a Taser device with her. She employed it on the suspect and temporarily disabled him. The deputies put handcuffs on the man and managed to place him in the squad car.

The suspect is Robert L. Worthington, 48, who just got divorced and lost his job at Susquehanna Steel Corp. in Kittatinny.

“I wasn’t gonna hurt no one,” were the words Worthington used to defend himself. He is now at the Susquehanna County Jail in Kittatinny and has to wait for a bail hearing on Tuesday. He is framed for public intoxication, trespassing, two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer, and a reckless use of a deadly weapon.

“Mr. and Mrs. Smithers don’t usually work the same shift, and they told me this was the first time they had ever responded to an incident together,” the sheriff said.

Normally, it is untypical for a married couple to work together for the police. Usually, the county is prohibited to hire spouses. However, the state wanted to fulfill the goals of the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Gender Equity Act of 1996, with leads to both husband and wife being allowed to work together. The law encourages that more women should be hired as police offices, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers.

Susan and Robert Smithers were fortune that they could get out of this dangerous situation. They did not had to use lethal force at the incident and nobody got hurt. Their luck was a true miracle.


Mayor is Prime Suspect in Accident

This Saturday Mayor Gustavus G. Petykiewicz, 65, was arrested after being involved in a traffic accident which happened on an intersection in Frontenac, Schuylkill County. The police found him intoxicated at the crime scene. Now he is facing serious jail time.

Around 1 p.m. Petykiewicz drove eastbound on Fonebone Road in a Ford Explorer. Another driver, later identified as Robert H. Doane, 41, was driving north in a Buick LE Sabre on State Highway 117.

Witness at the scene was 32-year-old Alice Q. Magarian. Doane drove in front of her with a moderate speed of 55 mph towards the intersection.

According to Magarian, Petykiewicz’s Ford showed up on Fonebone Road and appeared to stop at the stop sign, but then moved into the intersection. The vehicle then hit Doane’s car on the driver´s side.

Deputy Gordon J. Slivovitz, who responded to the 911 call, found both vehicles upright in a farmer’s field on the side of State Highway 117.

Petykiewicz was found disorientated and seemed to have not worn a seat belt while he was driving. Luckily, he was conscious and did not appear to have any injuries.

However, Slivovitz got suspicious as he heard Petykiewicz speech being slurred. He investigated and found a half-empty bottle of vodka inside the vehicle.

“You’d be drinking, too, if you were me,” was Petykiewicz’s way to explain himself. “Do you think we could just keep this quiet? I’m the mayor of Kittatinny.”

A breath test indicated a blood alcohol content of .14 which is .06 higher than the limit for intoxicated driving allowed in Pennsylvania.

Petykiewicz’s drinking had serious consequences for Doane. Doane was conscious, but bled heavily from the head and complained about abdominal pain. He was picked up by a helicopter and brought to a hospital in Wilkes-Barre with the suspicion of a spine injury.

Later, the hospital reported that Doane has several broken bones, a broken jaw, as well as various abrasions and contusions in different body parts. Luckily he did not suffer any spine injury and is in an overall satisfactory condition.

Petykiewicz was arrested and transported to the Schuylkill County Jail in Kittatinny. He did not want an attorney and was released in the afternoon by the custody of his wife, who posted cash bail of $500.

Petykiewicz´s wife refused to answer any questions about her husband on the phone. Also, no one responded the door at the mayor´s office. Kittatinny´s habitants need to stay calm for a few days until it is decided what is going to happen to their mayor.

The preliminary hearing will be held Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the Schuylkill County District Court. Petykiewicz is framed for causing great bodily harm by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.

Is this going to be the end of Kittatinny’s mayor? The hearing will give people the answer of what will happen to Petykiewicz. However, chances for him are not good. A felony like this could lead to a maximum prison time of 10 years. Kittatinny should prepare to get a new mayor.

Flu Season is Vaccine Season

Wintertime can be very hard on our body, especially if we have the flu. Recently, people pay much more attention to the Ebola virus than to the flu. However, according to the online magazine of Time, the flu is a far more serious issue than we think.

While the Ebola virus reached four people in the United States so far, it is expected that millions will get the flu this winter season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assume that up 49,000 people could die of this illness.

Every year a lot of people in the United States get the flu vaccine to protect themselves. But how does the flu shot work and what side effects could patients experience?

With the help of posters and Facebook posts, also the Ambrose Health Center of UW-Whitewater tries to inform students about the benefits of the flu shot.

“Of course there can be side effects, like for any other vaccine. Still, we definitely recommend students to get the shot,” Donene Row, medical supervisor for health services, says.

According to Row, the flu vaccine could lead to soreness at the injection spot, low fever or muscle aching. However, serious side effects are very uncommon.

“The vaccine produces antibodies two weeks after the shot was given. These antibodies protect the body from getting the flu,” Row explains.

Students in Whitewater have different opinions about getting vaccinated. Some of them get the vaccine every winter season while others are still uncertain if it is really necessary for them.

Whitewater student Shirin Bouzari got the flu shot last year as well as this winter season. She was lucky. Besides from a slight body ache, she did not experience any side effects.

“I will graduate soon and I don´t have time to get sick. I think the flu shot is a great invention. Especially for older people who have a higher risk of dying from flu infections,” Bouzari explains.

She plans to keep on getting the flu shot the next years to stay healthy. In her opinion, everybody should get the shot.

“Just go to the doctor and get it. It takes a few minutes and will keep the flu away from you the entire season,” she says.

Student Daniel Will never got the vaccine and is not planning on getting it. He did not have a heavy flu for a long time. His concern is how his body would react to the vaccine.

“Everyone reacts differently to the shot. What if I would get a lot of side effects? I do not want to risk that,” Will argues. He believes there are different ways to prevent himself from getting sick.

“I think that you do not necessarily need the flu shot. There are other ways to protect your body during the cold season. Actually, my secret is orange juice,” Will laughs. “I drink a lot of it to strengthen my immune system with the vitamins that are in it.”

Additionally, Will makes sure to wear warm clothes and to wash his hands a lot during flu season.

Ambrose Health Center is not the only institution that recommends the flu shot. The CDC also highly encourages people to get the shot. However, only less than half of the population in the United States considers the walk to the doctor to get the shot.

On one hand, it is certain that the vaccine can help a lot of people. On the other, some people do not feel the need to get it and use other methods to stay healthy.

In the end it comes down to one question. Flu shot or no flu shot? This is a decision that everyone needs to make on their own.

Jobs convinces Stanford´s graduates

Steve Jobs, 50, talked about his life and his influential decisions in his compassionate speech today in front of this year´s graduates from Stanford University. He talked about his experiences in his life, love, the future, as well as loss and death.

“Truth be told, I never graduated from college and this is the closest that I have ever gotten to a college graduation,” Steve opened his speech and listened to the friendly laughter from the audience.

Even though Jobs never earned a college degree, he is, as we all know, one of the world´s most famous and successful entrepreneurs, marketers, and inventors. In his speech, Jobs filled the audience in on how everything started.

Jobs is a very powerful man today; still, life was not always easy for him. As a child, he was adopted by people who promised his birth parents that they would send their son to college.

When he was 17 years old, he attended Reed College in Portland, OR. Jobs dropped out just a while later, but still visited some classes even though he was not enrolled anymore.

He stayed at friend´s places during that time, and got very interested in calligraphy classes, which helped him, when creating the first Macintosh 10 years later.

In Jobs´s opinion, dropping out of college was the best decision he ever made. This was the point where he decided to take the calligraphy class.

“It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating,” Jobs underlined his special interest in calligraphy.

According to Jobs, without this class, the Mac or any other personal computer would never have gotten the typography that they now possess.

Looking back today, Jobs thinks that all the decisions he made, now make sense to him, since they led him to his great achievements. According to him, back in the day he did not know where his bad decisions would lead him. He could have only seen the importance of his past decisions by looking back on his past, which he refers to “connecting the dots”.

“You can´t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards,” Jobs summed up his life about his youth. He encouraged the graduates to have faith and to stick with the things that make them happy. If they can believe that their own dots would connect eventually, they can gain the confidence to follow their dreams.

Jobs, similarly to the students he presented to, needed a lot of faith, especially one time of his life. About a year ago, he found out that he had pancreatic cancer. With a very bad prognosis at first, he was prepared to die soon. Luckily, he was cured.

With this, Jobs gave the students an understanding of the value of life. With his very personal story about his illness, he expressed to them that time is limited. The students should not waste their lives living someone else’s life.

According to Jobs, death is a good invention. Because of death, people take life-changing risks and make way for new opportunities.

“Have the courage to follow you heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary,” Jobs said in his confident voice.

Jobs still knew exactly what he wanted to do, even when his biggest professional disappointment occurred: he was fired from Apple, his own company. At first, this was a very devastating time for him.

Jobs was seen as the public figure failure. Even though it was very hard for him, it became clear to him that he still wanted to continue with what he already did.

“I was rejected, but I was still in love,” Jobs spoke.

New strength gave Jobs the courage to start over. He used his new freedom over the next five years to develop the computer company NeXT, as well as Pixar, the now most successful animating studio in the world.

Jobs explained that without being fired, he would have never developed those successful companies. Also, he would not be with his wife Laurene, who he met during those five years.

Jobs seemed to have made some poor decisions in life. There were also times when destiny did not align well for him. However, for him, all those things happened for a reason. He would have never been in the place he is today or the same man if his life would have developed differently.

In his speech, Jobs wants to give young people advice. Bad incidents or poor decisions in life should be used to get stronger and to help progress in life. Every individual should stand up for him or herself instead of living in another person´s shadow. Nobody should ever give up on the things that he or she loves.

Pumpkins, Candy, S´mores

Carving pumpkins and eating Halloween candy seems normal during this time of the year.  However, this is not the case for everyone. Most of Whitewater´s international students never celebrated Halloween before.

*Last Saturday the Center of Global Education offered a Halloween event for all the international students. 45 students drove to Burlington, WI, and enjoyed the afternoon at a farm, where they carved out pumpkins and ate pizza, candy, as well as orange Halloween cake. The host of the event was Eloise M., a retired professor from UW-Whitewater.

“I really enjoy having the international students at my home. I invite them every year because I love to tell them about Halloween and show them my farm,” Eloise said at the event. “A lot of them never carved out a pumpkin before.”

The event took place in Eloise´s backyard. The students were welcomed with a big barrowful of pumpkins, where they could each pick one out to carve.

If you never carved a pumpkin before, how do you get eyes and a mouth in there? And how do you make them look scary? Those were questions the students asked themselves when hearing that pumpkin carving would be a part of the afternoon.

Luckily Eloise, who is a big Halloween fan, explained to the students how to put a face on them. Additionally, the students learned that you put the jack-o-lantern in front of your house with a candle in it.

“Most of the people in Germany know about Halloween, but you only celebrate it in a few parts of our country. It is not so popular yet. I, for sure, never cut a face into a pumpkin,” Sebastian F. from Germany explains.

Standing at a big table, together with the others, and getting used to the little tool kit for the pumpkin, Sebastian cut out eyes and a mouth, piece-by-piece. In the end, he did it and showed his pumpkin proudly to everyone.

“Well, it does not look scary at all, but it does have a face. It is my first pumpkin after all. Maybe I should do another one before Halloween,” Sebastian laughs.

Next to having fun with pumpkins, there was also a lot of food, which Eloise all prepared herself. The students made pizza and also enjoyed an enormous turkey.

A highlight of the lunch was the table with the desert. Next to several cakes of different flavors, there was also a pumpkin shaped Halloween cake, covered with orange frosting. A lot of students enjoyed making s´mores, also something exciting and new for most of the students.

May L., who is originally from the Philippines, is the International Programs Assistant and accompanied the students on the trip.

“I love Halloween! I love the food, the pumpkins, but especially I love to dress up,” she explains. “We always try to let the internationals experience the American holidays and the traditions as much as possible.”

Due to the weather, the group left after a few hours. With only 46 degrees and light rain, everyone was starting to freeze.

Sebastian was glad to get onto the warm bus back to his new home, Whitewater. He is already looking forward to the next events.

The next few events are already planned by May L. The students will go to Freak-Fest in Wisconsin as well as to several Christmas events, so that they can also experience those American occasions.

Mayor´s new budget proposal for Kittatinny dissatisfies attendants at news conference

Life in Kittatinny is not what it used to be. Since the shutdown of one of the blast furnaces at Susquehanna Steel Corporation, where 600 people lost their jobs, the town is facing tough times.

Kittatinny is under great financial stress. In hope for a better future, the town´s Mayor Gustavus G. Petykiewicz released a budget proposal for 2015. Yesterday he held a news conference to answer questions and to receive suggestions from others.

In the budget, the mayor is planning modifications, e.g. to raise the town´s tax rate from 4 mills to 4.3 mills. Still, the town´s income for 2015 would be about $100,000 less than in 2014, which underlines the difficult financial situation.

To reduce the city´s spending, Petykiewicz plans to add the charges of the current garbage pickup provider to the city water bills instead to the tax levy and tries to convince them to still provide the weekly garbage pickup. But the city is still negotiating.

Especially noticeable are changes in the police shift. To save money, Petykiewicz proposes that there will be no longer staffed Kittatinny police officers in town from 4 a.m. to noon.

For emergencies, people can call the Schuylkill County sheriff´s deputies instead. Two police officers in Kittatinny would lose their jobs.

“I cannot stand to watch a city of this size lose police protection for a third of the day,” said Roman Hruska, chief of Kittatinny´s police, at the news conference. Hruska proposed a 10% pay cut for a few members in town, so that the two police officers would not have to lose their jobs.

Also Martha Mittengrabben, president of the AFSCME, does not see the cutting of the police officers as a solution.

“There must be shared sacrifice,” Mittengrabben said. “Two colleagues are being laid off, that´s upsetting.”

Denelda Penoyer, president of the Kittatinny City Council, was also present at the news conference and agreed about the pay cuts for the mayor and the chief of the police. Penoyer also indicated the seriousness of the situation.

There have been some cases of domestic disputes in Kittatinny in the past. If incidents like this would happen during the early shift and police officers would need to drive from Schuylkill County all the way to Kittatinny, their help could come too late.

“I don´t want people to get killed in Kittatinny just because there were not enough police officers available,” agrees Bjarne Westhoff, president of the Pennsylvania Police Association. Next to pay cuts, he also proposes to raise the taxes more, so that 24-hour police protection can remain.

“The budget is not due until December. I would like to pull up my sleeves and do the hard work and I think some people will do,” Westhoff said.

Mittengrabben stated that unfortunately there is a possibility that people will leave Kittatinny to find a job in another city.

“I am afraid that more people will leave Kittatinny. They lived here their whole lives and this could break their hearts, but they have to support themselves and their families. We will miss them. This would make it harder.”

By Dec. 1, 2014 the budget has to be approved by the council and signed into law by Petykiewicz.

“I want people to understand why this is necessary. Cuts will affect me as a citizen as well. But remember, the budget is not done until December,” he said hopefully. Until then the mayor´s door is always open and he is welcoming suggestions as to how the town can weather this rough time.

New wheelchair basketball star at UWW

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater´s wheelchair basketball team has a new member, the 23-year-old international student Christian S.

Born in Malmö, Sweden, Christian got involved with wheelchair basketball early in his life. He started being on a team in his home city when he was just 10 years old. What followed was the start of a true success story.

At the age 13, Christian won his first big game, being the youngest player on the team. When he was 16 years old, he had the honor to play at the wheel chair basketball world championship, where his team achieved the third place.

He also played successfully in several games of the European championship. After he finished school, he decided to move to the United States.

Despite of his great achievements, life was not always easy for Christian.

“I had a normal childhood. I played soccer, I climbed trees, I did all that kid´s stuff. But when I was 8 years old, I got difficulties with my spine which affected my muscles and nerves. Then I got my first wheelchair,” he said.

But Christian fought, practiced and has not stopped playing wheelchair basketball since.

He has lived in Whitewater for four weeks now and enjoys being on the team. “We have such talented payers, who are strong and never give up.”

Even though being on the team is Christian´s best time of his life, it takes a lot of responsibility and ambition.

“Every practice you have to show the coach why you should be on the team,” he reports. “This is what is different from my team back home. In Sweden basketball is a hobby and winning is not so important. In Whitewater, we want to win and work hard for it, it is competitive and exciting.”

Christian has big dreams. He just started to study at UWW with a major in physical education. After graduating, he hopes to continue with basketball under contract. In addition to this he also saids, laughing, “I would like to find a girlfriend, that I can bring to Europe and spoil with the money I will make.”

In the future, Christian would like to visit different countries to excite people for wheelchair basketball to keep it from dying out and to give other people the same chance for the future that he received. Until then, Christian is doing everything he can to follow his dreams in his new home Whitewater.