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First Posted: 10/14/2014

Heroin found in car with 2-year-old girl

• Pittston Township police said a large amount of heroin and prescription pills were in arm’s reach of a 2-year-old girl when they stopped a traffic violation, according to charges filed.

Police said they stopped Rebecca Anne Kammerer, 27, of John Street, Pittston, when she didn’t use a turn signal as she exited Knights Inn motel on state Route 315 at about 7 p.m. Monday.

During the stop, police said they detected an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

Kammerer removed a package of marijuana from her bra, police said.

Scranton is still in the running for America’s ugliest accent

Gawker’s nasty little contest is winding down, and Scranton is still in the running for America’s Ugliest Accent.

We’ve been following the contest and watched as 16 sixteen cities dwindle down to four. Scranton already won “two, tree” rounds when it took on New Orleans and Tallahassee. (It won each round by a landslide.) The other remaining contestants are Boston, Pittsburgh and Providence.

Boy, 10, charged in death of woman, 90

In Wayne County, a 10-year-old boy has been arrested in the homicide of a 90-year-old woman.

Pennsylvania State Police in Honesdale have announced the arrest of Tristen Kurilla, a 10-year-old boy from Damascus Township, Wayne County, for criminal homicide in the death of Helen Novak, 90, of Tyler Hill, also in Wayne County.

On Oct. 11, police said, Kurilla was visiting family on Skylake Road in Tyler Hill, and that Novak also lived in the residence.

Police allege that Kurilla entered Novak’s room and, after a dispute, Kurilla punched Novak numerous times in the throat.

Flames ravage West Pittston home

West Pittston Firefighters battled a smoky, multiple-alarm fire that tore through a two story home in the borough on Sunday night.

No injuries were reported, but the residence at 407 6th St. appeared to sustain heavy damage. At least one neighboring home had to be evacuated, and streets were blocked as crews from as many as six area departments were called in to fight the flames.

The fire was reported at 8:54 p.m., with smoke and flames continuing to pour from the roof until about 10 p.m.

Luzerne County Court sees increasing need for Spanish translation

Thousands of dollars are being spent in Luzerne County court proceedings for providing Spanish translation at pre-trial hearings and other court proceedings.

Thelma Kennedy is one of only two Luzerne County residents who have passed a grueling written and oral state certification test required to provide translation in court proceedings.

Spanish translation was provided at 723 Luzerne County court proceedings this year to date, including hearings conducted at district judge offices throughout the county, and Kennedy handled most of these assignments, said county Court Administrator Michael Shucosky.

Outside translators must be brought in when there are scheduling conflicts or to provide back-up in trials that are too involved and lengthy to rely on one person, he said.

Wilkes-Barre man accused of urinating in front of children facing charges in Luzerne County Court

A man from Wilkes-Barre who Freeland police say exposed himself and urinated in front of several children in a club house will face related charges in Luzerne County Court.

Michael Tufts, 39, last known address as South Main Street and formerly of Four Seasons Estates, Hazle Township, appeared for a preliminary hearing before District Judge Daniel O’Donnell on Tuesday.

O’Donnell sent two counts each of unlawful contact with minors, indecent assault and open lewdness and one count each of terroristic threats and public drunkenness against Tufts to Luzerne County Court.

Adamis Arias of Hazleton gets up to 40 years for third-degree homicide

A Hazleton man will spend up to 40 years in state prison for his role in a gunfight that claimed the life of Angel Villalobos.

Luzerne County jurors in August convicted Adamis Arias, 22, of third degree homicide after less than two hours of deliberation.

After three days of testimony, the jury didn’t buy the defendant’s claims he acted in self defense on the night of Feb. 23, 2013.

Police never located the revolver fired by Arias or the pistol shot by 19-year-old Villalobos, but the bullets, shell casings, photos and witness testimony were enough for a guilty verdict.

Man found safe in Brooklyn

A Wilkes-Barre, 50-year-old man who went missing Thursday evening has been found safe in Brooklyn, New York — 130 miles from home.

Jan Ripa said Monday New York City Police found her brother, Raymond Ripa, physically unharmed around 10:30 p.m. Sunday and took him to a local hospital for evaluation.

Raymond Ripa is mentally disabled, and at the time Jan Ripa said her family believed he no longer was taking his medication.

Jan Ripa described her brother as a kind, gentle man whose four-day disappearance had left them feeling helplessly frantic.

Man killed after driving wrong way on I-81

A Luzerne County man driving the wrong way on Interstate 81 early Saturday morning was killed when his car was hit by an oncoming tractor trailer.

Kennith Howells, 36, was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:10 a.m., said Tom Moran, deputy county coroner. Moran said Howells died from multiple traumatic injuries and the death was ruled accidental.

According to the Hanover Township Fire Department, Howells entered the northbound lanes of the highway traveling south near Blackman Street. His car was hit by the tractor trailer near mile marker 162.