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CMYK Times Leader special section celebrates our parents Philly advances with a 5-2 win over Buffalo in Game 7. INSIDE TODAY SPORTS, 1B DEAL 15ONLY@ 30$ $ FOR ! DEAL Sign up now at DAILY 280517 Flyers are moving on NEPA Thank you, Mom and Dad! TODAY’S The Times Leader WILKES-BARRE, PA WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 2011 50¢ N AT U R A L G A S J O B S Tax paid by drillers disputed “IF NOT FOR CHALLENGER, these kids would never have had the opportunity to play ball.” Theresa Wychoskie Mother of Joey, who was the inspiration behind the formation of the Challenger Little League Report stating group pays little in fees uses faulty data, say those in industry, Pa. official. By STEVE MOCARSKY S. JOHN WILKIN/THE TIMES LEADER FILE PHOTO King’s College baseball team member Tim Marchetti helps Ryan Kislam with his swing during a Challenger baseball game last year at Betzler Fields. The Monarchs hosted the Wyoming Valley Challenger Division League, helping the children bat, run the bases, and play the field. The event was in memory of former King’s assistant coach Rob Cardoni. Below, Billy Sukus, third from left in back row, with his Dodgers’ teammates in Challenger Little League circa 1995. Billy’s father, Bill Sr., coached the team. He is standing next to his son. 20 years of special kids Challenger league reunion Saturday By BILL O’BOYLE PITTSTON TWP. – During the first year of Challenger Little League in 1991, a game was played at the Lackawanna County Stadium – home of the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Red Barons at the time. Andy Ashby, a former member of the Red Barons, had been promoted and was a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. Ashby was at the game and was standing in the third base dugout when a young member of the Challen- INSIDE: Challenger Little League alumni find success as adults. Page 14A ger league came over to say hello. Christina Capitano, a brown-eyed beauty who had difficulty ambulating, was told by league president Fred DeSanto to walk over to the third base side and ask Ashby for his autograph. So she did. When she got there she asked, “Are you Andy Ashby?” Ashby shook her hand and Christina asked for the autograph. As he was signing a baseball for her, Christina asked another quesSee CHALLENGER , Page 14A See DRILLERS , Page 10A SUBMITTED PHOTO Gun buyer says she was manipulated Emily Gross supplied the firearm used to kill a state trooper, prosecutors say. By TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER PHILADELPHIA – The woman who supplied the gun that was used to kill state Trooper Joshua Miller of Pittston Township says she was manipulated into purchasing the weapon and had no idea it would be used to commit a crime. In an emotional letter to a federal judge, 25-year-old Emily Gross also expresses extreme reGross morse, saying she has been left “with an emptiness I cannot begin to describe” as she reflects on the harm her actions caused. “Not a day goes by that I do not regret that decision. I never could have imagined that this error in judgment could have led to such tragic events,” Gross says in an April 15 letter to U.S. District Judge Darnell Jones. “My heart aches for those whose lives have been affected by my actions, especially Trooper Joshua Miller and his family. I see his children growing up without a father. I see Mrs. Miller as a widow, long before anyone could have imagined.” Gross, of Westfield, N.J., is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday in federal court in PhilaSee GUN, Page 6A Lesser charge for woman in alleged hit-and-run of an accident that resulted in a Mandatory 1 year in jail to be pedestrian’s death in Kingston tossed if Panowicz convicted of more than two years ago. fatal-incident misdemeanor. Centre County Senior Judge By EDWARD LEWIS A mandatory one-year sentence will be abolished if prosecutors secure a conviction against Megan Panowicz, charged with leaving the scene INSIDE A NEWS: Local 3A Nation & World 5A Obituaries 2A, 8A Editorial 13A B SPORTS: Scoreboard 2B Baseball 4B Business 8B Stocks 9B C TASTE: Birthdays 3C TV/Movies 6C Crossword 7C D CLASSIFIED: Funnies 16D WEATHER MacKenzie Sheehy Partly sunny, very warm. High 77. Low 65. Details, Page 10B three drivers who struck Sharon Shaughnessy, 32, as she crossed Wyoming Avenue on Aug. 27, 2008. Panowicz was the alleged driver of the first vehicle to hit Shaughnessy, who was struck by a second vehicle and then by a third vehicle allegedly driven by Linda Giordano, 64, of Kingston, police said in arrest re- Carson Brown, presiding in Luzerne County Court, issued a ruling Tuesday lowering the criminal offense against Panowicz, 25, from a third-degree felony to a first-degree misdemeanor. Kingston police allege Panowicz, of Forty Fort, was one of See PANOWICZ , Page 6A Making a case for a severance tax on natural gas in Pennsylvania, a research and policy center on Monday released a report showing that natural gas drillers in the state pay very little in state and local taxes, despite industry claims to the contrary. Many drillers – including nine of the top 10 permit holders in the Marcellus Shale – structure their businesses as limited liability companies (LLCs) or limited partnerships (LPs). This allows them to avoid the corporate net income tax altogether and pay the much lower personal income tax on company profits, according to a report by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. Only 15 percent of the 783 companies to file state corporate net income tax returns owed any tax, netting the state $17.8 million. About half of the companies that had to file tax returns for capital stock and franchise tax had to pay any tax, which totaled $8 million. The state collected another $13 million in personal income taxes from drillers, bringing the grand total to $38.8 million that year, the report states. In 2009, oil and gas drillers in Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia – states that have severance taxes – paid considerably more in state and local taxes 6 09815 10011 Area’s farmers fear a harvest of trouble Wet weather is making planting difficult and threatening to delay crops. By STEVE MOCARSKY The above-average rainfall this month is causing problems for farmers across Pennsylvania, forcing them to delay planting of grains, fruits and vegetables. As of Monday, rainfall recorded at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport was 48 percent higher than normal and 145 percent higher than rainfall last April, according to figures from the National Weather Service. In fact, it rained here 17 of the first 25 days in April. “The rain is keeping us out of the fields. It’s just too wet,” said Harold Golomb, owner of Golomb’s Farm and Greenhouse in Plains Township. Right now, the soil would pack too hard to allow for proper crop growth and seed germination if seeds were planted, he said. PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER Harold Golomb, of Golomb Farm in Plains Township, is concerned about wet weather. Donna Grey, Penn State Extension educator, said planting in wet weather would cause the soil to clump and harden, which could hurt seedlings as they try to come up, and it’s also not good See FARMS, Page 7A

Times Leader 04-27-2011

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