Peck seeks to fight off Ziccarelli challenge in Westmoreland district attorney race

For the first time in a quarter century, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck has a race on his hands.

Republican Nicole Ziccarelli, fresh off a razor-thin defeat in a bid for state Senate last fall, insists it’s time to change leadership in the county prosecutors office.

“I respect the current district attorney very much, but after this much time, I believe we need a change in leadership and the time is now,” Ziccarelli said.

Peck, 74, of New Kensington has long political roots in Westmoreland County. His father served as county sheriff for more than a decade. After spending several years in the public defender’s office, Peck served as a part-time assistant district attorney and continued in that role until he was appointed to the top job. He won his first full four-year term in 1997.

He said the game hasn’t passed him by and his 40-years as a prosecutor is the steady hand county residents need.

“I don’t think this is any different from my past Republican or Democratic challengers who also had no experience in doing the job,” Peck said.

For Peck, that experience includes years in the courtroom as the office’s top prosecutor who has handled nearly every high-profile criminal case in the county since he was first appointed to the job by county judges. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic halted trials throughout much of 2020, Peck served as lead attorney in five murder cases that went before juries. All ended with convictions.

He said he has no intention of slowing down and will continue to try cases into a seventh term.

Ziccarelli said she sees the district attorney’s job, at least for now, as an administrative post.

Source: Peck seeks to fight off Ziccarelli challenge in Westmoreland district attorney race

Peter Scolari Dead: ‘Bosom Buddies’, ‘Newhart’, ‘Girls’ Actor Was 66 – Deadline

Peter Scolari, the prolific television and stage actor who found instant fame and a lifelong friendship with Tom Hanks when the two co-starred in the hit 1980 TV comedy Bosom Buddies, died early Friday morning following a two-year battle with cancer. He was 66.

His death was announced by Ellen Lubin Sanitsky at Wright Entertainment.

Scolari’s 43-year show business career included such highlights as his Emmy-nominated series regular role of producer Michael Harris on Bob Newhart’s 1984-90 comedy Newhart, an Emmy-winning recurring role as the father of Lena Dunham’s character on HBO’s Girls, and, most recently, his role as Bishop Thomas Marx on the CBS supernatural drama Evil.

A partial roster of other TV credits include Fosse/Verdon, Madoff, The Good Fight, Murphy Brown, The West Wing, ER, Gotham, Law & Order: SVU, Ally McBeal, From the Earth to the Moon and Honey I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, to name a relative few. Film credits include The Polar Express and a cameo appearance as a TV host in the 1996 comedy-drama That Thing You Do!, directed by and starring his old friend and co-star Tom Hanks.

Source: Peter Scolari Dead: ‘Bosom Buddies’, ‘Newhart’, ‘Girls’ Actor Was 66 – Deadline

NIH admits US funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan

The National Institutes of Health has stunningly admitted to funding gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at China’s Wuhan lab — despite Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly insisting to Congress that no such thing happened.

In a letter to Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) on Wednesday, a top NIH official blamed EcoHealth Alliance — the New York City-based nonprofit that has funneled US funds to the Wuhan lab — for not being transparent about the work it was doing.

NIH’s principal deputy director, Lawrence A. Tabak, wrote in the letter that EcoHealth’s “limited experiment” tested whether “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.”

Source: NIH admits US funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan

Dental records show remains found at Carlton Reserve are those of Brian Laundrie, FBI says – East Idaho News

(CNN) — The FBI’s Denver office said Thursday that remains found a day earlier in a Florida nature reserve are those of Brian Laundrie, who disappeared last month just days after his fiancée Gabby Petito was reported missing.

The FBI said dental records confirmed the identification.

The identification came hours after police in North Port, Florida, said the remains that were found were skeletal and belonged to a human.

“They are human remains, no doubt there. I would say that the remains were consistent with one individual, you know skeletal remains,” North Port police spokesperson Josh Taylor told CNN.

Investigators also found clothing believed to be consistent with what Laundrie was wearing when he took off September 13, according to Taylor.

Less than a week after Laundrie went missing last month, authorities in Wyoming found Petito’s remains in a national forest. Her death was ruled a homicide by manual strangulation.

On Wednesday, investigators also found a backpack and a notebook belonging to Laundrie, 23, near the remains while they were searching the Carlton Reserve in North Port, according to FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson.

“The notebook to my understanding has not been opened. You know, that will need to be processed,” Taylor said.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN the notebook is “possibly salvageable.” The source said the notebook was “outside of the dry bag.”

“It had been clearly wet and they are going to use any potential means to dry that out before opening it,” according to the source, who added: “They’ll be very careful with it.”

The source said it is unclear how the notebook ended up outside the dry bag.

When Taylor was asked about whether a weapon was found, he said he could not comment.

When asked if there is an ongoing search for the murderer of Gabby Petito, he responded, “That is certainly not in the North Port Police Department’s purview.”

During a search with police, Brian’s father, Chris Laundrie, was the first to spot an item belonging to his son, according to Taylor.

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday that “the probability is strong that it is Brian’s remains.”

The discovery came on Wednesday morning when Laundrie’s parents and law enforcement searched an area of the reserve that had been underwater but recently reopened to the public.

“It’s quite sad, you can imagine as a parent, finding your son’s belongings alongside some remains. That’s got to be heartbreaking. And I can tell you that they are heartbroken,” Bertolino told Cuomo.

Search conditions had been very difficult

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said Thursday law enforcement had been searching in treacherous conditions, including nearly chest-high water full of snakes and alligators.

“These are very, very difficult conditions. You’re searching in areas that you just can’t walk up and look. It’s not like you’re searching a house or a car,” he said. “These areas are huge and they’re covered by water.”

The exhaustive search for Laundrie stretched over a month as authorities tried to piece together what happened to him and Petito during their road trip through the Western US this summer.

Petito, 22, disappeared on the trip amid tensions in their relationship, and her remains were later found near where the couple had last been seen together.

Laundrie, who had returned by himself to his parents’ home in Florida, refused to talk with investigators and didn’t return after telling his parents he was going to the nature reserve to hike.

He was not charged in Petito’s death, although he was indicted for allegedly using two financial accounts that did not belong to him in the days following her killing.

Authorities, including several K-9 units and off-road vehicles, returned to the reserve on Thursday morning to further search the area.

Brian Laundrie’s parents were on scene when remains were found

Laundrie’s family had declined to talk publicly following legal advice, but they had directed authorities to where they believed Laundrie may be staying in the reserve, Bertolino said.

The parents — Chris and Roberta Laundrie — joined in the search Wednesday morning and found a bag belonging to their son at the park, which their attorney described as “happenstance.”

According to Bertolino, Laundrie’s parents informed the FBI and the North Port Police Department on Tuesday night that they wanted to visit the park Wednesday morning to search for their son.

Law enforcement met them there and closely accompanied them as they entered the park, Bertolino said.

“As they went further in, Chris ventured off the trail into the woods. He was zigzagging in different areas, law enforcement was doing the same thing. And Roberta Laundrie was walking down the trail,” Bertolino said. “At some point, Chris locates what’s called a dry bag. The dry bag is a white bag, laying in the woods, say 20 feet or so off the trail.”

The dry bag was in some brambles and he didn’t want to move it because he wanted his law enforcement to see it, Bertolino said. However, Chris Laundrie couldn’t find law enforcement and didn’t want to leave the bag there with a news reporter standing nearby, so he picked it up, Bertolino explained.

“He did meet up shortly with law enforcement, they looked at the contents of the bag. At that time, law enforcement officers showed him a picture on the phone of a backpack that law enforcement had located also nearby and also some distance off the trail,” Bertolino told CNN.

“At that point, the Laundries were notified there was also remains near the backpack, and they were asked to leave the preserve.”

The remains were found “about 2 to 3 miles inside the Carlton Reserve, or about a 45-minute walk” from the entrance at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, Taylor said Wednesday.

When asked why the parents chose to go to the park on Wednesday, Bertolino said it was the first day it was reopened to the public.

“The parents had assumed that the experts, the FBI and all the tracking teams they had would be able to locate Brian based upon the information that we had provided them to the specific areas and trails in the park that Brian liked to visit,” Bertolino said. “The park had been closed to the public. There was really no other reason for the Laundries to go search anywhere else.”

Source: Dental records show remains found at Carlton Reserve are those of Brian Laundrie, FBI says – East Idaho News

Pittsburgh Weather: Cleanup Efforts Underway After Thursday’s Severe Storms

By: KDKA-TV’s Erika Stanish, Jessica Guay and Royce Jones

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The day started off mild and seasonable, but that all changed this afternoon after severe weather hit western Pennsylvania.

READ MORE:Woodland Hills Varsity Football’s Friday Night Game To Limit Capacity Following School Fights

The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for parts of Butler, Mercer, Allegheny, Washington, Greene and Beaver counties on Thursday, but all warnings have now expired.

Allegheny County says the Hampton Township Fire Department believes a microburst hit the area, causing extensive damage. There were no reported injuries.

 

In Hampton Township, the strong winds ripped the roof off a home on Kirk Avenue. Crews put a tarp over the roof to protect it from the elements. Another nearby home had its roof partially ripped off during the wild storms.

Fire officials in the township said they responded to about 30 calls on Thursday night.

 

On Middle Road, a homeowner described the scene after storms hit the area.

“It was terrible. Just trees down on one side of the road. Had to use the other side of the road. It was just scary driving with all the debris on the road,” Jen Koervel said.

READ MORE:Crews Working On Water Main Break On Magee Street In Uptown

Many neighborhoods in the area were left without power after tree branches fell on power lines.

The American Red Cross has set up a staging area at the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department to help impacted residents.

In Washington County, the Peters Township fire chief said several homes were impacted. The chief said one home has substantial damage. The family was home at the time, but no one was hurt.

The NWS will be out in the area on Friday morning to survey the damage.

MORE NEWS:Parkway North Inbound Lane Restriction Planned On Friday

Stay up to date with the KDKA app, which you can download here.

Source: Pittsburgh Weather: Cleanup Efforts Underway After Thursday’s Severe Storms

Al Sharpton speech at border drowned out by protesters: ‘We don’t want his trouble’ | Fox News

Al Sharpton’s speech at the Haitian migrant encampment in Del Rio, Texas, on Thursday was drowned out by protesters who accused him of using the border crisis to stoke racism.

Sharpton took a tour of the migrant camp on the U.S. southern border in Del Rio to “meet and pray with refugees in the wake of the humanitarian crisis,” according to Wednesday press release from the civil rights organization National Action Network (NAN), which Sharpton founded in 1991.

After touring the situation with Democratic Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano, Sharpton held a press conference during which he accused Border Patrol of using tactics reminiscent of the slavery era, but his comments were overwhelmed by protesters who accused him of being “a disgrace” and “a racist.”

Among the phrases hecklers hurled at Sharpton were “Why are you stoking racism where it doesn’t exist?” and “How much money are you making out of this?”

“Del Rio is not a racist city,” someone shouted. “Del Rio is a loving, caring community. We don’t want your racism in Texas. Get out of here! Nobody wants to hear your racist nonsense in Del Rio!”

“He [incites] violence and riots,” said Kelsey French, the wife of a Border Patrol agent, according to local Fox 29. “He is not pro-cop. Our community is very cop. We support our men and women in the green and the blue and every color that they wear. We love them. We don’t want him here we don’t want his trouble. Amen.”

Source: Al Sharpton speech at border drowned out by protesters: ‘We don’t want his trouble’ | Fox News

Taiwan jets scramble again as China air force enters air defence zone | Reuters

TAIPEI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s air force scrambled again on Thursday to warn off 19 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, the latest uptick in tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese aircraft included 12 J-16 fighters and two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, the ministry added.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Giles Elgood

Source: Taiwan jets scramble again as China air force enters air defence zone | Reuters

Jan. 6 investigation accelerates as it turns toward Trump – POLITICO

 

The House panel probing the Capitol attack is readying a wave of subpoenas and already getting results from its document requests.

Select panel Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said Wednesday that a list of subpoena targets would be released as soon as this week.

“There’s a lot that we have to unwind, and there are so many variables in the process,” Thompson said in an interview.

Thompson told POLITICO recently that he hopes to complete the committee’s inquiry this spring, an extraordinarily tight deadline for an investigation of such scope and scale. The panel is attempting to piece together Trump’s pre-Jan. 6 efforts to overturn his election loss, his attempt to mobilize the Justice Department in support of that crusade and the thinking behind his effort to call supporters to Washington on the day Congress gathers to certify presidential election results.

Source: Jan. 6 investigation accelerates as it turns toward Trump – POLITICO

The families of missing people of color say media coverage favors the stories of missing White women – CNN

(CNN)David Robinson has been in Arizona for the last three months searching for his 24-year-old son, Daniel Robinson, who went missing after leaving a work site in the desert in his Jeep Renegade on June 23.

Robinson, who lives in South Carolina, hired an independent investigator and assembled a volunteer search team when he says he felt the police weren’t making progress in the investigation. He also says he failed to get the amount of media coverage he believed the case needed. The case was reported by the local media as early as July 9.
Robinson said he sympathizes with the family of Gabby Petito, whose remains were recovered Sunday after she disappeared while exploring parks in Wyoming prompting a highly publicized search.

Still, Robinson said it’s “hurtful” to see a young White woman’s case met with more urgency and national attention than his son, who is Black.

“You wish you lived in a world where everything was equal but it’s really not equal,” Robinson told CNN.

Robinson is among the Black and brown families whose loved ones remain missing and say they have struggled to get fair attention on their cases. Some say they have grown frustrated with watching the search for missing White women like Petito being in the spotlight, while police appear to allow their cases to go cold or classify their loved one as a “runaway.”

Source: The families of missing people of color say media coverage favors the stories of missing White women – CNN

The Hunter Biden laptop is confirmed?! Color us shocked!

In his new book, “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power,” Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger says that evidence points to Hunter Biden’s laptop being legit.

While we appreciate the support, the truth is The Post’s reports always have been true, and it’s only because the media wants to protect Joe Biden that they keep referring to the laptop as “unsubstantiated.”

Schreckinger notes that “A person who had independent access to Hunter Biden’s emails” confirms two of the emails The Post published, including one about a potential deal with China with the line “10 held by H for the big guy?” — that is, Joe Biden.

But Hunter Biden’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski already said those emails were authentic — the media just ignored him.

Schreckinger adds that emails released by the Swedish government also match emails from the laptop (Hunter had gotten into a kerfuffle when he was staying in a Swedish embassy building). That’s also been reported.

Source: The Hunter Biden laptop is confirmed?! Color us shocked!

Missing White Woman Syndrome – MSNBC

MSNBC host Joy Reid turned to race Monday while discussing the media’s coverage of missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito, dismissing the focus on the case as “missing White woman syndrome.”

During a segment on her show “The ReidOut,” Reid said while Petito’s family deserved “answers and justice,” she felt the same media attention didn’t apply to non-White people when they go missing.. 

GABBY PETITO: POLICE DECLARE ‘CRIME SCENE’ AS FBI ENTERS BRIAN LAUNDRIE’S FLORIDA HOME: LIVE UPDATES

“It goes without saying that no family should ever have to endure that kind of pain. And the Petito family certainly deserves answers and justice,” Reid said. “But the way this story has captivated the nation has many wondering, why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?”

Source: MSNBC’s Joy Reid dismisses focus on Gabby Petito case as ‘missing White woman syndrome’ | Fox News

Haitian deportees assaulted U.S. pilots, injured three ICE officers

WASHINGTON — Haitians deported from the U.S. on Tuesday assaulted the pilots on board one of the flights when it arrived in Port-au-Prince and injured three U.S. immigration officers, according to a source familiar with internal reports of the incident.

Unrest broke out shortly after a flight carrying single adult men arrived and released the men to Haitian authorities on the airport tarmac. Then, according to the source, several of the men stormed another recently arrived flight carrying families.

The men assaulted the pilots of that plane, who work for a government contractor licensed to fly deportation flights for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while the families were still on board. Three ICE officers were also attacked on that airplane, each suffering non-life-threatening injuries, the source said.

The attacks come as the United States ramps up its deportations of Haitians after more than 15,000 overwhelmed the U.S. border by congregating under one bridge in Del Rio, Texas in just a matter of days. As of Tuesday, just over 1,000 of the Haitian migrants had been deported to Haiti, according to two sources familiar with the operations.

A total of 4,000 have been either deported or moved to other processing centers along the border, the Department of Homeland Security said.

Source: Haitian deportees assaulted U.S. pilots, injured three ICE officers

Steelers Lose to Raiders 26 -17 and LB T.J. Watt questionable to return with groin injury

Injury issues continue for the Steelers.The injuries are really starting to pile up for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Going into the game the team was already without defensive linemen Carlos Davis and Stephon Tuitt along with linebacker Devin Bush and cornerback Joe Haden. In game the Steelers lost nose tackle Tyson Alualu and now star outside linebacker T.J. Watt is questionable to return with a groin injury.

Source: Steelers LB T.J. Watt questionable to return with groin injury

Woman shot, wounded in Duquesne | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The department’s General Investigations Unit responded to a request for assistance in Duquesne about 7:20 p.m., according to a department news release.

First responders who were sent to the 1000 block of Duquesne Boulevard found the woman, who had been shot in “an upper extremity,” investigators said.

She was taken to a hospital with what was believed to be a non-life-threatening wound, they said.

Investigators asked anyone with information about the shooting to call them at 1-833-ALL-TIPS.

Source: Woman shot, wounded in Duquesne | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Capitol Police chief warns of ‘chatter’ about possible violence during far-right rally

WASHINGTON — United States Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Friday that there has been “chatter” about possible violence associated with the rally planned by far-right protesters outside the Capitol building Saturday.

Manger said during a briefing with reporters that Capitol Police leadership has been working over the last eight months to ensure there’s no repeat of the riot that occurred on Jan. 6 when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.

Source: Capitol Police chief warns of ‘chatter’ about possible violence during far-right rally

Real estate heir Robert Durst found guilty of murdering his friend Susan Berman | Robert Durst | The Guardian

The multimillionaire New York real estate heir Robert Durst has been convicted of murdering his best friend Susan Berman more than 20 years ago, in a case that took on new life following the documentary The Jinx.

Durst was found guilty of first degree murder on Friday after a jury in Los Angeles deliberated for about seven hours over three days. Berman was shot at point-blank range in her Beverly Hills home in December 2000 as she was prepared to tell police how she helped cover up the killing of Durst’s wife.

Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst’s longtime confidante who told friends she provided a phony alibi for him after his wife vanished.

Deputy DA Habib Balian holds the latex mask that Durst used as a disguise.
Deputy DA Habib Balian holds the latex mask that Robert Durst used as a disguise. Photograph: Getty Images

Durst’s strange story gripped viewers of the hit television documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which chronicled the disappearance of his wife Kathie in 1982, the cold-blooded murder of Berman in Los Angeles 18 years later, and the violent 2001 death of a roommate in Galveston, Texas, where Durst was living under cover as a deaf-mute woman.

Source: Real estate heir Robert Durst found guilty of murdering his friend Susan Berman | Robert Durst | The Guardian

Pennsylvania liquor stores put 2-bottle limit on some booze

Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor system will begin rationing sales of a few dozen products on Friday in response to what it describes as supply shortages beyond its control.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board notified license holders on Thursday that two-bottles-per-day purchase limits for customers at state stores, as well as well for bars, restaurants and other license holders, will remain in place indefinitely.

The PLCB said “sustained supply chain disruptions and product shortages” prompted the restrictions on certain types of alcohol.

The 43 items on the list of restricted products also will not be available through store-to-store transfers starting Friday.

Source: Pennsylvania liquor stores put 2-bottle limit on some booze

Spirit flight from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh rejects takeoff

A Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh ended up with a flat tire a short time after rejecting takeoff because of technical issues.

Spirit said the plane braked safely but while taxiing back to the gate, it experienced a flat tire.

Guests were taken off the plane and given hotel and meal accommodations.

A McCarran International Airport Spokesperson said there were 186 people on board.

No injuries were reported.

Source: Spirit flight from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh rejects takeoff

Mark Milley’s alleged China call ‘violated the law’, retired colonel says; ‘He has no statutory authority’ | Fox News

Retired Army colonel Douglas Macgregor told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that if allegations Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley assured China he would warn them if Trump were to launch a military strike, it would be a violation of the law.

If the allegations made by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa about Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley assuring China they would be forewarned, should then-President Trump decide to launch a military attack, the top White House military advisor has violated the law and should be called before Congress to testify, according to retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor.

Macgregor, who retired from the military in 2004 and became a senior Pentagon adviser to Trump-era Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” he was not as surprised as much of the public by the allegation Milley essentially undermined his boss, the then-president, and gave comfort to a rival nation.

Macgregor told host Tucker Carlson that he is not surprised by the allegation, but noted that Milley – as of 8 PM ET – has yet to offer his side of the story. The colonel added that Woodward – who has written other exposes on the Trump era – has a tendency to be “somewhat flexible in interpretation” of events and quotations.

Source: Mark Milley’s alleged China call ‘violated the law’, retired colonel says; ‘He has no statutory authority’ | Fox News

Woodward/Costa book:  Milley took secret action to protect nuclear weapons – CNN

Two days after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, President Donald Trump’s top military adviser, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, single-handedly took secret action to limit Trump from potentially ordering a dangerous military strike or launching nuclear weapons, according to “Peril,” a new book by legendary journalist Bob Woodward and veteran Washington Post reporter Robert Costa.

Right after Trump lost the election, Milley discovered the President had signed a military order to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by January 15, 2021, before he left the White House.

The authors write, ‘Milley was overseeing the mobilization of America’s national security state without the knowledge of the American people or the rest of the world.’

Source: Woodward/Costa book: Worried Trump could ‘go rogue,’ Milley took secret action to protect nuclear weapons – CNNPolitics