Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Upper South man held for trial on charges he risked police officers' lives

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012

If a house is on fire, is it a crime if you refuse to leave?
Bucks County prosecutor Matthew Hoover argued Thursday that Upper Southampton resident Eric Kashkashian, 35, needlessly put police officers’ lives in danger when he refused to leave his burning home Oct. 5 and fought with officers when they rescued him.

“All he had to do was walk outside his house and no one would be put at risk,” Hoover told Northampton District Judge William Benz at a preliminary hearing for Kashkashian, charged with misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person and related charges.
Kashkashian’s public defender Ann Faust argued while foolish, it wasn’t illegal, for her client to refuse to leave his burning home. She added the police officers are not required to enter an unsafe home to rescue someone.
“This entire complaint, your honor, should be dismissed,” Faust said.    
In the end, though, Benz agreed with the prosecution that Kashkashian acted recklessly and risked the officers’ lives when he went back into the burning home.
“It’s almost like he was inviting the police officers to come into the house,” Benz said, holding Kashkashian for trial on all charges.
Upper Southampton police said Kashkashian, who has a history of physical confrontations with police including a recent conviction of aggravated assault and resisting arrest, knew his house was on fire when he locked himself inside.
Patrolman Anthony Marseglia testified Thursday he kicked in the front door to the home in the 1300 block of Stephens Way and entered to find Kashkashian. After getting a few feet inside, heavy smoke forced him back outside.
Next he tried rear doors, but all were locked. Then Marseglia testified he heard glass break. Then he saw Kashkashian starting to crawl out of the broken basement window.
But when Marseglia called his name and offered him help, Kashkashian retreated into the burning home and started barricading the broken window with whatever he could find, the officer said.
With help from firefighters and a sledgehammer, police broke down a rear basement door, but couldn’t find Kashkashian in the smoke-filled basement. Marseglia and two other officers began moving from room to room as others continued battling the blaze.
Marseglia found Kashkashian crouched in a first-floor powder room.
When the officer tried to handcuff him, Kashkashian started fighting, screaming “you need to wear gloves,” the officer said.
Kashkashian was so combative it took several officers to carry him out, and he fought with them the whole way and at one point spit blood and saliva in his face, Marseglia said. In the ambulance, he struggled with paramedics so much he had to be restrained.
Eric Kashkashian
“He keeps screaming we need to wear gloves,” Marseglia said.
On cross examination, Marseglia admitted Kashkashian never hit or kicked him during the struggle.
Kashkashian remains in Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $5,000 bail.

DA reviewing possible charges in accident that killed Bensalem teen

Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office could decide later this month if it will pursue criminal charges against a Philadelphia woman who struck and fatally injured a 17-year-old Bensalem boy in November.
Bensalem Director of Public Safety Fred Harran on Thursday said that his department has forwarded its investigation findings involving the accident that killed Ryan Viola and is awaiting the DA’s decision.

Ryan, a senior at Bucks County Technical High School, died Nov. 30, one day after being struck by a car Nov. 29 while walking to his school bus stop at Bensalem Boulevard and Portside Drive. 
Ryan Viola
The driver who struck Viola, identified as Lisa Ann Murray, 54, of the 5500 block of Torresdale Avenue, has a suspended Pennsylvania driver’s license and an expired Ohio license, police said.
A preliminary investigation shows Murray had a green light and stopped after striking Ryan, who was crossing Bensalem Boulevard against the traffic light. He was in a marked crosswalk headed to his bus stop shortly before 6:30 a.m.
The posted speed limit on that part of Bensalem Boulevard is 40 mph. No crossing guard is assigned there until 6:45 a.m., and police said crossing guards usually aren’t on duty for high school students.
Police had no information about why Murray’s license was suspended and PennDOT doesn’t reveal suspension information, citing confidentiality laws. Police do not know if she had been cited previously for driving on a suspended license.
In Pennsylvania, driving with a suspended or revoked license is a summary offense, similar to a traffic ticket. But habitual offenders risk higher fines, mandatory jail time, PennDOT penalties and difficulty finding car insurance once a license is restored.
Last year, police issued more than 3,700 citations for driving while under suspension or revocation in Bucks County and more than 6,200 in Montgomery County, according to data from Pennsylvania State Police. A large number of those drivers had been cited two or more times.
Ryan was an honor student at the tech school, where he was in the electrical occupations program. The school will host a 5K run/walk Jan. 13 in Ryan’s memory with proceeds going toward funding a scholarship in his name.

Ryan Viola's parent at a candlelight vigil in December

Interest in gun buyback programs grows following Sandy Hook shooting

Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hand over a gun, get a gift certificate. No questions asked.
Bristol Township police say that simple formula has taken more than 350 firearms — including 100 semi-automatic weapons — off the streets over the last four months.

The gun buyback program has been so popular that in the first few weeks, on the two days a week that people can turn them in, the line is out the door, said patrolman Anthony DeSilva, who oversees the program. While the rush has slowed since the current buyback program started in August, the Connecticut school shooting was on the minds of some who turned in guns recently, DeSilva added.
Bristol Township is the only Bucks County town that has a gun buyback program, though that could change later this year.
Nationally, participation and interest in gun buyback programs surged following last month’s deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 27 people — 20 schoolchildren, six educators and the gunman’s mother. Following that mass murder, officials in Lansing, Mich., Lawrence, Mass., Los Angeles and Santa Ana, Calif., announced plans to hold — or move up — gun buyback programs.
And the day after the Dec. 14 massacre, Camden County, N.J., had the most successful gun buyback program in state history, collecting more than 1,100 weapons in a cash-for-guns program. That same Saturday in the California cities of Oakland and San Francisco and also in Baltimore, Md., more than 1,000 firearms in total were dropped off at buyback programs.
At the Baltimore dropoff, those who turned in weapons mentioned the events in Connecticut the day before as the reason they wanted to get the unwanted guns out of their houses, according to media reports.
Weeks before the Sandy Hook shooting, Bensalem’s mayor had started discussions about implementing a gun buyback program, said Bensalem Director of Public Safety Fred Harran. There is no timeline yet, but it could happen sometime later this year, Harran said.
The Bucks County Sheriff’s Office has been trying to arrange a gun buyback event for some time now, Chief Deputy Dennis Shook said. The office hopes to hold one in early spring and is looking for additional sponsors. If enough sponsors come forward, an event could be held in the lower and central part of the county, Shook said.
Montgomery County Sheriff Eileen Behr said her office doesn’t have plans for a gun buyback program, but individual police departments have held events. In September, police in Abington, Upper Dublin and Upper Moreland took 92 guns back in exchange for supermarket gift certificates during a one-day buyback event.
Even without the incentive, unwanted firearms can be turned in at any federal, state, county or municipal law enforcement agency for disposal. But Bucks County police departments and the Bucks County sheriff say they haven’t had anyone turn in weapons recently.
Bristol Township’s latest gun buyback was launched in August under a $25,000 casino revenue grant. As of late last month, the town has $1,900 left in the grant, which is used to buy supermarket gift cards to exchange for firearms. Anyone can turn in a firearm for a gift certificate, no questions asked, he added. Guns can be turned in Tuesday and Thursday at the township building.
In its inaugural 2009 gun buyback, Bristol Township collected nearly 300 guns — including 79 semiautomatic weapons. That program also was funded by a $20,000 casino impact grant.
The guns were incinerated. However, a check of serial numbers revealed that one had been stolen and it was returned to its rightful owner.
While some say the programs offer law enforcement another tool to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, others are not convinced buybacks are effective.
“It’s a gesture that makes people feel better,” Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said.
With counties and towns facing tighter funding constraints, Heckler said he doesn’t believe paying people to turn in guns makes good financial sense.
He cited last month’s record-breaking gun buyback in Camden as an example of what he believes is questionable spending. Most of the firearms that were turned in — for cash payments — appeared to be older hunting rifles — not handguns, which are the firearms most often used in crimes.
“You are buying a lot of old guns for maybe what they’re worth, and the number of those weapons that would be used in a crime is marginal,” Heckler said. “I think you’re burning up a lot of money. If you look at the number of guns out there, I don’t think you’re making much of a dent.”

Bensalem woman facing DUI homicide charge in motorcycle crash

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013

While badly injured and trapped underneath a car, Brianna O’Driscoll said she heard the reaction of the driver who allegedly hit the motorcycle that she and her boyfriend were riding.
“Oh my God, I’m going to get another DUI,” Devon Crispo allegedly said.
Devon Crispo
That DUI charge was filed Wednesday against Crispo, 26, of Bensalem. She also faces charges of homicide by vehicle while DUI, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault by vehicle and other offenses in connection with the Sept. 19 accident in Bristol Township that killed John Chester, 37, and injured O’Driscoll, 19.
At her arraignment before Bristol District Judge Frank Peranteau Sr. on Wednesday, it was revealed that Crispo had been charged with driving under the influence in 2007 but completed a special probation program for first-time nonviolent offenders that expunged the arrest.     
An open and unopened bottle of wine, a burnt marijuana cigar and “numerous pills not found to be prescribed to the defendant” were found in Crispo’s 2010 Honda Acura at the accident scene in the township, according to a probable cause affidavit. The prescription pills included suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addiction; the painkiller hydrocodone; clonazepam, which is used to treat panic disorder; and alpazolam, an anti-anxiety drug.
Crispo, who turned herself in to police Wednesday, was driving east on Neshaminy Road about 7:30 p.m. the night of the accident. She stopped at a stop sign, then attempted to turn left onto Newportville Road when she drove into the path of Chester and O’Driscoll, both of Bristol Township, who were traveling south on Newportville Road, police said.
Chester saw the car and attempted to avoid it by laying down his 1993 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but he and O’Driscoll fell off the bike and slid under the car, where they were trapped. Rescue workers had to free them. Chester was pronounced dead at the scene.
O’Driscoll, who lives in the Red Cedar section of the township, is continuing to recover from her injuries, which include broken bones, third-degree burns, a concussion and road rash, according to police and James Chester, John Chester’s father.
Initially police detected alcohol on Crispo’s breath and found the open, half-empty bottle of wine in the backseat of her car, according to court records. Police said Crispo told them she drank three glasses of wine before the crash, smoked marijuana and took prescribed pain medication.
The night of the accident, Crispo’s blood-alcohol content was 0.11; the legal limit in Pennsylvania is 0.08. She tested positive for the presence of marijuana and painkillers, according to police.
In her brief court appearance before Peranteau, Crispo said that she has worked as a global resource planner for seven years. Her attorney, Ron Elgart, told the judge that his client lives with her mother and is willing to surrender her passport.
“Your Honor, she is not a flight risk,” Elgart said, adding that Crispo has cooperated with police.
Peranteau set bail at $1 million unsecured, meaning Crispo has to post the money only if she fails to appear in court or meet bail conditions.
After the hearing, Elgart said that the road where the accident occurred is among the most dangerous in Bucks County and a site of frequent, often fatal, accidents. “We’re going to have to take a real close look at that road again,’’ he added.
He also said that his client has had a “very difficult” time since the accident. “There is a three-year mandatory (prison sentence) here. That is a lot of pressure,” he said.
Chester’s relatives filled the courtroom gallery and, after the arraignment, said that John’s death has devastated the big family, which includes eight grandchildren, the newest born Sunday.
“There is a hole there, a big hole during the holidays,” Chester’s brother-in-law Allen Hibbert said.
John Chester, who lived in the Green Lynn section of Bristol Township, was the oldest of James and Sandi Chester’s three boys and the second oldest of their six children.
His father said that John joined the U.S. Army after high school and served 11 years in the military with stints in Panama and Guantanamo Bay, where he “babysat terrorists.” After he was discharged, John joined the U.S. National Guard, his father said.
His oldest son had his share of problems, but he had recently started a new job at as field maintenance worker for a local business.
“He was just getting back on his feet,” the father said.
James Chester said that, on the night of the accident, Chester and O’Driscoll were on their way to meet with him, but when he was two hours late — and not answering his cellphone — Chester found out about the accident. He drove to the scene and stayed there until the car was lifted off his son’s body, he said.
Sandi Chester said that she still has trouble talking about the loss of her son.
“I feel like my heart is gone,” she said. “It’s like an open wound that is ripped right open.”

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Man testifies that he feared for his life during attack

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tony Blount
He sat in a recliner in his Bristol apartment watching TV when he heard the front door open and heavy footsteps like someone in a hurry.
The next thing the man knew he was on the floor begging for his life as two men beat him bloody, splitting open his head and breaking a rib. When the man tried to escape, he was hit in the head with his own guitar, police said.

“I said, ‘Please stop. You’re going to kill me,’” the man testified Wednesday at a preliminary hearing for one of his alleged attackers, Tony Blount, 31, of Bristol Township. “They told me they were pretty much going to finish me.”
Blount is charged with aggravated assault and burglary as well as criminal trespassing and related offenses in the Sept. 22 attack. Police expect to soon arrest a second suspect, Bristol Sgt. Joe Moors said Wednesday.
The victim, who appeared in court wearing a neck brace, testified that the attack took him by surprise and left him with injuries that require continuing medical treatment.
Police say that the attack occurred hours after a confrontation at a card game at the victim’s Lincoln Avenue house, where he lives with his girlfriend. The home is divided into three apartments, including one where Blount’s parents lived at the time, police said. The victim’s girlfriend and Blount’s mother are sisters, and their late uncle also lived in an apartment there.
Tony Blount was at the house the night before the alleged attack when an argument broke out and Blount’s mother was “accidentally” pushed while trying to intervene, police said.
The victim testified that during the assault he apologized to Blount for allegedly hitting his mother. Under cross examination, though, the man said he didn’t remember hitting Blount’s mother.
The victim testified that he managed to break free and run to the front door but was then hit in the back of the head with two “objects” — one he believed was his guitar. Before he could unlock the front door and escape, he said, the men caught up with him and continued the beating, he testified.
The victim said he did not fight back or defend himself.
“I kept begging for my life over and over,” he said. “I made my peace. I thought I was dead.”
He survived, but required nearly two dozen staples in his head to close the wound. He also said he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome and receives ongoing medical treatment for other pre-existing conditions aggravated by the attack.
Blount’s attorney, Niels Erickson, objected to prosecutor Brian Scanlon’s admission of a medical report listing the conditions for which his client is being treated, arguing that some clearly were unrelated to the alleged attack.
“I don’t think he caused the degenerative discs,” Erickson said, but Bristol District Judge Frank Peranteau Sr. allowed the report to be submitted as evidence.
During cross examination, the man admitted that he had known Blount for about three years and that he had visited the home several times. He testified that the front door to the home was unlocked when the attack occurred, and that the doors to the three apartments were typically left unlocked.
Erickson sought to have charges of burglary and criminal trespassing against his client dismissed, arguing that Blount’s mother lived in the house and he had permission to be there. But Peranteau disagreed, saying Blount clearly didn’t have permission to enter the victim’s apartment that night.
Peranteau held Blount for trial on all charges. He remains free on $100,000 unsecured bail.

Wife testifies against Bensalem husband in shaken-baby hearing

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012 

What happened to their 3-month-old son?
Stacey Hinkle confronted her husband, Kyle, with that question in October after their son was admitted to the hospital following an apparent seizure. The doctors needed to know so they could properly treat him, she told him.

In a Bensalem courtroom Wednesday, Stacey Hinkle testified that her husband, his eyes red and puffy from crying, confessed.
Their son would not stop crying, he allegedly told her. He got frustrated and shook the baby up and down for two or three seconds, she said, demonstrating the move with her hands.
Kyle Hinkle
Stacey Hinkle was one of two witnesses who testified Wednesday at the preliminary hearing for Kyle Hinkle, 25, of Virginia Avenue, who is accused of violently shaking his son, resulting in a brain injury.
Following the brief hearing, Bensalem District Judge Leonard Brown held Hinkle for trial on charges of aggravated and simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child, rejecting his public defender’s argument that a few seconds of shaking could not inflict such serious injuries. He is free after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bail.
Stacey Hinkle testified that she was taking her nephew to a job interview around 10 a.m. on Oct. 12 and left their son in the care of his father. But soon after she had left, he called and text messaged her, saying the baby’s cries sounded “weird’ and that the baby wouldn’t stop crying.
Get home as soon as you can, she testified he told her.
Under cross examination, she said her husband sounded “annoyed.”
Stacey Hinkle testified she headed right home after getting the message. When she arrived, she picked up her son and his eyes rolled back into his head and his body went limp, she told the court.
She immediately took the baby to Aria Health’s Torresdale campus. He was transferred to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where he was admitted for five days.
Stacey Hinkle also testified that the baby had a similar episode a few days earlier — on Oct. 8 — when he was left in Kyle’s care.
She had taken her nephew to work when Kyle called and told her to come home quick, that something was wrong with the baby. When Stacey returned home, her mom told her the baby had a seizure.
She testified that Kyle told her that maybe the baby had a seizure because he had a hard time making a bowel movement. They decided not to take him to the doctor because he appeared fine, she added.
Under cross-examination by public defender Ken Hone, Hinkle admitted that her husband was upset at St. Christopher’s when he told his wife what happened.
“Was (Kyle) expressing remorse and wishing it never, ever happened,” Hone asked.
Yes, she replied.
“And he said it numerous times?” Hone added.
Bensalem police launched an investigation into the Oct. 12 incident after Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services notified them that Aria Health had treated a baby boy with injuries consistent with shaken-baby syndrome.
The infant had “new and old” subdural hematomas and retinal hemorrhages — injuries that were “highly suspect” for inflicted abuse, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Subdural hematomas occur when a blood vessel near the surface of the brain bursts.
On the witness stand, Dr. Maria McColgan, who examined and treated the baby, testified that extensive testing showed the infant suffered a potentially life threatening brain bleed and had many retinal hemorrhages. McColgan is director of the child protective program at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
She added that the baby’s condition has improved, though he had apparent developmental delays, although it’s unclear if the delays are related to the brain injury he suffered.
There is no evidence of any bleeding or metabolic disorders or other medical conditions that can cause subdural and retinal bleeding in the baby, McColgan testified. A seizure alone would not cause the bleeding, and the baby also had no history of accidental trauma, she said.
McColgan added that this type of brain injury the baby suffered requires a significant amount of force, such as a crushing injury or car accident.
“My diagnosis is this is inflicted trauma,” she said.

Experts: 2012 apocalypse myth rooted in western culture, not Mayan

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012 

Worried about the world ending Friday? You must not be Maya. They know better.
For everyone else, consider Dec. 21 as an opportunity to learn a little about ancient civilizations and their beliefs, scholars say. Like how the whole doomsday date associated with the Mayan people isn’t even based on their culture.
The Maya didn’t believe in an apocalypse. The Aztecs, now that’s another story — and civilization — for later.
“The story of the ‘Maya Apocalypse’ is mostly one about media and marketing, not about the ancient Mayas,” said John Hoopes, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas and a Mayan history scholar.
The Mayan long count calendar begins in 3114 B.C. and supposedly stops on Dec. 21, 2012. The calendar is based on 13 time periods, each with 394 years, that were called baktuns, according to some Mayan scholars.
They theorize that the calendar ends after the 13th (a sacred number to the Maya) because the cycle starts over — like a millennium.
You remember the scary hype surrounding Y2K, right? Same concept, different culture.
Another theory as to why the calendar supposedly ends after 13 is that it was abandoned by the Maya because of a natural disaster or an outside attack. And there’s the rouge planet-headed-for-Earth theory of the ancient Sumerians that hitched itself to the Mayan 2012 prophecy.
 Some scholars believe the Maya didn’t create the calendar, but it was given to them by extraterrestrials who also happened to be of Mayan descent.
Another popular modern theory is that the end of the calendar marks the dawn of a new spiritual era. The adherents to the spiritual awakening theory argue that the calendar was predicting the return of the Mayan god of creation.
All a bunch of nonsense, scholars say — especially since the Mayan long count calendar doesn’t end. Only a couple of references to the 2012 date equivalency have been found carved in stone at Mayan sites, and those don’t refer to an apocalypse, experts say.
To understand how the Mayan calendar became connected to the apocalypse, you need to understand ancient Mayan civilization, which reached its height from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D. The epicenter of Mayan territory was southern Mexico.
The ancient Maya were known to have an extreme preoccupation with the future. They also had a talent for astronomy and advanced mathematics, which allowed that astronomy talent to flourish.
Mayan royalty was obsessed with using astronomy and celestial bodies to justify their royal reigns, according to Toa Traxler, curator of the Penn Museum, which has one of the largest and oldest annual exhibits in the U.S. devoted to Mayan studies.
After all, rulers who could speak authoritatively about when Venus would reappear — because they benefited from centuries of sky observations and detailed record-keeping of celestial events — would seem pretty important, scholars say.
So where did all the world destruction talk come from? The Spanish missionaries and explorers, especially Christopher Columbus, according to scholars.
First, understand that end-of-world predictions are nearly as old as the world itself, scholars say. For more than 1,000 years, Western Christian culture has looked for the next apocalyptic benchmark. Many westerners also believe that ancient people had some special insight into the future, scholars say.
“We’re constantly looking for ancient wisdom and insights for what the future portends,” Traxler said.
Around the time Columbus set out to “discover” India (but found Central America instead), there were rumblings throughout Europe about a pending second great flood set to arrive in 1524.
Columbus, who was working on something he called the “Book of Prophecies,” believed his discovery of the New World triggered the end of time with an anticipated arrival date in the 18th century, Hoopes said.
When the Spanish explorer landed off the coast of Honduras in 1502, he first heard about the Mayan people and immediately set about trying to convert them to Christianity. As part of that conversion, he introduced the idea of “end times” into the Mayan culture, Hoopes and other scholars said.
Adding to the confusion is that history has lumped together ancient Mayan and Aztec culture and beliefs, though the two are separated by a thousand years. The Aztec culture — unlike the Maya — had myths of world destruction and creation, but they were unrelated to the Mayans or the long count calendar, scholars said.
“We have essentially mashed up a whole lot of ideas and linked it to this upcoming calendar benchmark date for us in Northern society,” Penn’s Traxler said. “It taps into our western sensitivities that come out of Judeo-Christian traditions and the idea there is a reckoning.”
So how did a cultural misunderstanding morph into a prediction of global catastrophe?
The 2012 doomsday theory is largely believed to have stemmed from a stone tablet discovered in the 1960s. The tablet describes the return of the Mayan god at the end of the 13th period.
In 1966, American anthropologist and archaeologist Michael Coe published the first correlation of a future long calendar date and associated it with Armageddon, which introduced the concept into Western academia and provided it some legitimacy, scholars said.
Seven years later, hoopla surrounding Comet Kohoutek, which was billed as the “comet of the century,” reignited popular discussions about a second coming.
The comet’s appearance — which turned out to be a non-event — also coincided with the rise of the U.S. counterculture movement, including a breakdown of trust in authority, Hoopes said. Add the popularity of psychedelic drugs, interest in so-called ancient astronauts and the birth of New Age spirituality in the 1970s, and you have a recipe for growing a modern Mayan myth, he said.
The latest version of the 2012 myth was mostly underground lore until personal computers and the World Wide Web. Today, more than 1,000 books in print focus on the 2012 phenomenon, Hoopes said.
“What were once relatively obscure New Age beliefs about the ancient Maya became accessible to a huge audience,” he said. “With all of the hullabaloo about Y2K and apocalyptic speculation for 2000, there was additional attention to the Maya calendar and supposed prophecies for 2012. When Y2K turned out to be a non-event, attention shifted to 2012.”
The mega hype prompted the nation’s leading NASA scientists to take to the Internet to dispel rumors surrounding the end of 2012.
NASA says the doomsday prediction started with claims that a planet called Nibiru, supposedly discovered by the ancient Sumerians, is hurtling toward Earth. When it didn’t hit as expected in May 2003, the doomsday date was moved to December 2012 and linked to the ancient Mayan calendar’s end, according to NASA.
As for contemporary Maya, they don’t practice the long count calendar, but they continue to track the sacred calendar as a way to plan activities and keep in touch with their culture, scholars say. That culture tells the Maya that Friday is a day of grand completion of a tremendous period of time and the beginning of the next calendar cycle.
“It’s just a period of time completion. It’s really like a millennium,” said Traxler of the Penn Museum. “You don’t have to sell your home. Everything is going to be fine.”

'We very well may have dodged a very large bullet here'

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012 

Weapons seized at Cypress Ave.
A 14-year-old Richboro boy and his mother have been arrested after two semi-automatic handguns were found on the teen’s nightstand and he made “credible” threats forcing the shutdown of Council Rock High School South on Friday, police said.
Lizabeth Donohoe, 50, was arrested for allegedly giving her son access to the guns, which belonged to her grandfather, police said.

Vincent Mario Russo Jr., 48, of 500 block of West Street Road in Feasterville — identified as the boy’s father — was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of the administration of justice after he tried to interfere with the arrest of his son and Donohoe, police said Friday.
“We very well may have dodged a very large bullet here,” Northampton police Chief Barry Pilla said Friday.
The teen was charged with terrorist threats and possession of a firearm by a minor and sent to Bucks County’s juvenile detention center in Edison, Pilla said. He likely will remain there at least a week, police said.
Late Friday afternoon, Detective Peter Stark said that police recovered items of “evidentiary value” from the homes of Russo and Donohoe. But the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office would need to confirm if the items would result in additional criminal charges being filed, Stark said.
Council Rock Superintendent Mark Klein declined to provide any information about the boy.
The 2,200-student high school in Holland was closed Friday after police received credible evidence about a threat that was to be carried out at the school, officials said.
Lizabeth Donohoe
As a precaution, police conducted a security sweep of the sprawling high school complex, surrounded by Holland, Middle Holland and Newtown-Richboro roads. Police used K-9 units from Lower Makefield, Bensalem and Bristol Township police to search. They found “nothing of evidentiary value,” Pilla said.
“The police department is confident based on the investigation, which included multiple interviews, the juvenile was acting alone and the threat against the Council Rock community has been eliminated,” Pilla added.
Police said the teen allegedly made a verbal threat to bring weapons to school and kill and harm people, Pilla said. That threat was conveyed to an adult by another student shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday, he said, triggering the school district and police into action.
Police went to Donohoe’s home in the 50 block of Cypress Drive on Thursday evening to serve an arrest warrant on her son. They asked Donohoe if any weapons were in the house, and she replied that her grandfather’s guns were there, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Donohoe then led police to her son’s room where they found the unloaded, but functional, 9mm semi-automatic weapons in plain view on top of his nightstand, according to police. The weapons were confiscated and the search stopped pending a warrant.
While in the home, police said they observed numerous Airsoft weapons, replica firearms that fire plastic pellets using compressed gas or electric and/or spring-driven pistons, assorted knives and machetes, and swords.
An officer also detected a strong odor of marijuana in the house and asked Donohoe if she had the drug inside the house, according to court records.
“I’ll show you,” she replied and then led the officer to a night table in her room. There, court records show, officers found a large white bag with a large clear plastic bag containing suspected marijuana and rolling papers.
Donohoe, an unemployed legal assistant, was charged with possession of a firearm by a minor, a third-degree felony, and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of children and possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use. She was arraigned before Penndel District Court Judge Daniel Baranoski early Friday and sent to Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $100,000 bail.
Baranoski also put as a condition of bail that Donohoe not possess firearms.
Superintendent Klein said he hoped that rather than live in fear, the community took solace and comfort in the fact that students reported the threat and police officers did their jobs well and the district’s students arrived at school safely.
“We will always be concerned about evils that permeate our community. No school community is immune from this type of thing,” Klein added.
Council Rock wasn’t the only area district in which guns were the subject of concern this week. On Friday morning, Neshaminy School District officials said rumors of a student bringing a gun to school were investigated by the district and police and determined to not be credible.
“We are aware of the rumors regarding a student bringing a gun to school. The situation was investigated by the NHS administration and law enforcement and deemed to be ‘not credible,’ ” the district posted on its website. “Unfortunately the rumor has continued, fueled mostly by unrelated events, the Sandy Hook tragedy and the pending ‘End of the World’ on 12/21/12. It moved to social media sites Thursday afternoon and just took off.”
Neshaminy officials contacted police and said they would have “additional resources devoted to NHS on Friday to help ease student, staff and parent concerns.”
In the Lehigh Valley, a high school canceled classes Friday after a bomb threat was made a week after a gunman killed more than two dozen people in a shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school.
Emmaus High School officials don’t believe the threat is credible.
Police in suburban Pittsburgh said they arrested two teens after a pair of threats of a shooting at Hopewell High School on Friday. They were released to their parents.
Specific information about the Council Rock South incident is also available on the Council Rock School District website, crsd.org.