September 20, 1999 |
As television meteorologists tracked Hurricane Floyd with meticulous precision last week, Henry Liese grew just a bit nostalgic. It reminded him of a strange project his company embarked on 40 years ago at a small factory in Newtown. It was only after the work was completed that they realized what they had built: the world's first weather satellite. "Nobody knew what the hell it was," said Liese, 86. "All we heard was that it was going to fly. We said, 'How is this thing going to fly?
September 12, 1995 |
As the sun dips below the trees and day fades into dusk, the Sciarrones pull their car into the parking space and unpack: snacks, card table, lawn chairs, mini-chairs for the children, radio, extra batteries, blankets, cooler, beach balls. They line up the kids in the chairs, divvy up the soda, chips and cookies and wait for the darkening sky to turn midnight blue, a sign from nature that the show is about to begin. Welcome to Friday night at the movies, outdoors-style. "I've been shopping and packing all afternoon," said Kathy Sciarrone, setting a bucket of fried chicken on the card table.
June 25, 1999 |
When writer Pearl S. Buck marched to the farm next door to her Bucks County home carrying a squirming baby in her arms, David Yoder became a first. Yoder, then 1 year old, was fresh from a Rochester orphanage. He was a biracial child, the son of an unmarried 17-year-old American girl who got pregnant while her family lived in India. In the 1940s, that meant ostracism and shame. No adoption agency could place him. Buck would have none of that. So, as she succinctly put it in an interview before her death, "I founded my own damned agency.
February 24, 2015 |
As things stand, Melvin and Fayette Howard will lose their modest but well-kept Bristol Township rowhouse on April 10. The house will be sold at a sheriff's auction after more than a year of foreclosure proceedings. It's not their fault: The blame rests with the nonprofit from which the Howards rent their home, the Interfaith Housing Development Corp. of Bucks County. The private affordable-housing group, which has received millions in federal taxpayer dollars and owns nearly 80 rental properties, is teetering on the verge of financial collapse.
January 20, 2015 |
The new Congress had been seated for less than 48 hours when State Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks) announced plans to run for a seat in Washington in 2016. Others seem eager to follow. At least one other Democrat and a Republican already have floated their names as potential replacements for U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), who has said he won't run again in Bucks County's Eighth District, split nearly evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Speculation has begun anew in the nearby Sixth District, too, as Chester County Democrats search for a candidate to take on Republican Ryan Costello, who won his first congressional election in November.
February 7, 2015 |
A Bucks County man charged in a $20 million insurance-fraud scheme with his wife, a prominent Republican fund-raiser, killed himself outside a Buckingham Township home Thursday afternoon, authorities said. Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler identified the dead man as Thomas French, the husband of fund-raiser Claire Risoldi. French, 64, was a retired Bucks County sheriff's deputy. Details about French's death were not immediately clear, and detectives at the scene declined to comment Thursday night.
January 24, 2015 |
The Risoldi family calls its white-columned mansion "Clairemont. " Surrounded by 10 acres of rolling farmland outside New Hope, Bucks County, it boasts a swimming pool, six bedrooms, and a ceiling mural of family members dressed in flowing robes, looking down from the heavens. The manse has caught fire three times in five years - and the Risoldis could not have been more lucky, state prosecutors said. Receiving $20 million in insurance payouts from the blazes of undetermined origin, the Risoldis allegedly bought six Ferraris and two Rolls-Royces, $1.2 million worth of jewelry, and another house while spending millions to renovate the damaged one. Matriarch Claire Risoldi, 67, a prominent Republican donor and fund-raiser, was charged Thursday on a slew of felony charges, including insurance fraud and corruption.
February 8, 2015 |
The family of Thomas French, a Bucks County man who killed himself amid allegations that he and his wife, a prominent Republican fund-raiser, committed a $20 million insurance fraud, maintained his innocence Friday and said, "The facts will prove him right. " The statement was the family's first comment since French's suicide Thursday afternoon at the Buckingham house he shared with wife Claire Risoldi. Bucks County Coroner Joseph Campbell said Friday that French died from a gunshot wound to the head.
September 17, 2014 |
A Bucks County band teacher was charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student three times during the 2012 school year, police said, twice on school property and once in a car near the home of the student's parents. The District Attorney's Office said Bridgett Szychulski, 31, of Philadelphia, was a teacher at Lenape Middle School in Doylestown when she had a sexual relationship with the boy. Szychulski, who has been suspended by Central Bucks School District while her criminal case plays out, was charged with deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, and related charges, according to court documents.
February 24, 2014 |
What a coach , Mike Zolk thought. It was nearly midnight on a Friday in 2011. Zolk and his son were swatting balls at a batting cage in Northeast Philadelphia when Lou Spadaccini walked up. Spadaccini had coached Neumann-Goretti High School to its first baseball championships in decades. Zolk's son, nicknamed Zoom, played second base. The coach knew where to find Zoom that night after seeing a Facebook post by the teen. For an hour, he just watched the father and son swing.