July 18, 2014 |
Despite a controversy attached to them, Bucks County has already joined other areas in the region and ramped up its use of field drug tests. Police use the mobile test to confirm a drug's authenticity at the beginning of an investigation as they await official lab results. Recently, Bucks County started presenting the mobile results as evidence at preliminary hearings, at which judges decide whether to hold defendants for trial. Although the tests will not replace official lab results at the trial level, they still have drawn concern among defense attorneys over the potential for "false positive" results that have mistakenly landed people in jail.
April 2, 1998 |
President Clinton's scandals are keeping more than just Kenneth Starr busy. Take Jeff Munchak of Bucks County. Munchak is the creator of Gummi Bills, chewy 1-inch replicas of the commander-in-chief's head that are becoming more common than subpoenas from the special prosecutor. Munchak, who first marketed the sticky candy last summer, said sales picked up dramatically in January after allegations surfaced that the preident had an affair with a White House intern. "It was pretty tough until this whole Monica Lewinsky story broke," said Munchak.
April 14, 1989 |
Mention Abbie Hoffman's name in the Apple Jack Bar and Hotel in Point Pleasant and beer pitchers halt at half-pour. Some eyes squint hard, others open warm. Twenty years ago, Hoffman helped divide a nation. But it was only six years ago that his brand of Peck's bad boy radicalism raised hostilities and parted friends along the quiet banks of the Delaware River. Hoffman is dead. What he did in Bucks County is not. "You talking about that idiot ass Abbie Gabby?" asked Rocco, clad in blue jeans and denim jacket, his ponytailed hair tucked underneath a yellow construction hat. "Well, you don't want to talk to me. I'm a Vietnam vet. If Hoffman had heart and honor, I sure didn't see it. I just didn't love the cat. " Dale Stauffer, owner of Apple Jack, glared at Rocco from under his straw hat. "If you're of one viewpoint that's fine, but you gotta listen to the other side," said Stauffer, a big man whose beard and bright eyes make him seem younger than his 53 years.
July 14, 2015 |
In 2007, Brian Middleton, a businessman in Bedminster, Bucks County, received an awkward phone call from a friend. "He'd met a guy at his church who'd written a musical, and he asked if I would come over to listen and consider investing," Middleton said. "In all candor, I thought it was going to be a really uncomfortable meeting. " The aspiring composer, Christopher Smith, was an amateur who didn't know how to read or even write music. But Middleton thought he couldn't say no - so he listened to Smith sing love songs for two hours.
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.
June 29, 2015 |
Michael Vesey, a 10-year-old who loves baseball, wants to share the "book" he's written about his dad. Handwritten, it fits on a sheet of lined notebook paper. "On Oct. 13, 2004, I was born," he reads aloud. His mother, Kelly, and three teenage sisters are seated around the granite kitchen counter of their spacious Bucks County home. "It was the best day of my life, and the first," he reads. His sisters giggle. Michael waits, unabashed. "As the years passed, my dad was always there with me," he goes on. "He taught me the sport I love with a tee-ball set. He taught humility and love and passion, all things important in my life.
March 27, 2015 |
Don Tollefson's sentencing Wednesday proved no less bizarre than his trial, with a psychologist claiming that the former sportscaster told him that his mother forced him to sleep in her bed throughout his childhood and well into college. But the proceeding mostly focused on the fallen icon's future and his potential for redemption. After fleecing 200 people in a sports ticket-selling scheme, Tollefson was sentenced by a Bucks County judge to two to four years in state prison and 15 years' probation for felony money laundering, fraud, and theft.
July 15, 2015 |
He adjudicates from a wheelchair now, oxygen tubes nestled under the rims of his glasses as he speaks. But Albert Cepparulo's voice - coated in a thick Port Richmond accent - remains strong and steady, handing down sentences that range from empathetic to staggering. Last year, for example, the Bucks County Common Pleas Court judge gave an 81-year-old man 935 to 1,870 years for sexually assaulting a girl and videotaping the abuse. More recently, he spared a man from jail time for drug possession, concerned he could lose his job. Cepparulo has stayed on the bench even when his fellow judges thought he was too ill to work.