The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 6, 2012

In brief: Ex-band director contacted girl, DA says



Judge says confession was ‘false bravado’

SCRANTON – A judge who had to pick between dueling confessions in a 2008 arson case has denied a woman’s request for post-trial relief, saying the other possible culprit’s “false bravado” destroyed his credibility.

Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo said Holly Dougher’s own confession, backed by an acquaintance who was with her the night of the fire, is more reliable than a later confession from a man now jailed for a number of other arsons.

Dougher pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge a little more than a year after the fire in Carbondale Township.

But Stephen Giacobbe told The Times-Tribune of Scranton last year that he set the fire.

Geroulo said this week Giacobbe’s testimony was merely an attempt to paint himself as “an arch criminal” among his fellow inmates.

AIDS activists step up Hershey boycott call

HARRISBURG – Amid the Easter weekend surge in candy sales, AIDS activists are stepping up calls for a boycott of Hershey candy to protest the refusal of a boarding school with ties to the company to admit a teenager because he is HIV-positive.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation staged protests Friday in San Francisco, New York City and Hershey, where the company headquarters and the school are based. A lawsuit filed against the school is pending.

The Milton Hershey School contends the decision was appropriate. It said that despite the school’s best efforts to teach abstinence, teenage students might still engage in sexual activity. It said: “When they do, they will be doing so on our watch.”

Milton Hershey School Trust funds the school and holds the controlling interest in the candy company.

Detour to resume for 4th Ave. Bridge

An 18-mile car detour will be reinstated Monday so that work can continue on the 4th Avenue Bridge in Johnstown.

The car detour will follow Benshoff Hill Road, Route 271, Washington Street and Route 56/403. A separate truck detour also will be in place.

The pedestrian shuttle will run from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from

8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends and holidays. Pickup times will not exceed 30 minutes, PennDOT said.

Shuttle stop locations include the 4th Avenue-Power Street and Garvey Place-Iron Street intersections.

Work on the $5 million project is expected to be completed by June 2013. The prime contractor is Swank Construction Co.

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