Towanda Man Tried To Order Hit On Psychic Mediums

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wyoming County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wyoming County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Craven Vaughn sat beside the hitman in a car parked Thursday outside Wal-Mart on Route 29 in Eaton Twp.  He gave the man $3,000 and the names of three psychic mediums he wanted “eliminated.”

The 32-year-old Towanda man did not want to talk about why the three mediums – two of them television personalities, all of them authors – had to die.   But the man Mr. Vaughn spent about two weeks soliciting to kill for him had a secret of his own.

While Mr. Vaughn allegedly spoke about James Van Praagh, an author, television producer and self-proclaimed medium; Maureen Hancock, another TV medium credited with a series on the Style Channel; and David M. Baker, another professional medium who has written books, investigators from the state police and Wyoming County district attorney’s office listened to the conversation, which a hidden microphone recorded.

And just moments after Mr. Vaughn got out of the car, climbed into his green Chevrolet 1500 and pulled out onto Route 29, the undercover state trooper he had just hired to kill three people on the West Coast radioed the arrest team.

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Don’t Be Fooled By January Pay — Higher Taxes Loom

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Service. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with an IRS inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Workers probably won’t feel the full brunt of next year’s tax increases in their January paychecks, but don’t be fooled by the temporary reprieve.

No matter what Congress does to address the year-end fiscal cliff, it’s already too late for employers to accurately withhold income taxes from January paychecks, unless all the current tax rates remain unchanged, which is an unlikely scenario.

Social Security payroll taxes are set to increase on Jan. 1, so workers should immediately feel the squeeze of a 2 percent cut in their take-home pay.  But as talks drag on over how to address other year-end tax increases, the Internal Revenue Service has delayed releasing income tax withholding tables for 2013.

As a result, employers are planning to withhold income taxes at the 2012 rates, at least for the first one or two paychecks of the year, said Michael O’Toole of the American Payroll Association.

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Woman Decorating Church 1 Of 3 Shooting Victims In Blair County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Blair County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Blair County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Blair County — A man fatally shot a woman decorating for a children’s Christmas party at a tiny church hall and killed two men elsewhere in a rural central Pennsylvania township Friday before he was fatally shot in a gunfight with state troopers.

The woman had cooked food the day before for the funeral of Juniata Valley Gospel Church’s longtime pastor, said the Rev. James McCaulley, his brother.  The central Pennsylvania church was still reeling Friday from the Rev. David McCaulley’s death when the woman returned to decorate the church hall — named after the pastor of 58 years — and bullets ripped through a window, he said.

The gunman then entered and shot one of two women before he left, the Rev. James McCaulley said.

Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio said that there “might be some relation” between at least two of the victims but that they were shot at different places in and around the tiny village in Geeseytown, about 70 miles west of Harrisburg.  The names of the victims and the gunman weren’t immediately released.

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Bethlehem City Council Passes $71 Million Budget With 7 Percent Tax Hike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a budget where rising pension costs framed the debate, Bethlehem City Council on Thursday adopted a $71 million budget that includes a 7 percent property tax hike and other revenue including a tax on certain concert tickets.

But what it doesn’t include is $500,000 from a citywide trash hauler, a proposal by Mayor John Callahan that drew public backlash.

Instead, council cut hundreds of thousands of dollars from the budget and accepted Callahan’s suggestions on refinancing the landfill debt.  Council also accepted the administration’s updated revenue projections that show the earned income tax and casino fees as bringing in more money than when Callahan first released his budget proposal last month.

Councilman Robert Donchez acknowledged the budget isn’t perfect but a lot of work was put into it.

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