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First Posted: 9/22/2014

Pentagn: U.S., partners launch Syrian airstrikes

The U.S. and five Arab countries launched airstrikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria this week, expanding a military campaign into a country whose three-year civil war has given the brutal militant group a safe haven.

Using a mix of manned aircraft — fighter jets and bombers — plus Tomahawk cruise missiles, the strikes were part of the expanded military campaign that President Barack Obama authorized nearly two weeks ago in order to disrupt and destroy the Islamic State militants, who have slaughtered thousands of people, beheaded Westerners — including two American journalists — and captured large swaths of Syria and northern and western Iraq.

Missing Wilkes-Barre woman found safe

A city woman whose mother reported her missing on Saturday has been found.

City police confirmed that Shaqon Davis, 45, of the 400 block of South Franklin Street, was located and is safe.

Davis’ mother had reported that her daughter is mentally challenged, that she was last seen at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday and was not heard from since. Police said a check of the area was fruitless.

The mother had also reported that Shaqon was not familiar with the immediate area.

Nanticoke mans pleads guilty to sex assault, weapons offense

Jeremy Tyler Tencza, 20, pleaded guilty in Luzerne County Court to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and to an unrelated case of carrying a machete when he confronted another man on East Green Street in Nanticoke.

Nanticoke police alleged Tencza sexually assaulted the teenage girl, who was reported missing from a group home in Nanticoke in September 2013. Police also charged Tencza with removing a machete from the trunk of a vehicle driven by a friend when they confronted another man in the 400 block of East Green Street on Dec. 5, 2013, according to the separate criminal complaints.

Without victim, attempted homicide charges withdrawn

Luzerne County prosecutors withdrew attempted homicide and related charges against James Whiteside III after numerous attempts to contact the victim went unanswered.

Assistant District Attorney Mamie Phillips told Judge Michael T. Vough that Mosliah Shahadeh has not been located despite numerous phone calls and emails to his family and friends in the area and in Virginia and California.

Without Shahadeh to testify, Phillips said she was unable to proceed to trial prompting Vough to grant her request to withdraw the charges against Whiteside, 28. Whiteside’s attorney, John Pike, said his client has been jailed for 15 months for lack of $1 million bail on the charges.

Former Rice Township fire department treasurer pleads guilty

The former secretary/treasurer for the Independence Fire & Rescue Co. #1 in Rice Township accused with stealing more than $30,000 from the rescue organization pleaded guilty in Luzerne County Court.

Gina Tombasco, 31, of Wright Township, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft.

Tombasco has made full restitution in the amount of $32,263.95 to the fire department, her lawyer, Vito Deluca, said.

Rice Township police and county detectives said Tombasco made multiple ATM withdrawals, including nine withdrawals from ATMs inside the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs casino, in 2013.

Wyoming Valley Motorcycle Club bikers ride to provide needy kids with bikes

The Wyoming Valley Motorcycle Club rode on Sunday so that children in the Wyoming Valley will be able to ride, and to honor a former member.

Bikers arrived at the Chicken Coop on Wilkes-Barre Boulevard to register for the 7th annual “Bikes 4 Tykes” event. It is the third year that the organization has partnered with the Salvation Army in Wilkes-Barre to provide bicycles for underprivileged children.

Shocking to save

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission began the first of four straight days of electroshocking the lake to collect all the bass and chain pickerel they could.

With the 245-acre lake scheduled to be drawn down next spring to replace a dam control tower, the PFBC is working to salvage as many fish as possible before the water level is lowered. The effort started with electroshocking on Monday and will continue with several weeks of netting until the catch drops off to virtually nothing.

Electroshocking is crucial because bass won’t enter their nets, which include the funnel, gill and trap styles.

The shock only lasts a few seconds before the fish recover and swim away.

Slocum Twp. man sentenced for cooking meth

WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. on Monday sentenced Christopher D. Cragle, 38, of Sleepy Hollow Lane, to five to 10 years in state prison on methamphetamine production related charges.

Cragle, also known as “Cowboy,” was arrested by the state Office of Attorney General in April 2012, on charges he manufactured methamphetamine in a residence on state Route 118 in Sweet Valley.

Cragle failed to appear for a court proceeding while free on bail and was arrested a second time in November 2013, when he cooked methamphetamine inside his trailer. State drug agents seized various components used to manufacture methamphetamine, along with a 9mm pistol, a .233-caliber rifle and a pipe bomb with five blasting caps, according to the criminal complaint.

Cragle was sentenced on charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, weapons of mass destruction and two counts of manufacturing a controlled substance.