Pennsylvania

Joan Orie Melvin
2:02 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Melvin Quits Pa. Supreme Court as of May 1

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice who was convicted last month of using taxpayer-paid staff for political campaigns told the governor Monday she is resigning from the bench as of May 1, about a week before she will learn her sentence.

The letter from Justice Joan Orie Melvin to Gov. Tom Corbett said she made the decision "with deep regret and a broken heart."

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Pennsylvania
11:09 am
Mon March 25, 2013

DA: Central Pa. Dad May Have Planned Son's Murder

PETERSBURG, Pa. — A central Pennsylvania man who fatally shot his 2-year-old son and wounded his estranged wife before killing himself may have planned the boy's death.

Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic says 52-year-old Kenneth Ayers didn't leave a suicide note but did other things the prosecutor wouldn't specify in the week before that suggest Saturday's shooting was planned.

Ayers was under a protection from abuse order filed by his wife when he went to his mother's home to visit his son, Michael.

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Pennsylvania
5:18 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Pa. Turnpike Official Resigns in Wake of Inquiry

A Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission member who told a grand jury he did not disclose resort gift certificates he received from an engineering firm says he's resigning immediately.

Bill Lincoln, a former state Senate Democratic floor leader, said in a Friday statement that he's no longer able to do the job because of "personal stress" and ongoing health issues.

He didn't specifically mention last week's grand jury report that alleged a "pay-to-play" culture at the turnpike commission.

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Pennsylvania
11:25 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Punxsutawney Phil 'Indicted' Over Spring Forecast

CINCINNATI — Famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil might want to go back into hibernation.

Authorities in still-frigid Ohio have issued an "indictment" of the furry rodent, who predicted an early spring when he didn't see his shadow after emerging from his western Pennsylvania lair on Feb. 2.

Mike Gmoser, the prosecutor in southwestern Ohio's Butler County, says Punxsutawney Phil "did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early."

The penalty? Gmoser says — tongue firmly in cheek — is death.

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Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Man Killed in Pittsburgh Fire Set for Eviction

A man killed in a Pittsburgh apartment fire was set to be evicted and may have started the blaze by disconnecting the gas line to his stove.

Witnesses reported hearing an explosion before just after 7 a.m. in the nine-story, 170-unit Amberson apartment complex in the city's Shadyside section.

The Allegheny County medical examiner has identified the dead man as 60-year-old Mark A. Williams. An autopsy shows he died of external burns and from inhaling superheated air.

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Pennsylvania
1:15 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Suit: Pa. Child Molester Should Buy Victim's House

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The parents of a young Pennsylvania girl who was sexually molested by their neighbor have sued the man in a bid to force him to buy their house.

Sixty-five-year-old Oliver Beck pleaded guilty in September 2011 to indecent assault of a child under 13. After getting out of prison, he moved back to his home near Emmaus, about 55 miles north of Philadelphia.

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Pennsylvania
9:44 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Councilman Facing Drug Charges in Northeastern Pa.

Authorities say a northeastern Pennsylvania borough councilman faces charges after he was caught buying heroin.

The Monroe County district attorney's office says Stroudsburg Borough Council Vice President Neil Lawson Allen was arrested Sunday. Authorities say an officer went to Kay's Tavern and observed a suspected drug dealer entering Allen's vehicle and saw Allen put drugs in his pocket.

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Pennsylvania
9:52 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Pa. Man, 90, Jailed on Charges He Punched Trooper

ARMAGH, Pa. — A 90-year-old man has been jailed on charges he punched a state trooper called to the man's western Pennsylvania home to check on the welfare of a woman who lived there.

Troopers from the Indiana barracks don't say in a news release who asked them to check on the woman or why, or even who she is, and a barracks spokesman could not immediately be reached Tuesday.

But police do say the Russell Stiffler threatened to shoot any troopers or medical personnel who came to his home after police were asked to check on the woman just before 6 p.m. Friday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Seton Hill in Mourning

Seton Hill University administration building located in Greensburg, PA
Credit Irteagle102704 / Wikipedia

The Seton Hill women's lacrosse team continues to mourn the loss of head coach Kristina Quigley who died in a bus crash Saturday while traveling with her team. With wounds on the campus still fresh, Penn Live.com and Patriot News newspaper writer John Luciew has been covering the story and joins us to talk about the mood on campus.

Pennsylvania
2:30 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

No Ruling After Brief Hearing in Penn State Suit

A judge says it might be late April before he rules on Penn State's request to dismiss a whistleblower and defamation lawsuit filed by former assistant football coach Mike McQueary.

Judge Thomas Gavin presided over the half-hour hearing Monday at which lawyers debated the school's preliminary objections that could end the case.

McQueary is seeking millions in damages for how he says he was treated after reporting having seen Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy in 2001.

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Pennsylvania
9:30 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Crowd Rallies at Courthouse Steps for Open Carry

Citizens have rallied on the steps of a western Pennsylvania courthouse to call attention to their rights to openly carry weapons.

WJAC-TV reports more than 200 people turned out on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse for Sunday's rally in Brookville. That's about 75 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Raia (RAY'-uh) Gilbert, of Hazen held up a sign saying, "Nurse, Mother, Wife" and says, "That's what I am. I'm not some crazy person with guns in the basement. I'm a regular person who wants my Second Amendment protected."

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Pennsylvania
11:20 am
Fri March 15, 2013

More GOP Senators Break With Corbett on Medicaid

A third Republican state senator is breaking with conservatives and Gov. Tom Corbett to support an expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era reports Sen. Lloyd Smucker told a town hall meeting Wednesday that the federal dollars accompanying the expansion would ease the burden on Lancaster General and other hospitals that treat the uninsured.

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Pennsylvania
11:17 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Pa. House Resolution Introduced in Move Vs. Judge

The names of more than 40 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are on a resolution that could lead to impeachment proceedings against a sitting state Supreme Court justice.

The resolution, introduced Thursday, would authorize the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the conduct of Justice Joan Orie Melvin.

The resolution's sponsors include the Democratic and Republican chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as a majority of the committee's 25 members.

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Pennsylvania
1:34 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Police: Pa. Boy Calls 911 After Dad, Grandma OD

NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. — Police have charged a man and his mother with endangering a 10-year-old boy who called 911 when they passed out at home while allegedly using heroin.

The Beaver County Times reports police found both adults unresponsive when they arrived Friday evening.

Online court records don't list attorneys for 34-year-old Chad Kiser and 52-year-old Ginger Ray Foust of New Brighton. The boy is Kiser's son and Foust's grandson.

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Pennsylvania
9:23 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Feds: W. Pa. Woman Collected Dead Dad's SS Checks

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh say a woman collected $180,216 worth of Social Security benefits meant for her father — for nearly 23 years after he died.

Online court records don't list and age or address for Roni Halsel who is represented by the federal public defender's office, which has a blanket policy of not commenting on criminal cases.

But according to charges filed Wednesday, Halsel collected and cashed the checks meant for her father, Robert Shelton, who died Aug. 26, 1989. Authorities say the alleged thefts finally ended in July.

Pennsylvania
1:47 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Convicted State Supreme Court Justice Melvin Likely to Lose Sizeable Pension

Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin stands to lose a sizeable state pension once she's sentenced on corruption charges in May.

Information obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press from the State Employees' Retirement System through a Right-to-Know request shows Melvin qualifies for a maximum annual pension of as much as $140,322.

The request also covered Melvin's sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, who is serving a prison sentence in a related corruption case. Based on that information, the AP calculated Orie's maximum annual pension at $37,700.

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Pennsylvania
11:46 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Mine on Pa.-W.Va. Border Still Closed Due to Smoke

A Consol Energy mine on the West Virginia-Pennsylvania line remains closed while officials check for a suspected underground fire that prompted the mine's evacuation.

Consol officials say elevated carbon monoxide levels in the Blacksville No. 2 mine shaft "suggest that we have smoldering or the possibility of a fire in the mine."

More than 120 day-shift workers were safely evacuated when the smoke was first spotted Tuesday afternoon.

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Pennsylvania
8:37 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Puppy Lemon Law Updates Moves in PA House

A bill designed to help more puppy buyers get their money back after buying a sick or diseased dog is on its way to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

A bill passed the Senate unanimously Tuesday to strengthen Pennsylvania's 1997 Puppy Lemon Law in several ways.

Under the bill, the buyer could seek reimbursement for the treatment of incurable conditions, such as hip dysplasia. Currently, buyers may only get their money back for the treatment of curable conditions.

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Pennsylvania
3:03 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Three Top PA Welfare Employees Terminated

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's administration has terminated three top employees of the Department of Public Welfare, several weeks after the agency's secretary left.

A department spokeswoman declined Monday to say why the men lost their jobs, calling it a personnel matter.

The men included Philip Abromats, the executive director of audits and regulatory affairs, and special assistants Erik Randolph and Ron Semerjian. Former Secretary Gary Alexander's last day was Feb. 15.

Abromats says he was fired without notice Friday and not told why.

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Pennsylvania
2:57 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Sandusky Scandal tops $41 Million for Penn State

Penn State's bill to pay costs associated with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal has topped $41 million, including $8.1 million to pay for the internal investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

The latest disclosure posted Monday on a university website offered more itemization for certain costs including the bill for the Freeh probe. The bill also for the first time includes the $12 million payment to the NCAA — the first of five annual installments of the $60 million fine that's part of the sanctions.

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Pennsylvania
11:06 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Bomb Threat Suspect to Change Federal Plea

A Pittsburgh man has been scheduled to change his not guilty plea to federal charges that he used a stolen cell phone to call in false bomb threats to the Allegheny County 911 Center, saying that a bomb would go off at Allegheny County Jail, PNC Park, and a Port Authority light-rail station in Pittsburgh.

Federal court records show 22-year-old Termaine Washington was scheduled to change his plea Monday morning before a federal judge in Pittsburgh.

Authorities say Washington called in several false threats from Sept. 15-19.

Pennsylvania
11:03 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Decomposed Body Believed to be Missing Ohiopyle Man

A coroner says a decomposed body found by kayakers may be that of a southwestern Pennsylvania man reported missing at Ohiopyle State Park in January.

The family of 29-year-old Jeremy Walker, of Somerset, hasn't heard from him since New Year's Eve and crews began searching the park after his car was found parked there Jan. 2.

The park covers more than 20,000 acres and includes whitewater rapids on the river. Dogs had previously traced Walker's scent from his car to a bridge on the river.

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Public Safety
10:50 am
Fri March 8, 2013

2 Braddock Cops Suspending for Fighting

Two Braddock police officers have been suspended after getting into a fight at their police station.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman said the fight started around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The officers weren't injured in the "very short" altercation according to the mayor.

The unidentified officers have been suspended without pay.

Authorities say the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office will investigate.

Fetterman said the fight ended when the men realized they were behaving inappropriately and when another officer in the room broke up the fight.

Marcellus Shale
4:20 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Fed Beige Book Mentions PA Drilling Impact

The U.S. Federal Reserve's latest survey of regional economic trends is mentioning the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom.

The Fed's latest Beige Book issued Wednesday mentions that Pennsylvania banks see customers paying down loans with natural gas royalty money. In neighboring Ohio the Fed says shale gas activity is expanding at a robust pace, but some auto dealers are worried they're lose technicians to energy companies.

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Penn State
12:44 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

$1M Gift to Establish Industrial Engineering Professorship at Penn State

A California couple has donated $1 million to Penn State's department of industrial engineering.

The Centre Daily Times reports the donors are alumnus Tom Lucas, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1976, and his wife, Nicki. They're from of Trabuco Canyon, Calif.

The money will create an endowed professorship. Department head Paul Griffin says it will help add a top-notch faculty member and also provide resources for current and future students.

Lucas retired last year after a career in the pharmaceutical and biomedical industry.

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