Why Did Mike Stack Need Hundreds Of Squeezable Applesauce Packets?

May 12, 2017

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack "billed taxpayers for $34,000 worth of groceries, two leather cuff link boxes, flags and thousands of dollars of candy and snack bars while living at his state-operated mansion and collecting a $162,373 salary." 

The tally is part of an evolving story published by The Caucus' Brad Bumsted and Mike Wereschagin, who say they're still itemizing the wide-ranging list of expenditures for LNP Media.

In an interview with 90.5 WESA's The Confluence host Kevin Gavin last week, Gov. Tom Wolf declined to discuss whether Stack would join him on Democratic ticket for his re-election bid next year. Wolf called for an investigation into Stack last month for allegedly mistreating his household staff and police security detail. Stack apologized and his detail was suspended.

Voters will select nominees for judges at the state, county and municipal levels on Tuesday. The contests are partisan and candidates don't have to have any formal legal training to seek the bench.

Charlie Deitch, editor of the Pittsburgh City Paper, and University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, host of 90.5 WESA's Criminal Injustice podcast, talk through potential pitfalls of that long-standing system and review the case against Senior Judge Lester Nauhaus. Nauhaus could face a judicial ethics panel for recently fining an 18-year-old $6, or $1 per time the then-juvenile boy allegedly groped his 15-year-old female victim at a local high school.

Reporter Lori Falce catches us up on the 18 Penn State fraternity men facing charges after 19-year-old sophomore Timothy Piazza died from a purposely untreated head injury sustained during an extreme hazing ritual Feb. 2.

Piazza's parents, Jim and Evelyn, spoke to reporters over the weekend: “In August, we dropped off two sons at Penn State for a collegiate experience. Today we are bringing one home due to a senseless tragedy.”

And a proposed smoking ban has tensions running high for some Pittsburgh-area business owners. 

House Bill 1309 introduced last Friday would end what’s left of indoor smoking at bars, casinos, clubs and hotels by scrapping a list of exemptions in the 2008 Clean Indoor Air Act. Staff writer Wes Venteicher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says more than 3,000 businesses would be affected statewide.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes here.