HARRISBURG – Continued debate this week among PA’s elected officials over whether or not to admit Syrian refugees resulted in a state Senate resolution. Sponsored by Berks County Sen John Rafferty, it received positive votes from 6 Democrats and all Republicans which include the support of our Lancaster County Sens. Lloyd Smucker, and Ryan Aument. The resolution asks Governor Wolf, President Barack Obama, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to discontinue resettlement until such time as systems are in place to conduct effective and thorough security and background checks on Syrian refugees and to send a report detailing the increased measures to the states that are under consideration to receive Syrian refugees. Gov. Wolf responded by reiterating his backing of the President’s stance to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees nationally this year. Wolf remarked that he directed PA’s Dept of Human Services and Office of Homeland Security to review the federal government’s process and make any additional recommendations to strengthen these already extensive safeguards.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Penn State says it settled with six more victims of accusers of Jerry Sandusky during the year that ended June 30, bringing the payout total to nearly $93 million. The university’s audited financial statements, dated Oct. 30, show $33.2 million in new payments over claims related to the university’s retired longtime assistant football coach. The report says more claims could be paid in the future, but provides no details. Penn State had said in October 2013 it had agreed to pay 26 people $59.7 million related to the Sandusky scandal. The report says the school’s now paid 32 claims. Sandusky is pursuing an appeal while he serves 30 to 60 years in prison on a 45-count child sexual abuse conviction.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Hunters killed 223 bears during the third day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season, raising the three-day total to nearly 2,500. That’s almost a 9 percent increase over the number of bears taken during the first three days of last year’s season. The figures come from preliminary data released Wednesday by the state Game Commission. With one day remaining, bears have been harvested in 54 of 67 counties. The heaviest bears taken so far weighed 713 pounds each. One was killed in Granville Township in Mifflin County, the other in Blair Township in Blair County. Hunters harvested 3,366 bears during the 2014 season. The state’s largest bear harvest happened in 2011, when 4,350 bears were taken.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Maryland has received 1,081 applications for licenses for the state’s medical marijuana program and most sought dispenser licenses. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission announced this week the total number of applications received by the Nov. 6 deadline. Officials say 811 of the applications received were from prospective dispensers. The commission says many submitted applications in all 47 state Senate districts, but state regulations prohibit any candidate from receiving more than one dispensary license. The state will only award two dispensary licenses per Senate district, for a total of 94 statewide. The commission received 146 applications for growers and 124 for processors statewide. The first stage of license approvals was expected by January, but because of the large number of applications, that will be delayed.
BROGUE (AP) – Authorities say a man lost control of his all-terrain vehicle in York County and died after being thrown from it. The York County coroner’s office says 31-year-old Zachary Hoffmaster Sr. was killed early Thursday in Chanceford Township. The York Daily Record reports Hoffmaster was thrown from the ATV after he lost control and it rolled over. Passers-by found him along a road around 1:50 a.m. The coroner’s office says Hoffmaster was not wearing a helmet and died of blunt force trauma. Hoffmaster lived in Wrightsville. A relative said Thursday that the family was not ready to comment.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Authorities are searching for a woman they say lunged at a paramedic with a knife and tried to stab him in the chest. Harrisburg Police said in a release that Juanee Crawford is wanted for criminal attempted homicide after the incident Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m. at the Hall Manor complex. Paramedics were trying to treat a 68-year-old man who had been assaulted when authorities say Crawford confronted them with a knife. They say she threatened to kill them before striking the officer in the chest, where his metal-reinforced vest stopped the knife’s blade. They say she also slashed at his waist and damaged his radio holder and belt. Police say the paramedic wasn’t hurt and fought Crawford off before she fled the scene.
LANCASTER (AP) – Constables will be removed from arrest warrant duties starting next June in one central Pennsylvania county, and deputy sheriffs will take over the role. Lancaster Online reports a Lancaster County judge made the change today, saying it will cut costs and improve service. The order ends a system where about 100 elected and appointed constables served warrants on a per warrant basis. Some earned over $100,000 annually. President Judge Dennis Reinaker says constables didn’t cooperate with efforts to boost oversight of warrant service. Six deputies will be hired. The county expects to save hundreds of thousands of dollars because constable compensation costs about $1.6 million.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s cash-strapped counties are saying enough is enough as the state government’s budget impasse nears its sixth month. The stalemate between Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican lawmakers has meant a lack of state funding for counties, school districts and nonprofits, which in turn have reduced staff, slashed services and borrowed money. The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania says it’s exploring the possibility of a lawsuit to force state government to fund services for children, senior citizens, addicts, and mentally disabled and mentally ill people. Its lawyers are also researching whether counties can withhold money they collect on behalf of the state.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Thanksgiving travel has hit a bump for some train passengers in central Pennsylvania after a freight train’s two-car derailment blocked tracks to the Harrisburg station. Norfolk Southern Public Relations Manager Dave Pidgeon said the two empty boxcars derailed this afternoon just west of the station, making it inaccessible to two arriving Amtrak trains. No one was injured. Norfolk Southern crews were on the scene, evaluating the situation.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A Pennsylvania Senate committee is asking the full chamber to consider removing Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office. The committee said Wednesday that it voted 5-2 in favor of recommending that the full Senate start a formal process that could result in a vote to remove Kane, the first Democrat and woman elected to the post. Senators still must vote on whether to start the inquiry. The Special Committee on Senate Address issued the recommendation after holding three public hearings this month. It also rejected Kane’s argument that the Senate lacks the authority to remove her. Kane is running the divided office with a suspended law license. She’s also fighting criminal charges of perjury and obstruction for allegedly leaking secret investigative material to a newspaper and lying under oath about it.