HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett is now asking a federal judge to decide a constitutional challenge to Pennsylvania‘s Defense of Marriage Act without a trial. The Corbett Administration, which is defending the law’s constitutionality, made the filingsin federal court about 10 hours after plaintiffs’ lawyers requested a decision without a trial. Lawyers say a trial is no longer necessary because the state’s lawyers haven’t refuted their clients’ claims about their relationships and their inability to get the same legal protection and tax benefits afforded to married couples. Judge John Jones III had set a June 9 trial date. A decision isn’t expected before May 12.
WASHINGTON, DC – Family Research Council and American Values released results of a commissioned national survey showing that 82% of Republican and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage “should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.” The same survey found that voters want their elected leaders to promote this view in public policy: 75% of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters disagree that “politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.” FRC President Tony Perkins says the vast majority of the GOP base continues to believe that marriage is a non-negotiable plank of the national platform and want to see their elected officials uphold natural marriage as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage and promote in law. American Values President Gary Bauer said public policy makers are doing a great disservice to themselves and future generations by continuing to misread the convictions of the American people, who overwhelmingly support the institution of marriage as a unique union of one man and one woman. To view the results of the survey, CLICK HERE.
HARRISBURG – Groundbreaking was held for a major construction projecton the PA Turnpike that will result in a new, wider crossing over the Swatara Creek and Swatara Creek Road near Middletown. The bridge replacement is part of an improvement project that will result in the reconstruction of one and a half miles of Turnpike mainline between the Harrisburg East Exit and the Lebanon-Lancaster Exit. PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says taxpayers will see their money is well spent on this project and all projects improving transportation in the state. The existing bridge, which opened in Nov. 1950, will stay open throughout construction. It will be demolished after completion of the new bridges in 2016. Another Turnpike improvement project will widen the toll road from four to six lanes between the Harrisburg West interchange and the Susquehanna River Bridge.
BETHEL TOWNSHIP – State Police are searching for a man who was seen with a Schuylkill County woman whose body was found in Berks County. The body of 24-year-old Alishia Eller of Pine Grove was discovered Saturday between Musselman and Beagle Roads in Bethel Township. Investigators are waiting further test results from an autopsy to determine the cause of death. State Police say a man, who was believed to have been with Eller on Friday, was seen in surveillance videos. Police also released a photo of a vehicle. Anyone with information is asked to contact PSP Hamburg at 484-660-1011.
YORK (AP) – A judge says there’s enough evidence for a York County man to stand trial in the death of his wife. Prosecutors claim 41-year-old Joseph Fitzpatrick III of Felton killed his wife and made her death appear to be the result of an ATV crash into a creek. After testimony on Tuesday, District Judge John Fishel sent the homicide charge to York County Court. Prosecutors said Fitzpatrick stood to collect more than $1.7 million in life insurance from the death of his wife, Annemarie. Police said Annemarie Fitzpatrick left a signed note on her daily planner at work under the date she died – June 6, 2012 – that read: “If something happens to me – JOE.”
MYERSTOWN- The last of 27 pets rescued from a homeless veteran’s car in Lebanon County last month is now ready for a good home. WFMZ-TV said Dori, a 4-month-old Persian kitten, has been at the Humane Society of Lebanon County since March 1. That’s when she and 23 other cats, all Persians and Siamese and three dogs, two cocker spaniels and a dachshund mix, were found in a parked car at the Lebanon VA Medical Center. The animals belonged to a veteran who lost her home and job and had checked herself into the hospital. All the other animals were adopted and Dori’s turn comes Wednesday. A $200 fee will be applied to the adoption and will be donated to the Lebanon VA Medical Center.
EDGEWOOD, MD. – The Army says it’s investigating the death of a grounds maintenance worker at Aberdeen Proving Ground near Edgewood. Post spokesman Kelly Luster says the civilian Army employee had been mowing grass on a riding mower near the Route 24 gate this morning. He says emergency workers responded to the incident about 9:15 a.m. The Army is withholding the man’s name pending notification of relatives. The Route 24 gate provides access to the Edgewood Area for non-federal government visitors and truck drivers.
HARRISBURG – The PA Senate adopted a resolution recognizing today, April 22nd as “Governor James Pollock Remembrance Day” in the Commonwealth. Pollack began his public service career as a Northumberland County District Attorney in 1834. He would be later elected to Congress and serve as a judge before his successful run for governor in 1855. His claim to fame came when he served as Director of the U.S. Mint. As Columbia County Sen. John Gordner explains, Pollack was approached by President Abraham Lincoln to craft a motto that would reunite the country. That motto is “In God We Trust” which was adopted as the national motto in 1956. As governor, Pollock also signed the charter to establish Penn State University and was among the founding board of trustees at the school. Some lawmakers in Harrisburg have proposed House Bill 1728, the National Motto Display Act, which would direct school districts in the Commonwealth to prominently display the national motto “In God We Trust” in all school buildings.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Advocates for Pennsylvania public schools are demanding more money and a fairer funding formula. Leaders of statewide groups including school boards, administrators, and business officials released a survey that shows majorities of voters believe public schools affect the economy and that school funding should be increased. Jim Buckheit of the school administrators’ group says Pennsylvania’s public education funding lags the national average. Gov. Tom Corbett is proposing a 3% increase in school aid for the year that starts July 1, including a $340 million grant program that gives schools flexibility in improving student achievement. Jay Himes of the school business officials’ group says the present school funding formula results in an unpredictable distribution of state money.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – Several Manheim Township, Lancaster County businesses were targeted by burglars sometime overnight April 20-21. Police say forced entry was made to BR Books at 1933 Fruitville Pike. The actors then broke through a wall to gain access to the AT&T store at 1931 Fruitville Pike. About $1,500 damage was done to BR Books. The damage and loss amount from AT&T has not yet been determined. Another forced entry was made at H&R Block at 2042 Fruitville Pike. An unsuccessful attempt was then made to break through an interior wall to get into the Game Stop at 2040 Fruitville Pike. Approximately $700 damage was done to H&R Block, and $300 to Game Stop.