ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan named some prominent Maryland Republicans and a well-known Democrat to the transition team today. They include former Republican Rep. Helen Bentley and Ellen Sauerbrey. Sauerbrey. Former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, a Democrat, also is on the team. Hogan has said he wants to take a bipartisan approach in putting together his administration, which officially begins Jan. 21. The three were among about 20 new members of Hogan’s transition team.
GOV.-ELECT LARRY HOGAN
HARRISBURG – The most heavily traveled holiday of the year is Thanksgiving, and this year more than 2.7 million drivers are expected to travel the PA Turnpike from now to Dec. 1. With snow in the forecast, Turnpike officials are asking motorists to be more alert and cautious while traveling. If necessary, the PA Turnpike will reduce the speed limit to allow maintenance crews to do their job safely and to protect customers. In addition, the Turnpike may restrict certain types of vehicles – such as empty or double tractor-trailers – if conditions warrant The day before Thanksgiving is generally the single busiest day of the year on the Turnpike, which could see as many as 500,000 vehicles this year. Traffic volumes will be heaviest Wednesday from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 8 p.m. Motorists should be aware of the probability of slow-moving and stopped traffic, especially on Wednesday and Sunday. Turnpike maintenance crews, State Farm Safety Patrols and the PA State Police will be available to assist stranded motorists, keep traffic moving and respond to emergencies. Keep tune to WDAC for updated weather reports and for any weather related announcements through WDAC’s Winter Watch.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The PA Turnpike Commission says it has disciplined 11 people for using the agency’s email system to forward and receive pornography. A spokesman said today the punishment ranged from suspension for the most serious violations to letters of reprimand. The turnpike says the pornographic emails were the subject of an investigation by its own compliance department. Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo says he’s not sure what prompted the investigation or when the discipline was meted out. The disclosure comes after dozens of current and former employees of the state attorney general’s office were disciplined for exchanging emails with explicit content or pornographic images. A state Supreme Court justice recently retired after his participation became public.
HARRISBURG – Before adjourning for the year, the PA Senate adopted a resolution condemning the persecution of Christians in Iraq. The resolution calls on the President and Congress to condemn the crimes against humanity occurring in Iraq and to take prudent action to protect thousands of victims. Sen. Stewart Greenleaf of Bucks & Montgomery Counties sponsored Senate Resolution 430. The resolution calls on the President and Congress to condemn the crimes against humanity occurring in Iraq and to take prudent action to protect the thousands of victims. In addition, the resolution calls for members of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to be brought to justice in an international forum for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Copies of the resolution will be transmitted to the President and to the presiding officers of each house of Congress and to each member of Congress from Pennsylvania.
SEN. STEWART GREENLEAF
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – Lancaster County authorities arrested a man caught on a home surveillance system cutting wires, stealing copper piping and cameras from a residence in the 300 block of Pleasure Road in Manheim Township. 46-year-old Shawn Landis of Lancaster was identified by pictures released to the media. Police nabbed Landis while getting into a vehicle in the 300 block of S. West End Avenue in Lancaster. He was taken into custody without incident and turned over to Central Booking. He faces burglary and theft charges.
FULTON TOWNSHIP – One person died after attempting to flee police in Fulton Township, Lancaster County. State Police say 49-year-old John Myer of Nottingham fled authorities at a high rate of speed after they tried to stop him for some traffic violations. Myer lost control of his vehicle, hit an embankment, and struck a utility pole in the 300 block of Little Britain Church Road in Fulton Township shortly before 5:30 p.m. yesterday. Myer was pronounced dead at the scene.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The Republican who’s presided over the PA House for the past four years is about to retire and is keeping his options open. House Speaker Sam Smith told the PA Press Club that he hasn’t regretted his decision to leave the Legislature where he’s represented the Punxsutawney area since 1987. The 59-year-old Smith says he hopes someone will continue to press for a reduction in the size of the 203-member House, a goal he wasn’t able to accomplish. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai is in line to take over as speaker. Smith says he considers a tax increase next year “probably inevitable,” as the state faces a severe budget shortfall. As for his immediate plans, Smith says he’s “kind of basking in that uncertainty.”
REP. SAM SMITH
HARRISBURG (AP) – The PA Department is Public Welfare is now the Department of Human Services under a state law signed two months ago. Secretary Bev Mackereth unveiled the new logo at the agency’s headquarters in Harrisburg. Backers of the change say the new name better fits the massive agency’s mission without the stigma sometimes associated with welfare and public assistance. The agency employs nearly 17,000 people and is responsible for administering more than $30 billion in federal and state spending on a variety of social and human services programs. That’s more money than is handled by any other state agency. The Department of Public Welfare title goes back to the 1957 merger of the departments of Welfare and Public Assistance.
READING (AP) – A Christmas tree that some residents of Reading had maligned as ugly will remain in its prominent downtown location after all. The Reading City Council president had ordered the removal of the spindly spruce after residents said it was ruining their holiday spirit. The 50-foot tree was supposed to be replaced by a more impressive tree. City workers had started removing the tree’s decorations Monday when City Council President Francis Acosta ordered the work halted. It’s not clear what prompted him to change his mind but some residents had thought the tree should stay. The episode has inspired comparisons to the plot of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY (AP) – A Chester County university says its president has resigned after he was criticized for comments he made about women and sexual assault. Lincoln University’s board of trustees accepted Robert Jennings’ resignation yesterday. The university named general counsel Valerie Harrison as acting president. Jennings apologized earlier this month for his comments at an all-women’s convocation in September about how false rape allegations can ruin a young man’s life. Portions of the remarks were posted online and some parents criticized them as appearing to blame women for sexual assault. Board chair Kimberly Lloyd announced Jennings’ departure in a letter posted on the university’s website.