WEST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP – Authorities found a missing autistic teen in Lancaster County. The 15-year-old boy went missing around 5 p.m. Wednesday after becoming upset and leaving on a bike in the area of Hempfield Hill Road and Vista Drive in West Hempfield Township. A State Police helicopter helped in the search. Several hours later, the boy was located in Columbia.
LANCASTER – A state appellate court has denied a Lancaster County man’s latest request for relief, finding the convicted killer of a couple has filed too late. David Ludwig, now 29, is serving two consecutive life terms for fatally shooting Michael and Cathryn Borden in their Warwick Township home in November 2005 after they told Ludwig he could no longer see their 14-year-old daughter. Ludwig, who was 18 at the time, drew a pistol as he was being shown the door to leave and shot both parents dead. He then fled with the daughter. The couple was found by authorities a day later in Indiana. In Ludwig’s latest filing, he argued he be treated as a juvenile killer serving life, pointing to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed life sentences for juvenile defendants “unconstitutional.” Ludwig also pointed to “ineffective assistance” of his previous lawyer. The PA Superior Court denied the request, concurring with Lancaster County Judge David Ashworth, who previously found the challenge to be untimely and without merit.
HARRISBURG – A measure that would require Senate confirmation of the individual appointed to fulfill the CEO position at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has been reintroduced at the state Capitol. Montgomery County Sen. John Rafferty has sponsored the legislation since 2007. He says since the Turnpike Commission collects and expends taxpayer dollars, the PA Senate should provide advise and consent into the process of appointing a CEO. The Turnpike Commission manages an operating budget in excess of $350 million and a ten year capital plan that is approximately $5.7 billion.
LITITZ – A Lancaster County woman is charged with setting up a fraudulent GoFundMe account. Police say 31-year-old Nicole Leahy of Lititz established the fake account. The arrest was a result of a complaint received in April 2016 from a resident of Florida, who reported that a fraudulent account had been created in December 2015. It indicated that money would be raised to assist with medical and funeral expenses related to the person’s one year old son who had passed away in December 2015. The victim discovered in April 2016 a GoFundMe account with a photo of her son being depicted, using the story of her family’s recent hardship. The victim said she never authorized anyone else to create a GoFundMe page using her family’s information and story, and had never received the approximately $500.00 that was raised from the fake GoFundMe account. Leahy, who was charged with theft by deception, waived a preliminary hearing.
STATE COLLEGE (AP) – Police charged eleven people with various offenses tied to a large disturbance that broke out in downtown State College after Penn State’s football team won the Big Ten title. Unruly fans caused thousands of dollars in damage during the Dec. 3 riot, which immediately followed the Nittany Lions’ come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin. Eight of the eleven charged are current students at Penn State. Police say they face possible expulsions from the school if they are convicted.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Amazon is announcing plans to open a 1.2-million-square-foot fulfillment center in North East, Maryland. Amazon now employs more than 3,000 associates at its fulfillment and sorting centers in Baltimore and plans to create 700 new positions at its third Maryland facility. Employees at the North East fulfillment center in Cecil County will pick, pack, and ship larger items such as big-screen televisions, kayaks, and patio furniture.
YORK – Area Congressman Scott Perry unveiled bipartisan legislation to ensure the Crime Victims Fund is used only to assist crime victims, rather than paying for unrelated federal projects. Congress created the Crime Victims Fund in 1984, based on the idea that money collected by the federal government from those who commit crimes should be used to help those victimized by crime. Each year, criminal fines and penalties collected by the federal government are deposited into the Fund to pay for other government spending. The Fairness for Crime Victims Act – H.R. 275 – ends that practice. Rep. Perry is a member of the House Victim Rights Caucus. He represents parts of Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, & York Counties.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania will soon be accepting applications from those who want to grow and process medical marijuana as well as those who want to establish and run dispensaries. The Health Department made the applications available on its website and can be submitted between Feb. 20 and March 20. The agency is fielding questions about the application process through Feb. 8. The goal is to have the system up and running by the middle of 2018. The first phase involves as many as 27 dispensary licenses, with up to three locations each, and up to 12 grower-processor permits. Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law was enacted last year. It permits patients to take the medicine in several forms, but not in a way that can be smoked.
HARRISBURG –PA Auditor General Eugene DePasqualle, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and state Treasurer Joe Torsella were sworn into office yesterday. In his second term, DePasquale pledged to focus on protecting children, continuing to call for the testing of all untested rape kits, and supporting efforts to combat the opioid crisis. Shapiro vowed to ensure integrity of the office, safeguard Pennsylvanians’ rights, health, and safety, and tackle the heroin and opioid epidemic in a comprehensive way. Torsella called for a commitment to government that is accountable, transparent, and uses technology and innovation to financially empower all Pennsylvanians.
DOVER, DE (AP) – John Carney has been sworn in as Delaware’s 74th governor. Carney and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, both Democrats, took their oaths of office yesterday. Carney acknowledged the state’s challenges, including significant state budget problems and unabated gun violence in Wilmington, but said they can be met with hard work and cooperation among state and local officials. Carney was elected governor eight years after losing a hard-fought Democratic primary to Gov. Jack Markell. He went on to serve as Delaware’s lone representative in the U.S. House in 2010.