NASHVILLE – A former area pastor who was disciplined after he officiated at the same sex wedding of his son will be allowed to remain an ordained minister. The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council ruled Monday that a Pennsylvania church jury was wrong to defrock Frank Schaefer last year after he would not promise never to perform another same sex marriage. The council ruled on technical grounds and did not express support for same-sex marriage in general. The Church’s Book of Discipline rejects homosexual marriage as “incompatible with Christian teaching” and its clergy are forbidden from conducting same-sex marriages and unions. Schaefer served as pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon County. John Lomperis, director of United Methodist Action, says “This episode follows a long pattern of conservative United Methodists bending over backwards to be gracious to church-killing radicals,” who he says “abuse the grace they are offered to selfishly hurt the church.”
HARRISBURG (AP) – PA Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery is retiring immediately and leaving the court. McCaffery wrote a letter to Gov. Corbett on Monday less than two weeks after the chief justice disclosed McCaffery sent or received 234 emails with sexually explicit content. McCaffery’s letter says he’s proud of his service and also says he won’t seek senior status as a judge, run for a judgeship or be appointed to the bench. The state’s Judicial Conduct Board says it’s ending an investigation of the Democrat, because the most serious possible penalty is removal from office and prohibition from holding future judicial office.
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would benefit homeschoolers is on its way to the governor’s desk for his signature. House Bill 1013 provides oversight for the approval of homeschoolers’ education portfolios easing the burdens on superintendents and families, who have been concerned in some districts where some superintendents have sat on portfolios and not approved them in a timely manner. Lancaster County Rep. Ryan Aument, a supporter of the measure, added that under the changes made by the bill, a state-approved evaluator, who already has authorization to certify that an appropriate education is taking place, will be able to provide certification to the school district superintendent. Additionally, the measure removes duplicative practices in the homeschool program that cause delay and frustration to families during the diploma certification process.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – A Maryland panel could begin voting on regulations to make medical marijuana available in Maryland. The state commission is scheduled to meet today in Annapolis. Maryland lawmakers authorized 15 licensed marijuana growers in the state in legislation this year after a previous medical marijuana law approved in 2013 stalled. People were not able to get marijuana for medicinal purposes under that law. That’s because it required academic medical centers to run the programs. None stepped forward.
ANNAPOLIS (AP) – The Maryland State Board of Elections says it has responded to some complaints from voters about voting units that displayed a candidate different than a voter’s selection. The board said today it has received reports that less than 20 units with touchscreens showed a different candidate than the one chosen. Early voting began last week in Maryland. The board tested 12 of the machines, saying the issue cannot be repeated. The other units have been taken out of service. The board says election officials receive similar reports in every election. The board also says voters with large fingers or long nails seem to report the problem more frequently. Voters who rest their palm on the screen also report the problem.
WALLOPS ISLAND, VA – Folks in our area may get to see a NASA rocket flying into space this evening. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket at 6:45 p.m. The Antares rocket will carry Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, loaded with some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments, to the International Space Station. The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States.
LANCASTER TOWNSHIP – Manheim Township Police are investigating the discovery of a body in the Conestoga River. Authorities responded to the 100 block of Conestoga Blvd in Lancaster Township at 6:19 p.m on Sunday after kayakers noticed the body. The body was removed with the assistance of the fire department, and turned over to the County Coroner’s Office. Identification of the deceased and the manner of death are being investigated.
BALTIMORE (AP) – Maryland officials will require anyone considered to have high-risk exposure to the Ebola virus to stay home until it’s confirmed they’re Ebola-free. That’s one of the precautionary measures that state officials outlined today in their plan to monitor the potential for Ebola from people who come from three West African countries. People considered to have high-risk exposure are those who have had known, unprotected contact with bodily fluids from someone infected with Ebola. They also would be required to have daily contact with health officials. People who have had protected exposure to bodily fluids containing Ebola would not be allowed to use public transportation or attend large gatherings. There have been no cases of Ebola acquired in Maryland.
MANHEIM – Students at Manheim Central’s Doe Run Elementary School will return to classes today at a different location. Structural problems at the elementary school on October 17th caused an evacuation of the building and students got to have a week off from school while the district made preparations for classes to be held elsewhere. Doe Run students will now hold classes at the former middle school on Gramby Street in Manheim. An open house held at Doe Run on Gramby was held yesterday for parents and students.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – One of the math skills that’s fair game for third-graders on state standardized tests is multiplication tables up to 10 times 10. Now members of the public have a chance to let the state know whether that – or any other “eligible content” in math or English language arts – is appropriate. The state Department of Education unveiled a new web site, www.paacademicreview.org, which allows comment on what the state says children should know and be able to do. The site opened with third-grade math and English language arts. By mid-November, the state expects to have available eligible content in English language arts and mathematics for grades 4 to 8 and Algebra I and Literature at the secondary level. This is material that can be tested on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests or Keystone Exams. The content covered on the website is part of the Pennsylvania Core Standards, which is a state version that grew out of the Common Core State Standards.