PA Unemployment Rate Rises

HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose in March for the third straight month, as the number of jobs declined and the ranks of job-seekers increased. The state Department of Labor and Industry said today the 5.3 percent rate was up from 5.2 percent in February, when payrolls hit a record high that offset the last of the job losses from the recession. The national rate for March was 5.5 percent.

Lancaster County Raw Milk Warning

HARRISBURG – The state Agriculture Department is warning consumers who purchased raw milk from Breezy Meadows Dairy at 2457 Stumptown Road in Bird-In-Hand, Lancaster County should discard it immediately due to Salmonella contamination. The department said raw milk collected during required routine sampling by a commercial laboratory on April 7th tested positive for the bacteria. The packaged raw milk is sold in one-gallon and ½-gallon plastic containers. About 80 gallons of raw milk were sold between April 7 and April 15. The plastic containers are not labeled. Agriculture officials have ordered the owner to stop sale of all raw milk until further notice. Two samples taken at least 24 hours apart must test negative for pathogens before the farm can resume raw milk sales. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning usually appear within 12 to 72 hours after consumption and include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting that can last anywhere from four to seven days. To date, the PA Health Department is not aware of any illnesses related to these products. Any person who consumed raw milk from Breezy Meadows Dairy and has symptoms should consult their physician or call 1-877-PA HEALTH.

Youssef On Islam Spotlighted

LANCASTER – Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight features Bible teacher and author Dr. Michael Youssef talking about theological and Great Commission challenges from Islam. Youssef made his presentation at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, TN. Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight airs at 12:30 on WDAC and at 2 p.m. on 1075Alive.fm. You can listen to the program right now online at wdac.com under our blog.

DR. MICHAEL YOUSSEF

DR. MICHAEL YOUSSEF

PA Committee To Examine Internet Gambling

HARRISBURG – An effort to bring Internet gambling to Pennsylvania is being proposed through legislation offered by Dauphin County Rep. John Payne, who chairs the House Gaming Oversight Committee. With the state facing a projected $2 billion budget shortfall, Payne says it’s important we consider all options to boost revenue before we consider asking our taxpayers for more money to fill that deficit. Lancaster County Rep. Steve Mentzer, another committee member, says while we already have casino gambling in Pennsylvania, Internet gambling is too much access in that gambling could happen via home computer and your smartphone. Mentzer also doesn’t believe gambling is the best way to bring in revenue for the state. The House Gaming Oversight Committee has scheduled a public hearing on Internet gambling for May 6 in Room B31 in the Main Capitol.

REP. STEVEN MENTZER

REP. STEVEN MENTZER

REP. JOHN PAYNE

        REP. JOHN PAYNE

 

Licensed Bail Bondsmen Bill Advances

HARRISBURG – Legislation regulating the bail bonds industry was passed by the state House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 367 requires that bondsmen be licensed as insurance producers by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. They would be required to secure the appointment of an insurer as assurance that they are financially able to cover the liability they assume. Additionally, the bill allows county officials to petition the court to suspend or revoke the authority of a bail bondsman to do business in that county, or when necessary, petition the court to issue an order directing the Insurance Department to revoke the bail bondsman’s license statewide. The bill now advances to the full House for consideration.

Former York County Bear Doing Well In Colorado

KEENESBURG, CO (AP) – A female bear that spent nearly two decades as a caged attraction at a York County ice cream shop is adjusting to life at a wildlife sanctuary outside Denver, Colorado. Wild Animal Sanctuary’s executive director tells the York Daily Record that Little Ricki is roaming the 720-acre grasslands and making friends. She’s among more than 300 animals at the sanctuary. They include lions, camels, and ostriches. Little Ricki moved there in February after a battle that drew worldwide attention. Animal rights activists argued Ricki’s concrete enclosure at Jim Mack’s Ice Cream shop near Hellam was inadequate. The shop’s owner said the outcry pushed him to let her go.

Allentown’s Mayor To Run For Toomey’s Senate Seat

HARRISBURG (AP) – Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is expected to announce that he’s running to challenge U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s re-election bid, creating the potential for a contested Democrat primary in 2016. Pawlowski planned an announcement today. PA Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn says Pawlowski has been calling party officials to inform them he has decided to run. First-term Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from suburban Allentown, was elected in 2010. Also running is Democrat Joe Sestak, a former congressman from suburban Philadelphia who narrowly lost to Toomey in 2010. Pawlowski briefly tested his statewide electoral prospects in last year’s governor’s race, but dropped out because of a lack of fundraising.

ED PAWLOWSKI

             ED PAWLOWSKI

Large Food Packing Project At The Clipper

MOUNT JOY – A Lancaster County ministry has been a leader in the “mobile food packing” movement for years. Global Aid Network, also known as GAiN, has been packing up their trucks with rice and beans and heading out across America to deliver aid and equipment for churches to pack food. One local organization, “Go Beyond” wants to hold a large packing project of over 100,000 meals at Lancaster’s Clipper Magazine Stadium on May 13 and 14. Phil Liller, director of GAiN’s Logistics Center in Mount Joy, says the packed food is going to the Middle East, central Asia, Central America, and areas of Africa where Ebola decimated the food crop. GAiN will set up all the equipment, bring the food, bags, everything that is needed to make up the meals. They will train the volunteers how to do it, and then the volunteers will do the rest. For more information about the food packing project at Clipper Magazine Stadium, call GAiN’s Logistics Center 717-285-4220 or go to the “Go Beyond” website at www.go-beyond.us.

PA Relief Sale This Weekend

HARRISBURG – The 59th annual Pennsylvania Relief Sale benefiting Mennonite Central Committee starts today, April 17, and runs through Saturday at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. Auctions at this year’s sale will feature handmade quilts, furniture, original artwork and much more. Activities for children will also be available throughout the sale along with delicious food. Over the years, more than $12 million in sale day proceeds have benefited the worldwide relief efforts of MCC. You can visit www.pareliefsale.org for more information and a schedule of activities.

Family Farm Bill Advances In PA Senate

HARRISBURG – Legislation that clarifies a 2012 law that exempts family farms from the state inheritance tax has passed the state Senate Finance Committee. Prior to 2012, some family farms had to be sold by heirs to meet the inheritance tax burden, when otherwise the family would have been interested in continuing the operation. Lawmakers that year enacted the exemption, which allows many families to remain in agriculture, rather than selling the farm to a corporate farming entity or developer. However, in interpreting the statute, the state Revenue Department did not apply the exemption when some farm families managed their ownership and estate planning interests through family trusts or family corporations. Senate Bill 580 clarifies that such entities do qualify for the exemption. The bill, supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups, now goes before the full Senate for consideration.