STATE COLLEGE(AP) – Penn State officials say a section of plaster fell from an overhanging balcony in an auditorium during a program for prospective engineering students, injuring at least one person.
Officials said about 500 people were in Schwab Auditorium at the central Pennsylvania university when the two-foot -by-eight-foot section fell shortly before 11:30 a.m. this morning. The university said about half of the debris fell into a center aisle and some fell on several seats. The Centre Daily Times reported that one person was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for treatment of a minor cut on the head. Officials said another person was evaluated at the scene by emergency medical technicians and released. The building is closed and will be evaluated by engineers and health and safety teams.
HARRISBURG(AP) – The Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House says his members won’t vote for any sort of tax increase without privatization of the state liquor system, and that lawmakers may eventually override the Democratic governor’s vetoes. Speaker Mike Turzai said today that recent budget talks have amounted to “constructive dialogue” but negotiations have been around the edges rather than at the heart of their disputes. Pennsylvania is about four weeks into the new fiscal year with talks at a stalemate. Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the budget, liquor privatization and pension cuts that were passed by Republicans without a single Democratic lawmaker’s vote. Wolf wants billions to close a budget deficit and spend more on education and human services. The Republican-passed budget didn’t include a tax increase.
HARRISBURG – Legislation intended to increase cooperation between state agencies in order to enhance protection from senior citizens in cases of unwanted telephone calls which lead to financial exploitation has been passed by the PA House. Lancaster County Rep. Keith Greiner says House Bill 271 calls for the state Office of the Attorney General to have ongoing communication with the Department of Aging in order to ensure that consumers who are 60-years-old or older have access to information regarding the prevention of potential patterns of financial exploitation. Cases of senior abuse and fraud are on the rise across the Commonwealth and House Bill 271 will protect seniors from future scams and fraud.
REP. KEITH GREINER
HARRISBURG – The state Health Department will provide free potassium iodide or KI tablets to Pennsylvanians who are within 10 miles of the state’s five nuclear power plants. In our region, that includes Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station and Three Mile Island. KI protects the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine when taken as directed during radiological emergencies, but the tablets should only be taken when the Governor or state public health officials advise you to do so. KI is also available throughout the year at county and municipal health departments and state health centers located within a 10 mile radius of a nuclear facility. The KI distribution is planned for Thursday, August 6th. Persons within a 10 mile radius of Peach Bottom can get KI that day at Peach Bottom Community Center in Delta and at the East Drumore Township Building in Quarryville. Folks within a 10 mile radius of TMI can get KI that day at Fairview Township Fire Department in New Cumberland, Londonderry Township Building in Middletown, Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Mohler Senior Center in Hershey, and Union Fire Company No. 1 in Manchester.
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would permit qualified private companies to facilitate transportation of super-sized loads has passed the PA House Transportation Committee. Currently under law, any tractor trailer transporting a load greater than 201,000 pounds, over 160 feet and/or 16 feet wide requires a police escort. Sen. David Argall of Berks & Schuylkill Counties said under his Senate Bill 748, the super-sized loads would be attended instead by certified pilot escorts. Argall said the current requirement places a serious burden on State Police. The measure now goes to the full House for consideration.
SEN. DAVID ARGALL
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – PA U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is pushing to expand a program that provides nutritious meals to vulnerable children. Casey will explain his proposal today at the YMCA in South Philadelphia, which provides healthy meals to children. The Child and Adult Care Food Program offers food assistance to children in a family child care home if 50% of the community is eligible for free or reduced price lunches during the school year. Casey’s bill would change that to 40%. Casey’s bill also allows family child care homes to serve a third meal during the day for children who are there for eight hours or longer.
SEN. BOB CASEY
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf holds a political science degree, but these days he’s a freshman with an incomplete in the first big test of his administration – getting a budget through the Republican-controlled Legislature. Pennsylvania is almost a month into its new fiscal year without a spending plan in place. That raises an obvious question about what happened to the Democrat’s oft-stated determination to be “an unconventional governor” determined to work across the aisle. House Republican Leader Dave Reed credits Wolf for reaching out to meet with all of the General Assembly’s 253 members and for striking a bipartisan tone early on. But he says that during negotiations, Wolf is more of a traditional ideologue. Wolf says he’s worked hard to reach out to Republicans, and he’s confident those efforts will bear fruit.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf says his administration is taking steps to make sure that human fetal tissue isn’t being sold commercially in Pennsylvania. Wolf said that the review is in response to an undercover video that showed national Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they provide organs from aborted babies. The group that made the video says it proves Planned Parenthood is breaking federal law against selling human fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood says it legally helps women who want to donate fetal tissue for scientific research, not sell it commercially. Wolf says he doesn’t think it’s happening in Pennsylvania. The Department of Health says it hasn’t received a complaint about it and Planned Parenthood says its Pennsylvania health centers don’t participate in fetal tissue donation. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai have sent a letter to the state attorney general to investigate Planned Parenthood.
HOLTWOOD – A Celebration of Life Event is being planned to help the surviving family members of Lisa Scheetz, the southern Lancaster County mother who was fatally stabbed along with her 16-year-old daughter Hailey in their East Drumore Township home on June 11. 38-year-old Leeton Thomas was charged with the murders. 15-year-old Paige Scheetz survived from her wounds and may need more surgeries as a result. The benefit is in memory of Lisa and Hailey Scheetz, but all proceeds from the event will also help with any medical bills and further education for Paige and another daughter Sydney. Michelle Reeves of Kirkwood is coordinating the event which will take place this Friday,at the Lancaster County Sportsmen Association, 573 Hilldale Road in Holtwood from 5 p.m. till midnight. All ages are welcome to attend. Food, an auction, and music will be part of the event. The cost is $20 for those 21 and up; $10 for those under 21, and 6 and under are free. Organizers are seeking donations of food for the event, raffle items, and monetary contributions. Donations are requested by today. For information, you can contact Michelle Reeves at 717-587-0108 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EPHRATA – Police in Ephrata, Lancaster County are searching for a man suspected of stealing electronics equipment from Walmart last Friday around 10 p.m. A surveillance photo of the suspect can be seen below. He was reportedly a passenger in a lighter blue SUV that fled the scene. If you recognize him, contact Ephrata Police at 717-733-8611 and you can remain anonymous.