HARRISBURG- A Department of Public Welfare spokeswoman said today that the agency has received information on 43,000 applicants whose electronic applications were stuck on servers at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for months. Their applications were held up by computer glitches. The people had applied for health insurance through Healthcare.gov, a primary gateway to coverage under the 2010 federal health care law. The gateway opened Oct. 1. The Department of Insurance is handling 6,000 of the applicants because that agency administers the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
LEBANON – Two people are behind bars and a third remains at large in connection with a shooting in Lebanon Co. that has left two men dead. South Lebanon Township police said Tuesday that 34-year-old Rick Lavar Cannon of Harrisburg and 29-year-old Akeita Harden of Lebanon are jailed on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault and related charges. Cannon also is facing a drug charge. Police received a 911 call around 10 a.m. Monday reporting gunshots coming from a home. They arrived to find Marcus Antonio Ortiz and Keith Crawford Jr. mortally wounded. They died at a hospital. Cannon and Harden were arrested after a foot chase. Authorities are still looking for a third suspect, identified as 36-year-old Eddie Lee Williams Jr. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.
DAUPHIN- Two central Pennsylvania women are accused of neglecting an 88-year-old relative who was supposed to be in their care. Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said today that 58-year-old Kathy Hope and 30-year-old Elena Mishula of Middle Paxton Township have each been charged with neglect of care of a dependent person, a first-degree felony. Investigators said paramedics called to the defendants’ home on Feb. 6 found the elderly and disoriented woman lying on a concrete carport. Marsico said she hadn’t been given her medications for months and was suffering from hypothermia, sepsis, hypertension and bed sores. She remains hospitalized. Her name wasn’t released.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Some Pennsylvania state lawmakers think universities should be able to leave the State System of Higher Education and are proposing legislation to allow it. Sen. Tommy Tomlinson outlined the proposal at a news conference in the Capitol today, saying enrollment trends and financial pressures mean the schools should have the flexibility to make more of their own decisions. Tomlinson’s bill would let larger schools among the 14-member system become “state-related” universities, a group that now includes just Penn State, Pitt, Lincoln and Temple. Schools that leave the state system would have to pay back the value of their property over 30 years. Opponents say the idea would lead to higher tuition and provide less state oversight and accountability.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The number of candidates for governor who have filed petitions for the primary election ballot continues to grow with the deadline only hours away. U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and state Treasurer Rob McCord are the most recent Democrats to file, joining former state environmental protection secretary John Hanger and former state auditor general Jack Wagner as Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline looms. On the Republican side, a conservative businessman from Ardmore, Bob Guzzardi became the first to file a petition. GOP Gov. Tom Corbett is also expected to file. Major-party candidates who are seeking nominations for governor, lieutenant governor, Congress, the Legislature and seats on the Democratic and Republican state committees must turn in a minimum number of voters’ signatures that varies with the position. All of Pennsylvania’s congressional incumbents who are seeking re-election have filed their petitions early. Sixteen of the 18 representatives – as well as more than a dozen challengers in the May 20 primary – had filed by Tuesday morning, well in advance of the 5 p.m. deadline.
HARRISBURG – Legislation has been introduced that would establish strict criteria and reporting guidelines for public bodies that enter into private “executive session” meetings. House Bill 1671 will receive a hearing in the House State Government Committee tomorrow. The measure would narrow the instances when executive session could be called. It would also require an audio recording of the executive session so if an allegation arises that the meeting was improperly held, it can be verified later by a judge. Currently, no record of executive session is kept so any allegations of impropriety are very difficult to prove. In addition, it would require the solicitor to advise the body on whether the topic it plans to discuss in executive session is appropriate. The solicitor’s advice would also be recorded.
SOUTH LEBANON TOWNSHIP – Two suspects involved in the Monday morning shooting of two individuals at 714 Fox Ridge Lane in South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County have been identified. Police say 34-year-old Rick Cannon of Harrisburg and 29-year-old Akeita Harden of Lebanon have been charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, flight to avoid apprehension, and firearms violations. Cannon is also charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Both are being held in Lebanon County Correctional Facility without bail. Authorities are searching for a third suspect identified as Eddie Lee Williams, Jr, who is in his 30′s and has no known address. He goes by several aliases. Williams is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information regarding the shooting or the whereabouts of Williams is asked to contact South Lebanon Township Police at 717-272-2054. There has been no motive disclosed for the shooting. The two shooting victims, identified as Keith Crawford, Jr and Marcus Ortiz, have been reported as “brain dead.”
AKEITA HARDEN/RICK CANNON
EDDIE LEE WILLIAMS, JR
LANCASTER – Police say two inmates at the Lancaster County Prison were hurt during a stabbing. It happened Monday around 10 p.m.. One inmate suffered a wound to his back and cuts to his face. A second inmate was also hurt. One inmate was taken to Lancaster General Hospital for treatment. Authorities believe pens or pencils were used to inflict the wounds. No charges have yet been filed. The investigation into the incident continues.
NORTH YORK – Two homes were hit by gunfire in the 600 block of N. George Street in North York. Around 2 a.m. Monday, unknown subjects discharged a 20 gauge shotgun to the rear of two residences. Both homes were occupied at the time of the shootings. No one was hurt. Police say the shootings appear to be connected, but the homes appear to have been randomly chosen. Both residences sustained damage to either rear windows or doors. One of the homes was shot from the area of Albright Avenue and the second was shot at fairly close range. The investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to contact Northern York County Regional Police at 717-292-3647.
GETTYSBURG (AP) – A man who broke his silence after three decades in a firebombing and double murder has been sentenced to time served and will be eligible for parole immediately. 48-year-old Ruperto Garcia Jr. of Harrisburg was sentenced in Adams County Court on a burglary conspiracy count. Garcia was 15 years old in August 1980 when prosecutors said two men firebombed a Freedom Township, Adams County home and shot 41-year-old Nancy Patterson and her 17-year-old daughter Deborah Patterson to death as they fled. 56-year-old Erasmo Cruz pleaded guilty last month to third-degree murder. Police say a third suspect is behind bars on unrelated charges and a fourth suspect has died. A relative of one of the victims was originally charged, but acquitted at trial.