WASHINGTON, DC (AP) – Former PA U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum is preparing to launch a second presidential campaign. The aggressive advocate for conservative family values will announce his plans today in his western Pennsylvania hometown. Santorum won 11 states on his way to a second-place finish in the 2012 Republican primary election. Yet he faces considerable challenges the second time around. Santorum says his experience would pay dividends the second time around.
EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP – Police are investigating how a .22 caliber bullet got on the floor of a classroom at Lancaster Mennonite School. It was found yesterday. A thorough search was conducted by school officials including all students that used or were in the classroom. Police say no threats or any other information about the cartridge was received. There is no information at this time to indicate that this is was an intentional act. Officials believe that the incident was possibly an accidental oversight from students returning to the school from the holiday weekend activities. The incident remains under investigation.
EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP – Lancaster County authorities are investigating an armed robbery at the Speedway at 5 Hartman Bridge Road in East Lampeter Township. At 10:53 p.m. Monday, a man entered the store near closing time, approached the female clerk, then displayed a knife and demanded money. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of cash and a carton of cigarettes, then fled on foot in the direction of the Steamboat Inn. The female clerk was not injured. The suspect was described as a white male, short brown hair, unshaven, with multiple tattoos on both forearms, wearing a black short sleeve shirt and black pants. Pictures of the suspect can be seen below. Anyone with information should contact East Lampeter Township Police at 717-291-4676.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – Two women are accused of stealing money while employed at the Mennonite Home in Lancaster County. Charges were filed against 42-year-old Victoria Felix of East Petersburg and 37-year-old Deborah Lopez of Lancaster after an investigation into a payroll discrepancy. In April 2015, management at the home discovered that Lopez, a CNA, was being paid for hours that she did not work. An investigation determined that Lopez conspired with Felix, the scheduler at the home, to manually add the hours to Lopez’s payroll sheets. The two would then share the money that was overpaid. An audit determined that it occurred between January 2012 and April 2015, with a total loss of $144,000. Both have been charged with theft by deception and criminal conspiracy. They were arraigned and released on $40,000 bail.
CAMP HILL (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf got help from law enforcement officials to persuade lawmakers to approve a huge new appropriation for Pennsylvania’s pre-kindergarten programs. Wolf appeared at Camp Hill Prison with several district attorneys and the head of the state prisons agency. They say more high quality pre-K programs would boost high school graduation rates and reduce the number of people in prison. Wolf’s budget proposal would add $120 million in early-childhood education funding, an 88% increase. However, state government is facing a large projected deficit in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature haven’t signaled whether they’ll support Wolf’s proposal, particularly if it requires a tax increase.
HARRISBURG – This is Hurricane Preparedness Week. PEMA Director Richard Flinn, Jr says Pennsylvania has had some devastating storms during the hurricane season and it’s important for people to be prepared. Families should prepare for two scenarios in the event of severe weather: to remain in their homes during the duration of a storm or to evacuate if it is recommended, or ordered, by local authorities. Residents should always have enough provisions in their homes to last at least 72 hours because help from emergency responders may not be immediately available when severe weather strikes. Other disaster preparedness supplies to have at the ready include: flashlights and extra batteries; portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries; first aid kit and manual; emergency food and water; non-electric can opener; essential medicines and prescriptions; cash, credit cards. and important legal documents; and sturdy shoes. If ordered by local officials to evacuate, people should do so without hesitating and should take important documents with them. For more information on how to prepare for all kinds of emergencies, visit www.readypa.org. PEMA also encourages Pennsylvanians to consider buying flood insurance policies for homes and businesses.
DOVER, DE (AP) – Members of a state advisory panel are eyeing draft legislation that would impose a fee on single-use grocery bags in Delaware. The status of draft fee legislation was to be discussed at today’s meeting of the state Recycling Public Advisory Council. Delaware already encourages the recycling of plastic grocery bags by requiring stores to provide bins where customers can return bags.
HARRISBURG – The PA Senate unanimously approved a pair of bills that would create an “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate for motorcycles. Senate Bill 284 would authorize the creation of the specialty plate while Senate Bill 285 calls for $15 of the $35 specialty plate fee to be transferred to the Veteran’s Trust Fund that helps needy veterans with food, utilities, mortgage or rent payments, health care, and other necessities of life. Sen. Lisa Baker of Luzerne & Pike Counties is the prime sponsor of both measures. A law signed into 2012 created the specialty plate option for passenger vehicles, but motorcycles were excluded. To date, $1.2 million has been raised for the Veterans Trust Fund through various sources including license plate sales. Both bills head to the state House for its consideration.
HARRISBURG – A bill increasing tobacco taxes to generate revenue for Pennsylvania is being proposed. House Bill 1213 would increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and impose a 40% tax on the wholesale price of other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, “roll-your-own” tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Bill sponsor, Allegheny County Rep. Dan Frankel says Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not impose some type of tax on smokeless tobacco and one of two states that does not tax cigars. Imposing these taxes could help deter young people from using cigarettes and other tobacco products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a quarter of a million young people who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes in 2013.
LANCASTER (AP) – Inmates at Lancaster County Prison who were heard shouting “We’re hungry!” through windows were apparently upset because they were served sandwiches without cheese. WGAL reported that residents heard the inmates yelling through open windows at the prison on Sunday. Reporters contacted the prison – where officials declined comment – though County Commissioner Scott Martin later said that the inmates’ concerns were “gravely exaggerated.” Martin also serves as chairman of the county’s prison board. Martin says the inmates were apparently upset because their sandwiches only had one slice of meat instead of two, and no cheese. Martin says the inmates were trying to “stir the pot.” A prisoners’ rights group plans to look into the incident.