Harrisburg City Treasurer Resigns

HARRISBURG (AP) – Harrisburg City Treasurer John Campbell is stepping down due to theft charges related to his previous job. Campbell resigned Thursday after being charged with stealing from the Historic Harrisburg Association. He declined to comment on allegations he took about $8,400 for personal use. However, Campbell denied any wrongdoing as the city’s treasurer. He says he welcomes the mayor’s call for an independent audit of that agency. A spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Papenfuse says City Council will advertise immediately for a new treasurer.

JOHN CAMPBELL

                  JOHN CAMPBELL

Lancaster Roundtable On Health Initiative

LANCASTER – Congressman Joe Pitts will host a roundtable dialogue in Lancaster today as part of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s 21stCentury Cures initiative. The event will feature leading national, regional, and local health care innovators from the government, private, and public sectors. 21stCentury Cures is a bipartisan effort to pave the way for new medical innovation. As Chairman of the Health Subcommittee, Congressman Pitts has convened hearings looking into subjects such as drug innovation, the role of incentives, modernizing clinical trials, new communications technology, and barriers to communication. Pennsylvania is home to a number of cutting edge medical companies and leading research hospitals. Pitts is hoping that their insight will contribute to the committee’s effort to encourage new cures and therapies that improve patients’ lives. It will take place at 1:30 p.m.at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center at 1383 Arcadia Road.

REP. JOE PITTS

    REP. JOE PITTS

Push For Medical Marijuana Legislation

HARRISBURG – Debate over medical marijuana legislation could heat up when state lawmakers return to Harrisburg next month. With only a few weeks left in the current legislative session, the bill’s sponsor, Lebanon County Sen. Mike Folmer continues his push for floor votes in the state House and Senate. Senate Bill 1182 was approved by the Senate Law & Justice Committee prior to the summer recess and now awaits a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The General Assembly returns to Harrisburg on September 15th. Rallies in support of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act are scheduled for the city of York on September 6 at 3 p.m. on Continental Square and at the state Capitol on September 15th.

SEN. MIKE FOLMER

SEN. MIKE FOLMER

Road Safety Emphasis Over Labor Day Holiday Period

HARRISBURG – As part of the national enforcement initiative, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” PennDOT, State Police, and municipal police are focusing their efforts on reducing alcohol and drug related crashes through Labor Day. Although alcohol related crashes have gradually decreased, drugged-driving crashes and fatalities continue to increase. Both remain PennDOT’s focus though Labor Day and beyond. During last year’s Labor Day weekend, there were 150 alcohol-related crashes and two fatalities as well as 47 drug-related crashes and seven fatalities. Pennsylvania’s DUI Task Forces, State Police, and local law enforcement statewide will conduct checkpoints and roving patrols as part of the crackdown. Authorities also plan to crackdown on speeding and aggressive driving during the holiday period.

PA Turnpike Expects Busy Labor Day Holiday

HARRISBURG – PA Turnpike officials want motorists to stay alert and pay attention to speed limit signs over the holiday weekend as nearly 2.2 million vehicles are expected to travel the highway during the four-day Labor Day weekend. With some areas of the PA Turnpike now posted at 70 mph, motorists are advised to be aware of where the speed limit is reduced. To prepare for the higher traffic volume, PA Turnpike roadway maintenance activities will be suspended from today at 3 p.m. until Sept. 3 at 6 a.m. This will allow all travel lanes to be open to traffic except in the case of emergencies. Higher traffic volumes are anticipated at the Lebanon/Lancaster Interchange this weekend due to concerts in Hershey and the Renaissance Faire, which is expecting up to 8,000 people on Labor Day alone.

New F&M Poll Shows Wolf Lead Over Corbett

HARRISBURG (AP) – A new poll shows Democrat Tom Wolf retains a lead over Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. The statewide telephone survey released today by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster shows Wolf favored by 49% of registered voters, Corbett backed by 24% and 25% were undecided. That’s about the same as the finding in a June poll by the same pollster. The poll shows majorities believe it is important for the next governor to make major changes to the state pension and income-tax systems. Pension reform is a top Corbett agenda item that’s stalled in the Legislature, while Wolf proposes overhauling the income tax. The poll of 520 voters, conducted between Aug. 18 and Monday, has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

GOV. TOM CORBETT

        GOV. TOM CORBETT

TOM WOLF

  TOM WOLF

Talks On PA Medicaid Plan Said To Be Nearing End

HARRISBURG (AP) – An announcement could be made soon on Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to use billions of federal Medicaid expansion dollars to subsidize private health insurance policies. A state Welfare Department official said negotiations with the federal government are in the final stages. Corbett submitted the plan to the federal government in February, and negotiations began in April. Corbett sought changes to traditional Medicaid coverage for the private insurance plans that would be funded by expansion dollars under the 2010 federal health care law. Opposition from the Obama Administration prompted him to ease a work-search requirement for able-bodied, working-age Medicaid enrollees.

Lancaster Home Invasion/Shooting Investigation

LANCASTER – Lancaster Police are investigating a home invasion and shooting. Around 2:48 a.m. Wednesday, officers responded to an apartment building in the 100 block of E. Walnut Street. Police found a 34-year-old man with a gunshot wound and a contusion on his left eye. Officers later located a 30-year-old female resident and her two children – a 1-year-old male and a 9-year-old female- who had fled the apartment. The 9-year-old female was suffering from a head laceration. Police determined that two male suspects, both carrying handguns, entered the apartment demanding money. One of them struck the male victim with a handgun, then fired one shot, striking the victim in the leg. One of the suspects also struck the 9-year-old girl with a handgun causing her injury. Both suspects then fled the scene. Both victims were transported to a local hospital for treatment. One suspect was described as a tall black male with a muscular build who was accompanied by a shorter black male. Both suspects were wearing dark clothing and some type of masks over their faces. Initial investigation has determined that this was not a random attack and the male victim was targeted by the suspects. Anyone with information is urged to call Lancaster Police at 717-735-3300 or Lancaster City-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-322-1913.

 

PA’s School Funding Cuts Take Their Toll

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett’s school funding cuts have hit Pennsylvania’s poorest school districts and its neediest students hardest, with larger classes and lower achievement as measured by standardized test scores. Those are some of the key findings of a new research report released today by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest school employee union. The report, “Budget cuts, student poverty, and test scores: Examining the evidence,” available online at www.psea.com. “The school funding crisis is hurting every school district and every student in Pennsylvania, but the impact on our poorest districts and the students they serve is just devastating,” said President Michael Crossey. PSSA test scores are only one indicator of student achievement, but they are an important one, Crossey noted. Policymakers should take note of this decline in PSSA scores and respond with policies that will lift student achievement. Crossey also said that Pennsylvania public schools are among the best in the nation, but the school funding cuts are starting to undermine the great progress we have made.

Charges Filed In Fatal Susquehanna River Boating Accident

DRUMORE (AP) – Authorities say misdemeanor charges of homicide by watercraft have been filed in an accident on the Susquehanna River that claimed the lives of two Berks County men. The PA Fish and Boat Commission brought the case against 20-year-old Brandon Allen of Muhlenberg Township, one of three men on a small boat that overturned in the river on June 1, 2013 in southern Lancaster County. 22-year-old Cody Moyer of Laureldale and 21-year-old Jonny Velez of Muhlenberg Township died. Court documents allege that the combined total of the three men topped 600 pounds, but the 10-foot aluminum boat was only rated to carry a maximum of 280 pounds. Defense attorney Mitchell Sommers called the accident tragic, but hoped for what he called a “resolution” of the charges against his client.