UNDATED – Amtrak says its trains will continue to operate on a limited schedule between New York and Washington, DC as the region deals with the after-effects of yesterday’s winter storm. Amtrak will also cut back the Keystone Service between Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and New York. Passengers who’ve booked tickets on the affected trains will be notified. At least 250 flights in and out of Philadelphia International Airport were canceled Thursday, with the snow expected to cause some lingering problems today. Several flights from Harrisburg International Airport were canceled yesterday. Check with your airline if you are flying out of the region today.
HARRISBURG – Legislation has been introduced to create a program where 11th and 12th graders could tutor elementary school-aged children for academic credit. Northampton County Rep. Robert Freeman said his proposal could be a valuable resource for Pennsylvania’s school districts, not only because it is designed to boost student achievement at little-to-no cost to taxpayers, but because it would get students to succeed by helping each other. House Bill 723 also includes a provision that would encourage 11th and 12th grade students who are not meeting their academic potential to participate as tutors. He said that students who become tutors improve their own academic performance because they begin to take their own studies more seriously in order to help the young students they are tutoring. The bill is expected to be referred to the House Education Committee for review.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – A push to raise the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on Maryland highways has cleared the House of Delegates. The Senate voted last month for another bill that does the same thing. Supporters say other states have a 70 mph speed limit and the increase would not be mandatory statewide. Opponents say it’s dangerous, because drivers will exceed the speed limit and drive at unsafe speeds. The two chambers will have to pass the same bill to send it to Gov. Larry Hogan.
READING (AP) – The city of Reading has stopped ticketing residents who don’t shovel snow and ice from their sidewalks after acknowledging its own crews haven’t been able to properly clear snow from city properties either. Public Works Director Ralph Johnson said freezing rain Tuesday created an icy coating on sidewalks that made them harder to clear as more snow was expected today. The city owns more than 100 properties and has prioritized plowing streets during the recent bad weather. Still, Johnson says officials are asking City Hall employees to volunteer for crews to clear sidewalks on city-owned properties, too. The city requires residents to remove snow and ice from a path at least three feet wide on sidewalks and around fire hydrants.
HARRISBURG – Dauphin County Sen. Rob Teplitz introduced legislation that would create the Prostate Cancer Task Force. Under Senate Bill 605, the PA Department of Health would establish this 18-member task force, which would investigate and make recommendations on ways to properly inform the public about screening, diagnosis, and treatment options for prostate cancer and the related conditions associated with it. One in six men in Pennsylvania will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and one in 30 will die from the disease, according to the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition. Similar to other task forces in the Commonwealth, Task Force members would receive no compensation for services, but may be reimbursed for expenses associated in performance of their duties. The bill has bipartisan support.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – The Maryland Senate has voted unanimously to move the state’s primary in presidential election years to the last Tuesday in April. The bill now goes to the House of Delegates, where a similar bill is pending. Under current law, Maryland’s primary would be on the first Tuesday in April 2016. However, that means an early voting day would have been on Easter Sunday. The Senate decided to push the primary to the last Tuesday in April to align Maryland with other states in the area to create a regional primary. The Baltimore City municipal primary and the general elections will coincide with the presidential primary and general elections in 2016. They have traditionally been held in the year after the gubernatorial election.
LANCASTER – Yesterday’s rain has changed to snow overnight. Meteorologist Joe Lundberg tells us to expect 3-6 inches of snow with higher amounts possible in higher elevations in the south and west. PennDOT and local road crews are out plowing. Drive carefully if you must travel. WDAC’s Winter Watch weather related announcements come on air or you can find a complete list at wdac.com.
WASHINGTON, DC (AP) – Amtrak will reduce the number of trains operating on its Northeast Corridor. Amtrak says today’s reductions will be most significant between New York and Washington. The railroad says a combination of its Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains will still operate between New York and Washington. There will also be fewer Keystone Service trains between Harrisburg, Philadelphia and New York.
LANCASTER (AP) – Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni says the deaths of a man and woman found in their Lancaster Township apartment over the weekend have been ruled a murder-suicide. Autopsies performed Wednesday on the bodies found 42-year-old Yarra Wilson died as the result of gunshot wounds and her death was ruled a homicide. He said 42-year-old Avery Wilson died of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officials said the couple had five children – two each from previous marriages and one child together. Avery Wilson was assistant principal at Solanco High School and previously was a teacher and coach at McCaskey High School. Yarra Wilson was director of human resources at Clair Global in Lititz.
PHILADELPHIA – Many are standing in support of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who stood before Congress to warn of the dangers of a nuclear Iran. Sam Rohrer, President of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, applauded the speech. He was disappointed in the Obama Administration’s reaction to the speech. While Netanyahu believes Iran must be prevented from enriching uranium, President Obama supports a deal that would allow Iran to engage in uranium enrichment for supposedly peaceful purposes and that would create a ‘breakout period,’ meaning it would take one year for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon should it decide to do so. The Pennsylvania Pastors Network, a state branch of the American Pastors Network, says that regardless of where the Obama Administration chooses to stand, America’s pastors stand with Israel.