HARRISBURG – The PA Senate approved a pair of bills that would create an “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate for motorcycles. Senate Bill 284 authorizes creation of the newest specialty plate. A similar plate for passenger vehicles was created through Act 194 of 2012, but did not include an option for motorcycle owners. A companion bill, Senate Bill 285, calls for $15 of the $35 license plate fee to be transferred to the Veterans Trust Fund, a state-run fund dedicated to helping needy veterans with food, utilities, mortgage or rent payments, health care, and other necessities of life. To date, $1.2 million has been raised for the fund from various sources. Both bills go to the House for consideration.
HARRISBURG – PennDOT is asking for the public’s help to shape the state’s transportation future. The public is being asked to go to www.TalkPATransporation.com to provide their input on transportation priorities for the update of the Commonwealth’s Twelve Year Transportation Program before the survey closes on May 29th. Pennsylvanians can request a printed survey by calling 717-787-2913. To date, over 2,100 citizens have participated and identified almost 7,000 specific transportation needs across the state. According to the preliminary survey results, the top three priorities for transportation investment include preserving, replacing, and rebuilding aging bridges; reducing fatalities through safety and infrastructure improvements; and improving pavement quality and conditions.
HARRISBURG – Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight features some highlights from the 10th annual PA Second Amendment Action Day held on the state Capitol steps in Harrisburg. Numerous state lawmakers and pro gun groups rallied in support of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. Some of the featured speakers include Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America; Rep. Rick Saccone from Allegheny & Washington Counties; and Kim Stolfer, President and Chairman of Firearms Owners Against Crime. Hear more from the 10th annual PA Second Amendment Action Day in Harrisburg on Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight at 12:30 on WDAC and at 2 p.m. on 1075Alive.fm. You can listen to the program online right now at wdac.com under our blog.
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was unchanged from March at 5.3%. The rate was one-tenth of a percentage point below the U.S. rate of 5.4%, which was down one-tenth of a percentage point in April. Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force increased by 19,000 to over 6.3 million in April. Total non-farm jobs were up 27,000 in April to a record high of over 5.8 million. Both the private and public sectors added jobs. Nine of the eleven super-sectors were up from March, with the largest increase in construction, up 10,000.
MANHEIM – A groundbreaking took place in Manheim, Lancaster County for a new EMS station. Northwest EMS kicked off a capital fund raising campaign with former Manheim Central head football coach Mike Williams as the capital campaign chairman. The new station will be built on West Colebrook Street on property formerly known as the Ammon K. Gibble American Legion Post 419. Currently, Northwest EMS operates from the old fire house at 26 East High Street. Operations are severely hampered by a lack of adequate space and the busy East High Street presents many challenges to ambulance drivers as they leave and return. Plans for the new station include bays for four vehicles and adequate space for crews, as well a first-floor meeting or training room that will be available to the community for meetings or other events. The campaign is seeking to raise $900,000 through five-year pledges from businesses, community institutions, and residents of its service area.
HANOVER – A Hanover, York County man was arrest for a series of arson fires. 20-year-old Derek Graham was arrested with the help of an alert citizen shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday. The citizen, 24- year-old David Dranbauer of Hanover spotted Graham acting suspiciously within an alley along the 400 block of Pleasant Street. Dranbauer confronted Graham who attempted to flee. Dranbauer held Graham at the scene after noticing smoke nearby. Officers arrived on the scene to find a car on fire that was parked under a carport attached to an occupied residence. Graham was arrested in connection to the fire and later confessed to starting other fires in the area. He was charged with criminal attempted homicide, reckless endangerment, arson, and related offenses. He is being held in York County Prison.
HARRISBURG – As we prepare for a long Memorial Day weekend filled with picnics and family get-togethers, Pennsylvanians are urged to take a moment and remember those who fought and died for our freedom. Speaking on the PA Senate floor prior to recess, Sen. John Rafferty of Berks & Chester Counties noted that Memorial Day is a time to honor the memory and the sacrifice of men and women in uniform both throughout the history of our Armed Forces and today. Rafferty added that Memorial Day is not a celebration of war, but rather a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit.
BOYERTOWN – Commonwealth officials, the USDA, and Berks County came together to provide an update on efforts to eradicate a threatening invasive species. Last fall, the spotted lanternfly was officially identified in Berks County. A native to China, India, Japan, and Vietnam, the spotted lanternfly could severely impact the state’s grape, fruit tree, and hardwood industries, according to state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. The Department of Agriculture received nearly $1.4 million to hire crews for survey, installation of tree bands, and assist in eradication efforts in the six Berks County townships infested with the pest. The department will work with Kutztown and Penn State Universities, both of which secured USDA funding, to conduct research to gain better insight on managing and eliminating the pest.
DOVER, DE (AP) – Legislative budget writers in Delaware do not support Gov. Jack Markell’s proposal to cut property tax breaks for senior citizens in order to balance the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. After being presented with several options by Markell’s finance director, members of the Joint Finance Committee put the issue on hold indefinitely. Currently, Delaware offers school property tax subsidies of 50% or $500, whichever is less, to property owners ages 65 and older. To help balance his proposed $3.9 billion spending plan, Markell proposed saving more than $12 million by cutting the subsidy in half to 25% or $250. Several lawmakers made it clear that they want to preserve the tax credit for the 60,000 residents currently eligible for it.
LANCASTER – Lancaster Police say the officer who was injured in Tuesday’s shooting has been released from the hospital. The officer was shot while police were issuing a warrant for the arrest of 29-year-old Anthony Gomez of Harrisburg at a home in the 300 block of E. Chestnut Street. Gomez was wanted for an assault and refused to surrender. Gomez shot the officer in the hand and shoulder before he was killed by another officer.