PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A federal judge is ordering a hearing on a Green Party-backed bid to force a recount of Pennsylvania’s presidential election result. Green Party lawyers also want permission to examine election system computers for any evidence of hacking. U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond scheduled the hearing for Friday. Pennsylvania election officials also updated the state’s vote count to show Republican Donald Trump’s lead of about 44,000 over Democrat Hillary Clinton out of more than 6 million votes cast. Green Party lawyers have not produced evidence of hacking. The Republican Party and Trump oppose a recount.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf is cleaning up dozens of what he calls outdated and unneeded executive orders that he inherited from seven previous governors. Wolf is rescinding 46 of them, some that were established about three decades ago. Six were signed in the past decade. Wolf says many of them involve entities that no longer exist. The list includes a water task force that never reconvened, a public safety communications council that was never set up, and an environmental education center that lost funding and closed five years ago. Other orders involve an arthritis advisory board, an emergency response commission, the governor’s cultural adviser and a committee on education standards that had a 1994 deadline to issue its report.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A new report from PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says better guidance is needed for local governments about spending impact fees generated by natural gas drilling activity in their area. DePasquale said about a quarter of the money he examined that was distributed to local governments under a 2012 state law has gone for what he considers questionable expenditures. His investigators found spending on fireworks and inflatable rentals for a township’s recreational programs, payroll for prosecutors and probation officers, and $20,000 for a community theater. The state had distributed more than $850 million by the end of last year, a figure that includes $160 million to counties and $268 million to municipalities. DePasquale is calling for improved spending guidelines, reporting rules, and state oversight.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – Police are investigating graffiti spray-painted onto a Lancaster County church. The vandalism included the digits “666” and upside-down crosses sprayed on the cupola above the roof of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Manheim Township. The graffiti was discovered Sunday afternoon. Pastor Michael Rogers says the church has never experienced anything like this and was at a loss to explain it. Whoever painted the graffiti had to climb about 40 feet above ground to paint the structure, which protrudes from the roof just beneath the church’s steeple.
CONOY TOWNSHIP – A Lancaster County crash has claimed a life. Police say 34-year-old Michelle Evert of Lancaster died after her vehicle struck a guide rail on the 2300 block of River Road in Conoy Township around 10:30 Sunday night. The crash caused the vehicle to roll over and eject her. Evert was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials don’t know what caused her to lose control. Anyone with information is asked to contact Susquehanna Regional Police at 717-426-1164.
HARRISBURG – York County Sen. Scott Wagner has filed a right-to-know request with the PA Department of Labor & Industry seeking various records related to the closing of Unemployment Compensation call centers. He visited the Lancaster Unemployment Compensation Center Friday and gained insight that prompted him to file the request. Wagner stated that what he learned was quite shocking and that many employees agree with him and his colleagues that these closings are purely political. Wagner also learned that all three call centers being closed by the Governor – Altoona, Allentown, and Lancaster had already stopped taking calls two weeks prior. He wants to start collecting as much information as possible because he expects a full vetting of the issue when the state Senate reconvenes next month.
DOVER, DE (AP) – The Delaware Department of Agriculture unveiled a plan to protect bees and other pollinators. It covers recommended strategies, voluntary best management practices, and important resources for beekeepers, farmers, landowners, and pesticide users. The state hopes to get pesticide users to reduce bee exposure to the toxins and get landowners to enhance forage plants that bees depend upon. Without them, pollination of many Delaware’s fruits and vegetables would be almost impossible. Farmers bring in about 3,000 bee colonies every year to help pollinate fruit and vegetable crops. These supplement the 1,500 hives maintained by Delaware’s 180 registered beekeepers.
SALISBURY TOWNSHIP – State Police, in consultation with the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, are investigating the death of a Salisbury Township man. 52-year-old Dennis Pitch was found dead Sunday afternoon in his home in the 5800 block of Timothy Drive. Relatives found him deceased in the home. Police are investigating the death as a homicide. An autopsy is scheduled for today. So far, no one is in custody or charged with the man’s death. Officials are asking anyone with information about the incident or the man’s personal life, specifically his whereabouts and whom he had contact with in the weeks before his death, to contact PSP-Lancaster at 717-299-7650. Additionally, residents should be aware and vigilant of their surroundings. Residents are urged to contact local police if they see suspicious activity or unknown persons in their neighborhood.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A U.S. appeals court must decide if older refugee students steered to an alternative Pennsylvania high school are getting a meaningful education or are simply being passed through the system. Civil rights lawyers complain the Lancaster School District is sending 17 to 21-year olds who can’t speak English to a less academic school. District officials say the concentrated program lets them earn degrees more quickly. But U.S. Circuit Judge Cheryl Ann Krause questioned whether the degrees have any meaning if the students don’t master core academic subjects. Lancaster has seen an influx of refugees and immigrants, and the main high school has a program for international students. A lower court had ordered the district to let students decide which school to attend. Similar lawsuits have been filed around the country.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Green Party-backed lawyers asked a federal judge on Monday to order a recount of Pennsylvania‘s presidential election result. A federal lawsuit filed in Philadelphia called for a recount and a forensic examination of the electronic voting machines used in most counties, saying both are necessary to determine whether the election results were manipulated by hackers. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is spearheading a recount effort in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – states where Republican Donald Trump won over Democrat Hillary Clinton. State elections officials have said there is no evidence hackers tried to manipulate the vote. An updated count Monday by state election officials showed Trump’s lead Clinton by 47,750 votes, out of 6 million votes cast, as more counties finished counting overseas ballots and settled provisional ballot challenges. That is still shy of Pennsylvania’s 0.5% trigger for an automatic statewide recount. Final counts are outstanding in some counties, but there are not enough uncounted votes to change the outcome, officials said.