BERNVILLE (AP) – A fiery collision involving four tractor-trailers on a Berks County interstate sent two of the drivers to a hospital. State Police said the crash happened at about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday in the westbound lanes of I-78 in Upper Bern Township. Traffic was temporarily stopped for PennDOT construction, but one rig failed to stop in time. Four tractor-trailers were involved in the subsequent crash, and three were engulfed in flames. Two of the operators were taken to Reading Hospital for treatment, and the other two had minor injuries at the scene.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The state agency that manages wildlife in Pennsylvania is imposing much steeper fines for people who kill bald or golden eagles. The Game Commission today approved increasing the “replacement cost” for the eagles from $200 to $2,500 per violation. The $200 cost had been the result of the fact that neither type of eagle is considered threatened in Pennsylvania. The commission says it raised that amount because the iconic raptors need extra protection. Investigators are looking into the fatal shooting of a bald eagle that was found two weeks ago near McConnellsburg in central Pennsylvania. There have been several other reports this year of wounded or injured eagles in Pennsylvania.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf attacked the Legislature’s Republican majority leaders and saying they are the only ones blocking a sound budget as the stalemate nears its fourth month. Speaking this morning on a Pittsburgh radio station, the first-term Democrat suggests there are many Republican lawmakers who’d sign on to the kind of spending plan he’s seeking. Wolf wants a multi-billion dollar tax increase. Republican leaders oppose Wolf’s increase in the state sales tax and personal income tax as well as a severance tax on natural gas. Republicans are pressing Wolf for public pension reform and privatization of wine and liquor sales to reduce future costs.
HARRISBURG – With state aid stalled, schools, counties, and nonprofit social services organizations are trying to scrape by with many having to borrow money or stop services. Republicans passed emergency funding legislation. The $11 billion proposal would cover costs incurred between July and October and allow $24.3 billion in federal funds to be released. Berks County Rep. Ryan Mackenzie says House leaders believe the emergency funding effort in no way diminishes the urgency to enact a full 2015-16 state budget and plan to work earnestly towards a final spending plan that is realistic, balanced, and responsibly meets the needs of hardworking taxpayers. The GOP lawmaker added that the decision whether schools and social services organizations get their needed funding now rests solely with Gov. Wolf, who has said he will veto the emergency spending plan.
HARRISBURG – The PA Senate approved legislation prohibiting the sale of powdered alcohol to minors. Senate Bill 773 prohibits the use, transportation, and sale of powdered alcohol, also known as “palcohol.” Sen. John Rafferty of Berks, Chester, & Montgomery Counties said the bill he co-sponsored is a needed precaution. Chester County Sen. Andy Dinniman called it a great opportunity to protect our youth. Powdered alcohol is simply put into water to make an alcoholic drink or it can be placed in an alcoholic beverage to make the alcohol content higher. One ounce of powdered alcohol contains the alcoholic equivalent of a shot of liquor when mixed with just five ounces of water. The PA Liquor Control Board is not allowing the sale of “palcohol” in its stores, at beer distributors or any grocery store that sells beer. The measure now goes to the state House for consideration.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Maryland Democrats are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to fund Planned Parenthood in his next budget proposal. Lawmakers sent a letter making the request of the Republican governor today. It is signed by 74 Democrats, including nine senators and 65 House members. Matt Clark, a spokesman for Hogan, says the administration will spend the next several months crafting next year’s budget, which won’t be released until January. The letter notes that Maryland’s fiscal year 2014 budget included payments of $2.6 million to Planned Parenthood of Maryland, Inc. The letter says the payments were made primarily by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to support community-based health care.
AIRVILLE (AP) – Highway officials are shutting down the Norman Wood Bridge between York and Lancaster Counties after inspectors found a crack on a girder. PennDOT moved to indefinitely close the span soon after the crack was detected on Monday afternoon. PennDOT spokesman Greg Penny says engineers are working to determine what repairs are needed before the department can call in a contractor to fix the structure. The two-lane bridge carries Route 372 over the Susquehanna River. It gets about 4,300 vehicles a day. It’s the only span over the Susquehanna in a 40-mile stretch between Wrightsville, York County, and the Conowingo Dam in Maryland. It was built in 1968.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders met again on the state budget impasse, but the participants report no breakthroughs. Leaders from both parties were tight-lipped Monday as they filed out of Wolf’s office. The Democrat governor wants a multi-billion-dollar tax increase that would provide a significant funding increase for public schools. Republicans want to privatize the sale of wine and liquor and reform state’s public pensions to reduce future costs. Wolf is expected to veto a stopgap budget approved by the House and Senate. The $11 billion proposal would cover costs incurred between July and September by school districts and county-run social services.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – A homicide investigation is underway in Lancaster County. Manheim Township Police responded to the 1000 block of East King Street in Lancaster Township around 12:15 a.m. Sunday and discovered a man identified as 19-year-old Jared Weaver of Lancaster found dead in the parking lot of Advanced Auto from a gunshot wound. No word on any suspects.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – Lancaster County authorities are investigating a fatal pedestrian accident. Officers say it happened Sunday at 8:02 p.m. on Oregon Pike and Olde Hickory Road in Manheim Township. A Leola woman was northbound on Oregon Pike when she struck a 75-year-old Lancaster man who was crossing the street. The man, identified as Jim Ruth by Lancaster Online, was taken to Lancaster General where he died. Ruth was a former reporter for Lancaster Newspapers. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact Manheim Township Police at 717-569-6401, ext. 0.