HARRISBURG(AP) – Pennsylvania’s top elections official says he thinks Russian hackers who tried to access the state’s election systems last year had hoped to alter voter registration records in an effort to sow confusion and frustration. Secretary of State Pedro Cortes said today that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given him very little information about the supposed attempts by Russian hackers. Cortes says a homeland security official first informed his agency in a minutes-long call Friday that Pennsylvania was one of 21 states said to have been targeted by Russian hackers. Cortes says all evidence points to the hackers’ attempts being unsuccessful. Cortes says Pennsylvania will seek more information about the matter, including why it took so long for the federal government to notify them.
LANCASTER – Lititz mom Nancy Kindler cried when told she was no longer eligible for food assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC. Hers were tears of joy as she realized that her young family had finally made it to self-sufficiency after the temporary assistance they needed while her husband, Steve, a U.S. Air Force veteran and member of the PA Air National Guard, finished his college and was able to get a family-sustaining job. Stories like the Kindlers are featured in the second annual report issued today by Hunger-Free Lancaster County, a county-wide coalition of business, faith-based, school, non-profit and public-sector organizations with a goal of ensuring sustainable access to three healthy meals a day for all Lancastrians by 2018. One of the group’s most significant accomplishments this year was the increase in and heightened attention to providing fresh produce and protein-rich meals, which not only is good for building healthy families and healthy communities but healthier food sharing also means busier Lancaster farms and less food waste. For more information on Hunger-Free Lancaster County or to find out how you can help, please visit its website at hungerfreelancaster.org.
BAINBRIDGE(AP) – A large-scale soybean processing plant in Pennsylvania has opened despite community fears about possible air pollution. Governor Tom Wolf and other officials today marked the opening of the $60 million Perdue Agribusiness plant in Lancaster County. The facility has faced opposition over emissions of a federally designated hazardous air pollutant, which regulators say can eventually cause central nervous system issues. But state regulators signed off on the plant last year, saying it will operate under the most restrictive state and federal limits. Officials say the facility will create 35 local jobs and will more than double the state’s soybean processing capacity. Farmers in the state produced almost 30 million bushels of soybeans in 2014, but most producers previously had to transport their crops to processing plants outside Pennsylvania.
EASTON – Students and parents who filed a bodily privacy lawsuit against the Boyertown Area School District have appealed a federal district court decision that allows the school district to continue violating the privacy rights of students while their lawsuit proceeds. Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom and the Independence Law Center filed the notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit today. ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said, “Because the Boyertown District has failed to fulfill its responsibility, we are asking the appellate court to protect their rights while the lawsuit proceeds. This is important not only for our clients, but for all students within the Boyertown Area School District.” During the 2016-17 school year—without informing parents or students—the school district secretly opened its high school locker rooms and restrooms to students of the opposite sex, which violated many students’ bodily privacy rights. One male student involuntarily encountered an undressed female student while changing in the boys’ locker room. Three other students later joined the suit. The lawsuit claims violation of the fundamental right to bodily privacy under the U.S. Constitution; sexual harassment under Title IX, a federal law; and violation of a state privacy law.
HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Berks County Sen. Judy Schwank that would require the POW-MIA flag to be flown whenever the American and state flags are flown on state grounds and buildings received unanimous support from the Senate State Government Committee. In the last 100 years, over 1,100 Pennsylvania families have lost loved ones whose bodies have no known resting spot where their service and sacrifice can be marked and remembered. The black-and-white POW-MIA flag depicts the silhouette of a soldier with his head bowed. Behind the soldier are the images of a watchtower, a strand of barbwire, and the words “POW,” “MIA” and “You are not forgotten.” Congress designated the flag in 1990 as “the symbol of our nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing, and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.” Senate Bill 822 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
NEW CUMBERLAND – York County authorities became aware of a threatening post that was made through the social media site, Instagram. The post seemed to communicate a threat towards Red Land High School. Fairview Township Police were able to identify the juvenile pictured in the post with the help of the West Shore School District Administration. Police were able to speak to the student and his parents prior to the start of the school day. After the investigation, determined there was no credible threat towards the school. Despite this determination, police maintained a heavy presence at the school through the beginning of classes.
LANCASTER – Authorities in Lancaster County have issued an arrest warrant for a man involved in a domestic dispute. On Friday, September 23rd around 9 a.m, police were dispatched to a residence in the first block of Diller Avenue in New Holland. Officers arrived and spoke with a female victim who stated that she had been involved in an altercation with a man identified as 34-year-old Mark Mabry of New Holland. The victim stated that Mabry had threatened to hurt her and then began to choke her. Mabry had left the residence prior to the arrival of police. Anyone with information on Mabry’s whereabouts is asked to contact New Holland Police at 717-354-4646.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania business boosters couldn’t help noticing that state government got slapped with another credit downgrade just as the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions are trying to land Amazon’s second headquarters. The credit downgrade comes amid an ugly budget stalemate over an entrenched deficit. Amazon declined to answer questions about it. Gov. Tom Wolf’s economic development secretary, Dennis Davin, says Amazon will look at Pennsylvania’s business environment, not its budget fisticuffs. Should Amazon select a site in Pennsylvania, the state Legislature will be asked to approve a package of economic incentives. Davin says it should be an easy case to make to lawmakers that an Amazon campus in one part of Pennsylvania would benefit the whole state and produce revenue that makes up for any financial breaks the state delivers.
HARRISBURG – The PA Senate Transportation Committee has approved Senate Bill 888 aimed at improving accessibility of parking spaces for persons with disabilities. Under the measure, violators who illegally park in parking spaces or block access aisles designated for persons with disabilities will be subject to towing, charged with a summary offense, and be susceptible to increased fines. Access aisles are generally marked with diagonal lines adjoining the space. The bill was co-sponsored by Lancaster County Sen. Scott Martin along with Senate Transportation Committee Chairman, Sen. John Rafferty of Berks & Chester Counties. The measure is now before the full Senate for consideration.
MOUNT JOY – If you enjoy quilting, you may wish to volunteer for Global Aid Network’s annual Quilt Camp running this week at the GAiN Logistics Center at 1506 Quarry Road in Mount Joy, Lancaster County. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday. Volunteers will help prepare all stages of quilts to be completed during GAiN’s October Mission Packing Project. GAiN receives requests around the world for food, medical supplies, and especially blankets and quilts. Volunteers are asked to bring at least two yards of new 100% cotton quilting fabric to help with supplies. Volunteers are asked to bring a bagged lunch if you stay the entire day, and wear closed toed shoes. To RSVP or for more information, call 717-285-4220 or email email@example.com.