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LOCAL NEWS FOR FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2013

LOCAL NEWS FOR FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2013

  IT'LL REMAIN THE STATUS QUO UNTIL SATURDAY ACCORDING TO ACCU-WEATHER'S DAN DEPODWIN.  "IT'S MORE OF THE SAME.  SUNSHINE AND HOT AND HUMID TODAY.  THERE CAN BE A STRAY THUNDERSTORM TODAY OR THIS EVENING, BUT THERE'S A MUCH BETTER CHANCE FOR A STRONGER THUNDERSTORM LIKELY MIDDAY OR AFTERNOON ON SATURDAY," DEPODWIN SAYS.  THUNDERSTORMS ON SATURDAY COULD INCLUDE DAMAGING WINDS AND SOME HAIL.  THOSE THUNDERSTORMS WILL KNOCK TEMPERATURES DOWN INTO THE MID-80s ON SUNDAY.

  A PENN STATE TRUSTEE SAYS THE TENTATIVE SETTLEMENTS REACHED BY THE UNIVERSITY SO FAR WITH MEN WHO CLAIM TO HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED BY FORMER ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH JERRY SANDUSKY TOTAL ABOUT $60 MILLION.  TRUSTEE TED BROWN SAYS HE IS UNSURE OF HOW MANY CLAIMS HAVE BEEN SETTLED AND HOW MANY REMAIN IN NEGOTIATIONS.  THE TRUSTEES VOTED LAST WEEK TO AUTHORIZE MEMBERS OF A COMMITTEE TO APPROVE SETTLEMENTS, WITHOUT DETAILING HOW MANY ACCUSERS HAVE SETTLED, HOW MANY REMAIN AND HOW MUCH MONEY MIGHT BE INVOLVED.  BROWN SAYS TRUSTEES WERE BRIEFED ON THE DOLLAR FIGURES IN PRIVATE BEFORE THE VOTE.  SCHOOL OFFICIALS AREN'T COMMENTING.  SANDUSKY IS IN PRISON AFTER BEING CONVICTED LAST YEAR OF 45 COUNTS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE.

  A STATE OFFICIAL SAYS LAST YEAR'S $5 MILLION MULTIMEDIA CAMPAIGN TO MAKE VOTERS AWARE OF PENNSYLVANIA'S NEW VOTER-IDENTIFICATION LAW WAS LARGER THAN ANY SIMILAR EFFORT BY OTHER STATES.  SHANNON ROYER, A DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE, TESTIFIED THURSDAY ON THE FOURTH DAY OF THE COMMONWEALTH COURT TRIAL ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE PHOTO-ID REQUIREMENT FOR VOTERS.  ROYER DECLARED THE FEDERALLY FUNDED CAMPAIGN A SUCCESS DESPITE CONTINUING UNCERTAINTY ABOUT THE LAW'S STATUS.  HE DEFENDED HIS AGENCY'S DECISION TO EARMARK ONLY ABOUT HALF AS MUCH IN STATE MONEY FOR VOTER OUTREACH IN THE NOVEMBER ELECTION AND NEXT SPRING'S PRIMARY ELECTION.  EARLIER THURSDAY, LAWYERS FOR PLAINTIFFS SEEKING TO OVERTURN THE LAW CITED A REVIEW OF STATE COMPUTER RECORDS AS EVIDENCE THAT SOME VOTERS WOULD BE DISENFRANCHISED BY THE LAW.

  THE FUTURE OF PENNSYLVANIA'S VOTER ID LAW REMAINS IN COURT.  THE LEGAL DIRECTOR OF THE STATE'S ACLU SAYS IF THE LAW THAT WAS PUT ON HOLD A YEAR AGO BECOMES PERMANENT, IT WOULD MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR THOUSANDS TO GET A VOTER ID.  "IN SOME COUNTIES THERE IS NO PENNDOT OFFICE THAT ISSUES THESE.  IN OTHER COUNTIES THE OFFICE IS ONLY ONE DAY A WEEK SO YOU ONLY HAVE ONE DAY AND IF THAT HAPPENS TO BE A DAY YOU'RE WORKING OR YOU'VE GOT CHILD CARE RESPONSIBILITIES OR YOU'RE SICK THEN HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO GET IT," SAYS VIC WALZCAK.  HE CLAIMS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PENNSYLVANIANS WOULD BE AFFECTED IF THE LAW IS UPHELD.

  THE LONG LEGAL BATTLE BETWEEN LEHIGH COUNTY'S DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND MACUNGIE'S FORMER MAYOR MAY SOON BE OVER.  TODAY'S MORNING CALL REPORTS THE STATE SUPREME COURT HAS DENIED APPEALS FILED BY BOTH D.A. JIM MARTIN AND EX-MAYOR RICK HOFFMAN.  THE LEGAL FIGHT BEGAN THREE YEARS AGO WHEN HOFFMAN FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE BOROUGH AND POLICE DEPARTMENT, CLAIMING HE WAS DENIED HIS RIGHT TO COMPLETE ACCESS TO THE POLICE STATION AND POLICE DEPARTMENT RECORDS.  MARTIN THEN TOOK THE ISSUE TO COURT SAYING A MAYOR SHOULDN'T HAVE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ABOUT ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS.  A LEHIGH COUNTY JUDGE AND COMMONWEALTH COURT SIDED WITH HOFFMAN SAYING THE MAYOR IS THE CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE BOROUGH AND HAS TOTAL ACCESS TO THE POLICE STATION AND FILES.  IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHO'LL PICK UP THE $100,000 LEGAL TAB THE BOROUGH AND HOFFMAN EACH FACE.

  NORTHAMPTON COUNTY COUNCIL HAS OK'D A $19.6 MILLION BOND PURCHASE FOR BRIDGE IMPROVEMENTS, UPGRADING THE GRACEDALE NURSING HOME AND REFINANCING OTHER COUNTY BONDS.  16 COUNTY BRIDGES WILL BE FIXED, FIVE GENERATORS WILL BE BOUGHT FOR THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND GRACEDALE AND THE BOILER HOUSE AT GRACEDALE WILL BE RENOVATED.  MANY OF THOSE PROBLEMS AT THE COURTHOUSE AND THE NURSING HOME WERE CAUSED WHEN SUPERSTORM SANDY BLEW INTO THE LEHIGH VALLEY LAST YEAR.

  THE PENNSYLVANIA LOTTERY ACHIEVED RECORDS IN SALES AND PROFITS, EVEN AS GOV. TOM CORBETT FOUGHT TO HAND ITS MANAGEMENT OVER TO A PRIVATE BRITISH FIRM.  THE LOTTERY THURSDAY REPORTED SALES OF $3.7 BILLION IN THE FISCAL YEAR THAT ENDED JUNE 30.  THAT'S UP $219 MILLION, OR 6 PERCENT.  PROFITS WERE RELATIVELY FLAT AT JUST ABOVE $1 BILLION, RISING $6.5 MILLION, OR LESS THAN 1 PERCENT.  PROFIT MARGIN SHRANK FROM ABOVE 30 PERCENT TO BELOW 28 PERCENT, AS THE COST OF SALES ROSE BY NEARLY $200 MILLION, OR ABOUT 8 PERCENT.  CORBETT WANTS TO HIRE CAMELOT GLOBAL SERVICES TO RUN THE LOTTERY, SAYING IT PROMISES HIGHER AND MORE STABLE PROFITS.  HIS ADMINISTRATION IS TRYING TO REWRITE THE CONTRACT AFTER ATTORNEY GENERAL KATHLEEN KANE REJECTED IT IN FEBRUARY AS ILLEGAL.

  THE PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT IS ORDERING A HALT TO A PLAN BY GOV. TOM CORBETT'S ADMINISTRATION TO CLOSE NEARLY HALF OF PENNSYLVANIA'S 60 COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS UNTIL IT CAN HEAR A LAWSUIT CHALLENGING IT.  THE HIGH COURT'S ORDER REVERSES A LOWER COURT DECISION ON THE REQUEST FOR AN INJUNCTION AND ASKS FOR A SPEEDY HEARING OF THE CASE.  A STATE EMPLOYEES' UNION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NURSES AND SEVERAL DEMOCRATIC STATE LAWMAKERS SUED ON APRIL 1, SAYING THE PLAN VIOLATES A 1996 LAW THAT REQUIRES LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL BEFORE CLOSING ANY CENTERS.   DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THEY CAN DO A BETTER JOB TREATING PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEMS BY MAKING COMMUNITY HEALTH NURSES MORE MOBILE.  AGENCY EMPLOYEES WARN THAT IT'D SLOW THE DETECTION OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES OUTBREAKS, PARTICULARLY IN RURAL AREAS.

  A HUNTERS' GROUP HAS ASKED A FEDERAL JUDGE TO THROW OUT PENNSYLVANIA'S LONG-STANDING BAN ON SUNDAY HUNTING.  HUNTERS UNITED FOR SUNDAY HUNTING FILED SUIT AGAINST THE PENNSYLVANIA GAME COMMISSION, THE AGENCY THAT ENFORCES THE STATE'S GAME CODE.  THE LANCASTER COUNTY-BASED GROUP SAYS THE STATE'S BAN ON MOST TYPES OF HUNTING ON SUNDAY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  THE GROUP CONTENDS THE BAN COSTS HUNTERS AN "IRREPARABLE LOSS" OF TIME IN THE FIELD.  LEGISLATION THAT WOULD HAVE PERMITTED HUNTING ON SUNDAYS DIED TWO YEARS AGO AMID OPPOSITION FROM THE STATE FARM BUREAU.  THE FARM BUREAU HAS SAID MANY PEOPLE SUPPORT PRESERVING ONE DAY A WEEK WHEN PEOPLE CAN BE OUTSIDE WITHOUT RUNNING INTO HUNTERS OR HEARING GUNFIRE.
 

  A STATE ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP SAYS THE DEMOCRAT-LED LEGISLATURE HAS VOTED TO ROLL BACK LONG-ESTABLISHED ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS WHILE PRO-ENVIRONMENT LEGISLATION HAS STRUGGLED TO ADVANCE.  THE NEW JERSEY ENVIRONMENTAL FEDERATION RELEASED ITS LEGISLATIVE SCORECARD THURSDAY, GIVING FAILING MARKS TO A MAJORITY IN THE STATE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY.  THE GROUP LOOKED AT 18 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES SINCE GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE BEGAN HIS TERM IN 2010.  THE GROUP ENDORSED CHRISTIE IN 2009 BUT IS BACKING HIS OPPONENT, SEN. BARBARA BUONO, IN NOVEMBER'S ELECTION.  BUONO SCORES 94 PERCENT, AND IS AMONG 13 LEGISLATIVE CHAMPIONS NAMED.  THE FEDERATION SAYS INDIVIDUAL LEGISLATORS' FAILURE TO TAKE PRO-ENVIRONMENTAL POSITIONS MORE THAN HALF THE TIME HAS LED TO SETBACKS OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS.

 

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