BC-PA--Pennsylvania News Digest, PA

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Associated Press

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 1:30 PM

The following stories are planned for Wednesday AMs, subject to change as developments warrant. For questions about the state report, contact Pennsylvania News Editor Matt Moore in the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133 or at mmoore(at)ap.org.

New:

HOSPITAL SHOOTING, ELMO ACTOR ACCUSED, DRONE CONTROL STATION, CONTRACTOR KICKBACKS, VOTER REGISTRATION-ONLINE, GOVERNOR-SALARY.

ABORTION CLINIC DEATHS

PHILADELPHIA — A medical assistant admits she cut the spines of at least 10 babies during unorthodox abortions at a Philadelphia clinic. And she says Dr. Kermit Gosnell did the same to terminate pregnancies. By Maryclaire Dale. Developing from afternoon court testimony.

AP Photos PAPHN501, APX104, PX102, PX101, PAPHN501.

WELFARE CHANGES

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's acting secretary of the Department of Public Welfare says the state can't afford a legislative proposal to change its name to the Department of Human Services. Bev Mackereth said Tuesday that the cost to the agency would be about $8 million. If it wasn't for the price tag, Mackereth says she'd be in favor of it. By Mark Scolforo. About 350 words.

GPS TRACKING-WARRANTS

PHILADELPHIA — A federal appeals court is being asked to decide if the government must obtain a warrant before placing a GPS tracker on a suspect's car. The case before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia involves three brothers suspected of robbing pharmacies. A GPS device led to their arrests in 2010. By Kathy Matheson. Developing.

HOSPITAL SHOOTING

ALLENTOWN — Authorities say a man shot and killed his elderly wife in the hospice unit at an eastern Pennsylvania hospital, then turned the gun on himself.

HOUSE EXPLOSION-METH LAB

PITTSBURGH — State police, firefighters and the coroner were investigating after one person was killed and two were injured in an explosion at a western Pennsylvania house where police said a methamphetamine lab was operating. Troopers from the Ebensburg barracks and the Cambria County coroner's office confirmed at least one fatality but said they couldn't offer other immediate details. One other person was taken away in an ambulance, but the person's identity, condition and destination were not immediately released by police. Neighbors said a family of five lived at the home, but that at least two of the children were at school at the time of the explosion. By Joe Mandak. 338 words.

AP Photos.

COPRBETT-FARM BUREAU

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett addresses a luncheon hosted by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau luncheon, the state's largest farm organization. By Peter Jackson.

COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS-PA, HFR

PHILADELPHIA — A new report finds Union County in central Pennsylvania is the healthiest place to live in the state, while Philadelphia is ranked as the worst. The report was released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. By JoAnn Loviglio. Hold for release until 12:01 a.m. March 20.

CONTRACTOR-KICKBACKS

CAMDEN, N.J. — Two principals of a Pennsylvania-based construction company that performed work at New Jersey's Fort Dix have been indicted on charges they engaged in a kickback scheme and threatened employees. Leonard Santos and Alex Rabinovich of Bristol-based Sands Mechanical are scheduled to appear in federal court in Camden Tuesday. Developing.

GAS DRILLING-CELEBRITIES

ALBANY, N.Y. — Artists Against Fracking said neither the group nor supporters Yoko Ono or Sean Lennon have been told to register as lobbyists in their campaign against gas drilling in New York, but will if necessary to continue their work. A good-government advocate and two lobbying experts said the state should review whether Artists Against Fracking and its supporter-celebrities should be registered as lobbyists. By Michael Gormley. 852 words.

AP Photo NYJN102.

ELMO ACTOR-ACCUSED

NEW YORK — The former voice of the "Sesame Street" character Elmo is being sued by a Pennsylvania man who claims the entertainer lured him into drug-fueled sex when he was 16. Sheldon Stephens, who's now 24, says he met Kevin Clash at a networking event. He says he was brought by limousine from Pennsylvania to a New York apartment. There, Clash allegedly smoked crystal meth while giving the teenager another recreational drug.

MEMBER EXCHANGE-DIVINING THE BONES

ERIE — In the darkness of Zimbabwe's abandoned mine shafts and unmarked graves, the bones hold true to their stories. Half a world away, in a classroom at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Shari Eppel is learning to listen to them. By Mike Wereschagin, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 787 words.

MEMBER EXCHANGE-SEWING FOR STARS

STROUDSBURG — While some girls dress Barbie dolls, Samantha Swank set her sights higher. As a result, a world-ranked tennis player will wear a dress that the East Stroudsburg University student designed. By Howard Frank, Pocono Record. 265 words.

Also:

DRONE CONTROL STATION — Officials say a drone ground-control station will be set up in suburban Philadelphia beginning in October, bringing nearly 250 jobs to the area.

CONTRACTOR KICKBACKS — Two principals of a Pennsylvania construction company that did work at New Jersey's Fort Dix have been charged with using threats to get employees to kick back part of their wages. One is also accused of resorting to violence against a company manager.

VOTER REGISTRATION-ONLINE — A bill to allow Pennsylvanians to register online to vote has the unanimous approval of a key legislative committee

GOVERNOR-SALARY — A California state survey has found that the Pennsylvania governor's salary was the nation's highest in 2012, although a spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett points out that he doesn't accept the entire salary.

MAYOR'S HOUSE-GUN PROBE — The mayor of the Philadelphia suburb of Marcus Hook says he won't resign following allegations he fired a gun inside his home during an encounter with another man.

KILLED DURING FIGHT — A man has been jailed on charges he fought outside a southwestern Pennsylvania bar with another man who later died, but not with causing the alleged victim's death.

SAILOR FATALLY BURNED — A Navy sailor burned in an accident during a homecoming party in suburban Philadelphia has died.

APARTMENT FIRE-EMMAUS — Autopsies are scheduled on four people who died in a fire at an eastern Pennsylvania apartment building, but their identities and the cause of the blaze remain unknown.

JUDGE-TRAFFIC CITATIONS DISMISSED — A suspended magisterial district judge in Lancaster has been fined $1,500 for fixing her own parking tickets.

DOESN'T LIKE TRAIN WHISTLES — Police say a drunk and disorderly woman so dislikes train whistles that she parked her car on some southwestern Pennsylvania railroad tracks to stop trains from coming through town.

PITTSBURGH POLICE-FBI — Pittsburgh's public safety director wants an hourly fee that bars and other businesses are charged for off-duty police details to be paid to the city treasurer, not to the police, paramedic or fire bureau whose workers are hired out.

GAS PIPELINE-INJUNCTION — A judge has granted an injunction to prevent protesters from trespassing at work sites along a 40-mile natural gas pipeline project in Pennsylvania.

PRISONER-COURTHOUSE LEAP — A handcuffed prisoner was knocked unconscious and hospitalized, and a county sheriff's deputy injured, as the prisoner jumped from a stairwell in a western Pennsylvania courthouse after a domestic abuse hearing.

WINTER WEATHER-PA — Icy rain, sleet and some snow are causing delays in parts of Pennsylvania.

K-9 OVERTIME — Six police officers whose K-9s help patrol Pittsburgh International Airport have sued for overtime pay.

BARBER SLAIN — A man has been convicted of third-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a barber at a shop just outside Philadelphia.

GAS LEAK-EVACUATIONS — Dozens of people are now returning to their homes after a gas leak forced evacuations in a Philadelphia suburb.

LANDLORD THREATENED — A suburban Philadelphia man is in custody after allegedly threatening his landlord with a knife and a tire iron.

Sports:

NIT-ST JOHN'S-SAINT JOSEPH'S

PHILADELPHIA — Saint Joseph's went from the A-10 preseason favorite all the way to the NIT. The Hawks play St. John's. Game starts at 7 p.m.

NCAA-BOISE ST-LA SALLE

DAYTON, Ohio — Boise State was ready for its season to be finished when it failed to win its conference tournament. Instead, it got the first at-large bid to the NCAA tournament in school history, facing La Salle — another small-school entrant — in the First Four on Wednesday. Developing from 12:50 p.m. availability. By Joe Kay.

NCAA-BUCKNELL'S BIG MAN

The NCAA tournament is a place where many mid-major standouts truly begin to stand out. Bucknell forward Mike Muscala could be the next. The 6-foot-11, 239-pound senior is the only player in the country averaging at least 18 points and 11 rebounds. And he leads all of Division I in double-doubles (19). By Genaro C. Armas.

NCAA-VILLANOVA-WRIGHT'S FIGHT

PHILADELPHIA — The questions were plenty after last season. Villanova, with all of its tradition and history, went home without a postseason appearance at all. The Wildcats didn't make the NCAA tournament, and declined any interest from the NIT and CBI. It was a dark time on the Main Line. A year later — after a slow start and more doubts hovering over coach Jay Wright in this proud basketball city and in the Big East — the Wildcats appear back where they belong on the strength of a boatload of Top Ten upsets, and some never-say-die guards. Villanova will meet North Carolina in Round 2. By Dan Gelston.

CAPITALS-PENGUINS

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins go for their 10th straight victory on Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals. Game begins at 7:30.

AP Photos.

YANKEES-PHILLIES

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Minus Derek Jeter, who will not make his first road appearance in his return from a broken ankle, the New York Yankees will visit the Philadelphia Phillies in Grapefruit League play. By Rob Maaddi. Game starts 1:05 p.m.

PIRATES-CUTCH'S CLIMB

PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen insists he's not going to change. Not after finishing third in the NL MVP race last season. Not after gracing the cover of a video game. Not after becoming the Pittsburgh Pirates' biggest star since Barry Bonds. By Will Graves.

NCAA-PENN STATE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Top-ranked Penn State is aiming for third straight national title when the NCAA wrestling championships begin Thursday. Coach Cael Sanderson's powehouse lineupp is led by David Taylor, Ed Ruth and Quentin Wright, who are each going for second individual crowns.

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