BC-PA--Pennsylvania News Digest, PA


Associated Press

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 8:30 PM

The following stories are planned for Thursday AMs, subject to change as developments warrant. For questions about the state report, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133. Ron Todt oversees breaking news from 3 p.m.-11:30 p.m.




HARRISBURG — A revised plan to redraw the boundaries of Pennsylvania's legislative districts won the unanimous approval Wednesday of the state Supreme Court, which rejected renewed appeals by citizen challengers and Democrats that this plan, like the previous one, was driven by political considerations and did not meet constitutional guidelines. The court's three Republican and three Democratic justices ruled that the new map is constitutional and can take effect for Pennsylvania's 203 House districts and 50 Senate districts beginning in the 2014 elections. By Marc Levy And Mark Scolforo. Developing from state Supreme Court decision.




HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices had plenty of questions Wednesday for the attorneys who represent judges challenging a constitutional provision that requires them to retire once they turn 70. The high court heard oral arguments in a pair of cases that could affect them personally, as several members of the court are nearing that age. But to throw out the retirement age, they will have to rule that the provision violates another section of the constitution, one that prohibits age discrimination. By Mark Scolforo. 552 words.


PITTSBURGH — An appeals court on Wednesday overturned the guilty verdict against a 15-year-old western Pennsylvania boy accused of killing his father's pregnant fiancee and her unborn child when the boy was 11. By Kevin Begos. About 300 words.


PHILADELPHIA — A family case worker has invoked her constitutional right not to testify at the murder trial of a mother charged in her baby's starvation death at a homeless shelter. By Maryclaire Dale. About 580 words.


PITTSBURGH — An auto repair shop owner helped a former natural gas drilling company executive launder more than $762,000 in allegedly stolen money as part of a scheme authorities have said cost the energy firm as much as $10 million. The money laundering conspiracy charge filed against Daniel Pikel relates to thefts from Falcon Drilling, whose former controller has pleaded guilty to helping the company's former chief operating officer steal some of the missing money. By Joe Mandak. 422 words.


HARRISBURG Mourners turned out by the hundreds Wednesday for the funeral of Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, a spiritual leader of 250,000 central Pennsylvanians, as colleagues hailed him as a tireless advocate for his church. By Peter Jackson. About 450 words.

AP Photos Planned.


GREENSBURG — A western Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to death for murdering his mother, sister and elderly aunt in his automotive glass shop where the victims sometimes also worked. A Westmoreland County jury deliberated about seven hours before returning the penalty late Tuesday against Kevin Murphy, 52, of Conemaugh Township.


HARRISBURG — State Attorney General Kathleen Kane says a two-year investigation has turned up no wrongdoing by the Hershey Trust Co.'s board. By Peter Jackson. About 430 words.


SCRANTON, Pa. — NBC's long-running "The Office" was a faux documentary about cubicle life. The Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. didn't exist. Try telling that to merchants, tourism officials and regular folks here in the real-world city of 76,000, for whom the Emmy-winning comedy — which ends its nine-season run next week — had a tangible and lasting impact. "If people weren't talking about Scranton before this show aired," says a local tourism official, "they were talking about it afterward." By Michael Rubinkam. AP video.

AP Photos.


PHILADELPHIA — Jurors deliberate for a sixth day on charges that Dr. Kermit Gosnell murdered four babies and a patient seeking treatment in his abortion clinic.


PITTSBURGH — A Georgia man faces sentencing before a federal judge in Pittsburgh for interfering with an AirTran crew on an Atlanta-to-Pittsburgh flight in October.


PITTSBURGH — It begins with two men in a bar. "Where you from?" asks Liam Neeson. "Pittsburgh," says Russell Crowe. "Pittsburgh's tough," replies Neeson, and off we go. The scene is from the 2010 film "The Next Three Days," just one segment in "Pittsburgh: The Movie," a five-minute, 41-second video created by Aron Zelkowicz, a Mt. Lebanon native. It's racked up more than 55,000 views on YouTube since he posted it six days ago and serves as reminder that we sometimes take local beauty for granted. By Maria Sciullo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 493 words.


PHILADELPHIA — For Viola "Candy" Owens, the defibrillator mounted inside Daniel E. Rumph II Recreation Center is a bittersweet sight. Rumph was Owens' only son. He died after going into sudden cardiac arrest during a pick-up game of basketball at the Germantown facility in 2005. By Aaron Moselle, NewsWorks.org/WHYY. 884 words.

Also moving:

— FOUND IN COCKPIT — A French man accused of having gained access to the cockpit of a plane at Philadelphia International Airport by impersonating an employee of another airline has pleaded guilty to a fraud count.

— TAXI DRIVER SLAIN — Police have released the name of a taxi driver found shot to death in his cab on a in west Philadelphia sidewalk

— HARRISBURG-FINANCIAL WOES — Four Pennsylvania state senators are targeting gaps in municipal borrowing laws that they say were exposed by the massive debt the city of Harrisburg piled onto its municipal trash incineraton.

— PITTSBURGH-LOST PAINTING — A painting that the art world considered lost for 80 years has brought $750,000 to the cash-strapped Pittsburgh Public Schools district.

— PHILADELPHIA CASINOS — Supporters and opponents of Philadelphia casino proposals agree that the project could transform a neighborhood — but they disagree on whether that would be a good thing.

— EASTON STABBING — Closing arguments are scheduled Thursday in the trial of an eastern Pennsylvania man charged in a stabbing death last summer.

— SUMMER CAMP-ABUSE — A Pennsylvania man charged with sexually assaulting youths at a Cape Cod camp while he was a counselor in 1981 has appeared in court with his new lawyer.

—UPMC-HIGHMARK — Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is urging the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highmark, Inc. to come to a long-term agreement to open all their hospitals to people with any insurance coverage.

— MANY UNHAPPY RETURNS — State police say two former workers at a western Pennsylvania home improvement store were guilty of creating many unhappy returns for their employer.

— DUQUESNE-CLEMENTE SCHOLARSHIP — Pittsburgh's Duquesne University has endowed a $1 million scholarship fund for Hispanic students to honor one of the city's best-known Major League Baseball players, Roberto Clemente.

— WILD WILD HARRISBURG — An auction is scheduled in July for a collection of artifacts purchased as part of a former mayor's failed bid to build a Wild West museum in Harrisburg.

— WAX MUSEUM FOR SALE — A wax museum commemorating the Civil War is up for sale months before the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

— VAN CRASH — Authorities say the driver of a car has been arrested after a crash in which more than a dozen people were hurt when a passenger van flipped over in Philadelphia.

— COOLEST SMALL TOWN? — A central Pennsylvania town is trying to break the record for people wearing sunglasses in the dark as it hosts a festival Friday called "America's Coolest Small Town."

— HIP-HOP SHOOTING — Allegheny County homicide investigators are looking for a 26-year-old man in the fatal shootings of two men, one a local hip-hop performer, in a crime-ridden Pittsburgh suburb.

— OFFICER KILLED-CRASH — The funeral is set for a western Pennsylvania police officer who died when a car being pursued by police in a neighboring city crashed into his cruiser.

— DIGGING FOR BODY — Authorities have ended a search for a possible body in a Harrisburg backyard, a two-day operation that began after a woman came forward with a decades-old tip.

— PHILLY CABBIE SLAIN — Investigators are reviewing surveillance video as they search for a suspect who shot and killed a Philadelphia cab driver during a robbery attempt.

— JOHNSTOWN SPECIALTY CASTINGS — WHEMCO plans to close its Johnstown Specialty Castings plant at the end of the month.



PITTSBURGH — The first-round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders is tied at 2. It just doesn't feel like it. New York has all the momentum into Game 5 on Wednesday night following a stirring rally in Game 4. By Will Graves. Game starts at 7 p.m.

AP Photos Planned.


PITTSBURGH — A.J. Burnett knew his margin for error was slim. It tends to happen when the other guy on the mound is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Yet Burnett was nearly flawless for seven innings against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, matching Seattle ace Felix Hernandez pitch for pitch. By his estimate, Burnett made two mistakes. Or, at least one too many. A wild pitch led to one run and Jesus Montero's solo shot to center in the seventh broke a tie as the Mariners escaped with a 2-1 win and a split of the brief two-game interleague series. By Will Graves.

AP Photos.


SAN FRANCISCO — Charlie Manuel has little time for the chatter of critics. He has games to win, lineups to write and injury fill-ins to find. It's early May, and Manuel is confident in the talent of the Philadelphia Phillies — even now that they have lost Roy Halladay for significant time again this season. After a tough end to their homestand, the Phillies took two games from the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants before dropping Wednesday's series finale 4-3 on Andres Torres' game-ending single in the 10th inning. By Janie McCauley.

AP Photos.


— PHILLIES-HALLADAY — Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay will have arthroscopic surgery to repair a bone spur in his right shoulder. On the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in his throwing shoulder, the two-time Cy Young Award winner met with Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Tuesday. By Baseball Writer Janie McCauley. AP Photos PAMP105, PAMP106.


NEW YORK - The door is still open for Penn State football players. As part of the NCAA sanctions handed down last season, the football players can transfer without sitting out a year. Coach Bill O'Brien says he's not concerned about another mass exodus from his team. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo.


STATE COLLEGE — Penn State men's lacrosse will celebrate its 100th season this year in groundbreaking fashion — hosting a first-round NCAA tournament game for the first time in team history. The women's team is also hosting an NCAA first-round matchup as part of a busy weekend for two lacrosse programs on the rise. By Genaro C. Armas.

Also Moving:

— DUQUESNE-CLEMENTE SCHOLARSHIP — Pittsburgh's Duquesne University has endowed a $1 million scholarship fund for Hispanic students to honor one of the city's best-known Major League Baseball players, Roberto Clemente.