HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Wildlife authorities say Pennsylvania hunters killed 4,653 black bears last year, setting a new record. The Pennsylvania Game Commission said Monday the total is far above last year’s total of 3,153. Game commission officials had sought an increase given the statewide bear population of about 20,000. An official said there were 30 days of bear hunting across all bear seasons for the first time since 1931. Pennsylvania’s previous top bear seasons occurred in 2011, when 4,350 bears were killed, and the 4,164 killed in 2005. Officials said bad weather, especially on opening day, had reduced the total in recent years.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A judge has dismissed the charges against one of two men accused of killing five people and an unborn baby at a western Pennsylvania cookout almost four years ago. Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Edward Borkowski on Monday granted a defense motion to dismiss the case against 31-year-old Robert Thomas in the March 2016 killings in Pittsburgh’s Wilkinsburg suburb. The defense sought dismissal after prosecutors decided against putting a key witness on the stand. Testimony was expected to begin Monday against 33-year-old Cheron Shelton. Prosecutors say they plan to seek capital punishment in the event of a first-degree murder conviction.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty has been cleared of allegations that he assaulted a 13-year-old boy during a photo shoot, police said. Chris Greenwell and his son Brandon met the hairy, googly-eyed mascot at a November event for season ticket holders. Greenwell has said that as Brandon walked away from the mascot, Gritty ran out of his chair and “punched my son as hard as he could.” Greenwell filed a complaint with police Dec. 21. But police announced Monday that their investigation determined that “the actions of the individual portraying the Flyers’ mascot did not constitute physical assault as alleged.”
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NEW YORK (AP) – Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh says he’s been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Addressing listeners on his program Monday, Limbaugh said he will take some days off for further medical tests and to determine treatment. Limbaugh called himself the “mayor of Realville” in announcing his illness.
He’d been experiencing shortness of breath and testing by two medical institutions. Limbaugh’s national prominence began in 1988, when his first national radio show launched. Within a few years he was considered a Republican kingmaker, a status that has remained. He now broadcasts primarily from West Palm Beach, Florida.
TWINSBURG, OHIO (AP) – An Ohio man says he had to make two trips to a post office to pick up bins containing 55,000 duplicate billing statements sent from a student loan company. WOIO-TV reports Dan Cain said he was suspicious when he was informed by a post office in Twinsburg, Ohio, that he wouldn’t be able to get his mail through its front door.
That’s when Cain discovered 79 plastic bins of mail from College Ave Student Loans awaited him. The company in Wilmington, Delaware, said Monday that it apologizes for the error in its mailing system and is working with Cain on a remedy.
NEW YORK (AP) – The Super Bowl has put a halt to a four-year decline in viewership. The Nielsen company says that 99.9 million people watched the Kansas City Chiefs come from behind to beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. That’s a rebound from the 98.5 million people who watched the Super Bowl in 2019. The event is by far the most-watched television event of the year, but it had been slowly declining since hitting a peak of 114.4 million viewers in 2015. Fox says the game had 102 million viewers when people who watched its Spanish-language affiliate or streamed the game are added in.
MIAMI (AP) – Video of Beyoncé and Jay-Z sitting while Demi Lovato sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl has surfaced online. TMZ posted the video Sunday of the celebrity couple sitting along with daughter Blue Ivy at Hard Rock Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers were playing the Kansas City Chiefs. Jay-Z, a co-producer of the halftime show featuring Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
Jay-Z announced his Roc Nation company had entered a partnership with the NFL for events and social activism last year. The rapper received immediate backlash since he had become one of the biggest supporters of Colin Kaepernick (KAP’-ur-nihk), who sparked a fissure in the NFL when he decided to kneel when the national anthem was played before games to protest the killings of blacks by police officers.
NEW YORK (AP) – Next year, you’ll be able to see the original Broadway cast of “Hamilton” perform the musical smash from the comfort of a movie theater. The Walt Disney Company said Monday it will distribute a live capture of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show in the United States and Canada on Oct. 15, 2021. The groundbreaking, biographical hip-hop show about the life of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton won 11 Tony Awards and made numerous tours. The film was made at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016 and will star all of the original Tony Award winners.
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) – A dog in Florida will be reunited with its owner in Minnesota three years after disappearing thanks to a beer can photo campaign to help find homes for shelter dogs. Monica Mathis of St. Paul was scrolling the internet on Jan. 24 when she spotted what looked like her missing dog Hazel on one of the beer cans featured in a social media post. She called the shelter in Bradenton, Florida, and provided proof that the dog was hers. A nonprofit will provide the transportation costs to get Hazel the mixed terrier to her home in Minnesota.
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