PA AG Slams Gas Industry: AP PA Headlines, AP National Features…

AP PA Headlines 6/26/20

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania’s large natural gas drilling industry released Thursday by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro has found systematic failures in state departments regulating that industry. The report comes after nearly two years of investigation into the state’s Marcellus Shale exploration industry. It notes that the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and State Department of Health failed to protect Pennsylvanians by not policing or investigating environmental complaints, failed to collect health data and failed to warn the public when they were at risk. The grand jury recommends giving Shapiro’s office the ability to criminally investigate the industry as well as other increased regulations.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, along with Mayor Jim Kenney, apologized to the public Thursday for giving statements that were “substantially inaccurate” in the days after tear gas was used against protesters who were trapped on Interstate 676. At least one high ranking commander took a voluntary demotion, and Outlaw said a member of the city’s SWAT team will be notified Friday that he is suspended with the intent to dismiss him. She also issued a moratorium on the use of tear gas in most crowd situations. The apologies and personnel decisions came the same day The New York Times released a reconstructed video of the June 1 confrontation on the interstate.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is seeing an uptick in the number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19, more than three months after the pandemic first began to spread in the state. The Health Department said Thursday there were 579 new positive cases and 39 deaths. The state’s caseload had been steadily falling, but more recently has plateaued and now appears to be inching up. The agency says nearly 84,000 Pennsylvanians have been confirmed to have the disease.  There have been 6,557 deaths.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A presidential campaign that has largely been frozen for several months because of the coronavirus took on a degree of normalcy as President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, swung through critical battleground states presenting starkly different visions for a post-pandemic America. Touring a shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin, on Thursday, Trump insisted the economy is “coming back at a level nobody ever imagined possible.” But in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Biden warned “no miracles are coming.” Trump is itching to move past a pandemic that has dashed the economy. Biden wants to present himself as a competent leader ready to level with the nation about the hardships to come.

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Features

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s plan to kick off Independence Day with a showy display at Mount Rushmore is angering Native Americans, who view the monument as a desecration of land violently stolen from them. Several groups led by Native American activists are planning protests for Trump’s July 3 visit, part of his “comeback” campaign for a nation reeling from sickness, unemployment and social unrest. But it comes amid a national reckoning over racism and a reconsideration of the symbolism of monuments around the globe. Many Native American activists say the Rushmore memorial is as reprehensible as the many Confederate monuments being toppled around the nation.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats in the House are set to vote Thursday on a far-reaching policing overhaul. It’s a moment heavy with emotion and symbolism after the collapse of a Senate GOP effort to address the global outcry over the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans. President Donald Trump’s administration says he would veto the Democratic bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gathered with lawmakers on the Capitol steps to challenge Congress to not let the deaths be in vain. It’s exactly one month since Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis sparked a global reckoning over police tactics and racial injustice.

WASHINGTON (AP) — California Sen. Kamala Harris says Democrats “need to listen” to young black and Latino voters demanding change. Harris spoke with The Associated Press on Tuesday about her efforts to reform policing and the Democratic Party’s relationship with Black voters. She says she won’t “be played” by Republicans in the Senate who want to put forward a police reform bill that Democrats say doesn’t make meaningful change. Harris is a top contender to be the Democratic vice presidential nominee, but she says she wants former Vice President Joe Biden to pick any running mate who will help him win.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A presidential campaign that has largely been frozen for several months because of the coronavirus took on a degree of normalcy as President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, swung through critical battleground states presenting starkly different visions for a post-pandemic America. Touring a shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin, on Thursday, Trump insisted the economy is “coming back at a level nobody ever imagined possible.” But in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Biden warned “no miracles are coming.” Trump is itching to move past a pandemic that has dashed the economy. Biden wants to present himself as a competent leader ready to level with the nation about the hardships to come.

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — Usually you don’t think of Branson, Missouri as a hotbed of controversy. But it has become part of the racial reckoning going on in much of the nation. At issue: a store called Dixie Outfitters, which specializes in Confederate flags, clothing and other gear. The store has drawn protests from both sides, those supporting Black Lives Matter and those who back the Confederate flag. The protests have become more heated lately. A video on social media shows a woman waving the Confederate flag and telling protesters she will teach her grandchildren to hate Black people. And after a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Sunday, the owners of Dixie Outfitters called to protesters as “thugs” on social media. The Kansas City Star reports Dixie Outfitters is co-owned by Nathan Robb, son of a pastor who was once the leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Grammy-winning country group The Dixie Chicks have dropped the word Dixie from their name, now going by The Chicks. The group made of Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Strayer posted a statement on their website saying they wanted to meet “this moment.” The group also acknowledged that there was an existing band in New Zealand that allowed them “to share their name.” The move follows a decision by country group Lady Antebellum to change to Lady A after acknowledging the word’s association to slavery. That band received criticism with their switch after a Black singer revealed she’d been performing as Lady A for years.

ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS/CNN) – Disney’s Splash Mountain will be “completely reimagined” as a ‘Princess and the Frog’ ride. ‘Song of the South’ is being relegated to history and ‘The Princess of the Frog’ is the future. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-finally. The ride is a staple of Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Disney to retheme Splash Mountain because of the racial stereotypes upon which it is based.

“Song of the South” — which is best known for the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” — has long been criticized for its stereotypical and offensive portrayals of African Americans as well as a romanticized view of the antebellum South. It will now become a Louisiana bayou adventure following Princess Tiana and Louis as they prepare for a Mardi Gras performance.

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