Another PA State Prison Closing: AP PA Headlines, Features, Scores

AP PA Headlines 8/29/19

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania prison officials are planning to close another prison, as the inmate population continues to decline and prison costs rise.  A state lawmaker, Sen. John Yudichak, told The Associated press on Wednesday that prison officials had just briefed him and Retreat state prison staff in northeastern Pennsylvania about its plans to close it.

 

Gov. Tom Wolf’s office isn’t commenting.  Retreat has about 400 employees and is at full capacity with almost 1,100 inmates.  Pennsylvania’s state prison population is about 48,000, after reaching nearly 52,000 in 2012. Retreat is about 10 miles west of Wilkes-Barre.  Wolf’s administration closed a state prison in Pittsburgh in 2017. Retreat’s original buildings date back to the 19th century and it has the fewest beds of any of Pennsylvania’s 25 state prisons.

 

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — Four men have filed suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton and its current and former bishop over claims a priest sexually abused them when they were children.  The plaintiffs are believed to be the first to take advantage of a recent Pennsylvania appeals court ruling that could make it easier for some victims of abuse to pursue civil claims.

 

The men, who range in age from 45 to 57, allege they were sexually abused by the Rev. Michael Pulicare as children.  Pulicare died in 1999. In a statement, the diocese says it never received any allegations against him while he was alive. The diocese also says the suits rely on a “novel legal theory” to try to get around Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) – The decision by federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing 11 worshippers inside a Pittsburgh synagogue was made despite opposition from some of the people most affected by the massacre. The filing made this week by the U.S. attorney’s office in Pittsburgh disappointed Dor Hadash, one of three congregations assembled for worship in October when an armed man opened fire.

 

Some opponents say they have a religious objection to the death penalty.  Others say a plea deal could help survivors avoid reliving what was an extremely traumatic event.  The 46-year-old truck driver Robert Bowers awaits trial.  Bowers’ lawyer said in May she hopes the case can be resolved without a trial.

 

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

 

Features

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is apologizing and changing the way humans review audio recordings made through the company’s Siri digital assistant.  The company already suspended the practice following the discovery that Apple and other major tech companies have been doing this.  Apple now says only Apple employees, not contractors, will review the audio when the program is resumed this fall. And Apple reiterated that it won’t be enabled by default. Rather, users will have to choose to participate.

 

In its blog post Wednesday, Apple said the company wasn’t living up to its ideals.  Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple have had people review audio recordings of users’ interactions with artificial intelligence assistants in order to improve the services. But users aren’t typically aware that humans and not just computers are reviewing audio.

 

NEW YORK (AP) — MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday retracted his story about supposed Russian ties to President Donald Trump’s finances and apologized for reporting it — just as Trump’s lawyer demanded.  O’Donnell said, however, he still doesn’t know whether or not the story is true.  His public pull-back unfolded quickly in the opening minute of “The Last Word,” where 24 hours earlier the cable news host said that a source had told him that Deutsche Bank documents showed that Russian oligarchs had co-signed a loan application for Trump.

 

O’Donnell reported the story, based on a single source he did not identify, even as he couched it with the qualifier “if true” and admitted it had not been verified by NBC News.  Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, had written to NBC Wednesday afternoon, saying the story was false and defamatory and threatening legal action if it wasn’t disowned. Harder said the story could have been disproven with an internet search.  O’Donnell quickly tweeted that he made an “error in judgment” reporting the story.

 

NEW YORK (AP) — MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell said Wednesday he made an “error in judgment” in reporting about supposed Russian ties to President Donald Trump’s finances without verifying the story.

O’Donnell’s admission came in a tweet Wednesday after a lawyer for Trump said the story was false and defamatory, and called on NBC News to apologize and retract it.  MSNBC had no comment on any potential disciplinary action for O’Donnell, saying he would address the matter on Wednesday’s show.

 

O’Donnell said in his tweet that the story, which led Tuesday night’s broadcast, “didn’t go through our vigorous verification and standards process. I shouldn’t have reported it and I was wrong to discuss it on the air.”

He said on the show that he’d been told that Deutsche Bank had documents showing that Russian oligarchs had co-signed loans for Trump. He said the report came from a single source, who he didn’t identify. The documents also supposedly reveal that Trump paid little in taxes, he said.  Even as O’Donnell talked about his story, he couched it several times, saying “if true.”

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign said Wednesday that it ejected a Breitbart News reporter from an event at a South Carolina college because it wanted to ensure that students felt “comfortable and safe.”  The Texas Democrat’s campaign found itself in a public confrontation with the aggressive conservative web site a day after its senior editor-at-large, Joel Pollak, said he was booted from an O’Rourke speech. He said the campaign told him was being ejected because he’d been disruptive at past events.

 

O’Rourke spokeswoman Aleigha Cavalier said that Breitbart walks the line between being news and a perpetrator of hate speech. The campaign asked him to leave because of Pollak’s “previous hateful reporting” and the sensitivity of the topics being discussed with black students at Benedict College.  “Whether it’s dedicating an entire section of their website to ‘black crime,’ inferring that immigrants are terrorists, or using derogatory terms to refer to LGBTQ people, Breitbart News walks the line between being news and a perpetrator of hate speech,” Cavalier said in a statement.

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A legal expert is calling the possibility of transforming the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin into a public trust a novel approach.  John Coffee is a law professor and director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School. He said Wednesday he’s never heard of one being used as a mechanism for a large civil settlement, even though the U.S. has many such public benefit corporations.

 

Published reports say Purdue Pharma would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and transform itself into a “public beneficiary trust,” with all profits from drug sales going to the plaintiffs.  The reports say the company has proposed a $10 billion to $12 billion settlement to end hundreds of local government lawsuits suing over the effect of the opioid epidemic.

 

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey will join the University of Texas as a professor who this fall will teach in the university’s Department of Radio-Television-Film.  McConaughey has been a visiting instructor at the flagship campus in Austin since 2015 and the university said in a statement Wednesday that the appointment recognizes his “outstanding work as a teacher and mentor.”    He will continue teaching a Script to Screen film production class for which he developed the course curriculum.

 

The university says McConaughey is respected for his “willingness to work with students beyond the classroom.”  McConaughey earned a film degree from the school in 1993. He’s appeared in more than 50 films, including “Dazed and Confused,” ”The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyers Club,” for which he won an Oscar and Golden Globe for his leading role.

 

BOSTON (AP) — Dr. Seuss is hitting the road this fall with a large interactive exhibit that will immerse visitors in some of the most iconic books by the beloved children’s writer.  The exhibit is centered on a maze based on “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” the Dr. Seuss book that urges children to explore the world and move mountains despite the pitfalls and challenges.

 

Children and adults will be able to explore rooms based on “The Cat in the Hat,” ”The Lorax,” ”Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” and other works.  The 15,000-square-foot (1,400-square-meter) exhibition announced publicly Wednesday is scheduled to open in Toronto in October. There are plans to take it to Boston, Seattle, Houston and several other North American cities.

 

“I wanted to explore the books and bring the characters to life in a new and engaging way,” said Susan Brandt, president of San Diego-based Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company founded by Audrey Geisel, the late widow of Theodor Seuss Geisel, who under the pen name Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated dozens of children’s books.

 

Because the exhibit is based on Geisel’s children’s books, there are no references to his earlier and more controversial political cartoons.  The maze inspired by “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” features thousands of suspended balloons.  Visitors entering “The Lorax” room can wander through a forest of truffula trees. The “If I Ran the Circus” room features a working carousel, while “Horton Hears a Who!” consists of a field of waist-high pink clover.

 

The exhibit is a partnership between Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Kilburn Live, a division of Los Angeles-based entertainment company Kilburn Media.  The Dr. Seuss Experience, more than two years in the making, is unlike anything the company has ever been involved in before, and that’s what attracted Kilburn to the project.  The exhibit is not just about promoting literacy but about the pro-social messages in Dr. Seuss books, Kilburn founder and CEO Mark Manuel said.

 

“The Lorax” teaches environmental stewardship, while “The Sneetches and Other Stories” teaches tolerance and individuality, he said.  Another aspect is that the exhibit will change in every city. Some rooms will be flipped out to be replaced by rooms based on other Seuss classics. The rooms will even change based on the time of year, with a “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” room planned for the holiday season.

“Our goal is to have children shriek with joy,” Manuel said.

 

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A comedian known for smashing fruit and vegetables with giant wooden hammers says he was escorted out of Idaho’s Statehouse when he entered the building carrying two of the hammers.  Gallagher told the Idaho Statesman in a story Wednesday that he was looking for the state’s film office on Monday for a possible project. The state doesn’t have a film office.

 

A person who answered the phone at the state agency that provides security said Wednesday that no one was available to comment.  The 73-year-old comedian who rose to fame in the 1980s says he’s in Boise to scout locations for a film about an ancient poet.  He also says he’d like to build a retirement project in the area where old celebrities could live among regular folks.

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Joker has been around for almost 80 years and there’s no shortage of portrayals. There are even some legendary ones by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. But by most accounts, Joaquin Phoenix’s spin on the quintessential Batman villain is unlike anything audiences have seen.

 

It’s why “Joker” isn’t being treated like a standard comic book movie release and instead getting the rollout of an Oscar contender with high-profile premieres at the most prestigious fall film festivals — Venice and Toronto — before it hits theaters on Oct. 4. Even Warner Bros., the studio with the keys to the DC Comics universe, largely left writer-director Todd Phillips alone to do what he wanted to do with the character: Make a realistic character study in the vein of Martin Scorsese’ 1970s films about how struggling stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck became the Joker.

 

“He doesn’t fall into a vat of acid and come out laughing,” Phillips said. “That’s a comic book thing.”  So, Phillips and his co-writer Scott Silver (“8 Mile,” ”The Fighter”) ran all the elements of what we know about the Joker, a character without an origin story, through a “real world filter” — his look, his laugh and his personality. For the most part that meant ditching the source material. Even the comedian element, which actually has some basis in the comics, was kind of accidental.

 

UNDATED (AP) – It could be lights out for tiny toiletries.  Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, said Wednesday it will eliminate small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel from its hotel rooms worldwide by December 2020. They’ll be replaced with larger bottles or wall-mounted dispensers, depending on the hotel.

 

The move follows a similar announcement last month by IHG, which owns Holiday Inn, Kimpton and other brands. IHG said it will eliminate about 200 million tiny bottles each year by 2021. Last year, Walt Disney Co. said it would replace small plastic shampoo bottles at its resorts and on its cruise ships. Many smaller companies, like the five Soneva Resorts in Thailand and the Maldives, have also ditched plastic bottles..

 

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

 

PA Sports, Scores & Skeds

 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — J.T. Realmuto had three hits, including a homer and a triple, Corey Dickerson also went deep and the Philadelphia Phillies got 17 hits in a 12-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cesar Hernandez added three hits and three RBIs for the Phillies.

 

The Phillies play on 1070AM WKOK, while our normal programming continues at WKOK.com and on the Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation app. The Phils have the night off but will be back in action Friday night after the Shikellamy football game on WKOK. The Mets are at the Phillies this weekend.

 

INTERLEAGUE

Final    Washington     8          Baltimore        4

Final    Atlanta            9          Toronto           4

Final    Boston 7          Colorado         4

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Final    N-Y Yankees  7          Seattle 3

Final    Cleveland        4          Detroit 2

Final    Kansas City     6          Oakland          4

Final    Houston          8          Tampa Bay      6

Final    Minnesota       8          Chi White Sox            2

Final    Texas   3          L-A Angels     0

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Final    Milwaukee      4          St. Louis          1

Final    Philadelphia    12        Pittsburgh        3

Final    Cincinnati        5          Miami  0

Final    Chi Cubs         10        N-Y Mets        7

Final    L-A Dodgers   6          San Diego       4          (10 Innings)

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Final    Montreal          2          Vancouver       1

 

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

 

 

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