Gov. Wolf Seeks More for Human Services: AP Penna. Headlines

AP PA Headlines 1/23/20

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf will ask lawmakers for an extra $40 million-plus to help improve services for the vulnerable, including children and the elderly, and expand direct care services to more disabled people who are on a waiting list.

The request for money unveiled Wednesday is designed to expand training for direct care workers, reduce waiting lists for care and increase staff in specific service areas, including child welfare. Many of the proposals that Wolf’s administration rolled out ahead of his Feb. 4 budget proposal reflect recommendations by a council Wolf established to find ways to improve services for vulnerable populations.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai, the most prominent fiscal and social conservative in state government, will hold a news conference Thursday amid speculation in the Capitol that he will leave the office after five years. The House Republican caucus issued a news release Wednesday afternoon announcing the news conference in his suburban Pittsburgh district.

Turzai has repeatedly declined to comment this week. Three people who have spoken with him in recent days, however, say Turzai is strongly considering leaving office or not running again. The three people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations with Turzai.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A three-term state lawmaker from northwestern Pennsylvania says he’ll seek the Republican nomination to run for state auditor general this year. Cris Dush of Jefferson County made the announcement Wednesday, days before candidates can start circulating nomination petitions to get on the April 28 primary ballot. Dush isn’t running for another House term.

Another Republican, Lancaster County Commissioner Dennis Stuckey, also has said he’ll seek his party’s nomination for auditor general. On the Democratic side, five people have announced that they’ll run. Pennsylvania’s current auditor general, Democrat Eugene DePasquale, is completing a second four-year term and is constitutionally barred from seeking another.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State University says it has suspended a fraternity while a third-party report of an allegation of sexual assault is investigated. University police said an online submission Tuesday said an unidentified person, reportedly a student, had alleged to a third party having been sexually assaulted by four unidentified fraternity brothers almost a week earlier.

Penn State on Wednesday announced an interim suspension of the Phi Sigma Delta Sigma chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity in State College. A spokesman for the international fraternity said the organization is cooperating fully with the investigation and called such alleged conduct “absolutely antithetical to our fraternity’s ideals and values.”

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s highest court is directing a county judge to permanently seal a grand jury report into child sexual abuse that occurred too long ago to file criminal charges. The justices ruled unanimously on Wednesday that the Franklin County grand jury’s report doesn’t involve organized crime or corruption, nor does it recommend legislative, executive or administrative action in the public interest. Court records indicate that the man told jurors he abused 16 to 18 people, and that four men testified they had been sexually abused as teens about four decades ago.

READING, Pa. (AP) — Federal authorities have announced more charges in an investigation of what they call a violent drug gang that engaged in sex trafficking, attempted murder and murder in eastern Pennsylvania. U.S. Attorney William McSwain said the racketeering conspiracy and other charges against 13 people stem from a yearslong investigation into a gang called “The Sevens” that primarily operated from a Reading boarding house. Authorities last year announced a drug-trafficking and weapons indictment of eight alleged high-level gang members they said were responsible for as many as eight homicides.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — City officials say a redevelopment firm has planned an “aggressive timeline” after their $240 million bid won an auction to acquire the bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery site. Brian Abernathy, the city’s managing director, says Hilco Redevelopment Partners agreed to pay the high price to acquire the 1,300-acre refinery.

The refinery was the site of an explosive fire in June and plans to move quickly to redevelop it into a mixed-use industrial facility. Abernathy headed a four-person city government delegation that attended the auction on Friday and he says the firm came prepared for negotiations but did not submit a formal plan for the site.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (AP) – Police say Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a 13-year-old boy during a photo shoot. Chris Greenwell and his son Brandon met Gritty at an event for season ticket holders on Nov. 19. Brandon patted Gritty on the head after he and his father posed for a photo with the mascot in Wells Fargo Center.

Greenwell says that as Brandon walked away, Gritty ran out of his chair and “punched my son as hard as he could.” Officials at Comcast Spectacor, the company that owns the Flyers, says it conducted an investigation but couldn’t verify Greenwell’s account. Greenwell told the newspaper that he only wants an apology and something special for his son.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Features

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — The rivalry between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders is deepening as the Democratic presidential candidates are increasingly at loggerheads over their support of Social Security, signaling a battle ahead that could last well beyond the Iowa caucuses.  Biden’s campaign released a video late Tuesday accusing Sanders of “dishonest” attacks, while Sanders’ official Twitter account countered: “Let’s be honest, Joe. One of us fought for decades to cut Social Security, and one of us didn’t.”

Sanders, a Vermont senator, has accused Biden of advocating for budget deals as a senator from Delaware that would have curtailed entitlement spending over time. During his decades on Capitol Hill, Biden supported a balanced budget constitutional amendment, but he says he would not have “cut” Social Security benefits as part of the deals. In his current campaign, Biden proposes expanding Social Security benefits and raising more revenue by lifting the cap on the income that is subject to Social Security payroll taxes.

Biden tacitly acknowledged on Wednesday that he’s moved to the left over the years on Social Security. But he compared that with Sanders’ legislative history on gun control, an issue that — like Social Security — is a core concern to many Democratic voters.  Sanders “voted to protect gun manufacturers,” Biden said in an MSNBC interview, referring to Sanders’ vote to give weapons makers immunity from civil liability. Hillary Clinton skewered Sanders over that position during their 2016 primary battle.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has set a presidential record for activity on his favorite social media platform. He’s tweeting and retweeting at length about the Senate impeachment trial, the Democrats who want to replace him and much, much more. By 4:25 p.m. ET Wednesday, Trump had barreled through his previous record of 123 Twitter postings in a day that he set a little over a month ago. That’s according to Factba.se, a service that compiles and analyzes data on Trump’s presidency. The vast majority of his postings Wednesday were retweets of messages from supporters haranguing Democrats over the impeachment trial.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s inaugural committee spent more than $1 million to book a ballroom at the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital as part of a scheme to “grossly overpay” for party space and enrich the president’s own family in the process, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The District of Columbia’s attorney general, Karl Racine, said the committee misused nonprofit funds and coordinated with the hotel’s management and members of the Trump family to arrange the events. He said one of the event’s planners raised concerns about pricing with Trump, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and Rick Gates, a top campaign official at the time.

“District law requires nonprofits to use their funds for their stated public purpose, not to benefit private individuals or companies,” Racine said. “In this case, we are seeking to recover the nonprofit funds that were improperly funneled directly to the Trump family business.”

It was the latest allegation that Trump and his family have used public and nonprofit funds spent at Trump-owned properties to enrich themselves — part of the peril of Trump not fully withdrawing from his businesses while he is president. Trump has maintained ownership but turned the reins over to his adult sons, who have bristled at the charge that they are profiting off their father’s presidency.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are sharply divided along party lines about whether President Donald Trump should be removed from office, and they doubt the Senate impeachment trial will do anything to change their minds, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Overall, the public is slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45% to 40%. But a sizable percentage, 14%, say they don’t know enough to have an opinion.  Americans on both sides of the debate say they feel strongly about their positions, and three-quarters say it’s not very likely or not at all likely that the trial will introduce new information that would change their minds.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A judge refused to overturn part of Utah’s lewdness law yesterday in a blow to a woman who’s fighting criminal charges after her stepchildren saw her topless in her own home.

Judge Kara Pettit sided with prosecutors who argued that lewdness is commonly understood to include women’s breasts in American society.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the judge writes in her opinion that they shouldn’t second-guess what lawmakers have decided is lewd conduct. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Tilli Buchanan would appeal the ruling. If she does not, her misdemeanor charges would move toward trial. If convicted, she could face jail time and be forced to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

JACKSON, N.J. (AP) — Some people looking for directions to find some fun and relaxation — ended up needing to find a way back to their destination. Police in Jackson Township, New Jersey say motorists headed for Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa ended up in the wilderness, instead. Authorities blame a glitch in the Waze navigation app. Users plugging in the hotel address from an ad wound up in the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area — a good 45 miles from the casino — where they were found unpaved roads. Waze says it’s working on resolving the problem.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

 

 

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