Archives for January 2018

PA High Court Revisits Soda Tax Issue

Pennsylvania’s highest court said it will hear an appeal in a lawsuit challenging Philadelphia’s year-old tax on soda and other sweetened drinks that inspired other cities around the country to enact their own. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a brief order, saying it would hear the appeal by the industry, restaurants and retailers on whether the tax violates a 1932 law prohibiting Philadelphia from taxing a transaction or subject already taxed by the state. The city’s lawyers said they expected the high court’s review and maintained that they are confident the city has the authority to enforce the tax, which is imposed on distributors.

Police Looking at Phone Records in the Murder of Four

Police are focusing on phone records to try to piece together how a group of friends wound up at a Pennsylvania self-serve car wash, where a gunman lying in wait in the early morning hours killed four of them and injured one who managed to hide. The suspected shooter, 28-year-old Timothy Smith, suffered a gunshot wound to the head in the Sunday shooting at Ed’s Car Wash in Melcroft, a rural town about 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. He’s on life support and isn’t expected to survive what authorities believe may be a self-inflicted injury.

PA & Maine Mayors Super Bowl Bet

A pair of football-crazy communities in Pennsylvania and Maine are looking to get a little bit more Bangor for their buck out of the Super Bowl this year. The mayors of Bangor, Maine, and Bangor, Pennsylvania, are placing a wager on the contest between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Mayor Ben Sprague of the Maine city is placing a host of Maine-centric items on the line, including a box of whoopee pies, a blueberry pie and a collection of books by local resident Stephen King. Mayor Brooke Kerzner of the Pennsylvania borough is placing two slate boards for the game quoits (KWATES) on the line. Quoits is a popular game in Pennsylvania that has similarities to horseshoes. Beer, chocolate and coffee are also up for grabs.

PA U.S. Marshall Memorialized Today

Family members, friends and other mourners are preparing for a memorial service to honor a deputy U.S. marshal slain two weeks ago while serving a warrant in Pennsylvania. The public memorial service for Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher David Hill is being held today at the Giant Center in Hershey. The 45-year-old Hill was shot and killed Jan. 18 when a man wanted in Philadelphia opened fire in a Harrisburg home, killing Hill and wounding another officer. The wanted man was himself shot and killed by police. Hill is a native of Sacramento, California, and attended Warrior Run High School in central Pennsylvania. Hill is a U.S. Army veteran who served the marshals service for 11 years. He’s survived by a wife, son, daughter and other family members.

A New PA Casino

A company that’s building a casino in Philadelphia has won the right to put up a mini-casino across Pennsylvania in Westmoreland County in the second auction of licenses newly authorized by the state. Baltimore-based developer Cordish Cos. submitted a winning bid today of $40.1 million. The area it selected includes Greensburg, southeast of Pittsburgh, and Cordish is considering building an entertainment district around the casino. Southwestern Pennsylvania is home to three casinos, although this would be Westmoreland County’s first.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is auctioning the rights to 10 mini-casinos with 750 slot machines.

PA House Majority Leader runs for Congress

Pennsylvania’s House Majority Leader Dave Reed will run for Congress to succeed U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster in southwestern Pennsylvania. Reed formally announced the bid today in a campaign email, a few days after telling Republican Party officials about his plans. Reed’s announcement comes a day after Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ordered the boundaries of the state’s 18 congressional districts redrawn within weeks in a gerrymandering case. That creates the possibility that Reed won’t live in the 9th District if it is redrawn. The 39-year-old Reed’s been in office since 2003 and majority leader for three years. The 9th District is solidly Republican and Reed likely faces a crowded GOP primary. Republican lawmakers say Reed told them that he’ll remain in the job of majority leader. Shuster isn’t running again after holding the seat since 2001.

PA Pipeline Gets Federal Approval

A $1.1 billion pipeline designed to bring Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to New Jersey has received federal approval, although the project lacks important permits in New Jersey. PennEast Pipeline Company spokeswoman Patricia Kornick said today that she anticipates construction on the roughly 120-mile pipeline will begin this year and take about seven months. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave approval to the PennEast pipeline Friday over the protests of environmental groups, who say it would irreversibly damage the landscape. The pipeline is designed to deliver enough natural gas to serve nearly 5 million homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. However, Kornick couldn’t immediately say whether construction will begin before the project receives pollution-control permits in New Jersey designed to protect wetlands and waterways. The pipeline consortium plans to apply.

WISE Woman of Blair County Nominatons

WISE Women of Blair County Tribute recognizes and honors Blair County women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in promoting the awareness of the significant role of women in the quality of life in our community and its economic growth. WISE Women is seeking applications for nominees for its annual Tribute dinner in the categories of: Arts & Letters, Business & Professional, Community Service Volunteer, Education, Non Profit/Government and Rising Star (under 21 years of age). The annual Tribute dinner will take place on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 6:00pm at the Casino at Lakemont Park. Anyone- an individual, organization or a business may submit nominations to WISE Women, Nomination forms may be located on the WISE . Nominations must be submitted by Friday, February 9, 2018 by 4pm.

Gov Wolf is Pro Overtime Pay

Gov. Tom Wolf is moving to boost pay in Pennsylvania by making hundreds of thousands of additional salaried employees eligible for overtime pay, according to administration officials.
The proposed regulation extending overtime to more salaried employees would need approval only from a five-member board whose members are appointed by Wolf, two top Republican lawmakers and two top Democratic lawmakers, giving it a 3-2 Democratic majority. The approval process could take more than a year, and raising the overtime threshold would strengthen the middle class, boost the economy and help make wages fairer, according to the Governor. The move is likely to draw fire from business owners, who cheered when federal courts blocked a similar move by former President Barack Obama.

A Fourth Republican Candidate on PA Lt. Gov. Ticket

A fourth Republican is throwing a hat into the ring to run for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. Joe Gale, a Montgomery County Commissioner, announced today that he’s running for the party’s nomination. The 28-year-old Gale announces before March 6 which is the deadline for major party candidates to file paperwork to get on the May 15 primary election ballot. Five Democrats have lined up to contest the re-election bid of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack in the party’s primary.