Archives for August 2019

Report says panel, not lawmakers, should redraw PA districts

A commission set up by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf recommended Thursday that Pennsylvania redraw congressional and legislative districts through an 11-person appointed group that would provide a set of options that state lawmakers would choose from. The report by the Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission said people want limits on the role of politicians in drawing maps and take a dim view of the current system’s emphasis on gaining partisan advantage. Republican legislative leaders opted not to send appointees to the commission and have previously accused Wolf of grandstanding about redistricting.

PA Man Convicted After Making Shooting Gesture

A Pennsylvania man convicted of disorderly conduct for making a shooting gesture with his hand has lost his bid to have it overturned. A state appellate court made the ruling Tuesday on the appeal brought by Stephen Kirchner. The Manor man made the gesture while walking past a neighbor’s home in June 2018. The man allegedly made an obscene gesture toward Kirchner, who responded with his gesture.

Penn State Whistleblower Lawsuit in Progress

Penn State’s former director of athletic medicine is suing the university because he says he was terminated in retaliation for reporting that head football coach James Franklin pressured him to prematurely clear injured players. According to the complaint filed in Dauphin County, Dr. Scott A. Lynch accused Franklin of interfering with medical management and return-to-play decisions “on multiple and repeated occasions.” When Lynch reported the behavior to others — among them AD Sandy Barbour, Senior Associate AD Charmelle Green and Athletic Integrity Monitor Robert Boland — Lynch says his recommendations were ignored and he was let go March 1. Two Penn State spokespeople declined interview requests, but Penn State Health released a statement Monday afternoon and denied the allegations made in Lynch’s whistleblower lawsuit.

Pennsylvania House wins appeal in atheist prayer-policy suit

A federal appeals court reversed a lower court decision and ruled that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ policy of barring atheists from delivering invocations does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the Pennsylvania House’s policy of limiting prayers at the start of legislative sessions to guest chaplains who believe in God or a divine or higher power. It reverses last year’s decision by a district judge, who sided with the atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists who sued.

Altoona Food Services Plans to Expand

In a release sent out Thursday, Family Services in Altoona continues to work towards a new family shelter that could hold more than double its current capacity.
The current shelter on 8th Avenue has 16 beds. Last year, Family Services housed 202 people, but turned away 788 others because they don’t have enough beds or space.

PA Priest Accused of Stealing Nearly $100k

A Pennsylvania Roman Catholic priest is accused of stealing nearly $100,000 from his parish and spending it on a beach house and men he met on dating apps. The Chester County District Attorney’s Office says 56-year-old Monsignor Joseph McLoone was arrested Wednesday for theft from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Downingtown. Prosecutors allege the priest diverted funds into secret accounts and misappropriated fees charged to parishioners. They say McLoone used the money for a beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey, as well as spending it on men he was dating.

Concealed Weapon Carry Seminar

A free concealed carry seminar will be held in Altoona, hosted by Rep. Lou Schmitt(R-Blair) in order to keep residents informed of Pennsylvania’s gun laws. According to a release from Schmitts office, the seminar will take place on Tuesday, September 10, at 6 p.m. at the Altoona Grand Hotel. Firearms Owners Against Crime President Kim Stolfer will be the featured speaker. Anyone with questions about the event should call Rep. Schmitt’s office at 814-946-7218.

PA GOP Wins in Special Election

Republicans easily won a special election to retain a seat in the state House of Representatives in a GOP-leaning district in central Pennsylvania. Republican David Rowe won Tuesday’s special election in parts of Union and Snyder counties by a nearly two-to-one margin over Democrat Jennifer Rager-Kay. The former incumbent, Republican Rep. Fred Keller, was elected to Congress. With Rowe’s victory, Republicans will have a 110-93 majority over Democrats in the state House.

Officials ID Suspect in Assault Case

According to a release, Altoona Police have identified the man seen in security footage at the Salvation Army on 7th Avenue in Altoona. He can be seen exchanging words with another man before punching him. It was reported that the argument continued outside when he pulled a box cutter from his pocket and cut the other man above the eye and on the arm. Police have not released his name as the investigation is ongoing.

Gov. Wolf Pushes for Stolen Gun Law

Gov. Tom Wolf is urging the passage of a law in Pennsylvania requiring gun owners to report stolen or lost firearms, suggesting it could have prevented last week’s wounding of six Philadelphia police officers during a long standoff. Wolf made the comments earlier today. He says Pennsylvania needs a stolen or lost guns reporting requirement so that people like the accused shooter in Philadelphia can’t illegally get a hold of a long gun. Maurice Hill is charged with attempted murder, assault and other counts.