Services set for Pennsylvania grad student killed in Ohio

Services are set for a Pennsylvania graduate student killed in a shooting rampage in an Ohio nightclub district. Nicholas Cumer was a graduate student in the master of cancer care program at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. The 25-year-old was in Dayton as part of his internship with the Maple Tree Cancer Alliance.
He was one of nine killed in the shooting. A special Mass in his honor was held Tuesday at the university. A funeral service will be held in Washington, Pennsylvania at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

PA Clergy Investigations Continue

Pennsylvania’s top state prosecutor says investigations remain underway after 1,862 calls were made to his office’s clergy abuse hotline in the 12 months since a landmark grand jury report exposed decades of child abuse within the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses. Attorney General Josh Shapiro said earlier today that about 90 percent of those calls concerned allegations of abuse or cover-ups within the Catholic church. The rest were about institutions or people outside the Catholic church. Shapiro calls it “a profoundly impactful experience” that he’s been stopped daily by people who are grateful for the investigation or want to tell him their own stories of victimization. Pennsylvania dioceses have been evaluating claims and making payments through compensation funds established in the wake of the report.

State school safety tip system fielded 23K reports this year

Bullying, self-harm and suicide were the most common concerns fielded during the first half-year of operation for a new threat reporting system that covers Pennsylvania schools. The state attorney general’s office says the Safe 2 Say Something program generated more than 23,000 tips between mid-January and the end of June. The report says about 1,300 tips were determined to be pranks.Safe 2 Say Something covers all K-12 students in Pennsylvania, including charter, private and vocational-technical schools. People most commonly made reports through a mobile app that handled more than 19,000 tips. The website received more than 3,500 tips, and about 500 were called in.

VP Pence in PA Yesterday

Vice President Mike Pence was in Pennsylvania again yesterday to urge Congress to pass President Donald Trump’s rewrite of a trade pact with Canada and Mexico. Pence toured a crane manufacturing facility in southern Pennsylvania a few miles from the Maryland border and told hundreds of workers the pact is a good deal for American manufacturing.

PA Lottery Announces Record Highs

The Pennsylvania Lottery is reporting record highs in revenue and profits, after concerns that it was slumping spurred lawmakers to expand its offerings to the internet and bars. The agency said Thursday it recorded $4.5 billion in sales in the 2018-19 fiscal year, an increase of 7%. Profits were $1.14 billion, an increase of 4.5%. It paid out $2.9 billion in prizes. The lottery’s profits go to services for the elderly. Gov. Wolf and lawmakers expanded the lottery’s offerings in late 2017 after year-over-year sales shrank, adding online games and monitor games played in bars.

Wolf seeks new approach to helping ‘vulnerable populations’

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday he will revamp how the state provides help to people who need to be protected and cared for by state agencies. The governor signed an order setting up a 25-member group that has three months to propose changes that will improve services to what’s he’s calling “vulnerable populations.” Wolf also set up the Office of Advocacy and Reform and will hire a child advocate for the new agency under his office. He directed agencies to try to reduce the number of people living in institutional settings, to improve how referrals are made for inspector general investigations and to mine state data to identify problems more quickly.

PennDOT to roll out gender-neutral driver’s license option

Pennsylvanians who prefer not to be identified as male or female will soon have a gender-neutral option on their state-issued driver’s licenses. PennDOT expects to have the new procedure in place by the middle of next year. It will let motorists use “X? as a third option to indicate gender. A PennDOT spokeswoman says the agency is able to make the change on its own and doesn’t need authorization from the Republican-controlled Legislature. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says PennDOT made the decision but it’s consistent with his opinions about equity and fairness.

Gov. Wolf Warns PA Food Stamp Benefits are in Jeopardy

Gov. Tom Wolf warned Monday that food stamp benefits for about 200,000 people in Pennsylvania are jeopardized by a Trump administration move to stop allowing states to exceed federal income eligibility thresholds for the food-assistance program. Such a change to the nation’s food stamp program would primarily affect the elderly, the disabled and lower-income families in Pennsylvania who already struggle to put food on the table according to Wolf. It also could result in fewer school lunches that Pennsylvania schools provide in connection with the program. Now, in Pennsylvania, more than 1.7 million people are in the federally funded food stamp program, called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. Most of them qualify under current federal guidelines that forbid people who make more than 130% of the federal poverty level — or about $32,000 a year total for a family of four

Strike it Rich Winner in Altoona

A progressive top prize-winning ticket worth $227,734 for the Pennsylvania Lottery’s Strike It Rich game was sold at an Altoona Lottery retailer on Friday. The store in Altoona, receives a $500 bonus for selling the winning ticket. To see if they’ve won a prize, players can review the ticket, or scan it at a Lottery retailer or with the ticket checker feature on the Lottery’s Official Mobile App.

Pennsylvania’s absentee ballot rules mean many arrive late

Comparatively tight deadlines for absentee ballots mean Pennsylvania’s mail-in votes arrive too late to be counted far more often than the national average. A new reports shows that 4.2% of Pennsylvania’s absentee ballots got to voting offices after the deadline to be counted in the November 2018 election, compared with less than 1% nationally. The report cites data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission that ranks Pennsylvania second in the rate of missed-deadline rejections, behind only Delaware.