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BC-PA--Pennsylvania News Digest, PA

March 9, 2019

Good afternoon! Here’s a look at AP’s general news coverage today in Pennsylvania. For questions about the state report, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133. Editor Larry Rosenthal can be reached at 215-446-6631 or lrosenthal@ap.org

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories, digests and digest advisories will keep you up to date.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with updates

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

TOP STORIES:

RECLAIMING PUBLIC LANDS

HARRISBURG _ State and local government records that have been stolen or have otherwise ended up in private hands without authorization would be much easier to reclaim under legislation that could pass the Pennsylvania House in the coming days. By Mark Scolforo. SENT: About 640 words.

EXCHANGES:

EXCHANGE-DEATH PENALTY

ALLENTOWN _ Pennsylvania’s death penalty is, by all accounts, embattled. There hasn’t been an execution in two decades, even before Gov. Tom Wolf imposed a moratorium on them in 2015. The courts have long scrutinized death sentences, throwing out scores of them at appeal. And juries have become more hesitant to impose the state’s ultimate punishment. A long-awaited legislative study recently called for a host of reforms. But a surprising factor is quietly contributing to the death penalty’s decline in Pennsylvania: Prosecutors are increasingly reluctant to pursue capital murder charges, given the high financial cost and lengthy legal battles they guarantee, and the improbability the sentences will ultimately be carried out. “We are scrutinizing these decisions much more than ever before,” said Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams, the immediate past president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. Riley Yates, The (Allentown) Morning Call.

EXCHANGE-CANYON CENTENNIAL

PITTSBURGH _ Ellsworth Kolb left Pittsburgh in 1900 with $2 in his pocket. He nearly ended up in China. After working his way across the country to San Francisco, he signed on with the crew of a freighter headed across the Pacific. But before he shipped out, something swayed him to go back and check out a big hole in the ground in the Arizona Territory that he had heard so much about. So, he took a train headed east, all the way to the rim of the Grand Canyon. Ellsworth fell in love with what he saw — and forgot all about China. It was a moment that not only changed his life but also that of his younger brother, Emery, who soon followed him. Together they would play a pioneering role in making the Grand Canyon the tourist destination it is today. On Feb. 26, 1919, the Grand Canyon was designated as a National Park. The Kolb brothers, who grew up in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, are a major focus of the centennial celebration. Paul Guggenheimer, Tribune-Review.

EXCHANGE-QUAINT TOWNS-SHORT-TERM RENTALS

MOUNT GRETNA _ Kutztown University Professor Victor Massad loves to grade papers while enjoying the soothing woods and streams surrounding his Valentine-themed cottage in the Mt. Gretna Campmeeting Association. But Massad also has a primary home in Hamburg, and he doesn’t see a need for his cottage to sit idle while he is away. And so for years, he’s rented it out occasionally. Airbnb was a game-changer. By using the online lodging broker he could get guests every week if he wanted. But some people living in small-town Pennsylvania aren’t thrilled to see their neighbor’s homes turn into hotels, and it’s creating tension between residents who see economic opportunity and others worried about safety and loss of community character. Daniel Walmer, Lebanon Daily News.

EXCHANGE-SUFFRAGETTE CENTENNIAL

ERIE _ Who fought for women’s right to vote in Erie County? ‘Shop girls,’ bankers’ wives and teachers. It was one of the largest grassroots movements in American political history. One hundred years ago, in June 1919, women won the right to vote when Congress passed the 19th Amendment promising “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” By August 1920, the requisite 36 states, including Pennsylvania, had ratified the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment.” Millions of women went to the polls for the first time that fall. The votes were a long time coming. Women in Erie County and nationwide had marched, protested and picketed for the right to vote for 50 years. The Civil War slowed the movement, but activists pushed hard after the war for equal rights for all. Sarah Grabski and Valerie Myers, Erie Times-News.

EXCHANGE-POSING AS PEDOPHILES

CHAMBERSBURG _ Many days, Brandi Lehrian wakes up to five or six text messages from men wishing her a good morning — and sometimes more. She spends most of the day and night letting multiple men believe that she can make their fantasies come true. Eventually, one of the guys asks to meet her, but his expectation for a rendezvous with a 15-year-old girl falls apart quickly as Lehrian confronts him and says he is being livestreamed by Southcentral Pa. Child Predator Exposure. The guy had been talking the whole time to a 34-year-old woman, not a child almost 20 years younger, and she is giving all the chat logs to police. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of people watch and comment as the amateur sting plays out live on Facebook. But police rarely take up the cases or use the evidence such groups provide _ and in fact, law enforcement officials aren’t supportive of their efforts. Amber South, Chambersburg Public Opinion.

IN BRIEF:

DELGADO CHANCELLOR-FINALISTS _ Four finalists have been named in the search for a new chancellor for Delgado Community College in New Orleans.

SPORTS:

BKC--T25--VILLANOVA-SETON HALL

NEWARK, N.J. _ No. 23 Villanova can clinch its fifth outright BIG EAST title in the last six years with a win at Seton Hall at the Prudential Center. The Pirates upset No. 16 Marquette here on Wednesday. By Tom Canavan. UPCOMING. 700, photos. Game starts at noon. EST.

BKC--NOTRE DAME-PITTSBURGH

PITTSBURGH _ Notre Dame (13-17, 3-14 Atlantic Coast Conference) and Pitt (12-18, 2-15) wrap up disappointing regular seasons on Saturday. The Panthers are riding a 13-game losing streak. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game begins at 12 p.m. EST.

HKN--PENGUINS-BLUE JACKETS

The Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second-leg of a home-and-home this week between Metropolitan Division teams fighting for a playoff spot. By Mitch Stacy. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 7 p.m. EST.

HKN--FLYERS-ISLANDERS

UNIONDALE, N.Y. _ The New York Islanders return home to host the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Coliseum. By Christian Arnold. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts at 7 p.m. EST.

BBN-PIRATES-CHISENHALL

Lonnie Chisenhall hopes to be more than just a stopgap in right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The former Cleveland Indian is filling in while Gregory Polanco recovers from shoulder surgery. UPCOMING: 500 words by 6 p.m.

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