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BC-PA--Pennsylvania News Digest, PA

January 19, 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. Ron Todt is on the desk. 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A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.

NEW JERSEY-RENTAL SHORE TAX

TRENTON _ A new tax in New Jersey on short-term lodging such as Airbnb rentals is rattling some property owners and renters who worry that it could deal a blow to the state’s multi-billion dollar shore tourism industry by pushing people to consider other destinations. The proposal to extend the state’s sales and occupancy tax to transient accommodations largely flew under the radar last year. But since the 11.625 percent tax _ higher in some towns that have their own fees _ went into effect, property owners, some from Pennsylvania and New York, have taken their concerns to lawmakers. By Mike Catalini. SENT: About 820 words, photos.

WINTER WEATHER

DETROIT — People throughout parts of the Midwest woke Saturday to a heavy and steady snowfall that forced the cancellation of hundreds of airline flights and made driving dangerous

TOP STORIES:

NEW JERSEY-RENTAL SHORE TAX

TRENTON _ A new tax in New Jersey on short-term lodging such as Airbnb rentals is rattling some property owners and renters who worry that it could deal a blow to the state’s multi-billion dollar shore tourism industry by pushing people to consider other destinations. The proposal to extend the state’s sales and occupancy tax to transient accommodations largely flew under the radar last year. But since the 11.625 percent tax _ higher in some towns that have their own fees _ went into effect, property owners, some from Pennsylvania and New York, have taken their concerns to lawmakers. By Mike Catalini. SENT: About 790 words, photos.

EXCHANGES:

EXCHANGE-TOWN FIGHTS ‘DEPRESSED MINDSET’

RANKIN _ The smell of barbecue, the chef’s hat on James “Cube” Weems’ head, the earnestness on his son Jaden’s face as he passes out samples of steaming meat — it all conspires to give a festive feel to Rankin Borough Council, where the mood is sometimes darkened by talk of the creep of coyotes into the overgrown lots of this old mill town. Weems, 45, and Jaden, 14, have come with meat, and with a plan: They’ll pour the father’s entrepreneurial experience and the family’s energy into the long-disused concession stand down by the borough’s weedy baseball field. It could become Cube’s Chop House, Mr. Weems says, passing out a black business card featuring the pitch: “Delivering exactly what your CHOPS want.” Rankin is starving for business, for revenue, for a reason to believe that, after 30 years as a pocket of poverty, there will be something here for the kids who make up nearly a third of its population. Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

EXCHANGE-UKELELE-NORTH POLE

ALLENTOWN _ In 2014, Larry Bartram, a software company founder and archaeologist, was at C.F. Martin & Co. in Nazareth to have a guitar repaired. While waiting, he strolled into the factory museum. Tucked among the many displays, Bartram found a nondescript little ukulele covered with autographs. Bartram found it stunning that recognizable among the signatures was that of one of his college teachers, the late Laurence Gould, a professor of glacial geology who inspired him. When Bartram returned to collect his guitar a couple months later, he met with Martin archivist Dick Boak, who explained the ukulele belonged to Richard Konter, an integral part of the team of famed explorer Adm. Richard Byrd when he became the first to reach by air both the North Pole in 1926 and, later, the South Pole. John J. Moser, The (Allentown) Morning Call.

EXCHANGE-EMOTIONAL SUPPORT GATOR

YORK _ On a recent Monday afternoon, Joie Henney walked into the Glatfelter Community Center at the Village, an assisted-living development north of York, with his emotional support animal on a leash. He walked by an elderly woman reading, who glanced up from her book, took a look at Joie’s emotional support animal, shrugged and went back to her book. Which seemed kind of unusual. Joie’s emotional support animal is a four-and-a-half foot alligator. Residents and staff gathered in a semi-circle, an air of curiosity mixed with the terror of seeing a huge reptile, its sharp teeth visible inside its powerful jaws, and kept their distance. Joie said it was all right. Wally – that’s the gator’s name – wouldn’t hurt them. He’s a pretty mellow reptile, and he likes people in the companionship way, not the potential food way. Mike Argento, York Daily Record.

EXCHANGE-PRISON-SHARED MEALS

PHILADELPHIA _ Constraints, they say, breed creativity. At the least, they explain the advent of the prison ravioli sandwich — a pile of homemade, ricotta-filled pasta, doused in red gravy and wedged unceremoniously between two slices of bread. “You were allowed to take in one sandwich per visitor,” explained Marcie Marra, 53, who would lovingly tote such concoctions to the prison where her brother, Richie, was then incarcerated. It was just one chapter in the evolution of prisoners’ access to one of the most basic and universal human impulses: to break bread with loved ones. But vending machine sandwiches have been offline at most Pennsylvania prisons after a crackdown that also includes the diversion of postal mail to a Florida processor for scan and digitally forwarding and the delivery of books to a central processing facility. Samantha Melamed, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

EXCHANGE-SMALL-TOWN RESTAURANT

VENANGO — In September 2016, Mark and Tracey Olenick were raising a family of four children near Lancaster. Mark Olenick, an electrical engineer and project manager, made pickled vegetables on the side. Now the whole family lives above Venango General Store, a restaurant they own in Crawford County’s Venango Borough where everyone pitches in running the business, serving hand-cut New York strip steaks and craft beer by night, omelets and Belgian waffles by day. Between the family’s savings and local incentives, Mark Olenick, 53, said they’ve put about $500,000 into the business. “I guess you could say this is my midlife crisis,” he said. He really had a passion for cooking and pickling. He wanted a place to do more of both, as well as a place that his investment could help a struggling community. Jennie Geisler, Erie Times-News.

SPORTS:

BKN--THUNDER-76ERS

PHILADELPHIA _ The Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Philadelphia 76ers. By Jessica Camerato. UPCOMING. 650 words, photos. Game starts at 3:30 p.m. EST.

HKN--PENGUINS-KNIGHTS

LAS VEGAS _ The Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 7 p.m. PT.

HKN--FLYERS-CANADIENS

MONTREAL _ The Philadelphia Flyers visit the Montreal Canadiens.

BKC--PITTSBURGH-SYRACUSE

SYRACUSE, N.Y. _ Fresh from a signature road win over No. 1 Duke, Syracuse hosts Pittsburgh in a key matchup for both teams. By John Kekis. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 2 p.m. EST.

BKC--MINNESOTA-PENN STATE

MINNEAPOLIS _ Minnesota returns home to Williams Arena from a humiliating 27-point loss at lowly Illinois to host Penn State, which has lost its first seven Big Ten games. By Patrick Donnelly. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. EST.

BKW--T25-UCONN-TEMPLE

PHILADELPHIA ---No. 2 UConn plays Temple. By Aaron Bracy. UPCOMING. 650 words, photos. Game starts at noon. EST.

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If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to phillyap@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

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