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BC-PA--Pennsylvania News Digest, PA

April 14, 2014

Pennsylvania at 7 p.m.

The desk can be reached at 215-561-1133. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

New: TRAIN DERAILMENT, HOTEL TAXES-RULING, CONTRACTOR-KICKBACKS, SHERIFF ARRESTED-THREATS

Updates: HIGH SCHOOL STABBINGS, PHILADELPHIA NEWSPAPERS, PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR-MCCORD, PULITZERS-INQUIRER, STATE TROOPER CHARGED, NETFLIX-COMCAST

TOP STORIES:

HIGH SCHOOL STABBINGS

MURRYSVILLE — Detectives believe a boy charged with stabbing 21 other students and a security guard at his Pittsburgh-area high school threatened two students by phone before the attack, according to a search warrant. Neither was one of the victims. The warrant, obtained for the home of Alex Hribal hours after last Wednesday’s rampage, said two students received “threatening phone messages and completed calls” from someone believed to be Hribal. By Joe Mandak. SENT 508 words

AP Photo.

PHILADELPHIA NEWSPAPERS

WILMINGTON, Del. — A politically-powerful investor in Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers pledged Monday to pay at least $77 million to wrest control of the company from rivals. George Norcross, a wealthy insurance executive and influential New Jersey Democrat, testified before a Delaware judge overseeing the latest sale of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. The current owners, split into two warring factions, are selling the company at auction to regroup. By Maryclaire Dale. SENT 547 words

STATE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS:

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR-MCCORD

HARRISBURG — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rob McCord said Monday that his campaign and its message aren’t ignoring his stepfather’s role in raising him but rather are emphasizing that being raised for a time by a single mother familiarized him with financial insecurity. McCord was responding to questions on WITF-FM’s show Smart Talk about a stepbrother’s criticism that his campaign ads and website are concealing his mother’s remarriage for political convenience. By Marc Levy. SENT 507 words

SANTORUM-SOUTH CAROLINA

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Monday that foreign affairs, including the situation in the Ukraine, will be a key issue for the nation in the run up to the 2016 presidential election. “We haven’t stood by our promises and when we show weakness, bullies take advantage of it,” said Santorum, who finished third in South Carolina’s first-in-the-South GOP presidential primary two years ago. By Bruce Smith. SENT 379 words

AP Photos.

BUSINESS:

NETFLIX-COMCAST

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix’s videos are streaming through Comcast’s Internet service at their highest speeds in 17 months, thanks to a recent deal that bought Netflix a more direct connection to Comcast’s network. The data released Monday by Netflix Inc. may become another flash point in a debate about whether the Federal Communications Commission should draw up new rules to ensure that all online content providers are treated the same by Internet service providers. By Michael Liedtke. SENT 747 words

AROUND THE STATE:

PULITZERS-INQUIRER

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Inquirer’s architecture writer, Inga Saffron, won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for criticism on Monday for work the awards committee said blended “expertise, civic passion and sheer readability into arguments that consistently stimulate and surprise.” Saffron, who pens the “Changing Skyline” column, was previously a three-time finalist for the prize. The awards are American journalism’s highest honor. SENT 333 words

STATE TROOPER CHARGED

PHILADELPHIA — A federal jury returned a not guilty verdict Monday in the trial of a state trooper accused of assaulting a suspect by stomping on his head as the man lay face-down and handcuffed on his kitchen floor. Kelly Cruz, 44, of Oxford, a longtime narcotics investigator, was charged with violating the civil rights of Zachary Bare, 22, during a 2009 arrest in Chester County. SENT 337 words

MILITARY-NO-SHOW CHARGES

PITTSBURGH — A former civilian contractor who worked at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland pleaded guilty Monday to helping the vice commander of a base near Pittsburgh receive extra pay in exchange for getting the civilian a no-show job at the Pennsylvania base. Robert St. Clair, 50, of Bel Air, Md., entered the pleas to conspiracy, theft and false claims against the United States before U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab in Pittsburgh. Prosecutors contend the overall scheme cost the government about $300,000 but didn’t say how much St. Clair benefited. SENT 333 words

ELSEWHERE:

ONONDAGAS-LAND CLAIM

WASHINGTON — A Native American group is asking the international community to charge the United States with human rights violations in hopes of getting help with a land claim. The Onondaga Indian Nation says it plans to file a petition at the Organization of American States on Tuesday, seeking human rights violations against the United States government. It wants the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to declare that the U.S. government’s decision not to hear its lawsuit asking for the return of 2.5 million acres in upstate New York to be violations of international human rights agreements. By Jesse J. Holland. SENT 447 words

AP Photos.

FROM AP MEMBERS:

MEMBER EXCHANGE-DOCTOR-PHILIPPINES RELIEF

HANOVER — From Hanover to the Philippines, Jess Socrates has devoted his life to helping others. Socrates, who was born and raised in the Philippines, has worked as a pathologist at Hanover Hospital for 34 years. When he is not in the hospital’s laboratory, he is often raising money to build wells, perform surgeries and help victims of natural disasters in the Philippines. “I refer to myself as a professional beggar,” he said with a smile. By Jennifer Wentz, The (Hanover) Evening Sun.

MEMBER EXCHANGE-SETTLERS’ DESCENDANT

PITTSBURGH — When Ken Girty goes to reunions for descendants of Revolutionary War-era Americans, his name is known among the best of them. “When you meet descendants of Daniel Boone and people like that, it’s fun,” he said. “But they’re excited to meet a Girty.” Girty, 80, of Connoquenessing discussed his family history before a crowd of about two dozen people on Sunday in Mary S. Brown Memorial-Ames United Methodist Church in Squirrel Hill, on land settled by his ancestors. By Melissa Daniels, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

IN BRIEF:

— AP APPOINTMENT-ROSENTHAL — Larry Rosenthal, a veteran news leader and innovative newsroom manager, has been named to the newly created position of Pennsylvania/New Jersey editor for The Associated Press, based in Philadelphia.

— TRAIN DERAILMENT — Cleanup is scheduled to begin Tuesday at the site of a train derailment in northeastern Pennsylvania.

— HOTEL TAXES-RULING — A state court is handing a Pennsylvania newspaper company a defeat as it tries to determine how much hotel tax is paid by individual facilities in its town.

— CONTRACTOR-KICKBACKS — The principal of a Pennsylvania construction company that did work at New Jersey’s Fort Dix has admitted his role in a kickback scheme.

— SHERIFF ARRESTED-THREATS — A judge has put a western Pennsylvania sheriff under house arrest and ordered him to give up 700 personal firearms for a bail violation.

— CHARTER SCHOOLS-FRAUD — The retrial of Philadelphia charter school founder on federal fraud charges is set for September.

— CHOIRMASTER-ABUSE CHARGES — The founder of a northeastern Pennsylvania boys choir charged with rape is facing 1,100 additional counts.

— HEINZ ENDOWMENTS-PRESIDENT — The Pittsburgh-based Heinz Endowments has named Grant Oliphant the charity’s new president.

— JOHNSTOWN SHOOTING — Authorities in western Pennsylvania say one person was killed and another wounded in a shooting in Johnstown over the weekend.

— CHILD STRUCK-FUNERAL — Authorities in southeastern Pennsylvania say the crash that killed a 4-year-old boy hours after he returned from his father’s funeral appears to have been a “tragic accident.”

— KOPPERS-OSMOSE — Wood products company Koppers Inc. said Monday that it will acquire the wood preservation and railroad services businesses of Osmose Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at $460 million.

— UNIVERSITY STUDENT DEATH — The Cook County medical examiner says a University of Chicago student found dead in his campus dorm room in February died of alcohol poisoning.

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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 Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

If you have questions about the state report, call 215-446-6631.

MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Pennsylvania and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click “All” or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.

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