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AP-PA--Pennsylvania News Digest, PA

September 22, 2018

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A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.

TOP STORIES:

BILL COSBY

Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing Monday will begin with testimony about his sex offender evaluation and, presumably, a fierce debate over whether the 81-year-old actor should be branded a sexually violent predator.

ELECTION 2018-STATE LEGISLATURES

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Democrats were trounced in their bids for state legislature during the tenure of former President Barack Obama, losing 968 seats in eight years. That’s a big part of the reason Republicans controlled the redistricting process that cemented GOP control of Congress. Democrats hope to reverse that this year — or at least put a big dent in the previous Republican gains. They have embarked on a coordinated and well-financed effort to win state legislative seats, although the heavy partisan gerrymandering accomplished under the Republicans could thwart many of their efforts. By David A. Lieb. SENT: About 1380 words, photos.

With:

— ELECTION 2018-STATE LEGISLATURES-GLANCE, a by-the-numbers breakdown of partisan control in state legislatures.

EXCHANGE:

EXCHANGE-DYING MALLS-FUTURE

CARLISLE -- Outside The Bon-Ton, a clerk takes a few last drags of his cigarette on the second-to-last day he’ll serve customers here. “Take 95 percent off,” reads one sign, above a rack of women’s sweaters. “Was $44.00. You pay $2.20.” The Bon-Ton is among the final holdouts of The Point at Carlisle Plaza, built in 1964 amid a nationwide retail boom that drew commerce away from downtowns and closer to a rising suburban middle class. Over the past two decades, the once-bustling mall shed one anchor, Kmart, and then another, JCPenney, and finally The Bon-Ton, too. The rest of the mall, part of which was demolished to make way for a Lowe’s, is largely vacant. “When you see a mall and wonder ‘Why did they build one here?‘, it’s because back then it was a big deal,” said Greg Maloney, who developed countless malls during the boom years of the ’80s and ’90s. “It was a town hall. They had events there--car shows, boat shows. It’s where everyone went for Christmas and holidays.” Wallace McKelvey, PennLive.com.

EXCHANGE-OLDER WORKERS

PITTSBURGH — At 86 years old, Bill Priatko jump-starts every workday with a vigorous three-mile walk and 155 Marine-style pushups, getting energized for another five-hour shift working the soda fountain at Kennywood Park. “I don’t call it work,” he said. “Really, it’s like a hobby. I come over here every morning, five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Just enough for me to enjoy it. And I can’t wait to see the kids and work with them.” He starts the shift with a ritual that Rodgers and Hammerstein might appreciate and that his young co-workers seem to enjoy. “I sing this little ditty to them: ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day. I’ve got a wonderful feeling. Everything’s going our way.’” And they all go “Yeah!” For Mr. Priatko, a former Pittsburgh Steeler, the job at the West Mifflin amusement park is a retirement gig. He is part of a fast-growing segment of workers who remain in the workplace well past the traditional retirement age. Tim Grant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

EXCHANGE-AVOIDING SUNLIGHT

ARNOLD — Mackinly “Mack” Adams avoids the sun at all costs. He never leaves his Arnold home without gear that covers most of his body. A baseball hat and long black UV resistant sleeves, which he slides up over both arms, go on first. Those are followed by a special pair of polarized sunglasses, which he hangs from the neck of his T-shirt. He attaches a hood to the back of his hat, which falls down to cover his neck and his ears, and completes the outfit by placing a pair of black, fingerless gloves on his hands. The process may seem rigorous, but to Adams it’s just normal. At age 10 he was diagnosed with a rare skin condition known as Actinic Prurigo. Any exposure to the sun or fluorescent lights could make him very sick. Madasyn Czebiniak, Tribune-Review.

EXCHANGE-SQUASH CENTER

PHILADELPHIA — Shanin Specter, who met his wife playing squash, said his late father loved the racket sport so much that he often joked that nothing on his crowded U.S. Senate schedule was as significant as his daily hour on the court. “He played for most of his life, nearly every day,” Specter said. “When he was in the Senate he liked to say, ‘I used to say squash was the most important thing I do every day. Now I say squash is the only important thing I do every day.’ ” Now, six years after his death, the politician’s name has been affixed to a $40 million project that supporters say not only will make Philadelphia the capital of American squash but will help democratize what traditionally has been an aristocratically-flavored pursuit. On Drexel University’s rapidly changing campus, a historic armory is being transformed into the Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center. The goal is an October 2020 opening, in time to host that year’s national championships. Frank Fitzpatrick, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

EXCHANGE-VIRTUAL GUN RANGE

FORTY FORT — Customers entering REDCON Tactical Simulation Training in Forty Fort never know what to expect when they walk through the door. They might encounter a bank robbery and hostage situation, home invasion, carjacking or argument between a man and woman that suddenly turns violent. In a split second they have to decide: Should they pull out their pistol and fire? The scenes are among more than 200 live-action scenarios that play out on a wall-size simulator screen at the recently opened virtual gun range. The crimes depicted are fiction, but the dangers portrayed are very real, said owners Sean Blinn,41, and Tom Husband, 61, both of Forty Fort. “We put you in the shoes of a police officer and some of the things they have to deal with when making a split-second decision,” Blinn said. “It is essentially a sandbox where you can increase your marksmanship training as well as have fun doing it.” Terrie Morgan-Besecker, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune.

IN BRIEF:

FATAL CRASH — State police say two people were killed and three were injured in a crash in western Pennsylvania.

RABID RACCOON — Health officials are warning western Pennsylvania residents that a second raccoon found in the same Pittsburgh neighborhood has tested positive for rabies.

MURDER PLEA — A man has pleaded guilty to killing a Colorado woman, telling a judge that he and his wife broke into the home of a 74-year-old woman and strangled her.

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