Related topics

AP-PA--Exchange,Advisory, PA

August 21, 2018

Here are the stories for this week’s Pennsylvania Member Exchange package. If you have any questions, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133.

For use anytime:


Editorials from around Pennsylvania.

For Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018:


PITTSBURGH — Sheriff’s deputies steered three handcuffed men into Veterans Court one day this summer. The backs of their red jumpsuits read “Allegheny County Jail.” One prisoner had doe eyes and long hair, resembling pictures of Christ. He wore shackles around his ankles. When he stood before Judge John Zottola, his eyes cast down, the judge cocked his head with a “What are we going to do with you?” expression on his face. A probation officer said the young man, an Iraq War combat veteran, had absconded -- a word that in court means fled -- while under house arrest. The judge ordered a transfer to a Bath, N.Y., treatment center for veterans who suffer post-traumatic stress and addiction. Seeing a veteran shackled in his own country is particularly unsettling when you realize jail may be where he is most safe. But most veterans in this court are not incarcerated. They have an out, as long as they check in with the probation officer, keep their records and urine clean and show up for court. The process of getting through three phases of good behavior takes a year. Allegheny County Veterans Treatment Court is an acknowledgement that veterans deserve special consideration when they land in the criminal justice system. Diana Nelson Jones, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania is one of America’s most populous when it comes to gun owners. Almost one in three Pennsylvanians owns a firearm, or 31 percent. So where do they learn how to shoot? (Legally, that is.) I’m under-educated on the gun-owner side of our national debate. So, I persuaded my editors to let me take a gun class, learn gun safety, and understand more about gun culture. On Aug. 4, I took a group class with Ron Flowers, a retired Allentown police officer and professional weapons handling trainer based in Broomall. He and his wife, Kathleen, operate Citizens Defense Training, teaching classes all year long at ranges around the state, including “Intro to Pistol and Revolver” (my class), for absolute beginners like myself, at the Ridge and Valley Gun Club in Coopersburg, Pa. First, the thrill. It’s for real. I’m holding a firearm in my hands. It’s horrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Later, I’ll shoot “dry-fire” — essentially, blanks — and then real bullets. Second, cost. Gun ranges make money only when you shoot - so they encourage shooting right away, even if you’re a novice. Most ranges in the greater Philadelphia area charge $50 to $175 an hour to show up, rent a firearm, and shoot a box of ammunition. Erin Arvedlund, The Philadelphia Inquirer.


JOHNSTOWN — Sweeping statewide consolidation across Pennsylvania’s 500 public schools wouldn’t bring the cost-savings that some lawmakers and the public alike envision, at least not without the state providing financial incentives, a recent analysis shows. While there is evidence that in some cases moves to combine very small districts could yield savings or improve educational opportunities, consolidating schools with 1,000 students or more might increase costs - and, in many cases, raise the tax millage in many communities those districts serve, a Joint State Government Commission report notes. That doesn’t mean consolidation wouldn’t benefit Pennsylvania’s struggling communities. But the state has no incentives in place to help schools interested in combining to overcome financial sticking points that might be holding them back, a New Jersey-based reform-minded nonprofit’s study concluded. David Hurst, The (Johnston) Tribune-Democrat.


ALLENTOWN — What comes to mind when you think of Parkinson’s disease? Many people know an older friend or relative who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a diagnosis frequently associated with symptoms such as a tremor and with high-profile patients, such as Michael J. Fox. But not every Parkinson’s patient has the classic symptoms, and many aren’t the expected age. When Parkinson’s is diagnosed in a patient younger than 50, it’s considered young-onset, which brings its own unique set of challenges. Kristin Ognjanovac, now 40, is an Allentown resident who defies every Parkinson’s stereotype. She was diagnosed six years ago at 34. Of all her symptoms, the classic tremor is the least prominent. And she’s still raising her four sons, all between the ages of four and 19, two of which are on the autism spectrum. Laura Genn, Bucks County Courier Times.


ERIE — Turns out fun can be hard work, especially if you’re the guy in charge of the bounce houses. Ask Daniel Thompson. He’s done construction work, roofing and built custom wooden shipping crates for years as the owner of Thompson Crates on West 12th Street. Thompson, a 47-year-old Girard resident, said he wasn’t looking for an easy path when he got into the business of renting bounce houses and other inflatables and games for carnivals and other events. What he was looking for was a hedge against the volatile world of manufacturing. “I wanted a second company that had nothing to do with heavy industry,” he said. “I wanted something that was safe from that.” Jim Martim, Erie-Times-News.

Update hourly