State to seek federal storm aid

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett is asking the federal government for money to help the state and local governments and nonprofit groups recover from recent thunderstorms.   Corbett said Friday he’s seeking disaster aid for 14 counties that experienced high winds, heavy rains and flooding from storms that started in late June. Preliminary estimates put the total damage at about $20 million. In a letter to the White House, Corbett says he expects that figure to grow as more claims come in and repair work begins.   If approved, federal funds could cover 75 percent of the cost of debris removal, emergency services and repairs to public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities….

Conestoga loses another federal contraception appeal

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  PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A federal appeals court has ruled against a Snyder County company involved in a court fight over federal health care mandates. The Mennonite owners Conestoga Wood Products, Inc., in Beaver Springs claim new federal health insurance requirements violent their free speech and religious rights.   The mandate requires that the company pay for employees’ contraceptive services. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling issued Friday upholds a lower court decision that the owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. do not qualify for an exception as a religious employer, since it is a for-profit company making a secular product.   Conestoga’s health plan had excluded coverage for contraceptives and drugs used…