Latest Pennsylvania news, business, and entertainment

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – For months, the criminal case against three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up abuse complaints about Jerry Sandusky has been in limbo while a judge considered their request to have the case thrown out. Judge Barry Feudale’s ruling against Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley could clear the way for a district judge to finally conduct the preliminary hearing that had once been scheduled for last December. However, Feudale’s 16-page opinion and order anticipates that the defendants might want to take up the same issues he rejected before a county judge or a state appeals court. Lawyers in the case declined comment or didn’t return messages. Feudale’s ruling says he doesn’t have jurisdiction and denies their motion to throw out the grand jury report backing up the accusations.

 

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – Voting begins Wednesday in the contentious election for three alumni seats on Penn State’s Board of Trustees. The trustee’s race once generated little interest in the general public, let alone the 560,000 Penn State alumni across the country. However, that changed last year following scrutiny on the actions of university leaders in the aftermath of retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s arrest in November 2011 on child sex abuse charges. Any of the university’s 560,000 alumni can vote, though they must first contact the Board of Trustees office. Voters can cast ballots online or through the mail. Voting ends May 2, with results to be announced the following day at the trustees meeting. Alumni hold nine of the 32 board seats, with terms lasting three years.

 

(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)

 

The Latest Business News

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama is sending Congress a $3.77 trillion spending blueprint Wednesday that seeks to achieve an elusive “grand bargain” to tame runaway deficits by raising taxes further on the wealthy and trimming popular benefit programs such as Social Security. The president’s proposal includes an additional $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, bringing total deficit savings to $4.3 trillion. It projects that the deficit for the 2014 budget year, which begins Oct. 1, would fall to $744 billion. That would be the lowest gap between spending and revenue since 2008. Instead of moving Congress nearer a grand bargain, Obama’s proposals so far have managed to anger both Republicans, who are upset by higher taxes, and Democrats upset with cuts to Social Security benefits.

 

NEW YORK (AP) – Materials and energy companies led the stock market higher Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to its second all-time high in a week. The Dow closed at 14,673.46, a gain of 59.98 points, or 0.4 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index also rose 0.4 percent, closing less than two points below its own all-time high set April 2. The prices of metals like copper, gold and silver have rebounded this week after slumping for the first three months of the year on waning demand. Oil is also rising following a sharp decline last week. “You’re seeing some pretty decent action in the overall market, with today’s leadership coming from the basic materials sector,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners. “It’s an area of the market that does represent some value because it’s underperformed.” The rally in basic materials such as precious metals was caused by a weakening of the dollar against other currencies, HSBC analyst Howard Wen said. Commodities are typically priced in dollars and a decline in the currency allows overseas buyers to purchase materials at lower prices.

 

BANGKOK (AP) – Asian stock markets are mostly seeing gains Wednesday on the heels of a record high on Wall Street. Traders are looking toward the release of the latest Federal Reserve meeting minutes for insight into the U.S. economy’s prospects. Japan’s stock market continued to rise on a wave of enthusiasm for the Bank of Japan’s aggressive new approach to shaking the world’s third-largest economy out of its two-decade slump. The Nikkei rose 0.7 percent to 13,289.30. Mainland Chinese stocks fell after China released trade data for March. Beijing says imports rose a little more than 14 percent, while exports rose 10 percent, reflecting weak global demand. However, some experts say the official figures don’t match information available in Hong Kong about goods going in and out of China. Meanwhile, oil prices are falling. Benchmark crude for May delivery was down 28 cents to $93.92 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 84 cents to finish at $94.20 a barrel on Tuesday.

 

(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)

 

Features & Entertainment

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California lawmakers are considering making the Boy Scouts of America and other youth groups that do not accept gay, transgender or atheist members and leaders ineligible for some state tax exemptions. Some cities have withdrawn free rent and other subsidies from the Boy Scouts over the years, but legislation introduced by state Sen. Ricardo Lara would make California the first state to punish the Scouts for its policy prohibiting gay members and troop leaders. The legislation would deny tax-exempt status to nonprofit youth groups that discriminate on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or religious affiliation. The Legislative Analyst’s Office says that means the Boy Scouts and its California affiliates would have to pay corporate taxes on donations and income from fees.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – It’s a tragic landmark in the digital age. Federal investigators report texting by the pilot of a medical helicopter contributed to a crash that killed four people. The National Transportation Safety Board also approved issuing a safety alert cautioning all pilots against using cellphones or other distracting devices during critical operations. It’s the first fatal commercial aircraft accident investigated by the NTSB in which texting has been implicated. The chopper ran out of fuel, crashing into a farm field in clear weather early on the evening of Aug. 26, 2011. Investigators say the pilot sent 25 text messages and received 60 more during the course of his 12-hour shift.

 

DETROIT (AP) – A Detroit hospital is helping patients cover their you-know-what. A new gown is being used for some patients at Henry Ford Hospital. It looks a bit like a wraparound robe. It also covers the patient’s rear end. The gown was developed by the Henry Ford Innovation Institute in collaboration with the College for Creative Studies. Officials hope to license the design to a manufacturer so it can be used at other hospitals.

 

(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)

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