Latest Pennsylvania news, business, and entertainment

 

 

MAYFLOWER, Ark. (AP) – The chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee joined Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas for a tour of the oil spill cleanup site at Mayflower northwest of Little Rock and both said they believe ExxonMobil is doing everything possible to clean up the site. Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania joined Griffin for the tour Sunday. ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Mayflower on March 29 and spilled thousands of barrels of oil. More than 20 homes were evacuated and many residents have yet to return. Both Shuster and Griffin told The Associated Press after Sunday’s tour that they believe ExxonMobil is doing everything possible to clean the area and to find what caused the pipeline to rupture and prevent that from happening again.

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Wind energy installations almost doubled in Pennsylvania last year, but the industry still provides only about 1 percent of the state’s electricity, far behind others. Pennsylvania now ranks 16th in the nation in wind power, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s Annual Market Report for 2012, which was released this month. Iowa leads the nation, getting 24.5 percent of its electricity from wind power in 2012. South Dakota was at 24 percent, and Texas was at just over 7 percent. Maine led the Northeast at almost 6 percent. Even some advocates of renewable energy wonder if Pennsylvania will ever reach the levels of Iowa and other leaders. The president of the environmental group PennFuture says wind will likely grow here, just not at the scale of other states.

 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A Philadelphia city council member wants to require new or renovated city-owned buildings to have gender-neutral restrooms in addition to men’s and women’s restrooms. The Philadelphia Daily News says the measure introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney at the behest of the LGBT community would also require transgender health benefits for city employees. Kenney said “It can be an awkward and embarrassing situation” for anyone who may “feel more like a woman, but can’t use the women’s room.” A Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations official said the bill wouldn’t cost the city extra money because it already requires single-use wheelchair-accessible bathrooms in all of its buildings. The bill would also establish transgender health benefits for city employees to cover psychotherapy, hormone treatments, laser hair removal and gender confirmation surgery.

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A bill quietly circulating in the state Legislature would change Pennsylvania’s constitution to allow state lawmakers rather than the judicial system to decide what nonprofit entities deserve tax-exempt status. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the measure would give lawmakers the final say on what is a “purely public charity” eligible for tax exemption.

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Officials in central Pennsylvania say a police officer and a pedestrian were critically injured in a crash during a pursuit of a sport utility vehicle that later resulted in the arrest of the driver. Harrisburg police said the SUV driver was treated after the 6:30 p.m. Saturday crash and is in custody facing charges. Officials say that the city police officer’s vehicle crashed and flipped onto its roof. He remained in critical but stable condition Sunday.

 

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

 

The Latest Business News

 

NEW YORK (AP) – Investors are hoping the stock market will continue to rally this week. Although last week was Wall Street’s worst in five months, the market did manage to recover some of its losses Friday, the Dow rose 10 points to 14,547 and the S&P 500 index rose 13 1/2 points to 1,555. The Nasdaq composite index also climbed, gaining 39 1/2 points to 3,206. Friday’s slight gains couldn’t overcome a tough week for the market, when both the S&P 500 and the Dow lost 2.1 percent. That’s their biggest weekly drop since last November. This is another big week for earnings announcements as 10 members of the Dow and 181 companies in the S&P 500 report results.

 

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Asian stock markets traded higher today, with Tokyo markets heading close to a five-year high after a meeting of global finance leaders lent support to Japan’s aggressive monetary policy. Japan’s program has driven the value of the yen down by more than 20 percent against the dollar since October. On Monday, the first trading day after the Group of 20 meeting, the dollar was 0.4 percent higher at 99.82 yen. The last time it was above 100 yen was in April 2009. The decline of the yen has stirred up concerns among Japanese exporters’ key rivals, such as the U.S. and South Korea that Japan’s real goal is to weaken the yen as a way to gain trade advantages. But officials at the G-20 meeting were reluctant to voice any opposition to the Bank of Japan’s monetary stimulus program. Benchmark crude oil rose above $88 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and rose against the yen.

 

UNDATED (AP) – There are no big government economic reports due out today. But investors may gain some insight into the housing market. The National Association of Realtors releases its report on existing home sales for March this morning. There are a few major companies that will release their quarterly financial reports today. Among them are farm and construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar and oil services giant Halliburton. Toy-maker Hasbro will also report its quarterly financial results along with the Internet-streaming service Netflix.

 

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

 

 

Features & Entertainment

 

ATLANTA (AP) – Reese Witherspoon says she’s “deeply embarrassed” about what she said to police officers. She was busted Friday morning in Atlanta. In a statement late yesterday, Witherspoon is apologizing for her “disrespectful” behavior to officers. Georgia State Police arrested Witherspoon’s husband, Hollywood agent Jim Toth, for drunken driving. A trooper says Witherspoon disobeyed repeated orders to stay in the car. After she refused to return the car, she was handcuffed and arrested on a disorderly conduct charge. The trooper says Witherspoon asked if he knows who she is.

 

BOSTON (AP) – Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley says last week’s bombing-connected violence that left a police officer, an 8-year-old boy and two young women dead “must not be the justification for prejudice against Muslims or against immigrants.” At the first Sunday Mass since the Boston Marathon blasts shattered the community and plunged it into days of chaos, O’Malley urged Roman Catholics to be “people of reconciliation, not revenge.” Two Muslim brothers from Russia are suspected in Monday’s bombings. Their motive remains unclear. The older brother was killed during a getaway attempt; the younger brother was captured Friday night after a gunfight with police and remains in a hospital. A Boston synagogue, Temple Israel, opened its doors to worshippers from Trinity Episcopal Church, which sits in the shadow of the marathon finish line and remains closed. An interfaith service was also held Sunday near the finish line, where the bombs went off.

 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A West Virginia teenager has been charged with causing a disruption at his middle school after he refused to remove an NRA T-shirt that he wore. Fourteen-year-old Jared Marcum of Logan said Sunday the shirt didn’t violate Logan Middle School’s dress code policy. It displayed the NRA’s logo and a hunting rifle. Marcum says he was exercising his free speech right on Thursday when he refused a teacher’s order to remove the shirt. Marcum says police charged him with disrupting the educational process and obstructing an officer. His stepfather, Allen Lardieri, says the school suspended him. Their lawyer plans to meet with Principal Ernestine Sutherland on Monday. A message left Sunday at a phone listing for an Ernestine Sutherland in Logan wasn’t immediately returned. The telephone at the Logan Police Department rang unanswered Sunday.

 

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

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