Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business, and entertainment

 

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett has signed death warrants for three more convicted murderers on death row in Pennsylvania, which last executed someone in 1999. Corbett’s office says he signed warrants Thursday for 54-year-old Orlando Maisonet, 24-year-old Abraham Sanchez Jr. and 55-year-old Freeman May, all incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene. Maisonet participated in the 1982 stabbing death in Philadelphia of Jorge Figueroa to prevent him from cooperating with police. Maisonet’s execution is scheduled for March 6. Sanchez shot Ray Diener in front of his Lancaster County home during a botched robbery attempt in 2007. His execution is scheduled for March 7. May stabbed to death 22-year-old Kathy Lynn Fair in 1982. Her remains were found six years later in Lebanon County woods. May’s execution is scheduled for March 5.

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane is announcing the appointments of her top deputies, including an old friend who oversaw her transition team and several holdovers from the staff of departing Republican Attorney General Linda Kelly. Kane, a Democrat who is to be sworn in to a four-year term Tuesday, said Thursday that Philadelphia lawyer Adrian R. King Jr. will serve a first deputy attorney general. King, who has known Kane since law school, served as director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency in the Rendell administration and oversaw Kane’s transition team. Kane named Linda Dale Hoffa, formerly in Gov. Tom Corbett’s Office of General Counsel, as senior executive deputy attorney general. Kane appointed Bruce Beemer, Kelly’s chief of staff, to serve as her senior counsel.

 

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) – The National Park Service says it will proceed with the demolition of a building that once housed the Cyclorama painting at Gettysburg National Military Park. The agency ruled Thursday that public comments gathered as part of an environmental assessment ordered by a federal judge did not warrant any change in plans. The park service says the nonprofit Gettysburg Foundation has funds to carry out the demolition. Spokeswoman Katie Lawhon says work is expected to start this winter and to be mostly done by this summer’s 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle. The building once housed the Cyclorama, a 360-degree circular painting of a battle scene. The restored painting was moved to a new visitor’s center in 2008. The park service has planned to tear down the building since 1999.

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania Department of Health says flu is now “widespread” throughout the state and things are likely only going to get worse because the season typically doesn’t peak until the middle of this month or February. There have been more than 11,000 laboratory confirmed flu cases in the state since the flu season began in mid-December, with nearly 4,300 of those reported last week alone. The department’s flu-tracking website says “widespread” is the highest category for tracking the virus. That means there have been outbreaks or increases in flu-like or “laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.” So far, 971 flu-related hospitalizations and 22 deaths have been reported during the flu season.

 

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

 

The latest business news

 

NEW YORK (AP) – The Standard and Poor’s 500 closed at another five-year high Thursday after the stock market got a boost from reports suggesting the outlook for economic growth may be improving. The S&P 500 rose 11.10 points to 1,472.12, its highest close since December 2007, when the U.S. economy was entering the Great Recession. It also closed at a five-year high on Friday and is now 93 points off its record close of 1,565.15, logged in October 2007. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 80.71 points at 13,471.22. The Nasdaq composite rose 15.95 points to 3,121.76.

Investors were cheered by statements from the president of the European Central Bank who said the struggling euro zone should start growing again later this year. Also, a report showing that China may gradually be emerging from its economic downturn buoyed hopes. Export growth for the world’s second-largest economy rebounded strongly in December. On the downside, weekly applications for unemployment benefits ticked up last week. The Labor Department said applications rose 4,000 to 371,000, the most in five weeks.

 

BANGKOK (AP) – Japan’s Nikkei stock index jumped today after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a massive spending package intended to breathe life into the country’s moribund economy. But other Asian benchmarks fell after the U.S. reported higher-than-expected jobless claims. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $94 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro but rose against the yen.

 

WASHINGTON – Commerce Department releases international trade data for November and the Treasury releases the federal budget for December. Also, Wells Fargo reports quarterly financial results.

 

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

 

Pennsylvania Lottery Numbers

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – These Pennsylvania lotteries were drawn Thursday:

 

Cash 5

15-16-19-21-24

 

Evening Big 4

9-2-1-7

 

Evening Daily Number

3-0-6

 

Evening Quinto

4-4-6-7-2

 

Match 6 Lotto

04-15-26-27-40-42

 

Midday Big 4

9-1-8-8

 

Midday Daily Number

1-3-6

 

Midday Quinto

9-0-4-1-4

 

Treasure Hunt

06-19-24-25-28

 

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

 

Features & Entertainment

 

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A 24-year-old contestant in this year’s Miss America pageant is delivering a message about breast cancer prevention. Miss DC Allyn Rose plans to undergo a double mastectomy after Saturday’s contest – win or lose. She is removing both breasts as a preventative measure to reduce her chances of developing the disease that killed her mother, grandmother, and great aunt. If crowned, the university student could become the first Miss America not endowed with the Barbie silhouette associated with beauty queens. Her decision is drawing criticism as well as praise. And this kind of pre-emptive surgery has divided the medical community as well. Todd Tuttle, chief of surgical oncology at the University of Minnesota, says that for someone in her early 20s to have the procedure is “very unusual.”

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama will take the oath of office for his second term with his hand placed on two Bibles – one that belonged to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and one owned by Abraham Lincoln. The selection of the pair of Bibles is symbolic of the struggle for racial equality in America – from Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves 150 years ago this month, through King’s leadership of the civil rights movement, to Obama becoming the nation’s first black president. The inclusion of King’s Bible is significant since the inauguration comes on Jan. 21, the federal holiday in honor of the civil rights leader, who delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech 50 years ago at the Lincoln Memorial.

 

CHAPIN, S.C. (AP) – An English teacher at a South Carolina high school is facing disciplinary action after officials say he stomped on an American flag in front of his students in a bid to spur discussion. Authorities say Scott Compton is accused of taking an American flag down from the wall and stamping on it during three of his classes last month at Chapin High School as part of a lesson. Attorney Darryl Smalls said Compton, who is on paid leave, was trying to generate discussion by using a powerful symbol his students were familiar with.

A local school superintendent has recommended that Compton be fired. The matter goes before a school board Monday. Compton, an honors English teacher, has taught at the high school for seven years.

 

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