Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business, and entertainment


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – Penn State has hired a corporate compliance officer to become the university’s first director of ethics and compliance. The school on Thursday named Regis Becker to oversee all compliance issues and develop Penn State’s first comprehensive program for institutional ethics. Becker is currently chief compliance officer for Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries. He’s also worked as an FBI special agent and as a detective for the Allegheny County district attorney’s white-collar crime unit. Penn State in January also hired Julie Del Giorno to be the school’s first athletics integrity officer. The hiring comes as part of changes at the university in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Three former school administrators are awaiting trial on obstruction, conspiracy and other charges. The administrators have maintained their innocence.


MOOSIC, Pa. (AP) – State transportation officials are looking into safety concerns regarding a roadside memorial in northeastern Pennsylvania. Motorists have been expressing concerns about the memorial just before the Interstate 81 entrance ramp on Birney Avenue in Moosic. In January, family members of Jarred Sterling Coleman put up the headstone, surrounded by small lights and flowers. The 23-year-old Coleman was struck by a vehicle on June 29 and died a day later. Moosic borough administrator Jane Sterling says the borough began receiving calls a short time afterward that the memorial was a distraction and potential danger. Now, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is looking into the matter. PennDOT spokesman Mike Taluto says it’s under investigation. The Times-Tribune reports Coleman’s mother says the memorial isn’t hurting anyone and isn’t anywhere near the road.


PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Allegheny County Board of Health wants natural gas companies to provide 24-hour advance notice before drilling starts. The board passed the recommendation unanimously Wednesday night. Authorities say they want the advance notice so air pollution can be monitored at drill sites. Pittsburgh is in Allegheny County. The requirement covers shale gas extraction, including well drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The county recently approved a long-term contract for gas drilling on thousands of acres of land around the Pittsburgh International Airport. The plan must still be approved by the Allegheny County Council and county executive Rich Fitzgerald.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Advocates for Pennsylvania’s poor say the number of people improperly bumped off Medicaid rolls is far higher than state officials initially told lawmakers. Community Legal Services of Philadelphia told The Associated Press on Thursday that nearly half the people who responded to a letter sent by the state Department of Public Welfare have re-enrolled. The department sent the letters to settle claims that families were improperly purged from the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Citing state figures, Community Legal Services says more than 7,300 of the 16,000 people who responded to the letter were eligible. That’s 46 percent. Earlier this week, the department’s acting secretary, Bev Mackereth, told the Senate Appropriations Committee that 3 percent out of about 100,000 who had been sent letters were actually eligible.


BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) – Peeps dioramas. Peeps jousting. Peepshi. With the storied candy brand celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, a quirky new TV ad campaign talks about all the things people do with their Peeps. Only some of those involve putting them in kids’ Easter baskets or eating them straight from the box. Pennsylvania candymaker Just Born will produce more than 1 billion of the marshmallow chicks and bunnies this Easter season. While Easter is the biggest time of year for Peeps, fans have come up with lots of ways to have fun with the spongy treats. Just Born calls it the “Peepsonality” of consumers who buy Peeps not only to eat, but also to play with.


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


The Latest Business News


NEW YORK (AP) – The Dow is continuing its momentum as it reaches further into record territory. Stocks closed higher on Wall Street yesterday for a fifth straight day. The Dow, which surpassed its previous all-time high two days ago, closed up 33 points at 14,329. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose nearly 3 points to 1,544.


The S&P is now about 20 points away from its own record high close. The Nasdaq rose nearly 10 points to 3,232. The Dow and S&P gained 0.2 percent, the Nasdaq 0.3 percent. The catalyst for the advance was the latest evidence that hiring is picking up: a decline in unemployment applications. Three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. Volume was average at 3.5 billion shares.


BANGKOK (AP) – A positive jobs report that pushed the Dow to another record high this week and better-than-expected Chinese exports helped boost Asian stock markets today. China’s exports jumped 21.8 percent to $139.4 billion in February, beating economists’ forecasts by a wide margin. While lower than 25 percent growth in January, the figure nonetheless provided evidence of strong demand for Chinese-made goods in the global marketplace.


Sentiment on Wall Street was boosted after the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week. Applications fell 7,000 in the week ended March 2, dropping the four-week average to its lowest level in five years. Benchmark crude oil fell but remained above $91 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.


WASHINGTON – There’s another important jobs report coming out today. The Labor Department will release its employment data for February. Also today, the Commerce Department reports on January’s wholesale trade inventories.


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


Features & Entertainment


WASHINGTON (AP) – A new study looking at 11,000 years of climate temperatures shows the world in the middle of a dramatic U-turn, lurching from near record cooling to a heat spike. Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until a dramatic spike in the 20th century. Study author Shaun Marcott says his data shows that 1900 to 1910 was one of the coolest in the past 11,300 years. Yet 100 years later, the decade was one of the warmest. Marcott and other scientists say the long-term context indicates global warming isn’t natural but man-made since the start of the Industrial Revolution.


KUWAIT CITY (AP) – Imagine the reaction here in the U.S. if people were arrested for comments considered offensive to the president. If you checked most any site that allows comments, you could conclude there’d be a lot of people in jail. In Kuwait, two activists have been jailed in Kuwait for Twitter posts that authorities feel are offensive to the country’s ruler. The sentences against the tweeters – reportedly two years in prison for one and a year in prison for the other – are part of a growing backlash against increasing political unrest. Last week a columnist for an anti-government newspaper was jailed for a month for publishing an article suggesting that a politician was corrupt.


RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) – Cheers? Yes. Jeers? Not so much. Officials in the New York town of Riverhead, in eastern Long Island, have adopted a code of public behavior for town hall meetings that bans booing. Newsday reports the Riverhead Town Board voted 4-1 to approve the proposal earlier this week. Councilman James Wooten was the lone dissenter. The town council deleted a measure that also would have banned applause. There are no penalties for violators. Supervisor Sean Walter says the town copied guidelines in other towns. He says the rules are designed to let meetings run more smoothly.


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




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