Wednesday AP PA Headlines: Gov. Wolf calls for ‘harasser’ to step down

PA Headlines


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) —  Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor says a longtime member of the state House should resign in the wake of reports that taxpayers paid about $250,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim against him.  Gov. Tom Wolf issued the call to quit Tuesday after The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported the settlement paid to a former legislative aide to Rep. Tom Caltagirone of Berks County.  Wolf says verbal and physical harassment “is flat-out wrong,” and he supports proposals by female lawmakers “for reform in this area.”


House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody says his caucus agreed to pay out $514,000 since 2007 to settle claims by employees. Two involved sexual harassment claims against two members, and five were other types of employment matters.  Dermody says he’s bound by confidentiality agreements and mindful of the privacy rights of former employees.  Caltagirone’s been a House member for four decades. He hasn’t responded to messages seeking comment.


READING, Pa. (AP) — The pastor of a Pennsylvania congregation that avoids modern medicine has been cleared of a charge that he should have alerted authorities to possible child abuse when his 2-year-old granddaughter was dying of pneumonia.  A judge on Monday dismissed the charge of failure to report suspected abuse against 72-year-old Rowland Foster in the 2016 death of Ella Grace Foster.


The Reading Eagle says Berks County Judge Theresa Johnson ruled in a pretrial hearing there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support the allegation.  Foster is pastor of Faith Tabernacle Congregation, which instructs members to avoid doctors and pharmaceutical drugs. Under Pennsylvania law, pastors are required to report suspected child abuse.  A pathologist had previously testified that Foster’s granddaughter would have almost certainly survived if she had been given antibiotics.  Messages left for Foster and his attorney weren’t immediately returned Tuesday.


BOALSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania ski resort says it hopes to reopen this weekend following upgrades to its chair lift system stemming from a malfunction last weekend that stranded dozens and left five with minor injuries.Tussey Mountain said Tuesday that weakened spring packs inside the chairlift grips apparently caused Saturday’s accident, so the entire system is being replaced.


General manager Sue Matalavage said in a statement that state investigators will then inspect the equipment and officials hope to resume operations Saturday.  Officials said last Saturday that a chair carrying skiers and snowboarders slid back along the haul rope, starting a chain reaction that involved a total of four chairs. State police said more than 50 people were stranded and five had minor injuries. Tussey Mountain said those affected are recovering.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A second Republican is getting into the race for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.  Ex-state Rep. Gordon Denlinger of Lancaster County said Tuesday that he’ll seek the party’s nomination in next year’s election.  The 54-year-old trained accountant served 12 years in the House. Already seeking the nomination is suburban Philadelphia real estate investor Jeffrey Bartos, who dropped his candidacy for U.S. Senate.


March 6 is the deadline for major party candidates to file paperwork for the May 15 primary election ballot.  Five Democrats have lined up to contest the re-election bid of the party’s sitting lieutenant governor, Mike Stack.  Stack is a former Philadelphia state senator. He has little working relationship with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who stripped Stack of police protection after receiving complaints about Stack’s treatment of state employees.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved




LOS ANGELES (AP) — Meryl Streep says she didn’t know. But some new posters plastered around Los Angeles suggest otherwise. The posters feature a photo of Harvey Weinstein and Streep together — and part of Streep’s face has a red label that reads “SHE KNEW.” Streep is one of the most respected actresses in Hollywood. But recently she has come under scrutiny for making movies with Harvey Weinstein — at a time other actresses have said he sexually harassed and / or assaulted them. One accuser, Rose McGowan, recently tweeted Streep must have known what was going on. On Monday, Streep issued a statement saying Weinstein kept his alleged misconduct hidden from her.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) —  A Louisiana school superintendent is declining immediate comment on a parent’s lawsuit over religious activities at school events.  Webster Parish schools superintendent Johnny Rowland Jr. said Tuesday he hasn’t yet seen the document.  Christy Cole’s federal lawsuit was filed in Shreveport by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union.


The suit says Cole has two daughters in district schools. It claims unconstitutional promotion of religion is “engrained” in schools in the northwest Louisiana district.  The lawsuit says that includes school-sponsored Christian prayers at athletic events and graduations and daily prayers broadcast over school loudspeakers. It seeks an order that the practices be declared unconstitutional and stopped. The suit also says Cole’s beliefs have been questioned by school officials and asks the court to prohibit retaliation against her family.


MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is rolling out a new facial recognition feature so you can see photos of you that others have posted, even if they haven’t “tagged” your name on them.  If you don’t like what you see, you can ask the poster to take it down or leave yourself untagged. You can also flag it to Facebook for violation of community standards.


The move is an expansion of an existing policy that allows you to untag yourself from photos that others have tagged.  The company is also adding such auto-tags to a service that lets blind people hear who is in photos.  The update to settings goes live on Tuesday.


WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts grocery store employee has surprised shoppers with his operatic renditions of popular Christmas music.  Tony Russo, owner of Russo’s Market in Watertown, tells The Boston Globe he had no idea Guilherme Assuncao could sing when the 23-year-old volunteered to sound check equipment Friday night for an upcoming weekend performance.


His voice shocked his co-workers, and Assuncao was invited back to the stage to perform for shoppers. One woman who visited the store Saturday says everyone stopped what they were doing when they heard Assuncao sing.  One video of him performing “O Holy Night” has since garnered more than 56,000 views on Facebook.  Assuncao moved from Brazil to the U.S. in 2015 to attend school. While he hasn’t performed in years, Assuncao says “music is my life.”


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Santa Claus doesn’t just sit at shopping malls in snow-challenged San Francisco: He also goes scuba diving.  The California Academy of Sciences launched its annual Scuba Santa show Tuesday with about 100 children and adults crowded around a coral reef exhibit to watch jolly St. Nick feed fish.  Diver George Bell also answered questions via underwater microphone about the reef and reindeer.


He high-fived through the glass and posed for photos, delighting children thrilled with a swimming Santa.  The daily feeding runs through Christmas Day.  The academy’s Philippine Coral Reef tank holds 212,000 gallons (802,000 liters) and has thousands of reef fish representing about 100 species.  Parent Michali Kolnick says the tradition is a charming San Francisco “spin on meeting Santa.”  Those at home can watch online by webcam.


FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — A national nonprofit organization has paid off around $2,000 in layaway balances for 12 military families at a Fort Bragg retailer in North Carolina.  The Fayetteville Observer reports that the 12 families were called to the South Post Exchange under the guise of a customer appreciation exchange Tuesday to learn the balances for their layaway items had been fully paid.


The funds were donated by Pay Away the Layaway, which plans to pay off $10,000 in layaway balances for military families nationwide.  Exchange general manager Bill Shofner says the families were selected based on the balance and items, with a focus on families that had put clothing and toys on layaway.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved


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