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AP-PA--Pennsylvania News Digest, PA

October 6, 2018

Good afternoon! Here’s a look at AP’s general news coverage today in Pennsylvania. For questions about the state report, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133. Ron Todt is on the desk. Editor Larry Rosenthal can be reached at 215-446-6631 or lrosenthal@ap.org.

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories, digests and digest advisories will keep you up to date.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with updates.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.



LOS ANGELES — The #MeToo movement has sent dozens of once-powerful Hollywood players into exile, but few of them have been placed in handcuffs or jail cells. And it’s increasingly apparent that the lack of criminal charges may remain the norm. By Andrew Dalton. SENT: About 1060 words.


WILKES-BARRE — A man has been acquitted of all charges in the shooting death of another man outside a northeastern Pennsylvania bar. Jurors in Luzerne County deliberated for four hours Friday before acquitting 31-year-old Stephen Spencer of homicide, aggravated assault and terroristic threats. Spencer was accused of killing 32-year-old Christopher Williams outside the Pittston bar in July 2017 after someone refused to shake hands to settle a dispute over a game of pool. SENT: About 300 words.



ALLENTOWN — The restaurant business is not for the faint of heart. Grueling hours, finicky customers and high overhead expenses are a few of the challenges facing restaurant owners. How tough is the industry? An Ohio State University study found 26 percent of restaurants close within their first year and 60 percent shutter over three years. The Lehigh Valley is no exception, with eateries coming and going like overzealous servers looking to snatch dinner plates while you’re still nibbling. Some Lehigh Valley restaurants, on the other hand, have achieved landmark status by pulling in customers for more than 100 years. Owners of three restaurants open for more than a century explain how they’ve stood the test of time. Ryan Kneller, The (Allentown) Morning Call.


YORK — If Sue and Ron Witman dream of ever having a normal, suburban life, they keep those dreams to themselves. On Jan. 6, 2019, their son, Zach, now 35, is eligible for his first parole hearing. By then, he will have served 15 years and 230 days in a county jail and then a state correctional institution in Pennsylvania for the murder of his younger brother, Greg, 13, a popular student at Southern Middle School and an avid soccer player. In February, after maintaining his innocence for more than 19 years, Zach accepted an offer from the prosecution to plead guilty to third-degree murder. For the first time since his arrest, he admitted to committing the crime. “Yes, I can say I killed my brother by stabbing,” he said at his plea hearing. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the gruesome murder that shocked and horrified the people of New Freedom, a quiet and idyllic bedroom community of about 4,500 in southern York County. Rick Lee, Teresa Boeckel and Dylan Segelbaum, York Daily Record.


PITTSBURGH — In 2011, a conductor with bipolar disorder who grew up in Pittsburgh founded an orchestra of musicians with mental illnesses. Seven years later, his Me2/Orchestra — no relation to the movement against sexual harassment and assault — has grown to nearly 60 members in the flagship ensemble in Burlington, Vt., and has branched out with affiliate ensembles in Boston, Atlanta and Portland, Ore., with Pittsburgh poised to start its own chapter in the coming months. “All too often that initial diagnosis can wreck a person,” said Caroline Whiddon, executive director of Me2/. “They have preconceived notions about what being diagnosed with, say, bipolar disorder means. We’re working to reframe that, both in society and in ourselves.” Jeremy Reynolds, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


LEBANON — STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) became education’s most popular buzzword in the past decade, and with education resources going to STEM, it left some arts advocates out in the cold. Now, educators are slipping the arts back in by emphasizing the importance of creativity in science and engineering. They call it STEAM - STEM with “Arts” added. The concept has its detractors, both among science advocates and “art for art’s sake” purists. But in Lebanon County, it’s opened up exciting new opportunities for real-world education, from cleaning up Lebanon to creating working guitars. “We got so focused on basics in education that we forgot kids need to be creative and innovative,” said Kathleen Bouch, a Pennsylvania STEM ambassador and a Lebanon Valley College education, math and science methods instructor. Daniel Walmer, Lebanon Daily News.


PHILADELPHIA — Nathan Hancock picked his way last week along a no-man’s land about half a mile from where the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers meet in southwest Philadelphia. A feral cat pounced into thick brush as Hancock, a waterways conservation officer, moved along a dirt path, past a discarded hot tub, and stopped at a huge pile of tires plopped along a stream that flows into the Schuylkill. “It’s sad and very frustrating when you can’t figure out where they’re all coming from,” Hancock said. His partner that day, Officer Mike Blair, nodded in agreement. “There are thousands and thousands of tires dumped along the rivers,” Hancock said. “And they are breeding grounds for thousands and thousands of mosquitoes.” As he spoke, a swarm of mosquitoes rose up from the tires. Frank Kummer, The Philadelphia Inquirer.


ALGAE BIOFUEL GRANT — University of Michigan researchers will use a $2 million Energy department grant toward finding ways to use algae as a biofuel source for diesel engines.



PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins look for a second straight win to start the year when they host Montreal on Saturday night. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game begins at 7 p.m. EDT.


Syracuse (4-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) will try to win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2001 when the Orange visit the Panthers on Saturday. Pitt (2-3, 1-1) has lost three of its last four games. By Will Graves. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game begins at 12:20 p.m. EDT.


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