Pa. denies proposals for cyber schools
PHILADELPHIA – State education officials denied applications for eight new cyber charter schools on Monday, citing significant deficiencies in their planned curricula, finances and overall operations.
The proposals left Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis questioning the would-be operators’ ability “to maintain a long-term, viable educational program for the benefit of Pennsylvania students.”
“The proposals submitted by the applicants lack adequate evidence and sufficient information of how prospective students would be offered quality academic programs,” Tomalis said in a statement.
Court to weigh secrecy of turnpike lawyers
HARRISBURG – The state Supreme Court on Monday announced it would hear arguments in March about a dispute between the attorney general’s office and the turnpike commission over disclosure of records in a public corruption investigation that has lasted more than three years.
The turnpike commission wants the high court to overturn a decision by a grand jury supervisory judge who had sided with prosecutors who want access to communications between the agency’s lawyers and the commissioners or employees.
The commission argues that those exchanges are protected by lawyer-client privilege, while the attorney general’s office says their disclosure is needed to keep the government honest.
Aide says judge told her to ditch files
PITTSBURGH – The chief of staff for former state Sen. Jane Orie has testified the senator and state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, the legislator’s sister, both told her to remove political material in files the aide took home in the early days of a corruption investigation.
Jamie Pavlot testified Monday she took the files out of Orie’s legislative office on
Nov. 1, 2009, because they related to political activity that Orie’s state-funded staff had done for the senator and Melvin – then a Superior Court judge about to be elected to the state’s highest court two days later.
“Anything political of mine I want you to pull out of those boxes,” Pavlot said Melvin told her, echoing Sen. Orie’s words in a three-way call Pavlot said she received at home that Sunday.
Pavlot’s testimony was the first revelation in her daylong testimony about political work that Orie’s staff allegedly did when Melvin lost a race for the Supreme Court in 2003 and again in 2009, when she won.
Earlier, Pavlot had testified that the former Republican lawmaker told her, “You need to follow that as though I were telling you myself,” whenever Melvin or the judge’s aide and sister Janine Orie needed her help for campaign work.
Melvin, 56, and Janine Orie, 58, of Pittsburgh’s North Hills suburbs, are on trial on theft of services, conspiracy and other charges for allegedly misusing Melvin’s former Superior Court staff and Sen. Orie’s former staff – both of which were taxpayer-funded – to campaign for Melvin.
Melvin is suspended because of the charges she faces and Janine Orie is suspended as Melvin’s aide.
Jane Orie, 51, is serving 21/2 to 10 years in prison and resigned from office after she was convicted last year of using her state-paid staff to work on her own campaigns.
Man jailed after fight with at bookstore
GREENSBURG – A man has been jailed on charges that he fought with state troopers and tried to disarm them of their stun guns when they responded to a disturbance at a Greensburg bookstore.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for 38-year-old Michael Haugh, of Apollo, Armstrong County, who was arrested Saturday evening.
That’s when troopers from the Greensburg barracks say they were called to the Barnes & Noble store on Route 30 in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County.
Police said Haugh was wanted for making unspecified threats and fought with two troopers who tried to subdue him, grabbing for their stun guns in the process. Instead, both troopers stunned Haugh and arrested him, but not before about $500 damage was done to a store display.
Haugh faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 5
Bucknell admits SAT scores inflated
LEWISBURG – The president of Bucknell University said an internal investigation has revealed that school officials falsified students’ average SAT scores.
Mean SAT results for incoming freshmen were overstated by an average of 16 points between 2006 and 2012, according to President John Bravman. The motive behind the misrepresentation is unclear, he said, though college entrance exam scores often figure into national rankings.
Bravman disclosed the problem in a letter Friday to students, staff and alumni of the selective liberal arts school in central Pennsylvania.
Bravman attributed the inaccurate figures to officials who no longer work at Bucknell.
School makes students ask for toilet paper
MAHANOY CITY – An eastern Pennsylvania high school says vandalism forced it to create a policy in which toilet paper has been taken out of the boys’ bathrooms.
Boys at Mahanoy Area High School in Schuylkill County now must go to the school office to request toilet paper and sign it out. Principal Thomas Smith said that’s helped solve a major problem of bathroom vandalism that’s been going on for two years.
Smith said boys must sign out the toilet paper and then sign it back in. But the Republican-Herald of Pottsville reported some parents are protesting the policy.
Parent Karen Yedsena said some students are too embarrassed to go to the office to get toilet paper and are going home sick instead.
Pa. denies proposals for cyber schools
- Local News
Judge fills City Council vacancy
A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.
Lt. Gov. Cawley pushes jobs plan during Johnstown visit
Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley got to see firsthand many of the training tools used by Hiram G. Andrews Center students on Thursday and took some time to promote a program called Jobs for All, part of Gov. Tom Corbett’s JOBS1st PA agenda.
VIDEO | Volunteers ‘blitz build’ replacement home for Upper Yoder man
One week ago, Joey Varmecky had almost nothing.
In October, a flue fire claimed his Swank Street home. That night, Varmecky, a deaf and partially blind man who doesn’t speak, showed up on the doorstep of his friend’s home. His feet were covered only by a pair of stockings.
Bill would help identify unclaimed remains of veterans
The cremated remains of an estimated 47,000 veterans are stored throughout the United States, sometimes in nothing more than nondescript metal canisters on shelves.
Lucky Seward man finds ticket to riches
People often play the lottery and dream about the things they would do if they won the big one.
That dream came true for Karl Kadi of Seward, who won $1 million on a $20 Max-A-Million scratch-off lottery ticket.
State police make another drug bust on turnpike
A Pittsburgh man was jailed Thursday after state police said they found about $120,000 in suspected heroin during a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County.
Two brothers charged in beating at bar
Two Johnstown brothers were jailed Wednesday after police said they beat a man so badly he suffered a concussion and may end up blind in one eye.
Path of Flood entries due
Anyone interested in participating in Johnstown Area Heritage Association’s Path of the Flood Historic Half Marathon and 5K race will need to get in gear before the April 30 registration deadline.
Drilling fees should fund education, Democrats say
Democrats running for governor seem to be competing to convince voters they will dip deepest into the pockets of gas drillers to replace $1 billion that Gov. Tom Corbett has cut from education spending.
- Local briefs 4/18/2014
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- Judge fills City Council vacancy