Police investigate Berlin couple’s deaths
State police at Somerset on Monday were investigating the deaths of a husband and wife at the couple’s home in Berlin.
Police identified them as Michael David Harkcom, 57, and Karen Louise Harkcom, 59.
They resided in the 1700 block of Shanksville Road.
The deaths were reported just after noon.
The manner of the Harkcoms’ deaths remains under investigation, troopers said.
There is no danger to the public as a result of the incident, police said.
Long-term residents graduating as PEERs
A ceremony for six graduates from the Pennsylvania Empowered Expert Residents program will be held at 2 p.m. today at Cambria Care Center, 429 Manor Drive, Ebensburg.
The graduates are residents of the center.
The PEER program encourages a partnership between residents and facility staff to work together to solve concerns before they become more intense problems.
The program also trains resident advocates to work with facilities, staff and residents to enhance quality of care and quality of life for their peers.
Drive-thru Nativity rescheduled for Friday
A drive-thru live Nativity at Westmont United Methodist Church, 1428 Menoher Blvd., was postponed because of inclement weather and will be presented from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
The Nativity will feature shepherds, wandering wise men and the manger scene.
Visitors should enter from Menoher Boulevard, where they will be greeted by shepherds tending their flocks and searching the night sky. Large signs with Bible passages will tell the story.
In the final stage of the drive-thru, people can hear seasonal music sung by a choir and enjoy holiday cookies baked by church members.
The excursion is free.
Pa. high court tosses parts of Megan’s law
The state Supreme Court threw out portions of the state’s sex-offender registration law on Monday, telling lawmakers they violated the constitution’s requirement that bills that become law must be confined to a single subject.
The justices ruled that a set of changes made to Megan’s law in 2004 was not constitutional, noting that the legislation also included such measures as a two-year statute of limitations on asbestos actions, the jurisdictional parameters of park police and revisions to real estate law.
The court then put its decision on hold for three months to allow the Legislature to find a remedy.
“We will stay our decision, as we have done under similar circumstances, in order to provide a reasonable amount of time for the General Assembly to consider appropriate remedial remedies, and to allow for a smooth transition period,” wrote Justice Debra Todd for the five-justice majority.
“When an act of the Legislature violates the single-subject rule, all of its provisions are equally repugnant to the constitution, and, thus, equally void,” Todd said.
Chief Justice Ronald Castille filed the lone dissent, saying it was a close question but that he would have upheld the law.
“Any law passing through the enactment process is the result of salutary legislative compromise and the single-subject rule is not intended to completely discourage such compromise,” Castille wrote.
As revised in 2004, Megan’s law created a searchable online database of offenders, set new punishments for offenders who did not register, and added luring and institutional sexual assault to the list of offenses that require 10-year registration.
It also set notification rules for out-of-state offenders who move to Pennsylvania, altered duties of the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board and established community notification about sexually violent offenders.
State police issue school safety report
Drawing on security evaluations of more than 300 schools since 2004, Pennsylvania State Police have released a report aimed at helping public and private schools boost security.
The report, available on the state police website, sounded a note of caution about the schools’ vulnerability to attack.
“Many schools are vulnerable to violent intruders entering the building with a weapon and causing harm to the occupants. A secondary threat to the school is the introduction of a portable explosive device into the building to cause mass casualties,” the report said.
The report recommended that schools maintain a security force, install closed-circuit TVs, upgrade locks, hold regular drills and take other safety measures aimed at reducing the threat.
It also provided guidance for lockdown and evacuation procedures.
The state police report used FBI statistics to show that 17 percent of the 154 active shooter incidents in the United States from 2002 to 2012 took place at schools.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the recommendations in Monday editions.
Police investigate Berlin couple’s deaths
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Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field
Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray. Johnstown resident Peg Luksik, who twice ran for governor as the Constitutional Party nominee, knows what it's like.
Scaife remembered for strong convictions
At a weekend memorial service, publisher Richard Mellon Scaife was remembered by the archbishop of Washington as someone who had the courage to stand “for things that mattered.”
Auditor: More Marcellus Shale well inspectors needed
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But boom times in the Marcellus Shale are bringing online thousands more wells that use a complicated process requiring more careful oversight.
Strained relationship between Corbett, Legislature not new
Poking and prodding the Legislature to act on pension reform, Gov. Tom Corbett urged lawmakers to shorten their summer break and come back to the Capitol early.
It’s a modest victory. The House will return to session Aug. 4, instead of the middle of September. And there’s little hint that lawmakers intend to knock themselves out trying to satisfy the governor.
Wolf: Wealthy should pay more to cut school taxes
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf would make a centerpiece of his first budget proposal an increase in income taxes on Pennsylvania’s higher-earners to help expand the state’s share of public education funding in exchange for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in local property taxes levied by school boards.
Son: Joe Paterno afraid of wrongly accusing Sandusky
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno told his son the day after his firing that he hadn’t informed the coaching staff about allegations Jerry Sandusky may be a child molester because he was unsure whether they were true, Jay Paterno writes in a new book.
State in Brief | Two guns found at alleged hospital shooter's home
Authorities found two more guns at the home of a man suspected of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist in suburban Philadelphia before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back.
Woman raising stink about people using backyard near turnpike as a rest stop
A Pennsylvania woman says she can see drivers who pull off the side of a highway relieving themselves near her backyard, and state police have been asked to increase patrols.
Parts of I-80, I-380 jumping to 70 mph
Speed limits on more than 100 miles of two interstates in Pennsylvania will rise to 70 mph for the first time this summer, with similar increases possible next year on other stretches of roadway around the state, state transportation officials said Wednesday.
Trial ordered for inmate in cellmate’s death
An SCI-Houtzdale prison inmate has been ordered to stand trial on charges in the beating death of his cellmate a year ago.
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