The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

December 17, 2013

Local and state briefs 12/18/2013

Police: Couple’s deaths were homicide, suicide

The deaths of a Berlin couple Monday were the result of a homicide and suicide, state police reported.

Police said Tuesday their investigation indicated that Michael David Harkcom, 57, shot his wife, Karen Louise Harkcom, 59, twice in the right upper chest area, causing fatal internal damage.

Michael Harkcom then turned the gun on himself, inflicting a fatal gunshot wound to the head, police said.

Lack of attendance cancels grant hearing

A public hearing scheduled Tuesday evening in the Johns­town City Council chambers was canceled after no one attended.

The hearing was in regard to the city’s application to the state Community and Economic Development Keystone Communities Public Improvement Grant Program. It was held to hear public comment about the city’s request for $500,000 toward developing a sewage lateral assistance program for income-qualifying owner-occupied homeowners.

The public may inquire about the application by visiting the Community and Economic Development offices in Room 200 of City Hall or by contacting Josh Summits at 533-2045.

Foundation accepting funds for K-9 vehicles

The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is accepting donations for a new sport utility vehicle for the Johns­town police K-9 Corps.

Donations may be sent to Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, in care of K-9 Community Fund, 116 Market St., Suite 4, Johnstown, Pa. 15901.

Information: 536-7741.

Judge opts against testimony in PSU case

A judge on Tuesday directed prosecutors and lawyers for three former Penn State administrators to make their cases in writing as he weighs claims that the defendants’ legal rights were so badly violated that charges they covered up child sex-abuse allegations should be thrown out.

Dauphin County Judge Todd Hoover ruled that the defendants could not call to the stand Cynthia Baldwin, who accompanied the men to grand jury appearances in 2011 and then testified against them. Baldwin was Penn State’s top lawyer at the time, and the defendants believe she violated attorney-client privilege.

Former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley are accused of covering up child sex-abuse complaints about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

DOE: Pa. may rank 2nd in gas production

The U.S. Department of Energy said Pennsylvania may close out 2013 as the second-largest producer of natural gas in the nation, behind Texas.

The Tuesday release from the Energy Information Administration shows that soaring production from the Marcellus Shale has put Pennsylvania and West Virginia into the top 10 gas producing states.

The EIA reported that Pennsylvania may edge out Louisiana for the No. 2 spot, while West Virginia is now 10th nationally.

Production in Pennsylvania grew by 72 percent from 2011 to 2012, and is on track to grow significantly again this year.

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