Health insurers show interest in Pa. market
HARRISBURG – Subsidiaries of eight companies are signaling interest in selling health insurance policies through the marketplace that is being set up in Pennsylvania next year under 2010’s sweeping federal law, state insurance regulators said Thursday.
The interested companies include all four of Pennsylvania’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurers, as well as UPMC, Aetna, Geisinger and Coventry Health Care. Their proposed policies include individual and small group plans, the state Insurance Department said.
Some of the proposed plans will be available for purchase only in certain counties, the Insurance Department said.
Two major commercial insurers with a presence in the state, United Healthcare and Cigna, were not on the list.
Suit over soldier’s shower death revived
PITTSBURGH – A federal appeals court revived a lawsuit Thursday against a military contractor in the death of a Pittsburgh-area soldier who was electrocuted in his barracks shower at an Army base in Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth died in 2008 when an improperly grounded water pump electrified his shower water. In the lawsuit, Maseth’s parents say Houston-based contractor Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. was legally responsible for the shoddy electrical work that was common in Iraqi-built structures taken over by the U.S. military. KBR disputes that claim.
In dismissing the lawsuit last year, U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer found that Maseth’s death was the result of a decision by the military, which she also ruled the court has no power so second-guess under the constitutional separation of powers.
But the contractor had “significant discretion” over how to implement the military’s orders, a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Thursday’s 55-page opinion reviving the lawsuit.
Police chief reviewing suspension with lawyer
HARRISBURG – A police chief who posted a profanity-laden video online said Thursday he is reviewing the legality of his 30-day unpaid suspension for using borough weapons and ammunition without prior approval.
Gilberton police Chief Mark Kessler believes he had permission to use the equipment he was shown firing and does not believe he did anything wrong.
“It’s a shame that they didn’t stand up for the Constitution,” Kessler said in a phone interview. “I might use some colorful language, I might have hurt some feelings, but I wasn’t out to hurt anybody.”
His attorney, Joseph P. Nahas, said that while they have not discussed potential litigation, Kessler has an employment contract and state law gives him certain protections as a chief of police.
Beach Club burns at Conneaut park
CONNEAUT LAKE – Fire destroyed a restaurant and beach club at a 121-year-old amusement park in Crawford County on Thursday.
The ruins at Conneaut Lake Park could smolder for a week, Summit fire Chief Gig King said.
The complex that burned contained the Beach Club and Downunder Beach Bar, as well as the Dockside banquet facility next to them. Authorities said the building burned quickly and completely collapsed.
The Beach Club was built in 1936, and the neighboring banquet pavilion recently had been renovated as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize the seasonal park, which didn’t open during the summers of 2007 and 2008 because of long-standing financial problems.
The cause of the blaze, the second major fire at the park in the past five years, remained under investigation.
Officials seek owner of 5-foot gator
SHADE GAP – The state Fish and Boat Commission is looking for the owner of a 5-foot alligator found by some men fishing in Huntingdon County over the weekend.
Officials suspect the alligator was a pet released into the wild by its owner, after the animal became too large to care for at home. The state doesn’t regulate whether people can keep alligators as pets, but it is illegal to release them into the wild.
The Altoona Mirror reported the animal was and caught near Shade Gap. It’s being cared for at a wildlife refuge in Port Matilda, in neighboring Centre County.
Zoo says elephant battling disease
PITTSBURGH – Officials at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium say a young bull elephant is being treated for a non-contagious autoimmune disease that is preventing skin lesions from healing.
Zoo officials announced the illness in a news release Thursday and planned a news conference to provide additional information on Umasai.
Dr. Ginger Takle, the zoo’s director of animal health, said the elephant developed skin lesions that healed slowly and weren’t responding to antibiotics. More tests were done, and the autoimmune disease was confirmed.
Health insurers show interest in Pa. market
- State News
18-year-old girl attacked by bear while deer hunting
A black bear attacked a teenager in central Pennsylvania as she hunted deer on a family farm, state police said Tuesday.
Ex-Altoona soccer coach guilty of sex with 2 players
A former Altoona Area High School assistant soccer coach has pleaded guilty to having romantic and sexual relationships with two players, and will serve at least 60 days in the county jail followed by two years’ probation.
Pittsburgh doctor killed in turnpike pileup
A man killed while trying to help motorists involved in a 50-vehilcle pileup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Sunday was an internal medicine specialist affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
5 things to know for today in Pennsylvania news
A look at late-breaking news, coming events and stories that will be talked about in Pennsylvania on Tuesday:
Pennsylvania braces for another blast of snow
Public schools in Philadelphia and many of its suburbs closed Tuesday as much of Pennsylvania prepared for another blast of snow.
Ruby Tuesday agrees to $575K settlement in case involving Altoona, Indiana locations
The restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, Inc. is paying $575,000 to settle a federal age discrimination lawsuit over five locations in Pennsylvania and one in Ohio.
Man dressed as Santa struck and killed on I-95
A motorist allegedly driving with a suspended license is facing charges after police say he fatally struck a man in a Santa suit on a Philadelphia highway.
Pittsburgh cop charged with DUI arriving at work
A Pittsburgh police officer has been charged with drunken driving after he allegedly showed up for work drunk.
Man jailed for assault of woman in Somerset County cabin
A man has been jailed on charges he physically assaulted a woman at an apartment and later at a remote cabin in Somerset County after she refused to join in a sexual threesome involving another woman.
Ohio trucker found dead in Somerset County along turnpike
State police in Somerset say a truck driver from Ohio has been found dead in the sleeping compartment of his rig after pulling off the Pennsylvania Turnpike during bad weather.
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- 18-year-old girl attacked by bear while deer hunting