The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 3, 2012

State briefs 12/4/2012

Gay GOP legislator among nation’s first

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Fleck  is among the country’s first Repub­lican state legislators who are openly gay, according to a national advocacy group for gay and lesbian public officials.

Denis Dison of the Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute said Monday that Fleck also is currently the nation’s only openly gay sitting Republican state legislator.

Fleck, 39, of Huntingdon County, came out in an interview published Saturday in The Daily News of Huntingdon County. He represents a conservative district between Altoona and State College.

Fleck told the Altoona Mirror newspaper Saturday night that he had been working toward the decision for months.

Fleck is the first and only current legislator from either party in Pennsylvania’s Legislature who is openly gay.

Med tech in hep C case pleads not guilty

CONCORD, N.H. – A traveling hospital worker accused of stealing drugs and infecting patients with hepatitis C through contaminated syringes  pleaded not guilty to the charges in New Hampshire federal court on Monday.

The man worked in Pittsburgh for a time.

David Kwiatkowski, whom prosecutors describe as a “serial infector,” was indicted last week on multiple charges of tampering with a consumer product and illegally obtaining drugs.

Until May, Kwiatkowski worked as a cardiac technologist at Exeter Hospital, where 32 patients were diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries. Before that, he worked in 18 hospitals in seven states.

Patients in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan and New York have since been tested for hepatitis C.

Kwiatkowski had a temporary job at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Pres­byterian in 2008.

Town’s Nativity moves to private property

ELLWOOD CITY – A Nativity display is up outside a former church in this western Pennsylvania community after a lawsuit threat prompted the town to remove the display from public property.

Ellwood City’s Nativity scene was put in place Sunday. A local attorney paid for the new display and set it up outside the former church.

Mayor Anthony Court said the new creche in the new location “doesn’t sit well” with him. He said city council should have stood up to the complaint from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.