Mapping The Data: Corbett Is Nation’s Highest-Paid Governor

Money doesn’t buy you everything. Because if it did Tom Corbett, the country’s highest-paid governor, would not be trailing his challenger by double digits.

A salary report, based on new data compiled by the nonpartisan Council of State Governments and shared with The Washington Post, reveals Corbett gets paid more than any other top executive in the nation.

Corbett earns an annual salary of $187,818, though 1.7 percent of the total is being repaid as part of a statewide management pay freeze.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/mapping-the-data-corbett-is-nation-s-highest-paid-governor/article_39b73f5a-5a1c-11e4-ac47-001a4bcf6878.html

Suspected Cop-Killer Frein Held Without Bail; D.A. To Seek Death Penalty

HAWLEY, PA – Eric Frein, the captured suspected cop-killer who for six weeks was the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law enforcement officers, on Friday was ordered held without bail on murder charges.

Frein, his hair slicked back and sporting a goatee and bruises on the cheeks, nose, and eyes, answered politely as Pike County District Judge Shannon Muir asked if he understood the charges against him and the purpose of the arraignment in the packed, one-room 19th Century courthouse.

To taunts of “you’re a coward,” and “rot in hell,” from a crowd of about 150, after the proceeding he was led out by state police from the front steps and marched to the rear of the building. He was taken to the Pike County Correctional Facility.

During the arraignment, with Frein’s hands bound in the handcuffs that once belonged to slain State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson, a state trooper turned the pages of the complaint, which Frein appeared to read intensely.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141031_Suspected_cop-killer_Frein_taken_into_custody.html#bAKjqlRmGyKDhfM2.99

Snowy Look To Outlooks

DSC01676[1]Anyone serious about weather won’t care about this, but the Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for snow and cold in the Philadelphia region.

What is of perhaps more significant is that its outlook is in line with those posted so far from some more conventional neighborhoods of the meteorological community.

AccuWeather went on record two weeks ago as calling for a snowy winter in the Northeast, with above-normal snowfall around here.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/weather/Snowy-look-to-outlooks.html#V6F1e0rcLujFSTmJ.99

Suspended Justice Retires Because Of Porn Emails

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery, suspended from his $200,202 post, has stepped down because of disclosures that he sent or received hundreds of pornographic emails, the court said Monday.

McCaffery’s spokesman was unavailable for comment.

The Governor’s Office received a letter announcing McCaffery’s retirement.

“Everybody’s got a right to announce their retirement. He’s announcing his. I won’t have any comment on that,” said Gov. Tom Corbett.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/7040179-74/mccaffery-court-emails#ixzz3HMh16Dpx
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Large-Scale Batteries Are Integral In Shift To Renewable Energy

At Turkey Hill Dairy in Lancaster County, the secret ingredient in its ice cream is wind.

Along with conventionally derived power used to make its sweet treats, the dairy is the sole customer of a nearby wind farm, built in 2010, that provides 25 percent of its electricity.

“That’s honestly all we need,” said company spokeswoman Andrea Nikolaus.

Relying on wind for bigger operations, or to power the grid, is a different matter. As critics of renewable energy are quick to point out, the wind doesn’t always blow — or it does when customers don’t need it — and the sun doesn’t always shine on solar panels.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6805730-74/battery-energy-power#ixzz3GhmVa9jx
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

22-Year-Old Woman Shot To Death In Susquehanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Susquehanna C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Susquehanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After plotting for months, a Susquehanna County man fatally shot his ex-girlfriend outside of her home early Friday and later confessed, police said.

Jonathan Kopacz, 34, 413 Jackson St., Thompson, is facing charges of criminal homicide, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person for the shooting death of 22-year-old Kelly Conklin of Susquehanna. He is being held without bail in the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility.William Conklin

The relationship between Mr. Kopacz and Ms. Conklin ended in May, according to police. On Friday, Mr. Kopacz followed Ms. Conklin to a local bar and then back to her home, where he opened fire with two 9-mm handguns as she got out of her car around 1:17 a.m.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/22-year-old-woman-shot-to-death-in-susquehanna-county-1.1772815

Southwestern Energy Snaps Up Assets In Marcellus, Utica From Chesapeake

Chesapeake Energy continued its sell-off of gas drilling operations in the Marcellus and Utica shales Thursday with its biggest withdrawal from Appalachia.

Pennsylvania’s biggest shale gas producer agreed to sell 435 shale wells, 1,100 conventional wells and the rights to drill in more than 400,000 acres to Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. for $5.375 billion.

“I certainly think this is consistent with what we’ve seen from Chesapeake,” said Scott Hanold, an energy analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6974705-74/energy-southwestern-marcellus#ixzz3GPXRKihi
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Distressed Cities Bill Wins Final OK

HARRISBURG, PA — Scranton and other fiscally distressed cities could triple the local services tax to help them move out of Act 47 status under legislation that won final legislative approval with a 43-5 Senate vote Thursday.

This option would be available to Act 47 municipalities only as an alternative to an increased earned income tax already available to them.

Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to sign the bill after a review, said spokesman Jay Pagni. He has 10 days to review the provisions.

The local services tax could potentially triple from $52 annually to $156 annually for individuals working in those municipalities but those earning under $15,600 annually would be exempt from the higher local services tax.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/distressed-cities-bill-wins-final-ok-1.1772463

Biden In Philly To Promote Port

Official portrait of Vice President of the Uni...

Official portrait of Vice President of the United States . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vice President Biden toured a dredging barge on the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing Thursday to show support for the project to deepen the river’s shipping channel.

Biden, the latest high-profile politician to visit the region in recent days, was flanked by fellow Democrats U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, Rep. Robert Brady and Rep. Chaka Fattah.

Before delivering remarks on the ongoing deepening of the Delaware, Biden and the delegation were led on a tour of the large barge by Brian Puckett, project manager for the Great Lakes Dredging and Dock Co.

The vessel’s main feature, an enormous dredging bucket that can haul as much as two dump trucks, immediately caught Biden’s eye.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20141017_Biden_in_Philly_to_promote_port.html#XRrFTtvHxbyblZSS.99

Manhunt Impacts State Police’s Future

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA — As the intensive manhunt for suspected cop killer Eric Matthew Frein ends its fourth week, Harrisburg is taking the first steps to address how this unprecedented event will affect the future operations of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Officials here discuss the topic with the caveat that the manhunt isn’t over yet. Considered armed and dangerous, Frein, 31, of 308 Seneca Lane, Canadensis, is the sole suspect in the Sept. 12 sniper attack at the Blooming Grove state police barracks in Pike County that killed Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson II of Dunmore and wounded Trooper Alex T. Douglass of Olyphant. Since then, authorities have been searching for Frein, a self-described survivalist, in the dense state forest that straddles Barrett and Price townships in Monroe County.

The estimate by a state police spokesman this week that the manhunt has cost several million dollars so far is one issue emerging on the radar screen of Corbett administration officials and lawmakers. Policy makers are starting to focus on related matters such as security at state police barracks, equipment needs of state troopers, impact on local governments and schools and assistance of local fire companies, 911 centers and the Red Cross with the manhunt.

Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, has requested a Senate committee hearing in Pike County once the manhunt is over to delve into these issues.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/manhunt-impacts-state-police-s-future-1.1769039

Terrain Difficult In Hunt For Frein

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PRICE TWP., PA — Eric Matthew Frein could make the roughly 30 mile hike from the scene of a murder to his hometown without ever seeing another person.

The terrain state police believe the suspected cop killer is hiding in could make him invisible.

“That whole area is pretty remote,” said Gary Alt, a retired state Game Commission officer and wildlife biologist.

Alt has spent more than a thousand hours in an airplane, flying low over the woods that stretch from Blooming Grove to Price Township, looking for bear. His experiences working in the game commission afford him intricate knowledge of the terrain Frein likely crossed to escape a manhunt that began in Pike County.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/terrain-difficult-in-hunt-for-frein-1.1768591

Chilling Cop Shooting Details Revealed

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Pike County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Pike County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BLOOMING GROVE TWP., PA— Eric Matthew Frein hid in the dark across from the station and waited for a target. Any trooper would do.

State police Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson II just ended a shift he wasn’t originally scheduled to work. It was late when he walked out the front door of the Blooming Grove barracks and into Frein’s sights. The next 90 seconds were hell.

“Friday, Sept. 12, got a shot around 11 p.m., he dropped. I was surprised at how quick,” Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations, read at a news conference Wednesday from a first-hand narrative of the shooting they believe Frein penned and hastily abandoned later at a campsite. “I took a follow-up shot on his head and neck area. He was still and quiet after that.”

State police revealed the chilling account Wednesday of the ambush that killed Dickson and severely wounded Trooper Alex T. Douglass. Frein, 31, is the lone suspect of the crime and is still sought for the assassination.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/chilling-cop-shooting-details-revealed-1.1767923

PSERS Investments Exceed Expectations

Taxpayers and public school employees should expect some good news later this year when one of state’s major public pension systems releases its investment returns for the most recent fiscal year.

The state Public School Employees Retirement System, or PSERS, earned nearly 15 percent during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. A press release on the organization’s website Monday revealed the latest findings.

Exceeding the annual investment earnings assumption of 7.5 percent helps to ease the burden of the unfunded liability that must be made up in the future by some combination of future investment returns, contributions from workers and tax dollars.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/psers-investments-exceed-expectations/article_285ee46e-4e4c-11e4-b1be-001a4bcf6878.html

Corbett Down 17 In New Quinnipiac Poll

Democratic challenger Tom Wolf leads Gov. Tom Corbett (R) by 17 percentage points among likely voters in Pennsylvania – 55 percent to 38 percent – as the campaign enters its final month, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday.

The survey shows a slight improvement for Corbett compared to the last Quinnipiac Poll of the race Sept. 11, when Wolf led 59 percent to 35 percent among likely voters.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/big_tent/Corbett-down-17-in-new-Quinnipiac-Poll.html#Ccbgppqxvz3zPMFX.99

Experts Worry Stagnant Wages Are Delaying Economic Recovery

Editor’s note:  Came across this article right after I posted about grocery store price increases. They certainly speak to each other.

Jim Talerico got a $900 raise this year, but he isn’t happy about it.

“It’s a terrible wage,” said Talerico, a part-time faculty member in Robert Morris University’s English department. “Now I’m making a whopping $14,400.”

It was the first pay raise in 10 years for the 54-year-old Ingomar resident. Even with the $13,500 he earns from his other part-time teaching job at Community College of Allegheny County, he said a barista job at Starbucks looks tempting. At least it would come with benefits.

Working Americans have had to make difficult choices — from canceling doctor’s appointments to cutting their grocery budgets — as their paychecks barely keep up with the cost of living.

Consumer spending drives 70 percent of economic activity, and wage stagnation has been a stubborn problem that might be holding back the recovery as other measures such as unemployment improve.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6812082-74/percent-pay-employers#ixzz3FO9O6Fhr
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Grocery Prices Keeping Climbing; Up 7 Percent In Last Year

Mary Bouras never expected to get sticker shock from a pound of butter.

But when the grocery staple reached more than $5 a pound at most stores, the 66-year-old Dover resident said it was hard not to.

Last week, she paid $5.79 for butter at Weis, and three other grocery chains in the area had similar prices.

“I know it’s just life and prices go up, but $6 for butter is a lot for me,” Bouras said.

Six months ago, she would have paid $1 less for the same item at the same store. A year ago, it would have been $1.20 cheaper, and five years ago it would have been $1.80 less.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26672787/grocery-prices-keeping-climbing-up-7-percent-last

New Details Emerge About Lancaster Men Named In Pornographic Email Scandal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Lancaster County man, who formerly worked in the Attorney General’s office under Gov. Tom Corbett, reportedly forwarded 30 sexually-charged emails he received as part of an office porn-swapping scandal.

The file on Richard Sheetz — one of four released publicly to various media outlets by Attorney General Kathleen Kane Friday — showed that the East Hempfield resident received scores of the sexually-charged emails. And on about 30 occasions he passed them on.

The information released by Kane’s office contains no direct evidence of whether the emails were opened by any of the eight former Corbett staffers named thus far, according to PennLive. The emails were released in response to media requests.

Sheetz, who was executive deputy attorney general directing the criminal law division under Corbett, now works in the Lancaster County district attorney’s office. He has not responded to several messages left at his home and office.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/new-details-emerge-about-lancaster-men-named-in-pornographic-email/article_b617160c-4d69-11e4-949a-001a4bcf6878.html

Eric Matthew Frein May Have ‘Substantial Stash’

PARADISE TOWNSHIP, PA — Shelter, water and food, in that order, are the chief concerns of accused cop killer Eric Matthew Frein as he navigates the wilderness while dodging police, a defense department analyst and survivalist said.

Wilderness survival boils down to the rule of threes, said Bob Collins, a Defense Department analyst from Ambler who teaches survival classes for Montgomery County Community College and Bucks County Community College.

The human body can survive three minutes without oxygen, three hours of intense heat or cold exposure, three days without water and three weeks without food, said Collins, who is trained in survival by the U.S. Air Force, where he served 16 years after 10 years in the Army.

Collins dismissed the idea that Frein is living fully off the land. If he survived three weeks without a food cache, it would put him into a category of survival expert on par with Collins or others like him.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/suspect-may-have-substantial-stash-1.1766035

Corbett Stands By One Of His Appointees In Porn Scandal, Wants Another To Resign

GOV. CORBETT is standing by one state law-enforcement official caught up in a porn scandal, but has asked another to resign.

Corbett says information released this week by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane does not show that State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan opened any of the more than 300 explicit emails he received while working as a top deputy to Corbett when the governor served as attorney general.

Noonan has told the governor he did not look at the files, a Corbett spokeswoman said.

A source familiar with the porn scandal said Randy Feathers, another top deputy when Corbett was attorney general, is resisting for now the governor’s request to resign his post on the state Board of Probation and Parole.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20141005_Corbett_stands_by_one_of_his_appointees_in_porn_scandal__wants_another_to_resign.html#BhkWAdZgxCUCrRcS.99

Wolf Maintains Large Lead Over Corbett With Month Left In Governor’s Campaign

The latest sample of voter opinions in the Pennsylvania governor’s race tested for lingering effects of Gov. Tom Corbett’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation investigation.

It shows the struggling Republican incumbent still trailing Democratic challenger Tom Wolf by double digits.

Robert Morris University Polling Institute found 54.6 percent of voters say the Sandusky case would not affect their vote, according to an online survey sponsored by Trib Total Media. Almost 27 percent say Corbett’s handling of the investigation makes them less likely to support his re-election, and 12 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for Corbett.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6892975-74/voters-percent-corbett#ixzz3F6TB4qOv
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook