Pennsylvania Terminates $170 Million Project With IBM Over Failure To Deliver Computer System It Promised

After seeing a technology project fall $60 million over budget and 42 months behind, state Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway has decided it’s time to pull the plug on a contract to modernize the state’s unemployment compensation computer system.

This decision announced at a news conference on Wednesday followed a $800,000 study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute that found the problems with the IBM Corp.-developed system to be unsolvable.

Spending any more money on trying to make the system, originally slated to cost $106.9 million, would have been a waste, Hearthway said.

The state now estimates the cost of the project has grown to $170 million but some payments have been withheld, a department official said.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/pa_terminates_contract_with_ib.html#incart_m-rpt-2

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Hotel Sterling Demo Could Change More Than Just The Landscape

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Ali Kazimi’s arrival at work was memorable Tuesday because the seven-story Hotel Sterling next door was almost entirely demolished.

“It was strange. You can see the eagles on the Market Street Bridge from our property.  We have a riverfront view,” said Kazimi, the third-generation owner of M. Abraham Importer on West Market, which opened by the once bustling Sterling in 1927.

Kazimi looks forward to losing that view to new development on the 4-acre Sterling parcel.  City officials condemned and demolished the former hotel and plan to seize the cleared lot from its nonprofit owner, CityVest, so the site can be marketed and sold to a private developer.

Read more:   http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/715688/View-from-River-and-Market-is-optimistic

Gilberton Suspends Police Chief Kessler For 30 Days Over YouTube Video

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

GILBERTON, Schuylkill County — If Mark Kessler wants to make any more bombastic YouTube videos, he has time to work on them.

Thirty days, to be exact.

That’s how long he’ll be off the job as Gilberton police chief for using the tiny coal town’s guns in a profanity-laced video that went viral after he posted it on the Web.

With people outside carrying semiautomatic guns and heckling one another over gun rights, Borough Council voted Wednesday night to suspend Kessler without pay.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-gilberton-police-chief-council-20130731,0,4092001.story#ixzz2agR6Yg3L
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Investigators: Man Caught Dealing Heroin Along Route 209 In Poconos

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County

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

A Dingman’s Ferry man has been charged with dealing heroin in the Poconos after detectives caught him selling the drug and trying to sell more, investigators said.

Steven A. Kern, 30, was spotted the night of July 18 getting into a vehicle outside a closed business on Route 209 in Smithfield Township, east of East Stroudsburg, Monroe County investigators said.

A county detective recognized Kern as the man who had sold 10 bags of heroin to undercover members of the county Drug Task Force earlier the same night, investigators said.

Detectives talked with Kern and the vehicle’s driver and determined they were planning another drug transaction in which Kern was to be the middle man, investigators said.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-n-poconos-heroin-arrest-kern-20130801,0,2253639.story#ixzz2agP6UAdd
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Video: Eagles WR Riley Cooper Wants To ‘Fight Every [N-Word] Here’

A video of Riley Cooper using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert has gone viral.

Earlier today, www.CrossingBroad.com posted a video of an agitated Cooper yelling, “I will jump that fence and fight every (N-word) here, bro.”  It appears that teammate Jason Kelce was trying to calm Cooper down in the video. Obviously, this is not good for anybody.

From a football standpoint, Cooper was viewed as Jeremy Maclin‘s most logical replacement after Maclin was lost for the season with a torn ACL.  In fact, Nick Foles referenced exactly that in his post-practice press conference.  “I think Riley Cooper is stepping into a role,” Foles said.  “He’s out there playing for (Maclin).”

Shortly after the video surfaced, Cooper took to Twitter to issue the following apology:

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pattisonave/Video-Eagles-WR-Riley-Cooper-wants-to-fight-every-N-word-here.html#vPhy6z0uiwDRWoKc.99

Legislators: Montco, SE Pa. Need More Transportation Funding

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This is obvious.  Just try and drive to work in Montgomery County. Traffic is horrendous!

WHITEMARSH ­­— The House Democratic Policy Committee held a two-hour Wednesday morning at the township building to draw attention to the need to increase transportation funding in the region.

The general consensus among the experts offering testimony was that Pennsylvania, and Southeastern Pennsylvania in particular, needs more state funding for mass transit, road and bridge repairs.

State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-148th Dist., said Whitemarsh is a center of transportation with major roadways including Germantown Pike and Ridge Pike and six train stations on the regional rail lines.  Daley moderated the hearing.

“I have been a SEPTA rider my entire life,” Daley said. “I’m not sure what it would be like to not have public transportation.  It is a really flexible system that benefits the area.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130731/NEWS03/130739823/legislators-montco-se-pa-need-more-transportation-funding#full_story

Phoenixville Hospital Furloughs Come On Heels Of $4B Acquisition Deal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

Editor’s note:  Thanks for going there, Evan!  I was complaining about this very thing today.  They have billions to spend on buying more hospitals but then turn around and cut jobs.  Makes no sense to me!  You would think the time to buy would be if you were flush with cash.  Now they will own two hospitals in Lancaster once this deal goes through as well.

PHOENIXVILLE — One day after Pottstown Memorial Medical Center furloughed 30 employees for 90 days, The Mercury has confirmed that similar furloughs occurred at Phoenixville Hospital.

Phoenixville Hospital spokesperson Lori Cunningham confirmed Thursday that the full-time equivalent of 24 employees in “clinical, non-clinical support and administrative departments” have been furloughed.

News of the staff reduction occurs at the same time that the company that owns both hospitals, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems Inc., is planning a $3.9 billion purchase of Florida-based Health Management Associates Inc., which also operates hospitals around the country.

Cunningham said the furloughs at Phoenixville, which she described as “not scheduling a small number of employees in various departments,” have “no definitive time line.  As always, staffing is dependent upon patient volume and clinical needs.”

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130731/NEWS01/130739803/phoenixville-hospital-furloughs-come-on-heels-of-4b-acquisition-deal#full_story

Pottstown Memorial Medical Center Furloughs 30 Workers For 90 Days

POTTSTOWN — Pottstown Memorial Medical Center has instituted three-month furloughs for dozens of its employees and one of its units will be closed.

“We are implementing furloughs for less than four percent of employees across our hospital.  The furloughs impact both represented and non-represented employees.  Impacted employees are being reassigned to other open positions as possible,” PMMC spokesperson Debra Bennis wrote in an email received by The Mercury at 4:51 p.m. Tuesday.

An email reply from The Mercury at 4:52 p.m. Tuesday, which asked how many employees the hospital has, went unanswered; as did a subsequent phone message asking how many people have been furloughed.

The statement Bennis provided included no information about what departments experienced the furloughs.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130730/NEWS01/130739893/pmmc-furloughs-30-for-90-days#full_story

ArtFusion Fundraiser Pairs Great Food And Great Beer

ArtFusion-color600Pottstown, PA – ArtFusion 19464 will host a beef and beer to raise funds for their upcoming education exhibit. The fundraiser will take place Saturday, August 24 from 6-9pm at the Ballroom on High, 310 E. High St.  This end-of-summer event features beer courtesy of Victory Brewing Company, food by Boneyard Joe’s and Montesano Bros., live music by local musician Elisha Kane and a fun 50/50 raffle.

LowResVBCLogoVictory Brewing Company is generously donating all the beer for this event.  The brewers at Victorymeld European ingredients and traditions with American creativity, and their beers feature the finest ingredients to achieve their exciting flavors.

Tickets are only $20 and include beer, hot beef sandwiches, great side salads, homemade desserts, and water and soda.  Vegetarian wraps are available by pre-order only.  There are a limited number of tickets available, and no tickets will be available at the door.  Tickets can be purchased in person at ArtFusion (254 E. High St.), on their website at artfusion19464.org, or over the phone at 610-326-2506.

All proceeds will support ArtFusion’s upcoming special educational exhibit When We Were Soldiers: Personal Stories of Our Vietnam Veterans.  When We Were Soldiers will focus on the personal recollections of veterans of the Vietnam War.  The show will open September 20 with a Welcome Home reception and run through Veterans Day.  In conjunction with this exhibit, ArtFusion will host free field trips for local middle and high school students to help them learn about this important period in our country’s history.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown. The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages.  The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence. ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.  The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.  The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

Unemployment In Pittsburgh Region Falls To Lowest In Post-Recession Recovery

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unemployment in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area fell to 6.8 percent in June, a rate one-tenth of a percentage point below May’s 6.9 percent but that marks a new low of the post-recession recovery.

The last time unemployment was at 6.8 percent in the region was in March 2009, when unemployment was rising in the midst of the Great Recession.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/unemployment-in-pittsburgh-region-falls-to-lowest-in-post-recession-recovery-697432/#ixzz2aYC55kY0

Pending Sales Of ABC 27, CBS 21 Leave Uncertainty For Station Managers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

The managers of ABC 27 and CBS 21 said Tuesday it was too early to tell what changes may be in store for both local television stations now that an agreement is in place that requires both to be sold.

“We don’t know much and it’s to be seen (what will happen),” said Joe Lewin, the general manager of ABC 27.  “We’re going to become part of the largest broadcasting group in the country. That’s what we know. That could be a very good thing.”

Lewin was referring to Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which on Mondayannounced a $985 million deal that includes the acquisition of seven ABC affiliates — including ABC 27 — and a 24-hour cable news network.  Those stations are being sold by Allbritton Communications.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/potential_changes_yet_to_be_se.html#incart_river_default

Tennessee Hospital Chain Acquiring Heart Of Lancaster And Lancaster Regional Owner Health Management Associates In $7.6 Billion Deal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

A Tennessee-based hospital chain has agreed to buy Health Management Associates for $7.6 billion, it was announced Tuesday.

The acquisition would make Community Health Systems a company with 206 hospitals and 31,000 beds in 29 states.

Among those hospitals would be two local HMA facilities, Lancaster Regional and Heart of Lancaster.

The price includes the assumption of $3.7 billion in HMA debt.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/877230_Tennessee-hospital-chain-acquiring-Heart-of-Lancaster-and-Lancaster-Regional-owner-Health-Management-Associates-in–7-6-billion-deal.html#ixzz2aY1BWRIG

Pipeline Giant Putting Down Roots In Tunkhannock

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wyoming County

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

TUNKHANNOCK — Two months ago, Helen Humphreys sat in her cluttered Williams Energy field office downtown in this Wyoming County borough surrounded by exhibit displays and stacks of binders.

Outside the room, clerical employees and field workers shuffled around each other in the converted credit union building. Technicians’ gear and road signs were stacked in corners neatly, but obviously out of place in the former bank.

It was not a scene you’d expect for an operator of some of the country’s largest pipeline systems. Williams has grown from six employees in Northeastern Pennsylvania to more than 100 in a 2 1/2 years, and the growth has inspired construction of the company’s new field office on the outskirts of town, said Mike Dickinson, a Williams operations manager.

Humphreys, a strategic outreach coordinator for the company, kicked off a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday to announce Williams’ new 30,000-square-foot field office to be completed by spring 2014.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/711932/Pipeline-giant-putting-down-roots-in-Tunkhannock

Wilkes-Barre Man Arrested After Gun, Crack Cocaine Found

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE — A man who suffered a gunshot wound in May was arrested Sunday after police allege they found crack cocaine and a gun in a Scott Street residence.

Police said Erick Mondelice, 23, was prohibited from possessing a .9mm handgun due to a robbery conviction.

The gun, ammunition, two plastic bags of marijuana, a bag of crack cocaine and a bag of methamphetamine were allegedly found inside 150 Scott St. on Sunday when police investigated a domestic fight involving Mondelice.

Read more:   http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/711655/Man-arrested-after-gun-crack-cocaine-found

Former Pa. Gov. Scranton Dies At Age 96

English: Not applicable for copyright because ...

English: Not applicable for copyright because this image is a work of the US Government. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

William Warren Scranton Jr., a former Pennsylvania governor, congressman, presidential candidate and ambassador to the United Nations, died Sunday night at the age 96.

Scranton died of a cerebral hemorrhage at a retirement community in Montecito, Calif., where he lived with his wife Mary, a family spokesman told The Associated Press on Monday.

Scranton, a progressive Republican from the Lackawanna County city named after his family, was elected to Congress in 1960.  He served one term before he was elected as Pennsylvania’s 38th governor in 1962.

His foray into presidential politics occurred in 1964, during his one term as governor, when he emerged as a moderately liberal alternative to conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater after New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller dropped out of the race.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/711528/Former-Pa.-Gov.-Scranton-dies-at-age-96

Murder-Suicide Reported In Home Of Wounded War Veteran In Northampton County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Authorities in Northampton County are investigating a suspected murder-suicide that happened in a Moore Township home built for a wounded veteran two years ago.

The fatal shooting happened just before midnight Monday at a home at 3001 Delps Road.  Authorities remained on scene until early Tuesday, but have not released the identities of the victims.

Township police said the shooting has preliminarily been ruled a murder-suicide and involved a man and a woman, but details are being withheld pending further investigation by the Northampton County coroner’s office.  Police said there were children in the home during the shooting, but they were not injured.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-d-pa-wounded-veteran-murder-suicide-robert-kisl-20130730,0,4704431.story#ixzz2aXlYUAP4
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Projects Sought For Pottstown Neighborhood Cleanup

POTTSTOWN — As planning for the Pottstown CARES cleanup event moves ahead, those hoping to help spruce up Pottstown’s core neighborhood and generate some activism there are soliciting residents for projects they might undertake.

The CARES project, standing for Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Empowerment, and Sustainability, has the three entities working on a community cleanup day scheduled for Oct. 25.

“We are trying to build a list of “doable” spruce- up projects, and the best way for us to do this is to generate a list of residents and their specific concerns/requests,” according to Cathy Skitko, communications director at The Hill School which is partnering with Pottstown borough and school district on the project.

Requests can be emailed to PottstownCARES@pottstown.org, or you can follow the link on the borough’s web page to make requests or register concerns.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130730/NEWS01/130739995/projects-sought-for-pottstown-neighborhood-cleanup#full_story

Turnpike Tolls To Increase, Especially For Cash Customers

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will notice a bump in their tolls next year, especially when paying with cash.

On Monday the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced toll increases of 12 percent for cash customers and 2 percent for E-ZPass customers.  The new rates go into effect Jan. 5.

In a statement, the commission said it needed the rate hike to make its annual $450 million payment to the state and to fund additional construction on the turnpike.

The five-member commission approved the increase at its July 15 meeting.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=497929

Five Dead In Wyoming County Helicopter Crash

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wyoming County

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

Five people have died in a helicopter that went down in bad weather Saturday night in Wyoming County.

Deputy Coroner Alan Thatcher confirmed the number on board, but said he could not release identities or any other information on the victims.

The helicopter was found near the border of Noxen and Forkston townships on Sunday.

Thatcher said he heard the helicopter had taken off from the Greater Binghamton Airport.  The Associated Press reported it was headed to Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton.

Read more:  http://thedailyreview.com/news/five-dead-in-wyoming-county-helicopter-crash-1.1527417

Man Arrested in Hazleton Stabbing

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 23-year-old Hazleton man is accused of stabbing another man outside a city bar early Monday morning.

Arrest papers state Jonathan A. Vasquez-Liriano tried entering the King’s Lounge, 511 W. Broad St., with a knife that night but a security worker removed it from him as he entered the business.

When the bar was closing for the night, Vasquez-Liriano asked for the weapon back and a security worker gave it to him.  Almost immediately after, court papers state, the security worker saw police arrest Vasquez-Liriano outside the business.

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/man-arrested-in-city-stabbing-1.1527565