July 16, 2015

PENNSYLVANIA

Harrisburg: More charges likely in public corruption case

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed alone is facing 499 criminal counts. But, according to Attorney General Kathleen Kane, it likely won’t stop there. Kane said Reed ran a system that completely disregarded checks and balances, and she vowed to charge everyone else connected to the chain of debt in Harrisburg.

Pittsburgh: FBI agents take down Darkode

Pittsburgh FBI agents led Operation Shrouded Horizon by infiltrating Darkode, a member’s only Internet forum that allows criminals to broker information (like credit cards and personal data) and trade malicious software. Darkode was dismantled Tuesday by an international coalition. Twelve people will be charged in Pittsburgh federal court.

Pittsburgh: The military and community college

A law went into effect July 1 that makes it easier for active military and veterans to go to college. State-owned schools only have to offer veterans the in-state rate, but the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) now offers the in-county rate to all active military, veterans, reservists and their dependents.

Philadelphia: Jim Kenney considers bail reforms

Democratic mayoral candidate Jim Kenney’s plan lacks specifics, but he is working to reduce the number of nonviolent offenders imprisoned because they can’t afford to pay cash bail. He said Philadelphia’s prison population is over capacity, and hundreds are detained for low-level offenses because of this.

Allentown: The Philadelphia grand jury’s subpoena

When the FBI raided Allentown City Hall on July 2, they seized contracts, but more importantly they seized electronic items like computers that contain those records. There are 28 names of people and companies listed on the subpoena, including Mayor Ed Pawlowski, his campaign manager Mike Fleck and Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer.

Statewide: Legislation might introduce speed cameras in work zones

A Senate bill being considered by a joint Senate and House transportation committee looks to implement a five-year program where cameras that snap pictures of speeding license plates are installed in work zones. A similar program in Maryland reduced speeding by 85 percent.

NATIONAL

Jury begins deliberating in ‘Dark Knight Rises’ shooting trial

On Wednesday, the jury entered deliberations for the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting in 2012, and it’s unclear how long they’ll take. James Holmes faces 165 charges of murder and attempted murder, for the killings of 12 people and injuring many more, and has pleaded not guilty for reasons of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

California’s long drought leads to record forest fires

Fires are concentrated around the mountain ranges in central California. So far this year, firefighters have responded to 1,000 more fires than the five-year average. As the length of the fire season grows, so does the amount of money it takes to suppress them. Estimated costs for the year are $2.1 billion.

Bio-hackers attempt to make cheap alternative to insulin

Insulin is costly for diabetics, even with insurance. Small start-up labs are trying to make home-brewed insulin, with the ultimate goal of making it free for everyone. But there are extreme dangers with formulating it, which is why there is no biosimilar (generic) version of the drug as it is. Plus, experts are wary about the efficacy of an amateurish attempt.

IN OTHER NEWS

Japan’s Weird Hotel

It’s actually called that because the Weird Hotel is manned entirely by robots. The concierges are an English-speaking dinosaur and a Japanese-speaking female humanoid. There aren’t keys to the rooms, either; the doors open via facial recognition scan because robots can’t find lost keys.

The daily report was compiled by Stephanie Roman, a PublicSource intern. You can reach her with questions or suggestions at sroman@publicsource.org.