June 20, 2015

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh: Insurance mergers could impact patients

The top five health insurers in the country are in discussions to consolidate, which critics say would enable them to pay less to the hospitals and take more from patients in premiums. Experts say the mergers could also make Highmark and UPMC targets for future consolidations.

Erie: GE Transportation walkouts

For the second time in two weeks, GE union employees staged a strike at the Erie plant Friday. The chief executive suspects it’s because GE is subcontracting work in Texas, and also because the company is meeting in New York to negotiate new labor contracts.

Harrisburg: Attorney General’s office searched

Investigators arrived at Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office with warrants on Thursday. They went to the personnel department, apparently seeking emails. Kane is being investigated to see if she should be criminally charged for leaking material to the Philadelphia Daily News last year.

Harrisburg: Interfaith gathering to protest for more school funding

Religious groups are scheduled to meet today to call for fair funding in public schools, beyond the $400 million proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf. The group plans to fast and camp on the Capitol’s steps for 10 days.

Philadelphia: Kenney attack ads originated from Illinois group

Philadelphia mayoral candidate Jim Kenney won the Democratic primary, but shortly before the election he was targeted by political ads. About $93,000 was spent on the campaign by a nonprofit called Leadership Matters. An FCC document revealed the names of four of its board members, who are all tied to an educational consulting group in Peoria, Ill.  

Statewide: Job numbers rise, but unemployment did, too

Although 18,000 more people were working in May than in April, the unemployment rate increased marginally from 5.3 percent to 5.4. About 1,000 jobs were lost in mining and logging last month.

NATIONAL

Charleston shooter’s bond

A judge set a $1 million bond on a weapons charge for alleged church gunman Dylann Roof on Friday. His murder charges have not yet been set. He is suspected in the murders of nine people.

The Confederate flag question

Is is about free speech or is it about hate? Politicians, academics and regular citizens are debating its meaning, renewed because of the alleged hate-crime shootings in South Carolina.. Texas recently refused to allow it on license plates, yet the flag flies outside the South Carolina Capitol.

Manhunt for escapees continues

The escaped New York convicts have been added to the Marshals Service’s 15 most-wanted fugitives list. A $50,000 reward will be offered for information that leads to their capture.

Ralph Roberts, founder of Comcast, dies at 95

Roberts bought a small cable company in 1963 and turned it into force that serves 27 million customers. He died of natural causes on Thursday night in Philadelphia.

IN OTHER NEWS

Martian New Year

Mars, Pa., just north of Pittsburgh, will host the Martian New Year’s festival this weekend.

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