June 25, 2015

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh: Allegheny County Public Defender’s office improvements

The office faced a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union in 1996 for failing to provide constitutionally adequate representation, and it hasn’t done a good job recovering. But with the help of Elliot Howsie, who was appointed Chief Public Defender three years ago, the Public Defender’s office has made notable reforms, while acknowledging that there’s still room for improvement.

Pittsburgh: Education operator cuts jobs

Education Management Corp. is a group that runs for-profit colleges, like the Art Institutes and Argosy University, and their enrollment has dropped nearly 30 percent since 2010. Because of three consecutive annual losses, the company will cut 70 Pittsburgh employees.

Harrisburg: Senate approves state treasurer nominee

Gov. Tom Wolf’s nominee, Tim Reese from Philadelphia, was unanimously voted in by the Senate Finance Committee. If he wins a two-thirds majority vote in the entire Senate, Reese will become the new state treasurer.

Harrisburg: Turnpike call boxes might disappear

On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, there are about 1,000 call boxes that motorists can use to call for help. Their use has decreased dramatically, from 18,000 calls in 2000 to 1,200 in 2014, thanks to the prevalence of cellphones. Taking out the call boxes could save $250,000 a year.

Easton: Murder trial defendant outburst

Jeffrey Knoble Jr. is accused of killing Andrew White, a supposed good Samaritan who helped Knoble obtain lodging for a night. At his hearing on Wednesday, Knoble lashed out against the media for plastering his name and photo everywhere, stating that he’ll never receive a fair trial.

Bucks County: Family pharmaceuticals

Erika Zorn has lupus and advanced fibromyalgia. She and her husband grew self-prescribed medical marijuana in their basement to control her pain symptoms until the couple was charged in March with possession and manufacture. Zorn experienced a significantly improved quality of life on marijuana, calling it a “miracle,” and is now fearful that the conditions will take her life.

NATIONAL

Boston Marathon bomber apologizes

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologized to his victims and the survivors in court on Wednesday, right before the judge sentenced him to death. His five-minute speech contained the first words he spoke in court since his arrest in 2013.

Alabama drops the flag

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered the removal of the Confederate flag from outside the state capitol in Montgomery on Wednesday.

Ransom rules

An executive order signed Wednesday will eliminate the risk of prosecuting families who choose to pay ransom to kidnappers overseas. The federal government refuses to negotiate ransoms, but families may now do so privately without any threat of backlash from the government.

One more for the GOP

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Wednesday that he would make a run for the White House.

IN OTHER NEWS

Roads, where we’re going… Where are we going?

Lexus recently unveiled a prototype hoverboard called the Slide. It’s not quite like the one Marty McFly used in “Back to the Future Part II,” but it does use magnets and superconductors to float several centimeters above the ground.

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