May 13, 2015

PENNSYLVANIA

Susquehanna Township: Four schools in lockdown

Thomas Holtzman Elementary School received a computer-generated phone threat Tuesday that indicated a person was on the roof and would kill the kids. Holtzman and three other schools in the district were placed in lockdown and swept by police, but nothing was found and the lockdowns were lifted. An investigation is ongoing.

Pittsburgh: Campaign shenanigans

City Councilman Ricky Burgess attempted to swipe a campaign sign from the yard of his District 9 opponent, Judith Ginyard, but was spotted by Ginyard on Friday night. Burgess never actually took the sign, so no charges will be filed against him.

Pittsburgh: Attorney General sues landlord

The Attorney General’s office filed a complaint with the Common Pleas Court Tuesday against Davin Gartley and his companies, which alleged that the defendants failed to maintain habitable properties by not providing water service.

Harrisburg: Plan to cut school property tax and raise sales and income taxes

State lawmakers advanced a Republican plan that would cut nearly $5 billion in local property taxes, but will raise the state sales tax from 6 to 7 percent and increase the personal income tax from 3.07 to 3.7 percent.

Harrisburg: Medical marijuana bill passes Senate

On Tuesday, legislation passed through the state Senate that would allow the use medical use of marijuana to treat ailments like chronic pain, Crohn’s disease and diabetes. Last year, a similar bill made it to the House, but never made it to a vote.

Statewide: The pollen problem

A lack of rain in Pennsylvania means the amount of pollen is steadily accumulating and deeply affecting the allergic population. Levels of carbon dioxide in the air directly influence the quantities of pollen, and projections indicate that by 2060, the amount of pollen will double from its quantity in 2000.

NATIONAL

Prison rape continues to go ignored

Although the Prison Rape Elimination Act went into effect in 2003, rape in Texas prisons continues, often with gay and transgender inmates as the victim. A Justice Department survey reveals that 40 percent of transgender inmates experience sexual victimization.

Verizon buys AOL

The cellphone giant bought out the former Internet titan on Tuesday for $4.4 billion—in cash—at $50 a share. Verizon’s probably aiming to bring more television content to its assortment of mobile phones.

Decline in religiosity

The Pew Research Center released its findings gathered from over 35,000 Americans: 173 million, or 71 percent, of Americans self-identify as Christian, which is down from 78 percent and 178 million people, the figures reported in the 2007 study.

Patriots’ punishment

Penalties have been imposed against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for participating in Deflategate: Brady will be suspended without pay for four games (the first of which is versus the Steelers), the Patriots will be fined $1 million and the Patriots will lose their first round draft pick in 2016 and fourth round pick in 2017.

WORLD

More damage in Nepal

Nepal was devastated last month by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and fierce aftershocks, and was hit Tuesday by another debilitating 7.3 magnitude tremor.

IN OTHER NEWS

Science creates ‘dino-chickens’

These aren’t the dinosaur chicken nuggets from your youth. They’re the attempt to recreate dinosaur to chicken evolution by inhibiting certain proteins that alter facial structure, and the result is a snout that looks like a cross between a chicken and alligator.

‘Game of Thrones’ based on real-world history

The fantasy novel series by George R.R. Martin and hit HBO show have a lot in common with the English civil wars, the Wars of the Roses, which featured huge dynastic conflicts, no clear monarchical successor and many premature deaths.