Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business and entertainment
8 charged in alleged high-grade pot ring in Pa.
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Authorities in suburban Philadelphia say they've broken up a multimillion-dollar drug ring that trafficked in high-grade marijuana.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman (REE'-sah VET'-ree FUR'-man) announced charges against eight suspects on Thursday.
She says nearly 3,700 pounds of potent pot was sent from California to Pennsylvania over the past 15 months. She estimated its street value at more than $14 million.
Ferman says the suspects used a freight service to ship marijuana in giant orange tool chests from Sacramento, Calif., to a Philadelphia suburb in Delaware County.
Officials began investigating in September 2012. They made several arrests earlier this month and seized guns, cellphones, nearly $700,000 in cash and 400 pounds of marijuana.
Authorities seize 1,000 drug-laced candies in Pa.
(Information in the following story is from: The Times-Tribune, http://thetimes-tribune.com/ )
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) _ Authorities say they confiscated more than 1,000 pieces of drug-laced candy during a house search in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola says two people who live at the residence in Dunmore were arrested Thursday.
Jarbola says officers found marijuana and hashish along with candy-making material like sugar, gelatin and candy molds.
They also found 11 jars of candy pieces that tested positive for the active chemical in marijuana.
A traffic stop in nearby Dickson City led officials to get a search warrant for the house.
The Times-Tribune of Scranton reports that residents Nicholas Guffey and Mahalia Mailey have been charged with multiple counts of drug possession and manufacturing.
It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys.
APARTMENT FIRE-BODY FOUND
Allentown fire crews find body in burned apartment
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Firefighters responding to an apartment blaze in Allentown have discovered a man's body in a top-floor unit.
Investigators say the blaze was reported at the three-story building around 3:30 a.m. Thursday. They say it's not immediately clear what caused the man's death, but that it doesn't appear to be related to the fire.
The Lehigh County Coroner's office identified the man as Richard Chaparro, 46.
Officials say there wasn't much of a fire until they reached the top floor of the building, where they found the body. A preliminary investigation found the fire may have started in a ceiling fan and spread to the roof, which appeared to be severely damaged.
Judge awards $7,500 to former inmate for beating
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A federal judge has ruled that a former Allegheny County Jail corrections officer should pay $7,500 to a former inmate.
District Judge Terrence F. McVerry ruled Thursday that former corrections officer 34-year-old Arii L. Metz should pay 26-year-old David Kipp for the 2010 beating.
McVerry called Metz's conduct ``outrageous'' and ``malicious.'' Kipp reached a separate settlement with authorities over the treatment but the terms weren't disclosed.
In March Metz pleaded guilty to violating Kipp's civil rights. Authorities say Metz entered Kipp's cell and punched him several times without provocation, after Kipp repeatedly buzzed the intercom to make a phone call and get an attorney.
Kipp suffered a broken nose, bruises, and a perforated ear drum.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 18.
911 CALL FROM TRUNK
Lancaster Police say woman lied about abduction
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) _ Police in central Pennsylvania say a woman lied when she called 911 from inside a car trunk to say she had been abducted by two men.
Lancaster City Police said Thursday they were charging 33-year-old Marie Collazo of New Holland with making a false report to law enforcement and false alarms to agencies of public safety.
Police say electronic and video records contradict Collazo's account of being abducted from a city parking lot on Tuesday and driven to a park, then assaulted and locked in the trunk.
Collazo didn't appear to have a listed phone number, and it wasn't clear whether she was represented by a lawyer.
The case triggered a massive search for the supposed abductors.
SEPTA riders to see fare hikes starting July 1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Public transit riders in Philadelphia and its suburbs will be paying more to travel starting this summer.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority approved across-the-board fare hikes on Thursday.
The base cash fare for buses, subways and trolleys will rise from $2 to $2.25 on July 1. It will go up to $2.50 when a smart-card payment system is installed by the middle of next year.
Riders who pay with tokens and transit passes will continue to receive a discount, but those prices are going up too.
Tokens will jump from $1.55 to $1.80. Weekly passes will rise from $22 to $24, while monthly passes will go up from $83 to $91.
Newest Pa. casino set to open July 1 at Nemacolin
FARMINGTON, Pa. (AP) _ Pennsylvania's newest casino will open to gamblers in just over a month.
Officials announced Thursday that the $60 million Lady Luck Casino outside Pittsburgh will open on July 1 at noon, pending regulatory approvals.
Lady Luck Casino is part of the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County. It will feature 600 slot machines, 28 table games, a restaurant and a lounge.
Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a plan to charge non-resort guests a $10 entry fee to the casino.
Nemacolin is one of two facilities in the state with a resort casino license. Those casinos are meant to be an amenity to a resort and not a draw unto themselves.
Lady Luck is operated by St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos Inc.
Corbett nominates Harner as new education chief
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Gov. Tom Corbett has nominated William Harner to be Pennsylvania's next education secretary.
The posting of Harner's nomination, announced Thursday sets the stage for a Senate confirmation hearing and vote.
The Republican governor had announced last week that Harner, superintendent of Cumberland Valley School District in Mechanicsburg, is his choice to succeed Ron Tomalis as secretary.
Tomalis is moving into an advisory role in the administration.
Harner is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership and two master's degrees. He is slated to take over as acting secretary on June 3.
The Department of Education oversees more than $14 billion in state and federal money for Pennsylvania's public schools, charter schools, libraries, universities and colleges.
PENN STATE-BATTLING BULLYING
Ex-PSU player takes battle vs. bullying to book
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ A former Penn State women's basketball player has taken to writing to resume the anti-bullying efforts she championed off the court.
Gizelle Studevent's book, ``Bridges,'' debuted this month on Amazon.com. It draws in part on Studevent's own experiences being bullied in high school while growing up in southern California, and the life lessons she's drawn since then.
Studevent just finished her four-year career for the Lady Lions. She was a key reserve on the back-to-back Big Ten regular-season championship teams.
Studevent also started the program Penn State Athletes Take Action, in which athletes visited a local middle school to talk about bullying and its impact. Studevent says she plans to stay in the State College area to expand the program to other Centre County schools.
WYETHS-THREE GENERATION SALE
6 Wyeth paintings fetch $2M at NYC auction
NEW YORK (AP) _ Six paintings by the famous Wyeth family of artists have sold for just over $2 million at a New York City auction.
New Jersey businessman Eric Sambol sold the works by Andrew, Jamie and N.C. Wyeth at Christie's on Thursday.
They included three by Andrew, two by Jamie, and one by N.C.
The highlight of the sale was N.C. Wyeth's ``Norry Seavey Hauling Lobster Traps Off Blubber Island.'' The 1938 oil of a fisherman off the coast of Port Clyde, Maine, sold for nearly $844,000.
The Wyeths summered in Maine and lived and worked in Chadds Ford, Pa.
Sambol began his collection in 2000. He's a nature photographer and owns a construction company in Toms River, N.J.
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