Monday, October 30, 2006

State News-Monday, Oct. 30th

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - Former Pittsburgh Steeler great Franco Harris calls ex-teammate Lynn Swann a great person who was a great football player. But Harris says Swann is - quote - "running in the wrong direction" when it comes to politics. The 54-year-old Swann, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Governor Ed Rendell in the November Seventh election. Swann won four Super Bowls with the Steelers. His status as a sports hero in Pennsylvania guarantees him warm receptions on the campaign trail. But it hasn't helped him overcome Rendell's double-digit lead in the polls.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Senator Rick Santorum is accusing state Treasurer Bob Casey of aiding terrorism, saying state pension funds are invested with companies linked to terrorist-sponsoring states. Casey's campaign disputes the allegations, calling them a sign of desperation. Santorum has trailed Democrat Casey for months in independent polls. Casey spokesman Larry Smar says Casey has been proactive in trying to ensure taxpayer money isn't invested in countries and companies that do business with terror-sponsoring countries. Santorum didn't cite specific examples, but appeared with Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who has tackled the issue. Missouri has hired a private company to screen investments.

UNDATED (AP) - Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey picked up three newspaper endorsements in his race against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum. Democratic Governor Ed Rendell garnered the backing of two papers in his campaign against Republican challenger Lynn Swann. The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, The Morning Call of Allentown and the York Daily Record/Sunday News all endorsed Casey in the Senate race. The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette backed Rendell for governor. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review chose not to endorse Rendell or Swann.

HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) - Hazleton's Hispanic businesses are suffering because their Hispanic customers are fleeing the city in the face of a tough law targeting illegal immigrants. On Wednesday, an immigration ordinance approved by City Council will take effect. It will impose fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and deny business permits to companies that give them jobs. The law empowers the city's Code Enforcement Office to investigate written complaints about a person's immigration status, using a database operated by the federal government. Pennsylvania native Kim Lopez and her husband, Rudy, a Mexican immigrant, closed their grocery store on October 1st after business tailed off dramatically over the summer. They say they lost more than 10-thousand-dollars -- their life savings.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A contractor hired by the city of Philadelphia says it provided counseling for a teen during a period when police say he was on the run from murder charges. The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that a caseworker from MultiEthnic Behavioral Health told the city that 17-year-old Braheem Burke "remained safe" over the summer and nothing unusual happen to him. Yet police say they stormed his home several times, once on the same day as a reported counseling session. Police found him on October 4th, hiding in a house under construction. Burke has been charged in the shooting deaths of 18-year-old Niall Saracini and 19-year-old Charles Carter. Burke has not entered a plea. MultiEthnic's lawyer says Burke might have shown up for his sessions with the caseworker even if police could not find him.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll hasn't been willing to debate her opponents in seeking a second term. The Democrat's campaign justified her decision not to debate Republican Jim Matthews because she thinks ground rules were violated when his running mate Lynn Swann used debate footage in advertising against Governor Ed Rendell. She also worries that debate rules may prevent her from responding effectively if Matthews were to say something inaccurate. The Matthews campaign suspects her excuses are a smoke screen and that she is afraid she may not perform well.


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