Tuesday, November 21, 2006

State News-Tuesday, Nov. 21st

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Former Allegheny County Sheriff Pete DeFazio has agreed to plead guilty today to a misdemeanor charge. People familiar with the case say DeFazio will acknowledge that he benefited from strong-arm political fundraising tactics. They say he won't acknowledge applying such pressure himself, only that he benefited from it and should have known about it.
DeFazio retired last month after nearly a decade as sheriff.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The House Select Committee on Academic Freedom meets today. Last week, a report to the committee concluded that political bias is rare at Pennsylvania's public colleges and universities. It said statewide policy governing college students' academic freedom is unnecessary. But the committee didn't adopt the report last week because it didn't have a quorum.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - State gambling regulators are to hear today from the third bidders for a slot-machine casino license in Pittsburgh. The hearings are the last chance for the applicants to make their case to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which expects to award the license December 20th. Yesterday, the board heard testimony from two applicants at a meeting in Harrisburg. One application was from Isle of Capri Casinos. The second application was submitted by real estate developer Forest City Enterprises and the nation's largest casino operator, Harrah's Entertainment. The third applicant, Detroit-based casino operator Don Barden, is scheduled to testify today.

SAYRE, Pa. (AP) - State police say a prominent Bradford County lawyer and his wife were found shot to death in their home. Autopsies show that 56-year-old David Keeffe and his 60-year-old wife, Carol, were shot to death. The shootings are considered homicides. State police say the bodies were found yesterday afternoon by Athens Township police. But it's unclear why township police were at the home in the first place. Keeffe was a partner with the DeSisti and Keeffe law firm in Sayre. He was president of the county bar association.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police say a suspect shot himself in the head while in the back of a police car with his hands cuffed behind his back. Police say 26-year-old Oliver Neal the Third is in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Police say they don't know whether Neal was trying to kill himself or if he shot himself accidentally. Police say Neal was pulled over because of a traffic violation just before one a-m yesterday and was then found to be wanted on numerous violations. Police say the officers frisked Neal and found drugs in his pocket but it's unclear why they didn't find the gun.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The head of a crime tipsters group says he's a crime victim himself. The president of Central Ohio Crime Stoppers told police that a man attacked him with a baseball bat Sunday and said he should drop a lawsuit against a Philadelphia man. The group is suing Joe Mammana because he pledged 31-thousand dollars for information that would solve a college student's murder. He says he only agreed to pay if someone is convicted but the group says he agreed to pay in the event of an arrest. Mammana says he doesn't know anything about the baseball bat attack.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - F-B-I agents in New Jersey have recovered a 1778 painting by famed Spanish artist Francisco de Goya. It was stolen in Pennsylvania as it was being transported to an exhibition earlier this month. The painting, "Children with a Cart," disappeared while en route from Toledo, Ohio, to New York City. The F-B-I says the artwork is in good condition and appears to be unharmed.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - House Speaker John Perzel says he will examine government reforms such as reducing legislative spending and the size of the Legislature. He says the ouster of 24 state lawmakers shows the public wants fundamental reform in state government. The Philadelphia Republican said in a speech to a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon he's asking House and Senate leaders to find ways to reduce administrative expenses. He says he'll also ask them to create a bipartisan group to examine reducing the size of the Legislature -- something Governor Ed Rendell says he supports. But Perzel wouldn't talk about last year's short-lived legislative pay raise during a question-and-answer session that followed his ten-minute speech.


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