Monday, February 26, 2007

National and State News-Monday, Feb. 26th

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hollywood director Martin Scorsese joked "Could you double-check the envelope?" as he accepted the award for best director last night at the Academy Awards. The movie he directed, "The Departed," also won best picture. Helen Mirren won for best actress. Forest Whitaker took best actor for "The Last King of Scotland."

WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's governors have health care on their minds as they meet with President Bush at their annual winter meeting in Washington today. Some 14 states are likely to run out of money this year for the health program that provides insurance to children who aren't poor enough for Medicaid.

LONDON (AP) - The permanent members U-N Security Council plus Germany meet today in London to discuss new ways to pressure Tehran over its expanding nuclear program. One diplomat says the council
will look at options for further sanctions, including whittling away at lucrative export credits Iran receives from Europe in support of trade.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Vice President Cheney is in Pakistan for talks with President General Pervez Musharraf over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. The British Foreign Secretary is also in Pakistan for talks on the same subject.

BOSTON (AP) - The governor of Massachusetts is proposing funding for free cervical cancer vaccines for girls between the ages of nine and 18 in his new budget. The shots, however, would not be mandatory. The budget, to be unveiled tomorrow, also includes funding for a new rotavirus vaccine for infants and an improved
bacterial meningitis vaccine.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency says problems from the current winter storm appear to be minimal. Agency spokesman Justin Fleming says there have been a number of
minor accidents attributed to the weather, but nothing major. Fleming says the worst problems appear to be in the Philadelphia area. The state's Emergency Operations Center in Harrisburg will remain open indefinitely until officials are sure the threat is over.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The deaths of at least 55 residents in Pennsylvania's assisted-living homes since 2000 raise questions about whether their deaths could have been prevented. That's according to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The paper says its investigation of the industry is based on thousands of pages of public records and hundreds of interviews. It found health and safety violations, substandard care and inadequate state oversight of violations. Officials at the state Department of Public Welfare say they
inherited a broken regulatory system and have made substantial progress toward fixing it. Karen Kroh took over as top regulator in the spring of 2005. Since then, she has replaced half her staff, increased enforcement actions by 55 percent, and revoked the licenses of 75 facilities.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Governor Ed Rendell says Pennsylvania ought to have an earlier presidential primary.
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Rendell said the late April primary gives Pennsylvania "no input at all" on whom the major parties nominate for president. A hearing is scheduled for March 13th on whether Pennsylvania should change its primary date. State Senator Jake Corman plans to invite national committee members from both major parties as well as representatives of Pennsylvania's counties, which administer
elections. Corman says one potential problem is that candidates would likely have to get signatures on nomination petitions in November. Texas, California and Florida are also considering moving their
primaries up.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Governor or vice president? That's an easy choice, according to Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry. Both say that they prefer to keep their current jobs, no matter who is president in 2008. Rendell says he likes to be his own boss. Perry says he already has the best job in the world. In his words, "Ask President Bush." The two were in the capital today for a National Governors Association meeting. They appeared Sunday morning on the television
show "Fox News Sunday."

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - An Army medic accused of killing a Pennsylvania soldier during a night of heavy drinking in Iraq is set to face a court-martial tomorrow. Twenty-three-year-old Specialist Chris Rolan is to be tried at
Fort Benning in Georgia. He is charged with premeditated murder in the November Sixteenth, 2005, shooting of 20-year-old Private Dylan Paytas. Paytas was from Freedom, Pennsylvania. Rolan, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is accused of shooting Paytas four times with his Army-issue pistol during an argument at Camp
Warhorse in Baqubah. Both soldiers were assigned to Fort Benning's Third Brigade Combat Team. If convicted, Rolan could face up to life in prison without parole.

YORK, Pa. (AP) - Things should get back to normal today at the Harley-Davidson factory in York. All of the formerly striking workers are expected back. Workers had the option of returning as soon as Thursday night,
after union members approved a three-year contract. The three-week strike disrupted Harley-Davidson's national production. The walkout also forced many Harley suppliers to lay off workers. It had ripple effects as far away as Wisconsin, where 440 employees were laid off.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A new curator has been named to oversee the preservation of Fallingwater. That's the Fayette County home designed in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright and considered to be the architect's masterpiece. The group that manages the building has selected Justin Gunther to take over as curator.
Gunther previously managed restoration at George Washington's home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, where he was responsible for the preservation of more than 25 historic buildings. Fallingwater spans Mill Run, a creek that flows through woods about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Wright built the home for department store magnate Edgar Kaufmann Senior in the 1930s.

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - The Montgomery County Health Department plans to examine cancer statistics for the area around Collegeville. That decision comes after air tests last month revealed an unusually high level of a chemical that may pose a cancer risk. A state report says the presence of a chemical called T-C-E at
higher-than-normal levels has significantly increased the cancer risk in the suburban Philadelphia community. A health department spokeswoman says requests from local officials and a state lawmaker led to the decision to look into cancer cases.


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