Pennsylvania’s statewide school mask order will remain in effect until the state Supreme Court rules on an appeal to a lower court decision overturning the order. The justices will hear arguments on the appeal on Dec. 8. Acting state Secretary of Health Alison Beam issued the school masking order starting in early September, then last month the Commonwealth Court stayed the order ruling that Beam did not follow procedure. Since then, Governor Wolf announced that decisions on the mandate would shift to school leaders on January 17th with one exception, the mandate will continue for early learning programs and child care providers.
Another TV personality wants to get into politics, this time in Pennsylvania. Dr. Mehmet Oz, the tv show host and cardiothoracic surgeon, has made it official, he’s putting his name on the 2022 GOP primary ballot in the Keystone State. Since Senator Pat Toomey announced he was not running for re-election, 13-other Republicans and 14-Democrats have thrown their hat into the ring.
The rumors are over about whether James Franklin is staying at Penn State. University officials announced Tuesday that the school and head football coach have agreed to a new 10-year deal that runs through 2031. Franklin had been in the second year of a six-year contract he signed in 2020 where he was scheduled to make $5.5 million guaranteed this year, with a $500,000 retention bonus. The new deal gives Franklin a raise to about $7.5 million per year, not including winning incentives that could be worth up to another $1 million per year. Franklin will coach his 100th game this Saturday when the Nittany Lions play at Michigan State.
Pennsylvania’s statewide K-12 school mask mandate remains in effect until December-4 when the issue will be decided by a court. Earlier this month, a commonwealth court ruled the health secretary did not have the authority to order the mandate last summer. Now, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro has filed an emergency application in the state’s Supreme Court to keep the mandate in effect until January-17. That’s when Governor Wolf would allow local officials to set their own mitigation efforts although the masking order for early learning programs and child care providers will remain in effect. Shaipro argues that the Order is needed to protect the health and lives of children and families especially with winter coming.
Pennsylvania’s Superior Court overturned a prison sentence for a York man but in the end it didn’t change his term. The York Daily Record reports that 44-year old Richard Schock of Peach Bottom was ordered to serve from 16.5 to 33 years in prison for selling a deadly dose of fentanyl that killed 34-year-old Brandon Orr also of Peach Bottom Township back in February of 2017. The top court threw out a conspiracy count but at this week’s re-sentencing, York Co. Common Pleas Judge Harry Ness gave Schock the same sentence which included roughly $11,000 in restitution.
From 30-to-105-years in prison. That’s the sentence for a Lancaster city man who was convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl from Indiana. The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office says 39-year-old Andrew Howland communicated with the girl on social media for several months last year before he kidnapped the girl from her home and drove her to Lancaster County last December. Police say Howland took her to two separate hotels in East and West Hempfield townships before officers used his cell phone location to arrest him at the Comfort Inn hotel in Columbia. Howland was found guilty of kidnapping, unlawful contact with a minor, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault last August.
Now an update on last week’s murder-suicide where a father kidnapped and then murdered his two daughters from York County. Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Office says they are reviewing a private criminal complaint filed against York Area Regional Police Chief Tim Damon regarding his department’s actions in serving an emergency protection from abuse order against Robert Vicosa. Viscosa is the former Baltimore County police officer who grabbed his girls on November-15th and fled the area. Police tracked the suspect down and during a pursuit in Smithsburg, Maryland last Thursday, Viscosa killed the children and his girlfriend before taking his own life. The emergency PFA order had been issued after Viscosa held his wife captive for 3-days and before the kidnapping.
There’s no happy ending for that York County kidnapping. Police says 42-year old former Baltimore County police officer Robert Vicosa used a handgun to threaten his estranged wife in Windsor Township last weekend where he also took his daughters Giana who was 7 years old and Aaminah who was 6 years old. Vicosa was traveling with another woman, Tia Bynum, who was a suspended Baltimore County Police sergeant. All four were found dead following a police pursuit near Smithsburg, Maryland Thursday afternoon. During the crime spree, Vicosa car-jacked two people, one in Pa. and the other in Maryland. Neither of those victims was harmed.
The Lancaster County Community Foundation’s 10th annual Extraordinary Give is underway with a live, in-person event tonite from 6 to midnight at Penn Square and East King Street between Queen and Duke. There will be live music, a beer garden, and giving stations. There will be celebrations thru-out Lancaster County. Last year’s Extraordinary Give raised a record 13.4-million dollars despite the pandemic. To donate this year visit ExtraGive.org
Still no sign of the father who violently kidnapped his two young daughters in York County this week. At a press conference yesterday, York Area Regional Police said 42-year old former Baltimore County police officer, Robert Vicosa assaulted his estranged wife at a Windsor Township home last weekend. Officers say Vicosa used a handgun to threaten the woman and take his daughters ages 6-and-7. Police say the suspect also stole another woman’s car and cell phone to help in his getaway. Officers believe the suspect may be with another woman, Tia Bynum, who is a suspended Baltimore County Police sergeant. Police continue to search for a black 2013 Lexus GS350 with PA plate KPK-2076. Officers urge Vicosa to ‘do the right thing’ and bring the children back unharmed. Anyone with information should call 9-1-1.
Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that creates three new holidays on the Pennsylvania calendar. March 6th is Persian Gulf Veterans Day. September 27th is First Responders Day, and October 7th is Global War on Terrorism Veterans Day. While none of them means a day off for workers or students, the goal is to encourage residents to observe the service and sacrifice of veterans and first responders.
Pennsylvania ranks in the top-20 worst states for drivers. Bankrate.com compiled data from various criteria that shows while the Commonwealth is 13th for safety, we are 23rd in cost, 42nd for weather, and 43rd in driving quality for a total score of 32nd in the nation. Maryland was the 3rd worst state for drivers, mostly due to high insurance costs and poor road and bridge quality.
If you’re curious about where your tax dollars are going in Pennsylvania, the State Treasury has created a webpage for you. The Transparency Portal shows how much money each state department is issued and if they go over that amount. The information will come from the governor’s Office of Budget. For more information visit PATreasury.gov
Two young girls may be in extreme danger after being kidnapped by their armed father. That from York Area Regional Police who say that 42-year old Robert Vicosa broke into a home on Hussen Road in Windsor Township around noon on Tuesday. Officers say Vicosa then allegedly took a woman captive at gunpoint, and stole her vehicle, escaping with the girls. The vehicle was later found abandoned in Red Lion. But State Police say Vicosa could be driving a 2013 black Lexus or Infiniti G35 with a Pennsylvania registration KPK2076. Troopers say the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.
A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge says the state mandate for masks to be worn inside K-12 schools and child care facilities must expire December-4th. This latest ruling lifts the automatic suspension of the court’s original ruling earlier this month which was granted when Governor Wolf’s administration appealed to the state Supreme Court. The original ruling found that the acting state Health Secretary couldn’t issue a mandate without a preceding emergency disaster declaration by the Governor or oversight by the Legislature. Wolf has since announced that decisions on the mandate would shift to school leaders on January 17th.
Congressman Scott Perry of Pa’s 10th District, which includes parts of York County and Harrisburg, has been elected Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Perry is an original member of the ultraconservative group that was formed in 2015. Meanwhile, Perry has tested positive for COVID-19. He is said to be quarantining at home with mild symptoms.
No arrest so far after a man was stabbed to death during an altercation with his brother in York City. Police say it happened in a home along the 200-block of East Philadelphia Street just after 11pm Monday. The Coroner’s Office says an autopsy will be performed sometime this week. The identity of the dead man is pending family notification.
How will Pennsylvania benefit in the $1.2-trillion dollar infrastructure package that President Biden signed Monday? Senator Bob Casey’s office says the commonwealth will receive almost 13-billion dollars for highways and bridges, nearly 3-billion for public transportation, 1.4-billion for clean drinking water, 171-million for electric vehicles, and 100-million for broadband internet.
It’s official. State Senate President Jake Corman is running for Governor of Pennsylvania. That makes 11 on the Republican primary ballot. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the only Democrat in the race at this point.
Two police departments in York County will merge in 2022. Northeastern Regional and York Area Regional will merge into the York County Regional Police Department. York Area’s facility in York Township will be the base for operations, however Northeastern Regional’s East Manchester Township location will stay open. The new department will consist of 60-officers with a new logo, uniforms, and badges. The goal of the merger is to lower costs and increase resources. There will be a public open house December 11th at the York Area Regional Police Department in York.