Associated Press

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Peter Petokas / AP

Pennsylvania is getting an official amphibian, a nocturnal salamander that can grow to be more than two feet long.

The House voted 191-6 on Tuesday to grant the honor to the Eastern hellbender, and Gov. Tom Wolf's office said he plans to sign it.

The path to legislative recognition was not smooth, as the Eastern hellbender faced a stiff challenge from Wehrle's salamander.

Google Maps

Pennsylvania officials are closing one of the most scenic and popular hiking trails in the state because of longstanding concerns about its safety, prompting backlash from hikers.

Morry Gash / AP

Sports betting leaped by almost one-third in Pennsylvania's fourth full month, as more venues opened amid March Madness.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said Tuesday that gamblers bet a record $44.5 million in March at six casinos and two off-track betting parlors where sports betting is approved. That was above $31.5 million bet in February, which had three fewer days.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A fraternity at Penn State University has been placed on interim suspension over a student's serious injury and alleged misuse of alcohol.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

A prosecutor refused to approve criminal charges Friday against Pittsburgh's mayor and six City Council members over the passage of firearms restrictions that gun rights advocates say are blatant and deliberate violations of state law.

Pat Sullivan / AP

Pennsylvania has reduced its backlog of untested rape kits by nearly 90 percent in three years.

U.S. Marine Corps / AP

Flags at the Pennsylvania Capitol and other state buildings will fly at half-staff to honor three U.S. Marines who have ties to the state and were killed in the line of duty.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Offering prayers and making speeches, Pennsylvania lawmakers came together in an unusual joint session Wednesday to commemorate the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack that killed 11 people last year.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The state Senate is advancing legislation to help Pennsylvania school districts pay for accommodations for students who are homebound due to a serious injury or illness, such as cancer.

Matt Rourke / AP

The nation's oldest reform school had its licenses revoked Monday amid an investigation into allegations of child abuse at the suburban Philadelphia campus, and a spokeswoman said the school will appeal.

The decision follows an investigation published this year by The Philadelphia Inquirer that detailed decades of alleged abuse and cover-ups at the 193-year-old Glen Mills Schools.

Matt Rourke / AP

Philadelphia transportation officials are considering charging motorists to pass through busy sections of the city.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration / AP

Pennsylvania officials say a system that tracks overdoses and information about drug investigations has been widely adopted during its first year of use.

Michael Rubinkam / AP

A new policy will give Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities more of a say in what their students will pay in tuition.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

PPG Industries Inc. is agreeing to pay $1.2 million and treat polluted water seeping into the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania from a long-closed waste site, although environmental organizations called it a "slap on the wrist."

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The heavily fined owner of natural gas liquids pipelines across southern Pennsylvania is agreeing to another $200,000 fine and a study on risks to the Mariner East 1 pipeline.

Cpl. Harley Robinson / U.S. Marine Corps. via AP

The names of two Marine pilots who died in a helicopter crash during a training mission in southwestern Arizona were released Monday as the crash remained under investigation.

U.S. Marine Corps officials identified the dead pilots as Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand, 34, of Ambler, Pennsylvania, and Capt. Travis W. Brannon, 30, of Nashville, Tennessee.

They said the AH-1Z Viper crashed about 8:45 p.m. Saturday on the vast Marine Corps Air Station Yuma training grounds while the pilots were conducting a training mission as part of a weapons and tactical instructor course.

Bucks County District Attorney, via AP

Pennsylvania officials are scheduled to release a report on how child welfare agencies handled the case of a teenager who endured years of abuse before her 2016 rape and murder.

Sara Packer pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced Friday to life without parole for plotting the death of her adoptive daughter, 14-year-old Grace Packer. Sara Packer's boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, who raped and strangled Grace, was sentenced to death last week.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's first law of 2019 expands the list of crimes that would result in a convicted public official or government employee being stripped of their public pension.

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Sunoco has cut ties with a Pennsylvania gas station owner after a digital billboard flashed a racial slur and praised the acquittal of a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen.

The billboard is owned by John Placek and is about a quarter mile from the gas station.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania is setting up a $15 million pilot program to give support services and housing help for state residents fighting opioid addiction.

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said Wednesday the federal grants aim to encourage treatment and recovery and reduce overdose deaths.

Housing aid could include temporary rent assistance. The support services could include applying for food stamps, linking people with recovery services and working out transportation needs.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A Roman Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania has agreed to pay $2 million to a man who was sexually abused as a child by a priest who made him say confession after the assaults.

The settlement with the Diocese of Erie was announced Tuesday by the victim's attorney, Mitchell Garabedian.

The defrocked priest, David Poulson, was sentenced this year to 2 1/2 to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to the sexual assault of one boy and attempted sexual assault of another.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's top elections official says one-third of the state's counties are advancing plans to install new voting systems ahead of 2020's presidential election.

Kathy Boockvar, Gov. Tom Wolf's acting secretary of state, told lawmakers Tuesday that 21 of 67 counties have approved plans amid the administration's push to adopt systems with voter-verifiable paper trails that are viewed as a hedge against hacking.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

An elected official from Pittsburgh and her husband have been arraigned on charges stemming from an altercation with Detroit police at a hotel.

Chelsa Wagner and Khari Mosley were arraigned in Detroit Monday. Both are accused of disorderly conduct. Wagner, the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, controller, also faces a felony resisting police charge.

A judge entered not-guilty pleas for them. They were released on bond. Their next hearings are April 1.

Sabrina Bodon / 90.5 WESA

The foreman of a jury that acquitted a white Pennsylvania police officer of homicide said Michael Rosfeld did not know the black teen he shot was unarmed and that his decision to run after his vehicle was pulled over factored into the verdict.


A jury on Friday acquitted a white former police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in the back as he was fleeing a high-stakes traffic stop outside Pittsburgh, a confrontation that was captured on video and led to weeks of unrest.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

 Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped in February to the lowest rate since 1976, which is as far back as the state says it's records go.

Mel Evans / AP

The city with the highest opioid death rate of any large city in the United States could soon become the location of the nation's first supervised drug injection site.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf is pitching his plan to finance a multibillion-dollar capital plan by taxing Marcellus Shale natural gas production as a way to help Pennsylvania schools clean up environmental health hazards.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection / AP

U.S. customs officials say drug dogs have sniffed out Philadelphia's largest seizure of cocaine in more than two decades inside a shipping container.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Voters in a western Pennsylvania state House district will pick a replacement during the spring primary for Rep. Brian Ellis, who recently quit while under investigation for a sexual assault allegation.

Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai on Wednesday scheduled the special election to fill Ellis' Butler County seat for May 21.

The parties will pick candidates, and the winner will hold the seat through 2020.

Ellis resigned Monday, a week after a woman filed a formal complaint with the House that alleges Ellis sexually assaulted her in 2015.