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Funding for Philly schools stalls in Capitol

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has harsh words for the state Legislature's intra-Republican Party squabble that is stalling funding for the city's schools.

Nutter told reporters Philadelphia schools won't open Sept. 8 as scheduled because House Republican leaders canceled voting sessions before then.

Stuck in limbo is legislation authorizing a cigarette sales tax in Philadelphia to provide millions for the city's deficit-plagued schools.

Philadelphia officials are warning of 1,300 layoffs and classrooms of 40-plus students. They say they can't open the schools safely in September without more money.

House Speaker Sam Smith and Majority Leader Mike Turzai say they failed to reach a consensus and won't return until mid-September.

They're asking Gov. Tom Corbett to advance the school district the money it needs to open the schools on time.


Forests agency adds public step to drilling plan

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania state lawmaker says it's an important victory that parks and forests officials will accept public comments on the terms of agreement to allow two natural gas exploration companies to drill in Loyalsock State Forest.

Still, Rep. Rick Mirabito tells the Williamsport Sun-Gazette he wishes the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources had agreed to accept comments for 30 days, rather than just 15.

Agency officials say there's no deadline to come to terms.

They say the state doesn't own the subsurface rights on a 25,000-acre tract known as the Clarence Moore lands and cannot prevent Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum and Southwest Energy from drilling there. But officials say they hope to minimize the environmental damage.

Drilling opponents argue that the state has more power than it says to prevent the drilling.


Man, woman killed as 2 girls slept in Pa. unit

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - Police say gunshots killed a man and a woman whose two daughters were sleeping in another room of their northwestern Pennsylvania apartment.

The Erie Times-News reports the deaths of the 62-year-old man and 45-year-old woman are being investigated as a suspected murder-suicide.

Officers called to the Erie apartment at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday were questioning another adult female who was also present at the time.

Police chief Randy Bowers said the man who was killed wasn't married to either woman.

The county coroner said no autopsies are planned. The names of the two people killed haven't yet been released.


Director of Penn State Blue Band retiring in 2015

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - The director of Penn State's renowned Blue Band is retiring.

O. Richard Bundy says the upcoming football season will be his last. He says he'll remain in charge through the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

Bundy confirmed his retirement after Penn State posted a job listing for a new director of athletic bands starting in July 2015.

The 66-year-old Bundy played in the band as an undergraduate and joined the faculty in 1983. He became band director in 1996.

The band was awarded the Sudler Trophy as one of the nation's top marching bands in 2005.

Bundy says in retirement he'll be traveling, playing trombone and rooting for the Blue Band's students and staff as they continue to "raise the song."


Bayer, out: Plug pulled on iconic Pittsburgh sign

PITTSBURGH (AP) - An iconic sign atop Pittsburgh's Mount Washington won't have the Bayer name in lights much longer.

The chemical and pharmaceutical giant said Thursday that it no longer wants to pay for the 30-foot-tall advertisement and asked sign owner Lamar to turn it off as quickly as possible.

The Bayer name has been in lights on the sign since 1995 and the company has long complained that the 90-year-old sign is in need of lighting upgrades and repairs.

A real estate manager for Lamar tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that a new advertiser is being sought and an application is pending with the city to authorize repairs and upgrades.

The Germany-based Bayer has about 2,200 employees in suburban Pittsburgh where it houses the North American headquarters of its material sciences business.

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