SPRING GROVE — Authorities say the deaths of a couple found dead in their central Pennsylvania home appear to be a murder-suicide.
Officials in York County say a family member found the bodies of 42-year-old James Witte and his 41-year-old wife, Holly, inside their North Codorus home on Thursday.
Police say James Witte apparently shot his wife then himself. Investigators say James Witte had called a family member to to say he was going to kill his wife and himself. It was that family member who found the bodies and called police.
The couple had a 7-year-old son together. Holly Witte had three daughters from a previous relationship.
Scranton mayor cuts pay for 400 to minimum wage
SCRANTON — Scranton's mayor is slashing the pay of almost 400 workers to the federal minimum wage as the northeastern Pennsylvania city faces a standoff over its financial situation.
Mayor Chris Doherty says the only way for Scranton to survive its "cash-flow crisis" is to cut pay to $7.25 per hour for 398 city workers. Forty more paid with federal funds are also affected.
Doherty said Wednesday the cuts would be reflected in the July 6 paychecks.
Doherty and city council are at odds over how to pull Scranton out of its financial problems. A judge on Thursday set an August court date on Doherty's suit trying to force council to act on his recovery plan.
The city is trying to get $16 million in financing to pay bills and refinance debt but can't get it without a recovery plan.
2 Officers seek overtime for K-9 work
PITTSBURGH — Two western Pennsylvania police officers say they should be paid extra for time spent caring for their K-9 partners.
Wilkinsburg police Officers Doug Yuhouse and Mark Wilson are suing the borough for overtime pay associated with cleaning, grooming and walking the dogs.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the suit filed Thursday seeks overtime pay for time the officers spent caring for the dogs in their homes. The suit says the plaintiffs were not compensated for time spent working off the clock.
A message left for Wilkinsburg's mayor was not immediately returned Friday.
Consol idling W.Va. mine, laying off 318 workers
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Consol Energy says it will idle its Fola Operations near Bickmore on Aug. 30.
The shutdown will affect 318 workers, including surface and underground miners, and reclamation and office staff.
Pittsburgh-based Consol said Friday it expects 2012 production to be reduced by 800,000 tons. So far this year, the Fola complex has produced more than 1 million tons of coal.
Consol says it needs to adjust to soft markets and declining demand. It also says there's "significant uncertainty" about whether power companies will continue to use Central Appalachian coal at their plants.
President Nicholas DeIuliis also says the warm winter left customers with huge stockpiles, and they can't accept more shipments.
Until the layoffs begin, underground operations will continue, but surface employees will be reassigned from mining to reclamation work.
Occupy readies for national conference in Philly
PHILADELPHIA — Get ready for Occupy Fourth of July in Philadelphia.
Occupy groups from across the country are headed to the city for a national gathering on Independence Mall, starting Saturday and running through the Fourth of July. Organizers say about 1,500 protesters are expected for marches and gatherings in support of the group's push for economic equality and other causes.
Philadelphia is bracing for extra people during a week that already brings more than 1 million tourists to town for concerts, fireworks and other events. City officials say they're prepared for the Occupy gathering and events planned by other groups.
Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel says the department will bolster its presence to keep tabs on the protests, using uniformed and non-uniformed officers, mounted units, bicycle patrols and other personnel.
Philadelphia city council passes $3.6B budget
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia's city council says a proposed overhaul of the property tax assessments in the city will have to wait.
The council passed a $3.6 billion budget Thursday that doesn't include Mayor Michael Nutter's plan to change how property values are calculated.
The new budget includes a 3½ percent increase in current property tax rates and other business tax increases officials say will mean $40 million in new money for the city's cash-strapped schools. The district currently faces a $218 million budget shortfall.
Nutter had wanted the council to approve changes to the city's property tax assessment system. But council said it couldn't set a new tax rate because reassessments wouldn't be completed until the fall.
The budget includes a pledge to take up the new assessment plan next year.
Judge OKs Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy plan
PHILADELPHIA — A judge has approved the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy reorganization plan, ending more than a year of uncertainty about the renowned symphony's future.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Eric Frank says he hopes the plan approved Thursday allows the orchestra to "continue to perform for audiences for many years to come."
Under the plan, the 111-year-old symphony will shrink from 105 musicians to 95 and cut their pay by about 15 percent. The orchestra will also get a break on its rent from the Kimmel Center.
In April 2011, the symphony became the first U.S. orchestra to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Orchestra Chairman Richard Worley tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that there's still work to do, most notably reviving stagnant ticket sales and boosting the confidence of donors.