KENNERDELL — A western Pennsylvania woman was killed when she crashed on an all-terrain vehicle while riding up a hill so she could get a cell phone signal.
Venango County Coroner Tyler Best says he pronounced 22-year-old Kristine Schindler dead at the scene early Saturday in Rockland Township.
Schindler, from Adams Township, Butler County, was visiting with friends at a rural camp about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh when Best says she took off on an ATV to get cellular service.
Schindler wasn't wearing a helmet when she lost control of the vehicle rounding a corner and was thrown off the vehicle and into a tree about 12:10 a.m.
Schindler's friends went looking for her when she didn't return from making the call and alerted state police when they couldn't find her.
School reverses course on HIV-positive student
HERSHEY — A Pennsylvania school for low income and socially disadvantaged students says it will now treat HIV-positive applicants the same as all others and is offering admission to a previously rejected Philadelphia-area teen.
Milton Hershey School president Anthony Colistra issued a statement Monday that defended its previous decisions regarding the HIV-positive teenager, but says it adopted the new policy based on recent "guidance" from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The school also is developing training for its employees and students on HIV-related issues.
Colistra says he wrote to the teenager last month to apologize and offer him enrollment this fall. A message seeking comment from the young man's lawyer wasn't immediately returned.
The school is financed by a trust that holds the controlling interest in The Hershey Co., the candy-maker.
Pittsburgh battalion chief suspended after charge
PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh fire battalion chief has been suspended without pay after being charged with throwing his ex-girlfriend to the floor during an argument, the second time he's faced criminal charges involving her.
Online court records don't list an attorney for 54-year-old James Washabaugh, who faces a preliminary hearing Aug. 9 on a charge of simple assault. His home telephone machine was no longer taking messages Monday. He was charged about 1 a.m. Saturday after he allegedly spit several times and threw the woman down before she called 911.
Washabaugh was put on paid leave in 2008 when he was charged with simple assault in another dispute with the woman, when they were still dating. Those charges were dropped.
A three-member trial board must now determine what, if any, discipline to recommend to the mayor.
Jury has question in Pittsburgh beating lawsuit
PITTSBURGH — Jurors have asked a question during their third day of deliberations in the civil rights trial of three white Pittsburgh police officers being sued for allegedly beating and wrongfully arresting a young black man, but have yet to return a verdict.
The judge has told attorneys not to reveal the question.
The jurors on Monday are deliberating the wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and excessive force claims of 20-year-old Jordan Miles.
The plainclothes officers say Miles appeared to be prowling and looked like he had a gun before they stopped him on Jan. 12, 2010, then punched and kneed him after he tried to run away.
But Miles says the officers didn't identify themselves as police and rushed up to him asking if he had money, drugs and a gun, so he panicked fearing he was being robbed.
I-95 reopens near Philly after truck crashes
BENSALEM — Authorities have reopened part of Interstate 95 near Philadelphia after a tractor-trailer carrying a load of watermelons crashed, creating a mess of the highway.
The accident happened around 5 a.m. in Bucks County, near Bensalem. Investigators say the truck crossed over from the northbound lanes to the southbound lanes and landed on its side.
No injuries were reported and no other vehicles were involved.
Crews spent several hours cleaning up the scene. They later towed the truck away and patched a section of road that was gouged out by the rig.
State transportation officials say the southbound lanes of I-95 reopened around 1 p.m.
State high court schedules redistricting arguments
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday scheduled oral arguments for next month in its Philadelphia courtroom on 13 appeals to the new map of state legislative districts.
Challengers include the state Senate's Democratic members.
The Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted 4-to-1 in early June to approve the plan. The current version was produced because the Supreme Court threw out the previous plan in January, citing too many split municipalities and districts that were not sufficiently compact.
In the Senate, the current plan calls for the district of Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Allegheny, to absorb a large chunk of the area represented most recently by Sen. Jane Orie, R-Allegheny, now serving a public corruption prison sentence.
As a result, her district was moved to the fast-growing Poconos region on the opposite end of the state.
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa has said the Senate map split counties to help Republicans retain their comfortable majority in the chamber.
The commission consists of the floor leaders of both parties in each chamber, as well as senior Superior Court Judge Stephen McEwen, appointed by the Supreme Court after the other four members could not agree on a chairman.
The high court also said the Sept. 13 session will be broadcast live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Seats inside the courtroom, located in Philadelphia City Hall, will be parceled out on a first-come, first-served basis.
Legislative races in the November election are being conducted with district lines for 50 Senate and 203 House seats that date back more than a decade.
Potassium iodide tablets being distributed
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is once again providing free potassium iodide tablets to help residents of the commonwealth prepare for public health emergencies involving nuclear facilities.
People who live, work or attend school within a 10-mile radius of the state's five nuclear power plants can get the tablets, which can help protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine.
The tablets will be distributed Aug. 9 at 14 locations statewide, or can be obtained at state, county or municipal health agencies
Four 65-milligram tablets will be provided to each adult. Smaller doses will be given to children based on their age.
The department says people should only take potassium iodide tablets when directed to do so by health officials or the governor.
Orthodox rabbi sues over funeral director law
HARRISBURG — An Orthodox rabbi from western Pennsylvania wants a federal judge to prevent the state's Board of Funeral Directors from requiring the participation of licensed funeral directors in funerals that don't involve embalming.
Rabbi Daniel Wasserman sued board members and other state officials Monday over what he claims is a recent enforcement effort that infringes on religious freedoms and the right to equal protection under the law.
The 41-page complaint says the law's been enforced selectively against Jews while Amish funeral practices aren't subject to the same regulations.
It says the state agency's actions have had a "chilling effect" on the Orthodox community in Pittsburgh regarding burial rites and practices.
A spokesman for the Department of State declined comment.