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February 13, 2014 | By Alana Semuels and Richard Simon
NEW YORK - The sixth storm of a long, exhausting winter paralyzed residents up and down the Eastern Seaboard on Thursday as millions struggled with nasty commutes, widespread power outages, government closures, canceled flights and icy messes. More than a foot of snow fell in areas of Connecticut, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey one day after the storm battered much of the South. In a winter that has crushed many snowfall records, the latest storm heaved more grief onto shoulders weary of the relentless cycle of digging out and preparing anew.
February 9, 2014 | By Matt Pearce, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians began a fifth day without power Sunday as emergency crews worked through freezing temperatures to clear debris and downed power lines from roads. Also Sunday, a tour bus crashed in rural southern Pennsylvania, sending 27 people to hospitals in Pennsylvania and Maryland, a Bedford County emergency dispatcher told the Los Angeles Times. It was unknown whether there were fatalities. Twelve people were taken to a "safety area" to be picked up by the tour bus company, said the dispatcher, who said he was not authorized to identify himself or the company.
February 1, 2014 | David Colker
Liz Blackwelder saddled her horse in Pomona, put on her wide-brimmed hat and started riding east across the United States. She hit winter weather in Arizona and northern New Mexico, trudging on through snow and temperatures so low that icicles formed on the nose of her horse, Chungo. As the miles and months passed, she faced dust storms, rain and heat, sometimes depending on the kindness of strangers for a hot meal. Finally, six months later, she rode into Valley Forge, Pa., a distance of about 2,500 miles.
January 28, 2014 | By Saba Hamedy
A batch of "bad heroin" has killed 22 people in western Pennsylvania over six days, prompting state and local officials to try to combat the spread of the drug.  The heroin is mixed with narcotic Fentanyl, which can be 10 to 100 times more potent than morphine, officials said. It is believed to be distributed in bags stamped with the words "Theraflu" and "Bud Ice," according to the  Office of the Medical Examiner of Allegheny County. Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams said he noticed an unusual trend beginning on Friday when there were three reported overdose deaths.
January 17, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
A Pennsylvania judge struck down the key portion of the state's strict voter identification law, saying it unreasonably hinders people from exercising what is a fundamental right. In a 103-page ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley held that the law's requirement that the state's 8.2 million voters show photo identification before casting a ballot was unconstitutional. The law was passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed in 2012 by Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, despite the protest of every Democrat lawmaker.
January 11, 2014 | Wire reports
More than two decades after his futile attempt to draw Penn State's attention as a player, James Franklin was hired Saturday by the university as its football coach. Franklin, 41, replaces Bill O'Brien, who left for the NFL's Houston Texans coaching job on New Year's Eve. Franklin, who won 24 games over three seasons and went to three straight bowl games at Vanderbilt, signed a six-year contract reportedly worth about $4.5 million a season. He insisted he would not use the Nittany Lions as a steppingstone.
January 7, 2014 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK - Before WikiLeaks, before Edward Snowden, and before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks turned most government offices into fortresses, there were eight people with suitcases who broke into an FBI office housed in a suburban apartment building. They knew the building superintendent would be preoccupied that night. Like millions of Americans on March 8, 1971, he was next to his radio, transfixed by the "Fight of the Century" between heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and challenger Muhammad Ali. They stuffed the luggage full of documents, which within days were slipped into large envelopes headed for the desks of journalists, politicians and activists.
December 30, 2013 | By Saba Hamedy
When Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor - who will lead the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration Tuesday - touches off New York City's ball drop, the illuminated orb won't be the only thing falling around the country at midnight. These days, cities are dropping an array of creative items to cheering crowds as locals mimic the massive Times Square countdown event that has come to symbolize the nation's New Year's moment. Starting in Eastern Standard Time, there is a possum drop in North Carolina and a Peep drop in Pennsylvania (the marshmallow candy's home state)
December 26, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
A Pennsylvania appeals court on Thursday overturned the conviction of the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted in connection with how he handled complaints that priests had sexually abused children. Msgr. William Lynn, who has never been accused of personally molesting any child, was convicted in 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child for how he handled the case of a priest who had been accused of sexually abusing children. Lynn, who has already served about 18 months in prison, could be released as soon as Friday, a Superior Court of Pennsylvania appeals panel ruled.
December 19, 2013 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK - Frank Schaefer had prepared for the worst, but his voice shook Thursday as he described how it felt to be defrocked by the United Methodist Church after he refused to comply with its law against same-sex marriage. "I guess I took it harder than I thought I would," Schaefer said shortly after a private meeting in which church officials demanded that the pastor from Lebanon, Pa., surrender his credentials. "I was prepared for it, but it's traumatic. " Schaefer, who officiated at his son's marriage to another man in 2007, appealed, setting the stage for a drawn-out battle over an issue that has put the United Methodist Church at odds with some of its clergy and with public attitudes toward same-sex marriage.
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