Officials have agreed to spend nearly $32 million to replace signs that alert motorists to traffic problems on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.
The turnpike’s red neon signs date to the 1950s and the parkway’s dot matrix signs were installed in the 1990s. Officials say both are limited in the amount of information they can display.
Turnpike Authority assistant chief engineer Rob Fischer tells the Asbury Park Press the new signs will provide more information with improved color graphics. Fisher says they can help a driver decide to take an alternate route if there’s an accident.
Similar signs are on the parkway north, just before the Asbury Park toll plaza and on the turnpike south near Interchange 12.
AP-PA–Right Now,2297Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business and entertainment WILKES-BARRE SHOOTING Police: Man with gun wounded near NE Pa. day care WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — Police in northeastern Pennsylvania say an armed man was shot by officers near a day care center. Wilkes-Barre police say officers were dispatched just after 10 a.m. Tuesday to an area near the Kidz Korner Learning Center after a man with a gun was seen in the area. Police said when officers arrived, the man allegedly raised the firearm, which led to a confrontation and multiple shots fired. The 29-year-old Philadelphia-area man was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township, where he was listed in stable condition. Day-care center owner Brooke Ciprich said about 60 children who were inside at the time were told to get on the floor, and nobody was hurt. LAW STUDENT SLAIN Jury won’t hear rap lyrics in Pa. murder case YORK, Pa. (AP) — A central Pennsylvania judge has ruled that a jury will not hear about rap lyrics allegedly posted on the website of a teenager charged with killing a law student. York County Judge Michael Bortner ruled that the commonwealth cannot definitively link the MySpace page to 16-year-old Jordan Wallick, who is charged with killing 28-year-old University of Pittsburgh student James Wallmuth III during a botched July 28 robbery in York. Prosecutors said a song and video on the page entitled “Stickup Kids” mimic what happened in the crime. But Bortner said the lyrics “outline a very general scenario” and don’t target anyone specifically, and the song’s violent nature would make it “highly prejudicial.” He said he might allow it as rebuttal evidence depending on what the defense brings up at trial. JUNIOR DRIVERS Corbett signs Pa. bill restricting teen drivers HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A new Pennsylvania law is in place that limits how many passengers teen drivers can have in the car and increases the number of hours of behind-the-wheel experience required for a junior license. Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill Tuesday at Harrisburg High School, telling students “we want you here a long time from now.” The law also lets police stop drivers who are under the age of 18 if they or their passengers aren’t wearing seatbelts, and requires the state highway department to issue regular reports about teen driving accidents. Corbett says he wants the Legislature to pass a texting-while-driving ban for all drivers. LIQUOR STORES-PRIVATIZATION Corbett: Turzai liquor bill “the place to start’ HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Tom Corbett says he still favors the privatization of liquor and wine sales in Pennsylvania, but that limits are needed on the number of stores to be licensed. Corbett on Tuesday made public a long-awaited consultant’s report laying out two alternatives for privatization — a structured process in which retail licenses are sold at an auction or an open-market approach in which any qualified applicant could buy a license. The consultant — The PFM Group — says the sales of wholesale and retail licenses alone could raise as much as $1.6 billion. A privatization bill sponsored by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai embraces the structured, auction approach to awarding licenses. Corbett called the Allegheny County Republican’s bill “the place to start” in the privatization debate. PUBLIC SCHOOLS Revived vouchers bill heads for Pa. Senate vote HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A long-anticipated bill that would send more taxpayer money to pay for private school tuition in Pennsylvania and make it easier to open charter schools could get a Senate vote this week. The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday approved a rewritten version of legislation that had stalled in the Senate in the spring. A full Senate vote could happen as early as Wednesday. Overhauling public schools is a major priority of Gov. Tom Corbett, but the governor hasn’t endorsed the new bill and neither have House leaders. Tuition vouchers would be available to students who live in the attendance boundaries of the state’s 144 worst-performing schools and whose family income is about $41,000 or less. It also would make it easier for school boards to convert schools into charter schools. HAMMER SLAYING Man charged in Pa. murder case asks monitoring end (Information in the following story is from: Daily American, http://www.dailyamerican.com) SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) — A man accused of giving advice on the use of a firearm to a western Pennsylvania woman charged in the shooting death of her housemate is asking a judge to release him from electronic monitoring. The (Somerset) Daily American says 24-year-old William Nair Jr. of Friedens is seeking removal of the ankle bracelet being monitored by probation officials. A hearing will be scheduled on the request. State police in Somerset County allege that Nair sent text messages to 25-year-old Erin Everett on proper ammunition and loading instructions for the firearm that they allege Everett used to kill 21-year-old Tory Minnick of Meyersdale in March. He is charged with criminal conspiracy. Police allege that Everett shot and struck Minnick in the head with a hammer, then faked a break-in. RAPE CHARGE-DNA W. Pa. man charged in 2002 rape (Information in the following story is from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, http://www.post-gazette.com) PITTSBURGH (AP) — Police say a Butler County man has been charged with a 2002 rape after DNA tests matched evidence in the case. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Tuesday that 45-year-old Ralph S. Skundrich, of Middlesex, allegedly broke into the Cranberry woman’s apartment and raped her. Authorities say Skundrich was identified as a suspect in March 2010 after a preliminary match from DNA that was collected when he was in prison in an unrelated case. Police say more definitive lab testing led to Skundrich’s arrest. The paper reports that Skundrich has a criminal history in Pennsylvania dating to 1987 for crimes including theft, and is awaiting trial on assault charges in Allegheny County and on drug charges in Westmoreland County. FUGITIVE CAPTURED Pa. fugitive caught from expired car registration (Information in the following story is from: The Express-Times, http://www.lehighvalleylive.com ) EASTON, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say an expired car registration has put an eastern Pennsylvania man behind bars after 25 years on the lam. The Express-Times of Easton reports 64-year-old Alfred Libiano was arrested Friday after a traffic stop in Monroe County. A state police trooper stopped Libiano after records showed the car had an expired registration. When the trooper ran Libiano’s name, police said the old warrant from Northampton County came up. Court records show Libiano has an aggravated assault charge from 1983 for beating his wife and another person with a ball peen hammer. Libiano was sentenced to two to five years in prison and walked away from work release in 1986. He now faces an escape charge. It wasn’t clear if he had a lawyer. WHISTLEBLOWER FRAUD Whistleblower admits forging letter, faces 2 years PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A whistleblower could get prison time for giving federal prosecutors in Philadelphia a doctored piece of evidence in a price-fixing probe. The case involves a grand jury investigation into the oil-filter industry. Fired sales executive William Burch of Tulsa, Okla., filed a 2008 whistleblower suit accusing Champion Industries and others of price-fixing. The Justice Department’s antitrust division opened a criminal investigation, while mechanics and others filed dozens of related lawsuits around the country. The 53-year-old Burch now admits he doctored a letter from competitor Honeywell International to bolster his whistleblower suit. The Justice Department says it spent nearly $84,000 on the abandoned grand jury probe. Prosecutors will seek a two-year sentence at a hearing Wednesday, while Burch hopes for probation. Burch’s lawyers insist the price-fixing claims remain valid. RED LIGHT CAMERAS Pa. Senate approves red-light cameras in 19 cities HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A bill that would authorize 19 more cities in Pennsylvania to install red-light cameras in an effort to improve traffic safety is headed to the state House. Senators voted 35-14 on Tuesday to approve the bill. The cameras are already used in Philadelphia to nab red-light runners and traffic law violators. Under the bill, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Erie, Allentown and 15 other cities with a minimum population of 18,000 could use the cameras if the state Transportation Department approves the city’s plan. The maximum fine of $100 would be earmarked for highway and road improvements. Half of the money would go to the city where the violation occurred, and the rest would go to other areas. The state Senate last year approved a similar bill that died in the House. GAS DRILLING-WATER WELLS New Pa. study on water wells and gas drilling PITTSBURGH (AP) — A new report says that tests of water wells near gas drilling sites generally didn’t find significant changes in water quality. But the report issued Tuesday by The Center for Rural Pennsylvania says that 33 of the 233 water supply owners felt that some aspect of their well water changed as a result of nearby gas drilling. The center is funded by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Penn State University researchers who wrote the report say dissolved methane increased at one drilling site and increases in bromide levels at numerous sites may suggest more subtle impacts to groundwater that need more research. The report also notes that about 40 percent of the wells failed at least one water quality test before gas drilling occurred, mostly for coliform bacteria and turbidity. RAIL YARD ACCIDENT Man killed in accident at eastern Pa. rail yard BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a man killed in an accident at a truck-train transfer station in eastern Pennsylvania. Officials in Northampton County say the man was pinned between two truck containers shortly before 7 p.m. Monday at the Bethlehem Intermodal rail yard. Coroner Zachary Lysek identified him Tuesday as 30-year-old Torren Kline of Bethlehem and said he had ruled the death an accident. Police said Kline was one of several operators working to prepare truck containers before they are placed on railroad cars. FUGITIVE CAPTURED Pa. fugitive caught from expired car registration (Information in the following story is from: The Express-Times, http://www.lehighvalleylive.com ) EASTON, Pa. (AP) — An expired car registration has landed a man back in prison after 25 years on the lam, police said. Alfred Libiano, 64, of Easton, walked away from work release at the Northampton County Prison on May 9, 1986, but was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police during a traffic stop in Monroe County. State police said a trooper stopped Libiano on Friday after records showed the car had an expired registration. When the trooper ran Libiano’s name, the 1986 warrant from Northampton County warrant came up, police said. Northampton County sheriff deputies were bringing Libiano back to the county prison Tuesday, Public Safety Administrator John McGeehan said. “We’ve been looking for him for a long time,” McGeehan said. “I’ve always felt he would make a mistake. Those are the things that catch up with these guys, something simple.” Authorities went so far as to stake out the 2008 funeral for Libiano’s sister to see if he would make an appearance. “He was a no show,” McGeehan said. Court records show Libiano has an aggravated assault charge from 1983 for beating his wife and another person with a ball-peen hammer. The following year, Libiano was sentenced to two to five years in prison. He now faces an escape charge. It wasn’t clear if he had a lawyer. BROKEN BRIDGES Auditor general calls for action on Pa. bridges HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania state government’s financial watchdog is calling for action to address deficient bridges and crumbling roadways. Democratic Auditor General Jack Wagner said Tuesday that rebuilding the state’s transportation infrastructure is the most important issue currently facing the state. He says investing in those projects is the fastest way to boost Pennsylvania’s economy. He calls the state’s bridges, rated the worst in the country, more than an inconvenience, that they’re also a safety hazard. Republican Gov. Tom Corbett says he hasn’t decided how to respond to an internal study of transportation funding needs issued this summer by his hand-picked commission. The AP reported in July the state spends about $600 million annually to repair bridges, a job that would cost about $8.7 billion to complete. CARETAKER FRAUD-FUGITIVE Police: Pa. woman stole man’s home, $100k, fled US NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Police near Philadelphia say a caretaker has left the country after scamming an elderly man out of his home and life savings. Authorities believe 57-year-old Janet Gitney of Lansdale is in the Philippines. Police say she transferred the man’s house in Hatfield into her name this year, moved him to a nursing home and drained $100,000 from his retirement accounts. They say Gitney told them she had cared for the man since 2007. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman says a previous caregiver had defrauded the same victim. And she says Gitney abandoned her own father, who later died, when she fled. A judge says authorities can seize the home and Gitney’s own home for possible restitution. Gitney does not have a lawyer listed in the theft and fraud case. COLONIAL THEATRE EXPANSION Century-old Philly-area theater to expand (Information in the following story is from: Daily Local News, http://www.dailylocal.com) PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A century-old theater in suburban Philadelphia is set to expand into an adjacent building with the help of $250,000 in state funding. The Daily Local News says officials say the expansion will give the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville more space and allow it to offer more programs. The money is coming from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The 108-year-old theater was featured in the 1958 science fiction film “The Blob” starring Steve McQueen. An annual “Blobfest” celebration features a recreation of the movie’s famous scene in which moviegoers run outside in terror fleeing the oozing monster that has taken over the theater. (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APNP 10-26-11 0156EDT