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PennLive searches for the 'best scenic view in Pennsylvania'

Check out this list of the most scenic views in the Keystone State -- and then vote for your favorite.

This is a list of views that take your breath away. We looked for something from all four corners of the state; many are a several-hour drive from here. A few are from the midstate. Some are overlooks while forests or skyscrapers frame some others. Many evolve with the march of the calendar and the change of the seasons. All really are worth seeing at any time of the year although be aware you might need to hike to reach the perfect spot for the view.?

Original source: PennLive

University of Pennsylvania wins contract to treat memory deficits

The University of Pennsylvania was one of two institutions to win a Department of Defense contract to develop brain implants for memory deficits.

Their aim is to develop new treatments for traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Its most devastating symptom is the blunting of memory and reasoning. Scientists have found in preliminary studies that they can sharpen some kinds of memory by directly recording, and stimulating, circuits deep in the brain...

“A decade ago, only a handful of centers had the expertise to perform such real-time experiments in the context of first-rate surgery,” said Michael Kahana, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania and the recipient of one of the new contracts granted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa. “Today, there are dozens of them, and more on the way; this area is suddenly hot.”

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

PA man receives draft notice 102 years late

A late Rockland Township man recently received a draft notice in the mail -- 102 years late.

Martha Weaver, now in her 80s, tells The (Oil City) Derrick ( http://bit.ly/VJQzHh ) that the Selective Service System notice arrived Saturday in Rockland Township, Venango County. That's about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Her father's name was Fred Minnick, though the notice misspelled the last name "Minick" and warns that failure to register is "punishable by a fine and imprisonment."

Her father was born on June 12, 1894, which means he would have turned 18 in 1912.

Original source: ABC News
Read the complete story here.

Ride-share legislation introduced in Pennsylvania Senate

State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Allegheny, has introduced legislation aimed at allowing ride-sharing services like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. to operate in the state permanently.

“My legislation resolves outstanding issues and would enable the ride-sharing companies to continue operating,” Fontana said in a statement. “The bill includes provisions that promote safety and security for riders while compelling companies to maintain sufficient insurance coverage for contingencies.”
Provisions of Senate Bill 1457 include:
  • requiring ride-sharing companies to maintain detailed records;
  • establishing driver-training programs;
  • enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol use and the crafting of a complaint reporting system;
  • implementing a background check system and the developing specific driver guidelines that deal with past criminal, moving violations or driving under the influence history.
The legislation also requires drivers to have an updated photo in plain view. The driver would not be permitted to pick up passengers who "hail" the vehicle while in use. It also specifically identifies vehicles that may be used for ride-sharing and a detailed inspection protocol to alleviate safety concerns. The company must also maintain specific levels of insurance for liability, medical payments, comprehensive, collision and uninsured/underinsured coverage.

Original source: Pittsburgh Business Times
Read the complete story here.

Pennsylvania is home to 'Ringing Rocks' that could tell us something about Stonehenge

Were Stonehenge's rocks used to make music? Perhaps. Pennsylvania is home to our own set of "Ringing Rocks."

Theories surrounding the monument’s intended purpose — temple? observatory? big sundial? — go in and out of fashion. But this year, the partygoers will show up outside Salisbury, England, with fresh evidence that the site was always intended to host such shenanigans.

Specifically, making loud rock music.

Researchers from the Royal College of Art in London have found that some of the monument’s rocks possess unusual acoustic properties; when struck, they make a loud, clanging noise. Perhaps, they say, this explains why these particular rocks were chosen and hauled from nearly 200 miles away — a significant technical feat some 4,000 years ago.

Could it be that Stonehenge was actually a prehistoric glockenspiel?

...Though Mr. Devereux and Mr. Wozencroft may be the first to suggest that Stonehenge was built for making noise, they are not the first to notice the ringing of Preseli’s rocks: a nearby town is named Maenclochog, which means ringing rocks. Some local churches used the rocks as bells until the 1700s.

And ringing rocks are found far beyond Wales, in Sweden, China, Australia, the United States and elsewhere. These days, the surprisingly high-pitched chimes of Ringing Rock State Park in Bucks County, Pa., can be heard all over via YouTube...

Lawrence L. Malinconico, a geologist at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania who has studied the terrain at Ringing Rock Park for years, credits a combination of composition and density for the phenomenon. Like Stonehenge, the Pennsylvania site is filled with diabase rocks, which are abundant in iron and magnesium and spent about 170 million years below ground before rising to the surface and cooling.

“When they cool, it’s something like forging a cast-iron bell,” said Dr. Malinconico. The resulting rock is dense enough to produce a high-pitched tone when struck.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

President Obama steps in to halt transit strike

President Obama ordered an emergency mediation process, halting the SEPTA transit strike in southeastern PA.

The Presidential Emergency Board will now beginning hearing arguments from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and two unions representing about 400 electrical workers and engineers. The unions want a compensation plan similar to what bus drivers agreed to a few years ago, but the agency hasn't met their demand, they say.

The workers went on strike after midnight Saturday, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, soon requested that Obama intervene.

Under the Railway Labor Act, the governor of any affected state may ask the president to appoint an emergency mediation panel to settle a union's dispute with publicly funded commuter rail services. Obama recently created such a board to help with a labor battle at the Long Island Rail Road, and employees have about a month left in the process before they may strike. 

Original source: The Los Angeles Time
Read the complete story here.

Pennsylvania wins Silver Shovel Award for second straight year

The 2014 Silver Shovel awards recognize states with the most significant industrial groundbreakings or expansions each year.

A Walmart distribution center in Northampton County and a manufacturing plant in Berks County have helped Pennsylvania win a prestigious Silver Shovel Award for the second year in a row from Area Development magazine. They are among 10 projects in 11 counties that are projected to create a total of  4,800 new jobs and generate $796 million in private investment...

Area Development’s annual Shovel Awards are open to all 50 states to submit information about its top 10 job creation and investment projects.

Original source: WFMZ
Read the complete story here.

LGBT couples now have weddings to plan

After the recent ruling legalizing gay marriage, couples get to wedding planning -- which should be a boon to the state's economy.

Getting married was not a pressing priority for Christine Donato and Sandy Ferlanie, despite their being plaintiffs in the case that led a federal judge to strike down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage on Tuesday.

But Gov. Tom Corbett’s decision not to appeal the ruling by Judge John E. Jones III of Federal District Court suddenly transformed marriage for the couple from a distant prospect into a near-term reality...The women received the news of Mr. Corbett’s decision while sitting in the living room of their shingle-clad suburban home. Tears, cheers and hugs quickly followed...

For Ms. Donato, 45, and Ms. Ferlanie, 46, the legalization of same-sex marriage in their home state will allow them to tell their 5-year-old son, Henry, that his parents are finally getting married, just like the parents of many of his kindergarten friends.

They also hope that an early wedding ceremony will allow them to be married in the presence of their parents, who are in their 70s and 80s.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Penn State researchers explore happiness in the workplace

Researchers at Penn State looked at cortisone levels to determine how happy people are at work.

While work is widely viewed as the major source of stress for Americans, new research shows that people have significantly lower stress levels when they are at the office compared to their time at home.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University tested the cortisol levels of 122 workers during the workday and on weekends. Using saliva samples, they found that levels of cortisol – which is a biological marker for stress – were on the whole much lower when the person was at work than when he or she went home.

The finding suggests that for many people, the workplace is a sort of haven away from life’s daily problems. At home, the pressures of juggling work and family responsibilities set in and cause us to feel more stress.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Pennsylvania Food & Wine Festival set for this weekend

Pennsylvania Food & Wine Festival at the Monroeville Convention Center will showcase the state's top producers.

Sure, you can buy wine from all around the world, but the 15 wineries participating in a festival this week want to show folks what's being made right here in Pennsylvania.

The second annual Pennsylvania Wine & Food Festival, set for June 14 at the Monroeville Convention Center, will feature more than 60 exhibitors, including 15 wineries from Western and Central Pennsylvania and other parts of the state.

“We look forward to this event,” says Tina West, co-owner of Allegheny Cellars Winery in Sheffield, Warren County. The winery makes red, white, blush and fruit wines and is bringing eight kinds of wine for visitors to taste.

“I think it educates the people in Pennsylvania about Pennsylvania wines and the different types of grapes that we grow here, as opposed to California,” West says.

At the festival's entrance, visitors will be given a 2-ounce wine glass, which they can take from booth to booth to get unlimited samples from 150 wines. If they make a purchase, they can pick up the bottle or case on the way out or drink it at the festival along with any food they buy. The food vendors, largely local, offer items including homemade dips, cheeses, meats, cookies and fudge.

Original source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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A journey through Pennsylvania history through its farm buildings

Pennsylvania is filled with beautiful farm buildings that tell the state's rich agricultural history.

The rustic beauty of Pennsylvania’s farmhouses, barns and outbuildings often strikes motorists traveling the highways that crisscross the rural heartland of the state, but few people realize the stories these buildings can tell us about the past — and maybe the future — of agriculture.

They can reveal how farm families in Pennsylvania lived and worked, as well as who settled the state, says Sally McMurry, professor of American history, Penn State. Handsome farmhouses and barns often literally and figuratively overshadow plainer and smaller agricultural outbuildings, but the latter structures focus a historic spotlight on the diversity and entrepreneurialism of Pennsylvania farming operations.

Original source: Gant Daily
Read the complete story here.

Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner killed in plane crash

Lewis Katz, a co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, was killed in a plane crash in Massachusetts. 

At the last minute on Saturday, Lewis Katz, a philanthropist and co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, invited Anne Leeds, a longtime friend and neighbor from Longport, N.J., to accompany him and two others on a quick day trip to Concord, Mass. They were going up to help support a nonprofit education effort.

The day before, Mr. Katz had also invited Edward G. Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania. Such spur-of-the-moment invitations from Mr. Katz were common, a function of his access to a jet and his spontaneous personality.

While Mr. Rendell could not make the trip, Ms. Leeds could, and she was ready to go within a couple of hours.
But on the way home on Saturday night, the trip ended in disaster when the plane exploded in a fireball in suburban Boston. Everyone on board — four passengers, two pilots and one cabin attendant — was killed.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here; or click here for the Inquirer's reporting.

Adaptimmune to develop early-stage cancer drug with GlaxoSmithKline

Adaptimmune, a local company Keystone Edge has covered in the past, has reached a $350 million deal with GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical giant with a presence in the Navy Yard, to develop new cancer treatments.

Founded in 2008, Adaptimmune, which is privately held, is developing cancer treatments designed to strengthen a patient’s white blood cells. The company’s research arm is based in Oxford, England, and its clinical operations are based in Philadelphia.

Under the agreement, Adaptimmune could receive more than $350 million in payments from Glaxo over the next seven years. It would receive additional payments if Glaxo exercised all of its options under the deal and if certain milestones were met.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Tax advice for PA's LGBT spouses

Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage law means a complicated tax riddle for newly-hitched LGBT couples. The Business Journal provides some advice.

Now that the federal courts have ruled that Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, and Governor Corbett has announced that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will not appeal the ruling, it is an appropriate time to consider the gains and losses, pluses and minuses, and financial planning challenges for LGBT and other non-traditional couples.

It has been determined that LGBT couples can file joint federal income tax returns if they are married. In fact, if they were legally married in a state or country that recognized same-sex marriages, they are required to file joint federal income tax returns or, alternately, “married filing separately.” As with traditional heterosexual couples, the decision to file either married or married filing separately can be based on a variety of financial and other considerations.

Perhaps most importantly, with the law in Pennsylvania now settled, Pennsylvania LGBT couples need to look at income tax planning, estate tax planning, gift planning and other aspects of their wills, trusts and joint decisions with essentially the same options for processes and pitfalls, as traditional married couples. Other nontraditional couples -- whether same-sex or opposite sex, living together, owning property together and considering themselves to be “life partners” -- need to continue to recognize where good planning, tax advice and legal advice are required to avoid unforeseen problems for the couple, their families, their children and other loved ones.

Original source: The Philadelphia Business Journal
Read the complete story here.

Taking a deeper look at Pennsylvania Dutch cooking

Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is often misunderstood; a writer for The Tribune-Review examines this delicious culinary tradition.

Pennsylvania Dutch cooking does not seem to capture the food lover's imagination the way barbecue, Southern, Cajun/Creole, Pacific Northwest or other American cooking styles do. Ask most people what they know of it, and they are likely to mention the tourist smorgasbords of Lancaster County or — gasp! — scrapple.

As a native son of the cuisine, I've always wondered why. While you might not hanker for crispy fried slices of scrapple the way I do, there's much appealing comfort food to be found. And, while it is overlooked and often misunderstood, it is more widespread than you think; as food historian William Woys Weaver says, “You can get Pennsylvania Dutch cooking in Ontario.”

Why hasn't it become more famous, then? Weaver says it's because there are two very different cookeries involved: the real thing (home cooking) and the tourist fare that developed in the 1930s.

“The great myth is that Pennsylvania Dutch means Amish, when, in fact, the Amish represent only about 5 percent of the total Pennsylvania Dutch population,” says Weaver, director of the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism in Devon, Pa. “They are good farmers, but culinary art is not what they are about.”

Original source: The Tribune-Review
Read the complete story here.
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