News for 12-18-13

Hearing

It was a hearing that was scheduled for up to 4 days but ended in minutes. No arguments were heard yesterday in the cases against Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. Judge Todd A Hoover ruled that former Penn State Counsil Cynthia Baldwin and other witnesses did not have to testify at the hearing. However, Baldwin’s grand jury testimony has been unsealed and will be made public soon. Baldwin is also at the center of the case because all three former administrators facing the charges believed she was acting as their attorney when they went before the grand jury, but argue prosecutors built their case by improperly making Baldwin a witness.Spanier, Curley and Schultz all face charges of perjury, child endangerment, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice and failure to report suspected abuse. All three men maintain their innocence. 

General Assembly

Legislation to shrink the size of the general assembly is moving along. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved 2 bills yesterday that would reduce the size of the legislature. The house voted 148-50 to reduce the size of their own chamber to 153, down from 203. They also voted on another bill that would reduce the size of the Senate from 50 members down to 38. The bill now moves to the Senate who is in recess for the rest of the year. 

County Budget

Centre County residents will have another year without a county tax increase. The Board of Commissioners unanimously passed its 2014 budget yesterday with an increase. The budget totals just over 68 point 3 million dollars with $500,000 set aside for other projects. The Board is also using $300,000 from the unassigned general reserve fund to balance the budget.

Trustee Ballots

Alumni nominations for the 2014 Board of Trustees elections will open on January 15 and be accepted through February 25, the university announced yesterday. The trustees will email nomination information to all Penn State Alumni Association members or those who have contributed financially to the university in the past 2 years. Those who requested a ballot during either of the last 2 elections will also receive a ballot automatically at the email address on file. Alumni who don’t receive the nomination email on January 15 can request a ballot by going to psu dot edu slash trustees slash 2014 election.

Pennsylvania Tax

Pennsylvania earned top honors for tax administration. This week the Council on State Taxation (COST) named the commonwealth the most improved state in the nation going from a D rating and A- in its most recent tax administration scorecard. Key changes improving Pennsylvania’s COST ranking included restructuring the Board of Finance and Revenue within the Treasury department to better address tax appeals functions. Changes also included making the appeals process easier and more fair for tax payers.

Garman

The demolition of the historic Garman Theatre and Hotel Do De is just about set to begin. According to the Centre Daily Times, John Niebauer Jr, the president of the contracting company in charge of the demolition, said the beginning of it is set for Friday. Earthmovers Unlimited Inc will use excavation machinery with demolition attachments to take down the two properties piece by piece. The process is expected to take three to four weeks.Developer Ara Kervandjian and the Progress Development Group are expected to turn both buildings along with the Cadillac building into units of workforce housing apartments.