News from the Associated Press - February 6, 2014

Associated Press
February 6, 2014

Storm leaves hundreds of thousands in the dark

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A snow-and-ice storm that caused more than a million U.S. power outages has long since cleared out, yet its effects are expected to linger for days as utility crews work feverishly to restore electricity.

The vast majority of the outages are in a single state, Pennsylvania, where some customers could be in the dark until the weekend.

One Pennsylvania official on Wednesday likened the damage to what you'd expect to see from a hurricane.

The Northeast's second winter storm of the week dumped more than a foot of snow in some states, forcing schools, businesses and government offices to close, snarling air travel and sending cars and trucks sliding on slippery roads and highways.

What made this storm stand out — and caused all of the outages — was the thick coating of ice it left on trees and power lines.


Power slowly returning to the 849K left in dark

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Utility crews have been working through the night to try to restore power to customers following the snow and ice storm that left more than 849,000 Pennsylvania households and businesses without electricity.

PECO reported more than 423,000 customers still without power before dawn this morning in the five-county Philadelphia region, down from a peak of more than 600,000. PECO has warned that it could take until the weekend for some people get their electricity back. Most of the problems are in the Philadelphia suburbs, with more than 127,000 customers still without power in Chester County, 126,000 in Montgomery County and 111,000 in Bucks County this morning.

FirstEnergy is reporting almost 53,000 customers without power, most of them in York County. PPL is reporting more than 20,000, almost all of them in Lancaster County.


Strings in Corbett's grant proposal gets pushback

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Corbett's newly proposed grant program for public schools attaches strings to how the money is used, and that's getting pushback from Pennsylvania schools groups.

Corbett's administration defended the uses under the $340 million program as proven ways to improve student achievement. The Republican governor unveiled it a day ago as the centerpiece of his budget plan.

But groups including the Pennsylvania School Boards Association say it's better for the districts to have maximum flexibility over the money to help with difficult financial decisions.

The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials says it's a bad time to handcuff schools that are dealing with rising costs and program and personnel cuts since 2011.

Charter schools also would get grant money, the first time state aid would flow directly to them.


NY closing 4 prisons gradually over a year

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's corrections chief says the latest prison closings have been taking place gradually following notifications last summer and shuttering half-empty facilities should save taxpayers $30 million.

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci, testifying before legislators Wednesday, says the state inmate total has dropped from 71,600 in 1999 to about 54,200 currently.

People imprisoned on drug convictions have declined from 24,000 in 1996 to fewer than 6,700 at the end of last year.

Lawmakers have lowered sentences for many drug crimes.

Following notifications last summer, closings are scheduled at minimum-security Monterey Shock facility in Schuyler County and medium-security Butler in Wayne County, Chateaugay in Franklin County and Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County effective July 26.

Nine other state prison facilities were previously closed.

Associated Press 2014. All Rights Reserved.