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PRISON PRIVATIZATION-FOOD

Ohio: 2nd fine levied against prison food vendor

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio prisons director says the state has levied a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year.

Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the $130,200 fine was determined earlier this month against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services.

Mohr announced the fine Wednesday during testimony before a state prisons oversight committee hearing concerns about Aramark's performance.

Mohr said the fine relates to continued staff shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and sanitation issues.

The state levied a $142,000 fine against Aramark in April.

John Hanner, president of Aramark Correctional Services, defended his company's record in Ohio to the committee, saying food delays and substitutions have happened less than 1 percent of the time.

Problems like maggots in food, staffing shortages and reports of running out of food have emerged since Aramark took over.

PRISON CONTRACT-MICHIGAN

Opponents press Snyder to cancel prison contract

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Opponents are pressing Gov. Rick Snyder's administration to cancel the state's contract with a company that provides food in the prison system.

The liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan says local officials on Thursday will demand cancellation of Aramark's contract in a call with reporters. They'll also ask local governments to investigate their own contracts with the company.

Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services has come under scrutiny for maggots found in a prison's food area and infractions such as workers having sex with inmates. Michigan Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan says a decision on the contract remains weeks away.

Michigan's in the first year of a three-year contract with Aramark that's expected to save $16 million a year. Michigan has fined Aramark $98,000 for violations.

Aramark faces similar sanitation complaints in Ohio.

UPMC-TRESPASSING

30 protesters arrested in union rallies at UPMC

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Organizers say 30 protesters have been arrested during a demonstration for a labor union and higher employee wages at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

UPMC officials haven't commented on Wednesday's events organized by the Service Employees International Union outside UPMC's Pittsburgh headquarters.

The protest was peaceful but snarled downtown Pittsburgh traffic nearby. Union officials say UPMC has retaliated and fired employees who supported unionization.

Earlier, three union janitors, two union officials and a minister were cited for trespassing for refusing to leave UPMC's Aiken Medical Building next to UPMC Shadyside Hospital. They were protesting because UPMC in June hired a company that uses non-union janitors to clean the building.

Pitcairn-based ServiceMaster uses union labor and lost the contract in May.

SUNOCO PIPELINE

Sunoco Logistics pipeline dealt setback

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Sunoco Logistics got a setback to its planned propane and ethane pipeline across southern Pennsylvania.

In a decision released Wednesday, two administrative law judges advised state utility regulators to deny the company's request to exempt pump stations and valve control stations from local zoning ordinances.

The judges say the buildings can't be exempt because Sunoco Logistics' Mariner East pipeline service doesn't constitute public utility service. The service is to begin later this year.

The pipeline is to originate in the southwestern Pennsylvania town of Houston amid the area's Marcellus Shale drilling fields and end at the company's distribution facilities in southeastern Pennsylvania's Delaware County.

The parties can submit new arguments by Aug. 19 and replies by Aug. 29. Then the final decision is in the hands of the five-member Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

UNIVERSITY-HARASSMENT SUIT

Pa. AG: No probe of former university official

(AP) - The Pennsylvania attorney general's office says it won't begin a criminal investigation of a former state university official accused of sexually assaulting students several years ago.

State prosecutor Lawrence Cherba announced the decision in a letter to the lawyer for three former students who have sued former East Stroudsburg University Vice President Isaac Sanders.

Cherba says state investigators can't conduct a criminal probe because the attorney general's office is already defending the university in the students' lawsuit. A federal civil trial on the students' claims is scheduled for October. Sanders denies wrongdoing.

The students' lawyer, Albert Murray Jr., had urged Attorney General Kathleen Kane to investigate Sanders or appoint a special prosecutor.

Murray released the state's response this week. He says his clients deserve a "full, fair, and just resolution" by law enforcement.

INTERMEDIATE UNIT DIRECTOR-CHARGES

Former education exec pleads guilty to theft

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The former executive director of a western Pennsylvania regional educational agency has pleaded guilty to a federal charge that she used her work credit card for personal purchases.

Cecelia Yauger, 56, of Grove City, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to one count of theft involving a program that receives federal funds.

Yauger resigned in April 2013 from Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV, which provides educational services on a regional basis to students in Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.

Prosecutors say Yauger used her employer's credit card for personal purchases, including at restaurants, pharmacies, department stores and retail outlets.

Yauger, who is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 14, faces a potential prison term of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine.

NFL CONCUSSION LAWSUIT

NFL retirees lose round in concussion settlement

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal judge has rejected an attempt by seven former professional football players to intervene in a tentative class action settlement of concussion claims that would cost the NFL at least $765 million.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody issued an order in Philadelphia late Tuesday denying the NFL retirees' motion to intervene in the case.

The players object to the settlement, calling it a "lousy deal" for ex-players whose symptoms don't qualify them for compensation. Brody's order said that players who object to the deal can raise their concerns at a fairness hearing scheduled for Nov. 19, or opt out of the settlement.

Brody gave preliminary approval to the settlement earlier this month.

The group includes 2008 Pro Bowl player Sean Morey, now Princeton University's sprint football coach.

ZONING OFFICIAL-FACEBOOK

Scranton official lashes out in Facebook message

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A zoning board official in one of Pennsylvania biggest cities says she won't resign over a private Facebook message to a city activist calling him a "joke" and "clueless."

Scranton Zoning Board Chairwoman Carri Newcomb told the Times-Tribune of Scranton that her message to Doug Miller had nothing to do with the board.

She says she lashed out because Miller has posted comments online in the past that were critical of her and her husband as part of a personal vendetta.

Miller publicly posted Ms. Newcomb's Sunday message on his Facebook page and denies previously criticizing the Newcombs online.

He says she's bullying him for being politically active and that she should resign because she's in a position of authority and should be held to a higher standard.

GROUND ZERO-BURIED SHIP

Researchers: World Trade Center ship dates to 1773

NEW YORK (AP) - Researchers say a ship unearthed at the site of New York's World Trade Center predates American independence.

Columbia University scientists say they've determined wood used in the ship's frame came from a Philadelphia-area forest in 1773 - two years before the start of the Revolutionary War and three before the Declaration of Independence.

Researchers say they've tentatively identified the ship as a Philadelphia-built sloop, a ship designed by the Dutch to carry passengers and cargo over shallow, rocky water.

After sailing for two or three decades, pieces of the ship were used as landfill to extend lower Manhattan.

A 32-foot piece of the vessel was found four years ago about 20 feet under a street during construction of the new One World Trade Center. The research was published in July.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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