The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 24, 2013

Today Across Pennsylvania

The Associated Press

— Here are some of the stories making news today across Pennsylvania:

ELIZABETHTOWN — A central Pennsylvania school district has scrapped a controversial policy that said its curriculum would not “promote or encourage” same-sex relationships or orientation.

The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era reports the board of the Elizabethtown Area School District decided last week to delete the entire policy. Board president Terry Seiders said it held no educational value.

The main element of the policy said “the curriculum will not promote or encourage same-sex relationships or orientation.”

Approved in February 1997, its passage included months of board meetings that drew up to 1,200 people. It led to a walkout of more than 200 students, resulting in more than 100 suspensions.

Board members say the policy came up last week as part of the board’s regular review of existing policies.

TREVOSE — Emergency crews are resuming their search for two teenagers who went missing while swimming in a Philadelphia-area creek.

The teens were reported missing around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday while swimming with a third friend in Neshaminy Creek in Bucks County. Bucks County Public Safety Director Fred Harran says the teens, ages 18 and 19, were swimming in roiling waters near the Neshaminy Falls train station.

Firefighters returned to the creek with specialized equipment Wednesday, searching for the missing swimmers.

Harran says they got swept away by the current. One teen made it out and was treated at the scene. He told emergency crews he never saw the other teens get out of the creek.

CHESTER — Authorities say a house fire just outside Philadelphia has left two people dead and a third person critically injured. Several firefighters also suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the blaze.

The fire broke out at the home in Chester around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and firefighters say there were people trapped inside. The blaze was quickly brought under control, but authorities say at least two people have been killed. A third person has been critically injured and was taken to a hospital.

Authorities also say two firefighters were hurt, but that their injuries aren’t believed to be life-threatening.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

STATE COLLEGE - Two local causes aimed at protecting children from abuse will share more than $188,000 that Penn State is donating from its football bowl revenues, the university announced Tuesday.

The new children’s advocacy center, to be in Bellefonte, and the Stewards of Children awareness training initiative each will receive $94,172. The money will be channeled through the Centre County United Way.

Penn State would have received $2.26 million in bowl revenue-sharing from this past season, but the university had to forfeit the money as part of the NCAA and Big Ten sanctions.

Instead, each of the 12 universities in the conference - including Penn State - split Penn State’s revenues and each will donate those shares to an organization of its choice.

PHILADELPHIA — Three strip clubs in Philadelphia are fighting a city effort to tax lap dances, which they say would cost them as much as $1.5 million.

The city’s Tax Review Board will decide in the next several weeks whether Club Risque, Cheerleaders and Delilah’s will owe an “amusement tax.” The levy is often paid on tickets to ballgames and concerts, but there’s an exemption for “legitimate contemporary American theater.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports ( ) lawyers for the clubs argued before a tax panel Tuesday that exotic dancing is a theatrical performance. They commissioned a report from Queens College professor Katherine Profeta, who found the performances fell into the “multi-focal, immersive theater experience.”

Deputy City Solicitor Marissa O’Connell argued the businesses had never before described themselves as theaters.