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Articles written by Michael Rubinkam

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33K pounds of cocaine seized in one of biggest US drug busts

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — U.S. authorities seized more than $1 billion worth of cocaine Tuesday from a ship at a Philadelphia port, calling it one of the largest drug busts in American history. The U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia announced the...

 

Racist, violent posts by police: Departments investigating

Police departments in at least five states are investigating, and in some cases condemning, their officers' social media feeds after the weekend publication of a database that appears to catalog thousands of bigoted or violent posts by active-duty...

 

Mom admits plotting girl's death: 'I wanted her to go away'

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The mother of a girl who was raped, murdered and dismembered testified Wednesday that she helped plot the attack and carry it out, telling her daughter before her death that "I can't help you anymore." Appearing to smirk at...

 

After 'botch,' Walmart moves to keep disabled greeters

Walmart endured more than a week's worth of bad publicity before announcing publicly that it was making "every effort" to find a role for disabled workers who had been threatened with job loss as the retailer gets rid of greeters at 1,000 stores....

 

Walmart is getting rid of greeters; disabled workers worried

As Walmart moves to phase out its familiar blue-vested "greeters" at some 1,000 stores nationwide, disabled workers who fill many of those jobs say they're being ill-treated by a chain that styles itself as community-minded and inclusive. Walmart...

 

Accusers: State blew chance to stop predator pediatrician

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Nearly two decades ago, Pennsylvania regulators were confronted with evidence that a well-regarded pediatrician had fondled the genitals of two small children during office visits. Instead of holding him accountable, regulator...

 

Cops: Letters show man killed in car blast planned explosion

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A man used homemade explosives to blow up a car last weekend, killing himself, his toddler son and an adult friend in a grisly murder-suicide whose planning he described in angry letters sent to police and family members, inve...

 

False alarms highlight weaknesses in national alert system

Weather junkie John Grosso knew it was highly unlikely a monster wave was barreling toward the Connecticut coast. Still, when a tsunami warning appeared out of the blue on his phone Tuesday, he felt a twinge of fear. His co-workers, who got the same...

 

Victims on bike path came to NYC from all over the world

The victims of the New York bike path attack reflect a city that's both a melting pot and a magnet for international visitors. One of the dead was a young mother from Belgium. Five had traveled from Argentina to New York with a tight-knit group of...

 

Cell game: Novel software helping inmates find a home

A university engineering department has developed what amounts to a Tinder app for criminals — a computer program that matches inmates with suitable prisons. The software, unique in the corrections field, has saved the Pennsylvania Department of...

 

AP source: Permanent Delaware River drilling ban in works

A seven-year moratorium on natural gas development near the Delaware River would be replaced by a permanent ban under a proposal that's being developed by the agency that oversees the water supply of more than 15 million people. The Delaware River...

 

In 'Gasland' community, new tests revive old drilling debate

DIMOCK, Pa. (AP) — The well water at Ken Morcom and Kim Grosso's house is laced with so much explosive methane that a Pennsylvania environmental regulator who went there to collect samples this summer decided it would be safer to coast her SUV...

 

Meaning of 'clean coal' mentioned by Trump unclear

President Donald Trump invoked "clean coal" at Tuesday night's rally in Phoenix, repeating a phrase that's used often by coal industry supporters to put a positive spin on the heavily polluting fuel — but one that remains ambiguous in its...

 

After dismal 2016, shale gas drillers begin to turn a corner

Pennsylvania's moribund drilling industry, which has struggled with persistently low prices and a dearth of infrastructure to get its product to market, is showing signs of life. Natural gas producers drilled 397 shale wells through the first six...

 

4 plead guilty to manslaughter in fraternity hazing death

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Four men facing the most serious charges in a brutal fraternity hazing ritual that resulted in the 2013 death of a New York City college student pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter. Fraternity members at Pi...

 

For many older Americans, costs rise under GOP health plan

NEW RINGGOLD, Pa. (AP) — Among the groups hardest hit by the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is one that swung for Donald Trump during last year's presidential race — older Americans who have not yet reached Medicare age. Many...

 

Pennsylvania correlates natural gas fracking with quakes

Pennsylvania environmental regulators have found a likely correlation between a natural gas company's fracking operation and a series of tiny earthquakes in western Pennsylvania last year. The quakes were recorded last April in Lawrence County,...

 

Campus critters are nuts for Penn State's 'Squirrel Girl'

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State students know her as the Squirrel Whisperer, or even Squirrel Girl. Which suits Mary Krupa just fine. Four years ago, the 22-year-old senior became an internet sensation for placing tiny hats on the ubiquitous r...

 

In gas drilling country, the honeymoon is over on royalties

WYALUSING, Pa. (AP) — Jan Brown pores over his royalty statement and wonders where all the money went. A few months ago, the nation's second-largest natural gas producer siphoned $2,201 worth of gas from his 240-acre property — but paid him only...

 

Fake gun, real crime: Police notice uptick in replicas

Whether they shoot BBs, pellets, paintballs or nothing at all, imitation guns can be indistinguishable from the real thing — it's one reason why some criminals gravitate toward them. Plus they're cheap and easy to get. As Ohio authorities...

 

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