Sunday Hunting Days Poised to Become Law in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf will sign legislation allowing hunting on three Sundays a year in Pennsylvania. The Senate voted 38-11 on Wednesday. The bill permits Sunday hunting one day during rifle deer season, one during statewide archery deer season and a third day the Game Commission selects. The long-fought issue overcame opposition from farmers and outdoors groups. Pennsylvania has banned Sunday hunting since the 19th century, although there are currently several exceptions.

Center Volunteer Fire Department Awarded Grant from Energy Transfer

(Photo taken by Sandy Giordano)

The Center Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a grant from Energy Transfer. Beaver County Radio News Correspondent Sandy Giordano has more. Click on ‘play’ to hear Sandy’s report…

New, old drugs may offer fresh ways to fight heart disease

New, old drugs may offer fresh ways to fight heart disease
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE AP Chief Medical Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Novel drugs may offer fresh ways to reduce heart risks beyond the usual medicines to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
One new study found that heart attack survivors benefited from a medicine long used to treat gout. Several experimental drugs also showed early promise for interfering with heart-harmful genes without modifying the genes themselves — in one case, with treatment just twice a year.
The research was featured at an American Heart Association conference ending Monday in Philadelphia.
“There’s a lot of excitement” about the new gene-targeting medicines, especially because they seem to last so long, said Dr. Karol Watson, of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Scientists have been exploring gene therapy — altering DNA — to attack the root cause of many diseases. The new drugs essentially accomplish the same thing without tampering with genes, said the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Daniel Rader, who has consulted for some makers of these drugs.
The medicines work by silencing or blocking messages that genes give to cells to make proteins that can do harm, such as allowing cholesterol to accumulate. The first few of these “RNA-interference” drugs recently were approved for other conditions, and research is also targeting heart disease.
Farthest along is inclisiran, tested in 1,561 people with heart disease from clogged arteries who still had high LDL, the bad form of cholesterol, despite taking standard drugs. They were given a shot of inclisiran or a dummy drug when they joined the study, three months later and then every six months.
The drug lowered LDL by 56% without serious side effects. More testing will show whether it also lowers heart attacks and other problems, not just cholesterol. Inclisiran’s maker, The Medicines Company, plans to seek federal approval for it later this year.
Two other RNA interference drugs aim at a different target — triglycerides, another fat in the blood that’s elevated in one quarter of Americans. Treatments include very low-fat diets, weight loss, fish oil and drugs, but doctors say more and better therapies are needed.
Each RNA interference drug was tested at various doses in 40 people. A single shot lowered triglycerides by 30% to 67%, and the benefit lasted for at least four months. The studies were just intended to show safety; Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals is developing both drugs.
Other research found new benefits from older drugs. AstraZeneca’s Farxiga, originally developed to treat diabetes, also lowered the risk of heart problems in heart failure patients who did not have diabetes. Among 2,605 of such patients treated for 18 months, about 9% of those on Farxiga had worsening heart failure or heart-related death versus nearly 13% of those not given the drug. That worked out to a 27% lower risk, without extra serious side effects.
Surprising benefits also were seen in a Canadian study of the decades-old gout drug. The anti-inflammatory drug colchicine — sold as Colcrys, Mitigare and in generic form — was tested in 4,745 people who recently had a heart attack.
After about two years, colchicine users had a 23% lower risk of suffering a new heart attack, heart-related death, stroke, cardiac arrest or urgent need for an artery-opening procedure compared with a group given dummy pills. The benefit came mostly from preventing strokes and artery-opening procedures, and some heart doctors would rather have seen more difference in heart attacks and deaths.
Colchicine is being tested in several other studies, and more evidence is needed before using it routinely to lower heart risks, Dr. L. Kristin Newby of Duke University wrote in a commentary published with the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, a Northwestern University cardiologist and program chief for the heart conference, was more supportive.
“When you have a safe drug that’s easily available, it’s going to be hard to hold this one back,” he said.
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Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP
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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

3 people killed in Oklahoma Walmart shooting

Police chief: 3 people killed in Oklahoma Walmart shooting
By SEAN MURPHY Associated Press
DUNCAN, Oklahoma (AP) — Two men and a woman were fatally shot Monday morning outside a Walmart store in southwestern Oklahoma, and the shooter is among the dead, authorities said.
Two victims were shot inside a car and the third was in the parking lot outside the store in Duncan, Police Chief Danny Ford said.
Two bodies covered with sheets were visible in the parking lot Monday afternoon. One body was in the driver’s seat of a red, two-door car. The other body was lying on the ground next to the vehicle.
Bullet holes were visible in the car’s windshield. Police said in a Facebook post that a handgun was found at the scene.
Authorities have not identified those killed, but Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks has confirmed that the shooter was among the dead.
Authorities from multiple agencies including the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the state highway patrol and the Stephens County sheriff’s office were investigating the scene.
Police are also looking for witnesses to the shooting, Ford said.
Aaron Helton, of Duncan, said he was parking outside the Walmart where he planned to buy groceries when he heard about nine gunshots.
“I arrived and there were three bodies,” Helton said.
No staff members were involved in the shooting and the store was not evacuated, Walmart spokeswoman LeMia Jenkins said in an email.
“This was an isolated incident in the parking lot and was not an active shooter situation,” Jenkins said.
Duncan is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City. The Walmart is in a commercial center that includes a sporting goods store and a dollar store along U.S. Highway 81, the main road that passes through Duncan heading south toward Texas.
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Associated Press reporter Cedar Attanasio in El Paso, Texas, contributed to this report.

Home in California backyard shooting was targeted

Police: Home in California backyard shooting was targeted
By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ Associated Press
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Police searched Monday for two assailants who sneaked into a backyard party in Fresno and opened fire while a small crowd watched football on television. Four people were killed and six wounded.
Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall said the house where a group of Hmong family and friends had gathered was deliberately targeted, but the shooters fired at random once they saw men in the backyard watching football.
“They fired randomly into the crowd. It does not appear that they were targeting any individuals, and once they fired, they fled,” he said.
Hall said there was no immediate word on a motive, and so far there was no indication that any of the victims knew their attackers, though most could not see them, describing seeing only a flashing light when the semi-automatic pistols were fired. Officers went door-to-door looking for surveillance video that might help them track down suspects.
The party “was not described as being out of control in any way. It was just a family event,” Hall said.
The men who died were ages 21 to 40, he said.
Three were found dead when emergency crews arrived. A fourth person died at a hospital. Six others were hospitalized in critical condition but expected to survive, authorities said.
Hall said police were investigating whether the shooting was connected to a recent disturbance involving some of the people at the party. He also announced the establishment of an Asian gang task force ahead of the Hmong New Year, out of concern about the possibility of more violence.
California has the nation’s highest population of Hmong, a Southeast Asian ethnic minority.
Residents complained that other shootings have happened recently in the same neighborhood. The home where the attack took place is near an industrial area with commercial buildings near the Fresno airport.
Calvin Gatison, who lives on the same block, said the street had been peaceful for years, but at least two shootings happened in recent weeks.
Gatison said his street of single-family homes with manicured front yards is quiet during the week. On weekends, grandfathers can be seen playing with grandchildren in their front yards, while other neighbors host gatherings in their yards, but typically without loud music.
“For something like this to happen in a quiet neighborhood, it scares you,” he said. “This is the third shooting I’ve heard since the middle of September.”
Choua Vang told the Bee that his neighbor’s house was shot at last week and that he feels unsafe outside after dark.
“We’re thinking about moving out of the neighborhood,” he said. “We don’t know how many more shootings there will be.”
It was at least the second fatal gun attack Sunday in Fresno, the Fresno Bee reported. A man in his 20s was shot to death early Sunday at a home in another part of the city. Police have not said whether the incidents could be connected.
The killings came after two other mass shootings in California in what has been an especially violent year for the state.
Last Thursday, a 16-year-old student at a Southern California high school in the city of Santa Clarita outside Los Angeles shot and killed two classmates and wounded three other teens before shooting himself in the head. He died the next day.
And on Saturday, police in San Diego said a husband shot and killed his wife and three of their sons before killing himself. A fourth son wounded in the shooting was on life support on Sunday, family members said.
Rep. Jim Costa, a Democrat who represents the Fresno area in Congress, said he was saddened to hear of another shooting “this time in my own district.” He said in a statement that “thoughts and prayers are not enough!” and urged the Senate to take up gun-control legislation.
There have been eight mass killings in California so far this year, claiming the lives of 33 people, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.
That’s a dramatic increase from previous years, with eight mass killings in the state for all of 2016-2018.
The increase mirrors the national trend in 2019. There have been 39 mass killings this year in the United States, compared with 25 in 2018, according to the database, which tracks homicides where four or more people are killed, not including the offender.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board might make a decision on Wednesday.

Mount Airy officials have not given updates on casino plans in Big Beaver since late 2018. The formal application was submitted in mid-October, with details, traffic studies and the economic impact the facility would have on its rural community.

Reports from earlier this year indicate that cash wasn’t as flush at the casino as it was when the resort was initially proposed. The Poconos-based casino announced in January that it’s revenues in 2018 were down more than 16 percent from 2017. However, that did not include online gaming revenue.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will consider making a decision on Wednesday.

“Meet the Press” chooses Beaver County for yearlong project.

NBC News political director and “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd said in an interview with The Times that Beaver County will be featured in a yearlong NBC News project covering five counties in presidential battleground states and culminating with the November 2020 election. Beaver County drew the network’s interest because it is a traditional blue-collar Democratic stronghold that has grown more GOP-friendly and has repeatedly voted for Republican presidential candidates.
NBC News will be seeking “citizen observers” to serve as the eyes and ears for the project throughout 2020, Todd said.