Man, 22, charged with rape, assault in store bathroom attack | Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a department store bathroom in Philadelphia has been charged with rape, robbery and aggravated assault, police said.

Police announced charges Wednesday afternoon against 22-year-old Jaleel Uqdah, who had been arrested that morning at his west Philadelphia home.

Investigators allege that he entered a third-floor restroom Sunday morning at the Macy’s on Market Street in Center City and waited for about 20 minutes before a 55-year-old woman entered. They allege that he then jumped into the woman’s stall, dragged her into another stall, menaced her with sharp wooden skewers and threated to kill her before sexually assaulting her and fleeing with between $60 and $80 stolen from her.

Captain Mark Burgmann of the Special Victims Unit said Uqdah has a previous record but not involving sexual offenses. He called the attack “pretty brazen” and said investigators are taking “a good hard look” at whether the defendant might be responsible for other crimes in the city.

Burgmann said the perpetrator went into the bathroom “within three minutes” of entering the department store.

“He went nowhere else but that bathroom,” Burgmann said. ”So it sure seemed like that was his intent when he got there.”

Burgmann credited help from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in finding the suspect. Surveillance video from SEPTA buses and businesses near his west Philadelphia residence allowed investigators to track the suspect’s movements and identify him, Burgmann said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Uqdah had an attorney; a listed number for him couldn’t be found Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Trump Hosts White House Event After Hospitalization; Biden Speaks in Pennsylvania

Here’s what you need to know:




Biden Pitches to Blue-Collar Workers in Pennsylvania

Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for president, said that his economic plan would raise taxes on the wealthy to create unionized infrastructure jobs and that he would not ban fracking.

“The fact is the president can only see the world from Park Avenue. I see it from Scranton. I see it from Claymont for real. You all know what I’m talking about. You all see it from Erie. That’s why my program to build back better is focused on working people.” “And I’m not going to raise taxes on anybody making less than 400 grand. But, but, you won’t pay a penny more. But those making more than that, I’m going to ask them to finally begin to pay their fair share. I’m going to ask the big corporations and the wealthy to begin to pay. Ninety-one of the Fortune 500 companies today pay zero tax. You hear me? Zero tax. How many of you pay zero tax?” “So I’m going to raise — the money I’m going to raise, we’re going to allow us to invest in working people and grow the middle class back and make sure everyone comes along this time. My plan is about making the kinds of investments that are going to stimulate economic growth.” “We’re going to fix water pipes — pipelines, replace lead pipes, upgrade treatment plants. We’re going to construct 1.5 million new affordable housing units. We’re going to build a hundred billion dollars rebuilding our schools. We’re going to retrofit — which we started our administration — four million buildings, including advanced heating and cooling systems. There’s going to be such a race to job creation for unions that you’re not going to believe it.” “The fact is that every time the word climate change comes up, Donald Trump thinks hoax. Every time it comes up, I think jobs. Let me be clear: No matter how many lies he tells, I am not, not, not banning fracking, period.”

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Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for president, said that his economic plan would raise taxes on the wealthy to create unionized infrastructure jobs and that he would not ban fracking.CreditCredit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Swinging through a county in Pennsylvania that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012, Joseph R. Biden Jr. made a direct pitch to union and blue-collar workers on Saturday afternoon, in a speech laden with economic populist tones.

“There’s going to be such a race for job creation for unions, you’re not going to believe it,” Mr. Biden said, in a speech that was slightly truncated to escape the looming rain storms. “The only power we have is union power. You’re the guys who keep the barbarians on the other side of the gate from taking everything.”

But as Mr. Biden, the former vice president, and his campaign try to

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The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society turned a Manayunk parking lot into an awesome Pop Up Beer Garden paradise

MANAYUNK (WPVI) — Travel just a half block off Main Street in Manayunk and you’ll find a lot filled with more than 22-hundred plants, many getting a second life after this year’s PHS Philadelphia Flower Show

It’s a space perfect for COVID-19 with 20,000 square feet of open space that can hold up to 150 socially-distanced people.

The cocktails use herbs from the garden and there’s a menu of bar food and a backdrop of urban grit.

The site holds a community garden, part of the PHS Harvest 2020 program to help feed families in need. Harvests are being donated to Manayunk’s Northlight Community Center. To volunteer in the garden, email Cristina Tessaro: [email protected]

PHS Pop Up Garden | Beer Garden Menu
106 Jamestown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19127

Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.

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Obama departs White House en route to Allentown, Pennsylvania

Valerie Jarrett, Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs; David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to the President; Bill Burton, Deputy Press Secretary; and Cody Keenan, Speechwriter; (L to R) walk to Marine 1 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington to accompany United States President Barack Obama to Allentown, Pennsylvania on December 4, 2009 to discuss jobs and the economy before returning late in the afternoon. UPI/Ron Sachs/POOL

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7 ‘discarded’ military votes for Trump found in Pennsylvania, campaign blames Democrats

The Trump campaign on Thursday accused the Democrats of “trying to steal the election” after seven military ballots cast in favor of the president were found “discarded” in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania — despite no immediate allegations of any malfeasance.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie walking down the street

© Provided by NBC News

“BREAKING: FBI finds military mail-in ballots discarded in Pennsylvania. 100% of them were cast for President Trump. Democrats are trying to steal the election,” Matt Wolking, deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, tweeted Thursday afternoon, linking to a press release from David Freed, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Freed said his office had begun “an inquiry into reports of potential issues with a small number of mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections.”

“At this point we can confirm that a small number of military ballots were discarded. Investigators have recovered nine ballots at this time. Some of those ballots can be attributed to specific voters and some cannot. All nine ballots were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump,” the statement said.

Freed’s office put out a revised statement hours after the first saying the number of Trump ballots was actually seven.

“Two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff prior to recovery by the FBI and the contents of those 2 ballots are unknown,” the updated statement said.

Both statements were highly unusual as U.S. Attorneys typically do not publicly announce they’ve opened an inquiry. The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to give further comment about the probe, except to say the general election ballots were improperly opened by county staff.

The second statement noted that Freed’s office had been investigating the case with the FBI since Monday at the request of Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

Salavantis is a Republican, and Trump won the county by almost 20 points in 2016. Salavantis was told about the find last week by the county’s elections director, the county solicitor said in a statement.

While the nature of the inquiry, including whether there’s a criminal component, is unclear, the Justice Department’s 2017 guidelines for “Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses” says that, “Because the federal prosecutor’s function in the area of election fraud is not primarily preventative, any criminal investigation by the Department must be conducted in a way that minimizes the likelihood that the investigation itself may become a factor in the election.”

In the evening, DOJ released a letter Freed sent to the county board of elections, reporting his initial findings — including that at least part of the problem appeared to be bureaucratic.

“The FBI has recovered a number of documents relating to military ballots that had been improperly opened by your elections staff, and had the ballots removed and discarded, or removed and placed separately from the envelope containing confidential voter information and attestation,” the letter said.

It noted, “the appropriate method for processing received military ballots is to securely store the ballot, unopened” until Election Day,

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White House touts unusual Justice Department announcement about ‘discarded’ Trump ballots in Pennsylvania

The Justice Department said Thursday that it is investigating “potential issues with mail-in ballots” in the swing state of Pennsylvania and, in a highly unusual disclosure, revealed that several ballots marked for President Donald Trump were “discarded.”

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: President Donald Trump listens to a question during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington.

© Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump listens to a question during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington.

US Attorney David Freed said a preliminary inquiry determined that nine “military ballots were discarded” and that seven of them “were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump.” The incident occurred in Luzerne County, a swing county in northeastern Pennsylvania that is home to Wilkes-Barre. Trump flipped the county in 2016 after years of narrow Democratic wins.

The statement was highly unusual because it highlighted the fact that the ballots were marked for Trump — which immediately raised suspicions that the Justice Department was trying to furnish material that Trump could promote for political gain. Indeed, Trump and other White House aides used the information, even before it was made public, to attack mail-in voting.

Election officials go to extraordinary lengths to protect ballot secrecy. It’s unclear how investigators figured out who the votes were for, and why they made that information public.

Additionally, the Justice Department typically does not comment about ongoing investigations, though there are rules allowing it when there is a public interest at stake, like election integrity.

The federal probe was apparently triggered by a request from Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, a Republican who announced Tuesday that federal investigators were assisting with an election issue. Freed, also a Republican, was appointed by Trump in 2017. A spokesperson for Salavantis told CNN that the nine affected ballots are for the general election. Many military and overseas ballots were sent out last weekend.

“It seems worth investigating, but I think it is really weird that they say who the votes were cast for,” CNN election law analyst Rick Hasen said in response to the announcement. “I think it will become fodder for the President to claim that people are messing with ballots in Pennsylvania.”

While any missing ballots can cause a problem, the issue appears to be miniscule, based on statements from investigators. More than 6.1 million Pennsylvanians voted in the 2016 election.

Trump uses news to criticize mail-in voting

In an interview earlier on Thursday morning, before the Justice Department announcement, Trump seized on the Pennsylvania situation to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election. It wasn’t clear at the time what he was referring to, and there had been local reports of an inquiry, but his comments generally align with the information released by Freed on Thursday afternoon.

Trump, who had apparently been briefed, told Fox News Radio, “They found six ballots in an office yesterday, in a garbage can. They were Trump ballots. Eight ballots, in an office yesterday in a certain state. … This is what’s going to happen. And we’re investigating that.”


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House Races Feature Party-Switcher Van Drew, Dems on Defense | Pennsylvania News

By MIKE CATALINI, Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The presidential contest in New Jersey doesn’t look competitive, with Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by double digits, but a handful of the state’s dozen House districts are shaping up as competitive.

New Jersey voters will be electing representatives in all 12 U.S. House districts in November’s first-ever mostly mail-in election.

Democrats are on defense in three seats they picked up in 2018, but perhaps the highest-profile race is in the 2nd District where Republican incumbent Rep. Jeff Van Drew faces Democrat Amy Kennedy for the seat he won as a Democrat in 2018.

Van Drew gained national attention for switching parties during the House impeachment of the Republican Trump, saying there was no place for him in the Democratic Party as an opponent of impeachment. The defection won Van Drew, who pledged his “undying support” to the president, an Oval Office visit as well as a Trump rally in Wildwood. He also had a speaking role at the Republican National Convention.

In all of the most watched districts, unaffiliated voters have the most registrations, followed by Democrats. Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats across New Jersey by more than 1 million registered voters. Democrats recently surpassed people registered as unaffiliated and currently have 177,000 more registrations.

A look at some of the most-watched races:

Van Drew is well known in the district, and the GOP there has embraced him, even after spending years trying to defeat him in the state Legislature, where he served as a Democrat.

Kennedy is a former teacher and the spouse of former Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy is the son of former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

New Jersey’s 2nd District covers about the southern third of the state and includes all or part of eight counties. It runs from the southern Philadelphia suburbs in the west to the shore resort towns along the Atlantic Ocean, including Atlantic and Ocean cities.

There are about 707,000 people in the district, according to the Census Bureau. More than 500,000 residents are white, while over 91,000 are Black. Hispanics account for 121,000. The median income is $68,000.

Van Drew won the district in 2018 by eight points over Republican Trump supporter Seth Grossman.

Freshman Democratic incumbent Rep. Andy Kim faces former Hill International executive David Richter, the Republican in the race. Richter had planned to run against Van Drew but changed districts when he switched parties.

The 3rd District stretches from suburban Philadelphia’s Burlington County in the west, across the Pinelands, to Ocean County in the east. Burlington is a Democratic stronghold, while Ocean is reliably Republican.

The district’s 736,000 people have a median income of about $86,000, according to the Census Bureau. About 582,000 residents are white. Eighty-five thousand are Black, while 67,000 are Hispanic.

Kim defeated Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur in 2018 by one point, in part because of Democratic strength in Burlington.

Freshman Democrat Tom Malinowski is taking on Tom Kean Jr., the state Senate

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4 Steps To An Easy Kitchen Renovation In Pennsylvania

This post is sponsored and contributed by a Patch Brand Partner. The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.

Take the time to get your home ready before your contractor arrives.
Take the time to get your home ready before your contractor arrives. (Shutterstock)

Homeowners take a lot of pride in their spaces in Pennsylvania. So, if you’re having work done, don’t let your contractors arrive to chaos.

You’ll want to clear all of your dishes out of your cabinetry. Have a spare bedroom no one is using? This is a great place to stack and lay dishes right out on the bed. You can also enlist a basement or other lightly trafficked space. Stack them someplace out of mind.

For dishes and other items, you’ll want to start packing things you don’t need or use regularly a full week before your project is set to begin. The night before, you should have moved the very last dish out of your cabinetry. Since you’ve probably stacked them in odd places with exposure to dust, be sure to wash everything before putting them back after the project is done.

2. Protect Your Floors

If floors aren’t part of your remodel, you want to make sure to protect your existing floors. For tile or hardwood, lay carpet scraps (you can buy these from a carpet store) over the flooring. Tape them down with duct tape so they won’t slide, but be careful not to damage hardwood.

For tile, you may consider taking the extra step of including padding underneath. Contractors will be moving heavy objects that could potentially crack or damage your floor.


Pennsylvania restaurants can increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent starting Sept.21, Gov. Wolf announced Tuesday.

PA Restaurants Can Increase Indoor Dining Capacity: Governor

Need a contractor to remodel your kitchen? Find a pro in your area.


Pennsylvania restaurants can increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent starting Sept.21, Gov. Wolf announced Tuesday.

PA Restaurants Can Increase Indoor Dining Capacity: Governor

3. Worker Parking

Your contractors or subcontractors will need a place to park nearby your home. It’s easier for you to move your cars down the road so they can pull into the driveway and get right to work. Plus, this shows them you’ve gone the extra mile to make their job a little easier.

4. Remove Items Of Value

Value doesn’t have to mean an expensive KitchenAid mixer. Make sure sentimental objects have been removed from your kitchen, like photos and birth announcements hung on the fridge. Any other trinkets, like plants or pottery, should be moved as well.

It Pays To Prep

Your goal of preparing your kitchen is twofold. First, you want to move anything of value or that can be damaged to a safe location. Secondly, you can show your contractors they will

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The woman behind ‘Trump House’ works to keep Pennsylvania red, one vote at a time

YOUNGSTOWN, Pennsylvania — The morning after the night before, and the line for the Trump House is 75 strong.

Donald Trump posing for the camera

© Provided by Washington Examiner

Most were at the previous night’s rally to see President Trump fly in on Air Force One and are rounding off their visit to this corner of Pennsylvania with pictures in front of the red, white, and blue building, posing for selfies with the 14-foot figure of Trump, and collecting a free hat and yard sign in the crowded interior.

Others will take down a form from the bins on the wall and, with help from owner Leslie Rossi, 49, register to vote for the first time or flip their party allegiance.

She says the enthusiasm reminds her of four years ago, when she realized that Trump was going to beat Hillary Clinton.

“Four years later, this is different,” she said. “What I’m finding is, I’m helping people change their party, register to vote. We have had many people in their 80s, 90s say they have never voted in their life.”

a person holding a sign: Visitors pose for photographs on the front porch of the Trump House in Youngstown, PA. Rob Crilly

© Provided by Washington Examiner
Visitors pose for photographs on the front porch of the Trump House in Youngstown, PA. Rob Crilly

Her anecdotal evidence is borne out by party statistics. Last month, Republicans said they had picked up 165,000 net voters in Pennsylvania, compared with Democrats’ loss of 30,000 since 2016. It still leaves the party trailing by 800,000 registrations, but it gives a sense of the challenge facing Democratic nominee Joe Biden if he is to overturn the 44,000 deficit from 2016.

He must also reckon with the efforts of the tireless Rossi in Youngstown, just down the road from Pittsburgh.

The developer and landlord owns 66 houses. This is the only one with a stars and stripes flag decorated with rifles and handguns on the wall and a lifesize cut-out of Biden emerging from the basement. (“Keep your kids away,” says one of the guides deployed to manage the 1,500 visitors on busy days.)

The idea came to her in 2016, when she was worried the Republican establishment would block Trump’s nomination. He had won the Pennsylvania primary, but that only guaranteed him 17 out of 71 delegates. The rest were unbound.

Three days, $1,000, and one coat of paint later, and the Trump House was finished. Rossi would stand at the roadside, and as drivers pulled in to gawk at its design, she would explain to them that if they wanted Trump to clinch the nomination, they needed to ensure they chose the right delegates for the convention.

“And people wouldn’t even know what a delegate was,” she said.

a man standing in front of a store: A visitor to the Trump House picks out a free T-shirt. Rob Crilly

© Provided by Washington Examiner
A visitor to the Trump House picks out a free T-shirt. Rob Crilly

A steady stream of people interrupt her to ask for photographs. One man has registered to vote for the first time. Another is clutching a new yard sign.

“That’s where it started, but that’s not where it ended,” continued the mother of eight.

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After Democrats’ Big 2018 Gains, More House Seats Could Flip | Pennsylvania News

By MARC LEVY, Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — In the shadow of Pennsylvania’s status as a battleground state in the presidential election, Democrats will fight to defend their gains in Congress two years ago and, possibly, add another seat or two as the state’s suburbs continue to turn against President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to defend their survivors in more evenly divided districts, while hoping to knock off some of the Democrats’ freshmen and one veteran congressman who keeps winning a district where Trump is popular.

Elections in 2018 were fruitful for Democrats: Aided by redrawn districts and anti-Trump fervor, they picked up four seats in Pennsylvania, evening the state’s partisan balance in the U.S. House and helping the party recapture the House majority overall.

There may be room for more districts to flip. Two incumbent Republicans won by fewer than 3 percentage points in 2018, while Democrats represent two districts that Trump won in 2016.

Here is a look at key races:

Second-term Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia, is a top target again for Democrats: He is one of just three House Republicans in the entire country running for reelection in a district won by Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016′s presidential contest.

But Fitzpatrick, a mild-mannered former FBI agent who took over the seat from his late brother, has a potent winning formula and is being challenged by a relative political unknown nominated by Democrats.

Fitzpatrick has his family’s name recognition and inroads into traditional Democratic voting districts. He is endorsed by top-tier labor unions and persistently uses the theme of being independent; a digital ad calls him the “No. 1 most independent congressman.”

He is the only Republican congressman in Pennsylvania who routinely votes against Trump or Republican leadership; he voted with Democrats last summer to condemn Trump for telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to the country they came from.

He also said he has not decided whether to vote for Biden or Trump this November.

Even so, Fitzpatrick voted for Trump’s tax-cut legislation and opposed his impeachment. His opponent, Democrat Christina Finello, attacks Fitzpatrick as too weak to stand up to Trump and silent in the face of Trump’s worst transgressions.

Democrats have a 19,000-voter registration advantage in the district, which Clinton won by 2 percentage points.

But, going into July, Fitzpatrick had six times the campaign cash as Finello. And no outside groups have heavily spent to help Finello.

That’s a good sign for Fitzpatrick: He won by 2.5 points in 2018, when he was outspent nearly four-to-one by his wealthy Democratic rival and millions flowed in from outside groups.

Freshman Democrat U.S. Rep. Susan Wild is defending her Allentown-area seat against Republican nominee Lisa Scheller, a former Lehigh County commissioner who started a pigment manufacturer for paints, coatings and inks and touts her background as a recovered addict who advocates for people in recovery.

Wild, a prominent lawyer in Allentown, scored

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