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Eastern hellbender voted Pennsylvania's official amphibian

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania is getting an official amphibian, a nocturnal, unsightly salamander that's sometimes known as a snot otter, lasagna lizard or mud devil. The House voted 191-6 Tuesday to grant the honor to the Eastern hellbender, which can grow to be more than 2 feet (a half meter) long and is battling declining numbers across much of its range in the United States. The path to legislative recognition was not smooth, as the Eastern hellbender faced a stiff challenge from another amphibian called Wehrle's salamander. Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming, who helped shepherd the bill through the House, said hellbenders had been on decline. "Not many people have actually seen hellbenders," Everett said after the vote. "They live only in very clean streams, and they live under rocks." They are the largest North American amphibian, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, and their jarring appearance has inspired a colorful set of nicknames that also include devil dog, ground puppy and Allegheny alligator. Members of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's student leadership council began the campaign to designate it as the state's official amphibian, and their efforts were aided by Lycoming College's Clean Water Institute. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation said hellbenders were plentiful in Pennsylvania as recently as 1990. Their numbers have since been decimated in Eastern states by pollution and sedimentation, researchers say. Their range generally covers the Appalachian Mountains, from southern New York to northern Georgia. Among the factors researchers also worry about are disease and warming water temperatures caused by climate change. Hellbenders do not have federal protected status, and while some states give them protected status, Pennsylvania does...

Retrasan uso de umpires robots y loma más lejana

NUEVA YORK (AP) - Los umpires robot tendrán más tiempo para calentar. La oficina de Grandes Ligas y la Liga del Atlántico dijeron el miércoles que el experimento con tecnología de radar para decretar bolas y strikes no se utilizará en cuanto arranque la actividad de la liga menor independiente el 25 de abril. En su lugar, "se implementará gradualmente a lo largo de la campaña 2019". No se anunció una fecha específica. Los umpires principales utilizarán auriculares y recibirán información de bolas y strikes de parte de TrackMan, un sistema computarizado que utiliza un radar Doppler. Los umpires podrán hacer valer su decisión por encima de la que dicte la computadora, que considera un strike incluso si la pelota rebotó en el suelo antes de cruzar por la zona. TrackMan tampoco evalúa los medios swings. De igual manera se postergó una segunda prueba: Prolongar 61 centímetros (2 pies) la distancia entre la placa de pitcheo y el plato a 19,05 metros (62,5 pies). Originalmente, el experimento estaba programado para comenzar después de la pausa del Juego de Estrellas de este año; sin embargo, se postergó hasta la segunda mitad de 2020. "Estos cambios reflejan el deseo conjunto de que las nuevas mejoras tecnológicas en los parques de la ALPB estén totalmente instaladas y calibradas antes de la implementación de estas reglas experimentales", dijeron la MLB y la Liga del Atlántico en un comunicado conjunto. Los equipos de la Liga del Atlántico son: Bridgewater, Nueva Jersey; Central Islip, Nueva York; High Point, Carolina del Norte; Lancaster, Pensilvania; New Britain, Connecticut; Sugar Land, Texas; Waldorf, Maryland; y York, Pensilvania.

Surprise? Pennsylvania's 2020 primary could be competitive

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Beto O'Rourke's splashy campaign event in Pennsylvania this week appeared to herald the start of the state's presidential primary season. But if Pennsylvania's Democratic Party faithful are searching for a favorite from among the crowded 2020 primary field, it may be in vain. Early-voting states typically make that choice. Pennsylvania historically gets the short end of the stick in presidential primaries, rarely voting in time to help decide a party's nominee, despite being one of the most sought-after general election prizes. Yet, Democratic Party strategists and officials suggest that a crush of candidates could force a competitive race all the way until April 28, 2020, when Pennsylvania holds its primary election. "When you have a big field like this and it's possible to win early-voting states with 10, 12 or 15 percent, it really is open to everybody," said Aren Platt, a Philadelphia-area Democratic campaign strategist. Pennsylvania is the sixth-largest electoral prize for Democrats seeking the party's nomination and, next year, it will be the last of the delegate-rich states to vote, except perhaps New Jersey. It also occupies a unique place in the minds of Democrats. It flipped to Republican Donald Trump - by less than 1 percentage point - in the 2016 election after backing Democrats in six straight presidential elections. To some Democrats, a candidate must show strength in a Pennsylvania primary, since the state is a must-win in 2020. "To me, you would have to," said U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia. "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand. Trump won Pennsylvania. That's what put it in play." In the past, Pennsylvania's primary election was largely academic. Usually, earlier-voting states winnow the field to...