Pennsylvania

With wages still stuck for many Americans, the big drop in gasoline prices is the equivalent of an unexpected cash bonus for the nation's drivers.

The average American household is expected to save $750 this year from lower gas prices, according to the Energy Department.

But Thomas Kinnaman, an economist at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., says it's instructive to look beyond the word "average."

Inside the Boston Wine School, Jonathon Alsop places empty glasses and plates of figs and cheese before a small group of students. Alsop, who founded the school in 2000, is doing a test run of a new class that poses the question: What would Jesus drink?

"This is ... a cheese that Jesus might have eaten," he tells students. "It's called Egyptian Roumy — it was a cheese that was introduced to the Egyptians by the Romans. It's a sheep's milk cheese."

Reading, Pa., is one of the poorest cities in the country. So when a shabby-looking, 50-foot Christmas tree went up in the middle of the city's downtown around Thanksgiving, many saw it as a metaphor for the city's troubles.

Bradley Stone, who police say went on a shooting rampage that killed six people in Montgomery County, Pa., has been found dead. Police had been looking for Stone, 35, for more than 24 hours; they found his body today.

Member station WHYY passes along this update from the Bucks County District Attorney's office:

"Authorities have confirmed that suspected mass killer Bradley Stone is dead, his body found in the woods near his Pennsburg home."

And on the 18th try, the Philadelphia 76ers finally snapped their losing streak, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 85-77 on Wednesday.

Yes, they managed to right the ship to avoid tying the record for worst start to an NBA season and, yes, a win is a win.

Eric Frein, the suspect wanted in the shooting death of a state trooper and the wounding of another officer at a police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania, is now in police custody, Pennsylvania State Police said on Thursday.

His capture marks the end of a month-long, intensive manhunt in the Pocono Mountains.

We can't resist passing along the phenomenon that is Noah Ritter, a young man who's taking the Internet by storm. The 5-year-old's interview at Pennsylvania's Wayne County Fair is a wonder of stream-of-consciousness, sprinkled heavily with one word: "apparently."

Rolling pastures dotted with grazing cows, fields of corn and classic buggies driven by Amish in hats and bonnets — these are the images that attract visitors to Lancaster County, home to more than 30,000 of the Pennsylvania Dutch.

If the polls are correct, the Pennsylvania governor's race is poised to see the usual political script flipped.

The Republican incumbent, Gov. Tom Corbett, is using a populist attack against the challenger who is leading the Democratic primary field — accusing Tom Wolf of being an opportunistic businessman who profited at the expense of taxpayers and workers.

Until Wednesday, the 16-year-old Pennsylvania boy who's charged with multiple counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault after a stabbing attack at his high school was known as "a nice young boy," his attorney said this morning. Now the sophomore is in custody after the attack that left more than 20 people — nearly all of them fellow students — injured.

Last year, organizers of one of the nation's largest outdoor shows tried to ban certain guns in the wake of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But the industry struck back with a boycott, and the Eastern Sports and Outdoor show was eventually canceled.

This year, it's back and bigger than ever.

On the side of a mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest, I'm trying to avoid a steady stream of heavy truck traffic. Acres of freshly cut tree stumps stretch out in front of me.

Kevin Heatley lives in the area and has come to these woods for years to hike. He's an ecologist by trade and he's concerned about what he's seeing.

This is final story in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Shayna Terrell is in a good mood: It's report card night at the Simon Gratz Mastery Charter high school in North Philadelphia, and parents are showing up in good numbers.

David Fulmer/flickr creative commons