58 years for home invasions

Clarence Powell, 23, was sentenced in federal court yesterday to 58 years behind bars for two home-invasion robberies of two Asian business owners and their families in December 2008.

Authorities said that Powell, who was convicted in February of conspiracy, robbery and related firearms offenses, and two accomplices followed a Philadelphia shop owner to her home in Broomall, Delaware County, assaulted her and her husband and stole money and other property.

A few weeks later, on Dec. 18, 2008, the defendants followed another Philadelphia business owner to his Upper Darby home and robbed several family members. The three men were armed with handguns and a sawed-off shotgun when they forced their way into his home, restrained several family members, stole money and later escaped. Powell's two accomplices, Michael Lassiter and Troy Hill, were sentenced to 30 and 22 years in prison, respectively.

Candy lawsuits dropped

A federal lawsuit filed by the Hershey Co. against rival candy company Mars Inc. has been dropped. Hershey's trademark-infringement suit, filed last fall, alleged that new packaging for Mars' line of Dove candies too closely mimicked the orange, brown and yellow packaging of Hershey products, including Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Mars, based in McLean, Va., filed a concurrent suit in federal court in Virginia seeking a ruling that it had not infringed on Hershey's trademark. Attorneys for the two companies had filed joint dismissal stipulations in the federal courts of both states.

Jobless-pay extension

The state Senate yesterday swiftly approved a bill to preserve 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits for 135,000 jobless Pennsylvanians.

By a vote of 49-0, the Senate gave its final approval to the measure, which would require the unemployed to search actively for work as a condition of receiving benefits, and would reduce payments from the state's unemployment trust fund while people are collecting severance pay.

A.C. casino project resumes

The head of the company building the Revel casino in Atlantic City says the project will cost $2.4 billion. Kevin DeSanctis, Revel Entertainment's chief executive officer, said that construction recently resumed on the half-finished casino at the north end of the Boardwalk, and the grand opening is set for next May. The Revel will have 1,100 hotel rooms and employ about 5,500 people when it's up and running.

Gaming & the Internet

Addressing the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City, executives from two online betting groups and Caesars Entertainment said the Internet provides the gambling industry its best opportunity for growth. But the prospect of a federal law permitting it appears dim in light of recent federal raids on online gambling sites.

Panel members estimated the potential annual revenue from legalized Internet gambling in the U.S. at nearly $80 billion.

-Staff and wire reports