Today's News - Black Friday, November 29, 2013

The Bears proved victorious in the 46th Annual Turkey Bowl, played yesterday at point stadium in Downtown Johnstown. Bears team member Shane Valko was named most valuable player. The event, sponsored by the Turkey Bowl Booster Club, benefits the Johnstown-Somerset Easter Seals. To date, it’s raised over half a million dollars for the organization.

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Despite wide-ranging complaints over the controversial voter ID law, state lawmakers are once again discussing ways to improve the integrity of elections. According to "The Tribune-Democrat," last week the state legislature’s government committee held a hearing to discuss a group of bills that would include tougher consequences for those who try to intimidate voters, plus a ban on bringing promotional materials inside of polling spots.

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It’s Black Friday, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, but lots of shoppers braved the cold last night and got a head start as many stores opened Thanksgiving evening with slashed prices. This year, there are six less shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Holiday shoppers will have plenty of company over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The National Retail Federation says 140 million people will likely shop sometime before the start of next week. That's a one-percent drop from the number of people who hit the stores during the same time last year. Of those who say they're going to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, nearly a quarter – about 33 million – planned to do so on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday will be the biggest shopping day. Last year, Americans spent an average of around $420 each on Black Friday. If that trend continues, this Black Friday could result in more than 40-billion dollars in sales.

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At least three people are recovering from injuries after a Black Friday shooting in the Chicago area overnight. The shooting occurred in the parking lot of a Kohl's store in the Chicago suburb of Romeoville. ABC News reports the incident happened after someone stole something in the store and then ran outside to a getaway car with police giving chase.

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It appears the deadline to get the HealthCare.gov website fixed is going to be missed. A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says users trying to get onto the site in December will still experience delays, outages and "try again later" messages next month, despite service improvements.

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Officials say no one has been injured in an overnight explosion at the Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company in central Missouri. A company spokesman says a 30-inch pipeline ripped apart, sending flames several hundred feet into the air. Emergency crews evacuated the area.

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Three southern Arizona girls who'd allegedly been held captive by their parents enjoyed their first Thanksgiving meal in several years yesterday. Child Protective Services is now caring for the sisters. Authorities in Tucson say the girls were physically and emotionally abused in their parents' home.

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An Iraq war veteran charged with the serial thrill killings of four homeless men in California is dead. Itzcoatl Ocampo had been charged with six counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances and could have faced the death penalty.

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Nearly 60 sheriffs in Colorado are not being allowed to sue over the state's new gun laws. U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger dismissed that portion of the suit on Wednesday. She ruled the sheriffs could sue as citizens of the state, but not in their official capacity.

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A New Jersey couple is facing prostitution charges after being arrested in a retirement community. Manchester Township police said 33-year-old Anne Donahue and 40-year-old Phillip Cottone were operating a sex-for-money business in the gated retirement community of Leisure Village.

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Scientists believe Comet ISON may not have survived its close encounter with the sun. They believe it may have broken up as it flew past the sun on Thursday. NASA telescopes tracked the so-called "comet of the century" plunging into the sun's corona, but did not see it emerge on the other side. Scientists say they'll continue to analyze imagery from the telescopes for signs of the comet or debris from it.

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The battle over discovery in the Boston Marathon bombing case continues. This week a federal judge denied a defense request for piles of evidence held by prosecutors, saying most of it's not relevant. But he did order prosecutors to hand over audio recordings of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's prison conversations. The U.S. Postal Service is warning of a Tuesday deadline to get packages and other items to military members overseas in time for Christmas. That includes Priority Mail and First Class delivery for Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. All other locations have another week to get items in the mail.

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NASA has plans for a vegetable garden on the moon. The space agency wants to grow such things as turnips on the lunar surface by 2015. It's to understand whether humans can live and work on the moon.

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Recent rule changes to the Mega Million lottery are increasing the top prize in tonight's drawing to an estimated $230 million. The rule changes became effective on October 22nd and were aimed at creating bigger and faster-growing jackpots. The cash prize instead of an annuity would amount to $125 million.

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An Indiana Pizza Hut manager who was fired for refusing to open on Thanksgiving is considering his options after being offered his job back by the chain's national office. Tony Rohr says he chose to keep the restaurant closed on the holiday so his workers could spend Thanksgiving with their families. Rohr was told to write a resignation letter by the chain's local franchisee, but refused to quit.

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