Today's News - Friday, June 27, 2014

The Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese is planning to sell the Frankstown Township residence of Bishop Mark Bartchak. He will move into the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament’s rectory in downtown Altoona. Diocese Spokesman Tony Degol says proceeds from the sale will be used for pastoral needs in the diocese and also for victims in sexual misconduct cases. The sale should be completed this summer.

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It’s Thunder in the Valley weekend and state police are planning increased patrols throughout Cambria County. They will include traffic enforcement details, safety checkpoints and DUI checkpoints. Troopers will place a special emphasis on speeding, driving under the influence, and aggressive driving, along with seatbelt usage.

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Donations to the Go Fund Me website have topped $12,000 for the family of the two little girls killed in a freak accident in Somerset County Monday. The mother of 8-year-old Ryleigh and 6-year-old Mikayla Friewald, Ashley Lichty is still recovering from hip injuries suffered when a tree fell onto their moving car. Lichty is about 8-months pregnant, and the baby is said to be doing fine. The driver, Jason Himebaugh, sustained a concussion and other injuries. An account also has been set up through 1st Summit Bank to help the family.

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It’s been just over a month since Pennsylvania’s same sex marriage ban was overturned, and on Thursday, the first female couple was married at the Cambria County Courthouse. Judge Norman Krumenacker performed the ceremony.

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Altoona defense attorney Tom Dickey has been hired to represent 25-year-old Kyle Rodgers of the Johnstown area who is accused of fatally shooting his live-in girlfriend in May. Rodgers claims 20-year-old Linsey Wolfe was killed when his gun accidentally went off during a dispute in their Bloom Street apartment. A preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for August 6.

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A Cambria County judge yesterday sentenced 45-year-old David Carman Jr. of Beaverdale to 2-and-a-half to 15 years in a state prison for molesting a mentally disabled teenage girl he was supposed to be helping with schoolwork. Carman pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated indecent assault and corruption of minors. An evaluation by the state’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board determined that Carman, who has no prior record, is not a sexually violent predator, but he must still register his address with state police for the rest of his life under Megan’s Law.

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In preparation for heavy traffic over the July 4 holiday, Pennsylvania Turnpike maintenance crews will open all available lanes beginning at 3 p.m. today. Barring an emergency, the lanes will remain open until July 7 at 6 a.m. Officials expect more than 2.7 million vehicles to be on the Turnpike over the holiday, up from 2.5 million last year.

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Governor Tom Corbett “never condemned” Joe Paterno for his actions regarding the Jerry Sandusky case, and “never will.” That’s what Corbett told the Associated Press in an interview yesterday. He also said he regrets that Penn State fired the coach over the phone rather than in person. Corbett claims he doesn’t believe that his response to the Sandusky scandal has hurt him politically.

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State lawmakers are asking people to honor our service men and women. Today has been declared "Red Day." Red stands for, "'Remember Everyone Deployed" and residents are encouraged to wear red in honor of active duty soldiers, veterans and their families.

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The White House says it will ask Congress for half-a-billion dollars to help Syrian rebels. The money would be used to equip and train moderate rebels who are battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Some congressional Republicans have accused President Obama of not doing enough to help rebels in Syria's bloody three-year old conflict.

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President Obama says the overall economic situation in the U.S. is significantly better than when he entered the White House. Speaking in Minneapolis Thursday, the President said there are "still a lot of folks struggling out there." He said many working families are struggling to stay afloat due to stagnant wages and rising costs.

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The New York City Council is giving the go ahead for municipal ID cards in the Big Apple. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve the program aimed at helping hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants living in the city have access to key services like opening bank accounts and signing a lease.

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The U.S. Supreme Court is striking down a Massachusetts law that created buffer zones around abortion clinics to push back protesters. Thursday's unanimous ruling declared the law violated the free speech rights of anti-abortion protesters. As a result Boston abortion clinics are beefing up security. Boston's mayor also said the facilities will have an increased police presence Friday morning.

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U.S. officials say the chief suspect in the 2012 attack on the American compound in Benghazi is expected to arrive on U.S. soil this weekend. Ahmed Abu Khatallah was captured by U.S. forces in Libya on June 15 and has been sailing to the U.S. aboard the USS New York. He is expected to face justice in the U.S. criminal court system.

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IRS Chief John Koskinen is blaming technology for suspicious problems prompting congressional investigations into his agency. In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, he noted several technology failures have already taken place this year.

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A verdict in Hawaii's first ever death penalty trial will be read Friday morning. Jurors in the murder trial of former soldier Naeem Williams reached their verdict Thursday, but said they were "emotionally drained" from the deliberations. Williams was found guilty in April of murdering his 5-year-old daughter in 2005.

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Six Florida sailors who have been held in a Honduran prison for nearly two-months are now free. The Tarpon Springs men are reportedly now sailing for home. The men were arrested on charges they were smuggling guns into Honduras, but the crew claimed their weapons were only used for self-defense.

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Australian authorities now believe someone on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 deliberately put the plane on autopilot after it turned toward the southern Indian Ocean. A new report released Thursday also theorizes that all 239 passengers and crew on board may have passed out due to a lack of oxygen before the plane ran out of fuel and crashed.

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President Obama is telling parents in Central America not to send their kids to the United States. In his most forceful comments yet on the emerging humanitarian crisis, Obama told ABC News "Do not send your children to the borders." He said if the children make it to the border, they'll get sent back.

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A federal judge in Colorado is upholding the state's new gun restrictions. The laws require background checks for all private gun sales and ban high-capacity magazines. They were passed after high-profile shootings including the movie massacre in Aurora and the Newtown school shooting in Connecticut.

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Supporters of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Oregon say they have submitted more than enough signatures to put the issue to the voters. Members of New Approach Oregon said they turned in petitions to the Secretary of State's Office on Thursday and are confident the issue will be put on the ballot.

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Actor Shia LaBeouf is bringing some real-life drama to Broadway. ABC News reports that the 28-year-old was seen being escorted out of the Broadway show "Cabaret" in handcuffs on Thursday night. A source says the actor was seen smoking and being disruptive inside the theater.

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Today is National HIV Testing Day. The Centers for Disease Control says one in six people don't know they have HIV and testing is the only way to find out. Over 1 million people are living with the disease.

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North Carolina's Sexy Schoolgirl race is being called off. Race organizers in Raleigh cancelled the August event after community members voiced objections to the race that encouraged runners to dress as nerdy-but-sexy coeds. The Sexy Schoolgirl website features a pair of buxom brunettes wearing glasses and encourages men and women to participate in the races.

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