Today's News - Friday, March 7, 2014

A Cambria County judge yesterday sentenced 51-year-old Albert Baldish Sr. of Johnstown to 35 to 70 years in jail for sexually abusing a young girl starting when she was 6 and continuing for about 10 years. Baldish is planning to appeal.

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Another school district in the area is changing its calendar due to the high number of snow days this winter. Students in the Greater Johnstown School District will have four more days of classes through June 6. The school board says graduation has been pushed back to that day and the number of days off during holidays has also been cut.

 

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State police in Bedford are investigating the theft of seven weapons from a home on Wall Street, including a pre-Civil War dueling pistol. Troopers say someone entered a Saxton-area residence February 23 and drank a case of beer, then made off with the guns. Anyone with information should call the barracks at 623-61-33.

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A petition with over 500 signatures was presented to Johnstown City Council on Wednesday night asking that they eliminate sewer pressure testing. Most homes will not pass the test. The average cost for homeowners who do not pass the test and need to upgrade is around $2,500 to $3,000, but can go much higher depending on the circumstances. The city is undergoing a sewer renovation project after the state Department of Environmental Protection required the city to eliminate all sanitary sewer overflows in 2010.

 

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State Police in Bedford County say 45-year old Michael Edmondson of Everett is jailed, charged with more than 2,400 child sex abuse counts. He is accused of raping three different female relatives when they were girls between 2002 and 2014. The alleged abuse began when the victims were as young as 5. Two are now adults and the other is now 14. One told police Edmonson once held a sawed-off shotgun to her head and threatened to kill her. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Wednesday.

 

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State troopers in Somerset County seized 200 bricks of heroin during a traffic stop this week. Police say Deborah Campbell was pulled over along the turnpike for driving without headlights. Ten-thousand stamp bags of heroin were also found in her purse which was sitting on the front seat. Campbell is free on bond.

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State Health Department officials say the flu is no longer considered widespread across Pennsylvania, but it's still affecting some regions.
Figures show that influenza peaked in late January, and the number of new cases has dropped by hundreds a week since then. Seventy-seven people, including two children died in Pennslvania from the virus during this flu season. Most of the deaths occurred in people 50 and older.

 

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The “Times Higher Education” magazine’s world reputation rankings have been released and, for the first time, Penn State is in the top 50. The England-based magazine has Penn State ranked 39th among universities around the world in their fourth annual list which is based on more than 10,000 responses from over 130 countries. The previous two years, Penn State was ranked between 51 and 60.

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Penn State’s board of trustees meets today in Hershey and will consider raising room and board rates by about $400 for the next school year. The average cost for a standard room with two beds and the most common meal plan would be $4,885 per semester. That’s a 4.27 percent increase over the current year. Administrator Gail Hurley says the money would go toward covering expected increases in food and utilities costs and building maintenance. The board will also talk about adding a permanent student seat to the governing body.

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President Obama is pressing Vladimir Putin to accept a potential diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine. Obama spoke by phone with the Russian president yesterday and emphasized that Russia's move into Crimea violates Ukraine's sovereignty.

 

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There's room in the skies for small, commercial drones. A federal judge struck down the FAA's ban on the commercial use of small drones Thursday, saying there's no law to back it up. The ruling could give entrepreneurs space below 400 feet to operate the unmanned vehicles.

 

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The man rumored to be the creator of bitcoin is denying involvement with the digital currency. This, after "Newsweek" magazine reported Thursday that physicist Dorian Nakamoto is the computer coder who invented the currency and the software that supports it.

 

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One of the nation's largest grocery chains is about to have a new owner. The "Wall Street Journal" reports Cerberus Capital Management has agreed to buy Safeway for more than nine-billion-dollars. Safeway officials say the deal will merge them with the Idaho-based Albertson's chain.

 

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Economic forecasters expect a February jobs report chilled by freezing weather. Most economists seem to agree that today's monthly jobs report should show the economy added roughly 150,000 jobs last month.

 

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says President Obama's economic policies are all wrong. In remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Christie said government efforts to control the private market pose a much bigger problem for our economy than the income equality Obama often speaks of.

 

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California congressman Darrel Issa has apologized to a fellow lawmaker for cutting off his microphone during a hearing Wednesday. The Republican congressman says he made a personal apology to Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland on Thursday. The dispute took place during a hearing looking into whether the IRS targeted conservative groups.

 

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The neighbor whose testimony reduced Oscar Pistorius to tears is expected to take the witness stand again today. The murder trial of the South African Olympic sprinter enters day five this morning. The doctor spoke yesterday about rushing to Pistorius' home after hearing shots on Valentine's Day last year.

 

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It's legal to use small drones to deliver beer, film sporting events and spray fields. A federal judge struck down the FAA's ban on the commercial use of small drones Thursday, saying there's no law to back it up. The ruling could give entrepreneurs space below four-hundred feet to operate the unmanned vehicles.

 

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In Massachusetts, former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is in trouble for his role in a recent jail fight. The Bristol County sheriff says that based on an investigation, a criminal complaint has now been filed. Hernandez remains in custody at the Bristol County House of Corrections after being indicted on murder and firearms charges.  

 

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A bill aimed at curbing sexual assault in the military is being blocked in the Senate. The legislation, authored by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand would have removed the military chain of command from prosecutorial decisions on sexual assault cases. A procedural vote failed to hit a 60-vote threshold, 55-45.

 

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U.S. households are $10 trillion richer. Recovering home values and a skyrocketing stock market are pushing household wealth back to where it was before the recession. The Federal Reserve reported Thursday the net worth of households and nonprofits hit $80.7 trillion at the end of last year.

 

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There's a new app to keep coffee drinkers from losing too much sleep. "UP Coffee" is a free app from Jawbone that correlates your caffeine intake with your height, weight, gender and the time you'd like to go to sleep. The company analyzed the data from more than 5,000 nights of snoozing to program the app.

 

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An Ohio judge is giving some Florida treasure hunters the chance to recover a fortune in gold that's sitting at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of South Carolina. Odyssey Marine Exploration is being awarded the contract to recover gold bars and coins from the wreckage of the SS Central America.

 

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Giants and Jets fans appear to the most willing in the NFL to accept gay players on their team, while Titans fans might be more reluctant. Researchers at Emory University broke down tweets including the words "Michael Sam" in the two days following the Mizzou defensive lineman's announcement he was gay to gauge reactions. They grouped them by regions and found New York had the most positive responses, followed by St. Louis, Chicago and San Francisco.

 

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This year's Los Angeles Lakers are history-makers, but none of them will ever brag about it. The Lakers' 142-94 loss to the Clippers last night is the worst in franchise history. 

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