Today's News - Monday, August 4, 2014

A deadly dirt bike crash Saturday afternoon on Geiger Road in Friedens, Somerset County. State police say 22-year-old Austin Coddingon of Fridens was riding on the road when he crossed the center line on a curve and hit a car head on. 33-year-old Karrie Smith of Somerset who was driving the van was taken to the hospital. No word on her injuries.

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State police in Somerset County are investigating an arson about 2 a.m. Sunday on the 400 block of West Main Street in Somerset Borough. The blaze destroyed a house with damage estimated at $20 thousand. Fire also damaged a house on Crawford Avenue in Northern Cambria about 3:15 Sunday morning. There were no reports of injuries, but the family lost everything. Donations are being accepted at the Northern Cambria/Spangler American Legion.

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Police in Indiana are looking for the thieves who stole more than a thousand pounds of racing equipment. Early Saturday, someone broke into a parked racing trailer in a lot between Pizza Hut and Aldi grocery store on Oakland Avenue. They took an engine worth $20 thousand, a transmission worth $5,000, and a set of shocks worth another $500. Anyone with information should call 724-357-19-60.

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Following a federal government audit earlier this year, Altoona’s James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center received a clean bill of health when it comes to scheduling, but now the “Altoona Mirror” reports that almost one-fourth of the center’s 118 schedulers told auditors they were instructed to falsify scheduling dates for area veterans. According to a congressional report, schedulers correctly used the electronic waiting list only 40 percent of the time. Van Zandt is reportedly one of about 100 VA medical centers across the country where fraudulent scheduling and related problems were uncovered.

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Pennsylvania's gubernatorial race is down to two candidates. Green Party nominee Paul Glover and the Libertarian Party's Ken Krawchuk have dropped out after failing to gather the required signatures by Friday's deadline. The contest is now between Republican Governor Tom Corbett and Democratic nominee Tom Wolf.

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State Senator Daylin Leach is catching some heat after admitting he smoked marijuana on his recent taxpayer-funded trip to Colorado. Leach says he took two hits from a vape pen, an e-cigarette that vaporizes marijuana and makes it smokeless. Leach got the pen as a gift from a facility he toured during the trip to study the state's marijuana industry, and he says he tried the pen so he could understand the new technology and examine the potency of the drug.

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Pennsylvania is second in the nation for teachers involved in sex crime cases. Drive West Communications recently released a study which looked at sexual abuse cases involving teachers reported this year. 24 Pennsylvania teachers were involved in sex crime cases in the state, topped only by Texas.

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A seven-hour Israeli ceasefire is reportedly in effect in Gaza. But Palestinians are accusing Israel of almost immediately breaking the ceasefire by bombing a house in Gaza City. A Gaza official said 15 people were wounded in the strike on a house that contained mostly women and children.

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There's word an American doctor infected with Ebola is improving in an Atlanta hospital. Dr. Kent Brantly contracted the deadly virus while working with an aid group in the African nation of Liberia. He's being treated in a special isolation ward at Emory University Hospital.

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A do-not-drink advisory is still in effect for Toledo, Ohio's water. A state of emergency was declared Saturday after toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie contaminated the water supply in Toledo and surrounding areas.

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A Maine senator says an apology from CIA Director John Brennan isn't enough. Angus King made an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" to discuss the alleged CIA spying on the U.S. Senate. King says he wants serious discussions with the CIA Director to see what he knew about the spying case.

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Owners of millions of recalled General Motors vehicles with defective ignition switches are encountering yet another headache. The auto maker's website has been incorrectly informing some owners that their vehicles are not on the massive recall list when they actually are.

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There's a strange twist in the case of a man who died while being arrested by New York City police. Ramsey Orta, who shot the viral video of Eric Garner being put in a choke hold by police, was himself arrested on Saturday night for allegedly possessing an illegal firearm.

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The State Department confirms a U.S. spy plane had to veer into Swedish air space last month to avoid Russian fighters. The Air Force RC-135 had been conducting a reconnaissance mission over the Baltic Sea, the day after a Malaysian airliner was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine.

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Florida lawmakers will be going back to work in hopes of untangling the state's illegal congressional districts. The state legislature has to develop new congressional boundaries by August 15th after a judge ruled the current districts unconstitutional last week.

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Authorities in Oregon say they have a suspect in custody in connection with a toddler found dead in a hotel room. Police in Cannon Beach haven't said who the person in custody is, but earlier Sunday an arrest warrant was issued for the child's mother, Jessica Smith. Smith's two-year-old daughter Isabella was found dead in a Cannon Beach hotel room on Friday.

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Leaders from across Africa are gathering in Washington, D.C., for the U.S-Africa Summit. President Obama is welcoming the leaders to focus on trade and investment in the continent. The gathering also aims at strengthening ties between the United States and countries being represented.

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A second person is dead from a suspected drug overdose at a Maryland music festival. According to InsideNova.com, a 17-year-old from Virginia died Sunday evening after attending the Mad Decent Block Party Friday at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Another attendee from North Carolina also died from an apparent drug overdose on Friday.

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The Internet is enabling people to increase their social circles. More than three-quarters of those taking part in a poll from the global meeting app Skout say they have at least one person in their lives they consider a "good friend" whom they've never actually met in person.

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Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics is officially part of Apple. On Friday, Apple marked the finalization of the three-billion-dollar acquisition of Beats on their website, writing that they are "excited to officially welcome Beats Music and Beats Electronics to the Apple family." The statement also praised Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for creating "beautiful products" that have helped connect people to music.

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