Today's News - Thursday, July 17, 2014

A third Johnstown murder suspect is now behind bars in the shooting death of Police Academy recruit Tyrone Williams. 19-year-old Jaquan Watson turned himself into police Wednesday morning. 15-year-old Fidel Cosby surrendered Tuesday and 21-year-old Richard Cook was arrested first. Police say all three fired guns at Williams outside the Oakhurt Homes early Sunday. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for next week but are expected to be continued.

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Another shooting in Johnstown. Someone called 911 around 5:30 yesterday afternoon after hearing shots fired and screams in the Old Conemaugh neighborhood. No injuries were reported. Details are scarce as the investigation continues.

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A Cambria County man is jailed on theft and elder abuse charges. Richland Township police say Robert Vasilinda used his power of attorney privileges to steal from his 75-year-old aunt in the last few months of her life, even using her identity to purchase himself a $29 thousand truck. Vasilinda has been arrested several times before for theft.

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Governor Tom Corbett is being named most likely to lose his job in November. The National Journal yesterday called Corbett a dead man walking, citing the results of a recent Franklin and Marshall poll that show Democratic challenger Tom Wolf holding a 22-point lead. The article claims Corbett is on his way to becoming the first Pennsylvania governor ever to be defeated for reelection.

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Governor Tom Corbett yesterday announced an $18 million state and federal investment to make improvements at 35 Pennsylvania airports. $17.1 million comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Block Grant Program. Money is going to the Ebensburg Airport, Clearfield-Lawrence Airport and those in Bedford, Clinton, Indiana, Mifflin and Somerset counties.

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State police have been busy confiscating illegal drugs this year. In the second quarter of 2014, they seized more than 24 kilograms of heroin and over 1 thousand pounds of marijuana. Together, they have a street value of $22 million. 41 kilograms of heroin have been taken off the streets this year while last year’s total was just 31.5 kilograms.

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Governor Tom Corbett has signed into law legislation to increase the amount of legal aid for low income Pennsylvanians. The measure raises the surcharge on court filing fees by one dollar to four dollars. That is expected to generate as much as $2.5 million for legal services benefitting low income individuals.

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Last month, construction crews at Penn State’s University Park discovered a time capsule dating back to 1956. Dozens of people gathered yesterday to open it up. Inside, were mementos from a sorority, newspaper clippings and the 1957 alumni magazine. The university is putting a 2014 capsule in place of this one. It includes an iPhone and a James Franklin signed football, although this time, they are marking it so future generations can easily find it.

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Despite the new transportation tax and a push to make improvements, Pennsylvania roadways are still some of the worst in the country. A study released by the University of Michigan puts our state’s roads 34th when it comes to safety. The study lists 13 deaths for every one billion miles traveled. That’s higher than the national average which is just under 10. Despite those bad numbers, Pennsylvania’s total fatalities dropped by nearly 19 percent.

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Israeli forces say they stopped 13 Palestinians who tried to tunnel into Israel just before a five hour ceasefire took effect. Israel describes the Palestinians as Hamas terrorists, but didn't say whether they were captured or killed. Meanwhile, the artillery and rocket-launchers in Israel and Gaza are quiet at the moment.

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House Republicans are moving closer to suing President Obama for executive overreach. Opening a hearing of the House Rules Committee, Texas Republican Pete Sessions accused the President Wednesday of violating the separation of powers. Republicans are furious about Obama's use of executive orders to go around Congress.

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Florida Senator Marco Rubio says all of Washington is at fault for the border crisis. Senator Rubio says nearly half of the illegal immigrants in America are people who come in legally, and stay after their visas expire. He called for a tracking system of all people coming into and leaving the country.

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Utah's attorney general wants the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a ruling that ordered the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in the state. Recognition of those marriages would allow the couples to apply for legal benefits. Wednesday's appeal to the Supreme Court was expected.

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First Lady Michelle Obama wants to see more done to help our military veterans in the U.S. Speaking at a Unite for Veterans event in Los Angeles Wednesday, the First Lady said the Obama administration would help Los Angeles work to achieve the goal of ending veteran homelessness in the city by the end of 2015.

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President Obama is announcing more U.S. sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. Speaking at the White House Wednesday, the President accused Russia of failing to take steps to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine. The new sanctions will affect Russian banks, energy firms and defense companies.

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The Chairman of the House Oversight Committee says a former member of President Obama's cabinet broke the law. California Republican Darrell Issa released a recording Wednesday of what he claims is then-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis seeking contributions from one of her employees for Obama's 2012 re-election effort.

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A ceasefire between Hamas and Israel is now in effect. The Israeli military says it will halt fire on the Gaza Strip for five hours today. Israel says it's agreeing to the truce for humanitarian reasons. The ceasefire comes after Israeli shelling killed four Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach on Wednesday.

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Three people are dead and another is in custody following a bank robbery and high speed chase in Stockton, California. Police say three men held up a Bank of the West branch Wednesday, took three women hostage, stole a bank employee's SUV and sped off. Two of the suspects and a hostage were killed.

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Employees at Microsoft are nervously awaiting today's layoff announcement. The "New York Times" reports the tech giant's latest round of layoffs will be the largest in company history. Microsoft gave out pink slips to about 58-hundred employees in 2009.

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A Florida teen who was beaten by Israeli police is back home. Tariq Abu Khdeir was in East Jerusalem visiting family earlier this month when he took part in a demonstration protesting the murder of his Palestinian cousin. The 15-year-old was arrested by Israeli police and badly beaten in an attack that was caught on video. The officers involved in the beating are being disciplined.

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Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is suing the publishers of a popular video game. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Wednesday, Noriega claims the company behind "Call of Duty: Black Ops Two" never obtained permission to use his likeness, thus damaging his reputation. The 80-year-old Noriega is still serving out a prison sentence in Panama for drug trafficking, money laundering and killing political opponents.

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Michael Sam's courage off the football field is earning him recognition from the sports community. At the 2014 ESPY Awards Wednesday night, Sam was awarded the Arthur Ashe Award For Courage for bravely being the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL. Quoting Arthur Ashe, Sam reminded the audience to "start where you are, use what you have, do what you can."

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The mayoral race in Oakland is going to the dogs. According to KPIX TV, a dog named Einstein is running for mayor. Einstein has gained notoriety by regularly showing up at Occupy Oakland events. He can't officially run for the office, but his owners have launched a website anyway to push his campaign platform.

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Marvel is making another casting change. On the heels of the news that the new Thor will be a woman, the comic book makers have announced that the new Captain America will be African-American for the first time in the franchise's history.

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A Romanian princess and her husband are admitting to running a cockfighting ring in Oregon. Irina Walker, the daughter of exiled King Michael pled guilty of running an illegal gambling operation. Under a plea agreement the couple will avoid jail time by selling their ranch and paying the government $200 thousand.

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A 40-year-old mother of two is one of the newest members of the New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad. Kriste Lewis decided to try out for the "Saintsations" as a way to celebrate turning 40. Most of the other 35 cheerleaders are in their early to mid-20s.

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