Today's News - Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yesterday a Cambria County Judge agreed to allow 33-year-old Benjamin Schoenfeld of Portage to withdraw his guilty plea to aggravated assault charges for shooting another man in what police called a drug-related incident. Schoenfeld claims he was defending himself last December when he shot Donald Lewis, III in the arm at Lewis’ house on Makin Street. The case could go to trial early next year.

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After initially voting against the measure, Johnstown City Council is considering raising the city’s earned income tax. The proposal would increase the tax anywhere from 1.3 to 1.5 percent, resulting in an additional $400,000 in revenue. The money would be used to hire two police officers and a codes enforcement officer as well as assist in funding the pension program.

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A wreck on Menoher Boulevard in Westmont yesterday injured two men. 91-year-old Sylvester Saula was blinded by the sun and crossed over into the opposing lane where he hit a mail truck driven by 25-year-old Scooter Hovanec. Both were taken to Memorial Medical center with minor injuries.

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After just a half hour of deliberations, a Blair County jury yesterday found former Saint Francis University student Kalil Wynn not guilty of rape. A Penn State Altoona student claimed he assaulted her in November of last year. Wynn convinced the jury that the act was consensual.

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A suspect is in custody in connection to a shooting near Brashear High School in Pittsburgh. AJ Willet was arrested after three male students were shot near the school just after classes let out Wednesday afternoon. Police believe the shooting happened as a result of the alleged assault and robbery of Willet at the school last month.

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Legislation is being introduced that would make teachers convicted of sex crimes, pay back the costs of their trials. State Representative Will Tallman introduced the bill yesterday in Harrisburg. He says the court costs of school employees accused of sex crimes are often paid by taxpayers. The bill is also designed to help keep track of teachers accused of sexual assault.

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A bill permitting gambling in roughly 4,500 bars and taverns across Pennsylvania cleared the state house yesterday and is now on its way to the Senate where final approval is expected next week. According to the Associated Press, Governor Tom Corbett is also supporting the changes to the gaming regulations which would allow bars to seek licenses for pull-tab games, daily drawings, and tavern raffles with individual prize limits at $2,000 for a single game. The state expects to approve about 2,000 licenses.

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The defamation lawsuit filed by former Penn State president Graham Spanier against former FBI Director Louis Freeh is heading to court. According to StateCollege.com, a hearing is scheduled for January 9th so a judge can decide whether the suit should be delayed pending the criminal trial. The hearing will be at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is confident that Obamacare improvement is on the horizon. Yesterday, Carney said President Obama will outline ways to improve Obamacare "sooner rather than later." The White House is facing growing criticism over the cancellation of insurance policies that do not conform to the new health insurance rules. Roughly 106 thousand people have selected plans from the new federal healthcare exchanges. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the numbers were held down by the troubled launch of the HealthCare.Gov website.

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White House spokesman Jay Carney is describing comprehensive immigration reform as a win-win-win proposition and insists it can still get done this year. Earlier, Republican Speaker John Boehner said the House will not take up a sweeping, bipartisan Senate bill.

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President Obama's choice to chair the Federal Reserve says the Fed needs to continue buying bonds until the economy is a lot stronger than it is now. Janet Yellen's prepared remarks for today's confirmation hearing of the Senate Banking Committee include her belief that "supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy.

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The president of the Philippines is under increasing pressure to speed up the distribution of aid in the aftermath of a deadly typhoon. Survivors are desperate for food, water and medicine. Looting on a large scale broke out across hardest-hit Leyte province on Wednesday, despite the presence of soldiers to maintain law and order.

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The second day of Whitey Bulger's sentencing hearing begins this morning. Family members of Bulger's murder victims spoke of their pain and suffering yesterday, as the notorious mobster averted his eyes. The daughter of a man Bulger killed stunned the courtroom when she offered her forgiveness.

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Investors are looking to build on yesterday's gains which led to new record closing highs for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. Encouraging results from Macy's raised expectations for the holiday spending season.

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Singer Mariah Carey isn't holding back her feelings about working on "American Idol." She says she doesn’t have many happy memories to share from her time as a judge on the show last season. She said she "hated" being there, and that it was like "going to work every day in Hell with Satan."

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An outburst by Mark Wahlberg is capturing headlines. Wahlberg unleashed a flood of profanity-laced expletives at the Tuesday night premiere for his upcoming military drama "Lone Survivor Wahlberg's response at a question-and-answer session seemed to take aim at recent reports about actor Tom Cruise comparing acting to the rigors of serving in the military in a recent court deposition.

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A Florida man is in hot water with the law after his bizarre 911 call. According to a police report obtained by TCPalm.com, earlier this month James Collins called emergency services because his neighbors "were being mean and would not drink with him." While an officer warned Collins about misusing the emergency number, he called back only 30-minutes later with the same complaint.

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Alec Baldwin's accused stalker is spending the night in jail. TMZ.com says the judge presiding over Genevieve Sabourin's trial slapped her with contempt of court after she interrupted the trial again Wednesday morning, ordering Sabourin to spend 30 days in jail. The French Canadian actress reportedly interrupted her own attorney as he tried to argue his case.

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Music legend Tina Turner is giving up her U.S. citizenship. The American embassy in Bern, Switzerland reported this week that the iconic entertainer recently filed the paperwork there. The nearly 74-year-old Turner has lived in Switzerland for nearly two decades and she took an oath of Swiss citizenship last April.

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