Today's News - Thursday, September 26, 2013

Eight-and-a-half to 17 years in prison is the sentence for 38-year-old Brian Roles Sr. of East Taylor Township, Cambria County. He was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs in April of last year when his pickup crashed, killing his 16-year-old son, Brian Jr. During the trial, Roles’ nephew stunned the courtroom when he said he was pressured to testify that Brian Jr. was driving at the time.

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The City of Johnstown will continue to remain an Act 47 municipality despite ending in the black for the first time since 20098. According to 6 News, in a few weeks city council will vote to amend, but not remove, its financially distressed status.

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Paint Township’s police chief will leave his post to become the chief of the newly reinstated Windber Borough police department. According to “The Tribune-Democrat,” Officer Rick Skiles will lead the Windber Department and receive $25 an hour. Skiles has a history with the Windber force. Windber officials voted earlier this year to reinstate its police department after three years of receiving coverage from Paint Twp. police.

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One person was airlifted to Johnstown’s Memorial Medical Center and another was taken by ambulance to Somerset Hospital yesterday after a car and a tri-axle truck collided head-on in Somerset Township. State Police say it happened around 1 p.m. at Glades Pike and Huckleberry Highway.

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane and 39 other attorneys general have all signed a letter asking the food and drug administration to investigate e-cigarettes. They are designed to deliver nicotine without smoke or tar. E-cigarettes are currently not regulated by the FDA and there have been questions about how safe they are.

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State Game Commission officials held a meeting in Roaring Spring yesterday and said deer hunters in our area will face strict limits this year in hopes of stemming the spread of chronic wasting disease. The Game Commission plans to test 1,000 locally-killed deer and thousands more statewide. The deadly disease turned up in three animals shot in the Morrison’s Cove area last year. Those who don’t follow the rules will face citations and fines. Hunters who spot a sick deer can kill it and turn it in for a fresh tag.

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Twenty-one same-sex couples filed suit this week saying the state’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. This lawsuit parallels a separate challenge to the law filed two months ago in Federal Court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. All of the couples in the state lawsuit were married with licenses from a Montgomery County clerk who issued them after Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane decided the law was unconstitutional and refused to defend it in Federal Court.

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Legislation to keep government open past September 30th is closer to a final vote. Yesterday, the Senate approved a procedural motion to avoid a partial government shutdown. The measure from the U.S. house aims to avert a government shutdown while defunding Obamacare. Even a brief, partial shutdown of the federal government could have detrimental effects on the economy’s growth. According to some economists, even a three or four-day shutdown could knock two-tenths of a percent off the economy’s annual growth rate in the fourth quarter. If Congress remains at odds for three or four weeks, the economy’s growth could be cut in half.

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The U.S. and Iran are scheduled to engage in high-level talks for the first time in years. On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives of foreign powers will meet today with Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The discussion will involve the subject of Iran's nuclear program. 

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A community college in Maryland will be the backdrop today as President Obama promotes the benefits of the healthcare reform law. Obama is encouraging young adults without health insurance to enroll in healthcare exchanges.  A six month, open enrollment period opens on October 1st.

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The 911 tapes from last year’s Newtown, Connecticut mass shooting will be released according to a ruling by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission concerning the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The tapes could contain important information about the law enforcement response to the massacre.

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Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray is remembering the victims of the Navy Yard shootings.  Last night, he and religious leaders at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church joined in a memorial service. \Speaking to the interfaith gathering, Gray wondered why the nation's gun laws are still not able to stop a mentally ill person from purchasing a gun. 

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A Milwaukee-based company has issued a recall due to possible Listeria contamination. Garden Fresh Foods says more than 19,000 pounds of pre-cooked chicken and ham products are affected.  So far, there have been no reports of any illnesses. 

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The U.S. Postal Service wants to increase the cost to mail a letter. Three cents is the proposed hike, increasing the cost of a stamp to 49 cents.

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America's most widely-used college entrance tests suggest high school graduates may be less ready for college and the workplace. The new College Board report shows only 43-percent of this year’s graduating seniors scored high enough on the SAT to indicate they'll succeed in the first year of college.

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It’s a rare occurrence to see a 40-foot tall rubber duck in Pittsburgh. It’s an art project in the Allegheny River that will be unveiled tomorrow during the start of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. You’re invited to see the duck tomorrow near the Roberto Clemente Bridge from 5:30 p.m. to about 10:00 and it will be in Pittsburgh for a few weeks. Find out about the Rubber Duck Bridge Party at pifof.org.

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Former Pennsylvania Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum is making a play for the big screen. Santorum’s film company EchoLight Studios is behind the upcoming movie “The Christmas Candle,” which stars “X Factor” UK breakout star Susan Boyle. In a statement, Santorum says the story “inspires renewed hope in the miracle of Christmas and illustrates that this holiday is not just about reindeer and receiving gifts.” “The Christmas Candle” is due out in theaters November 22nd.

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Employees in Flushing Township, Michigan are speaking out against a measure to cut down on idle chatter at work. According to Saginaw’s WNEM TV, in July the town enacted a new policy that would require municipal workers to only talk about business matters during the work day. Now, employees are voicing their opposition to the small talk ban, saying it hurts morale.

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The Army is getting ready to issue new rules on where soldiers can put tattoos. The policy states that the body art can’t show below the elbows and knees or above the neckline. However, the policy will only apply to new recruits.

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