Today's News - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Cambria County jury yesterday found Daniel Butz of Nanty Glo not guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl in 2007. The girl claimed Butz assaulted her twice while she was at his home babysitting his child. She didn’t come forward until she was 18.

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Back in November, Penelec locked out about 140 local union workers, but now it’s finally ending. The Utility Workers Union of America and First Energy have reportedly reached an agreement and the employees should be back on the job Monday. They will work under the terms of First Energy’s “last, best and final offer” which does include wage hikes. The next step is for negotiations to continue, and hopefully the union will soon ratify a new contract.

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Kevin McGee of Johnstown will represent himself when testimony begins today in Cambria County court. He’s charged with attempted homicide for firing shots into an empty Richland Township police cruiser in September 2012. McGee refused to put down the gun, then an officer shot him in the stomach.

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Thirty-two-year-old Rebecca Jo Kelly of Johnstown, who is pregnant, was sentenced yesterday to 30 days in the Cambria County Prison. “The Tribune-Democrat” says she was in court Monday for a seventh charge of driving without a license or insurance. Kelly must also pay a $1,000 fine. Her baby isn’t due until July.

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In Harrisburg Monday, Governor Tom Corbett signed bills designed to protect children. The first would create a state-wide database to make it easier to report and track child abuse. The second would end the DARE fund and send any remaining money to child advocacy centers. And the third would establish a committee to distribute grant money to those centers and child abuse investigative teams.

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A bill that would punish government employees for accepting cash gifts in exchange for influencing public policy is on its way to the senate. The Senate State Government Committee approved the bill on the heels of allegations that house members accepted cash from a confidential informant in a criminal investigation. A ban on cash gifts was put into effect last week by house leaders for the chamber's members and employees.

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National Work Zone Awareness Week continues through Friday and state officials are urging everyone to slow down and be alert. Last week, two turnpike maintenance employees were injured in separate accidents. Officials say numerous pot holes have developed after the rough winter, adding to the construction plans. Under state law, headlights are required in work areas and speeding tickets are doubled.

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Today is Equal Pay Day and state lawmakers are working on two bipartisan pay-equity bills that would update the conditions under which employers could pay different wages for factors other than gender. The bills would also strengthen anti-retaliation protections for employees who share information about their pay. Officials say it takes the average woman in Pennsylvania one year, three months and eight days to make as much as a man does in one year.

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The Paterno family wants a judge to overrule Penn State’s attempt to block a subpoena requesting documents allegedly showing collaboration among the NCAA, Freeh Law Firm and the university. Penn State claims the Freeh Report documents should be protected by attorney-client privilege and work product. The university also argues that the Paterno family does not have appropriate legal standing for the lawsuit to sustain. The family’s motion for an overrule was filed Monday.

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Oscar Pistorius is continuing his emotional testimony in a South African courtroom. The Olympic track star is back on the stand for a second day to give his account of the night his girlfriend was killed. Pistorius has admitted he shot Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day of last year but claims he thought she was an intruder.

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A Los Angeles police officer is lucky to be alive after a man opened fire in a California police station. The gunman reportedly said he wanted to make a complaint Monday before pulling out a gun shooting the officer seven times. A bulletproof vest is credited with saving his life.

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The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is going underwater. Officials leading the search say it's unlikely any wreckage from the doomed Boeing 777 will be found on the surface. Australian officials say the search is in a critical stage as the batteries in the jet's black boxes have likely died.

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Time is running out for Windows XP users to protect their personal information. Microsoft is ending security updates today for the old operating system. Computers that are still running XP will make it easier for hackers to access Social Security numbers, passwords and other information.

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An Oklahoma man who says he thought his grandson was possessed by the devil is facing charges. Prosecutors say the 56-year-old shot and killed his 15-year-old grandson last month. He was charged Monday with first degree murder.

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President Obama is promoting equal pay for all Americans. White House spokesman Jay Carney says the President wants to ensure that women are not paid less than men for the same work. The President will commemorate Equal Pay Day on Tuesday in a White House ceremony.

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It's not likely that a California family will have to pay for the sea rescue of their sick one-year-old daughter. Multiple rescue agencies including the Navy got together and coordinated rescue efforts to reach the Kaufman family about 900 nautical miles from the coast of Mexico after they sent a distress signal last week. An official with the Coast Guard said Monday that the agency doesn't charge for search and rescue operations, and wouldn't want anyone to hesitate to call them for help.

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There's havoc in the streets following Connecticut's big NCAA tournament win. Students reportedly knocked down light posts and started fires as they rejoice UConn's fourth national title. Meanwhile, fans in Lexington, Kentucky are upset their Wildcats could not pull out their ninth championship.

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A bill extending jobless aid is going to the House after passage in the Senate. The vote was 59-38. The bipartisan measure would extend longterm unemployment benefits for more than two-million Americans for several months.

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Ford Motor Company is the latest American automaker to announce a major recall. The company is recalling nearly 386-thousand Escape SUVs from model years 2001 to 2004 because rust could cause the lower control arm to separate from the subframe of the vehicle.

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A crackdown on the nation's biggest banks is going to a vote. Federal regulators weigh new rules Tuesday that would force the banks to steer away from the kind of risky borrowing and debt loads that led to the 2007 financial crisis. The changes would require banks to fund part of their business through less risky sources such as shareholder equity.

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SeaWorld is fighting a bill in California that would ban killer whales from the theme park's shows. A committee will hear testimony Tuesday on the legislation, which would end SeaWorld's captive breeding program and stop the import or export of orcas in the state. The bill was inspired by the controversial "Blackfish" documentary.

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Chili's Grill and Bar is dropping a fundraiser for an autism charity linked to anti-vaccine claims. Many Chili's customers spoke out on social media after the restaurant announced the National Autism Association would be getting ten-percent of its nationwide customer receipts from Monday. The NAA's website states vaccinations can trigger or exacerbate autism in some if not many children.

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Stargazers are in for a rare cosmic performance tonight. The Earth, Mars and the sun will be in an almost straight line. This means Mars will rise in the east near sunset and be visible all night long, moving nearly overhead through the night.

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Almost half of Americans say they still listen to music most often on the radio. According to a new poll conducted by "60 Minutes" and "Vanity Fair," 49 percent say the radio is the place they go to most often for music. Seventeen percent say they use digital music services like Spotify or Pandora.

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A healthy dose of fear may help keep teen drivers from getting into a crash. A new study finds that the more stressed a teen driver is behind the wheel, the less likely they are to get into an accident. Researchers made the finding after testing teens' levels of cortisol, the so-called "stress hormone."

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