Today's News - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

At least two people were taken to the hospital after a multi-vehicle crash Monday on an icy section of Route 22 in Jackson Township, Cambria County, near the Indiana County border. Police tell “The Tribune-Democrat” a westbound tractor-trailer jackknifed. A second rig wasn’t able to stop behind the wave of vehicles and struck several, including a PennDOTplow truck. A long line of vehicles was backed up on the road for more than three hours as crews cleaned up the scene.  

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Johnstown police say 20-year-old Tyanne Hamer is behind bars after she threw her 4-month-old baby at state and local agents who were searching her apartment for drugs. It happened Friday at the Oakhurst Homes. Hamer’s 5-year-old daughter told police how her mother boils heroin, puts it in a needle and gives herself a shot in the arm. A 3-year-old child also lives in the apartment. Relatives are caring for the children.

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Governor Tom Corbett is to release his budget proposal today. It totals $29.4 billion and increases spending by 3.6 percent. Must of the additional spending is for public schools. Corbett’s approval rating is low as he hopes for re-election.

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The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation is expected to announce possible help for Pittsburgh police after the loss of K-9 officer Rocco.  It can be up to $8,000 to buy an untrained dog and many thousands more for training.  Rocco was stabbed by a suspect and died last week. The foundation was started in 2006 to get and train police dogs.

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Penn State administrators are anxiously awaiting Governor Tom Corbett’s budget announcement today. According to the “Centre Daily Times,” university officials have requested almost $300 million. Last year, Penn State received $285 million, which was used to subsidize in-state tuition, support agricultural research, and build the cooperative extension between Penn Tech and the Hershey Medical Center.

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The next winter storm is on its way tonight and tomorrow, and workers with First Energy, the parent company of Penelec and West Penn Power, are preparing for power outages. Crews are being mobilized all across the state because snow and ice are predicted. If there is a power outage in your area, call the power company at 1-888-LIGHTSS, with two S’s.  It’s also a good idea to stock up on a case of water, food, flashlights and batteries.

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PennDOT employees are working overtime to get ahead of the wintry weather headed our way.  In addition to clearing yesterday’s snow, they are also preparing for possible ice tonight into tomorrow.  Employees are laying down materials to combat icy roads and are asking motorists to use the toll-free number, 800-FIX-ROAD, to report problem areas.

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A killer is back in custody after escaping from prison and spending 24 hours on the run.  Police in northern Indiana arrested Michael David Elliott after a car chase last night.  Michigan Department of Corrections Director Dan Heyns says they're working to determine what went wrong late Sunday when Elliott walked away from the Ionia Correctional Facility.

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Another measure of misery is pouring out of a cold front stretching from Montana to Maine.  The leading edge of the system is punishing the Plains early today and will race into the Midwest and Northeast before the day is over.  Kansas City could get as much as a foot of snow. 

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Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have been giving the U.S. government data on tens of thousands of users' accounts.  The tech giants announced Monday that they've turned over information every six months under secret court orders and the National Security Agency's collection of mostly overseas internet communications.  

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says the ongoing "Bridgegate" controversy is, quote, "just a game of gotcha."  On his "Ask The Governor" radio program last night, Christie also said he didn't realize the size of the scandal until reading about it in the "Wall Street Journal" early last month.  

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A pilot and at least three others are dead after a small plane crashed near Nashville.  Witnesses and Nashville Metro Fire Chief George Hickey say the pilot saved many lives by avoiding a nearby YMCA building when the plane went down late Monday afternoon.  

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States from Montana to Maine are in for another strong dose of winter weather.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency as a cold front is forecast to push from the Plains into the Midwest and Northeast today.  New York's Central Park got a record eight inches of snow on Monday. 

 

Democrats in the House and Senate are introducing bills to guarantee so-called net neutrality.  The bills introduced on Monday are in response to a federal appeals court ruling last month that found the Federal Communication Commission's net neutrality rules violate the law.  The court ruled the FCC has authority to regulate broadband Internet traffic, but needs to change the way it classifies broadband. 

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President Obama heads to a middle school in Maryland today to promote education technology.  The White House says the President will highlight his call to greatly boost broadband and wireless technology in schools within five years. 

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The state of Louisiana will not be carrying out the lethal injection execution of convicted child killer Christopher Sepulvado on Wednesday.  State attorneys have voluntarily agreed to a 90-day stay pending the outcome of a federal trial on the constitutionality of Louisiana's new execution protocol. 

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U.S. residents wrongfully convicted of crimes are getting out of prison in record numbers.  Eighty-seven people were exonerated for crimes they did not commit in 2013, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.  

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At least four people, including the pilot, are dead after a small plane crashed Monday near Nashville.  Witnesses say the pilot saved many lives by avoiding a nearby YMCA building. 

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A woman is in charge of the Federal Reserve for the first time ever.  Janet Yellen was formally sworn-in Monday during a private ceremony.  Meantime, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has accepted a post with the Brookings Institution, a prominent DC think tank. 

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BP's profit is taking a hit.  The oil giant is reporting a 37-percent drop in profit during the fourth quarter due to weaker performance in both its production and refining divisions.  At the same time, BP is also raising its provision to cover the costs of its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by 200-million dollars.

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers are being accused of playing "air guitar" at the Super Bowl.  The Fansided.com website reports bass player Flea and guitarist Josh Klingenhoffer didn't appear to have their instruments plugged in during Sunday's halftime show with headliner Bruno Mars. 

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Police are sifting through evidence after reportedly finding a large stash of heroin in the apartment of late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.  The 46-year-old Oscar winner was found dead in his Manhattan apartment Sunday, his body lying on a bathroom floor with a needle in his arm.  Broadway will go dark for one minute this Wednesday in honor of Hoffman.  

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Facebook is ten years old.  On February 4th, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and some friends launched the social network in a Harvard dorm room.  According to recent estimates, Facebook is now used by 20-percent of the human race. 

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