Today's News - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sentencing is scheduled in Somerset County today for 24-year-old Jonathan Beal of Meyersdale who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse in the death of his on-again/off-again girlfriend, 19-year-old Justine Jackson. Investigators say Beal strangled Jackson last September and buried her along the Great Allegheny Passage in Meyersdale. Her body was found by some hikers nearly 2 months later. Beal, who was arrested by U.S. Marshals hiding in a bathroom in New Orleans a few weeks later, faces a maximum of 24 years behind bars.

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In the Johnstown area, West Hills Regional Police say they have caught the person responsible for a rash of burglaries of vacant homes. 37-year-old Fred Dixon of Johnstown is charged in connection with five break-ins in Westmont. He’s jailed on $100 thousand bond.

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More than 140 Penelec workers in Altoona, Ebensburg, Lewistown, Huntingdon, Bedford, and other areas remain locked out of their jobs this morning, after a contract offer from parent company FirstEnergy was rejected Sunday by an “overwhelming” majority of the union who have been without a contract since August 31st. Union President Bob Whalen tells “The Tribune-Democrat” that FirstEnergy has not made crucial concessions relating to pension plans, scheduling practices and health benefits for retirees. FirstEnergy spokesman Scott Surgeoner said the company is willing to sit down with union leadership again, but part of the final offer was a request that the union ratify it before the 6 p.m. Sunday deadline.

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission is releasing preliminary totals from the first day of bear season. Officials say hunters shot 1,320 black bears on Saturday with the largest weighing 632 pounds. Archery data has not yet been released.

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Governor Tom Corbett was in Potters Mills, Centre County, yesterday to sign the new $2.3 billion transportation bill which he calls a “passport for the future” which will fund bridge and road repairs and upgrades, plus provide money for mass transit. The measure repeals the gas tax at the pump, but it will go to the wholesalers which will mean an increase at the pump by about 28 cents per gallon by 2017. Registration, license fees and other vehicle-related fees will go up. Corbett stopped in Potters Mills because one project planned with the additional funding is expanding Route 322 to 4 lanes from Boalsburg through seven mountains.

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A winter weather advisory is posted through Wednesday and PennDOT says they are trying to keep the roads in good shape, especially for holiday travelers. Crews have been pre-treating some of the busiest highways in the region, and lots of crews are on standby if they are needed. Keep in mind that PennDOT crews have a hard time getting to every single road, so please drive cautiously and allow yourself some extra time.

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President Obama is being urged to end deportations. An undocumented grad student from South Korea stole the spotlight yesterday as he confronted the President. Ju Hong could be heard heckling Obama while he was talking about comprehensive immigration reform during a stop in San Francisco's Chinatown.

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The Afghan president's plan to delay signing a security deal with the U.S. means all American troops could be pulled from that country by the end of next year. Afghan elders endorsed the security pact on Sunday, but President Hamid Karzai says he won't sign it until after his country's national elections in the spring of 2014.

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Some airlines are starting to waive change fees ahead of the powerful storm that's expected to disrupt Thanksgiving travel. Delta and US Airways announced the limited waivers Monday for fliers ticketed to fly through the Northeast.

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Seven men are injured following a shooting near a park in Oakland, California. Police say the shooting took place around 6 p.m. Pacific time on Monday. Two of the men are in critical condition.

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Four school officials are facing charges related to the rape of a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio last year. Superintendent Michael McVey is charged with two felonies related to obstructing the investigation and tampering with evidence. An elementary school principal, and two athletic coaches are all accused of failing to report the rape by two high school football players or of covering up evidence.

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San Jose State University President Mohammad Qayoumi is promising to review the school's policies and procedures. His vow follows the alleged hate crimes against a black student by his four white roommates.

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The Food and Drug Administration is ordering a company that sells DNA home-test kits to stop selling them to consumers. The FDA says the company 23andMe has not proven that its DNA testing service is being done properly or accurately, warning of the health risk from inaccurate results.

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A Colorado city wants residents to keep pot smoking out of their front yards and off their front porches. The Denver City Council gave initial approval last night to a measure that bans smoking pot in view of public streets or sidewalks.

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A Miami-based model who says Match.com allowed hundreds of fake profiles to use photos of her is suing for one and-a-half-billion dollars. Yuliana Avalos and other plaintiffs have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the giant online dating website.

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Women who weigh more than 165 pounds may want to rethink using the morning-after pill. French manufacturer HRA Pharma is warning women that the drug is ineffective if they weigh more than 176 pounds and less than fully effective if they weigh 165 or more.

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Real Housewife Michaele Salahi and Journey guitarist Neal Schon will have a live pay-per-view audience for their upcoming wedding. The event is available in 90-million homes and will be held December 15th at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

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The family of an 85-year old American man being detained in North Korea is asking the country to release him so he can spend Thanksgiving with them. Merrill Newman is a Korean War Veteran who had been visiting the north as a tourist. He has been held since authorities took him off a flight on October 26th that was set to leave the country. In an interview on CNN, his wife Lee said she would like to remind North Korea "this is the 30th day of his detention, that we're looking forward as a family to being together on Thanksgiving and we need to have Merill back at the head of the table." Newman was detained a day after he and his tour guide were interviewed by North Korea authorities.

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Microsoft is cracking down on the use of obscenities in their Xbox Live gaming service. CNET reports some players recently lost their account privileges after uploading videos containing a wealth of expletives.

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Either "Glee" actress Amber Riley, actor Corbin Bleu, or reality TV star Jack Osbourne will be taking home the "Dancing With the Stars" mirrorball trophy. They're the three remaining finalists after comedian Bill Engvall was eliminated on Monday's episode.

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Macy's officials say they will decide on Thursday morning whether to fly giant balloons in this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. A huge rain storm is expected to hit New York on Tuesday into Wednesday. Macy's officials say the balloons will not fly if there are sustained winds of 23 miles per hour.

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