Today's News - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Johnstown police say a 42-year-old man is in custody, charged with robbing the Ameriserv bank along Fairfield Avenue in the West End Tuesday morning. He handed a teller a note and made off with an undisclosed amount of money. Police released surveillance photos and received tips that helped them track down the suspect. That bank is scheduled to permanently close tomorrow.

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A Cambria County Judge yesterday sentenced 20-year-old Tyanne Hamer of Johnstown to 3- to 12-months in the Cambria County Prison. When police arrested her for drug possession in January, Hamer threw her 4-month-old baby across a couch. Her 5-year-old was able to tell authorities how her mom prepared and shot up heroin. The judge also ordered Hamer to seek help for her addiction.

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Cambria County will receive more than $65,000 to help prevent the spread of West Nile virus. The Department of Environmental Protection announced grants totaling nearly $2.1 million yesterday for 26 counties. Last year, the virus was discovered in over 1,200 mosquito samples. Twenty-eight birds, two horses and eleven humans tested positive in Pennsylvania. Blair County will get nearly $30,000.

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AAA Fuel Gauge says Western Pa. gas prices rose one penny to $3.66 a gallon this week. Today’s national average is $3.64, 6 cents more expensive than one week ago, 13 cents more than one month ago, and 12 cents more per gallon than the same date last year.

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Yesterday marked the 9-year anniversary of the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar. He was last seen in Lewisburg and his car was found there. A few months later, his laptop was fished out of the Susquehanna River, but computer experts were unable to get any information from it. They did learn that Gricar had recently bought software designed to wipe information from a computer. At the request of his family, Gricar was pronounced legally dead. Anyone with information should call the State Police Tip Line at 1-800-4-PA-TIPS.

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Pennsylvania’s laws aimed at preventing child abuse continue to get stronger. Governor Tom Corbett yesterday signed another set of bills that clarify who is a mandatory reporter and the reporting process. If someone hears about abuse, they must file a written or electronic report with the Department of Public Welfare within 48 hours. Another law would increase the penalties if a mandatory reporter doesn’t report the suspected child abuse.

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Students return to class today at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville. Last night, a public rally was held at Murrysville Community Park for students and staff members. Sixteen-year-old Alex Hribal remains held without bail on attempted homicide and aggravated assault charges. Several students remain hospitalized.

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A new bill is being introduced that would give volunteers a break on their taxes. Senators Lisa Baker and Sean Wiley want to give municipalities the power to waive their local earned income tax for volunteer first responders. They say the bill is expected to be part of a larger package of incentives aimed at recruiting volunteer firefighters and EMTs.

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Rescuers are desperately searching for nearly 300 people missing after a passenger ferry sank off the coast of South Korea. The ferry was carrying more than 470 people, most of them high school students, when it went down off the country's south coast early today. At least two people are dead.

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There's a man in police custody over one of two unattended backpacks at the Boston Marathon finish line. A bomb squad was called in to examine the bags Tuesday and both were intentionally detonated.  The other backpack was reportedly left behind by a media outlet covering the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. 

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President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are visiting a Pennsylvania community college today. Obama and Biden will visit the college near Pittsburgh where they'll talk about job training initiatives. It's little more than a month before the state's Democratic primary for governor and no one knows whether job-seeking Democrats will show up.

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San Diego city leaders are siding with SeaWorld. San Diego County supervisors voted Tuesday to oppose recently introduced legislation that would ban killer whale shows at SeaWorld San Diego. The supervisors say they will also stand against any other future state or federal efforts to end orca shows at the theme park.

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New York city police are no longer conducting targeted surveillance on Muslims. The department set up a special unit to monitor Muslim community activities back in 2003. Since Police Commissioner Bill Bratton took over in January, detectives who worked in the unit have all been reassigned.  

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Two Southern California men believed to be responsible for four murders allegedly wore GPS trackers while committing their crimes.  Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon were both wearing ankle tracking bracelets when they allegedly killed four different women beginning last October. Anaheim police officials say authorities used information from the GPS units to ultimately arrest the pair, though they declined to discuss how the duo managed to kill several people while purportedly being under supervision.

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What was once the biggest bitcoin exchange in the world is throwing in the towel. Mt. Gox is asking a Tokyo court for permission to liquidate, rather than try to rebuild. The "Wall Street Journal" reports Mt. Gox is giving up because the company doesn't have any realistic rehabilitation plans.

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Snow is starting to melt across the Midwest and Northeast. Forecasters are warning drivers that roads could be slick for their commute if early morning temperatures stay below freezing. A half-dozen cities across the Plains and Midwest set or tied record lows yesterday morning.

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is heading to New York. Yellen will speak to the Economic Club of New York this afternoon. She's expected to weigh in on the economy and the Fed's monetary policy.

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The man accused of killing three people in shootings at Jewish centers in Kansas is being charged with capital murder and first degree premeditated murder. The suspect, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross, is being held on a bond of ten-million dollars and could end up facing the death penalty.

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Even Samsung's new fingerprint sensor isn't hack-proof. Security researchers say they've discovered a way to breach the sensor on the recently-released Galaxy S5. The group said Tuesday that they were able to bypass the smartphone's security using a camera-phone picture of a fingerprint on the screen.

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Google isn't saying how many of it's 15-hundred-dollar Google Glasses were sold Tuesday, but they have a good idea which color is the most popular. The company announced on its Google-plus account that they sold out of the Cotton style of Google Glass in just several hours. The off-white frames are one of several colors that were made available in a one-day only sale.

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The NCAA is making several rule changes. The Legislative Council announced Tuesday that student-athletes will be allowed unlimited meals and snacks in an effort to meet their nutritional needs. The NCAA also voted to require strength and conditioning coaches to be certified from a nationally accredited certification body and reduce the penalty for a first positive test for street drugs

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A San Diego mother is in disbelief after a Disney employee asked her to cover up during a visit to the theme park. Melissa Behnken says her family had been waiting a long time to make the trip to Anaheim, and after her husband returned home from deployment last week, they made the drive. She says shortly after walking into the park, an elderly employee stopped her and told her to either put on a sweater, or cover up. . Late Tuesday a Disney representative called Behnken, and apologized.

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Miley Cyrus fans in Missouri are out of luck. The pop star cancelled a concert at the Sprint Center in Kansas City last night. The venue released a statement saying the singer was hospitalized after a "severe allergic reaction" to her antibiotics, and that she's under doctor's orders to rest.

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A new study shows that casual marijuana use can lead to big changes in the brain. Researchers at Northwestern University found that young adults who used marijuana just once or twice a week showed abnormalities in two key areas of the brain. The regions most affected are responsible for processing emotions, decision making and motivation.

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Most Americans are unhappy with their jobs. Nearly two-thirds of the workers taking part in a Rasmussen College poll say they've thought about resigning. Among these respondents, pay is the issue for 51 percent and about a third believe there are no opportunities for them to advance.

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