Today's News - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A deadly wreck yesterday afternoon in Portage Township, Cambria County. Police say 21-year-old Ashley Myers of Lilly was killed when she lost control of her SUV on a slushy Route 53 and was struck by another car. Myers’ vehicle flipped and she was ejected. The other driver, 29-year-old Brandon Shoff of Portage was taken to Johnstown’s Memorial Medical Center with severe injuries.
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An attempted abduction in Northern Cambria. Police say a 10-year-old boy was walking down Bigler Avenue Monday about 5:30 p.m. when a man driving a dark-colored car pulled beside him and asked for directions. The boy says the man asked him to get into his vehicle and offered him candy. When the boy refused, the suspect started to chase him down the street. The boy ran screaming until the man got back into his car and drove away.
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William and Ronald Kuchera of Windber, the former owners of Kuchera Defense Systems, avoided jail time when they were sentenced yesterday in Johnstown’s Federal Court.They pleaded guilty to government fraud and conspiracy and received five years probation, including 18 months of home detention with electronic monitoring. The brothers must pay millions of dollars in restitution and fines and perform 1,000 hours of community service.
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State police in Somerset County have confirmed that the deaths of a Berlin couple Monday were a murder-suicide. The investigation showed that 57-year-old Michael Harkcom shot his wife, 59-year-old Karen, twice in the right upper chest area then turned the gun on himself.
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A Cambria County judge yesterday sentenced 48-year-old Gary Calhoun of Johnstown to 25- to 50- years in prison. He was convicted of sexually molesting a young girl over a six-year period. Calhoun previously spent about five years behind bars For abusing another young girl in berks county. The judge told him he faces a mandatory life sentence if he re-offends.
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22-year-old Brandy Sinclair of Portage was accused of trying to run over a borough police officer during a September traffic stop, and yesterday she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge and a summary count of disorderly conduct. Sinclair was sentenced to 17 days to 12 months in jail and released with credit for time served.
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Two bills that would downsize the State House and Senate have been approved by representatives. Under the measure, the House would drop from 203 members to 153, and the Senate would be cut from 50 to 38. The constitutional amendment process requires the bills to be debated and passed in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and approved in a voter referendum. The measures now go to the Senate for consideration.
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The judge in the hearing for former Penn State administrators Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley is asking attorneys to make their cases in writing, with oral arguments to follow. The Tuesday hearing lasted only 15 minutes and had no witnesses. The question is whether former Penn State lawyer Cynthia Baldwin should be allowed to testify against the men. She accompanied them when they testified in front of the grand jury investigating Jerry Sandusky. Baldwin was later called as a grand jury witness against the men and lawyers say it was a breach of attorney-client privilege.
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Despite complaints from Republicans and Democrats, the Senate is expected to approve the big budget deal today, sending it to President Obama for his signature. Some Republican conservatives complain the deal does not go far enough to reduce debt. Many Democrats are unhappy the deal does not extend longterm unemployment benefits.
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There are questions about the deaths of six American soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Tuesday. The Pentagon is investigating whether the soldiers were killed by enemy fire after their Black Hawk helicopter crashed. Initial reports indicated the six members of the NATO-led security force died when the helicopter crashed due to mechanical failure.
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President Obama is sending a strong message of opposition to Russia's anti-gay laws. The White House announced Tuesday a delegation of openly gay athletes that will represent the United States during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of February's Winter Olympics in Sochi. In addition, for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Summer Games, the U.S. will not send the President, first lady or vice president as a part of the delegation.
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Two people are dead after a small corporate jet crashed in northwest Atlanta. The Raytheon 390 Premier had just taken off from the Fulton County Airport when it went down last night. The wreckage was found about 200 yards away from a residential area.
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Funeral services will be held today in Lakewood, New Jersey for a man shot to death during a carjacking. Dustin Friedland was killed in front of his wife outside an upscale New Jersey mall. It's believed he tried to resist when two men attempted to steal his 2012 Range Rover.
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Firefighters are making progress against a large wildfire that is ripping through California's scenic Big Sur region. The nearly 770-acre blaze is blamed for destroying at least 17 houses. Fire officials say dry weather in the area has led to large swaths of dry brush, which is fueling the fire.
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A financial services company is to receive 135-million dollars from American Airlines over the 9-11 hijackings. A hearing on approval is scheduled for January 13th. The deal means Cantor Fitzgerald will drop its lawsuit in which the carrier is accused of failing to stop the hijacking of the plane that slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
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The man accused of opening fire at Los Angeles International Airport and murdering a TSA officer is now facing federal charges. A federal grand jury has indicted Paul Ciancia on eleven counts, including first-degree murder. Ciancia is accused of pulling out a gun inside Terminal Three at LAX on November 2nd, gunning down TSA screener Gerardo Hernandez and shooting at other TSA employees.
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Microsoft expects to have a new CEO on board by early next year. The company made the announcement Tuesday and said its executive search committee has identified more than a hundred possible people to succeed Steve Ballmer.
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Christmas is one week from today but online retailers promise they'll deliver to your out-of-town loved ones on time, and they won't charge for shipping. Today is Free Shipping Day for hundreds of online retailers who are offering free and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.
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Two winning tickets matched all the numbers in last night's massive Mega Millions drawing. One was sold in California, the other in Georgia. The jackpot was worth a staggering 636-million dollars. The lucky numbers were 8-14-17-20-39 with the megaball of 7.
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More teens are smoking real marijuana, rather than synthetics like Spice and K2. The "Monitoring the Future" survey at the University of Michigan polled high school seniors and found the number of daily marijuana users jumped from two-percent in 1993 to about seven-percent in 2013. At the same time, seniors who used synthetic drugs dropped from eleven-percent in 2012 to eight-percent in 2013.
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You can now snap a picture, literally, with the wink of an eye. Google Glass on Tuesday came out with updates to the software in its Internet-linked eyewear that allows users to snap pictures by winking. In making the announcement, Google posted on its social network page, "Glass is about helping you look up and experience the world around you without getting bogged down by technology."
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More of us are traveling for the holidays than last year. AAA projects 94.5 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home during the year-end holiday season. The auto club says about a half-million more Americans are traveling for the holidays than last year.
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AAA Fuel Gauge says Western Pennsylvania gas prices fell just a fraction of a penny to $3.40 this week. Today’s national average is $3.22. That’s a penny more expensive than one month ago, but four cents less than one week ago and three cents less than one year ago.

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