Today's News - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Property owners in Johnstown may have a less costly option when it comes to the city's sewer project upgrade, mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The proposed change would give the option of either using a pressure testing method or having lines inspected with a camera. A camera test will identify specific defects in pipes that could be individually addressed.

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Officials from Conemaugh Health System will be in court today for a hearing to review how the public’s interest will be protected in a sale to Duke LifePoint Healthcare. Conemaugh and Duke officials will review terms of the buyout made public last month.

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State police and the Somerset County Coroner’s Office are investigating the death of a 33-year-old Ohio man whose body was found Tuesday morning near the Somerset exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The cause of death was listed as traumatic shock due to a gunshot wound to the head. The manner of death is pending further investigation.

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Governor Tom Corbett and state legislators are still locked in a fiscal stalemate. Corbett refused to sign a Republican-passed budget late Monday because it did not address pension reforms. The House convened yesterday to work on a pension reform measure, but sent the bill to committee where it stalled. The governor has not said if he will call a special session to address the issue.

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Heading into July 4, AAA Fuel Gauge says Western Pa. gas prices rose about three cents to $3.86 a gallon this week. The national average has stopped increasing, though prices remain at a six-year high for this time of year. Today’s national average is $3.67.

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Following the Sandusky scandal, a new report says Penn State’s University Park campus reported more sex offenses from 2010 to 2012 than any other major American university. According to the “Washington Post,” there were 84 alleged assaults. That was up from 4 in 2010 to 56 in 2012. A spokesperson says 36 of the 63 offenses listed in the 2013 report actually occurred between 1970 and 2011 – some of those reports were made by Sandusky’s victims. Schools are required to send this data to the U.S. Department of Education, under the Clery Act law.

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Westmoreland County detectives have gotten a search warrant for the cellphone records belonging to two family members of Alex Hribal who is charged with stabbing 20 students and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville back in April. They are trying to determine whether the 16-year-old used the phones to threaten any of the students he attacked. Hribal’s attorney has suggested he may have been bullied and says his mental health is deteriorating. A hearing has not yet been scheduled on the lawyer’s request to move the boy to a secure mental health facility. He also wants the case transferred to juvenile court.

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Israeli police are investigating if the body of a teenager found in the Jerusalem area is that of a Palestinian youth who was reportedly kidnapped earlier the same day. The kidnapping occurred a day after Israel buried three teenagers whose bodies were found in the West Bank on Monday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest warned Tuesday about any actions that could aggravate an already volatile situation.

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Immigration protesters are creating problems for Border Patrol officials in San Diego. Protesters blocked the arrival of two buses carrying about 140 undocumented immigrants to a U.S. Border Patrol station Tuesday. Meantime, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is accusing President Obama of using the migrant children crisis to force Congress into passing an amnesty bill for undocumented immigrants.

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The alleged leader of the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi faces a detention hearing in DC federal court Wednesday. Ahmed Abu-Khatallah was captured in Libya on June 15th and transported to the U.S. via the USS New York. He entered a not guilty plea during an indictment hearing Saturday.

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The first tropical storm of this year's hurricane season is poised to dampen the 4th of July plans of millions of people living along the Atlantic Coast. Forecasters say Tropical Storm Arthur could become a hurricane by Friday when it's due to make landfall in North Carolina. A tropical storm watch is already in effect for parts of Florida.

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President Obama is citing "enormous progress" in the national economy. Opening a meeting of his Cabinet Tuesday morning, the President said much more needs to be done and he criticized inaction in Congress. Obama again vowed to bypass Congress, whenever possible, to take action through executive orders.

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The U.S. is out of the World Cup after a 2-1 loss to Belgium in the knockout stage. Goalie Tim Howard made 16 saves for the U.S. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he can't say enough about how well goalie Tim Howard played in the loss. Belgium moves on to face Argentina in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

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Federal prosecutors are opposing the effort by accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to move his trial to Washington DC. Prosecutors say there are five-million people in the Eastern District of Massachusetts, a large and diverse area where an impartial jury can be found.

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Police in Hong Kong arrested more than 500 people today after a massive, pro-democracy rally. Organizers say the all-night event drew more than half-a-million people. Police hauled off hundreds who staged an impromptu sit-in. Demonstrators carried banners that read, "We want real democracy," and "We stand united against China."

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The long delays for veterans seeking medical treatment at VA hospitals are being illustrated by a letter sent to a Massachusetts widow. Vietnam vet Doug Chase was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011, and died in 2012 without receiving treatment. His wife Suzanne Chase received a letter from the VA two weeks ago saying her husband could now make an appointment to see a primary care doctor.

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The CEO of JPMorgan Chase is battling cancer. Jamie Dimon told his staff that he has curable throat cancer and his doctors say his prognosis is excellent. Dimon has been CEO of the bank since 2005, and was named chairman in December of 2006.

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NASA says it will try again Wednesday morning to launch a satellite that will study climate change. Tuesday's launch at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base was scrubbed less than a minute before the unmanned Delta 2 rocket was to lift off. NASA called off the launch because of a failure in the launch pad's water system.

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The Pentagon says there are now over 700 U.S. troops in Iraq. Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby says 200 troops were deployed yesterday to provide security assistance at the U.S. Embassy and other facilities. The U.S. is beefing up its military presence in Iraq as Sunni militants advance toward Baghdad.

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The Federal Trade Commission is suing T-Mobile over bogus charges on phone bills. The lawsuit alleges the wireless provider added millions of dollars of unauthorized charges onto customer's bills. The charges were for subscriptions for services like celebrity gossip or horoscopes, which often cost about ten bucks a month.

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is 50-years old. The landmark legislation bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion and sex. President John F. Kennedy called for passage of a sweeping civil rights bill in 1963. After Kennedy was assassinated, President Lyndon Johnson cited JFK's legacy and pushed the legislation through Congress.

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A Texas Tech cheerleader has no plans to apologize for posting pictures of herself next to the carcasses of the rare African animals she killed. People on Facebook have been calling 19-year-old Kendall Jones a sociopath, scum and coward for posting the pictures. Jones was in Africa to film a TV show for the Sportsman Channel.

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A rep for Shia LaBeouf is confirming that the actor is getting treatment for alcohol abuse but denies reports of rehab. In a statement released Tuesday, LaBeouf's publicist called earlier suggestions about the actor checking into a rehabilitation facility, "erroneous," adding that LaBeouf is getting treatment "voluntarily." The 28-year-old actor made headlines last week after he was kicked out of a Broadway production of "Cabaret."

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