Today's News - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Forty-three-year-old Brian Trent of Somerset is in serious condition at Johnstown’s Memorial Medical Center after his car was hit by a train along Geiger Road in Somerset Township Tuesday morning. State police say the train’s lights were flashing and the whistle was blowing, but Trent tried to cross the tracks anyway.

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PennDOT has announced that work will begin in Westmont and Upper and Lower Yoder Townships on Monday. The safety improvements include resurfacing Goucher Street, signal upgrades and tree removal. Work will be done during daylight and nighttime hours. Traffic will be controlled by flaggers and delays will be possible. All work is weather dependent. Motorists are advised to be patient and use caution while traveling through the work zone.

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Johnstown City Council members have failed to agree on who should fill the council’s vacant spot; now they’re asking a panel of judges to choose for them. According to “The Tribune-Democrat,” a petition was filed at the Cambria County Courthouse yesterday by city solicitor David Andrews. Eleven people had applied for the council seat, which was made vacant when Frank Janakovic left to become mayor. Four had support of council members but a vote on each candidate ended in a 3-3 split.

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Eighteen female teachers at Windber Area School District alleged they had been paid less than their male counterparts. Now according to the tribune Democrat, they have been paid a settlement of $150,000 to resolve the issue. The agreement included no admission of guilt by the district.

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Fire destroyed a seasonal camp on Lincoln Highway in Napier Township, Bedford County, early Tuesday morning. That’s near Shawnee State Park. The blaze broke out around 4a.m., but no one was inside at the time. An investigation is underway.

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Pennsylvania’s servicemen and women can now have their veteran status included on their state-issued drivers license or non-driver ID card. There will be a flag on the card and the word veteran printed beneath it, making it easier to demonstrate their service and take advantage of special offers and discounts offered by some businesses. The veteran designation is available to eligible vets at no charge at the next date of renewal of their license. Prior to that, they will have to pay for a duplicate license.

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Governor Tom Corbett is feeling "great" after his surgery to repair an abdominal hernia. Corbett said yesterday he is glad to have the medical issue resolved and credited his wife for playing nurse during his recovery. Corbett handed control of the state over to Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley during last week's procedure, which doctors have called successful.

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AAA Fuel Gauge says Western Pa. gas prices rose one cent to an average of $3.66 this week. Today’s national average is $3.46, three cents more expensive than one week ago and 18 cents more than one month ago. National prices remain 29 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.

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An article in the new issue of “ESPN The Magazine” says former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary told former players that he was sexually abused as a child and he also was a compulsive gambler while playing for the Nittany Lions. McQueary’s testimony that he witnessed Jerry Sandusky molesting a young boy in a locker room was a major part of the prosecution against Sandusky, who is now serving 30 to 60 years. McQueary is currently suing the university in a whistleblower lawsuit for at least $4 million.

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Governor Tom Corbett is fighting cuts to the Army National Guard. He spoke about the situation yesterday, saying the guard should be spared from the downsizing because its members represent a greater return on investment. Corbett and all of the country's other 49 governors are writing a letter to President Obama opposing the cuts.

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Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's foreign minister are expected to meet today to discuss ways to resolve the Ukraine crisis. Kerry and Sergei Lavrov are to get together in Paris, where they're scheduled to meet with top diplomats from Ukraine and Britain. Russian president Vladimir Putin seemed to signal on Tuesday that he's holding off on deciding whether to take military action in Ukraine.

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Obama administration officials head to Capitol Hill today as Congress begins hearings on the President's 2015 budget. The White House formally submitted the roughly $4 trillion plan to Congress yesterday. The White House claims the plan will boost the economy, create jobs, further reduce deficits and tighten the economic equality gap.

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President Obama is coming to Connecticut to support raising the national minimum wage. Obama will be appearing at a "Raise the Wage" event being held at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain this afternoon. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont will also be appearing at the event.

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Authorities in Mississippi are asking the public for help in their search for a missing two-year-old girl. Myra Lewis disappeared late Saturday morning and there's been no trace of her since. Local, state and federal authorities are involved in the search for the toddler and the sheriff says she could have been abducted.

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Another day of vivid testimony is underway in the murder trial of South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius. On Tuesday, defense lawyers continued their cross-examination of a neighbor who testified Monday that she heard screams and gunshots in the early morning hours of February 14th, 2013. Pistorius, a double amputee known as the "Blade Runner," has pleaded not guilty to murder, claiming he mistook his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for a burglar when he shot her through the bathroom door.

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A New Jersey judge is denying a high school student's request to get her parents to pay her college tuition. Superior Court Judge Peter Bogard denied 18-year-old Rachel Canning's demand for immediate financial support. The judge however scheduled a hearing for April 22nd to determine if Canning was forced to leave home or emancipated herself by refusing to follow her parents' rules.

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Officials with the U.S. Mint say there's no truth to claims that gold coins recently discovered by a California couple in the Sierra foothills were among those stolen from the San Francisco Mint building around the turn of the 20th century. The ten-million-dollars worth of coins were found partially buried in metal containers. Some experts had speculated that the coins were among the stash taken from the Old Mint in a heist from 1900.

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A former Baltimore Black Panther leader and convicted cop killer is a free man after spending more than four decades in prison. Marshall "Eddie" Conway was released Tuesday after arguing he didn't get a fair trial. The now 67-year-old was convicted and sentenced to life for the 1970 killing of a Baltimore police officer and the wounding of another.

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A bill to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of marijuana has final approval from the Washington, DC Council. The council voted 10-1 Tuesday to send the measure to Mayor Vincent Gray, who is expected to sign it.

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Earth is in for another close encounter with an asteroid today. Scientists say the one-hundred-foot-wide asteroid, will zoom within 218-thousand miles of Earth. That's slightly closer than the orbit of the moon. The asteroid make its closest pass at 5:07 p.m. Eastern.

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Millions of Christians are marking the start of Lent today, Ash Wednesday. The ashes placed on the forehead are seen as a celebration of faith and reminder of mortality. Pope Francis is scheduled to lead his first Ash Wednesday Mass in the Vatican this evening.

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John Travolta is speaking out about his tongue-tied Oscar introduction. Invoking the title of the song Idina Menzel performed on Oscar night, right before he flubbed her name, the actor released a statement Tuesday saying he had been beating himself up over the mishap since it happened. Travolta then added, "I thought.... what would Idina Menzel say? She'd say, Let it go, let it go!"

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Facebook is becoming the new first impression. A new study out of Scotland suggests that Facebook profiles with fewer friends are perceived as less socially and physically attractive, less approachable, and less extroverted than profiles with more friends. Some experts even say that learning how to be likable on Facebook could be helpful in finding future employment.

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