Today's News - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Former Johnstown pain management doctor Glenn Davis has been released from jail while awaiting his trial. He’s facing more than 100 federal drug counts for allegedly prescribing and distributing opiates to eight patients between August 2011 and last February. Davis, whose medical license was suspended in October, was ordered to surrender his passport.

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In Cambria County Court yesterday, 19-year-old Bradley Lloyd of Northern Cambria was sentenced to 1 to 2 years in the county prison. Lloyd was originally charged with rape, but pleaded to lesser charges of felony statutory sexual assault involving a 13-year-old girl. Police say Lloyd was attending a sleepover with the girl’s brother in early November when the attack occurred.

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Twenty-one-year-old Demetrius Gibson of Tire Hill is awaiting trial for the stabbing death of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Miller, in Johnstown last August. A Cambria County judge ruled yesterday that evidence collected by the police department can be used at trial. Defense attorney Tom Dickey of Altoona wanted DNA samples tossed out along with items found in an apartment and a car. Gibson was on the run for about two weeks before turning himself in. Jury selection is set to begin August 25.

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A Johnstown woman alleged that city council members had violated the Sunshine Law by not considering her application for an empty seat on council, but during a trial on Tuesday, it was found that the city acted legally because Charlene Stanton’s application was submitted late. The empty council seat was later filled by a county judge appointment after council members had deadlocked on the issue.

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This school year is the last classes will be held at Westmont Hilltop Middle School. Pupils in grades 5 and 6 will have classes at the elementary school, while grades 7 and 8 will move to the high school. The decision was made in part because studies showed that it would take more than $18 million to renovate the building to acceptable standards.

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A convicted rapist from Northern Cambria was sentenced to 6 to 23 months in the Cambria County Prison, but was immediately furloughed and allowed to go free. Clarence Johnson has a lengthy criminal history, but the light sentence – which Judge Timothy Creany said was below the state guidelines – was given to him so that he could retain his job and continue to pay child support. Johnson was also ordered to not have any direct or indirect contact with the victim.

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Some Pennsylvania lawmakers want changes to organ donation laws, which have not been updated since 1994. The new legislation, which was discussed yesterday in front of a House panel, would make changes to the process by which body parts are obtained for transplantation. State prosecutors and coroners are afraid the measure could interfere with death investigations.

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AAA Fuel Gauge says Western Pa. gas prices fell about one cent to $3.84 a gallon this week. Just in time for next week’s start to the busy holiday travel season, motorists across the country are finally feeling some relief at the pump. Today’s national average is $3.64, two cents less expensive than one week ago and about seven cents more than this same date last year. Gas prices have been declining since the beginning of the month, which is typical for this time of year, following the conclusion of refinery maintenance leading up to the May 1 deadline to begin producing summer-blend fuel.

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Is the pope coming to Philadelphia for the world meeting of families in September of next year? Vatican officials are touring the city now, and Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said at a Tuesday news conference that he's personally convinced the pontiff is coming, although it’s not yet official. It would be Francis' first visit to the U.S.

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Thousands of San Diego, California residents evacuated due to the Bernardo Fire are heading back home. Some five thousand households were evacuated at the peak of the fire Tuesday. The fire has burned roughly 800 acres of land between Rancho Santa Fe and Rancho Penasquitos and is roughly five percent contained.

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The TSA is going to post signs at more than 20 major airports warning travelers about the warning signs of MERS. So far there have been two confirmed cases of the deadly respiratory virus in the U.S. Both patients had recently come to the United States from Saudi Arabia, which is dealing with a MERS outbreak.

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Magic Johnson says he'll pray for embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN last night, the basketball great says Sterling is reaching to find something that will help him save his team. Magic said Sterling doesn't know the facts about Johnson's work in minority communities. Sterling criticized Johnson in an interview that aired Monday on CNN.

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Firefighters in San Diego, California are hopeful they'll have a better handle this morning on a large wildfire that led to massive evacuations in the region. The Bernardo Fire had burned at least 800 acres as of Tuesday evening. Roughly 5,000 homes were evacuated, but evacuation orders were completely lifted late yesterday.

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Owning a home is beyond the reach of middle class Americans in a growing number of cities. A new study by the real estate research firm Trulia reports that in 20 of the 100 biggest metro areas, most homes for sale are too expensive for middle income buyers. The least affordable market is the San Francisco Bay Area.

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President Obama's nominee to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services faces a second Senate confirmation hearing today. Sylvia Mathews Burwell breezed through her first hearing last week and is expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate. She is set to replace the departing Kathleen Sebelius, who presided over the launch of HealthCare.gov.

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President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are pushing for more money to repair bridges and highways. Obama will make his pitch in New York City today while Biden does the same in Cleveland. This week, the White House warned that the federal highway trust fund will start drying up this summer. While in New York, the President will also do some fundraising for Democrats.

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South African track star Oscar Pistorius will undergo a psychiatric evaluation before his murder trial proceeds any further. The judge ordered the evaluation today. The ruling puts the trial on hold for at least a month. The Olympic and Paralympic sprinter is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, before dawn on Valentine's Day of last year.

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Tragedy in Turkey. Hundreds of miners are dead and hundreds more are still trapped over a mile underground due to an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey. Turkey's energy minister says most of the miners who lost their lives died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

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A Texas execution is on hold because prisoner Robert Campbell is considered intellectually disabled. An appeals court ruled Tuesday that Campbell shouldn't be put to death because his attorneys haven't had a fair opportunity to develop his claim of ineligibility for the death penalty. The judges also said it was unfortunate they had to make the decision just hours before he was to be executed, but aren't faulting Campbell or his attorneys.

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It will probably be at least a few weeks before a federal appeals court in Richmond makes its decision after hearing arguments on Tuesday involving Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages. Two Virginia men want to be legally married while two women who were wed legally in California want their marriage recognized in Virginia. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will review U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen's ruling that the ban is unconstitutional.

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Government researchers believe they've found the wreckage of a Civil War-era steamer that carried a small group of enslaved African American men and their families to freedom. The National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration says instrument readings strongly suggest wreckage of the "Planter" lies beneath the ocean floor off Cape Romain, between Charleston and Georgetown, South Carolina.

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The NFL could be prepared to lessen its penalty for use of marijuana and other drugs. ESPN reports the league is preparing to finalize a new policy which would increase the threshold for a positive test for pot and reduce punishments for such violations. The renegotiated policy would also include testing for human growth hormone.

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Justin Bieber finds himself on the wrong side of the law again in Southern California. Multiple reports say the pop superstar is being investigated by the LAPD for robbery. According to TMZ, Bieber is accused of snatching a cell phone away from a woman who may have snapped some photos of the singer and his entourage at a miniature golf course.

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Whatever led to Solange Knowles' attack against Jay Z is apparently water under the bridge for the two in-laws. TMZ reports they were spotted shopping for women's jewelry Tuesday at the luxury New York jeweler, Mr. Flawless. Leaked security camera footage surfaced Monday reportedly showing Solange attacking Jay Z in an elevator at the Standard Hotel last week.

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New St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam says he's ready to focus on football. The former Missouri Tigers star became the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL last weekend. Sam was formally introduced Tuesday and says he is determined to make the team and believes he is here to stay.

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