Today's News - Friday, August 22, 2014

Cambria County fire crews battled a house fire last night in the 200 block of Main Street in South Fork. One person was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation along with a firefighter who is being treated for heat exhaustion. They are both listed in good condition. The blaze apparently started in the basement and killed two pets. An investigation continues.

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Latasha Powell and Anthony Robinson-Collins of Johnstown waived their preliminary hearings yesterday and were ordered to stand trial on charges of child endangerment. Earlier this week, police responded to a fight at their Mcmillen Street home and found five children living in filth. The house was infested with cockroaches and covered in trash. The only lights were Christmas lights hanging on a wall. The children are staying with family members.

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Marquis Neal is serving 25 to 50 years for the 2011 shooting death of J-Quan Lewis at Johnstown’s Oakhurt Homes, now the State Superior Court has rejected his request for a reduced sentence, saying it was appropriate. Lewis was convicted of third degree murder.

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This year’s September 11th observance at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville will include the first public view of the Congressional Gold Medal given to the site. The medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow.  House Speaker Dennis Hastert is scheduled to speak at the ceremony. Medals are also being permanently displayed at memorials in New York and at the Pentagon.

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26-year-old William Thompson of Somerset has been charged with a home invasion on North Rosina Avenue in Somerset Borough. Police say he admitted breaking into the house early Thursday morning, demanding money from an 82-year\-old woman, and forcing her at gunpoint to drive to several of her bank’s ATM’s. Charges include kidnapping, burglary, and terrorist threats. Thompson is also believed to be the man who entered a Sanner Street home Wednesday night. He demanded money from an 82-year-old man, but the victim beat him with a stool and Thompson fled. Thompson is in the Somerset County Jail on $500 thousand bond.

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Johnstown Police responded about 4 p.m. Thursday when shots were fired along Cypress Avenue in Moxham. Two black males were reported leaving the scene in a small silver car.

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The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission yesterday approved a $1.3 million settlement against West Penn Power Company, which serves customers in Centre, Elk, and Clearfield counties. West Penn failed to meet required energy reduction standards and must pay the civil penalty within 30 days. It cannot be generated from a rate hike and the money will go into the state’s general fund.

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Attorney General Eric Holder vows that people will be held accountable for the beheading of veteran American journalist James Foley.  Foley was killed by ISIS militants who have been rampaging through Syria and Iraq.  During a news briefing, Holder said the Justice Department has opened a formal investigation into Foley's death. 

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Authorities say it's been another quiet night in Ferguson, Missouri.  Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says only seven arrests were made Thursday, with no tear gas or bullets used by police officers. 

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Another Florida judge is calling the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  This time, the ruling comes from federal Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee, who said the ban violates the constitutional rights of due process and equal protection. 

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Two firefighters are recovering from serious injuries after an ALS ice bucket challenge in Kentucky went wrong Thursday.  The firefighters were using a firetruck's aerial ladder to dump water on the Campbellsville University marching band and suffered electrical shocks when the ladder struck a power line. 

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Financial markets are looking forward to hearing from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this morning.  Yellen will highlight the Fed's symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming when she shares her views on the health of the U.S. labor market. 

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State Department spokesperson Marie Harf insists the U.S. government does not negotiate with terrorists.  In a news briefing, Harf said ISIS uses kidnapping and ransom to help fund its operations abroad.  The Islamic militant group had demanded a hefty ransom for veteran American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded this week. 

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The American flags that were switched out for white flags on the Brooklyn Bridge last month are reportedly in the hands of U.S. officials.  Police sources say the flags were turned over to authorities at the American Embassy in Germany Thursday night.  The move comes one week after two German artists claimed to have made the switch. 

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A friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev is pleading guilty to impeding the investigation.  Dias Kadyrbayev entered the plea on Thursday and will be sentenced in November. 

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Consumers can expect one or more new hybrid vehicles from Ford within four years.  Forecasting firm LMC Automotive expects the automaker will build between 90-thousand and 100-thousand of the vehicles each year, with an eye toward competing with the Toyota Prius. 

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The California patient who had recently returned from West Africa is Ebola-free.  Test results on the unidentified patient have come up negative for the deadly virus.  The results were delivered by the Centers for Disease Control Thursday.

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Hamas says three of its senior commanders were killed by an Israeli air strike Thursday.  These are the three highest-ranking casualties Hamas has announced since the Israel offensive began six weeks ago.  Hamas says the three commanders had led operations against Israel for 20 years.

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Bank of America is agreeing to pay more than $16.5 billion in a settlement over mortgage-backed securities.  In a Justice Department news conference Thursday morning, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said B-of-A and partners marketed and sold toxic loans that helped prompt the 2008 Wall Street meltdown.

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America's diplomats won't be dumping ice buckets on themselves to raise money for ALS research.  The State Department is putting ambassadors on notice that taking part in the donation campaign violates federal ethics rules against using public office, "such as our Ambassadors, for private gain, no matter how worthy a cause."

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A sports fan in Pennsylvania is cashing in on the biggest star of this year's Little League World Series.  A baseball reportedly autographed by female pitcher Mo'ne Davis of Philadelphia's Taney Dragons Little League team has sold on eBay for a whopping 510-dollars. 

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The National Zoo will hold a big party for giant panda Bao Bao's first birthday tomorrow.  After a private event for members of the Friends of the National Zoo, the party for the general public will begin at 11 a.m. with a panda-keeper demonstration followed by a special frozen cake for Bao Bao.

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It seems almost fitting that a Virginia man named Stoner is facing multiple marijuana-related charges.  Police arrested Paul Scott Stoner after they received a tip he was selling marijuana to kids.  Authorities say they found more than 10 thousand worth of weed in his house and seized marijuana plants and other drug paraphernalia along with several firearms. 

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