Today's News - Friday, August 30, 2013

Johnstown fire crews rescued a man from the swollen Stonycreek River Thursday morning. He apparently had gone into the river, near Sandyvale Memorial Gardens, to save a dog. He got the animal to safety, but couldn’t scale the steep concrete river walls. Firemen used ropes to pull him up. neither he nor the dog were hurt.

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 A Cambria County jury is expected to begin deliberations by late this afternoon in the trial of 38-year-old Brian Roles Sr. of East Taylor Township. He’s charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs for the 2012 crash that killed his 16-year-old son, Brian Jr. Roles testified yesterday that he had a seizure in Kernville minutes before their vehicle crashed and awoke to find his son driving. He claims an oncoming car forced them to swerve and wreck along Route 271.

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Police in Somerset County are looking for a man who tried to kidnap a 12 year -old girl. The girl told authorities she didn’t know the man who was walking close behind her near the Somerset Hospital last Monday. He allegedly grabbed her arm, then she kicked him in the groin and ran off. The suspect is about six-feet tall with tattoos that started on his left wrist and went up his arm.

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“The Tribune-Democrat” reports that a former WJAC TV weatherman who was convicted of sexually abusing a young girl and other crimes committed suicide last week in West Virginia. 47-year-old James Holcomb, who used the on-air name “Jay Patrick,”had recently been paroled from prison. In 2004, Holcomb pled guilty to abusing a girl over a three-year period, starting when she was six. He fled to the Ukraine before sentencing. Holcomb was returned to cambria county in 2009.

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Reverend Ken Kline Smeltzer could lose his job after officiating at a same-sex wedding a couple of week ago at the home of State College Mayor Elizabeth GorehamS smeltzer’s wife tells WTAJ the decision is not final, but church officials have told her husband he will likely be let go for going against the church’s policies in marrying two men from Pike County.Tthey received their license from Montgomery County and Governor Tom Corbett’s administration has filed a lawsuit seeking to block those licenses. The register of wills is due in court next week. He says the law banning same-sex marriage is discriminatory. The Smeltzers have not announced which church he currently serves.

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A new Franklin & Marshall poll shows most Pennsylvanians are either uncertain about or unfamiliar with our two U.S. senators. Senator Bob Casey has a 34 to 24 percent favorable to unfavorable rating while Pat Toomey’s was 26 to 20. A pollster says the senators rankings are down slightly, but he believes this is due to the opinion of congress as a whole.

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Governor Tom Corbett's poll numbers are way down. The latest Franklin & Marshall College poll says only 20 percent of respondents favor Corbett's re-election, but 69 percent don't.  Only 16 percent rated Corbett as an "excellent" or "good" governor in his first 30 months, while former Governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell had 30-month approval ratings of 57 percent and 41 percent.

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Penelec customers’ bills are dropping 4.8 percent starting this Sunday as the residential rate for electricity falls from 8.73 to 8.08 cents per kilowatt hour. The average residential customer will about $5 per month.

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The White House is expected to release an intelligence report today about last week's suspected poison gas attack in Syria.  It's also expected to come with a legal justification for military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

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The Obama administration's shift on commercial marijuana operations could affect laws in other countries.  The Justice Department says it won't interfere with new Colorado and Washington state laws allowing the production and sale of small amounts of weed.  Beau  Kilmer of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center tells the “Los Angeles Times” that sends a signal that commercial marijuana production under certain circumstances will be tolerated. 

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The estimated date of containing California's huge Rim Fire is being pushed back.  Officials now hope to have the fire out by September 20th.  The going is slow, but fire crews are making some progress on fighting the blaze near Yosemite National Park.  It's 32 percent contained.

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Protesters continue to demand that a Montana judge resign over a rape sentence.  Yesterday, several hundred people gathered outside the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings.  Judge G. Todd Baugh has drawn criticism over remarks he made and the 30-day jail sentence he gave to a former high school teacher who had sex with a 14-year-old student. 

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People hitting the roadways for the Labor Day holiday will have plenty of company.  More than 34 million Americans will be traveling for the long weekend.  AAA estimates more people will drive at least 50 miles from home this Labor Day than have in five years.  Area police departments will be holding roving DUI patrols. Last year, eight people were killed in the state, and police responded to 155 impaired-driving crashes during the 3-day Labor Day weekend.

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Penn State is still one of the most expensive tickets in college football. According to a new “Forbes” magazine article, the Nittany Lions are the 18th most expensive, which is fifth in the Big 10. Notre Dame charged the most, followed by Ohio State, Nebraska and Michigan.

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