Today's News - Friday, July 11, 2014

In Johnstown’s federal court yesterday, former Penn State Altoona student Vladimir Miftakhov pleaded guilty to knowingly manufacturing explosives. Police found bomb making materials inside his Juniata apartment back in January. The plea agreement calls for the 18-year-old to serve 18 to 24 months in prison. He could also be deported to his native Russia. He’s been in this country since the age of 4 but is not a citizen. Sentencing is scheduled for December 11.

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A coal truck driver suffered minor injuries in a crash early Thursday morning in the 1300 block of Bigler Avenue in Northern Cambria. Crews shutdown part of State Route 219 for about five hours while they cleaned up the spilled load of coal. The driver was taken to Miners Hospital in Hastings.

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SMG Entertainment’s contract was up with the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, but it has been renewed for five more years. Terms of the contract include that SMG will pay $135,000 in unpaid amusement taxes to the City of Johnstown.

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A big winner in the area. Lottery officials say a Cash 5 lottery ticket worth $325,000 was sold Wednesday at Valeria's Market in Northern Cambria. The winner should contact the lottery offices and file a claim. The store will receive a $500 bonus.

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Governor Tom Corbett approved the state budget yesterday, but not before stripping $72 million in expenditures from the bill. Corbett said he trimmed the budget because lawmakers hadn't fixed the state's public pension problem. The cuts will affect general government operations and job training and environmental programs. Some lawmakers say Corbett’s cuts are unconstitutional.

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Governor Tom Corbett signed the new state budget yesterday, but vetoed more than $65 million from the legislature's spending plan. He’s also urging lawmakers to make a new effort to address public-sector pensions. Corbett also cut $7.2 million of spending from projects designed by lawmakers.

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State officials yesterday laid out guidelines to help tackle prescription drug abuse. Governor Tom Corbett's task force recommended that patients with chronic pain be treated with a multi-pronged approach including physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. Pennsylvani ranks high on the list of states which prescribe the most opioid painkillers.

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President Obama insists the nation's economy continues to bounce back nicely. Speaking in Austin, Texas yesterday, Obama said private employers have created roughly 10 million new jobs over the past 52 months. He cited comebacks in the housing and manufacturing sectors but also admitted there is still a long way to go to achieve full recovery after the deep recession.

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House Speaker John Boehner says his planned lawsuit against President Obama is all about protecting the Constitution. He says there's a draft resolution that will authorize the House to file a lawsuit over the way President Obama changed the employer mandate in Obamacare.

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Mexican prosecutors are challenging a jailed U.S. Marine's story that he'd never been to Mexico before he drove across the border with three guns. Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi is a decorated combat veteran who's been imprisoned since late March when he drove into a border checkpoint with the guns.

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A county clerk in Colorado may keep issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On Thursday a state judge denied a motion from the state's attorney general who had said Colorado's gay-marriage ban remained in place.

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U.S. companies have plans to hire more workers than they did last year. The CareerBuilder Midyear Job Forecast shows 47 percent of companies plan to hire more full-time, permanent employees over the next six months. Twenty-seven percent say they'll be hiring part-time workers between now and the end of the year.

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GOP House Speaker John Boehner is repeating a call to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border. In a Capitol briefing Thursday, Boehner said the troops can help deal with the humanitarian crisis at the southwest border as tens of thousands of Central American migrants pour into the U.S. Meantime, Texas Governor Rick Perry says securing the border is one of the highest priorities for national security.

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A Florida inmate who kidnapped, raped and murdered an 11-year-old girl is dead after his execution by lethal injection Thursday night. Eddie Davis made no final statement before he was put to death for killing Kimberly Walters in 1994. Davis is the sixth person to be executed in Florida this year.

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A 15-year-old boy is behind bars for allegedly killing a sergeant at an Army National Guard armory in Tennessee. Perry County police don't have a motive yet, and aren't sure if 45-year-old Michael Braden was the intended target in Wednesday's shooting.

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Coastal flooding in the eastern U.S. is getting worse every year. Analysts found the number of days that tidal waters reached flood level have more than tripled. At that level, water will begin pooling on streets and can overwhelm drain systems if it goes higher. Chronic flooding can also decrease property values and increase flood-insurance rates.

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The mother of a Georgia boy who died in a hot SUV on June 18th is getting her own lawyer. Leanna Harris is not facing any charges but her Internet searches and her comments after her son's death are under scrutiny. Her husband is charged with murder.

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Investigators are still trying to identify one of the seven people who died in a fire in Lowell, Massachusetts Thursday. Officials are calling the apartment building fire the deadliest Massachusetts blaze in decades. Five of those confirmed dead were from a family that included three children.

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Governors from across the country are in Nashville for the National Governors Association summer meeting. The four-day event features seminars and sessions where they can share ideas and compare notes on issues like Medicaid and Homeland Security. The event kicked off on Thursday and runs through Sunday. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Afghanistan where he "hopes" to find a solution to the country's disputed presidential election. Kerry will meet with both candidates and said, while he hopes to find a solution, he "can't say that's an automatic at this point."

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The Pentagon calls a photo that appears to show a smiling Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl next to a Taliban commander as "100-percent propaganda." The photo was posted this week to a Twitter account linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bergdahl was held prisoner for five years by Taliban militants before being swapped for several Guantanamo Bay detainees.

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The first man to buy legal recreational weed in Spokane, Washington, has a lot more time to smoke up. Michael Boyer was fired from his job as a security guard for Zodiac Security when the company saw news coverage of him buying pot from a shop in town earlier this week. His employers told KREM-TV the company doesn't allow its employees to use marijuana.

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Most people find happiness in the small things in life. A new survey conducted by Hilton Doubletree finds that the top-voted mood-booster among respondents is stumbling upon money they forgot they had. Other top reasons to smile also include sunshine, getting something for free and going to bed at night with freshly washed sheets.

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The nominations are out for this year's Emmy Awards. In the Lead Actor category, some of the nominees are Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson of "True Detective," Kevin Spacey of "House of Cards," and Jon Hamm of "Mad Men."

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The LeBron James watch is still on, as the star NBA forward has yet to announce where he will play next season. James is expected to either return to the Heat or sign with his original team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. James will likely make a decision before flying to Brazil for Sunday's World Cup final.

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