Today's News - Friday, November 22, 2013

Cambria County property taxes will hold steady under the budget introduced by county commissioners yesterday. The 2014 general fund budget is $1.7 million less than the current spending plan and totals $60.1 million. Despite a series of cash flow shortages over the past several weeks forcing late payments and fund transfers from agency accounts, President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder tells “The Tribune-Democrat” he is confident the county will also end this year with a balanced budget, but Controller Ed Cernic Jr. is expecting some red ink on the books.

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The fireman who rescued a blind man from his burning Upper Yoder Township home last month was honored as a hero Thursday. Township supervisors presented Sgt. Jeffrey Berkebile with a plaque. Berkebile had to kick in a locked door at the home of Joseph Varmecky in order to pull him to safety during the October 28th blaze

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Someone was able to steal duplicate keys from Norwood Gardens/Edwards Hills Apartments in the West Hills and is now using them to rob people who live there. The thief made off with several thousand dollars in jewelry and cash from at least three apartments. Police are warning residents of the complex, located off Goucher Street, that more burglaries could happen and that they should keep alert. Anyone with information is asked to contact West Hills Police.

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Gardner’s Candies is based in Tyrone, but the company announced Thursday that they will begin shipping and selling products in 85 stores across China. Gardner’s has a deal with Shenzen Health Food Company and that company’s president toured the local factory yesterday.

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Governor Tom Corbett will likely sign the transportation funding bill into law next week. The House approved the $2.3 billion package yesterday and PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says it will be phased in over the next five years, so it will not mean an immediate increase of 28 cents per gallon for gas. As of right now, officials are predicting that the average driver will pay about $2.50 more a week in the fifth year of the plan. Schoch also notes that Pennsylvania’s vehicle registration fees are currently among the lowest in the nation, with 39 states charging more. Also, 31 states charge more for the cost of a driver’s license. Those costs will soon be going up, along with other fees.

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The man known as Victim 9 in the Jerry Sandusky case has failed to reach a settlement and he’s now suing the former coach and Penn State, claiming the university failed to protect him from nearly four years of assaults while he was a child. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. Penn State has paid nearly $60 million in out-of-court settlements to 26 other men who claim they were also abused by Sandusky.

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Though no reason has been given, A Dauphin County judge has scheduled a pre-trial hearing in the case of former Penn State administrators Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. The hearing is from December 17th to the 20th. All three men face charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, child endangerment and failure to report abuse. Their lawyers say they are innocent and they will fight the charges at trial.

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The “Centre Daily Times” reports that Penn State is exploring changes to its tuition structure that would result in some students in certain colleges on campus paying higher rates. Juniors and seniors in the colleges of Nursing, Engineering, Science, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Business, and Information Science and Technology already pay more, and their costs could soon be going up more. The increased tuition level would also be expanded to freshmen and sophomores. The university is also considering adding a 50 percent surcharge per credit on students who take more than 19 credits a semester.

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The nation is quietly marking the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Dallas plans a solemn observance, with church bells to ring today in the city, where an official commemoration event is being held in Dealey Plaza. There will also be a moment of silence at 12:30 p.m. Central time, which is when Kennedy was fatally shot.

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Democratic leaders in the Senate have taken the so-called nuclear option. It's a change that will make it more difficult for Republicans to filibuster many of President Obama's nominees. The rule change alters the procedural threshold for presidential nominees from 60 votes to a simple majority in the 100 member Senate.

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Oral arguments will be heard today in a federal court in Manhattan on the ACLU's challenge of the NSA's call tracking program. The ACLU's lawsuit asks the court to end the program and argues the NSA is violating the First Amendment and the right to privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment.

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A second child has died after being rescued from an icy Minnesota pond. Five children, ranging in age from one to seven, were inside a car that veered off a highway ramp in St. Louis Park yesterday and landed in the pond. The three surviving children are hospitalized in serious condition.

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A woman is seeking to become the first Iowa inmate to win parole after being sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile. Kristina Joy Fetters was sentenced at age 15 after a 1995 conviction for first-degree murder. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has since made life sentences without parole unconstitutional for juveniles. Now 33-years-old, Fetters is dying from Stage 4 breast cancer.

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A key function of the federal healthcare website is not included on HealthCare.Gov. "Anonymous Shopper" was touted as an easy way to compare health insurance plans on the website. An Obama administration official recently told lawmakers the function was scrapped because it had "failed miserably."

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The Reverend Billy Graham is out of a North Carolina hospital after a two-day stay. The 95-year-old Graham was suffering from respiratory problems and went to Mission Hospital Tuesday.

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Gamers who stood in lines at midnight got their payoff. They now own the brand new Xbox Ones. Microsoft's newest game console went on sale last night. The 500-dollar unit has graphics that are a leap beyond what the Xbox 360 offered.

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The biggest fan of notorious cult leader Charles Manson says she plans to wed him. The 25-year-old woman, known only as "Star," tells "Rolling Stone" magazine she's taking their relationship very seriously and is already calling "Charlie" her husband.

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A 2006 Westmont Hilltop High School graduate and his wife of 5 months will appear on the reality television show “Four Weddings” tonight. The show AIRS at 10 on the TLC network. Matt and Allie Chornick of the Pittsburgh suburb of Munhall were among four Pittsburgh couples who were filmed during their weddings for the show. You'll have to watch the show to see if the Chornicks won.

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A growing minority of Americans think doctors should do everything they can to save a life. A survey by the Pew Research Center shows the percentage has more than doubled since 1990, rising to 31-percent from 15-percent. The survey also shows that more people say that even if they had an incurable disease with severe pain, they'd not ask their doctors to stop treatment.

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