Today's News - Independence Day, Friday, July 4, 2014

Johnstown police have filed murder charges against Dante Herring who is accused of killing his childhood friend last June. Jamil Gray was shot multiple times in the back. The two grew up together in the Pittsburgh area. Derick Stephens was previously arrested in connection with the case. Herring is currently in a state prison on other, unrelated charges, and police say that Herring could soon be facing charges for other crimes, including a shooting that happened along Kennedy Avenue in 2012. 

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An attempted homicide and a suspicious fire at the same house in Bedford County. State police say Steven Dunkle shot his former friend, Craig Showalter, with a shotgun during an argument early Thursday at Dunkle’s house on Monroe Road. Showalter was hit in the back of his neck and a second time in the leg. He was treated and released at the hospital. He told police he saw a man at Dunkle’s house Thursday afternoon, and the house was on fire around 6 p.m. A fire marshal is investigating. Dunkle is in the county jail.

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Pennsylvania officials are reminding people to be careful with fireworks during the 4th of July holiday. Under state law, only small novelty fireworks like sparklers are legal. Other explosives, like firecrackers, Roman candles, cherry bombs and M-80s are not permitted. Officials also recommend wearing safety glasses when lighting novelty fireworks and standing at least six feet away from others when using sparklers. They say you should never use homemade fireworks or mix alcohol and fireworks.

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Governor Tom Corbett has signed “Rocco’s Law” which makes the penalties stiffer for people who seriously injure or kill a police dog or horse. It’s now a second degree felony with a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $25 thousand fine. The law came about after the death of Pittsburgh K-9 Rocco who was stabbed by a suspect earlier this year.

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PennDOT, state and local police are teaming up to make this a safer July 4th weekend. They are various enforcement efforts planned, focusing on drivers who are impaired by drugs of alcohol. Enforcement will include checkpoints and roving patrols.

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Today is the final “Fish For Free” day in Pennsylvania. Anyone can fish without a license and can borrow rods and reels from loaner sites. A listing of those is available on the Fish and Boat Commission’s website.

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Penn State President Eric Barron yesterday appointed two new task forces to deal with two major campus issues. One will focus on sexual assault and harassment on campus, and Barron says he wants the university to go beyond Title 9 compliance and become a leader in the prevention of sexual assault investigations. The other task force will focus on health care, improving employee health, and better communicating changes in policy.

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Hurricane Arthur isn't losing any strength as it dumps four to eight inches of rain on eastern North Carolina. Arthur is still packing sustained winds of a hundred miles an hour as it moves onshore. Utility crews are working through the night to restore power to nearly 17 thousand homes and businesses.

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President Obama will preside over a naturalization ceremony at the White House today. A group of U.S. service members and civilians will become American citizens during the  4th of July event. Tonight, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama will host a barbecue for U.S. troops and their families on the South Lawn.

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Department of Veterans Affairs documents show executives at dozens of VA hospitals received nearly $400 thousand in bonuses last year. Those execs worked at VA facilities now facing claims of long patient care delays and falsified appointment records.

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A group of Murrieta, California citizens are determined to fight the federal government's plan to bring undocumented immigrant detainees to their town for processing. Protests are planned throughout the 4th of July weekend, as more busloads of undocumented immigrants are reportedly dropped off.

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A former Wisconsin cop is headed to trial on charges of hiding a corpse in connection with the murders of two women whose bodies were found stuffed into suitcases. Fifty-two-year-old Steven Zelich met the women on bondage websites and, according to testimony Thursday, hid their bodies after they died during bondage and sadomasochism.

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Bostonians are getting an early start to their Independence Day celebration. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular took place Thursday instead of Friday in an effort to avoid Hurricane Arthur. But the approaching bad weather forced organizers to set off the fireworks show early and skip the traditional "1812 Overture" finale, which didn't go over well with the crowd.

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A retired U.S. Navy commander is guilty of a federal conspiracy charge. Edmond Aruffo pleaded guilty on Thursday as part of a corruption investigation involving a defense contractor in Singapore. Aruffo cut a plea deal with prosecutors in San Diego to plead guilty to one count of bribery. He faces a maximum of five years in prison.

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There's good news for some of the people impacted by the Butts Fire in Northern California. Some residents of the area have been allowed to return to the homes they had to leave after the fire broke out on Tuesday about 25 miles north of Napa. Cal Fire says containment on the stubborn, 4,300 acre blaze remains at 30 percent.

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Funeral services are pending for a former U.S. Track and Field star who also survived several years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War Two. Louis Zamperini died yesterday at the age of 97 following a battle with pneumonia. He was a bombardier serving in the South Pacific in World War II when he crashed in the Pacific Ocean and survived 47 days adrift before being captured by Japanese soldiers.

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Americans are expected to empty billions of dollars from their pockets this  4th of July holiday. The National Retail Federation's annual survey has found that those celebrating will be spending an estimated $6.2 billion on food products alone this year. The average household is expected to spend $68.16 on burgers and snacks to enjoy.

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It wouldn't be July 4th without hot dogs. Nathan's on New York's Coney Island will hold its annual Hot Dog Eating Contest Friday. Reigning champion Joey Chestnut is the favorite to retain his title. Last year he gobbled up 69 hot dogs in ten minutes to break his own world record.

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Donald Sterling's attorneys are moving to delay a trial over the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers. The trial in probate court is scheduled to begin on Monday, but Sterling's legal team filed papers Thursday asking to move it to federal court.

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