Today's News - Monday, December 16, 2013

Police in the Johnstown area are looking for an armed robber. Dale Borough police say a black male or female entered the Family Dollar store on Bedford Street just after it closed Saturday night. The robber had a handgun, demanded money and fled with an unspecified amount of cash. Police plan to release surveillance footage that might be able to lead them to the robber. Anyone with information on the incident can contact CambriaCounty’s non-emergency number at 800-281-1680.

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Two people died in separate alcohol-related crashes in Cambria and Indiana counties this weekend. The first wreck happened about 2a.m. Saturday along Route 403 in West Taylor Township. Forty-four-year-old Charles Alt of the Armagh area lost control of his minivan and slammed into a tree. His blood-alcohol content was .4 percent, which is more than four times the legal limit. About two hours later, 25-year-old Ian Szewczak of Lebanon died when his SUV overturned twice along state Route 954 in Brush Valley Township. He was ejected from the vehicle. Szewczak was flown to Johnstown’s Memorial Medical Center, where he died a few hours later. His blood-alcohol content was .21 percent.

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State lawmakers are voting today on two bills that would cut the size of the legislature. The House would drop from 203 members to 153 and the Senate from 50 to 38. Since the bills would require a Constitutional amendment, they must be passed in 2 consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and then approved by referendum vote.

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A Dauphin County judge will begin a hearing tomorrow in the case against former Penn State administrators Graham Spanier, Gary Shultz and Tim Curley. Defense lawyers are expected to argue that conspiracy and related charges should be dismissed because the men thought they were being represented by ex-university lawyer Cynthia Baldwin during their grand jury testimony. All three men say they did not participate in a cover up to hide Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of young boys. It’s not clear whether Baldwin will be called to testify at the hearing.

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Pennsylvania Senator Lisa Boscola wants the state to pass legislation requiring box trucks and tractor trailers to clear snow and ice from the top of their vehicles before hitting the road. Boscola introduced her measure last March, but is still optimistic that it will be approved. The bill would institute a $25 to $75 penalty for drivers who fail to remove the snow and ice.

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Classes will not resume at Colorado's Arapahoe High School until after winter break following Friday's shooting. Investigators say 18-year-old Karl Pierson stormed into the school with the intention of hurting as many people as possible. He shot a fellow student who is still in a coma before turning the gun on himself.

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Snow will continue to fall for another few days in the Midwest. The National Weather Service says a weak storm system will move through the Ohio River Valley today and could bring up to two inches of snow. A second storm system will move through the Dakotas and Minnesota this morning.

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Senators are expected to take up the big budget deal tomorrow. The bipartisan accord easily passed the House last week. The deal funds the federal government for two years and would avert another partisan showdown over spending next month.

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When it comes to the state with America's worst drivers, Louisiana wins hands down. The website CarInsuranceComparison.com says the dubious distinction goes to the Pelican State for the second year in a row.

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela is at rest following his burial in his hometown. Around 45-hundred dignitaries, celebrities and family members attended the funeral ceremonies Sunday in Qunu. The procession containing Mandela's coffin was greeted with music and a military salute including artillery fire as it came into the town.

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Senator John McCain says the United States could consider taking "concrete action" against Ukraine if the government there attempts to silence demonstrators. The Arizona Republican was in Kiev Sunday to address protesters who first took to the streets almost a month ago. They're angry that their president won't sign off on an agreement that would move the country closer to being part of the European Union. Senator McCain told NBC News sanctions against Ukraine may be a possibility if force is used against civilians.

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A new investigation claims one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers heard voices in his head. The "Boston Globe" reports Tamerlan Tsarnaev believed in "majestic mind control," which is a belief in an alternate personality directed by someone else.

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A good Samaritan in Indiana is dead just hours after his wedding. William Knight and his new bride were driving home from their reception when they saw a woman's car had slid off the road. Knight got out to help but while the woman was walking up the embankment a car hit both of them and two trailing cars ran them over.

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The body of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher has been exhumed so his brain can be examined. His family made the request to better understand what may have led Belcher to fatally shoot his longtime girlfriend a year ago before driving to the Chiefs' practice facility and shooting himself in the head.

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A Florida orphan may have his holiday wish come true after taking his search for a family public. Fifteen-year-old Davion Only's story took social media by storm earlier this year when he issued a heartfelt plea for a family -- any family -- to take him in.

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"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is the weekend's top box office movie. The latest installment in the film franchise opened with 73-point-seven-million in receipts. Taking a distant second place is last week's number one film, the animated "Frozen" which had more than 22-million in ticket sales.

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When it comes to the state with America's worst drivers, Louisiana wins hands down. The website CarInsuranceComparison.com says the dubious distinction goes to the Pelican State for the second year in a row. Louisiana ranked in the top five in citations issued for failure to obey traffic signals and seat belt laws, speeding tickets and careless driving. The website also looked at nationwide data on motor vehicle fatality rates and DUI citations.

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Sandwiches are the most popular type of food eaten in American homes. According to a survey conducted by market researchers NDP Group, the top ten list of foods accounts for 50 percent of all the food consumed by Americans. Fruits and vegetables are now the second and third most common foods. Fruit seems to have made a comeback in the past year, jumping up from number five since 2012. The most popular types of fruit eaten are bananas, apples, oranges and grapes. Carbonated soft drinks and milk round out the top five, followed by coffee, potatoes, salty snacks, fruit juice and cold cereal.

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A lot of TV viewers enjoy watching multiple episodes of their favorite TV series in a single sitting. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents in a new Netflix poll define "binge" viewing as watching two-to-six episodes of one show at a time, and 73-percent believe there's nothing wrong with it. Just under 80-percent say they enjoy the shows more when they watch more than one episode at a time, while 76-percent find binge viewing to be a "welcome refuge" from their hectic lives. Nearly two-thirds admit that they'd still want to watch TV if they were taking a "digital time out." Eight out of ten also say they'd prefer to stream a good TV show than read their friend's social media updates. And binge viewing isn't necessarily a solitary activity. Nearly 40-percent of those who stream several episodes of a particular show like to watch on their own, while 51-percent prefer to watch with at least one other person. And 39-percent of those who "save" shows to watch are waiting to see the program with a specific person.

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