Today's News - October 18, 2013

George Lowmaster of Carrolltown is due to be in Johnstown’s federal court today and he could be entering into a plea bargain for running a multi-million dollar drug ring in the U.S. and Canada. His father, Carrolltown bar owner Gerald Lowmaster, previously pleaded guilty to laundering money and his mother, Marguerite, also pleaded guilty to conspiring with her son. Dozens of others were arrested as well. If there is no plea, George Lowmaster’s trial is set to begin October 28th.

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20-year-old Keenan Snyder of Johnstown pleaded guilty yesterday to involuntary manslaughter and other offenses. Snyder was robbing 64-year-old Robert Kuharcik in 2011 when the victim died of a stress-induced heart attack. Kuharcik was also suffering from cancer and had a variety of drugs in his system. Snyder is in the county prison pending sentencing.

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A shooting in Cambria County – State Police say a suspect or suspects fired into George’s Tavern in Dean Township from outside the building around 11:30 Wednesday night. One round traveled through the wall and struck 30-year-old Robert Edgar Jr. of Coalport in the hip as he stood at the bar. Edgar was taken to UPMC Altoona with moderate injuries and is listed in stable condition. No word if a weapon was recovered.

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Cambria County is experiencing financial difficulties. The cash-strapped county has been borrowing money from other agencies, including the Area Agency on Aging and human services, like drug and alcohol, to meet payroll and health care costs of around $2.6 million. Controller Ed Cernic Jr. admits he’s concerned, adding that this is the earliest in a year the county has ever had to take this action.

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40-year-old Jonathan Silva, of Johnstown, waived his right to a hearing in Cambria County Court yesterday. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl at his home in Moxham from May to October of this year. He also allegedly forced the girl to make a video of herself naked. The victim says Silva bought her an Xbox to keep her quiet about the abuse.

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The lawyers for Victim 6 in the Jerry Sandusky case are requesting millions of documents collected by Louis Freeh for his report last summer. According to the “Centre Daily Times,” the attorneys also want more university-held documentation, including the names of everyone Freeh interviewed, the entire police file about the investigation into Sandusky showering with their client in 1998 and every document the university gave to the grand jury. Lawyers for Penn State have asked the judge to stay the lawsuit, stating the records the claimant wants could hurt both the university and the criminal cases against Graham Spanier, Gary Shultz and Tim Curley.

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Congressman Bill Shuster has been criticized by some Republicans and special interest groups for voting to end the federal government’s partial shutdown and lift the debt ceiling. Shuster, one of 87 Republicans in the House who supported the measure Wednesday, says he felt failing to extend the government’s ability to pay its debts could have led to dire financial consequences for the country. Congressmen Keith Rothfus and Senator Pat Toomey both voted against the measure. Senator Bob Casey voted yes.

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Governor Tom Corbett has ordered all U.S. and Pennsylvania flags at the Capitol Complex and at commonwealth facilities in Lackawanna County to be lowered to half-staff today in honor of Army Air Force First Lieutenant Robert Fenstermacher. The Scranton native was killed in action during World War II when his aircraft crashed in Belgium. His remains were recently identified and are being buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Federal workers who were furloughed during the 16-day government shutdown will start seeing the pay they missed one week from today. Government officials and unions say back pay will begin showing up on paychecks and in direct-deposit bank accounts on October 25th. In the wake of the shutdown, President Obama says there are “no winners here.” In a statement at the White House, Obama said the partial shutdown and the threat of default “inflicted completely unnecessary damage” to the U.S. economy.

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A federal air marshal is facing charges for allegedly taking up-the-skirt pictures of women as they boarded a flight at Nashville International Airport. Officials say Adam Bartsch was arrested Thursday and admitted to taking the pictures.

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Edward Snowden says he left all classified documents in Hong Kong and did not take any to Russia. The former National Security Agency contractor told “The New York Times” he gave all the documents to journalists before flying to Moscow. He adds he did not keep copies for himself.

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Prosecutors in the case against accused Colorado theater shooter James Holmes may not be able to use some statements he made to investigators. It was revealed yesterday how Holmes was interrogated about possible bombs in his apartment without a lawyer present. Holmes had asked for an attorney soon after the questioning began.

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Two convicted Florida killers, wrongly set free, are still being sought. Investigators in Franklin County say Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker used forged documents to get their sentences reduced. They think Walker and Jenkins may have returned to Central Florida where they have known connections.

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Authorities in Kentucky are investigating the theft of 195 bottles of rare Kentucky bourbon worth up to $233 thousand. The 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon was stolen from a secured area at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky and investigators believe it was an inside job.

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Miley Cyrus is being confirmed as a performer for next month's MTV European Music Awards. The pop superstar has yet to clue fans in on what being planned, but the anticipation is already building, considering the controversy surrounding her antics during the American version of the award show.

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The National Zoo's wildly popular panda cam is back on. The government shutdown meant the Internet had to go without images of the giant pandas for over two weeks. The cam can handle 850 connections at a time, but because so many people are expected to check in after the two-week-plus hiatus, viewers will be limited to 15 minutes at a time.

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Livability.com is releasing its yearly Best Places to Live list. This year, Palo Alto, California earned the number one spot. The city boasts two thriving downtown areas, high-ranking education and a mild climate. Boulder, Colorado was a close second thanks to its proximity to outdoor activities, laid back vibe and a strong core of local business.

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