Today's News - Thursday, February 6, 2014

Davidsville bus company Mlaker Transportation is now dealing with a lawsuit related to a crash last year that killed the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse coach and the bus driver and injured members of the lacrosse team. “The Tribune-Democrat” reports that two of the players have filed a lawsuit claiming that Mlaker was negligent, although specifics were not provided. The crash happened on the turnpike near Carlisle in March. Police believe the driver may have had a heart attack or stroke which in turn caused the accident. No criminal charges were filed.

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In Cambria County Count yesterday, 45-year-old Jeffrey Pellegrino of Ebensburg pleaded guilty to robbing the S&T Bank in Armagh, Indiana County, at knifepoint in September. He was sentenced to 16 months to 8 years in a state prison. Pellegrino is also accused of robbing First National Bank in Cresson the next day. That case has been continued until April.

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Officials at Admiral Peary Vo-Tech confirmed yesterday that the 16-year-old student who took a loaded handgun into the Cambria Township school last month will be expelled for one year. He is also expected to be expelled from his hometown school, Blacklick Valley. The teen told staff members he was worried about being attacked by another student after school.

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The “Altoona Mirror” says Utility Workers Union Of America Local 180 believes a First Energy lockout against workers is illegal because of management’s bargaining tactics. The union has filed unfair labor practices charges with the national labor relations board. The lockout has been underway since November in Altoona and the surrounding area.

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Several local volunteer fire companies – including Jackson, East Taylor, West Taylor, Lower Yoder, West Hills, Nanty Glo and Vintondale – reported to a blaze on the 600 block of Waterfall Drive in Middle Taylor Township Tuesday afternoon. A man and his dog were both able to escape from the mobile home. Damage is estimated at between $20,000 and $30,000.

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The 2014 Winter Olympics are underway. The men's snowboarding slopestyle kicked off the world sports showcase in Sochi, Russia early this morning. Three Americans are through to the semifinal on Saturday. Russia meanwhile, remains on high alert amid threats of potential terrorist activity.

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Three of the four people questioned in connection to the discovery of drugs in actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment have been charged. Police say the fourth person arrested Tuesday night was released due to lack of evidence. The 46-year-old Hoffman was found dead in his apartment Sunday of a suspected drug overdose. The New York Medical Examiner's Office labeled the cause of death "inconclusive" Wednesday, saying further testing was required.

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U.S. officials are warning airlines flying into Russia ahead of the Olympics to be alert about toothpaste tubes which could hold ingredients for bomb-making. The Winter Olympics start Friday in Sochi. Russia is in a state of high alert for terrorist activity and the U.S. State Department has warned American travelers to be vigilant and to exercise good judgment in Sochi.

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The lights are slowly coming back on around the Northeast after the latest winter storm knocked out power to almost one-million homes and businesses. Pennsylvania has been the hardest hit state with over 720-thousand customers without power.

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One of the nation's biggest drug store chains is taking tobacco off its shelves later this year. CVS announced Wednesday it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in all 7,600 of its stores by October 1st. The pharmacy chain is going to give up two-billion dollars in sales when it stops selling tobacco later this year.

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A North Texas teen given probation for killing four people in a drunk driving crash won't go to jail. A Tarrant County judge declined to give Ethan Couch time behind bars yesterday and ordered him to go to rehab at an undisclosed location. That same judge gave the 16-year-old ten years probation last year, instead of prison time.

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The Subway restaurant chain is removing a chemical used in shoe soles and yoga mats from its sandwich bread. The announcement came Wednesday, after a food blogger collected 57,000 signatures during a petition drive. The plastic-based additive helps produce air within the foam of a yoga mat, and reportedly does the same for bread. The World Health Organization has linked the chemical to respiratory issues, and it's already banned in Europe and Australia.

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No big winners in Wednesday night's Powerball drawing. The $215 million jackpot went unclaimed, meaning there will be close to a quarter of a billion bucks on the line when the next numbers are drawn on Saturday.

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Sony is pulling the plug on five-thousand jobs to pump up profits in the company's electronics business. The Japanese conglomerate also announced today that it will sell its money-losing TV and personal computer units.  

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More than half of singles say they've imagined a future together while on the first date with someone. Fifty-one percent of respondents in Match.com's annual "Singles in America" poll say they have pictured getting serious and possibly even marrying their date after the first outing. The top three qualities singles notice in a person on a first date are their confidence, teeth and grammar.

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Locally, the American Red Cross has been hit hard by winter weather and needs blood and platelet donations. Severe weather has cancelled many blood drives and there is an urgent need for O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative blood types. For blood drive information, visit redcrossblood.org.

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