Today's News - Thursday, June 5, 2014

Former Johnstown neurologist Dr. William Acosta is on his way back to Cambria County, nearly a decade after being indicted on federal charges and fleeing the country. Authorities say Acosta returned to his home in the Dominican Republic after he agreed to plead guilty. Authorities in Panama arrested him last month and he was brought back to U.S. soil. He was arraigned in New Jersey. According to officials, Acosta defrauded insurance companies and helped to create the prescription pill and heroin problem in the region. Acosta is expected to appear in federal court early next week.

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Johnstown police say several shots were fired in the upper area of the Solomon Homes around 2:00 Wednesday afternoon. A number of shell casings were found at the scene. Luckily, no one was injured. A surveillance camera shows the suspect’s silver car, believed to be a Hyundai Elantra. Anyone with information should call the police at 800-281-1680.

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In Somerset County Court yesterday, 46-year-old James Farrish of Pittsburgh waived his preliminary hearing. State police say he cried after they busted him on the turnpike in April with about $120,000 worth of suspected heroin. Farrish remains in the county jail.

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A pair of brothers from Jerome, Somerset County, waived their right to a preliminary hearing in Somerset County Court Wednesday. 21-year-old Kevin Lowery and 22-year-old Kirk Lowery overdosed last month while sitting in a parked car on 7 of Hearts heroin. That batch of heroin that has been blamed for a rash of drug overdoses in the region.

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The State House Majority Leader is pushing a system that would combine the traditional pension plan with the 401-K plan. Mike Turzai spoke at the capitol yesterday to promote the hybrid pension system for state workers and school employees. Supporters say the system could save the state's pension plans more than $11 billion over the next 30 years.  

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Pennsylvania will share in a $150 million settlement from the drug company Glaco Smith Kline. It was accused of misrepresenting the uses of its asthma drug, Advair, and its antidepressants, Paxil and Wellbutrin. Our state will receive $4 million and the rest will be divvied up among 43 other states. According to the state attorney general's office, the settlement prohibits GSK from making false, deceptive or misleading claims about its products or promoting them for uses not approved by the FDA.

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The Pennsylvania State Game Commission wants to increase interest in hunting, and the agency has launched the new website GoHuntPA.org. There used to be more than one million hunters registered each year, but the number has dropped to just over 943,000 over the past 10 years. The new site includes areas to purchase hunting licenses, a way to find out where you can hunt, as well as recipes. Hunting licenses go on sale Monday.

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A bill that would expand Medicaid eligibility is advancing to the house. The bill passed the State Human Services Committee 12 to 11 yesterday after three Republicans crossed party lines to side with Democrats. Committee Chairman Eugene Digirolamo says Pennsylvania is losing $10 million a day in federal funds by delaying the expansion.  

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Some Senators are criticizing the controversial swap of Taliban prisoners for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl after a hearing with administration officials.   Senator John McCain says the release of five Taliban fighters poses a threat to America and the men and women serving in the military.  Next week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel goes before the House Armed Services committee to testify about the prisoner swap.

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New York City police say they have arrested the suspect wanted in the brutal stabbing of two children in a Brooklyn elevator.  Daniel St. Hubert was arrested Wednesday night, shortly after the NYPD announced his identity at a press conference.  Hubert has nine prior arrests and was on parole for domestic assault.

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First Lady Michelle Obama is enlisting the help of mayors to help curb homelessness among veterans.  In a White House event yesterday, the First Lady said the plight of 58,000 homeless vets is heart-wrenching.  She called it a moral outrage and said even "one homeless veteran is a shame."

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More information about Elliot Rodger's deadly rampage near the campus of U.C. Santa Barbara last month.  Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown says Rodger fired more than 50 gunshots, reloading several times to carry out the rampage that left six students dead in Isla Vista.

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Marine Corps officials say no one on the ground was hurt when a jet crashed in an Imperial Valley neighborhood, about two hours east of San Diego.  One house caught fire and several more were damaged.  Officials say the jet was stationed at MCAS Yuma.  The pilot ejected safely. 

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A manhunt is under way in Canada for a suspect who shot and killed three officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  The shootout took place Wednesday night in Moncton, a city in the eastern province of New Brunswick.  Two other officers were wounded in the shootout.

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Authorities in Jackson, Mississippi want to find out why three members of a Republican Senate candidate's campaign staff wound up locked in the county courthouse after the polls closed and primary ballots were counted.  Hinds County Sheriff Othor Cain says three people, including tea party candidate Chris McDaniel's campaign coalition coordinator, were in the courthouse until about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday.  The Sheriff says all three are telling conflicting stories. 

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The only remaining original Navajo Code Talker from World War Two is dead.  Chester Nez died of kidney failure this morning in New Mexico at age 93.  Twenty-nine Navajo soldiers developed a code derived from their native language that the Japanese could never break.

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General Motors is getting set to release the results of its internal investigation into the automaker's delay in recalling millions of small cars that are linked to more than a dozen deaths.  The report coming out this morning is expected to clear GM Chief Executive Mary Barra of any wrongdoing.

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The G7 nations are threatening tougher sanctions on Russia if it fails to restore stability to eastern Ukraine.  Following a Wednesday night meeting, the G7 released a statement saying it stands ready to intensify targeted sanctions on Russia "should events so require."  The situation in eastern Ukraine remains volatile despite a mostly peaceful presidential election last month.

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The Powerball jackpot is growing again.  No one matched all six numbers in Wednesday night's multi-state Powerball drawing, boosting the jackpot amount for Saturday to an estimated $221 million.  The numbers drawn Wednesday night were 1-7-10-22-49 with the Powerball of 24. 

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Today's the tenth anniversary of the death of President Ronald Reagan.  America's 40th president died at the age of 93 at his home in Bel Air, California, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.  Then-President George W. Bush marked Reagan's death that day by saying that the two-term president helped "lay to rest an era of division and self-doubt" and an "era of fear and tyranny."

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Donald Sterling is reportedly giving up his fight against the NBA.  His lawyer said Wednesday that Sterling will allow the L.A. Clippers to be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2billion.  Sterling will also drop his legal action against the NBA over his banishment from the league and the $2.5 million fine he was slapped with over his racial comments.

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