Today's News - Thursday, November 7, 2013

Johnstown police removed 16 dogs from a home on the 100 block of Coal Street in Old Conemaugh Borough yesterday. The animals were living in poor conditions…14 of them in cages in the basement. The woman who lived there was wanted on several outstanding warrants. The dogs were taken to the Cambria County Humane Society.

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State Police in Cambria County say 18-year-old Davon Lee Holmes of Pittsburgh is facing 20 felony charges for attacking at least three workers Sunday at the Cresson Secure Treatment Juvenile Detention Center. Holmes was given a broom to clean his room and he allegedly used it to hit the workers. He also punched and bit them and spit on them. Holmes was transferred to the Cambria County Prison this week and his preliminary hearing is next Wednesday.

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In Cambria County Court today, sentencing is scheduled for 26-year-old Patrick Burkett of Beaverdale who pleaded guilty in the death of his girlfriend’s 22-month old daughter. Burkett was babysitting Reagan Panic while her mother was at work. Reagan died of blunt force trauma to the head at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh in August of last year.

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Some sign-ups for the Marine Corps Reserves Toys For Tots program are today and tomorrow. You will need to take your I.D. and Access Card plus Social Security cards for each child. Toys For Tots can provide Christmas toys for children up to 16 years old. The sign up in Bedford is today at the Bedford County Courthouse between 9 and 3. registration for Johnstown is tomorrow. It will be the lower level of the Galleria across from Bon-Ton between 10 and 3. For additional information, call 814-534-0500 extension 1666.

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The National Park Service says the hemlock trees at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville are in trouble. Officials are working to hopefully prevent an invasive insect from killings the trees. They say another invasive bug has proven to be one of the most effective ways to kill off the insects, but they are concerned about bringing in a beetle that is not native to Somerset County because it could have unknown, long-term impacts. Instead, they will use a mix of bark spraying, soil tablets and other efforts for the next three years.

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Penndot Secretary Barry Schoch says progress is being made on a public-private partnership to quickly replace hundreds of structurally deficient bridges. A forum was held in Hershey yesterday and according to Schoch, the department is hoping the legislature will act on transportation funding when they return to session next week, but PennDOT is also continuing to use existing dollars more efficiently. Through the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, 2- to 300 structurally deficient bridges of similar design would be replaced under one contract to streamline design and construction. The low-bidder would also maintain bridges for a yet-to-be-determined number of years.

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Governor Tom Corbett is running for another term, making the announcement in Pittsburgh yesterday as part of a statewide tour. Corbett’s next stop will be in Philadelphia and then in Lancaster for a rally on Saturday. Last week, A Franklin & Marshall College poll showed that 33 percent of registered Republicans surveyed thought Corbett should not seek re-election in 2014. The poll also shows that only 34-percent of Republicans rated Corbett’s job performance positively.

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Saturday marks the second anniversary of Joe Paterno’s firing, and the “Centre Daily Times” reports that Penn State football great Franco Harris and other supporters will honor the late coach with a presentation and panel discussion starting at 7:30 at the Days Inn on South Pugh Street in State College. The group thinks Paterno was unfairly fired and that media reports have unreasonably branded him as part of the alleged coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse allegations.

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The nation's first health insurance exchange enrollment center is opening today in Connecticut. The enrollment center is modeled after an Apple store, offering in-person assistance to guide customers through the process of enrolling for health insurance.

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The Senate is about to pass a bill protecting the rights of gay workers. A final vote could happen today on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA. The measure would ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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The man convicted of killing Congressional intern Chandra Levy could get a new trial. Attorneys for Ingmar Guandique argue that federal prosecutors knew, or should have known, a key prosecution witness had previously informed to police on other cases. Levy was last seen alive in May of 2001. Her remains were found a year later in a DC park.

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One of three teenagers accused of killing an Australian student in Oklahoma is now officially facing a murder charge. Prosecutors say 17-year-old Michael Dewayne Jones may also have been involved in two other shootings in the 24-hour span that included the killing of Christopher Lane. Sixteen-year-old Chancey Luna and 15-year-old James Edwards Jr. are also charged as adults with first degree murder.

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Senators are looking at Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts, one year after the devastating storm hammered the northeastern U.S. coast. In a Senate hearing, New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker said billions of dollars in federally-approved assistance has still not made it to Jersey businesses and families-in-need.

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Rapper Kanye West will be in court today on charges stemming from an alleged altercation with a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport this summer. During the July 19th confrontation – which was caught on tape – West wrestled paparazzo Daniel Ramos to the ground in an apparent attempt to take his camera.

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Mary J. Blige has been tapped to honor the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner at the 20th annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Taking place on December 11th at Oslo, Norway's Spektrum Arena, the concert will also feature performances from James Blunt, Swedish singer Zara Larsson and the Norwegian hip-hop duo Envy.

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The Olympic torch has made it to the International Space station. The torch is aboard a Soyuz spacecraft that successfully launched from Kazakhstan with a crew including men from Russia, America, and Japan. Torches have flown into orbit before but this is the first one that will be taken on a spacewalk by cosmonauts and returned to Earth.

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Til death do they part. A pair of Texas newlyweds recently celebrated spending the rest of their lives together with a wedding cake made to look like realistic versions of their severed heads. Cake artist Natalie Sideserf spent around 40 hours on the confection. She says almost all of their wedding guests loved the cake, although it shocked her grandmother, although she later confessed that she appreciated all the detail.

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It looks like most Americans aren't ready to wear their technology on their face. According to a new poll from Harris Interactive, almost half of respondents said they think wearable gadgets like the Google Glass or Galaxy Gear are "just a fad." Younger people are more likely to consider buying and wearing such a product. Sixty-three percent of those ages 18 to 35 said that are at least a little interested in the idea, compared to 47 percent of those ages 36 to 48. Thirty-eight percent of respondents agree that if they were to buy some kind of wearable technology, it would have to replace one of the devices they already use.

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Being an office worker doesn't necessarily mean working in an office. More than half of the office workers taking part in a new Microsoft poll say they'd be willing to put in more hours on the job – and 20-percent would accept a pay cut – if they could have more flexibility in getting things done. Fifty-five-percent say they have tasks they must complete regardless of where they are. Nearly 40-percent add that they do their “best thinking” outside the office. And there doesn't seem to be many off-limits areas for getting the job done. Over a third of the respondents work through their daily commute, 47-percent have put time into work projects while on vacation, and 44-percent have done office work while relaxing at home. Twenty-percent have worked while attending one of their kids' activities. Just under 30-percent have been on the job while out to dinner, while 27-percent have put in office hours from their bed. And 19-percent admit they've even done some office work while in the bathroom.

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