Today's News - Thursday, October 17, 2013

Austin Molinich of Nanty Glo waived his preliminary hearing in Cambria County yesterday. Prosecutors say he was texting in June of 2012 when his pickup crashed into a truck in Richland Township, killing 71-year-old Don Evans Sr. of Conemaugh Township and his grandaughter, 19-year-old Cassandra Singer of Northumberland County. Molinich denied that he was texting. He was 18 at the time. He’s now a freshman at UPJ.

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A Johnstown attorney filed notice yesterday that another alleged victim of Franciscan Brother Stephen Baker is planning to sue. Many have come forward saying Baker abused them while he was teaching at Johnstown’s Bishop Mccort High School in the 1990’s. After the news broke that he had settled with other young men who said he molested them in Youngstown, Ohio, Baker committed suicide at Saint Bernadine’s Monastery in Hollidaysburg. Some of the civil lawsuits appear to be headed for settlements.

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 The Indiana County Coroner’s Office has released details about a fatal tractor accident that happened Tuesday evening. 58-year-old Randy Fleming was killed while he was mowing an embankment on his farm in Armstrong Township. The 5-foot bank gave way, causing the tractor to roll down into a stream and pinning Fleming underneath it.

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Pennsylvania leads the way when it comes to deer-versus-vehicle crashes, and we’re headed into the peak season. A new study by State Farm put our state’s total at about 120 thousand for the 12 months that ended in June 2012. The average claim was about $3,400. Michigan is second with about 87,000 deer-related wrecks. Drivers in West Virginia are most likely to hit a deer, a 1 in 38 chance. The odds in Pennsylvania are 1 in 73. Drivers should slow down, use high beams when possible, and be careful around dawn and dusk.

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Lawyers for former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary are seeking  subpoenas for the litigation of his whistleblower lawsuit against the university. According to the “Centre Daily Times,” the attorneys want three subpoenas for witnesses and three for the production of documents as part of the discovery process. McQueary is seeking more than $4 million in damages.

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Pennsylvania’s highest speed limit is 65 miles per hour, but Republican Senator Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County is proposing raising the  limit to70 on the turnpike and interstates. Hirty-four states across the country currently have maximum speed limits at 70 miles per hour or higher. As part of his proposal, Scarnati cites new technology and safety standards as one reason to increase the limits. No word when lawmakers will take action.

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Furloughed federal workers will start returning to the job in the morning after President Obama signed legislation ending the partial shutdown of the federal government.  Bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate and House funds government operations through mid-January and extends the federal debt limit into early February. 

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Documents have come to light that indicate the National Security Agency is heavily involved in a targeted killing program, a main part of President Obama's counterterrorism strategy.  The documents were obtained by the “Washington Post” from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.  The newspaper says they show the agency is collaborating closely with the CIA in the use of drone strikes against terrorists.

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California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit trains will run again Thursday as contract talks continue.  Federal mediator George Cohen confirmed the news overnight on behalf of BART management and union leaders.  The BART system is used by an estimated 400-thousand people on a typical day. 

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The leader of the county where the Washington Redskins play their home games says it may be time for the team to change its name.  Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, when asked about the name, which is offensive to some Native Americans, said quote, “If it’s offending anyone, I think you should consider changing the name.” Baker added that county fans will continue to root for the team if it changes its name.

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Apple is cutting production orders for its low-cost iPhone 5C a month after its release. The “Wall Street Journal” reports Apple has asked one of its top suppliers to increase production of the top-tier 5S, which went on sale at the same time as the cheaper plastic-backed 5C model.  The reduction in orders is leading to industry speculation that the lower-priced 5C is still too expensive for customers looking for a cheaper smartphone.

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Harley-Davidson is recalling nearly 30-thousand of its 2014 motorcycles over a problem with their hydraulic clutch system.  The recalls include a “Do Not Ride” notice to owners until the bike is fixed.  The Milwaukee-based company said the bike’s clutch may not disengage properly which could cause the rider to have trouble slowing or stopping the motorcycle.

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Facebook announced on Wednesday that they have loosened their privacy rules for teenagers as a debate swirls over online threats to children from bullies and sexual predators. Teenagers’ status updates, videos and images will now be able to be seen by anyone, not just their friends or people who know their friends. Facebook says the change will give teens ages 13 to 17 more choice but parents worry about the heightened visibility.

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