Today's News - Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Somerset County Coroner says 67-year-old James Kimmel of Jenner Township apparently suffered a fatal heart attack Tuesday. Emergency crews pulled his body from his burning pickup after it crashed into a creek near Keysertown Road.

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24-year-old Jessica Montgomery and 19-year-old Jeremy Dick of the Johnstown area have been charged with arson for allegedly setting a fire that destroyed an empty cabin along Mountain Road in Lower Yoder Township back in July. A juvenile is also facing charges. The three had been drinking when they started the blaze. They fled when the flames spread to a wall.

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Beginning on January 1, Johnstown residents will pay less for trash collection. Customers can expect around a $30 drop in their annual garbage bill.

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Cambria County’s financial woes continue. According to “The Tribune-Democrat,” the County will no longer be reimbursing employee expenses until further notice. Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic Jr. calls the measure drastic. Monthly employee reimbursements typically total around $7,500 a month.

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A structure fire that damaged a Jenner Township, Somerset County home in October has been ruled an arson. Because the home also had caught fire in June 2012, a state police fire marshal said that it is more difficult to determine the origin of the more recent blaze. The investigation continues.

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A new law is in place that will prevent retired state workers from “triple-dipping.” Governor Tom Corbett signed the legislation yesterday which will keep retirees from collecting unemployment after leaving a temporary job while still receiving their retirement pay. Officials say retirees collected more than $2 million in unemployment over the last three years while also receiving a state pension.

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The State Senate passed Legislation yesterday that would allow organizations and clubs to offer betting pools if the entry amount is less than $20, if there are fewer than 100 participants and if all the proceeds go to contestants. The measure is now on its way to the House, but Democrats are concerned about objections by the VFW and other fraternal organizations. Governor Tom Corbett’s office says he wants to make sure tax revenue anticipated at about $150 million would be directed to programs for the elderly that are traditionally underwritten by the Pennsylvania Lottery.

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The House opens the first in a series of hearings on the troubled launch of the healthcare exchange website today. The witness list at today’s hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee includes private contractors who took part in building the website. It looks like the deadline for buying health insurance online could be extended. That would mean people who purchase coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act will have the enrollment deadline pushed back from February 15 into March. The Obama administration has come under much criticism for the numerous glitches in the system.

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Germany is summoning the American ambassador in Berlin over claims the U.S. monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. Merkel on Wednesday discussed the claim with President Obama, who told her his administration isn't monitoring her calls and won't in the future. That doesn't answer the question of whether the U.S. has listened in on Merkel's calls before now.

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A Danvers, Massachusetts high school teacher is being remembered as a loving daughter, sister, and friend. Twenty-four-year-old Colleen Ritzer was found stabbed to death Tuesday and a 14-year-old boy is charged with her murder.

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An investigation is underway in a Northern California community where sheriff's deputies shot and killed a teenager who was holding a fake assault rifle. Santa Rosa County Sheriff's deputies saw 13-year-old Andy Lopez Cruz holding what looked like an AK-47 on Tuesday. He was shot when he turned toward them, looking like he was getting ready to shoot.

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Republican House Speaker John Boehner still has hopes about taking up comprehensive immigration reform. Boehner has rejected a sweeping, bipartisan immigration bill that was approved by the Senate this year. He favors a piecemeal approach to reform, starting with border security.

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Secret Pakistani approval of American drone strikes inside the country’s borders could temper recent outrage toward the practice. “The Washington Post” cites top secret documents detailing at least 65 strikes that the CIA discussed with and had approved by Pakistan’s government through 2011.

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Police say they found a Batman costume mask in the apartment of accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes. During Wednesday's court testimony, investigators said they found a calendar that had only one day, July 20, marked on it. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens more on that day at a suburban Denver cinema showing the latest Batman movie.

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is weighing in on a new marijuana bill in the District. The mayor says while legalization is an entirely different issue, he supports decriminalizing pot. Gray addressed the issue after most of the D.C. Council expressed support for making marijuana possession subject only to a $100 fine.

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A North Texas high school football coach is being cleared of bullying for a 91-to-0 victory. Aledo Independent School District says Coach Tim Buchanan did everything he could to keep the score “within reasonable bounds,” including pulling all starters in the first quarter and playing third string players by the start of the second half.

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The stars of the most-talked about moment at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards may be taking the stage together again at the MTV European Music Awards next month. Organizers have announced the addition of Robin Thicke to the night’s line-up, which already includes his former VMA partner-in-crime, Miley Cyrus.

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A new study says Mark Zuckerberg is the highest paid CEO. The pay survey from GMI Ratings says the Facebook CEO’s total compensation for 2012 was two-point-three billion dollars. Nearly all of Zuckerberg’s compensation comes from income related to his company's IPO.

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The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens have a sponsorship agreement to promote Obamacare in Maryland. The Ravens inked the sponsorship deal in September with Maryland Health Connection, the state’s Obamacare insurance exchange, that will pay them $130 thousand during the 2013 football season to promote the Affordable Care Act. The Ravens are said to be promoting Obamacare in ads on WBAL-TV, the Ravens’ Facebook page, Twitter, e-mail newsletters and on the team’s website.

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Sharon Stone is a Nobel Award recipient. The “Basic Instinct” star was in Warsaw, Poland Wednesday to pick up the Nobel Peace Summit Award from the Dalai Lama. Britain’s “Daily Mail” says Stone was honored for her work in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

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