Today's News - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A preliminary hearing is scheduled today for Stephen Jablonski of Johnstown who is charged with phoning a bomb threat into the Cambria County Courthouse back in April. He told police he didn’t want his girlfriend to fail a drug test when she appeared for a court hearing.

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Jury selection began yesterday for the Cambria County murder trial of 21-year-old Demetrius Gibson of Tire Hill who is charged in the August 2013 stabbing death of his estranged girlfriend Elizabeth Miller. Before the process began, Gibson’s defense attorney asked for continuance saying there were no African Americans in the jury pool. The judge overruled that motion. Four men and one woman have been seated on the panel so far. Jury selection resumes this morning in Johnstown.

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CNN reports former FBI Director Louis Freeh was seriously injured in a single car crash in Vermont Monday afternoon. The 64-year-old was flown to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center after driving his SUV into a mailbox. Freeh reportedly suffered a broken leg, cuts on his head, and other injuries. In 2012, he led an investigation into Penn State’s handling of the Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

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Penn State’s new president Eric Barron spoke at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon Monday in Harrisburg. He talked about making the university a driver for economic growth, but politely steered clear of discussing the Sandusky scandal. Barron says Penn State’s research expenditures, which totaled $848 million last year, placed it among the top 20 schools in that category nationally, but it lagged behind many other schools in marketing inventions and discoveries.

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A new report coming out this week from the Veterans Affairs' Office of Inspector General concludes there is no proof that delays in care resulted in as many as 40 deaths at the VA Hospital in Phoenix. Meanwhile, Congressman Bill Shuster tells the “Altoona Mirror” the James Van Zandt VA Medical Center seems to be doing a good, solid job. He met with the hospitals associate director to discuss unfavorable reports that surfaced last month on the hospital’s handling of patient appointments. The hospital says there were misunderstandings.

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White House spokesman Josh Earnest cites no known evidence of an active ISIS plot against the U.S. homeland at this time. U.S. officials believe ISIS is primarily interested in acquiring power and territory in the Middle East. Earnest noted that President Obama is considering a range of strategies to better-deal with the growing ISIS threat overseas.

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Voters head to the polls today for primaries in Arizona, Florida and Vermont. In Florida, five Republicans are battling to take on Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia in November's general election. Three Florida Democrats are competing for the chance to face Republican Congressman Dan Webster in November.

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California's chief geologist says aftershocks from Sunday's magnitude 6.0 earthquake can be expected to occur for weeks. State Geologist Dr. John Parrish adds it's always possible any of the aftershocks can be stronger than the initial earthquake. Over 200 people were hurt and scores of buildings damaged in Sunday's earthquake.

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Authorities in the Cleveland suburb of Willoughby, Ohio say four people have been killed in a small plane crash. Police say the plane went down shortly after taking off Monday night from Cuyahoga County Airport. Witnesses say the plane burst into flames upon impact.

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Cristobal is now the third hurricane of this year's Atlantic season. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is churning about 660 miles southwest of Bermuda. The storm is expected to turn away from the U.S. but it could still produce rip currents and flooding along the Atlantic coast.

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Federal prosecutors are going right at former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell as his corruption trial continues in Richmond. Prosecutors spent yesterday hammering McDonnell on the witness stand about his financial decisions regarding loans, expensive golf outings and airline flights for his kids. McDonnell and his wife Maureen are on trial for allegedly taking illegal gifts and loans while in office.

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The Pentagon is getting ready to send surveillance aircraft over Syria. Senior U.S. officials say the spy missions into Syrian airspace would also include drones. The move could signal a larger U.S. military campaign beyond Iraq in an effort to gather more intelligence on ISIS.

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Authorities are reporting a quiet night in Ferguson, Missouri. Hours after thousands attended the funeral for Michael Brown, Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said there were no arrests.

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An American teenager suspected of killing her mother in Bali reportedly is not allowed to meet privately with her attorney. The young woman's U.S.-based attorney said Monday that police are not letting her meet privately with local attorneys and investigators working on her case

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The nation's safest drivers are in Fort Collins, Colorado. Allstate Insurance Company's tenth annual Best Drivers Report says the college town an hour north of Denver is the safest driving city in the country. The insurance giant ranks Brownsville, Texas less than a car-length behind Fort Collins.

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With one final shot to add to its Emmy haul, "Breaking Bad" went out on top. The acclaimed AMC show earned five trophies at Sunday's 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, including a second consecutive Outstanding Drama Series honor. Bryan Cranston also won a fourth award for Lead Actor in a Drama, while Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn swept the categories for Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama.

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Americans aren't very happy with their cars. The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index finds satisfaction with cars at a five-year low. German luxury brand Mercedes-Benz is Americans' favorite, followed by Japan's Subaru and Toyota's luxury line Lexus.

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An infamously stingy slot machine on the Las Vegas strip is finally facing retirement. New Hampshire couple, Walter and Linda Misco, pulled the lever late last week and won a two-point-four-million-dollar prize. The machine's cheapskate reputation became a cult attraction at the M-G-M Grand casino, despite never paying out a jackpot in nearly two decades.

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The British Embassy in Washington, DC is apologizing for reopening old war wounds with a questionable commemorative tweet. The embassy's official Twitter account drew gasps from some U.S. comrades for a tweet that marked the 200th anniversary of the burning of the White House by British troops on August 24, 1814.

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