Today's News - Tuesday, December 17, 2013

An apparent murder-suicide in Somerset County – state troopers were called by family members to a home in Stoneycreek Township early Monday afternoon where they found the bodies of 59-year-old Karen Harkcom and 57-year-old Michael Harkcom. Both had been shot to death. Police are investigating.
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A court date today in Cambria County for 22-year-old Brandy Sinclair of Portage who is accused of trying to run down a borough police officer with her car after he stopped her in September for having an illegal license plate. Sinclair was arrested again last week when she fled from District Judge Fred Creany’s office after being taken there by constables on a costs and fines warrant filed in another county. Sinclair is now in the Cambria County Prison.
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Firefighters said a dog caused a house fire in Cambria County early Monday morning. The blaze broke out around 12:30 at a home on Keefer Road in Upper Yoder Township. The animal apparently knocked over a kerosene heater. The fire was quickly contained and damage was contained to the living room area. No one was injured.
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Rather than stand trial in Cambria County Court, Troy Lloyd of Northern Cambria pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for stabbing Roger “Junior” English, with an 18-inch decorative sword outside his home in April of last year. The defense says the incident happened after years of Lloyd being bullied by the victim. English had to be lifelighted to UPMC Altoona with a collapsed lung. Lloyd is scheduled to be sentenced to 2-and-a- half to 10 years in state prison when he appears in court today.
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In Johnstown’s federal court today, brothers William and Ronald Kuchera are scheduled to be sentenced on charges they defrauded the government. They are the former owners of Kuchera Defense Systems in Windber. Both pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy and face up to 15 years in prison and millions in fines and civil penalties. Last week, their lawyer filed a motion saying jail time would be a waste of taxpayer money.
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Pennsylvania residents now have a new way to safely get rid of unused prescription drugs. Governor Tom Corbett launched another piece of his “Healthy Pennsylvania” initiative yesterday. It includes a permanent statewide drug return through up to 250 secure return boxes. The med-return boxes are installed in 29 counties so far.
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A Dauphin County judge has scheduled a pre-trial hearing to begin today in the case of former Penn State administrators Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. All three men face charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, child endangerment and failure to report abuse. Their lawyers say they are innocent and they will fight the charges at trial. The attorneys are expected to argue that charges should be dismissed because the men thought that former university counsel Cynthia Baldwin was representing them during their grand jury testimony.
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The Department of Revenue is reminding older adults and people with disabilities that the deadline to apply for rebates from Pennsylvania’s Property Tax Rebate program is December 31st. application forms are available at Department of Revenue district offices, local Agencies on Aging, state legislators’ offices, and online at www.revenue.state.pa.us. The program is supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery.
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The Senate is set to go to work today on a budget to fund the government for the next two years. The bipartisan budget easily passed the House last week. The deal would avert another partisan showdown over spending next month. The spending plan needs 60 votes to pass the Senate. Several Republican senators have said they will vote yes on a procedural vote that's expected today. A final vote could come tomorrow.
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A federal judge says the National Security Agency's sweeping electronic surveillance program is probably illegal. The judge ruled yesterday that the program that collects massive amounts of information on who's calling who appears to violate the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches.
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Investors are wondering whether the Federal Reserve will begin scaling back its bond buying policy when it meets today and tomorrow. A number of economists say there's a chance the Fed will continue buying $85 billion in bonds each month as it aims to hold down interest rates to boost investment and hiring.
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Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck says he’s reserving judgment on an incident in which police officers shot and killed an unarmed pursuit suspect on live TV. Brian Beaird was shot to death live on at least one Los Angeles TV station at the end of a nearly hour-long pursuit last Friday evening in downtown Los Angeles.
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The family of the teen who opened fire at a Colorado high school last Friday is speaking out. In a statement, the family of Karl Pierson said they're shattered by the events that took place at Arapahoe High School. They said they can't begin to understand why Karl did what he did.
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Employees at the upscale Short Hills Mall in New Jersey are on edge after a 30-year-old man was shot to death. He and his wife were returning to their Range Rover in the parking deck after doing some shopping Sunday night, when they were approached by two men and Dustin Friedland was shot in the head. A ten-thousand-dollar reward is being offered for information to help catch the suspects.
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A New Mexico high school teacher who told a student that Santa Claus is white is being placed on administrative leave. The teacher, who has not been identified, originally got into trouble when she questioned an African-American student's decision to dress up as Santa.
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A Charlotte, North Carolina police officer accused of shooting an unarmed man ten times is due in court today. Officer Randall Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the September 14th shooting of former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell. Ferrell was seeking help after crashing his car when he knocked on a woman's door and she in turn called police.
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More than a dozen homes have been destroyed by a wildfire along the central California coastline. The blaze in the Big Sur area was ignited late Sunday night and has now reduced at least 15 homes to ashes. The blaze grew to at least 550 acres late Monday afternoon.
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Donald Trump says he is nearing a decision on whether he will seek the Republican nomination for governor of New York. Trump is being recruited by a group of GOP state lawmakers who are hoping he will challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo.
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Facebook is expected to start selling video ads this week. The "Wall Street Journal" reports the social network plans to make the announcement today and ads will begin playing in users' newsfeeds on Thursday. The ads will play automatically in web browsers and on smartphones.
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The windshield wiper could become a thing of the past. British high performance carmaker McLaren is working on a vibrating windshield. McLaren's chief designer says it uses high frequency sound waves to clear away rain, bugs, and other debris that clouds a driver's view.
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People using Facebook will find it easier to make charitable contributions to nonprofits while using the social network. Facebook on Monday unveiled a new feature that lets people click a "Donate Now" button on a participating nonprofit's post that shows up in News Feed. If a person donates, they'll help Facebook build up its database of members with credit cards attached to their accounts.
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a new batch of inductees. The Hall announced late Monday night that the Class of 2014 will include Nirvana, Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens, and Linda Ronstadt.
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The Mega Millions jackpot is up to a whopping 586-million bucks, and it’s expected to climb even more before tonight’s drawing. It could even reach a new record high. The record of $656 million was set last year. If the prize goes unclaimed tonight, it will mark the 22nd consecutive drawing without a winner.

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