Today's News - Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Richland Township supervisors tentatively approved a budget for 2014 on Monday. The vote was unanimous for a figure of $5.94 million. That’s a ten percent increase from the 2013 budget, and it has been done without increasing taxes. Instead the township has tightened spending in certain areas.

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26-year-old Shawn Varner, of Westmont, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Cambria County Court yesterday. He will face charges in connection with two incidents earlier this month, one where he allegedly sold heroin to a confidential informant and another where police say he sold heroin in a school zone. Cambria County Drug Task Force seized 100 bags of heroin after Varner was arrested dealing drugs near Bishop McCort High School.

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Another slow morning commute is likely in New York.  However, people who normally use Metro North's busy Hudson Line should have full service restored in a matter of days not weeks.  That's what the railroad says now that the eight cars that derailed on Sunday, killing four people, have been moved to a storage yard. The NTSB says the train in Sunday's deadly derailment in the Bronx was going 82 miles an hour heading into a 30 mile-a-hour curve in the track.  An NTSB official said Monday that's the preliminary indication from event recorders recovered from the wreckage of the train.  Four people died in the derailment and dozens more were injured.

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A big announcement is expected today in connection with the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history.  U.S. Judge Steven Rhodes is due to issue a ruling on whether the city of Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy during a hearing this morning.

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The White House will again be pushing the Affordable Care Act today.  President Obama will try to sell Americans on the relaunch of the much maligned healthcare website.  A White House official says the President will talk about the ongoing efforts to improve the website.  His remarks will be made at 2:30 p.m., Eastern time.

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The nation's smallest state has big plans to eliminate HIV infections and AIDS.  To coincide with this week's observation of World AIDS Day, the Rhode Island Department of Health is launching an initiative to get rid of HIV and AIDS by 2018. 

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Syria's president is being linked to war crimes and crimes against humanity for the first time.  A top U.N. human rights official cites evidence collected by investigators over the course of the 33-month-old conflict in the country.  The official says the evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government, including the head of state – Bashar al-Assad. 

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A record amount of money was spent on Cyber Monday.  Along with a record day for retailers, it also marked a shift in shopping preferences as smartphones and tablets accounted for nearly a third of all traffic.  In some cases, it was more than half for retailers.  

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A Florida woman is hospitalized after being attacked by a bear as she was walking her dogs Monday evening.  The victim is at Orlando Regional Medical Center with injuries not considered to be life-threatening.  Police say the woman was able to get away from the bear and run to a neighbor's house. 

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The House will vote this week on a bill aimed at banning undetectable firearms.  It would extend a 25-year-old law prohibiting production of guns which may be undetectable in metal detectors. 

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The spectacular light show starring the "comet of the century" has probably been canceled by the sun.  NASA says there's no doubt that comet ISON shrank in size considerably as it rounded the sun on Thanksgiving Day.  The space agency says that by Sunday, whatever was left of the comet was most likely pulverized. 

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Researchers are suggesting that energy drinks loaded with caffeine can change the way the heart beats.  A team from the University of Bonn in Germany said the study shows contractions were more forceful an hour after people had the drink.

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This year's 88-foot-tall Christmas tree outside the U.S. Capitol will be lit for the first time this evening.  House Speaker John Boehner will flip a switch at 5 p.m., Eastern time, to light up thousands of LED lights decorating the spruce tree.  The tree was transported to the nation's capital all the way from Washington state.

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Law enforcement officials late Monday night cleared out a huge crowd of fans who'd gathered at the site where "Fast and Furious" actor Paul Walker and a friend were killed in a fiery car crash over the weekend in Valencia.  TMZ reports the move was made so that the families of both Walker and Roger Rodas could have time to mourn there privately. 

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A ten-thousand-dollar reward is being offered for information on hundreds of bottles of a rare bourbon stolen from Kentucky distillery.  Sixty-five cases of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle worth more than 25-thousand dollars were taken from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in October.

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