Today's News - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Johnstown fire officials say an arsonist started the blaze that left seven people homeless early Monday morning. The fire was set in a vacant duplex in the 500 block of Dorothy Avenue in the West End. The flames spread to two neighboring homes, destroying one of them. A passerby knocked on doors to awaken the residents. They escaped with only the clothes they were wearing. Donations are being accepted at the Johnstown Free Medical Clinic on Main Street.

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A Jackson Township fire policeman was hit by a vehicle Monday afternoon while on the scene of a crash involving a motorcycle and a tri-axle truck along Route 271 near Mundy’s Corner, Cambria County. The bike’s driver and the first responder were both taken to Johnstown’s Memorial Medical Center. The fireman is expected to be fine and the driver who hit him has been cited. No word on the biker’s condition.

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69-year-old Wayne Krause of Meyersdale has died following an ATV accident Sunday evening in Summit Township, Somerset County. Police say a 16-year-old boy was towing Krause when the brakes of the ATV went out. Krause crashed into the rear of the ATV pulling him and was thrown from his vehicle.

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In Cambria County court today, sentencing is scheduled for 34-year-old Dale Malloy of Vintondale who pleaded guilty to reduced charges of homicide by vehicle in a fatal DUI wreck. Malloy’s pickup crashed on Chickaree Hill Road in Jackson Township in December 2011, killing his passenger, Kaylynn Reynolds.

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22-year-old Christopher Reed, of the Windber area, was struck and killed by a train in Seward, Westmoreland County, early Sunday morning. An autopsy performed Monday in Pittsburgh confirms that no foul play was involved and that all of Reed’s injuries are consistent with the train strike. Whether his death was accidental or a suicide has yet to be determined.

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In Bedford County, a 3-year-old girl was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital Sunday after she was attacked by a pit bull while walking with her family along Milk and Water Roads near Everett. The dog was not wearing a collar and ran into the woods. The girl’s injuries are not life-threatening, but she is still in the hospital. Anyone with information about the dog is asked to call the State Police Barracks at 623-61-33.

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Pennsylvania's credit rating is going down again. Moody's Investors Service announced the downgrade of the state's obligation bonds yesterday, making it one of the six worst states out of the 47 states with general obligation debt. The agency cited Pennsylvania's growing deficit and weak reserves. Governor Tom Corbett released a statement saying the pension crisis has put a severe strain on state finances.

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President Obama says a full investigation must be allowed to take place in eastern Ukraine after last week's crash of a Malaysian airliner. The President accused Russian-backed separatists of impeding the investigation and wonders what they may be trying to hide.

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Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cairo for what could be a string of meetings aimed at securing a truce in Gaza. Kerry says both he and the head of the United Nations are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel's continuing bloody offensive against Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza.

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The nation's overburdened immigration courts could be completely overwhelmed by the surge in child migrants. The Justice Department says U.S. immigration courts now have a backlog of more than 375 thousand cases.

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As the most famous resident of Washington, DC, President Obama says he fully supports DC statehood. Statehood would give DC residents full representation in the U.S. House and Senate. Obama acknowledged that the politics of moving the issue forward in Congress are "difficult."

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A piece of wreckage from the downed Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine shows signs of being hit by a missile. The "New York Times" reports analysts who have looked at photos of the wreckage say it has shrapnel holes consistent with a strike from a fragmenting warhead.

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Texas Governor Rick Perry is confirming National Guard troops are headed to his state's border with Mexico. He says the one-thousand troops will help state troopers apprehend drug and human traffickers along the border.

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President Obama is expanding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In a White House ceremony on Monday, Obama signed a new executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The order covers more than 20-thousand private companies doing business with the federal government.

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The lone surviving suspect in a Stockton, California bank robbery and shootout is being charged with murder. Jaime Ramos was charged Monday in the deaths of a hostage and two fellow bank robbers. All three were killed during a chase and gun battle with police last week.

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The State Department is warning Americans against traveling to Israel and the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank. A State Department advisory says the security environment there is "complex." It also notes that rockets fired from Gaza have hit many locations in Israel, including cities north of Tel Aviv.

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A man charged with hindering the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings is guilty of obstruction of justice. Azamat Tazhayakov was found to have covered up for bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by removing a laptop and backpack containing empty fireworks casings from a dorm room in the days following the April 2013 attacks. Tazhayakov could now get up to 25 years in prison.

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City workers and retirees in Detroit are in favor of the city's debt adjustment plan. Voting results released by the city Monday night show the plan, which includes pension cuts, was approved by a wide margin. Retirees have also approved a 90 percent cut in healthcare benefits.

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The massive wildfire in Washington is now officially the largest in state history. Officials said Monday the blaze has now burned close to 380 square miles, that's four times the size of Seattle. The fire has destroyed at least 150 homes and is only two-percent contained.

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A new book about the Secret Service reportedly claims that former president Bill Clinton has a mistress with the Secret Service codename "Energizer." According to the "New York Post's" "Page Six," best-selling author Ronald Kessler says "Energizer" is blonde, charming, and buxom. Kessler also reportedly claims that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Secret Service detail tells Bill Clinton's Secret Service guards when she's coming home so that the former president can make sure "Energizer" is nowhere to be seen.

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Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has the top selling jersey in the NFL. According to NFLShop.com, Manziel's number-two jersey outsold all others during the first quarter of the NFL's fiscal year. The former Heisman Trophy winner out of Texas A&M beat out Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and Broncos signal-caller Peyton Manning.

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The man who penned the novel "Little Big Man" is dead. The agent for Thomas Berger says the author died July 13th in Nyack, New York. Berger died a week before his 90th birthday.  He's best known for "Little Big Man," which told the story of a man who claimed to be the only white survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

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Twitter users are marking the first birthday of Britain's Prince George by using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayCheeks. The less than official hashtag started trending on Twitter after new photos were released today of the round-faced George gazing at butterflies at London's Natural History Museum.

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A new "Forbes'" list of Hollywood's highest paid actors puts Robert Downey, Jr. at number one for a second straight year. Downey reportedly made an estimated 75-million dollars between June 2013 and June 2014. His superhero action films "The Avengers" and "Iron Man 3" crossed the billion-dollar mark at the box office.

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