Today's News - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

26-year-old Kevin Peterman of Indiana is behind bars, charged with trying to hire someone to kill his estranged girlfriend. State police say a confidential informant contacted them saying Peterman asked him to kill the 29-year-old Homer City woman. Police set up surveillance of the meeting between the informant and Peterman and arrested him without incident at his home along Pearce Hollow Road Saturday afternoon. Bond is set at $100,000 cash.

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A preliminary hearing is scheduled today for 29-year-old Brett Lysic of Elmora. He’s in the Cambria County Prison, charged with choking his 5-year-old stepdaughter in Bakerton earlier this month, leaving her with bruises on her neck. The little girl told police Lysic was angry because she and her little brother were being noisy while he was trying to sleep.

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Ebensburg attorney Tim Burns is suing Blair County and several officials following his attack during a courthouse hearing back in May. Now the “Altoona Mirror” says the suit has been put on hold until Commonwealth Court can determine if local officials have immunity. Death row inmate Andre Staton used his handcuffed wrists to club burns over the head and he suffered a concussion and other injuries.

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In Cambria County Monday, a truck driver suffered moderate injuries when his tri-axle truck crashed along route 53 in Gallitzin Township. State police say Kevin Wirfel of Lilly was going too fast on a curve when he swerved into a guiderail, then ran down an embankment and hit a utility pole. The truck came to rest on its passenger side.

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A district judge in Cambria County has ordered Maurice Davis to stand trial on charges of beating his 1-year-old daughter. Johnstown detectives say this is one of the worst cases of abuse they've ever seen. Davis claims the girl was left unconscious after she fell down the steps in January. The toddler was taken to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh with severe brain damage, internal bleeding and fractured bones. A doctor testified at Monday’s preliminary hearing that those injuries are not consistent with just a fall down the stairs. Davis remains jailed on $200,000 bond.

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Penn State rugby players Sean Herbert and Christopher Petri have waived their preliminary hearings on arson charges. Police say they used lighter fluid to start the fire that destroyed the team’s storage shed in January. The entire team has been placed on summary suspension from practice and competition.

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The House Majority Policy Committee is holding an information hearing today to discuss how to make higher education affordable for Pennsylvania students and families. The hearing is from 11 to 1 in the Ellis Ballroom on the campus of Juniata College. Those scheduled to testify include representatives from Juniata, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

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President Obama is expected to push for the end of the National Security Agency's telephone surveillance program. A senior administration official said Monday that Obama wants to pull the plug on the NSA's sweeping collection and storage of phone records. Instead, he'll propose requiring the government to get permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to look at information about calls believed to have possible connections to terror attacks.

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A fatal shooting at Naval Station Norfolk is under investigation. The Norfolk, Virginia base was put on lockdown late Monday night but that has since been lifted. Two deaths have been reported, but no other injuries.

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Bad weather is hampering search efforts in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Gale-force winds, rain, monster waves and thick cloud cover have grounded planes and kept vessels from reaching the target area. Once they're able to resume the search, they'll be scouring an area of more than two million square miles.

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The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments today in a high-profile case involving contraception and religious rights. At issue is a mandate in the Affordable Care Act, requiring employers to offer birth control services to workers in company health plans. Two companies challenged the provision as a violation of their religious liberties.

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More than a dozen people are believed dead in the massive Washington state mudslide. Snohomish County Fire Chief Travis Hots says emergency crews including firefighters, search dogs and aircraft continue to search the area for victims and survivors. The number of people missing or unaccounted for has grown to 176.

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A plan to extend longterm unemployment benefits is moving forward in the Senate. A bipartisan Senate plan would extend aid for more than two-million Americans for several months. However, there is growing opposition in the Republican-led House.

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Traffic in the Houston Ship Channel is still stopped after an oil spill. The waterway has been shut down since Saturday after an oil barge collided with a cargo ship, spilling 168,000 gallons of fuel oil. U.S. officials say the reopening of the channel will be "tapered" and the resumption of marine traffic will not be a floodgate.

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Former President Carter is speaking out against unequal pay for women. In an interview with MSNBC, he compared women being paid less than men to racial discrimination and abuse. He said he's concluded through his own research that how women are treated can be linked to religion.

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Three daredevils who gave people a rare glimpse of New York City by parachuting from the top of One World Trade Center are paying for their stunt. The group of skydivers and their lookout surrendered to police Monday and are out on bail Monday on charges including reckless endangerment. Their jump from the nation's tallest tower took place back in September and initially triggered fears of terrorism.

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The NFL is considering disciplining Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay over his drunk driving arrest. Police in suburban Carmel, Indiana arrested Irsay on suspicion of intoxicated driving last week. At the NFL meetings on Monday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he'll wait "to understand the facts" before he decides whether to move on taking action against Irsay under the league's personal conduct policy.

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Switching to e-cigarettes might not help people snuff their smoking habit. A new, and very small, study raises questions about whether electronic cigarettes are effective at weaning smokers off tobacco. Researchers tracked the habits of less than 90 smokers who also used e-cigarettes and found that they were no more likely to quit smoking than people who did not smoke electronically.

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The curtain is dropping on two celebrities on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." Monday's first results night of season 18 was a double elimination, in which both swimmer Diana Nyad and former NHL player Sean Avery were cut from the competition. Singer-actor James Maslow and Olympians Meryl Davis and Charlie White lead the way tied with 25 points, while actor Billy Dee Williams rounds out the list with a score of 15 from the judges.

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TV court judge Joe Brown is on the other side of the bench after his arrest Monday in Memphis, Tennessee. TV station WREG reports Brown was taken into custody after getting loud and verbally abusive at a Juvenile Court hearing where he was representing someone in a child support case.

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A teacher in France has found a new way to keep his students in line -- "Game of Thrones" spoilers. The teacher recently asked the rowdy kids if any of them watched the popular HBO show, and about three-quarters of the class said they did. The teacher explained that he's read all the books the series is based on, and threatened to tell them all the characters who die in future episodes if they didn't start behaving. The poster said there was "religious silence" after the teacher scrawled a few names on the board. The new season of "Game of Thrones" debuts on April 6th.

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A new survey has found that women's work outfits tend to go from formal to informal as the week wears on. Seventy-four percent of female respondents in the poll conducted by "Daily Mail" say they usually dress to impress on Mondays. That number slides to 69 percent on Tuesdays, 47 percent on Wednesdays and so on. Sixty-five percent say they tend to end up in flats instead of heels mid-week, and 62 percent say they usually skip out of fixing their hair and make-up by the time hump day rolls around. One in four women say they bring a change of clothes to work so they can go more casual after clocking out.

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