Today's News - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A preliminary hearing is scheduled today for 23-year-old Earl Saunders of the Oakhurst Homes. Johnstown police say he intentionally burned his 6-month-old daughter back in February, by putting her in the bathtub with scalding hot water. The child suffered second degree burns over 20 percent of her body. Saunders told authorities he did it because he was angry and frustrated. He’s in the Cambria County Jail.

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Johnstown police say agents made an undercover buy from Jermaine Jones Monday afternoon, then pulled over the car he was riding in in the Oakhurst section of town and found a large amount of cash, heroin, marijuana and the powerful painkiller fentanyl. When they searched his girlfriend’s stone street home, they seized a lot more drugs and over $270,000 in cash. The estimated street value of all the heroin seized is $12,000. Jones is in the Cambria County Jail. Fentanyl-laced heroin has been blamed for 22 deaths in western Pennsylvania this year.

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Following a preliminary hearing, 56-year-old Russell Shick of Beccaria Township was ordered to stand trial in Cambria County Court on charges that he fired into George’s Tavern in Dysart, wounding Robert Edgar Jr., in October. Shick claims he was not trying to kill anyone, but he was angry after being kicked out of the bar. Edgar died earlier this year in an ATV accident.

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A preliminary hearing for Steven Jablonski of Johnstown has been postponed until May 20. He’s charged with calling in a bomb threat to the Cambria County Courthouse last week, leading to an evacuation.

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A drug bust Monday in Huntingdon County. Attorney General Kathleen Kane says state and local agents arrested 35-year-old Luis Bernal and 33-year-old Jacquita Kierman of Huntingdon after they bought heroin from them. At the couple’s rental home, cops found three grams of heroin, worth an estimated $1,500, a small amount of crack cocaine, more than $1,000 in cash and several loaded guns. Bernal is originally from New York and Kierman from New Jersey. Preliminary hearings are scheduled May 13 and additional arrests are expected.

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Pennsylvania's April tax collections are behind projections and officials say they will not be able to pinpoint the exact amount of the shortfall until the month is over. The credit rating agency, Standard & Poor's said Monday that it will downgrade Pennsylvania's rating if it doesn't make strides to balance the budget and address pension liabilities. Officials say they fear the shortfall may knock Governor Tom Corbett's budget proposal out of balance by a billion dollars.

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New Penn State football coach James Franklin is denying any wrongdoing, but he and Penn State’s director of performance enhancement, Dwight Galt, are facing new accusations in a rape case involving a former player at Vanderbilt University. The suspect’s lawyers are trying to get the charges dismissed and they say the prosecution destroyed evidence that could help their case. Their motion says two pieces of evidence that are missing are text messages and phone calls from Coach Franklin to the alleged victim. The defense claims Franklin asked her to round up 15 pretty girls to help them recruit new players. That is against NCAA rules. Prosecutors in Tennessee say they have no evidence that Franklin participated in any cover-up, but he could be called to testify at the trial.

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Tornadoes could pop up in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states today. The National Weather Service is forecasting severe thunderstorms packing hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes for that region. Forecasters say the risk of severe weather extends as far south as the Florida Panhandle and as far north as Virginia and West Virginia.

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The NBA's Golden State Warriors were planning to shock the sports world at the start of Tuesday night's playoff game against the Clippers in Los Angeles. If NBA commissioner Adam Silver's punishment of Donald Sterling wasn't to the Warriors liking, the players were going to walk off the court during the tipoff. Golden State also wanted the Clippers to join them. The plan was scrapped after the Clippers owner was banned from the NBA for life and fined two-point-five-million dollars.

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It's going to cost $121 million to fix the ObamaCare website. The new contractor hired to do the job says it'll cost that much to get the site ready for a second open enrollment period in 2015. The White House says more than 8 million people have signed up for ObamaCare.

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One man is dead following a tragic midair collision involving two experienced skydivers. The accident happened Tuesday in San Joaquin County, California. One of the skydivers reportedly had an equipment malfunction and may have lost consciousness while spinning out of control. The victim and the other skydiver apparently collided in midair before the victim crashed into the ground.

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Vice President Joe Biden is pushing a new initiative to help curb sexual assaults on college campuses. In a White House event, Biden cited statistics showing that one-in-five women will be assaulted at college. The initiative calls on colleges to become more transparent in reporting sexual assaults. A new website called NotAlone.gov is also being launched to display school policies on handling sexual assaults and aiding victims.

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Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is ordering an investigation into the botched execution of a death-row inmate. The governor's order came yesterday after a new three-drug cocktail caused Clayton Lockett to shake uncontrollably and writhe on the gurney for several minutes after it was administered. Doctors pronounced Lockett dead of a heart attack after about 45 minutes.

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The father of the gunman who allegedly opened fire at a FedEx facility outside Atlanta Tuesday says he's shocked and devastated by his son's actions. Police say 19-year-old Geddy Kramer shot six co-workers before killing himself. The father, Scott Kramer, released a statement saying the family expresses its deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims and their families.

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Republican House Speaker John Boehner claims the American people do not trust President Obama to properly enforce an immigration reform law. Boehner insists Republicans are committed to finding a way forward on immigration, including stricter border enforcement. Boehner was caught on video recently, mocking his Republican colleagues. He said they think immigration reform is "too hard."

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A big test vote on a minimum wage hike is expected in the Senate this week. The vote is procedural, and would determine whether senators consider a bill which would gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.

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A new report from the federal government shows Washington lost $11.2 billion bailing out General Motors. That's up from an original estimate of $10.3 billion. The increase comes after the Treasury Department discovered an administrative claim tied to the bailout had been written off in March.

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One of the most heavily recruited high school students in the country decides today where he'll attend college. But Kwasi Enin isn't an athlete. Enin is the Long Island senior who has been accepted by all eight Ivy League schools. He'll announce his college choice at a news conference later today.

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Gwen Stefani will be taking one of the coaches' seats on NBC's "The Voice." On Tuesday's live episode, host Carson Daly confirmed the news. Both Gwen and Pharrell Williams will celebrate their new jobs by taking the stage on next Monday's episode of the singing competition show.

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Tuna caught off the coast of Oregon and Washington state have small levels of radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Researchers at Oregon State University say the levels are just trace amounts and there's no reason to be alarmed. The Fukushima meltdown occurred after an earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011.

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SeaWorld San Diego will soon be welcoming a new addition. Theme park officials have announced that nine-year-old killer whale Kalia is pregnant with her first calf. Kalia is expected to give birth in December. SeaWorld had six orca births, including Kalia herself in 2004.

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Target is switching its debit and credit cards over to a more secure technology by early next year. The new cards are called chip and PIN. A chip replaces the old magnetic strip, making the cards harder for thieves to duplicate. A personal identification number is an added protection. Target is hoping the change will restore customer confidence after last year's major data breach by cybercriminals.

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