Today's News - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In Johnstown’s federal court yesterday, Dolly Lowmaster, the mother of Carrolltown drug kingpin George Lowmaster, was sentenced to five years probation, including a year on house arrest. She pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and distribution conspiracy. Her husband, Gerald, pleaded to money laundering-related charges and is scheduled for sentencing tomorrow. George Lowmaster’s sentencing date is May 13.

 

-0-

Two incarcerated former Pennsylvania house speakers are approaching parole. The state parole board cleared former Republican Representative John Perzel for release as early as today and former Democratic Representative Bill Deweese for release as early as March 28. Both men have spent less than two years in prison for allegedly conspiring to use legislative employees for political purposes.

-0-

 

It was back in November when First Energy Corporation locked out about 140 local Penelec workers. Officials tell the “Altoona Mirror” little progress has been made in contract talks. The last meeting was January 14. Penelec regional president Scott Wyman says they have presented a last, best and final offer which was rejected. He also says some union members want to vote again, but are not being allowed by union leadership.

-0-

A Bedford County woman died in a crash yesterday morning in West Saint Clair Township. State police say 18-year-old Breena Morris of Fishertown lost control on a patch of ice and struck an oncoming car driven by 56-year-old Francis Terek of Johnstown. Terek suffered a minor injury.

-0-

 

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier has been granted a stay in his lawsuit against former FBI Director Louis Freeh. According to the “Daily Collegian,” court documents show Judge Jonathan Grine opted to allow the motion to hold. Lawyers for Spanier asked for the stay until the criminal case against him, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz is resolved.

-0-

 

It’s been a tough winter so far, and PennDOT is sending commercial haulers to Delaware to pick up 20,000 tons of recently-purchased road salt. Governor Tom Corbett says the trucks will bring the salt to staging areas in Philadelphia, Allentown and Harrisburg, which have the most urgent need. PennDOT has already used nearly 1 million tons of salt this year.

 

-0-

AAA Fuel Gauge says Western PA gas prices rose almost nine cents to $3.65 a gallon this week. Today’s national average is $3.43 per gallon, six cents more than one week ago and 14 cents more than one month ago. It’s still 35 cents less than the same date last year.

-0-

 

Penn State’s student-created drinking holiday State Patty’s Day is this weekend and all but two downtown State College bars and restaurants have decided not to close or not sell alcohol Saturday. According to the “Centre Daily Times,” 33 of 35 establishments will accept money from the university. One restaurant will continue to serve drinks with meals and another has not yet come up with a final plan. Compensation will be determined based on a four-tier scale correlating to each establishment’s occupancy. Last year all the downtown bars closed or didn’t sell alcohol and there was a 37 percent drop in arrests and citations, as well as a 31 percent drop in hospital visits.


-0-

 

Penn State president Rodney Erickson told the house and senate appropriations committees yesterday that a lack of state funding could cause undergraduate tuition to rise by three percent. According to the “Centre Daily Times,” even a five percent increase above last year’s $214 million would still result in a one percent increase in tuition in the next school year. Penn State has requested $224 million for next year, which is $10 million over last year. Joining Erickson in Harrisburg were his counterparts from Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln universities.

-0-

 

Apple is joining a growing chorus of industry leaders calling on Arizona's governor to veto a controversial "religious rights" bill. The measure would allow businesses in the state to refuse service to gay customers based on their religious beliefs. Governor Jan Brewer hasn't said whether she'll veto the bill, which has sparked protests from residents and backlash from the business community. Apple is preparing to open a manufacturing plant in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, which would create some two-thousand jobs. American Airlines and Marriott Hotels are also urging Brewer to veto the legislation, as well as Republican Arizona Senator John McCain.

 

-0-

 

Almost all of the murder trial of "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius is going to be televised. A judge ruled today that cameras will be allowed during the trial, excluding the Olympic sprinter's testimony. Pistorius is accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last February at his home in South Africa. Pistorius claims he mistakenly shot Steenkamp, thinking she was an intruder.

 

-0-

 

Home Depot is notching a better-than-expected quarterly profit of just over $1 billion or 73 cents a share. That's due to the home improvement giant cutting costs to offset weak sales. The company was able to cut its total operating costs by four-percent during the quarter largely by centralizing its distribution centers.

 

-0-

 

JPMorgan Chase is cutting another eight-thousand jobs. The move comes in response to a slowing demand for refinancing. JPMorgan Chase has been slashing jobs for over a year. Since the beginning of 2013, the company has racked up more than 24,000 staff cuts. 

 

-0-

 

Google is ramping up its opposition to state laws that would outlaw driving while using wearable devices such as Google Glass. Google has reportedly sent lobbyists to Illinois, Delaware and Missouri to try to persuade lawmakers that there is no need to prohibit the use of Google Glass while driving. The company says any laws restricting wearable technology would be premature, since Google Glass has not yet been released to the public.

 

-0-

 

President Obama insists the U.S. will "move forward with contingency planning" if Afghan President Hamid Karzai does not sign a negotiated security agreement. Obama and Karzai talked by phone and the President expressed hope that Karzai will sign the security pact. Karzai has so far resisted pressure to do so. U.S. combat troops are scheduled to be out of Afghanistan by the end of this year.

 

-0-

 

An Ohio bus driver is alive and kicking thanks to what some believe was divine intervention. The man was shot twice in the chest Monday, but a contemporary version of the Bible titled "The Message" stopped the bullets. The "Dayton Daily News" reports 49-year-old driver was able to wrestle the gun and a knife away from the three teen attackers.

 

-0-

 

The Philadelphia-based snack cake bakery Tastycake celebrated its 100th anniversary Tuesday. To celebrate, the company created a limited edition Birthday Kake Cupcake made with confetti cake, chocolate icing and rainbow sprinkles. Employees also delivered free snacks to local charities and first responders.

 

-0-

 

Justin Bieber's Florida DUI case is one step closer to trial. TMZ says prosecutors offered a no contest plea to reckless driving, under the condition that Bieber agree to random drug testing for six to nine months. The troubled pop star has reportedly refused to accept any deal that involves random drug testing, which means a trial is likely. The 19-year-old Canadian could be tried on DUI, resisting arrest, and driving on an expired license. That could result in up to two-and-a-half years in jail.

Category: