Today's News - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Cambria County judge yesterday sentenced Gregory Conzo to 15 to 40 years in a state prison for the bludgeoning death of 37-year-old Michael Pcola of Beaverdale. Police say Conzo struck Pcola in the head with an aluminum baseball bat on November 5, 2012. Pcola died two days later. The attack happened the night before Conzo was to be sentenced for assaulting Pcola’s mother, Conzo’s girlfriend at the time. Conzo pleaded guilty to third degree murder.

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Out-of-date and un-needed prescription drugs can now be disposed of at two locations in Cambria County. District Attorney Kelly Callihan says the Med Return Drug Collection program is now in place with collection units at the courthouse in Ebensburg and at the Richland Township Police Department. Disposal will be handled according to state regulations.

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Yesterday the City of Johnstown received a $10.9 million PennVest loan. “The Tribune-Democrat” says the 20-year loan will provide for rehabilitation of existing sewers and about 39 thousand feet of new lines in the West End neighborhood.

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Police in Cambria County have charged 20-year-old Zeth Markel of Beaverdale with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence for the November crash that killed his passenger, 21-year-old Lyle Popish, also of Beaverdale. Popish was ejected when Markel’s SUV struck an embankment along Route 53, became airborne and partially rolled over. Markel’s blood alcohol was .13 percent. He’s in the county jail.

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Today marks the second anniversary of the death of Penn State’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno. The non-profit group Inspiration Way will hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. at the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center on Park Avenue in State College. Organizers will light 409 candles and they are asking the public to write quotes or personal stories about Paterno for luminary bags. The Paterno family has requested that donations be made to the Dance Marathon in Joe-Pa’s name.

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Parts of the eastern half of the U.S. are being challenged by the snow of the latest polar storm. The storm that canceled 3,000 flights on Tuesday could dump as much as a foot of snow on southern New England today. Forecasters say that could snarl the evening commute for millions along the busy I-95 corridor from Boston to Washington, DC.

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The ex-governor of Virginia is firmly stating he "did nothing illegal" after a 14-count indictment against he and his wife. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen are accused of defrauding the citizens of Virginia, making false statements and obstruction. He apologized for his "poor judgment" in accepting gifts and loans from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

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An intense search is being conducted in Russia for two more women they've identified as "black widow" terror suspects. Security officials believe the Olympic torch relay is on their target list. They warn the women may attack in Rostov-on-Don, where the torch arrives today on its way to Sochi.  

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Part-time workers at Target are getting their health coverage pulled. The retail chain is cutting off its coverage to the employees. In a blog post, the company said that offering insurance could actually disqualify employees to be eligible for the government subsidies available through the new healthcare exchanges.

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A San Francisco Bay transit officer is dead after an accidental shooting by a fellow officer.  KTVU-TV says the unidentified officer was shot by a colleague during a probation search at an apartment complex Tuesday afternoon.. Dublin police investigators say the weapon accidentally discharged, and the wounded officer later died of his injuries.

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There may be snow, ice and cold, but organizers of the March for Life vow the event will be held today. The annual event on the National Mall coincides with the 41st anniversary of Roe versus Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling on abortion. An hour-long rally will precede a march to the Supreme Court.

Classes are canceled today at Purdue University following a deadly shooting. Authorities say it appears the gunman who shot and killed a fellow student on the campus yesterday targeted him. Purdue Police Chief John Cox stressed it was "not an active shooter incident." The suspected gunman has been identified as Cody Cousins, a 23-year-old engineering student.

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Syria's government, its enemies and the allies of those parties are meeting today in Switzerland. The conference organized by the U.N. is aimed at ending the three-year conflict in Syria that has left 100,000 dead.

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A half dozen same-sex couples want Florida to abolish its ban on gay marriage. They've filed a lawsuit seeking to have it overturned. An attorney for the six couples says Florida's laws are "out of step and outdated." Dozens of similar suits have been filed in a number of other states arguing the ban violates the U.S. Constitution.

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Mexico wants to stop today's execution of a Mexican national, but Texas appears ready to carry it out. Edgar Tamayo was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of a Houston police officer. The killing took place while Tamayo was in the U.S. illegally. Mexico claims the execution would violate international law, because Tamayo was not informed of his right to diplomatic assistance.

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Four same-sex couples are suing the state of Utah for refusing to recognize their marriages. Same-sex weddings were performed during a brief period when they were legal in the state last month after a federal judge struck down Utah's ban on gay marriages, ruling it unconstitutional.

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Scientists are suggesting that working night shifts may do a person long-lasting harm. They say a person's sleep cycle becomes so unsettled that DNA problems can emerge. The findings in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," may provide clues as to why shift work is linked to such ailments as obesity to diabetes.  

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A trio of TV lovers have set a new benchmark for binge watching. Guinness World Records says Dan Jordan, Spencer Larson, and Chris Laughlin watched 87 hours of television earlier this month during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. After the marathon ended, they split a five-thousand-dollar prize and each took home a package that included a TV.

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A new report claims the smallest cars on the road carry the biggest risk of injury. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says only one of eleven small cars passed the organization's toughest test. The Chevrolet Spark is the only car that got an "acceptable" rating in Wednesday's report.

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An 81-year-old Swedish man is taking things in stride after he picked up a local paper and saw his own obituary. Quoting Mark Twain, Sven-Olof Svensson told "The Local" that "rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." The mix-up apparently occurred when Svensson's 90-year-old sister mistakenly heard he'd died and submitted the obituary.

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AAA Fuel Gauge says Western Pa gas prices fell almost two cents to $3.52 a gallon this week. Today’s national average is$3.28, three cents less than a week ago, but four cents more than one month ago.

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