Today's News - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sixty-two people will lose their jobs when the Gamesa plant in Cambria Township closes in March. Spokesman Kurt Knaus says the decision is driven by a shift in the customer market from Pennsylvania and the Midwest into the Southwest. The majority of the wind turbine blades will be produced by other suppliers and then installed by Gamesa.

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Police plan to file animal cruelty charges against 31-year-old Matthew Gibala, of South Fork, who is accused of abusing two dogs. State police at Ebensburg say Gibala abused a small female mini-pincher and repeatedly kicked, punched and stepped on the dog’s neck, then slammed the dog’s head into the side of the house. The incident was recorded on video and happened in front of Gibala’s three young children. The mini-pincher and another mix-breed dog were removed from the home. Both showed injuries consistent with abuse.

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Belinda Hancock has been arrested in Washington D.C. She’s accused of moving to the capital and taking her 3-year-old god-daughter from Johnstown around Christmas time. Kayada Martin was returned to her family last week. Hancock is charged with kidnapping and interfering with the custody of a child.

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In Cambria County Court yesterday, 20-year-old Austin Molinich of Nanty Glo pleaded not guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide. He’s charged with texting while driving in Richland Township in June of 2012. Molinich’s pickup collided with another truck, killing 71-year-old Donald Evans of Conemaugh Township and his grand-daughter, 19-year-old Cassandra Singer of Northumberland County. Molinich told police he was distracted by a bird that hit his windshield.

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A preliminary hearing is scheduled today in Somerset County for 19-year-old Richard Rivera of Massachusetts who is accused of taking a 14-year-old runaway with him to the Days Inn motel in Somerset Township. State police say Rivera met the girl last week at a church in Jenner Township. Rivera is charged with concealing the whereabouts of a child and interference with custody of children.

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At the direction of Governor Tom Corbett, PennDOT has extended the temporary waiver on certain restrictions on commercial drivers to allow for continued smooth delivery of heating oil and propane gas during the bitterly cold weather. The waiver, first issued January 10, extends the limits on hours of service for fuel delivery drivers. Instead of 11 hours, Drivers can now be on the job for 14 hours. Exemption is also granted from the requirements of the 60-70-hour limits rule through February 11th or until the emergency conditions end.

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President Obama says he'll bypass lawmakers with executive action if Congress doesn't work together and get things done. Delivering the State of the Union address, Obama urged Congress to embrace "concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class."

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During his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Obama wished the best to American athletes heading to Sochi, Russia to compete in the Winter Olympics. Obama added that Team USA can do a lot to promote equality and dignity among all and stressed the commitment of the U.S. to stand up against Russia's new laws banning so-called gay "propaganda."

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Senator Rand Paul says President Obama came across a little too strong in his State of the Union address. The Kentucky Republican was referring to the President's promise to use executive actions to push his agenda if Congress won't cooperate with him. Paul said he is willing to work with Obama on the issues they can agree on.

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Authorities are sending out buses to pick up stranded drivers on Alabama's snowy roads this morning. Buses in the Birmingham area are making a number of runs. Home Depot opened more than two-dozens stores in Alabama and Georgia for stranded travelers. Authorities across the South are warning people not to go anywhere. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has told people they need to stay home until conditions improve.

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Airline passengers are facing fewer cancellations today despite the effects of winter weather and a rare deep freeze that's crippled parts of the Deep South. According to website FlightAware.com, just over 800 flights have been cancelled so far today, far less than the over three-thousand U.S. departures and arrivals erased yesterday.

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Two Colorado men will spend the next five years on probation for a deadly listeria outbreak linked to their cantaloupe farm. Brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen operated Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado. The tainted cantaloupe outbreak killed at least 33 people and hospitalized nearly 150 others across 28 states in 2011.

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A controversial abortion bill is headed to the Senate after passage by the House. The vote was 227-188 on Tuesday. The Republican measure aims to expand the longstanding prohibition on use of federal taxpayer dollars for abortions. It would prohibit women who qualify for federal subsidies from buying health insurance plans that include abortion services.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution for a Missouri man just hours before he was scheduled to die. Herbert Smulls was sentenced to death for murdering a St. Louis County jeweler in 1991, and was set to die at 12:01 this morning, local time.

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The House is expected to approve a sweeping farm bill today. The five-year bill cuts federal food stamp programs by about one-percent. The bipartisan measure cuts more than $20 billion in agriculture programs. It eliminates some farm subsidies but preserves other subsidy programs.

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The credit and debit card security breach at Target last year has resulted in banks replacing 15.3 million cards so far. That number comes from the Consumer Bankers Association, which noted on Tuesday that it has cost banks more than $153 million to replace the cards. The group wants Target to pay some of the costs to protect customers after the massive data theft.

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AAA Fuel Gauge says Western Pa. gas prices fell just a fraction of a cent, remaining at $3.52 this week. Today’s national average is $3.28, the same price as last week, three cents less than one month ago, and seven cents less than the same date last year.

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The makers of Angry Birds insist they're not providing any information on its users to government spy agencies. A recent report alleges that the NSA and its British counterpart are trying to find out ways to tap into the information gathered by Angry Birds and other apps. That information could include people's locations, age, and gender. Angry Birds maker Rovio issued a statement saying it values the trust of its fans, and the company takes privacy very seriously.

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Peyton Manning says he isn't giving much thought to retirement. That was one of the topics the Denver Broncos quarterback touched on during Super Bowl Media Day. Manning is in his second season with the Broncos after playing 13 years with the Indianapolis. He says he has no idea when he'll call it quits.

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A new survey from VoucherCodes.com is speaking to the growing popularity of the "man bag." The online poll has found that 55 percent of men carry around a bag of some kind on a regular basis, and are not afraid of appearing too feminine because of it. One in nine of the bag-carrying men say they view it as a fashion accessory, and one in 14 say they decided to buy one after a significant other complained about having to carry their belongings. When asked what items men usually have in their bags, a wallet was the most popular followed by smartphones, headphones, glasses and laptops.

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Americans are reluctant to take sick days. Seventy-percent of the employees taking part in a new OfficeTeam poll say they've gone into work even when they weren't feeling well. And 43-percent admit it's something they do "very frequently." Just 13-percent are "never" on the job when they're ill, while 17-percent just occasionally go to work when they're sick. Employees in the 35 to 44 age range are the most likely to go to work sick, with 88-percent saying they typically put in their hours even when they're under the weather. And it's something managers don't always realize. Just 12-percent of the bosses believe sick employees "very frequently" come to work. However, 53-percent of the managers believe it happens "somewhat frequently."

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