Today's News - Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Authorities in Somerset County say they’ve busted a burglary ring. Michaelson Ferdinand and Shawn Everetts were seen breaking into a business in Conemaugh Township Friday. Ferdinand led police on a chase Sunday, but got away. He was arrested and jailed following a second chase Monday. Everetts was found hiding in a Johnstown apartment. They are suspected in dozens of burglaries in Cambria and Somerset counties. Police believe that the pair was not working alone and more arrests are expected.

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A federal grand jury has indicted four Cambria County residents and two from Indiana County for running a heroin ring. Authorities say they conspired to distribute more than 100 grams of the drug between April of last year and March of this year. Four of the suspects were already facing separate drug-related charges in Cambria County before the federal indictment.

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Seven Springs Mountain Resort has completed its purchase of Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort in Jefferson Township, Somerset County. The $7.5 million dollar sale was completed in five separate transactions.  

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The Veterans Affairs hospital in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh is under some restrictions after a “small amount” of the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease was discovered. A VA spokesperson says tougher testing standards are responsible for finding the bacteria October 7. Those standards were put in place after an outbreak that killed five people and sickened at least 21 others. Once the bacteria is gone, the restrictions will be removed. That could take up to two weeks.

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Local State Senator Jake Corman will not be allowed to defend the state law he’s sponsoring that would require the NCAA to keep the $60 million Penn State fine in Pennsylvania. According to Penn-Live, a U.S. judge ruled Tuesday that Corman has no legal grounds to intervene in a lawsuit the NCAA is mounting to try to sink Corman’s proposed law. Corman can remain part of other legal action against the NCAA.

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In Washington D.C., House leaders plan to resume talks today in hopes of ending the partial government shutdown and avoiding a default on the nation’s debt. Democratic Senator Bob Casey tells WTAJ there is an agreement among senate Democratic, Republican and independent leaders to temporarily fund the government, but they Are Waiting to see what the House recommends. Casey blames the Tea Party for the government shutdown, but he says damage from a default would be incalculable. On the other side, Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson blames President Obama and Senator Harry Reid, saying it took them nearly two weeks after the shutdown began to begin negotiations.

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The Senate’s two top leaders are said to be very close to an agreement to raise the debt limit and end the government shutdown. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says there is optimism by Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that a deal is within reach. A day before the deadline to extend the government's borrowing authority, President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will talk at the White House. They will discuss the possibility of a debt default if Congress does not increase the debt ceiling.

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An alleged al-Qaeda operative is pleading not guilty on charges connected to a pair of deadly embassy bombings. Abu Anas al-Liby appeared in a New York City court yesterday. He is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that left more than 220 civilians dead.

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The Vatican's Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone stepped down from the position as state secretary on Tuesday in a farewell ceremony at the Vatican. The post will be taken over by his successor, Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin.

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Apple is set to reveal its next generation of iPads. An invitation has gone out to media members for an event to be held in San Francisco next Tuesday. Apple-watchers say a completely redesigned fifth-generation iPad will make its debut, along with an updated iPad mini featuring a brand new Retina display.

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Miley Cyrus seems to have lost her clothes on the set of a music video, yet again. This time, the singer is appearing in a video for her friend and collaborator, rapper Future. “E! News” has released several stills from the futuristic-themed video. In the photos, she appears to be covered head-to-toe in metallic silver body paint, and very little else.

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Ashton Kutcher is topping a new “Forbes” list of the highest paid TV actors. The $24 million Kutcher earned from “Two and a Half Men” ranks him high above his fellow actors working on the small screen. Kutcher, who replaced former highest paid TV actor Charlie Sheen on the sitcom, banked his top ranking earnings between June 2012 and June 2013. His “Two and a Half Men” co-star Jon Cryer is second on the list with estimated earnings of $21 million during the same time period. With syndication residuals from “Everybody Loves Raymond” and a series arc on “Parenthood,” Ray Romano is third on the list with $16 million in earnings.

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“Saturday Night Live” cast member Kenan Thompson says black female comedians are not “ready” for “SNL” primetime. In an interview with “TV Guide,” Thompson who has become the go-to cast player for portraying black female celebrities, blames the show’s lack of diversity in that realm on the lack of quality black female comedians. He says, “it’s a tough part of the business,” adding that in auditions “they just never find ones that are ready.”

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AAA Fuel Gauge says Western Pennsylvania gas prices fell almost another three cents to $3.43 this week. Today's national average is $3.35, fractions of a penny less expensive than one week ago, 18 cents less than one month ago and 44 cents less than the same day last year.

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