Today's News - Wednesday, October 9, 2013

In Cambria County Court yesterday, 31-year-old Jonathan Kuzma of johnstown pleaded not guilty in the August bludgeoning death of his father, 52-year-old John Kuzma. Prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty. According to police, Kuzma waited until his father fell asleep, then hit him twice in the head with a hammer, stabbed him 15 times and left the body in the basement. Kuzma then stole jewelry, money, prescription drugs and a handgun from his father’s safe.

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On September 24, someone released 500 to 600 mink from George Rykola’s farm in Cambria Township. Now the Fur Commission U.S.A. is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects. The Florida-based animal rights activist group, Animal Liberation Front, has claimed responsibility. The FBI is involved because the mink release is considered a federal crime under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Anyone with information should call 717-983-84-77 or any local FBI field office.

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Emergency crews had to rescue 3 hikers who got stuck on the steep hillside near Johnstown’s Inclined Plane early Tuesday afternoon. The workers used rope and harnesses to get the two men and one woman over to the Incline and then brought them up the hill. The hikers were not hurt.

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Pennsylvania is in the top half in a list of states most and least affected by the federal government shutdown. The survey from WalletHub ranks Pennsylvania 18th most affected overall. The greatest impact is in Virginia while Iowa is at the bottom. WalletHub says its own study was affected by the shutdown, but says it found enough public data sources to do its analysis of the 50 states and Washington, DC.

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Penn State graduate and former trustee candidate Ryan Bagwell is challenging Penn State to release emails that were written among university trustees and other officials following the arrest of Jerry Sandusky and the former administrators who are accused of covering up his abuse of children. The “Centre Daily Times” reports that Penn State is fighting Bagwell’s request saying the release of the records would cause substantial harm. The Office of Open Records has turned in some of the records and also provided a list of 155 emails it says were not public under exemptions in the open-records law.

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At least 19 men victimized by Jerry Sandusky have reached settlements with Penn State. According to the Associated Press, some of the claims settled involve those who testified against the former coach at his trial. Penn State previously announced it had allotted $60 million for the settlements.

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The U.S. government says heating bills this winter will likely reach near-record levels. According to the Associated Press, more than 90 percent of U.S. homes will see higher bills. Natural gas users should expect the highest increase. Heating oil customers will see a 2 percent drop, but will still pay just shy of last year’s record average.

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Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has joined Senator John McCain in calling out Washington over suspension of military death benefits due to the government shutdown. Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, McCain – a former Vietnam War POW – said members of Congress should be “ashamed” and “embarrassed” that the $100 thousand payments have been denied to at least five military families since the government shut down over a week ago.

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President Obama is set to announce his pick for head of the Federal Reserve. The White House says Obama today will announce that he will nominate Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chief. Yellen currently serves as the vice chair of the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System.

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Some lawmakers are among the people arrested following an immigration rally that started on the National Mall in Washington, DC. About 100 were led away in handcuffs yesterday, including Congressmen Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Charles Rangel of New York and John Lewis of Georgia as well as the leader of Casa de Maryland, Gustavo Torres.

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A veteran New York Police detective is in jail after being arrested on charges he took part in last month's motorcycle gang assault on a family driving an SUV. Thirty-two year old Detective Wojciech Braszczok was charged yesterday with riot and criminal mischief. Officials believe Braszczok pounded on the SUV and did nothing to stop the melee.

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A fireball lit up the night sky over far northwestern Oklahoma after a pipeline exploded late last night near the town of Rosston. That’s in Harper County, not far from the Kansas border. Flames could be seen as far as 50 miles away.

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Coffee chain giant Starbucks wants to encourage the federal government to hammer out a solution to the shutdown and pending debt crisis. From now until the end of the day Friday, customers who buy someone else their favorite drink will get a free tall-brewed coffee. CEO Howard Schultz calls it a way Starbucks can help people to come together during a particularly challenging time.

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft will make a fly-by of Earth today as it makes its way to the planet Jupiter. Juno is scheduled to come within 350 miles of the surface before it heads back into space as it gets a gravity assist from Earth. It is expected to go into polar orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

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The flood of photos hitting your Twitter feed around lunch time could ruin your appetite. Researchers at Brigham Young University found people who looked at images of salty foods experienced the satisfaction of the saltiness from the photos. They then reported less enjoyment from eating peanuts than those who had looked at other pictures.

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As many as 2 million bikers are planning to roar into the nation’s capital this weekend. It’s in support of the Million Vets March taking place on Sunday to protest the partial government shutdown. Recently, veterans were turned way from the World War Two Memorial due to the closure of federal facilities. Two Million Bikers to DC organizer Belinda Bee says it's time Americans stand up against the shoddy treatment of vets.

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Nike is drastically changing the appearance of the NFL’s Pro Bowl uniforms. The shoe and apparel giant is doing away with the traditional blue and red look worn by the NFC and AFC for years. In its place will be bright orange and neon yellow uniforms, similar to that of the Oregon Ducks.