THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2014

New Highway Design On I-70
An Open House will be held next week to display plans for a new highway project in South Strabane Township. PennDOT plans to widen the highway and install what's known as a "diverging diamond" interchange in the area of Route 19. The overall project will add three lanes on I-70 between the North and South junctions. The area of Route 19 between Oak Spring Road and Trinityi Point will be upgraded with the diverging diamond interchange at Murtland Avenue--the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.Plans will be on display at the township's fire hall on Oak Spring Road May 8th between 5-7 p.m.

Theft Scheme Costs Millions
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania says a massive ID theft and fake tax return scheme cost the U.S. Treasury an estimated $10 million. U.S. Attorney David Hickton announced the indictments of five men on Wednesday. Hickton says the men sought $21 million in fraudulent tax refunds, and the IRS paid out about half of that. Three of the people charged Wednesday are from New York, one is from Rhode Island, and one is from Tennessee. The defendants are also accused of obtaining false driver's licenses and Social Security cards, which were then used to open bank accounts, including at Widget Financial in Erie and PNC Bank in Pittsburgh. The defendants allegedly spent some of the illegally obtained funds and sent some to Nigeria.

Two Students Released From Hospital
MURRYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Two students injured in a stabbing and slashing rampage at a western Pennsylvania high school have been released from the hospital. Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville said a 16-year-old student was discharged Wednesday evening. The hospital has two students remaining, one in fair condition and one in critical condition. Seventeen-year-old Jared Boger was released Wednesday afternoon from UPMC Presbyterian hospital, according to family members. Doctors had said Boger was one of the most seriously injured in the April 9 attacks at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, which is outside of Pittsburgh. A fellow student, 16-year-old Alex Hribal, is charged as an adult with multiple counts of attempted homicide and aggravated assault and a school weapons violation. He faces a preliminary hearing April 30.

New Concerns Over e-Cigarettes
WASHINGTON (AP) - The federal government wants to crack down on the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry. The Food and Drug Administration plans to propose today to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels.

Obama Urges Russia To Ease Tensions
TOKYO (AP) - President Barack Obama is warning that if Russia doesn't abide by an agreement to ease tensions in eastern Ukraine, "there will be further consequences and we will ramp up further sanctions." Obama, who's in Tokyo, says militias and armed men continue to take over government buildings in Ukraine in defiance of Ukrainian authorities and he says Russia have been making aggressive moves on Ukraine's eastern border.

American Doctors Killed In Kabul
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan says three doctors killed by an Afghan security guard at a Kabul hospital are American citizens. Today's shooting at Cure International Hospital in western Kabul was the latest attack on foreign civilians in the Afghan capital this year. The embassy says on Twitter: "With great sadness we confirm that three Americans were killed in the attack on Cure hospital." The motive for the attack was unclear.

New Support For Keystone XL Pipeline
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is calling on President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, joining 11 incumbent Democrats as the party tries to keep control of the Senate this November. Grimes' statement Wednesday came on the same day a group committed to blocking the pipeline's construction announced plans to spend $500,000 setting up field offices in Kentucky to defeat U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. And it comes after McConnell and Republican party officials have repeatedly criticized Grimes for delaying her opinion on the project, which has become a key issue in Senate races across the country. The Keystone pipeline would transport crude oil from Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska before linking up with existing pipelines. It would not cross through Kentucky.

Most Planning Vacations This Year
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The frugality of the Great Recession may be history. Orbitz senior editor Jeanenne Tornatore says the travel website's survey finds 88 percent of Americans plan real vacations this year. She says "people don't talk staycation anymore," as was popular a few years ago. This year's survey finds "people really getting back out, taking these longer vacations and kind of trading up for some bigger destinations." Tornatore says Orbitz bookings show the Mexican resort of Cancun as the top destination, but most of the other hot spots for fun-seekers are in the U.S. -- with Las Vegas, Orlando, Seattle and Los Angeles rounding out the top five, and Honolulu ranks tenth. Average airfares are up about six percent from a year ago, according to Tornatore. She urges vacation travelers to shop around for deals, and use rewards points -- they can save big time. Tornatore says mid-June through late July is the peak summer vacation period, and you should get airline tickets about 60 days in advance. She says if you're planning your vacation during that busy period, "you really want to book now."







 

No Dangerous Pollutants In Gas Well Fire
The Department of Environmental Protection reports there were no pollutants released from the Chevron gas well fire of a threatening level. Spokesman John Positer says research finds higher--but not dangerous--levels of a few gases such as propane. Poister says the DEP can't confirm whether the high pollutant levels are definitley from the well fire and leak. Air monitoring was conducted from the day after the fire to when the well was capped.

City Fire
A vacant house in the 500 block of Jefferson Avenue caught fire around 9 last night. Firefighters remained at the scene until shortly before one this morning. No injuries, no word on damage. The state police fire marshall is investigating.

Feds Cut Coal Dust Levels Allowed In Mines
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease. Top Labor Department officials are unveiling the long-awaited rule Wednesday at an event in Morgantown, W.Va. Black lung is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by exposure to coal dust. The government estimates that the disease has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968. The rule lowers the maximum levels of coal dust in mines. It also increases dust sampling in the mines, and requires coal operators to take immediate action when dust levels are high. The requirements will be phased in over two years. The administration first proposed the rule back in 2010.

Drilling Permits Approved
IMPERIAL, Pa. (AP) - Supervisors in Findley Township have approved permits for a company to drill for natural gas at Pittsburgh International Airport with almost two dozen conditions. The supervisors voted 2-1 to approve the conditional use permits but included noise and light disturbance limits, requirements for flaggers and safety vehicles at entrances to the site, a ban on injection wells and other caveats. A proposal to require one well pad moved further away from a residential development was rejected. Consol Energy Inc. hopes to start drilling this year. Allegheny county officials say the deal could generate more than $500 million in royalties over the next few decades. After the vote, company president Nick DeIuliis vowed that the project would be a model of safe and responsible natural gas development.

Less Gun Restrictions In Georgia
ELLIJAY, Ga. (AP) - It's being criticized by one group as the "guns everywhere" bill. Georgia has taken a big step toward expanding where licensed carriers can take their weapons. The governor Wednesday signed a law that allows them in bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings. The law's sponsor says it's all about safety and responsibility.

Fans To Erect New Paterno Statue
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - With one Joe Paterno statue in storage, fans of the late Penn State football coach are commissioning a new one to be placed across from the university. A State College restaurant owner says he's interested in having the new statue put in front of his establishment. Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the school isn't involved in the plan. In 2012, the school removed a Paterno statue outside its football stadium. That happened after a university-commissioned report accused the late coach and three administrators of concealing sex abuse claims against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Organizers say the new statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading. It's expected to cost about $300,000. They hope it will be done in 2015 by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis.

Many Still Missing In Ferry Sinking
ANSAN, South Korea (AP) - South Korean students are returning to classes toay at the school where so many of the victims of a ferry sinking attended. At Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, there are yellow ribbons, chrysanthemums and photos of the classmates and teachers who lost their lives. A nearby museum serves as a temporary memorial to the approximately 250 students dead or missing. So far, 159 bodies have been pulled from the water, and 143 people are still missing.

Knowing What You Eat Legislation
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The battle lines appear to have been drawn for a major conflict between the massive U.S. food industry and American citizens who overwhelmingly say they approve of proper labelling of genetically modified foods. Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling. Supporters say people have a right to know what's in their food.

 


 

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