Saturday, January 19, 2019

Winter Storm Harper Arrives In PA
A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for all of Western Pennsylvania. The alert from the National Weather Service covers all counties in our area. The warning begins Saturday morning and runs through Sunday morning. Snow should gradually begin to mix with freezing rain or rain at times from near Pittsburgh and points south as temperatures hover right near the freezing mark during the night hours. Expect any untreated roads to get slick as snow and mixed precipitation occurs. Pittsburgh looks to see either rain or snow initially. Areas north of Pittsburgh look to be mostly snow. A changeover to all snow is forecast late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning as arctic air builds in. Areas north of Pittsburgh will have a better chance of high snow totals.

Governor Declares State Of Emergency

Harrisburg, PA – With an intense winter storm expected to bring heavy snow, high winds, sleet and freezing rain across the state through this weekend, Governor Tom Wolf today signed a state of emergency declaration to allow for increased assistance with storm-related needs. The commonwealth also will impose speed restrictions and a ban on all commercial traffic, including buses on most interstates and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. State officials urge motorists to use caution during the storm, postpone travel if possible, reduce speeds and be aware of the potential for rapidly changing weather and roadway conditions. The commercial vehicle ban will be in place between noon Saturday and noon Sunday on all interstates and the Turnpike, except for Interstate 95 in southeastern Pennsylvania. The declaration of an emergency allows for additional help from neighboring states and standing up the Pennsylvania National Guard to ensure a swift response to possible changing priorities, and the vehicle bans will allow our snow plow crews to have a clearer route to keeping these interstates open despite the expected severe weather. The governor’s emergency declaration authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel, as necessary, to cope with the magnitude and severity of the storm’s impacts. The time-consuming bid and contract procedures, as well as other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived for the duration of the proclamation. It is important to note that the declaration does not restrict citizens from travel on commonwealth roadways, but motorists should be aware of any restrictions that are in place and heed the guidance of local authorities. Speed limits will be restricted to 45 mph on the interstates and expressways as the storm progresses.

More Threats Made At Canon-Mac
CANONSBURG, Pa. (WPXI) - A Washington County school district is dealing with multiple threats found on social media over the past week. Authorities say two written threats of violence were found online intended for the Canon-McMillan School District. One threat read: "I want to kill someone, Canon Mac see you Tuesday." The other threat read: “Don’t come to school tomorrow..ima shoot it up." Police say that the people behind the threats have been investigated and disciplined accordingly. This is another set of threats in a long string of threats from this past school year at canon mac. The nearby Bethel Park School District is dealing with similar issues, including one from this past week.

Pet Oxygen Masks Added To Area Fire Departments
WASHINGTON, Pa.-Steps are being taken to help protect and save animals caught in house fires or other tragedies in Washington County. Thanks to The Washington County Animal Response Team, pet oxygen kits are being distributed at no cost to county fire departments. County Public Safety Emergency Planner Ryan Frazee says this initiative will greatly benefit pets in the area. Each kit comes with different sizes of masks, tubing, a kennel and other material to help a pet in an emergency situation. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets guinea pigs and birds can use the kit. All participating responders will be trained for proper technique and usage of the equipment. The Canon Hill Veterinary Clinic is sponsoring three more training sessions through the end of the month.

Constable Arrested On Extortion Charges
LATROBE, Pa. (AP) - Officials say a Pennsylvania constable used the threat of non-existent arrest warrants and other court matters to scam money from people, telling them he could take care of their issues for a fee. The Tribune Review reports 35-year-old Brian McDowell, of Derry Township, was arrested Friday on extortion, theft and official oppression charges. Westmoreland County detectives and Latrobe police say in court documents McDowell would contact people through Facebook and text messages saying he could help them pay fines, warrants or other matters, many of which were fictitious. Police he pocketed nearly $4,000 in the scam from August to December. Some victims say McDowell threatened to arrest them if they didn't pay. Several told police they later checked with court offices and were told that payments weren't made or the warrants or fines didn't exist at all. His lawyer Michael DeMatt says the charges are overblown.

Mueller Disputes Accuracy Of Report
WASHINGTON (AP) - Special counsel Robert Mueller's office has issued a rare public statement disputing the accuracy of BuzzFeed News' report that said President Donald Trump's former attorney told Mueller that the president directed him to lie to Congress. BuzzFeed, citing two unidentified law enforcement officials, reported that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate project and that Cohen told Mueller the president personally instructed him to lie about the timing of the deal. The statement by Mueller's office on Friday night doesn't cite any specific errors. In it, the special counsel's spokesman, Peter Carr, said, "BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the special counsel's office, and characterization of documents and testimony" is not accurate." BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said the publication stands by its reporting.

Trump To Make Major Announcement Saturday
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he'll be making a "major announcement" on the government shutdown and the southern border on Saturday afternoon as the standstill over his border wall continues into its fifth week. Democrats are now proposing hundreds of millions of dollars for new immigration judges and improvements to ports of entry from Mexico but nothing for the wall, a House aide said, as the party begins fleshing out its vision of improving border security. After days of bitter clashes between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it was unclear if the twin developments represented serious steps toward resolving the fight. But they were the first tangible signs of movement in a dispute that has caused a partial government shutdown, which Saturday was entering its record 29th day.

Second U.S. -N. Korea Summit On Horizon
WASHINGTON (AP) - South Korea says it expects the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be "a turning point in firmly establishing a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula." Yonhap News Agency quoted a spokesman for the South Korean president, Kim Eui-kyeom, as saying his government will spare no effort for a successful outcome of the summit by closely cooperating with the U.S. and holding more talks with North Korea. The White House announced that Trump and Kim will meet at the end of February to try to broker a deal to coax the North to give up its nuclear weapons. News of a second summit came after Trump's 90-minute meeting with North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol at the Oval Office.

3rd Women's March Set To Take Place
WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite government shutdowns, inclement weather and ideological schisms, the third annual Women's March is returning to Washington. Organizers had originally planned to gather Saturday on the National Mall, but with a weekend snowfall expected and the National Park Service no longer plowing the snow, the march's location and route was altered on Thursday. The march has also been roiled by an intense ideological debate. In November, Teresa Shook, one of the movement's founders, publicly accused the four main leaders of the national march organization of anti-Semitism based on their criticism of Israeli policy and ongoing association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The march organizers have denied the charge, but an alternate women's organization has sprung up in protest and will be holding a parallel rally in New York.

Family Laments Sentence For Police Officer
CHICAGO (AP) - The family of Laquan McDonald is lamenting the sentence given to the Chicago police officer who killed the teenager. Jason Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder in October. On Friday, he got less than seven years in prison. If he behaves, he could serve as little as half of that. McDonald's great uncle says the sentence reduced McDonald's life to that of "a second-class citizen" and it suggests that black and white people are subject to different laws.
Van Dyke briefly acknowledged the teen's death, telling the judge that he will have to live with it for the rest of his life. The sentence was much less than what prosecutors sought. It also went far beyond the request of defense attorneys, who asked for probation.

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