SUNDAY, MAY 24, 2015

Bar Shooting In Uniontown
Uniontown City Police report a shooting took place early Saturday morning inside Esther’s Tavern on Austin Street. WJPA NEWS spoke to Detective Donald Gmitter, who says they are currently investigating the shooting that injured two people who were flown to Pittsburgh-area hospitals for treatment. He says they have one suspect in mind - a black male - but no further details. Esther’s Tavern was recently mentioned as a reference point for a shooting that happened in broad daylight about two weeks ago.

Senate Blocks Surveillance
WASHINGTON (AP) - Critical government surveillance programs remain in jeopardy after the Senate blocked a House-passed bill and several short-term extensions of the USA Patriot Act. The main stumbling block is a House-passed provision to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of domestic phone records. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky favors retaining the program, but fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul, a Republican presidential contender, blocked any extension. The Senate is now off until May 31. The vote was 57-42, short of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead. It leaves the fate of key provisions of the Patriot Act in doubt with a June 1 deadline less than two weeks away. The House had overwhelmingly passed the USA Freedom Act last week. The measure would authorize case-by-case searches of records held by phone companies instead of the government. It also would extend two other expiring surveillance provisions used frequently by the FBI.

Ex-Counselor Faces Sex Charges

Authorities say a former guidance counselor at Ringgold High School has been charged after having sex with a football player who came to her for help. Police said Thursday that 33-year-old Lianne Danko, of Rostraver, was charged with three counts of institutional sex assault. Her lawyer, David Shrager, says the Ringgold High School counselor is well-liked and respected in the community and will fight the charges. Police say she engaged in an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old student who was seeing Danko to discuss relationship problems. They say they began exchanging intimate text messages and later met in a parking lot to have sex.
Police say another school counselor reported the relationship after a student showed her screenshots of a text message conversation between Danko and the student.
WJPA NEWS spoke with Ringgold Superintendent, Dr. Karen Polkabla, and she says Danko has resigned and she does not believe any of the sexual acts occurred on school property. Th Superintendent has posted a letter to parents regarding the allegations on the school's website. (photo: WPXI-TV)

Trinity Student Honored
The Washington County Commissioners have honored an eighth-grader at Trinity Middle School. Ricky Howard, Lance Corporal with the Young Marines of Washington County, has been saluted for coming to the rescue of a young girl in his neighborhood when she was being attacked by a rabid fox. Commissisoner Larry Maggi said Howard chased the fox and then "secured apprpriate quipment and neutralized it." Both Ricky, who is 13, and the girl have undergone a series of rabies shots. Unit Commander with the Young Marines, Keith Hagan, said Ricky responded the way he was trained to do. (photo: Ricky Howard in his brown Young Marine uniform, at Thursday's meeting of the Washington County Commissioners)

Oil Spill Cleanup Continues
GOLETA, Calif. (AP) - The operator of a broken oil pipeline that leaked crude into waters off the coast of California says it'll take a while to determine the cause of the spill. Officials at Plains All American Pipeline say crews need to excavate the pipeline, and then it can take weeks or months to determine what went wrong. Tuesday's spill involved an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude. About 21,000 gallons are believed to have made it to the sea. Officials say as of Thursday, more than 9,000 gallons were cleaned up.

Imperial Man Dies In Crash
A man from Imperial has died following a crash early Saturday morning in McDonald. Coroner Tim Warco identifies the man as 30-year-old William Robert Fazzolare. Warco says around 4:30 Saturday morning Fazzolare crossed the center line of state route 980 near McDonald, and struck a vehicle head on. Initial autopsy by Warco points to a medical emergency as causing the accident - but a final autopsy is scheduled for later Saturday.

Men Rob Canton Home For Drug Money

Two men are lodged in the County Jail after allegedly burglarizing a home in Canton Township. State Police say 27-year-old Andrew Crowley, of Hickory, and 25-year-old Eric Pollock, of Burgettstown - broke into the home along Belmont Avenue Thursday afternoon because they needed drug money. The men were discovered by the homeowner but it was too late - the men got away with jewelry, a camera, iPads, and some cash. The men also stole a purse belonging to 31-year-old Aubrey Eakin - and when police searched her purse - they found a small amount of marijuana inside. Eakin will be charged by State Police - even though she was a victim of the crime. Police also found heroin on the burglary suspects. They are charged with burglary, theft, and criminal mischief. They were arraigned by District Judge James Ellis and reside in jail on $50,000 bonds.

State Troopers Graduate
HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania has 122 new state troopers. The latest class of cadets at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey graduated Friday and are being deployed to troops across the state. Men and women attending the academy must successfully complete its rigorous physical and mental training before they can take on the responsibilities of troopers. This was the 141st class to graduate from the academy since it opened in 1960.

Toyota Investigates Air Bag Recalls
TOKYO (AP) - Toyota's president is promising to help get to the bottom of the problems with faulty Takata air bags. Recalls have ballooned to nearly 34 million vehicles and nearly a dozen car companies. Doubts are growing about whether Japanese air bag supplier Takata has the financial muscle to deal with all the defects, a job that could take years. Toyota's Akio Toyoda says, "We must aggressively pursue recalls. Otherwise, we can't go forward."

Changes Announced By Boy Scouts
NEW YORK (AP) - The national president of the Boy Scouts, Robert Gates, says the organization's longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer sustainable and is urging change in order to avert potentially destructive legal battles. In a speech Thursday in Atlanta to the Scouts' national annual meeting, Gates referred to recent moves by Scout councils in New York City and elsewhere to defy the ban."The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained," said Gates, a former U.S. secretary of defense. Gates said no change in the policy would be made at the national meeting. But he raised the possibility of revising the policy at some point soon so that local Scout organizations could decide on their own whether to allow gays as leaders.

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