SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2017

DWI Suspected In Louisiana Parade Crash
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Police say a man who allegedly plowed into a crowd enjoying the Krewe of Endymion parade in the Mid-City section of New Orleans is being investigated for driving while intoxicated. Police Chief Michael Harrison said on Saturday evening, "We suspect that that subject was highly intoxicated." Harrison was asked by the media if terrorism was suspected. While he didn't say "No," he did say it looks like a case of DWI. City Emergency Services Director, Dr. Jeff Elder said 21 people were hospitalized after the crash with five in guarded condition. Seven others declined hospitalization. The accident came during one of the busiest nights of Mardi Gras when thousands of people throng the streets of Mid-City to watch elaborate floats and clamor to catch beads and trinkets tossed from riders.

CNN And Others Barred From Briefing
WASHINGTON (AP) - News organizations including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were blocked from joining an informal, on the record White House press briefing on Friday. Several news organizations were allowed in, including the conservative website Breitbart News. The site's former executive chairman, Steve Bannon, is chief strategist to President Donald Trump. The Associated Press chose not to participate in the gaggle following the move by White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Lauren Easton, the AP's director of media relations, said in a statement, "The AP believes the public should have as much access to the president as possible." The White House defended the decision not to include some news organizations. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: "We invited the pool so everyone was represented. We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that." Barred media outlets protested the action.

Muhammed Ali's Son Detained At Airport
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A lawyer says the son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport.
Chris Mancini tells the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky that 44-year-old Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from Jamaica. Mancini says officials questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?" Mancini says officials continued questioning Ali Jr. after acknowledging that he was Muslim. Ali Jr. was born in Philadelphia and holds a U.S. passport. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they "cannot discuss individual travelers; however, all international travelers arriving in the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection."

Trump Faults FBI Over Leaks
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is blaming the FBI for failing to stop leaks to the media, saying the information being reported is classified and could have a "devastating effect" on the country. Trump made the remarks in a tweet early today. His tweet follows reports that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus had asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that Trump's campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election.
Trump writes, "The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security 'leakers' that have permeated our government for a long time. They can't even find the leakers within the FBI itself." He adds, "classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW."

Attorney Charged
The Allegheny District Attorney has announced charges against a Washington County attorney. 57-year-old Michael Alberty is charged with misappropriating $180,000 belonging to an elderly client. Alberty has been arraigned on two counts of theft and one count of misapplication of entrusted property. He faces a March 8 hearing.

Judge Limits Number Of Cosby Accusers
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A judge will let only one other accuser testify at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial to support charges the comedian drugged and molested a woman at his estate near Philadelphia. The judge's ruling today means that prosecutors cannot call 12 other women as "prior bad act" witnesses. The 79-year-old comedian is set to go on trial in June over the 2005 complaint by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Prosecutors reopened the case in 2015 after newly released court documents showed Cosby admitting he gave drugs and alcohol to young women before sex over a 50-year period. Prosecutors had asked the judge to allow 13 other accusers to testify. The defense objected, saying the string of old "casting couch" claims aren't part of "signature" behavior. The one witness who can testify says she was assaulted by him in 1996.

Missing Six-Year-Old Connecticut Girl Found Safe
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Pennsylvania State Police say a missing 6-year-old Connecticut girl and her father - a suspect in a homicide - have been found. The agency said on its official Twitter account on Friday that "The suspect is in custody and the child has been recovered." No other details were immediately provided. A multistate Amber Alert was issued for 6-year-old Aylin Sofia Hernandez at about 2:45 a.m. Friday after police responded to her Bridgeport home to find her mother had been fatally stabbed. Another person in the home was also stabbed but is expected to survive. The girl's father, 39-year-old Oscar Hernandez, was named a suspect.

Daycare Owner In Hot Vehicle Death Sentenced
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A former Louisiana day care owner will serve three years in prison after pleading guilty to a negligent homicide charge arising from the death of a toddler left in a hot van. State District Judge Lou Daniel on Friday sentenced 49-year-old Shelia Newman of Baton Rouge to five years in prison - with two of those years suspended - for the death of 22-month-old Angel Green in June 2015. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore says Daniel also ordered Newman to pay more than $6,000 in restitution, perform 300 hours of community service and pay for grief counseling for the victim's mother. Police say Newman, who was the owner of an unlicensed daycare, left Green in a hot van after returning with a group of children from lunch.

Bill Paxton Dead At 61
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Bill Paxton, the prolific and charismatic actor whose many memorable roles included an astronaut in "Apollo 13" and a treasure hunter in "Titanic," has died from complications due to surgery. He was 61. A family representative issued a statement Sunday on the death but provided no further details. Paxton, a Fort Worth, Texas, native, appeared in dozens of movies and television shows and seemed to be around when history was made both on and off screen. As a boy, he was in the crowd that welcomed President John F. Kennedy in Texas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, hours before Kennedy was killed in Dallas. As a young man, he worked in the art department for "B" movie king Roger Corman, who helped launch the careers of numerous actors and filmmakers. Paxton's movie credits included some of the signature works of the past 40 years, from "Titanic" and "Apollo 13" to "The Terminator and "Aliens." "Bill's passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him," the family statement reads, "and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable." (Photo: Wikipedia)

Homeland Security Disputes Threat
WASHINGTON (AP) - Analysts at the Homeland Security Department's intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump's travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States. A draft document obtained by The Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an "unlikely indicator" of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria's civil war started in 2011. Trump used terrorism a primary justification when he announced the now court-blocked travel ban in late January. Homeland Security spokeswoman Gillian Christensen does not dispute the report's authenticity, but says it was not a final comprehensive review of the government's intelligence.

Draft GOP Health Care Bill
WASHINGTON (AP) - A draft Republican bill overhauling the nation's health care law would provide tax credits that grow to $4,000 for people age 60 and up, and let insurers boost rates for older people. The 105-page document largely follows outlines that Republican leaders have advanced previously of how they'd annul President Barack Obama's health care law and replace it with their own programs. It has been circulating among lobbyists and congressional staff. The draft bill shows that Republicans, even in a preliminary way, have begun translating their ideas into legislative language. Meanwhile, Republican governors are sending a clear message to Congress: Don't scrap the health care law without a viable alternative. Eight Republican governors from all regions of the country are presenting a proposal to the Republican Governors Association meeting in Washington on Saturday. And it would call for major changes to Medicaid, the joint federal and state health care program that covers more than 70 million poor and low-income Americans. According to a draft of the proposal obtained by The Associated Press, the governors are urging Congress to adopt an alternative that would essentially end Medicaid as a federal entitlement.

J.C. Penny Closing More Stores
NEW YORK (AP) - J.C. Penney says it will be closing anywhere from 130 to 140 stores as well as two distribution centers over the next several months as it aims to improve profitability in the era of online shopping. The closures, announced Friday, represent about 13 percent to 14 percent of the company's current store count, and less than 5 percent of total annual sales. The news came as Penney posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared to a loss a year ago. The company posted quarterly sales of $3.96 billion, down 0.9 percent from $3.99 billion a year ago. Revenue at stores opened at least a year was down 0.7 percent. J.C. Penney is joining other department stores like Macy's who are shrinking its footprint amid challenges in the industry.

Bridge Replacement On Zediker Station Road
A portion of Zediker Station Road in South Strabane Township will close for at least a month starting April 14. The bridge, over Little Chartiers Creek, is being demolished and replaced as part of an $899 million Public Private Partnership project to replace more than 500 bridges statewide. Officials at a public meeting Thursday afternoon said that a posted detour will span just over 12 miles along Route 40, East Beau Street, and Route 519. Crews are hoping to have work completed within 35 days--but said it could take as long as 75 days.

New Charge Added In Penn State Case
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A judge's ruling is increasing the possible penalty that three former Penn State administrators could face if convicted of crimes for how they responded to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. Judge John Boccabella on Thursday granted a request by the attorney general's office to add a related conspiracy count to the charges of endangering the welfare of children.
Prosecutors say each felony count carries up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Jury selection is scheduled for March 20 in the case of former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley. They've recently sought permission from the judge for an appeal. If the judge agrees, that could delay the trial.

Logan Resigns From Turnpike Commission
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is leaving to join the state's casino regulatory agency. Sean Logan issued a news release Thursday saying he's departing the $28,500-a-year position "to pursue other public-service opportunities." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Democratic state Sen. Jay Costa appointed Logan to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board at a salary of $145,000. Logan replaces Greg Fajt, who served the maximum number of terms. Logan was named to the five-member turnpike commission in 2013. He became chairman of the 552-mile toll road system in early 2015. He also served three terms as a Democratic state senator and is a former mayor of Monroeville.
A replacement must be nominated by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the Republican-controlled Senate.

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