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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Power Outage Hits Washington Area
Power was restored to around seventeen-hundred customers Thursday morning around two-thirty, after a power outage in and around the city of Washington. West Penn Power spokesman Todd Meyers told WJPA News that essentially, a domino effect caused the outage. Meyers says a large pine tree branch fell across a couple of the utility’s power lines on Beau Street and that damaged a transformer in the 400 block of Wheeling Street, which triggered an opening in the circuit at a nearby substation, which caused the power outage. He says the outage occurred around one a.m. and most of the power was back on in a couple of hours.

Former Student Charged With Threats
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - (WPXI) - A former student threatened to kill current students at Keystone Oaks and even blow up the school. Just this week, Keystone Oaks was closed because of a separate threat. According to court documents, a month ago there was another violent threat was made from the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill. Matthew Dobos, 20, is accused of making threats toward the school district and specific students. Our news partners at Channel 11 say at one point in January, police said Dobos sent Facebook messages saying: “I will blow up ko. You and many more will die.” “I will blow it up.” He also allegedly threatened students by name. A district spokesperson told Channel 11 the district didn't close because students were already on campus, which is when the district learned about the threat. WPXI contacted the Keystone Oaks School District, which said in part: "We had a threat situation on January 16, involving a former student making a threat towards two current students. We notified families and all District employees via e-mail, as we routinely do in these situations." Days before the threat, police said Dobos called in a threat on himself, saying there was: “...a man wearing a red hoodie at the Squirrel Hill News Stand with a gun in his waistband.” Dobos is already in the Allegheny County Jail for charges related to the threats.

New Look For Pittsburgh International
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Officials say air travelers in Pittsburgh can look forward to faster departures and lots of space to greet loved ones when they return home thanks to a planned $1.1 billion renovation. The Pittsburgh International Airport revamp design was unveiled Wednesday by the Allegheny County Airport Authority. The new two-level facility scheduled to open in 2023 will be financed with revenue bonds from airlines, concessions and parking as well as natural gas drilling. The design featuring a rolling roof to resemble the city's rolling hills was primarily created by award-winning architect Luis Vidal, who designed Heathrow Airport T2 in London. Other features are aimed at improving flow through security and shortening travel times to departure gates. Airport officials say the changes are needed to reflect the growth of Pittsburgh's economy.
(Photo: WPXI)

State Officials Say Replacing Voting Machines A Must
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's top elections official is warning that failing to replace voting machines by 2020 could make the state the only one without a voter-verifiable paper trail. Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania's acting state secretary, also told state senators Wednesday during an Appropriations Committee hearing that election-security experts agree that moving to voting machines that allow voters to double check how their vote was recorded needs to happen by next year. Boockvar was responding to questions from state Sen. Bob Mensch over why Pennsylvania is rushing to buy machines at considerable taxpayer expense when there's no legitimate example of a voter irregularity in Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Wolf's push for new machines comes after federal authorities say Russian hackers targeted at least 21 states during the 2016 presidential election.

Wheeling Building Park To Celebrate Bridge History

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia city is planning to build a $1.9 million park intended to celebrate the history of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. The Intelligencer reports Wheeling announced Wednesday that the Fitzsimmons Family Foundation donated $150,000 to help pay for two phases out of a six-phase construction project for the Wheeling Island Gateway Park. The park will be built south of the suspension bridge on an acre of city-owned land. A master plan shows that the park will include trails, green space and a plaza near the bridge. Wheeling's Parks and Recreation Director Jesse Mestrovic says the city intends to pay for the rest of the construction through donations from other foundations along with federal and state grants. He estimated that construction could begin in the fall of 2020.

Woman Convicted Of Coercing Church Members
CHICAGO (AP) - An alleged self-appointed bishop of a Pennsylvania-based ministry has been found guilty by a federal jury in Chicago of collecting church members' wages and bogus travel-agent fees. The U.S. Attorney's Office announced Tracie Dickey, also known as Tracie Williams, of Pittsburgh was found guilty Friday of one count of wire fraud and one count of labor trafficking. According to prosecutors, Dickey recruited young women to become members of Deliverance Tabernacle Ministries International. She directed them to work multiple jobs, including as desk clerks at hotels. Prosecutors say Dickey instructed members on how to have the hotels pay reservation-commission fees to Dickey's travel agency, which never actually booked hotel reservations on behalf of guests. From 2005 to 2013, the hotels paid approximately $86,000 in commissions to Dickey, who also collected $333,000 in wages earned by the members. U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis set Dickey's sentencing for Aug. 7.

'Empire' Actor In Custody
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago police say "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has turned himself in to face a charge of making a false police report when he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tells The Associated Press that Smollett turned himself in early Thursday at central booking. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson plans to hold a morning news conference and Smollett is expected to appear in court later in the day. The 36-year-old actor was charged Wednesday. The charge could bring up to three years in prison. It could also force the actor, who's black and gay, to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.

Democrats Prepare Resolution Against Declaration
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Democrats are preparing to take a defiant stance against President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration seeking to fund his Southwest border wall without congressional approval. A resolution to block Trump's emergency declaration is expected to be filed on Friday, and the measure will put some House Republicans from swing districts and states on the spot.
A vote isn't likely until mid-March because of a timeline set by law. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues in a letter Wednesday that the House will "move swiftly" to pass the resolution and that it will be referred to the Senate and then sent to Trump. Passage in the GOP-controlled Senate is not certain, but a veto by Trump is - one unlikely to be overridden by Congress.

Pompeo Says Alabama Woman Can't Come Home
WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says an Alabama woman who left home to join the Islamic State group in Syria is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return to the United States. Pompeo says Hoda Muthana does not have a U.S. passport or any legal basis to enter the country. He said on Wednesday in a statement that she "will not be admitted to the United States." The 24-year old who joined the Islamic State after becoming radicalized says she regrets aligning herself with the terrorist organization and wants to return to the United States with her 18-month-old son.

Pope Opens Sex Abuse Summit
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis has opened a high-level summit of church leaders on preventing clergy sex abuse, hoping to impress on bishops from around the world that the problem is global and requires a global response. The four-day meeting at the Vatican began early Thursday with prayers and was to feature speeches, tutorials and workshops on protecting children, preventing abuse and stopping cover-ups. More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and other Catholic superiors in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia either deny that clergy sex abuse exists or downplay the problem. Francis has made the same mistakes. He finally did an about-face after botching a well-known sex abuse cover-up case in Chile last year.

Samsung Introduces New "Foldable" Phone
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Samsung is expected to show off its latest smartphones Wednesday, the latest effort by a phone maker to come up with new features compelling enough to end a sales slump. The new models expected in San Francisco will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Samsung's first smartphone. Samsung is also expected to provide a glimpse at a highly anticipated smartphone with a foldable screen. Apple touted the iPhone's 10th-anniversary edition as a breakthrough when it was released in late 2017. But the iPhone X didn't sell as well as analysts hoped, partly because it carried a $1,000 price tag. Smartphones made in recent years also haven't made dramatic improvements from earlier models. The lull in innovation has given consumers little incentive to dump their current devices and buy something new.

SW Airlines Says Union Purposely Grounding Planes
DALLAS (AP) - Southwest Airlines is lashing out at the union representing its mechanics, suggesting that they are purposely grounding planes in order to gain leverage in new contract negotiations. Separately, Southwest said today that the partial shutdown of the federal government will cost it $60 million in lost revenue during the first quarter - far more than the airline's previous estimate of a $10 million to $15 million.

Fire In Bangladesh Capital Kills At Least 81
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - A devastating fire raced through densely packed buildings in a centuries-old district in Bangladesh's capital, killing at least 81 people, officials and witnesses said Thursday. The fire in Dhaka's Chawkbazar area was mostly under control after more than 10 hours of frantic firefighting efforts. About 50 people were injured, some critically burned. The district dating to the Mughal era 400 years ago is crammed with buildings separated by narrow alleys, with residences commonly above shops, restaurants or warehouses on the ground floors. Denizens of the Muslim-majority nation throng to Chawkbazar each year for traditional goods to celebrate iftar, when the daily fast is broken during Ramadan.

Peter Tork Of The Monkees Dead At 77
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Peter Tork, who rose to teen-idol fame in 1966 playing the lovably clueless bass guitarist in the made-for-television rock band The Monkees, has died. He was 77. Jane Blumkell of fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz's production company tells The Associated Press Tork died Thursday morning. The accomplished multi-instrumentalist was performing in Los Angeles clubs when he learned of a casting call for "four insane boys," who would star in a TV show about a struggling rock band. He, Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith became overnight sensations when the show took off in 1966. He left the group in 1968 amid creative differences but reunited for tours with the others every few years. His last was in 2016. Tork also recorded blues and folk music and made several TV appearances.

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