FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2015

Latest Jobs Report Is Good And Bad
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. employers extended a healthy streak of hiring in February by adding 295,000 jobs, the 12th straight monthly gain above 200,000. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent. But the decline in the rate occurred largely because some people out of work stopped looking for jobs and were no longer counted as unemployed. The strong job gains weren't enough to boost wages by much. The average hourly wage rose just 3 cents to $24.78 an hour in February. Over the past year, 3.3 million more Americans have gotten jobs. More jobs and lower gas prices have led many consumers to step up spending. That's boosting the economy, offsetting sluggish economies overseas and giving employers the confidence to hire.

PA Jobless Rate Creeps Up
MILLVALE, Pa. HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rose to 5.1 percent in January as payrolls crept lower. The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that the seasonally adjusted rate in January was 5.1 percent. The department had initially put December's rate at 4.8 percent, a post-recession low, but it has since revised it higher to 5 percent. The U.S. rate was 5.5 percent in February. In a survey of households, the department estimates that the labor force, or the number of people working or looking for work, grew by 13,000. That's below its 2012 peak. Employment rose by 10,000, climbing toward 6.1 million, while unemployment grew by 3,000 to 322,000. A separate survey of employers found non-farm payrolls fell by about 3,500. At just above 5.8 million, payrolls remain below pre-recession levels.

Mother Overdoses; Baby Starves To Death
MILLVALE, Pa. (AP) - Police believe a 22-year-old woman died of an overdose a week or two ago, before her 10-month-old boy starved when no one was left to care for him in the western Pennsylvania apartment they shared. Assistant Allegheny County police Superintendent James Morton says the woman was found dead shortly after 9 a.m. Friday in her Millvale apartment. The woman's brother found the bodies after he went to check on her after not hearing from her for several days. Morton says there were no signs of foul play. Though the woman's cause of death won't be known until an autopsy, police suspect she overdosed on drugs. Her son apparently died some time later because he was unable to feed or care for himself. Police were withholding names while they tried to contact the baby's father.

Grandmother Charged After Baby Found Outside
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh woman has been charged with endangering the welfare of her 2-year-old granddaughter after the girl was found outside in the cold, wearing only a pair of boots. Forty-five-year-old Erika Rutherford faces a preliminary hearing March 13 following her arrest Thursday evening. That's when police say a neighbor called 911 after finding the girl outside about 6:40 p.m. The temperature was well below freezing at the time. Police say Rutherford was supposed to be watching the girl while the girl's mother - Rutherford's daughter - was at work. Online court records don't list an attorney for Rutherford.

Jury Sides With Greene County Property Owners
The "Tribune-Review" reports that a federal jury has determined that nine property owners in Greene County were underpaid for their gas royalities. The newspaper says that the property owners claimed that Energy Corportion of America improperly charged them for transmission and marketing costs while it was taking gas from their properities. The jury agreed with a damage amount close to $1 million.

Police Officer Killed In Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police say the officer killed in a shootout with two would-be robbers at a video game store engaged in a "fierce" gun battle. Police on Friday identified the two gunmen arrested in the fatal shooting as brothers, 30-year-old Carlton Hipps and 26-year-old Ramone Williams. They are charged with murder and attempted murder. Police say the two did not know Officer Robert Wilson was in the GameStop store. They say Wilson was at the counter when they entered late Thursday afternoon. He was shot in the body and head during the ensuing exchange of gunfire. As Hipps left the store, police say he was shot in the leg by Wilson's partner. Police Capt. James Clark says Wilson engaged in a "fierce" gun battle and was "a hero and an absolute warrior" trying to protect patrons and employees in the store.

Big Banks Pass Stress Test
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve says all of the nation's 31 largest banks are adequately fortified to withstand a severe U.S. and global recession and keep lending. Results of the Fed's annual "stress tests" show that as a group, the 31 banks are stronger than they have been at any time since the 2008 financial crisis struck. The banks tested included JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo - the four biggest U.S. banks by assets.

Construction Increasing On I-70
Construction along Interstate 70 at Murtland Avenue will be increasing starting next week. On Monday night, there will be a single-lane closure eastbound. That will be in place for two weeks from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Project Manager for Golden Triangle Construction, Eric Klimas, says eventually all traffic will be moved to the westbound lanes while the eastbound lanes undergo repairs. It's all part of the ongoing $53-million project that will take three years to complete with construction of a "diverging dimaond" interchange--the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.

Overturned Rig Causing Major Traffic Delays
An overturned tractor-trailer between the Claysville and Taylorstown exits on Westbound Interstate 70 is causing major traffic delays. State Police say the rig overturned in the left lane and traffic is restricted to just one lane while crews work to remove the wreckage. No word yet, on injuries or what may have caused the accident.

Harrison Ford Injured In Plane Crash
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actor Harrison Ford has sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries after crash-landing his World War II-era plane on a golf course next to Santa Monica Municipal Airport in California. His plane lost engine power about 20 minutes after taking off Thursday afternoon and tried heading back to the airport. The 72-year-old star of "Indiana Jones" and "Star Wars" was pulled from the plane and given initial help by doctors who happened to be playing golf. (Photo: CNN)

City Of Ferguson Fires Employee Over Racist Emails
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The city of Ferguson has identified an employee fired for sending racist emails to co-workers as its former municipal court clerk. City spokesman Jeff Small on Friday identified the fired worker as court clerk Mary Ann Twitty. She did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on her home telephone. A Justice Department report released Wednesday cited a series of inappropriate messages sent by an unspecified number of city employees, including one message that depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee and another that compared black welfare recipients to mixed-breed dogs. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said Friday that two other police department employees placed on administrative leave are no longer working for Ferguson. He declined to specify whether they were fired or resigned.

Oil Train Derails In Illinois
GALENA, Ill. (AP) - BNSF Railway now says a total of 21 cars derailed in an accident involving an oil train in western Illinois, and that a resulting fire continues to burn. No injuries have been reported from the Thursday derailment, which occurred in a rural area south of the city of Galena. In an update Friday morning, the company said a total of 21 cars left the tracks. A company spokesman initially said six cars had derailed. The company also says a resulting fire is believed to have spread to five rail cars and continues to burn. The company says emergency personnel are trying to contain the fire, and that BNSF is taking steps to protect nearby waterways. The accident occurred in a wooded area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi.

Dog Sled Race Needs Snow
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Maybe the Iditarod could use some of the snow that's been pounding the northeastern part of the United States this season. The start of the world's most famous sled dog race is being moved farther north in Alaska because there's not enough snow. The same weather pattern that's buried the eastern U.S. in snow has left Alaska fairly warm and relatively snow-free this winter. Race director Mark Nordman says, "If I have one more person say to me to move the Iditarod to Boston, I'm going to shake my head."

Nasa Spacecraft Lands On Dwarf Planet
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A NASA spacecraft for the first time has arrived at a dwarf planet to begin a 16-month exploration. The space agency today confirmed that the Dawn craft entered orbit around Ceres in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt, is the second and final stop for Dawn, which previously visited the asteroid Vesta. This summer, another NASA spacecraft will make a stop at another dwarf planet, Pluto, which was once considered the ninth planet.

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