SATURDAY, MAY 27, 2017

Coal Coming Back?
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump has vowed to revive the coal industry and regularly promises to "put our miners back to work." But one of his top White House advisers apparently does not share Trump's affinity for coal. Economic adviser Gary Cohn says, "Coal doesn't even really make that much sense anymore as a feedstock." Cohn made the remarks while briefing reporters Thursday night on Air Force One. He singled out natural gas as "such a cleaner fuel" and said the U.S. could become a "manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly" by exporting natural gas and investing in wind and solar energy. The comments are at odds with those by his boss, who has championed coal and unraveled a number of Obama-era energy policies.

DUI Checkpoint In Fayette County
Pennsylvania State Police conducted a DUI checkpoint in Fayette County Friday evening. Officers stopped a total of 117 vehicles along State Route 119 in Georges Township and found 5 drivers to be under the influence. In addition, 5 other drivers were found to be in possession of illegal drugs. Over a dozen other traffic violations were also handed out. The state police say the checkpoints are aimed at ensuring that the highways of the commonwealth are safe for its citizens.

Wolf Signs Real ID Law

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Wolf's office says Pennsylvania driver's licenses that are compliant with tougher federal anti-terrorism standards should be available in early 2019. Wolf signed legislation Friday designed to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the 2005 Real ID law enacted following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. That law requires state driver's licenses and ID cards to have security enhancements and to be issued to people who prove they are legally in the United States. Without one, Pennsylvanians would need another compliant ID to board commercial airliners or enter certain federal facilities. Those standards take effect before 2019, but Wolf's administration says it's hoping for a waiver until Pennsylvania's Real ID licenses are available. Pennsylvania's new law doesn't require residents to obtain a driver's license or ID that meets Real ID standards.

Possible Climate Deal Problems
WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists say Earth is likely to hit more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. pulls back from its pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution because America contributes so much to rising temperatures.
President Donald Trump will soon decide whether the United States stays in or leaves a 2015 Paris climate change accord in which nearly every nation agreed to curb its greenhouse gas emissions. Other leaders have been urging him to stay during high level meetings in Italy that begin Friday. To try to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists. They say it would make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

Terror Threat Level Lowered
MANCHESTER, England (AP) - British Prime Minister Theresa May says the country's threat level from terrorism had been reduced from its top level of "critical," which indicates an attack is imminent. May says it now stands at "severe," meaning an attack is highly likely. The level was raised to critical after Monday's bomb attack in Manchester, which killed 22 people. May says major progress has been made in the investigation but that people should remain vigilant.

Blankenship Asks For Verdict Reversal

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn his conviction for misdemeanor conspiracy to violate federal safety standards at a West Virginia mine where 29 miners died in 2010. Blankenship, who recently finished a one-year prison term, asked the top court Thursday review his conviction, which a federal appeals court upheld in January. The 67-year-old told The Associated Press last week he would appeal, saying he's "more than 100 percent innocent" and the case was colored by emotion and publicity. He says natural gas caused the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, and the trial judge erred in instructing the jury and limiting cross-examination. Four investigations found worn and broken cutting equipment created a spark that ignited accumulations of coal dust and methane gas.

US Safety Board To Probe Plant Explosion In W.Va.
PHILIPPI, W.Va. (AP) - An independent national agency is joining investigations into this week's explosion at a West Virginia industrial plant that left the owner and an employee dead. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board examines the root causes of chemical incidents. Board spokeswoman Hillary Cohen said Friday that a team is heading to the Midland Resource Recovery facility outside Philippi. According to information from the federal Office of Safety and Health Administration, the plant cleans and decommissions old odorant tanks from gas companies. OSHA said owner Jan Strmen and employee Justin Marsh were decommissioning a tank when it exploded. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says they were using bleach while preparing a tank for cleaning. Another employee was hospitalized with serious injuries. The company has declined to comment.


Four Arrested After Washington Drug Raid
Officials have arrested four people and seized drugs and a stolen firearm after a drug bust in three Washington homes. The Washington County District Attorney's Office issued a statement Friday outlining a several-months-long investigation into cocaine and heroin being trafficked to Washington County from Illinois. On Friday, search warrants were served by Washington County SWAT and several other agencies at 595 Maple Avenue, 595 1/2 Maple Avenue, and 103 Maple Terrace in the City of Washington. Police arrested 30-year-old Tedd Mitchell, of Normal, Illinois; 25-year-old Allysha Ford, of Chicago; and 27-year-old Jarrod Plummer, who is homeless but believed to be from the Chicago area. The three face several charges of possession with intent to deliver after police reportedly found crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, a stolen handgun, packaging paraphernalia, and cash in the homes. Each is lodged in the Washington County Jail on $500,000 bond set by District Judge Robert Redlinger. A fourth person, 45-year-old Adam Snatchko of Washington, was arrested on an unrelated State Parole Detainer.

Brzezinski Dies
WASHINGTON (AP) - Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, has died. He was 89. His death was announced on social media Friday night by his daughter, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. She called him "the most inspiring, loving and devoted father any girl could ever have." Brzezinski helped topple economic barriers between the Soviet Union, China and the West. And he helped Carter bridge wide gaps between the rigid Egyptian and Israeli leaders, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, leading to the Camp David accords. But the Carter years were also defined by the Iranian hostage crisis, which came to symbolize the administration's failures and frustrations. In recent years, Brzezinski took part in proceedings designed to bring the former Soviet republics into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. (photo: The New York Times)

Mixed Verdict For Pittsburgh Police Officer

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A jury has issued a mixed verdict in the federal trial of a fired Pittsburgh police sergeant charged with wrongly beating a drunken man and then lying about it in a police report. The jury convicted former Sgt. Stephen Matakovich of depriving then-19-year-old Gabriel Despres of his civil rights by twice pushing and then punching him. Matakovich was acquitted of filing a false report that portrayed Depres as the aggressor.

Predators Block Pa. Fans From Ticket Sales
Penguins fans planning road trips to Tennessee to support their team in the Stanley Cup Final might hit a speed bump. Sales of tickets to Games 3, 4 and - if necessary, 6 - on Ticketmaster's website are restricted to residents of the Predators' viewing area: Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. According to a warning on the website, "Orders by residents outside the viewing area will be canceled without notice and refunds given." Residency will be established by the address associated with the purchasing credit card. This isn't the first time Nashville has restricted ticket sales to give their fans a better chance at acquiring seats at Bridgestone Arena. Anaheim Ducks fans had problems landing tickets during the Western Conference Final, and Chicago Blackhawks fans have criticized the Predators for years for shunning them even during the regular season. The Tampa Bay Lightning also caught criticism during the Stanley Cup Final two years ago for a similar ticketing policy, and they even went so far as to limit what color clothing spectators could wear in certain sections of their arena.

New Economic Snapshot
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. economy started 2017 out with a whimper, but it wasn't quite as weak as first thought. The government revised up its January-March growth reading to a rate of 1.2 percent - better than an earlier estimate of 0.7 percent but well below President Donald Trump's ambitious growth targets. The Commerce Department says the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, is down from 2.1 percent growth in the fourth quarter and marks the weakest result in a year. The upgrade to an annual rate of 1.2 percent reflected new-found strength in consumer spending, business investment and state and local government spending.

Man Goes Wild Setting Plinko Record On 'Price Is Right'
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Pennsylvania man is in the money after setting a record on "The Price is Right." Ryan Belz, of Millerton, was wildly enthusiastic just to get called on stage in the episode that aired Thursday. His unbridled excitement only grew from there. In the end, the Penn State graduate set a record by winning $31,500 in one of the TV show's most popular games, Plinko. Contestants have to guess correct digits in the prices of prizes to earn Plinko chips. They take the chips to the top of a game board and drop them into a slot, where they travel down to reveal winning amounts. Belz told TMZ in an interview after the big win that he figured his job at Target would help him estimate the prices. (Photo: The Price is Right on YouTube)

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