SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2017

3 Charged After Body Found In Apartment
MCKEES ROCKS, Pa. (AP) - Two people have been charged with homicide and a third with abuse of a corpse following the discovery of a decomposing body in a western Pennsylvania apartment. Police in Allegheny County said the body of 51-year-old Ronald Peless was found Thursday in McKees Rocks "in an advanced stage of decomposition" wrapped in what appeared to be a blanket tied with electrical cord. The medical examiner's office said he died of stab wounds to the head, neck, body and extremities. Authorities charged 60-year-old Robert Davies and 45-year-old Shelia Wagner with homicide, conspiracy and evidence-tampering and 50-year-old Jeffrey Tyniec with abuse of a corpse. WPXI-TV reports that Wagner and Davies both denied involvement. Court documents don't list an attorney for Tyniec and a number listed in his name wasn't in service.

Uber Passenger Ordered To Trial In Pedestrian's Death
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A ride-share van passenger accused of killing a man outside a Pittsburgh club and then urging the driver to flee has been ordered to stand trial on a homicide charge. Thirty-seven-year-old Derek Vasos is charged in Allegheny County in the Feb. 5 death of 28-year-old Donald Ketter Jr. He's also charged with witness intimidation, but a judge Friday dismissed a charge of making terroristic threats. The Uber driver testified that he picked Vasos up outside a Carrick club, but then heard a gunshot. He said Vasos urged him to flee and later said "You didn't see nothing, right?" and made a gesture he considered threatening. Defense attorney Phil DiLucente called the case self-defense, saying the victim was approaching with a belt in his hand. A prosecutor called that argument "ridiculous."

Casino Supports Domestic Violence Help
The Meadows Casino has presented a check to Domestic Violence Services of Southwest Pennsylvania. The $5,287 donation came from the casino's Charity Box program, where patrons are invited to donate cash and casino winnings at any of the casino's entrances. The more than 30-year-old DVSSP provides shelter and other domestic violence related services, and received the donation as part of nearly $25,000 raised by casino patrons in the fourth quarter of 2016. Other recipients included the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, Habitat for Humanity, and Peters Township Meals On Wheels.

Revived By Rally, Trump Turns Back To Governing
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A day after enjoying a massive campaign-style rally, President Donald Trump is turning back to the business of governing. Trump, who is spending the weekend at his private club in Florida, plans to spend Sunday interviewing at least four candidates to be his new national security adviser. The meetings come as he seeks to refocus his struggling administration after several tumultuous weeks. Scheduled to discuss the job with the president at Mar-a-Lago were his acting adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg; John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster; and the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen.

AP: National Guard Considered For Immigration Work
UNDATED (AP) - The Department of Homeland Security says it was an idea that was never seriously considered. Still, staff members say that as recently as last Friday, there was discussion of a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants. The idea is outlined in an 11-page draft memo obtained by The Associated Press. White House spokesman Sean Spicer says it's "not a White House document," and that there was "no effort at all" to use the National Guard in that way. And a Homeland Security official says the document was a very early draft that was never brought to the department's secretary for approval. The plan outlined in the document called for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans. According to the memo, governors in the 11 states would have had a choice whether to have their guard troops participate. Spokespeople for the governors of nine of the states either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate.

Area Projects To Cause Road Closures, Delays
PennDOT has announced several upcoming road closures and restrictions. Traffic patterns will change next week on Interstate 70 near Bentleyville as beams are delivered to replace a bridge that carries the interstate over Route 2040. Motorists traveling along highways in Allegheny County, including Interstates 79 and 376, will experience lane and shoulder restrictions Sunday through next Friday nights between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Crews will be replacing burned out highway lights. Road work is expected to begin in Carroll Township on February 27, with crews improving the intersection of Route 88 and Route 837. Crews will be installing left turn lanes and a new traffic signal among other work. Motorists can expect delays and narrowed or changing lanes through early November. Crews will also be replacing an existing bridge on Robinson Church Road with a box culvert, causing Route 4001 to close between Steubenville Pike and King Road in Robinson Township. That closure starts March 6 with an anticipated completion date of May 12.

Jeffrey Sandusky Waives Preliminary Hearing
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - Jerry Sandusky's adult son won't be in court next week for a hearing on accusations he pressured a teen girl for naked photos and asked her teen sister to perform a sex act. Jeffrey Sandusky on Friday waived a preliminary hearing on charges that include solicitation of statutory sexual assault and solicitation of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. His father, Jerry, a former Penn State assistant football coach, is serving a prison sentence for child molestation convictions.

 

Colbert To Go Live After Trump Addresses Congress
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Stephen Colbert is going to have his say after President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress. CBS said that "The Late Show" will air live at 11:35 p.m. EST Tuesday, the night of Trump's scheduled speech. Josh Earnest, former press secretary for the Obama White House, and actress Lisa Kudrow will be Colbert's guests on his 15th live show, CBS said Friday. "Late Show" has been scoring ratings victories. It ranked as the most-watched late-night show in the past two weeks and is closing in on a third week at the top, CBS noted in its announcement. Colbert, who honed his political comedy chops as a Comedy Central host, began edging up on leader Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" after the election.

East Bethlehem Woman Dies In Fire
Washington County Coroner Tim Warco says an East Bethlehem / Clarksville woman is dead after an early morning structure fire. Washington County 911 dispatchers confirmed a fire was reported on Step Street just before 1:00 Saturday morning. Warco says 40-year-old Chanel Bikowicz was pronounced dead at 3:46 a.m. The cause and manner of death are pending. Local news media report one other person was able to jump to safety from a second story window and was taken to a hospital. Warco says responding volunteer fire departments included East Bethlehem Township, Richeyville, Denbo, and Bentleyville. Pennsylvania State Police are investigating. (Photo: Alma Cumberledge, Facebook)

DEP Links Fracking & Earthquakes
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania environmental regulators say there's a likely correlation between a natural gas company's fracking operation and a series of minor earthquakes in Lawrence County last year. They revealed their findings Friday. The quakes were recorded in April, about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh and within a mile of a natural gas well owned by Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. They were too weak to be felt by humans and no damage was reported. The company stopped fracking at the well pad after the quakes. A Hilcorp spokesman said Friday it has no plans to resume activities there and continues to work with the state and monitor for any related concerns. Fracking has been tied to earthquakes in Ohio and elsewhere, but never in Pennsylvania, the nation's No. 2 natural gas-producing state.

Revis Turns Self In Following Fight Claims
PITTSBURGH (AP) - New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has a court date in Pittsburgh next week on criminal charges after he turned himself in to police and was later released on a non-monetary bond. Revis faces aggravated assault and other charges alleging he was in a fight with two men last weekend. He answered no media questions as he turned himself in Friday. He made an initial court appearance. His next court date is Thursday. Revis' attorney says Revis was physically assaulted by a group of at least five people. He says Revis "feared for his safety." Police say the fight started when a man began recording a video of Revis and Revis grabbed his phone and tried to delete it. Two men say they were punched and knocked out.

Officials Close Penn State Frat After Fatal Fall
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Authorities are shutting down a Penn State fraternity where a pledge was fatally injured in a fall down the stairs. The university said Friday it'll be at least five years before the Beta Theta Pi chapter might be allowed to regain status as a recognized fraternity. The fraternity's national office says it's closing the chapter. The school is also maintaining an alcohol ban at social events at the main campus in State College for the rest of the spring semester and stopping fraternity recruiting until it can ensure effective anti-hazing measures are in place. Police say 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, was one of 14 pledges present Feb. 2 for a pledge acceptance ceremony. Help wasn't called until the next day. Piazza died at a hospital Feb. 4.

PennDOT, State Police Remind Drivers Of Safety Laws
Officials in Pennsylvania are reminding motorists to familiarize themselves with safety laws that have recently been passed or amended. Pennsylvania's Highway Safety Law Awareness Week begins Sunday, and PennDOT Safety Press Officer Jay Ofsanik says three of the four laws to be highlighted are recently changed. In August 2016, the Child Passenger Safety law mandated that all children must travel in rear-facing car seats until they reach age two or meet the maximum height or weight requirements for the seat. Daniel's Law increases fines for texting while driving, especially when it results in serious injury or death. The Ignition Interlock Law will also be updated in August 2017, when DUI first offenders will be required to install the $1,000 interlock device in each car they operate. Officials are also reminding motorists to yield to pedestrians entering the roadway at an unsignalized intersection, even if a crosswalk is not marked or signaled.

Virginia Islamic State Helper Gets 8 Years
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man caught trying to help the Islamic State group during an FBI sting last year has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison. The sentence imposed Friday at federal court on 26-year-old Haris Qamar is more than the five- to six-year term requested by his lawyer but less than the 20-year maximum recommended under sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors urged a long sentence of unspecified length. Qamar used variations of the handle "New Era Jihadi" on social media to promote Islamic State propaganda. He met with an FBI informant who convinced Qamar to buy gift cards that were purportedly to be used to help the Islamic State. Qamar also took photographs of D.C.-area landmarks for what he thought would be an Islamic State video.

Former Wrestler George 'The Animal' Steele, 79, Dies
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - WWE Hall of Fame member George "The Animal" Steele, whose given name was Jim Myers, has died at age 79. WWE announced Friday the death of Steele, who was living in Florida. The Detroit native had tweeted and blogged in recent months about his declining health. He dealt with the digestive disorder Crohn's disease for several years. Sporting a bald head, hairy back and green tongue, Steele was famous for his signature move of sinking his teeth into the turnbuckle pads around the ring. At a Boston Red Sox game in 2012, he pretended to take a bite from the baseball before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. Steele was once a Detroit-area high school teacher and coach who received a master's degree from Central Michigan. (Photo: Wikipedia)

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