CANADENSIS, Pa. (AP) — A northeastern Pennsylvania resident said he's been stopped and questioned more than 20 times by authorities who have mistaken him for a man sought in the killing of a state trooper, including one encounter at gunpoint that left him fearing for his life.
James Tully, 39, of Canadensis, said he wears his ID prominently around his neck as he walks to work each day through the wooded area where authorities are looking for Eric Frein. Nevertheless, he said he was once stopped about seven times in a single day.
"I'm worried about what is going to happen with the next one," Tully told the Pocono Record. "Is he going to shoot first and ask questions later?"
Trooper Tom Kelly, a state police spokesman, said Thursday the agency will investigate any formal complaint about alleged mistreatment. No such complaint has been filed, Kelly said.
Police have been searching for Frein in the woods around Canadensis since an ambush outside their barracks Sept. 12 left one state trooper dead and another seriously wounded. Authorities describe Frein, who grew up in the area, as a self-taught survivalist and expert marksman who hates law enforcement.
Not many people travel by foot in the rural region, which is filled with winding two-lane roads. Tully, a father of two, said he walks five miles each way to his job at a metal manufacturing company because he doesn't own a car. He carries a backpack, which police believe Frein has also done.
On Oct. 17, Tully said he was walking home when a driver in tactical gear pulled over, pointed a rifle at him and forced him down on the ground, putting a knee in his back. Tully said the man never identified himself, but let him go after another officer appeared and vouched for Tully.
"This guy apparently had delusions of grandeur that he would be the one to catch Frein," said Tully's father, Bob Tully. "We completely commiserate with the police, but this guy went full commando on my son."
James Tully said he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with bruised ribs. He now wears a reflective vest that he hopes will help identify him as someone not trying to hide from police.
"The one they're hunting for, he's not going to stand out. He's going to try and blend in," Tully told WNEP-TV. "I want to stand out so I can let them know ... I'm not the one they're looking for. Just let me go on my way."
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A remote Alaska Native village where only half the homes have indoor plumbing is among rural communities nationwide that will receive upgrades to water and wastewater systems with $352 million in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to announce the funding Thursday at a convention of Alaska Natives in Anchorage.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Vilsack told The Associated Press that ultimately, the future goal is to bring the entire nation into the modern world.
"It's really designed to make sure people live in communities and in areas that provide the basic protections and the guarantee of basic protections that we all, as Americans, ought to have," he said. "It's an adequate supply of quality water. It's the ability to treat sewage properly so that it doesn't to harm or damage to the environment."
Among other awards for water system improvements include a $6 million loan and $3.7 million grant to Clay County Water Authority in Alabama; a $900,000 loan and $3.5 grant for Truth or Consequences, New Mexico; an $11 million loan and a $3 million grant to Port Townsend, Washington; and a $1.2 million loan and $3.6 million grant to Hartland, Maine.
Another big recipient is Edgerton, Wisconsin, which is receiving a $2.5 million grant and a $7.8 million loan to upgrade its aging water treatment system.
In this round of funding, more than $12.1 million is targeted for infrastructure improvements in rural Alaska communities.
The western Alaska village of Akiachak is receiving a $5 million grant that will go toward construction of sewer mains and other parts of a core system that can be hooked up later to 100 houses in the community still without indoor plumbing. Another 100 homes in the Yup'ik Eskimo community of 675 received the plumbing in an earlier project.
Phillip Peter, chairman of the village tribal council, lives in one of the homes without plumbing. The 63-year-old has lived in the village most of his life and said everyday conditions will hugely improve after remaining homes have indoor plumbing. These days, he collects river or pond water. In the winter, that means chipping away at the ice and carrying it home to melt.
Like other residents without plumbing, his home relies on the honey bucket system — large buckets that serve as toilets. His grandchildren are called upon to haul away the human waste and dump it in village receptacles, which sometimes leak when overfull, Peter said Wednesday during an interview in Anchorage, where he and other Akiachak representatives traveled to attend the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention this week.
He looks forward to the day when his home will have what most Americans take for granted.
"It's going to be real different," Peter said. "The whole community will be really happy."
The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is working with the village on the project. Consortium project management director David Beveridge said the community is working on securing a required 25 percent matching grant from the state. The hope is to begin construction in 2016.
He said once the water and wastewater system is completed, homes without plumbing will get the hookups with future funding. Having the entire system in place will be huge for the community, Beveridge said. Studies have shown that lack of plumbing in homes poses a far greater risk for skin and respiratory infections than homes with plumbing, he said.
"Just the public health aspect of having running water dramatically improves the quality of life for people," Beveridge said.
CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — Investigators are using the cellphone records of an Indiana man already charged in the slayings of two women to pinpoint his movements after he told police he liked to check on the status of bodies he'd previously stashed after a fresh kill, authorities said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ebola is giving Americans a crash course in fear.
Yet, they're incredibly less likely to get the disease than to get sick worrying about it.
First, the reality check: More Americans have married Kim Kardashian — three — than contracted Ebola in the U.S. The two Dallas nurses who came down with Ebola were infected while treating a Liberian man, who became infected in West Africa.
Still, schools have been closed, people shunned and members of Congress have demanded travel bans and other dramatic action — even though health officials keep stressing that the disease is only spread through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person, and the risk to Americans is extremely low.
That's because Ebola pushes every fear button in our instincts, making us react more emotionally than rationally, experts say.
"The worry that people are being subjected to as a result of the hysteria around this is probably doing more damage than the actual disease," said E. Alison Holman, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who studied the health effects of populations worried after watching coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Boston Marathon bombing and Iraq war. "Frankly flu is more serious."
THE IMPACT OF FEAR
Holman found in studies published by the American Medical Association that the people who spent more time watching television coverage on the Sept. 11 attacks — and reported fear and anxiety — were three times as likely to report new heart problems. The more coverage they watched, the more physical ailments they reported, she said.
Similarly, after the Boston Marathon bombing, people who watched six hours or more of coverage reported far more stress than those who watched less, Holman said. That was true even for those at the bombing.
Bruce McEwen, a neuroscientist who studies stress at Rockefeller University in New York, said the fear can lead people to change their lifestyle, making them isolate themselves, lose sleep, stop exercising, change their diet for the worse and drink or smoke.
"It's likely to cause them problems down the road even if there is no direct infection," McEwen said.
GOOD FEAR VS. BAD FEAR
There are two types of fear that can almost come down to good fear and bad fear.
The good fear is the type we look for around Halloween in haunted houses or on roller coaster rides at amusement parks. It's short, intense, gets our juices going and removes boredom, said Vanderbilt University psychiatry professor David Zald.
"There's a benefit of being afraid. In controlled situations, many of us enjoy briefly being afraid," Zald said. "It can whip our attention to the here and now like nothing else."
There's a sense of mastery or bravery that comes out of walking out alive from a haunted house or giant roller coaster, Zald said.
That type of acute-but-short stress actually makes our immune system work better, McEwen said.
But long-term exposure to stress has the reverse effect on the immune system. That's when it elevates our blood pressure and contributes to heart disease.
UNDERSTANDING THE RISK OF FEAR
One of the major unknown problems with risk and fear is that the public doesn't understand how at risk they are from worry, not disease. "It'll do far more damage than the disease," said David Ropeik, who teaches risk perception and communication and has written two books on risk.
Doctors and government officials tell us not to worry and how hard it is to get Ebola, which is re-assuring, Ropeik said. But "all the alarms are filling up on our radar screens," and we give more weight to the alarms because of the fear of death, he said.
Ebola pushes "all those fear buttons" because it is new and foreign, said George Gray, director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at George Washington University.
Part of it is just the fear of the unknown, said Mark Schuster, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. "It's not a name that's familiar. It doesn't sound like an English word. It comes from another continent."
Americans who say they don't quite understand how Ebola is transmitted report being more worried than those who say they do, according to an Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted in the past week and released Wednesday. Overall, 58 percent of those who acknowledge they don't understand Ebola very well say they are concerned it will spread widely in the U.S., compared to 46 percent of those who say they understand Ebola transmission.
We fear what we can't control. People often fear the far less deadly plane travel than driving because they aren't in control. Seeing trained medical professionals catch the disease despite protective gear only adds to the fear, Zald said.
Instead of using dry statistics such as 1 in 150 million, comparing your chances of contracting Ebola in America to that of marrying Kim Kardashian helps people understand and visualize risk better, Zald and Schuster said.
Mistakes and wrong statements by public health officials and politicization of the issue only make fear and public trust worse, said Baruch Fischhoff, a professor of decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.
Add wall-to-wall coverage that makes Ebola easy to picture.
"You create this hysteria about Ebola and unfounded fear, and people get all worried," Holman said.
Ropeik said, thinking about how worrying can make us sick may put Ebola more in perspective: "We need to fear the danger of getting risk wrong ... Chronic worry is really bad for our health."
DENVER (AP) — The case of three teenage girls who possibly tried to join Islamic State militants poses vexing questions for U.S. officials about terror groups' use of social media to recruit people inside the United States.
A Colorado school official said the Denver-area girls — two sisters ages 17 and 15, and a 16-year-old friend — were victims of an online predator who encouraged them to travel overseas and eventually to Syria.
Mia Bloom, a professor of security studies at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, said the girls' story so far suggests how Islamic extremists have mastered social media to prey on younger and younger women with "Disney-like versions" of what it is like to live under Muslim leadership, complete with promises of husbands and homes.
At least one of the girls was communicating with someone online who encouraged the three to travel to Syria, said Tustin Amole, a spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District where the girls attend high school.
Fellow students told school officials that the girls had been discussing travel plans over Twitter, Amole said.
The girls were detained at an airport in Frankfurt, Germany, and sent home over the weekend. They were interviewed by the FBI and returned to their parents in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Those in the tight-knit east African community where they live said the sisters are of Somali descent and their friend is of Sudanese descent.
"There's no indication they had been radicalized in a way that they wanted to fight for ISIS," Amole said.
A U.S. official said evidence gathered so far made it clear that the girls were headed to Syria, though the official said investigators were still trying to determine what sort of contacts they had in that country. Another U.S. official said investigators were reviewing evidence, including the girls' computers. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name.
"Social media has played a very significant role in the recruitment of young people," said FBI spokesman Kyle Loven in Minneapolis, home to the largest Somali community in the U.S. Authorities there have been concerned about terror recruiting of the young for years.
"What we've experienced here in Minneapolis is that young, disaffected youth who exist primarily on the fringes of society — they seem to be more susceptible to this type of propaganda, unfortunately," Loven said.
Terror recruiting has been a problem for years in Minneapolis. Since 2007, roughly 22 young Somali-Americans have traveled to Somalia to take up arms with al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked group. Those were all men.
Within the last year, a handful of people from the community left Minnesota to join militant groups in Syria, and this time, there are fears that women might have been targeted. Loven said the FBI is working with the Somali community to establish trust and help identify young people at risk for radicalization.
In Colorado, Amole said the three teens had no prior problems at school, aside from unexcused absences on Friday.
What is still unknown is how they managed to get to Germany.
The U.S. government doesn't have restrictions on children flying alone, domestically or internationally. Airline policies vary. Most U.S. airlines allow children 12 and older to fly alone but often with restrictions on international flights, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.
The girls' parents reported them missing Friday after they skipped school. They had taken passports and $2,000 in cash from the home of the sisters' parents.
At some point, the U.S. informed German authorities at the airport about the girls arriving alone on their way to Turkey, German Interior Ministry spokeswoman Pamela Mueller-Niese told reporters Wednesday. She said the three were detained by German police, with approval from a judge, and returned voluntarily to the U.S. on Sunday.
Once home, the girls told a deputy they went to Germany for "family" but wouldn't elaborate.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Denver would not say whether prosecutors plan to charge the girls with a crime. State prosecutors said they have no imminent plans to charge the girls. Amole said they will not face school discipline.
"Our biggest concern is for the safety and well-being of these girls," Amole said.
Associated Press writers Amy Forliti in Minneapolis, David Rising and Geir Moulson in Berlin, Elliot Spagat in San Diego and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in search of clues to the 2016 presidential contest might find them in this year's governor races.
GOP candidates are defending seats in Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio and trying to defeat a Democratic incumbent in Colorado. Taken together, the five states account for 72 electoral votes, or more than a quarter of the total needed to win the White House.
The success or failure of Republicans in those races could hold big influence over the fortunes of the party and its prospective presidential candidates — none more than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a potential presidential candidate who leads the Republican Governors Association. Win in these states and Republicans could parlay their network of governors into a blueprint for winning. Losing any or all could raise obstacles in a potential campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leading Democrat considering a run for the White House.
No race figures more prominently in that calculation than Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist, a former GOP governor, are battling for control of the nation's top battleground state. With 29 electoral votes, Florida has been the biggest up-for-grabs prize in recent presidential elections.
"If we're able to win in Florida it would put the 2016 campaign in a more friendly environment," said Mitch Stewart, a former Obama campaign strategist, of the governor's election.
In 2012, President Barack Obama's campaign won in a series of hard-fought contests in many of the same states with competitive governors' races this year. Few expect Republicans to sweep the races — but any success could give them hope in 2016.
Ohio and Iowa offer upbeat scenarios for the GOP. In Ohio, Republican Gov. John Kasich is sailing to re-election against Democrat Ed FitzGerald, whose campaign imploded in a series of negative revelations. A Kasich victory could help his party's brand in Ohio while raising questions about the Democrats' capabilities in the state.
"Going into '16, the baggage of Obama is not going to go away, and the Democrats just don't have high-profile political leaders statewide," said Terry Casey, an Ohio-based GOP strategist who has advised Kasich.
Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad holds a steady lead in the polls and could become the longest-serving governor in U.S. history. Branstad seized control of the state party away from supporters of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, something that could be an asset to establishment Republicans competing in the first presidential caucus state.
Republicans hope to protect incumbent Govs. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Snyder in Michigan, which could give presidential candidates two examples of how to connect with blue-collar voters. Democrats have carried the two states in every presidential race since 1992.
Democrats hold an advantage in Pennsylvania, where businessman Tom Wolf maintains a wide lead against Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Despite a Democratic voter registration edge, Republicans have long coveted the state. Mitt Romney made a last-minute push there in 2012 while President George W. Bush made repeated visits in 2004. Both efforts failed.
Christie, in a speech Tuesday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said it was important to have a deep bench of Republican governors serving in 2016. "Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke?" Christie asked, referring to Walker's Democratic challenger.
History offers examples of why holding a governorship can matter in a presidential race.
Republicans like to compare their recent crop of governors to a group that oversaw statehouses during the 1990s and included the-Gov. George W. Bush, who sought the presidency in 2000 after decisively winning re-election in Texas two years earlier.
And few Democrats forget that Bush's brother, former Gov. Jeb Bush, provided a built-in advantage in Florida during the 2000 election and the 36-day recount that followed. Some Democratic-leaning law firms in Tallahassee and elsewhere were hesitant to assist Al Gore's legal challenge for fear of crossing the powerful governor.
Stewart, who oversaw Obama's battleground state operation in 2012, noted that with Kasich serving as Ohio governor, Democrats were forced to challenge a state law cutting three days from the early voting period for everyone, except members of the armed services and Ohioans living overseas. Democrats prevailed but Stewart said if Democrat Ted Strickland had still been in office, "you don't worry about that."
Elsewhere, Colorado and Georgia could offer opportunities for both parties.
Republicans are trying to seize on Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's stumbles over a controversial death penalty decision and gun-control legislation. Obama invested heavily in the state during his two presidential campaigns, and Republicans would like to put it back into their fold in 2016.
Georgia could offer a breakthrough for Democrats if the party can rally around Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, against Gov. Nathan Deal. The state's demographics have shifted to include more black and Hispanic voters. A win there would offer "a nice blueprint on how to win in 2016," said Penny Lee, a former executive director for the Democratic Governors Association.
Associated Press writer Jill S. Colvin contributed to this report.