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Wednesday November 21 20121

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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2012

FATHER CALLS ARSONIST AN ANIMAL

THE FATHER OF 3 YEAR OLD DARREL ETCHISON JUNIOR TELLS WTAJ 62 YEAR OLD AARON DISHONG IS AN ANIMAL AND HE HOPES HE GETS THE DEATH PENALTY FOR SETTING THE FIRE THAT KILLED ETCHISON’S SON LAST THURSDAY AT 113 SOUTH SECOND STREET IN ALTOONA. THE BOY’S MOTHER, BRANDY, IS STILL IN A PITTSBURGH HOSPITAL. POLICE THINK DISHONG WANTED TO KILL HIS 39 YEAR OLD EX-GIRLFRIEND AND BELIEVED SHE WAS STAYING IN THE HOUSE. SHE HAD A TEMPORARY PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ORDER AGAINST DISHONG AND SHE TOLD THE JUDGE HE HAD A PLAN TO KILL HER. A MEMORIAL FUND IS BEING SET UP TO HELP THE ETCHISON FAMILY.

HIGHER BAIL FOR ACCUSED KILLER?

50 YEAR OLD GREGORY CONZO OF SUMMERHILL TOWNSHIP IS ACCUSED IN THE BEATING DEATH OF MICHAEL PCOLA…AND NOW CAMBRIA COUNTY PROSECUTORS ARE EXPECTING TO FILE CRIMINAL HOMICIDE CHARGES SO THEY ARE ASKING A JUDGE TO INCREASE HIS BAIL TO 100-THOUSAND DOLLARS. CONZO IS CURRENTLY CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE, BUT PCOLA DIED 2 DAYS AFTER HE WAS BEATEN WITH AN ALUMINUM BASEBALL BAT ON NOVEMBER 5TH.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY KELLY CALLIHAN IS WAITING FOR FINAL AUTOPSY RESULTS. THE JUDGE WILL CONSIDER THE MOTION NEXT THURSDAY.

DRUG ARRESTS

FOLLOWING AN 8 MONTH LONG INVESTIGATION, AGENTS FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE AND THE BLAIR COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE BEGAN ROUNDING UP 37 DRUG SUSPECTS YESTERDAY MORNING. AT LEAST 30 ARE NOW IN CUSTODY. THEY ALLEGEDLY SOLD PAINKILLERS, HEROIN, MARIJUANA, COCAINE, AND ECSTACY TO UNDERCOVER AGENTS. AUTHORITIES SAY THEY RECEIVED NUMEROUS TIPS FROM THE “PUSH OUT THE PUSHER” HOTLINE…AS WELL AS ASSISTANCE FROM “OPERATION OUR TOWN.”

A CAMBRIA COUNTY COUPLE WILL NOT BE NOMINATED FOR MOTHER AND FATHER OF THE YEAR.
AUTHORITIES SAY 46 YEAR OLD LAWRENCE WHOLAVER AND 30 YEAR OLD STACEY WHOLAVER OF NORTHERN CAMBRIA USED STACEY’S 3 CHILDREN…AGES 5, 6, AND 12…TO DELIVER PRESCIPRTION DRUGS FOR THEM. CHARGES INCLUDE: ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF CHILDREN AND MULTIPLE DRUG-RELATED OFFENSES. THE CHILDREN ARE NOW BEING CARED FOR BY OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS. THE WHOLAVERS ARE IN JAIL ON 50-THOUSAND DOLLARS BOND EACH.

AUTHORITIES IN BEDFORD COUNTY HAVE ARRESTED 48 YEAR OLD EDWARD MECK OF CRYSTAL SPRING AND 29 YEAR OLD CRYSTAL BURKET OF IMLER FOR OPERATING A PORTABLE METH LAB OUTSIDE THE IMLER FIRE HALL FRIDAY NIGHT. 3 OTHER METH LABS WERE ALSO DISMANTLED RECENTLY. ONE ALONG MOWRYS MILLS ROAD, ONE AT THE BREEZEWOOD MOTEL, AND ONE AT AN APARTMENT BUILDING IN BEDFORD BORO.

REWARD OFFERED

CAMBRIA COUNTY CRIME STOPPERS IS NOW OFFERING A CASH REWARD OF UP TO 2-THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE ARREST OF A BANK ROBBER. LAST SATURDAY, A MASKED WHITE MAN WITH A HANDGUN HELD UP S & T BANK ON SCALP AVENUE IN RICHLAND TOWNSHIP. POLICE SAY THE SUSPECT MAY HAVE CHEMICAL BURNS ON HIM BECAUSE A DYE PACK WAS PLACED INSIDE THE MONEY BAG. YOU CAN CALL CRIMESTOPPERS AT 1-800-281-16-80.

ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM HAS BIG PLANS

PUBLISHED REPORTS SAY ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM IS WORKING ON A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH MEDICAL CENTER. NURSES, TECHNICIANS, AND OTHER HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES HAVE LAUNCHED AN ON-LINE PETITION URGING THAT THE DISCUSSIONS BE AN OPEN PROCESS. EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN TOLD THE TALKS COULD TAKE 6 MONTHS TO A YEAR. UPMC IS A 20-BILLION DOLLAR ORGANIZATION WITH 55-THOUSAND EMPLOYEES. ALTOONA REGIONAL SPOKESMAN DAVE CUZZOLINA SAYS THE LOCAL FACILITY WANTS TO BE A REGIONAL HUB FOR MEDICAL SERVICES AND TO EXPAND AND ENHANCE ITS SERVICES.

ALTOONA’S FINANCIAL RECOVERY PLAN

ALTOONA CITY COUNCIL LAST NIGHT TALKED ABOUT THE ACT 47 FINANCIAL RECOVERY PLAN AND THE PROPOSED 2013 BUDGET, WHICH INCLUDES SOME TAX INCREASES.CITY MANAGER JOE WEAKLAND SAYS HE HAS A LIST OF ITEMS HE’S HOPING THE COORDINATOR WILL RECONSIDER…INCLUDING THE RECOMMENDATION TO MAKE AMED PART OF THE CITY’S FIRE DEPARTMENT. COUNCIL MEETS AGAIN MONDAY.

RAISES FOR STATE LEADERS?

PENNSYLVANIA’S STATE LAWMAKERS, JUDGES, AND TOP EXECUTIVE-BRANCH OFFICIALS ARE IN LINE TO RECEIVE AUTOMATIC PAY RAISES OF 2-POINT-2 PERCENT, THANKS TO A 1995 STATE LAW THAT REFLECTS CHANGES IN THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX. GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT PLANS TO REFUSE THE RAISE AND CONTINUE TO ACCEPT A SALARY OF 174-THOUSAND-914 DOLLARS. LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JIM CAWLEY WILL ALSO KEEP HIS CURRENT SALARY. SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE RONALD CASTILLE WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A SALARY OF 205-THOUSAND-415 DOLLARS…AND HOUSE SPEAKER SAM SMITH AND SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE JOE SCARNATI EACH WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR 130-THOUSAND-820 DOLLARS.

HOLIDAY TRAVEL

PENNDOT AND POLICE STATEWIDE ARE JOINING FORCES FOR “OPERATION SAFE HOLIDAY,” AN INITIATIVE INCLUDING SEAT-BELT, AGGRESSIVE-DRIVING AND IMPAIRED-DRIVING ENFORCEMENT AIMED AT KEEPING ROADWAYS SAFE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. THE STATEWIDE CLICK IT OR TICKET SEAT-BELT ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM IS ALREADY UNDERWAY AND, THROUGH THE NEW YEAR, POLICE WILL ALSO USE SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS, ROVING PATROLS AND REGULAR TRAFFIC SAFETY PATROLS TO CRACK DOWN ON MOTORISTS WHO ARE SPEEDING, DRIVING AGGRESSIVELY OR DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY DRUGS OR ALCOHOL.

THE PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE COMMISSION SAYS MORE THAN 2-POINT-6 MILLION PEOPLE WILL BE TRAVELING ON THE HIGHWAY OVER THANKSGIVING. THE 5-DAY HOLIDAY DRIVING PERIOD RUNS THROUGH SUNDAY AND IS TRADITIONALLY THE BUSIEST TRAVEL HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR ON THE TURNPIKE. TRIPLE-A ESTIMATES THAT 43-POINT-6 MILLION AMERICANS WILL TRAVEL MORE THAN 50 MILES FROM HOME AND ABOUT 90 PERCENT OF THEM WILL BE GOING BY CAR.

AS THE HOLIDAY DRIVING PERIOD BEGINS, THE CURRENT AVERAGE FOR A GALLON OF REGULAR, UNLEADED IN WESTERN PA IS $3.62, DOWN 1 CENT FROM A WEEK AGO. ALTOONA-AREA DRIVERS ARE STILL PAYING $3.69. TODAY’S NATIONAL AVERAGE IS DOWN TO $3.41.