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Wednesday December 18 2013

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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2013

WOMAN KILLED ON SNOWY DAY

A DEADLY WRECK YESTERDAY AFTERNOON IN PORTAGE TOWNSHIP, CAMBRIA COUNTY. POLICE SAY 21 YEAR OLD ASHLEY MYERS OF LILLY WAS KILLED WHEN SHE LOST CONTROL OF HER S-U-V ON A SLUSHY ROUTE 53 AND WAS STRUCK BY ANOTHER CAR. MYERS’ VEHICLE FLIPPED AND SHE WAS EJECTED. THE OTHER DRIVER, 29 YEAR OLD BRANDON SHOFF OF PORTAGE, WAS TAKEN TO JOHNSTOWN’S MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER WITH SEVERE INJURIES.

STATISTICS FOR LOCAL HOSPITALS

THE PENNSYLVANIA HEALTH CARE COST CONTAINMENT COUNCIL IS OUT WITH ITS ANNUAL HOSPITAL PERFORMANCE REPORT…AND THE ALTOONA MIRROR SAYS IT SHOWS THAT ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM, NOW UPMC ALTOONA, HAD HIGH DEATH RATES FOR KIDNEY AND URINARY TRACT INFECTION, PNEUMONIA WITH ASPIRATION, AND SEPTICEMIA. NASON HOSPITAL IN ROARING SPRING HAS A HIGHER DEATH RATE THAN EXPECTED FOR CHEST PAIN. TYRONE HOSPITAL FOR HYPOTENSION AND FAINTING. CONEMAUGH MINERS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN HASTINGS FOR INFECTIOUS PNEUMONIA, AND MOUNT NITTANY MEDICAL CENTER IN STATE COLLEGE FOR CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE AND PNEUMONIA WITH ASPIRATION. MANY HOSPITAL OFFICIALS SAY THE PATIENTS INVOLVED WERE OFTEN ALREADY DEATHLY ILL.

BOY ESCAPES WOULD-BE KIDNAPPER

AN ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION IN NORTHERN CAMBRIA. POLICE SAY A 10 YEAR OLD BOY WAS WALKING DOWN BIGLER AVENUE MONDAY ABOUT 5:30PM WHEN A MAN DRIVING A DARK-COLORED CAR PULLED BESIDE HIM AND ASKED FOR DIRECTIONS TO A STORE. THE BOY SAYS THE MAN ASKED HIM TO GET INTO HIS VEHICLE AND OFFERED HIM CANDY. WHEN THE BOY REFUSED, THE SUSPECT STARTED TO CHASE HIM DOWN THE STREET. THE BOY RAN SCREAMING UNTIL THE MAN GOT BACK INTO HIS CAR AND DROVE AWAY.

NO JAIL TIME FOR BROTHERS

WILLIAM AND RONALD KUCHERA OF WINDBER…THE FORMER OWNERS OF KUCHERA DEFENSE SYSTEMS…AVOIDED JAIL TIME WHEN THEY WERE SENTENCED YESTERDAY IN JOHNSTOWN’S FEDERAL COURT. THEY PLEADED GUILTY TO GOVERNMENT FRAUD AND CONSPIRACY AND RECEIVED 5 YEARS PROBATION, INCLUDING 18 MONTHS OF HOME DETENTION WITH ELECTRONIC MONITORING. THE BROTHERS MUST PAY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN RESTITUTION AND FINES…AND PERFORM 1-THOUSAND HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE.

PENN STATE HEARING ADJOURNED QUICKLY

THE JUDGE IN THE HEARING FOR FORMER PENN STATE ADMINISTRATORS GRAHAM SPANIER, GARY SCHULTZ, AND TIM CURLEY IS ASKING ATTORNEYS TO MAKE THEIR CASES IN WRITING, WITH ORAL ARGUMENTS TO FOLLOW. THE TUESDAY HEARING LASTED ONLY 15 MINUTES AND HAD NO WITNESSES. THE QUESTION IS WHETHER FORMER PENN STATE LAWYER CYNTHIA BALDWIN SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TESTIFY AGAINST THE MEN. SHE ACCOMPANIED THEM WHEN THEY TESTIFIED IN FRONT OF THE GRAND JURY INVESTIGATING JERRY SANDUSKY. BALDWIN WAS LATER CALLED AS A GRAND JURY WITNESS AGAINST THE MEN AND LAWYERS SAY IT WAS A BREACH OF ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE.

GOOD NEWS FOR TAXPAYERS

NO TAX HIKE FOR BLAIR COUNTY PROPERTY OWNERS NEXT YEAR. COMMISSIONERS YESTERDAY APPROVED A 44-POINT-5 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET. THE ALTOONA MIRROR ALSO REPORTS THAT COMMISSIONERS TOOK STEPS TO BEGIN 4 YEARS OF ANNUAL PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS WITH PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF VALLEY VIEW NURSING HOME.

CENTRE COUNTY’S TAXES ARE HOLDING STEADY. THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES REPORTS THAT COMMISSIONERS UNANIMOUSLY PASSED A 2014 BUDGET WHICH TOTALS 68-POINT-3 MILLION DOLLARS WITH 500-THOUSAND SET ASIDE FOR CAPITAL PROJECTS SUCH AS RELOCATION OF DEPARTMENTS IN THE WILLOWBANK BUILDING AND WORK ON THE TEMPLE COURT BUILDING TO GIVE MORE SPACE FOR COURT ADMINISTRATION. THE BOARD IS USING CLOSE TO 300-THOUSAND DOLLARS FROM THE GENERAL RESERVE TO BALANCE THE BUDGET.

FEWER LAWMAKERS?

2 BILLS THAT WOULD DOWNSIZE THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY REPRESENTATAIVES. UNDER THE MEASURE, THE HOUSE WOULD DROP FROM 203 MEMBERS TO 153…AND THE SENATE WOULD BE CUT FROM 50 TO 38. THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PROCESS REQUIRES THE BILLS TO BE DEBATED AND PASSED IN 2 CONSECUTIVE SESSIONS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND APPROVED IN A VOTER REFERENDUM. THE MEASURES NOW GO TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.

GAS PRICES

TRIPLE A FUEL GAUGE SAYS WESTERN PA GAS PRICES FELL JUST A FRACTION OF A PENNY TO $3.40 THIS WEEK. TODAY’S NATIONAL AVERAGE IS $3.22. THAT’S A PENNY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN ONE MONTH AGO, BUT 4 CENTS LESS THAN ONE WEEK AGO AND 3 CENTS LESS THAN ONE YEAR AGO. ALTOONA-AREA DRIVERS ARE PAYING $3.49.

LOCAL POLICE HONORED

2 POLICE DEPARTMENTS IN THE GREATER ALTOONA AREA HAVE BEEN AWARDED TRIPLE A’S PLATINUM COMMUNITY TRAFFIC SAFETY AWARDS. STATE POLICE TROOP G BASED IN HOLLIDAYSBURG AND THE DUNCANSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVED TOP HONORS FOR THEIR SAFETY EFFORTS AND ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES GEARED TOWARDS MAKING COMMUNITIES SAFER. A GOLD AWARD WENT TO THE HOLLIDAYSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT. ALTOONA RECEIVED A SILVER…AND BRONZE AWARDS WERE EARNED BY LOGAN TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT AND PENN STATE ALTOONA’S POLICE DEPARTMENT.