Archives for October 2015

Train Derails in Downtown Altoona

A train derailment early Wednesday morning in downtown Altoona resulted in several railroad cars spilling their cargo of grain. It was the third derailment in Altoona since September, 2014. 7 cars of a 120 car eastbound Norfolk Southern train went off the tracks. No one was hurt, and no hazardous materials were spilled. Blair County Emergency Management said there was no direct threat to public safety, but emergency responders are concerned because the crash happened at around 2:15AM yesterday, and they didn’t get notification until after 7AM when someone called 911 to inquire about what happened. The federal government requires railroad companies to compile reports after all such incidents, including causes when available. The investigation into just what caused yesterday’s derailment is underway.

Altoona Man Slashed With Knife During Fight with Girlfriend

An Altoona woman is accused of slashing her boyfriend with a knife during an argument. 32-year-old Anye Johnson allegedly attacked the man at his apartment on Broad Avenue during an argument, after he became upset she was using his cell phone to call the father of her children, according to Altoona police. Johnson is being held on $75,000 bail with a preminary hearing scheduled for next Wednesday in Central Court.

Sandusky May Face New Charges

Jerry Sandusky was back in court today and may be facing new sex abuse charges. A judge is ordering prosecutors to examine accusations from a 43-year-old man who claims he was abused by Sandusky in 1988 at a football camp. The judge says the statute of limitations has not run out and has ordered the Attorney General’s office to determine if the allegations meet the minimum standard for charges.

Rite Aid To Be Acquired By Walgreens

Walgreens announced on Tuesday, a deal in which it is buying rival Rite Aid for about $9.41 billion in cash, which will creat a drugstore chain with nearly 18,000 stores worldwide. The deal is expected to close in the second half of next year. However, since it involves the number one and number three drug store chains in the United States based on store counts, and it makes one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical buyers even larger, it may well soon draw a closer look by anti-trust regulators. Initially, Rite Aid will not undergo a name change, but that may change after the ink dries. In fact, Walgreens is already saying that some Rite Aid stores may shut down following the merger to cut costs, because Rite Aids in many cases operate in the same localities as Walgreens. Rite Aid is headquartered in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania and is the nation’s third largest retail chain, with about 4,600 stores in 31 states. Walgreens is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois and has about 8,200 stores across the country, making it the largest US pharmacy chain. In making the announcement yesterday, Walgreens said it will pay $9 a share for Rite Aid… a 48 percent premium above Rite Aid’s closing price on Monday, which was $6.08. The deal, including assumption of debt, is worth $17.2 billion.

Candidates Finances Differ

Spending by the candidates for Altoona mayor between early June and last week have run pretty neck and neck, according to finance reports that were submitted to the Blair County election office. However, as the final leg of the campaign nears, current part-time mayor Matt Pacifico has more cash left than does Democratic challenger Jason Imler. Figures show that Pacifico spent $3,500 for the period ending Oct. 19, while Imler spent $2,600. But the numbers submitted also reveal that while Pacifico had $8,600 left for the final two weeks, Imler had just $259. Pacifico has also raised significantly more than Imler, and he credits that with going out to meet face to face with some donors personally.

Emergency Drill Scheduled For Saturday

Get ready to see a lot of emergency vehicles on the roads Saturday morning. The Altoona-Blair County Airport will be the site of a drill, with a simulated fire and an aircraft with people pretending to be injured. As part of it, Blair County’s 911 Center dispatchers will send fire companies, ambulance crews and other emergency responders to the site. Airport Manager Tracy Plessinger reported that he is not being informed of all the details involved in the drill because he will be among the responders. What he does know so far, is that there will be a Cessna Caravan parked on the runway. It’s the type of 11-seat aircraft now flown daily between Martinsburg and Pittsburgh. Firemen will have to perform a rescue, and a sacrificial vehicle will be on fire. In past drills, crews have had to react to a crashed aircraft transporting deadly chemicals and the hijacking of a fuel truck that was driven into a small plane on the runway. Saturday’s drill is being coordinated by the county department of emergency services, working with the municipal emergency management personnel.

Bar Association Hosting Wills For Heros Program



Bill Aims At Delay For Train Regs

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster introduced a bill on Tuesday, that he claims will extend the deadline for railroads to install safety technology, eliminating disruptions that will otherwise occur after Dec. 31st. That’s when tracks without positive train control will no longer be legally allowed to carry passengers or chemicals toxic to inhale. The Congressman believes his proposed extension – part of a highway reauthorization bill – will become law before the end of the year. Without the extension, the mainline through Altoona, along with the rest of Norfolk Southern’s rail network, would cease carrying passengers or poisonous-to-inhale chemicals after Dec. 31, because the company cannot meet the deadline – despite the fact that it has invested almost $1 billion so far in attempts to comply. The bill would extend the deadline to the end of 2018 and provide limited authority for the U.S. transportation secretary to grant additional extensions to railroads that have made a good faith effort… such as Norfolk Southern.

Farm Accident Claims Life Of Williamsburg Man

A man from Williamsburg has been killed in a farm accident. 69 year old Kenneth Bush was working on farm equipment at the Rich-Lou Farm in Taylor Township, outside Roaring Spring, on Wednesday morning when, according to state police at Hollidaysburg, a hydraulic line ruptured, causing the piece of equipment to collapse and kill him. Bush was pronounced dead at the scene by the Blair County Coroner’s Office.

Kane Says Job Will Not Be Affected By Loss Of License

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane told her staff Wednesday that most of her job won’t be affected by the suspension of her law license, that now goes into effect at the same time that she fights criminal charges. Kane briefed her staff about the suspension, saying that virtually all legal decisions are made before they reach her desk, and that her decisions are primarily administrative or somehow supervisory, and that none of them require her to act as an attorney. Top deputy Bruce Beemer will step in to handle matters that require a licensed lawyer. Kane was charged in August with leaking secret grand jury material to a newspaper reporter and lying to cover it up. Prosecutors added more charges this month, based on allegations she lied about whether she had ever signed a secrecy oath. Kane said Wednesday, that she will continue to make decisions that are considered to be of a policy nature, and said her name will still appear on civil lawsuits and other court documents.