Archives for January 2016

Gas Dips Below $2/Gallon Locally

It finally happened! Gas prices in the Altoona area have at long last, dipped below $2 a gallon. On Thursday, it became more and more common to see gas prices posted at $1.99 locally, marking the first time since 2004 that a gallon of regular could be bought locally at less than $2 a gallon, that according to AAA East Central. In Hollidaysburg, gas prices also were posted at below $2 a gallon. Locally, prices at the pump have gone down about 20 cents a gallon in just the last month. The reason, according to AAA, is that the price of crude oil is as low as it has been in the past 12 years. Another reason given is that the sanctions against Iran were lifted, and now that country is once again producing oil. One other reason is that China’s economy has slowed, and that means they are not buying as much oil. While we celebrate the arrival of gas at under two bucks a gallon, the national average is still less, coming in around $1.82 a gallon. One reason for that is that Pennsylvania, at 70 cents per gallon, has the highest gas tax in the nation.

Wise Women Of Blair Grants Released

Wise Women of Blair County awarded $12,250.00 in grant monies to five worthy local organizations recently. Funded for the 2016 grant cycle were: Altoona Community Theate, Family Services Inc., the Gloria Gates Foundation, Mt. Aloysius College along with CONTACT Altoona, and the United Way- Family Resource Center. Wise Women of Blair County annually makes available grant funding for organizations who meet the funding criteria. The next grant applications are due in October 2016. For more information on the grants and the organization, check out or call 814.414-1377.

Counterfeiters Caught in Altoona

Three people are behind bars after police say they tried to pass some funny money. 22-year-old Wilson Martin, 29-year-old Abdul Dixon and 24-year-old Jesstine Toukalty were arrested by Altoona Police for attempting to use a counterfeit $100 bill at the Auto Zone store on Pleasant Valley Blvd. They allegedly also passed bogus bills at the PETCO, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Every Day’s A Party stores in the Logan Town Center… and one of them is wanted in Wisconsin on similar charges. All three face charges of conspiring to commit forgery and attempted theft. They’re being held in the Blair County Prison on $30,000 bail each, awaiting their preliminary hearings scheduled for next Wednesday in Central Court.

Fatal Accident Victim Identified

Logan Township Police have identified the pedestrian struck and killed by a minivan Tuesday night as 18-year-old Jaylen Lenning. Lenning was walking with a friend along South Dartmouth Lane when he was hit. The driver, also 18, has not been charged.

Marcinko Appointed To Water Authority

Yesterday, Altoona City Council appointed City Manager Marla Marcinko to the Altoona Water Authority, replacing Tom Martin. Marcinko, an at-will employee of council, now joins Councilman Bill Neugebauer on the authority, and in doing so, gives council a direct link to a pair of seats on the five-member board. That’s important to council, because they have been engaged in talks for almost the past year and a half with the water authority to determine how to monetize the water systems for the benefit of the city general fund. Those talks however, came to a halt late last year and have not yet restarted. Council stressed on Wednesday though, that Marcinko’s appointment to the authority, was not done to influence the talks, but rather to help to open “the lines of communication” between the two groups.

Wolf Adds Fuel To War On Drug

Governor Tom Wolf joined the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency on Wednesday, at the commission’s 2016 Opioid Symposium, entitled ‘Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery.’ The governor joined a long list of other state officials, along with professionals in the law enforcement and healthcare fields, to discuss statewide efforts to combat what everyone agreed is a raging epidemic in Pennsylvania….

Man Stabs Grandmother With Needle

A Nanty Glo man who allegedly stabbed his own grandmother with a needle on Monday, is behind bars. 41 year old James Machuta Jr., according to police, was arguing with his grandmother over his drug use when he stabbed her in the foot with a hypodermic needle, then proceeded to stomp on his grandmother’s foot! The woman declined medical attention, but according to some, Machuta has a communicable disease. Witnesses say Machuta routinely beats his grandmother when she won’t give him pills. A search of Machuta’s home turned up 20 empty hypodermic needles, 18 stamp bags and 13 spoons coated in a burnt residue. Police also found one loaded needle. Now, Machuta faces charges of felony aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. He also faces 52 counts of use or possession of drug paraphernalia. He was sent to prison, where he remains on $50,000 bail.

Pedestrian Struck and Killed in Logan Township

Police are investigating the death of pedestrian hit by a car. The victim — a 19-year-old man, whose name hasn’t been released — was walking along South Dartmouth Lane in the Greenwood section of Logan Township when he was struck and killed shortly after 6:00 last night.

Turnpike Shutdown Planned for Thursday Morning

Part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be shut down tomorrow. The Turnpike Commission says an 86-mile stretch of the westbound lanes between Breezewood and New Stanton will be closed for about three hours tomorrow morning while crews remove a tractor trailer from an embankment in Bedford County. The closure was originally scheduled for today but has been postponed until tomorrow, beginning at 9 a.m.

Here Comes The Cash!

$1.13 Million dollars in tax credits has been awarded to the city of Altoona by the State Department of Community and Economic Development, for two hotels and a streetscape project. Neighborhood Assistance Program Enterprise Zone tax credits of $500,000 each will soon flow toward the $24-million construction of twin Marriotts on Pleasant Valley Boulevard near Van Zandt VA Medical Center and the $10.5-million construction of a Wingate downtown on Chestnut Avenue. The hotels, according to the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation, will create 60 new jobs, while helping the city attract shows and conventions, all in an effort to make Blair County more of a tourist destination. Additionally, another $133,125 in a Neighborhood Assistance Program Special Priorities Tax Credit package will be handed over to a Seventh Street Gateway Project near UPMC Altoona.