Archives for July 2016

Road to the White House Runs Thru Central PA

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, are expected in our area this weekend. After a rally at Temple University in Philadelphia this afternoon, Clinton and Kaine, accompanied by their spouses, set off on a bus tour of Pennsylvania, and Ohio. They’ll be stopping in Harrisburg for a campaign rally tonight. Another one is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon in Pittsburgh. Blair County Democratic Party Chair Gillian Kratzer says Clinton is also expected to hold an event in Johnstown towmorrow. Clinton’s campaign hasn’t released a time or location.

Dry Weather Prompts Burn Bans

As a result of the dry weather conditions, some burn bans are taking effect in our area. A burn ban was enacted on Thursday in the Borough of Duncansville, until further notice. All burning of any kind is prohibited in Duncansville, including burn barrels, fire pits, chimineas, and any other outdoor flames. Also, be cautious about smoking outdoors. A flick of a cigarette can cause brush fires too! The City of Altoona is also implementing a burn ban in the City limits, effective immediately. This ban too, according to city officials, is necessary due to the excessively dry conditions. The ban includes recreational fires and recreational cooking fires in the City limits of Altoona, and it too, is in effect until further notice.

Woman Injured In Crash With Truck

A crash Thursday in Freedom Township, when a car spun out on a rain-slicked mountain road. Freedom Township Police say a woman was westbound on Johnstown Road near Polecat Road yesterday afternoon, when she struck the rear wheel of a passing tractor-trailer during an afternoon rainstorm. According to police, the woman was simply going too fast for conditions on the wet and slippery road. Her Mercury Grand Marquis spun and finally came to rest on the berm. The woman, whose name has not been released, suffered injuries, including a broken collarbone and shoulder blade, and several broken ribs. A passenger received minor injuries. The truck driver wasn’t hurt, and the truck was able to drive away after the crash. Not so for the Mercury, which had to be towed.

Altoona Man Charged In Gun Thefts

An Altoona man now faces felony charges after allegedly stealing two handguns from a vehicle outside a local night club. 22 year old Mark Watson Jr. took the guns from the vehicle sometime between 2:30 and 4 a.m. back on May 29. He was arrested about a month later, when police pulled over a car, and noticed a strong marijuana odor. Watson was in the car… along with the stolen guns. He now faces a long list of charges, including possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, because he had a prior conviction from 2014 which barred him from owning guns. He also faces drug charges.

How Blair County Hospitals Did in New Government Rankings

The federal government has released its first overall hospital quality ratings. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rated 3,617 hospitals on a one- to five-star scale. In Blair County, UPMC Medical Center received two stars. Nason (nay-sun) Hospital in Roaring Spring received three stars. Tyrone Hospital got a four star rating. Just over 100 out of the more than 3,600 hospitals rated nationwide received five-star ratings. The full list has been posted on the Hospital Compare portion of the Medicare website, at

Altoona Orders Citywide Burn Ban

The City of Altoona has implemented a burn ban, effective immediately, due to the excessively dry weather conditions.
The ban includes all backyard fires, recreational fires, camp fires and outdoor cooking fires within the the City limits.
The ban will remain in effect until further notice.

UPMC Settles Suit

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has settled a lawsuit, by paying $2.5 million. The suit… a federal whistleblower lawsuit… accused the hospital network of overbilling government insurance programs for neurosurgery. But UPMC didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement. The federal government sued UPMC last year after two doctors and another whistleblower sued in 2012, alleging inflated billing. Meanwhile, other whistleblower claims remain open, and will be pursued privately. UPMC said Wednedsay, that it would defend those claims “vigorously.”

City Hall Project About To Kick Off

Re-roofing and masonry work will begin at City Hall in Altoona on Monday, August 1st. Customer parking, both regular parking and ADA parking, will be along the City Hall side of 12th Street between 13th Avenue and 14th Avenue. Access to City Hall will be on the 12th Street side of the building. ADA access will be on the portico side of the building. The project is expected to last for 2 to 3 weeks and will consist of the
replacement of a rubber roof and exterior masonry work.

Altoona Man Accused Of Sex With 14-Year-Old

A hearing was held Wednesday in Blair County Court, for an Altoona man who is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. 25 year old Donald Moyer allegedly fondled the girl on May 30th after she fell asleep while watching a movie. The young girl testified that Moyer is dating one of her relatives, and she was visiting them with another friend that night. The girl said her relative had gone upstairs to bed, and she fell asleep on a living room couch. Moyer she said, was sitting nearby. The girl says she woke up around 3AM when she felt his hand sliding up her thigh. She yelled, which woke up her friend, who was also sleeping on the couch. At that, she says Moyer went upstairs. Moyer is facing felony counts of aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor, plus indecent assault of a person younger than 16. He’s currently out on bail, with conditions prohibiting him from having any contact with the 14 year old girl.

Altoona Firefighters Get New Rescue Tools

The Altoona Fire Department some new, life-saving rescue tools purchased with a $24,000 grant from UPMC Altoona Foundation. The battery-powered Jaws of Life will replace older, gas-powered hydraulic equipment. Firefighters are being trained on the new tolls, which are expected to be place in service later this year.