Archives for November 2019

Penn State Working Through Tough Enrollment Trends

Penn State University’s president says he is working to counter difficult national and state enrollment trends that could even put pressure on a financially healthy school like Penn State. President Eric Barron says almost every county in Pennsylvania has a decline in the number of high school graduates and that those graduates are less likely to go to college. To fight those trends, Barron told trustees Friday that the university has created a task force to focus on recruiting international students, including from areas such as South America and Africa.

Holidaysburg Announces Citizen of the Year

The Borough of Hollidaysburg announced their 2019 Citizen of the Year at the American Legion Post #516 social hall. Donna Malone of Hollidaysburg was recognized in front of her family and friends for her commitment to service in the community. Donna has been an active member of the GFWC Hollidaysburg Area Women’s Club for thirty years and has held several officer positions, including president. Mayor Joe Dodson started the recognition program for outstanding citizens in the Borough of Hollidaysburg thirteen years ago.

PA Unemployment Rate up Slightly

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate ticked up in October for the second straight month, even as payrolls and the labor force hit record highs. The state Department of Labor and Industry said earlier today that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.2%. It hit a four-decade low of 3.8% earlier this year. The national unemployment rate was 3.6% in October.

All Clear at Altoona-Blair Airport

State police say there were no explosive materials located in the suspicious packages found at the Altoona-Blair County Airport this morning. Troopers say there is no threat to public safety, and the airport has reopened. Troopers say an airport employee found three packages inside the airport around 6:30 a.m. this morning and
The airport was immediately evacuated. It has since reopened.

PA Medical Pot Business is Thriving

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program has passed a half-billion dollars in sales since it began dispensing the drug nearly two years ago. John Collins, director of the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana, said at an advisory board meeting Wednesday that about 147,000 people are currently certified to purchase medical marijuana at one of the 72 dispensaries now in operation. He says there are currently about 65,000 patient visits to dispensaries per week. Their average purchase is about $120.

FBI Looks Into Pipeline Case

The FBI has begun a corruption investigation into how Governor Tom Wolf’s administration came to issue permits for construction on a multibilllion-dollar pipeline project to carry highly volatile natural gas liquids across Pennsylvania. FBI agents have interviewed current or former state employees in recent weeks about the Mariner East project and the construction permits. The focus of the questions involves the permitting of the pipeline, whether Wolf and his administration forced environmental protections staff to approve construction permits and whether Wolf or his administration received anything in return.

AAHS Recognizes Four Athletes

The Altoona Area School District will recognize four Altoona Area High School student athletes who will continue their athletic pursuits at the Division I and Division II Intercollegiate levels at a ceremony to be held in the Altoona Area High School’s William P. Kimmel Board Room on Monday, November 18, beginning at 1:00 PM.
Athletes who will be recognized include AAHS girls’ basketball player Caranda Perea, AAHS girls’ track hurdler, Maggie Fox, AAHS cross country and track distance runner, Brayden Henninger, and AAHS baseball player, Brendan Kuhns.

PA School Bus Driver Shortage

Pennsylvania school districts are struggling with a shortage of bus drivers. A decline in the number of licensed school bus drivers statewide has some distructs scrambling to get students to and from school. Nationally, 24 percent of school districts reported desparate or severe driver shortages. Statewide , the number of drivers has declined from 46,000 in 2013 to 44,000 last year.

Prisons chief’s comments prompt 2nd prison-closing hearing

People urging Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration not to close Retreat State Prison will get a second chance to be heard after a microphone picked up Corrections Secretary John Wetzel during a public hearing whispering to a deputy that he was only pretending to pay attention. The Wolf administration scheduled a second hearing Nov. 21. Retreat is in northeastern Pennsylvania. Wetzel’s comments last month prompted several area lawmakers to urge Wolf to fire him.

Sandusky Resentencing Delayed

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s resentencing on a 45-count child sexual abuse conviction is being delayed another two weeks. Judge Maureen Skerda today pushed the hearing back to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22. Skerda acted after Sandusky’s defense lawyer and prosecutors filed a joint request. They said they need a little more time to prepare for argument about Sandusky’s designation as a sexually violent predator, among other things. The 75-year-old Sandusky is expected to be in the courtroom.