Archives for December 2013

Ridgway YMCA

The Ridgway YMCA which has been part of the community since 1902, is getting $800,000 from the state as part of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The is required to match the grant and are over 75% of the way toward their goal.The $1.6 million will go toward upgrading the pool and fitness center. They hope to begin the process in the Summer of 2014.

tax increase for Somerset County

Residents in Somerset County will see a 23% tax increase in 2014. Commissioners voted 2-1 to pass the 2014 budget with a tax increase Tuesday morning but not without hearing from some very upset residents. dozens of people showed up to protest at the meeting hoping commissioners wouldn’t pass the tax increase.

murderer asks for change in sentence

An Altoona man who committed a brutal murder 33 years ago when he was 17 years old is asking the Blair County Court to give him another chance at freedom, based on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision.The nation’s highest court found in Miller v. Alabama that it was a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – covering cruel and unusual punishment – to impose an automatic life-without-parole sentence on a juvenile who had committed murder.The Pennsylvania General Assembly in the months following the ruling changed state law to conform to the decision, eliminating a mandatory sentence for killers under 18.But since the Miller decision, a debate has raged as to whether it should be applied to cases decided long ago, like the one against Leonard Bocchicchio of Altoona. Bocchicchio was 17 when he killed the owner of the Penn Classic Bowling Lane in Logan Township in 1980. His attorney is asking a Blair County judge to vacate Bocchicchio’s sentence, order a new sentencing hearing and, at the most, sentence him for third-degree murder, which would likely mean Bocchicchio eventually would be freed.Pennsylvania has more than 200 inmates serving life without parole for killings committed as juveniles.

Pension chairman steps down

The chairman of Pennsylvania’s $26.5 billion state employee pension system said Monday he is stepping down, partly because of state Treasurer Rob McCord’s criticism of the handling of allegations of possible misconduct against its chief investment officer. Nicholas Maiale, who has chaired the State Employees’ Retirement System for 21 of his 28 years on its board, said he decided to leave because he was largely responsible for hiring the investment chief and because McCord’s comments have inflamed the situation.Maiale, 62, whose term on the board expired Dec. 16, said he agreed to leave the board after conferring with Gov. Tom Corbett’s office. Corbett did not reappoint Maiale after his term expired.

fatal crash

Two people are dead after a crash along Old Route 220 in Newry. Dustin Claycomb, 30, and Paige Musselman, 21, both of Claysburg, died instantly after their 2010 Land Rover hit a utility pole along Dunnings Highway and rolled several times before coming to a rest in Poplar Run early Monday, according to Freedom Township police. The Blair County Coroner said Claycomb and Musselman, who were not wearing seat belts and were thrown from the SUV, died of blunt force trauma. Chief Terry Dellinger said the accident remains under investigation, but police believe it happened about 2:30 a.m. The wreck was discovered by an employee of nearby Leighty’s Farm Market and called in to 911 at 7:32 a.m, Dellinger said. Dellinger said the SUV had been traveling south, apparently at a high rate of speed. The cause of the crash remains unknown.

HOMELESS COUNT SET

The annual count of homeless people in Jefferson and Clearfield Counties will be held on January 29th.
The count each year tells the number of homeless in local shelters and on area streets.
The count also helps organizations find out why people are homeless so they can work on preventing and eliminating homelessness.
Community Connections of Clearfield/Jefferson County is asking for your help with this year’s count. If you know of someone homeless call 814-371-5100.
And if you see someone homeless on January 29th, call 1-800-598-3998.

DOG LICENSES DUE

With the ringing in of the new year comes a reminder to pet owners that dogs need to be licensed and new licenses are necessary as of January first.
Lifetime licenses can be purchased at the County Treasurer’s office. Dog owners can also go to a veterinarian to have dogs tatooed or micro-chipped.
State law requires all dogs, 3 months or older to be licensed in the county where they are kept.
New tags should be on dogs starting January 1st. Owners of dogs without licenses are subject to penalties.

PA LOTTERY TO REMAIN IN PA HANDS

It now looks like the Pennsylvania Lottery will continue to operate in state hands.
Governor Tom Corbett says he will not extend the bid time for privatizing the state’s lottery.
The governor says now that his administration will look for other ways internally to grow revenue.
In April 2012, Pennsylvania began the privatization process and spent over $3 million so far to do it. Last November, Camelot Global, LLC, was awarded the contract that guaranteed over $34 1/2 billion in profit.
It was later challenged by the Attorney General, which in turn, prompted several extensions of the bid. Those extensions are now over according to the governor.

PENN STATE PREPS FOR NEW COACH

In most places, it’s pretty normal for the college football coach to leave for another job, but that hasn’t happened at Penn State in years.
All that could change today though, as reports come in that say Bill O’Brien is leaving Penn State to become head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans.
Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen called a deal between O’Brien and the Texans “imminent” and said it could be finalized within 24 hours.
If O’Brien leaves, Penn State would undergo a coaching search for the second time in two years. Prior to that, there had not been a search for a football coach since 1950 when Joe Paterno was hired. Paterno was fired in November, 2011 after being brought into the Sandusky sex scandal.

new law effects on gas prices

Provisions of Pennsylvania’s new transportation law kick in tomorrow, New Year’s Day and there is uncertainty what it will do to gas prices at the pump. House Bill 1060 signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on Nov. 25, and will raise as much as an additional $2.4 billion for transportation by year 5 of the plan. By gradually eliminating the cap of $1.25, which was put in place in the early 1980s, Pennsylvania expects to realize approximately $1.8 billion in additional revenue by the fifth year of the plan. According to the altoona Mirror PennDOT has said that they anticipate that the change will equal approximately 9 cents per gallon. However, the tax is paid at the wholesale level, and it remains to be seen how much will be passed on to consumers when the change takes effect Jan. 1. A spokesperson for Martin Oil co. of Bellwood said the increase will likely be passed on to customers and he thinks it will be about a 9 cent increase at the pump for gasoline and about a 12.9 cent per gallon increase in diesel.