Archives for August 2016

WOLF RELEASES STATEMENT ON NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL

Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement Tuesday, on the Senate’s confirmation of Bruce Beemer as Attorney General of Pennsylvania. The Governor said:
“Bruce Beemer has the unique experience and skillset as a prosecutor, lawyer and administrator to begin the healing necessary to put the Attorney General’s office back on track. He is trusted by the rank-and-file members of the office and understands better than anyone what must be fixed to restore the public trust.” The Governor went on to thank the Senate for their swift confirmation and vote of confidence in Bruce, and said he looks forward to his continued public service to the people of Pennsylvania as Attorney General.

ALTOONA SHOOTING DETAILS EMERGING

Heroin and money… that, according to Altoona police, is what led to the arrests of several people early Tuesday morning in Altoona, following gunfire over the weekend in Juniata. 21 year old Carlos Norton, and 48 year old Tonia McConnell, of Altoona, are now behind bars… each charged with conspiracy and attempted homicide. Police say it all has roots in a heroin deal gone bad. Norton was taken into custody at about 2 a.m. Tuesday after police had his girlfriend’s apartment surrounded for hours. That girlfriend so far, has not been charged. Norton was convicted on drug charges in 2014, and therefore is prohibited from carrying a gun. That means he now faces felony charges related to that as well as the other charges. All in all… Norton and McConnell each face 13 felony counts and and 10 misdemeanor charges.

FORMER COP HEADED TO PRISON

A former Police Chief from southwestern Pennsylvania is headed to prison. 67 year old John Pushak was sentenced to three to 12 months after he was convicted of swiping and then using about $10,000 from a federal Drug Enforcement Administration fund at casinos. Pushak had been charged with theft, failure to make a required disposition of funds and misapplication of entrusted property. He was found guilty in Washington County on all charges. When handing down the sentence, the judge there cited Pushak’s dedication to his job, but also zeroed in on what he called his breach of public trust.

Man and Woman Arrested & Charged with Attempted Homicide After Standoff with Altoona Police

A man and woman are in custody after an hours long standoff with Altoona Police. Carlos Norton and Tonia McConnell were arrested early this morning in an apartment the 300 block of 11th Street. They were wanted in connection with reports of shots being fired Sunday night in the Juniata section of Altoona. Norton is accused of firing numerous rounds from a handgun at residents in the area of Greeley Street from a car allegedly being driven by McConnell. Both are charged with criminal conspiracy, attempted homicide and aggravated assault. Norton is also being charged for three previous drug sales and an additional count of Felons not to Possess Firearms.

New Security Measure Announced for PSU Game Day

New security measures will be in place as the Nittany Lions kick off their 130th season Saturday, hosting Kent State. Penn State will provide security screening for all fans at entry gates using metal detection wands. All public gates at Beaver Stadium will open two hours prior to kickoff to provide ample time for everyone to pass through security.

Man and Woman Charged With Attempted Homicide After Standoff with Police

A man and woman are in custody after an hours long standoff with Altoona Police. Carlos Norton and Tonia McConnell were arrested early this morning in an apartment the 300 block of 11th Street. They were wanted in connection with reports of shots being fired Sunday night in the area of Juniata Section of Altoona. Norton is accused of firing numerous rounds from a handgun at residents in the area of Greeley Street from a car allegedly being driven by McConnell. Both are charged with criminal conspiracy, attempted homicide and aggravated assault. Norton is also being charged for three previous drug sales and an additional count of Felons not to Possess Firearms.

ALTOONA CHILD ABUSERS SENTENCED

An Altoona couple who were facing charges of endangering the welfare of children were each sentenced on Monday, to a year of probation. 30 year old Clifford Harris and 23 year old Jessica Harris, entered no contest pleas to the charges. They told the judge that they have since taken measures to address the conditions and why they developed in the first place. The charges against the couple came after caseworkers with the Blair County Children, Youth, and Families were called in to the home on Cherry Avenue in Altoona, where five kids were found living along with rotted food, flies and other insects, and unsafe sleeping conditions.

BIG RIG SPEEDS EYED

Federal officials want to force lower speeds on truckers and bus drivers. A new proposal would cap speeds with a device on newly made U.S. vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds. But now, some truckers think forcing them to slow down is not the answer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to reduce deadly crashes on interstate highways, so they’re considering making manufacturers of trucks and buses install devices that would prevent the vehicles from exceeding speed limits. Transportation officials here in Pennsylvania, are now seeking comments on whether or not to force big rigs and other big trucks to travel at 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour. Some truckers say holding big rigs to just 60 mph could lead to dangerous driving conditions for smaller vehicles by holding up traffic and creating a mess on the highway… especially they say, in view of the many hills in Pennsylvania. They say 70 is a better average speed, as it allows trucks to gain enough momentum to make it up a steep hill.
The federal government plans to take public comment in the next 60 days to determine the final speed of big rigs. If passed, older vehicles would not be required to install the devices.

PENELEC ROLLING OUT SMART METERS

Penelec says it plans to start rolling out smart electric meters in September in the Altoona area. The installation of the new so-called “smart meters” is part of the Energy Efficiency Conservation Law, signed into law by then Governor Ed Rendell back in 2008. The law requires any electricity distribution company with more than 100,000 customers to install the smart meters for all customers by 2023. Smart meters will be able to provide both customers and the utility, information about usage, and they will also help with outage restoration. The utility can send a message to the meter to see if it is in service or not. Smart meter installation takes only a couple of minutes, and you don’t even have to be home for installation, although there will be a brief interruption in service. Eventually, meter readers will no longer be needed, but the utility says they are working with the union, and are providing training so the current meter readers can move into other positions. They will not be eliminating jobs.

Wolf Endorses Decriminalizing Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

Governor Wolf says Pennsylvania needs to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in systematic fashion. Wolf says some municipalities have already stopped arresting people for possessing small amounts of pot, but he says the state should act because too many people are still going to prison for marijuana possession and that’s clogging prisons and hurting families. Wolf is stopping short of endorsing full scale legalization of recreational marijuana.