Archives for November 2016

Workers at Altoona Unemployment Office May Be Unemployed Themselves

Employees at the Labor Department Unemployment Office on Green Avenue in Altoona were told this morning that their jobs are being furloughed. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has announced it is laying off nearly 600 of its staff statewide — a result of the state Senate’s failure to vote a bill which would have allowed for $57.5 million in funding to administer unemployment benefits to out-of-work Pennsylvanians. The bill was passed by the House on October 19th.

Get Ready for Winter

State transportation officials say they are ready if snow falls in the area this weekend. PennDot has 60,000 tons of rock salt left over from last season, in case it is needed. As much as an inch of snow is expected on the Altoona rea on Sunday. But before that, forecasters say temperatures will drop during the day tomorrow from the sixties, to below freezing.

Waltz Announces Candidacy for Blair County Prothonotary

Cristi Lynn Waltz has announced her candidacy for Blair County Prothonotary. Waltz, who lives in East Freedom, made the announcement this morning on the steps of the Blair County Courthouse. If elected, Waltz intends to enact reforms to the prothonotary’s office, including electronic record-keeping and enabling the use of credit cards for payment of filing fees.

Employees Held at Gunpoint While Man Robs Tyrone Save-a-Lot

Tyrone Borough police are investigating an armed robbery late last night at the Save-a-Lot on West 13th Street. Employees were held at gunpoint while the store was robbed. Police say the suspect is a white male, about 6-feet tall, with a thin build, in his mid to late 20’s. At the time of the robbery, the man was dressed in all black and his face was covered.

Blair County Voters Get Ready to Go to the Polls

Ready, set, vote! Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday, and Blair County Elections Director Sarah Seymour is anticipating heavy voter turnout:.

“Because there may be lines at Blair County polling places … I do encourage people to call and make sure that thy havev the correct polling place of where they’re registered. Because if they wait in line, and they get to thevfrontb of the line andthey’re not in that poll book but we do find that they’re registered in a different precinct, they will be sent to that other precinct in order to cast their ballot. So we don’t have peoplewaiting in two lines, we do encourage people to call the voter registration office at 693-3150,” Syymour says.

Vice President Joe Biden says Hillary Clinton will likely lose the presidential race if she loses in Pennsylvania. That’s what he told voters in Harrisburg yesterday. With 20 electoral votes at stake, both candidates are are making a final push to sway Pennsylvania voters. Hillary Clinton was in Pittsburgh this morning. She’ll return to Pennsylvania tonight for a rally in Philadelphia, where she’ll be joined by President Obama, the First Lady, and her husband, Bill Clinton, and featuring Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Donald Trump will be holding a 5:30p.m. rally in Scranton.

Uber and Lyft Now Legal Statewide

It’s now officially legal for Uber and Lyft to operate across the state. Governor Wolf signed the legislation Friday, which also establishes criminal background checks and insurance coverage requtrementsfor drivers, creates a zero-tolerance policy for impaired drivers, and encourages steps to weed out discrimination when picking up riders.

36 Charged in Blair County Drug Sweep

Attorney General Bruce Beemer this morning announced criminal charges against 36 people accused of distributing or possessing illegal drugs in Blair County, and police and state narcotics agents set out with arrests warrants to round them up. Beemer says the charges are the culmination of a yearlong investigation focusing on street- to mid-level dealers accused of distributing heroin, cocaine, bath salts, psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana and prescription narcotics. Agents from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation partnered with investigators from the Blair County Drug Task Force and the Altoona Police Department in the joint operation, making controlled drug purchases in Altoona and surrounding municipalities.

PENNDOT PREPPING FOR WINTER WEATHER

With snow already visiting some areas of Pennsylvania, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards has outlined the agency’s plans for winter services, and encourages drivers to be prepared as well…

INMATE GETS RIGHT TO SUE CORRECTIONS OFFICERS

An inmate in the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto… according to a decision by the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals… has the right to sue two corrections officers who he claims harassed him because of his Islamic faith. 58 year old inmate Charles Mack claims that one officer slapped a sticker on his back that read “I love bacon.” Mack found that offensive, because due to his religious beliefs, he avoids contact with pork products. Mack also alleged that the same officer shouted “There is no good Muslim, except a dead Muslim” at him, while another officer stood by along with some other inmates, who laughed. Mack claims he lost his job at the prison commissary because he complained to prison officials about what he said was religious harassment. Mack is seeking back pay for losing his job in the commissary and $75,000 in punitive damages against each of the prison officials involved in the case.

Arrests in 13th Street Crossover Bridge Vandalism

Two teenagers have been arrested for vandalizing the 13th Street Pedestrian Crossover bridge in Altoona. The suspects, whose names cannot be released because of their age, have been charged in Blair County Juvenile Court with conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, criminal mischief with spray-paint, and criminal mischief to tangible property. The vandalism occurred in mid-September. Altoona Police are they are continuing to investigate other, more recent vandalism incidents at the same location.