A 9 Year Old Girl Among Those Killed in Chain Reaction Crash

A 9-year-old New York girl was among the five people killed in a crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that also injured at least 60 people, according to authorities.
Meanwhile, officials continue to investigate the cause of the crash that happened early Sunday on a mountainous and rural stretch of the highway about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania state police says the crash was started by a passenger bus and ended up being a chain reaction invovling three trucks.

AAHS 10th ANNUAL SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM

The Altoona Area High School Physical Science, General Chemistry, Academic Chemistry, as well as the Forensic Chemistry Crime Scene Investigations students will host and participate in the 10th Annual Science Symposium on Wednesday, January 8 in the AAHS Library from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The Symposium will feature atoms, elements and the Periodic Table. This project is sponsored by the AASD Foundation through the Venture Grants for Teachers program. If you would like to attend, please contact Paula Foreman at 946-8424.

New Appointment for Mayor Pacifico

Altoona Mayor Matt Pacifico has been appointed to the National League of Cities (NLC) 2020 Transportation and Infrastructure Services (TIS) federal advocacy committee. This committee has the lead responsibility for developing NLC’s federal policy positions on issues involving transportation, including planning, funding, safety and security of public transit, streets and highways, aviation, railroads and ports. As a committee member, Pacifico will play a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions and advocate on behalf of America’s cities and towns before Congress, with the administration and at home.

U-HAUL Changes Hiring Practice in PA

And 21 states including Pennsylvania will be part of a new hiring policy at U-Haul where they will not accept applications from nicotine users. U-Hauls effort to promote a healthier workforce will go into effect on February 1st. The company says current team members are not affected by the new policy.

Pennsylvania’s New Mental Health Initiative

A broad effort to improve mental health services and change public perceptions of mental illness was announced earlier today by Governor Tom Wolf. The governor is rolling out an initiative that includes more resources and a public outreach campaign similar to an approach the state has deployed in response to the opioid crisis. Wolf said “For those struggling with their mental health, we have one message: your mental health matters and it’s OK to reach out for help.” He said that “reaching out for help — or to help — can make a huge difference for someone struggling.” The campaign, “Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters,” includes developing new health insurance coverage state regulations, coordinating services for physical and behavioral health, analyzing pay and other factors for those who provide mental health services and finding ways to get more social workers into schools.

Final Pennsylvania county OKs new paper-trail voting system

A decision this week by Dauphin County to purchase new paper-trail voting systems means all 67 Pennsylvania counties have taken action under a state law that helps fund the upgrades, the Wolf administration said Tuesday. Officials called the vote a milestone toward ensuring the integrity of the state’s future elections. A new state law appropriated $90 million toward replacement of the existing machines, but counties had to act by the end of 2019 to be eligible for certain federal aid and to avoid potential litigation. “Every machine will have a paper trail for every vote that’s taken in 2020, which was the governor’s goal,” this according to J.J. Abbott, press secretary for Gov. Tom Wolf.

New overtime rules should help 60k workers in Pennsylvania

More than 60,000 Pennsylvania residents are expected to see a pay increase in 2020 as a new federal overtime rule goes into effect. The rule taking effect Wednesday guarantees time-and-a-half pay to nearly all hourly employees who work more than 40 hours a week and salaried workers making less than about $35,500 per year. The minimum wage remains $7.25 an hour in Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Wolf proposed raising it to $15 an hour by 2025. But pay hike bills have stalled in the state Legislature.

Guns Vs. Hoses Hoops

It was a fun night over the weekend raising money for the shriners hospital when Altoona police and firefighters played hoops against each other at the Jaffa Shrine . All the proceeds going to the Shriners. This year, the first responders brought their annual Guns versus Hoses rivalry inside from the football field to the basketball court. Of course it was a very competitive game but Both sides agreed it was a great opportunity to raise money to help children. The event included games by Altoona and Bishop Guilfoyle alumni teams.

Wawa Chain Data Breach

The Wawa convenience store chain is facing a wave of lawsuits over a data breach that affected its 850 locations along the East Coast. Wawa Inc. discovered malware on its payment processing servers this month before stopping the breach Dec. 12. Officials with the company, based in Wawa, Pennsylvania, believe the malware had been collecting card numbers, customer names and other data since as early as March. At least six lawsuits seeking class-action status have been filed in federal court in Philadelphia.

PA dioceses offer $84M to 564 clergy abuse victims

Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses have paid nearly $84 million to 564 victims of sexual abuse, a tally that’s sure to grow substantially in the new year as compensation fund administrators work through a backlog of claims. Seven of the state’s eight dioceses launched victim compensation funds in the wake of a landmark grand jury report on sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. The funds were open to claims for a limited time this year. They are independently administered, though each diocese set its own rules on eligibility. To date, the average payout across all seven dioceses has exceeded $148,000 — a fraction of what some adult victims of childhood abuse might have expected