Area Life

Aretha Franklin is seriously ill

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin is seriously ill, according to a person close to the singer. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press on Monday that Franklin is seriously ill. No more ...

Pottery from Poland secretly made for CIA

WARSAW, Poland — A newly declassified secret of the CIA’s is the handiwork of experts in Poland: custom-made plates, bowls and other pieces of tableware painted with the U.S. intelligence agency’s official seal. Helena Smolenska, the head of the craft-maker cooperative in the town of ...

Donkey ranch helps people de-stress

ULSTER PARK, N.Y. — In most of the world, donkeys are beasts of burden, but the only job of the long-eared denizens of Donkey Park is to nuzzle, bray and beguile the diverse group of people who find comfort in their company. Donkey Park is the creation of Steve Stiert, who sought a new ...

Area school district calendars

Altoona Area Aug. 27 — First student day Aug. 27-28 — Kindergarten conferences Aug. 29-30 — Kindergarten staggered classes Aug. 31 — Kindergarten first day Sept. 3 — Labor Day Sept. 21 — In-service Oct. 12 — Secondary no school/conferences Oct. 26 — ...

Stop the silence: Hearing loss, which may change behavior, can be treated

When Jessica Wertz, 22, found herself struggling academically in college, isolating herself from social situations and avoiding the college dining hall she took action to address the root problem — an inability to hear. “I realized I had to do something so I could succeed in school or ...

Reduce noise levels to avoid hearing loss

Local audiology experts stress prevention to reduce the risks of noise-induced hearing loss. More people are losing their ability to hear than before due to excessively high levels of noise from cell phones, earbuds, fireworks, music concerts and household work and yard equipment. The World ...

A family affair

CRESSON — During the past five years, 34 Blair and Cambria county children battling critical illnesses received wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation with the more than $130,000 raised through a bluegrass festival,called Pickin’ For Wishes, held each August. As bone cancer ravaged ...

Obsessing over what matters

“Hi. My name is Kim and I’m a crazy cat-lady.” Okay, so far as I know, there’s no such organization as Crazy Cat Ladies Anonymous (CCLA), but if anybody decides to start one, I’ll be in the front row of every meeting. My path to cat obsession began one feline at a time. Our first ...

Diocese sponsors training

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Office of Children and Youth Protection will sponsor Safe Environment Training Sessions for volunteers and diocesan employees throughout the diocese. Each workshop will include Youth Protection Awareness and Mandated Reporting Training. All who work or ...

Spiritual notes

Festivals Cornerstone Fellowship of Mill Run, 415 Mennonite Road, Altoona, will host a festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 18. There will be music, field-size corn hole with water balloons, a bounce house and games for all ages. Vendors will be on hand, and food and baked goods will be ...

On this date

50 YEARS AGO: Aug. 10, 1968 The Blair County Civil Defense Council, Col. Lloyd M. Morris director, was having copies of a Community Shelter Plan printed by Alto Printing and Supply Co. and every family in Blair County was to get one. 25 YEARS AGO: Aug. 10, 1993 The LaPierre Hotel at 2523 ...

‘Making It’: Cutting and gluing without being cut-throat

CONCORD, N.H. — They made you laugh, but can they make you craft? “Parks and Recreation” co-stars Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman are bringing the same silly, sweet sitcom vibe to reality television with “Making It,” a competition show that challenges contestants to craft everything ...

What’s new in back-to-school supplies

NEW YORK — The microwave ate my homework? Reusable notebooks where writing disappears with heat are among the basic school supplies raising their game against gadgets like iPads. Also hot in the paper aisle this year: Decorative tape, creative journals and scented pencils in smells like ...

Bill Clinton’s debut novel a million seller

NEW YORK (AP) — Bill Clinton is a now a million-selling novelist. “The President is Missing,” a thriller co-written with James Patterson, has more than 1 million combined hardcover, e-book and audio sales in North America alone since coming out June 4. The book is Clinton’s first ...

Parenting in the age of Alexa and her ilk

Hey parents: What if there was a machine that could respond to your kids’ every command, never tiring, even if they ask it to tell jokes for two hours or answer all their homework questions? It’s a blessing and a curse for moms and dads that machines kind of like that do exist in the form ...

Oscars adding popular film category, sets earlier 2020 date

LOS ANGELES — The Oscars are adding a new category to honor popular films and promising a brisk three-hour ceremony and a much earlier air date in 2020. John Bailey, the newly re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and film Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in ...

Pitt says he has given Jolie Pitt millions since split

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brad Pitt says he has given estranged wife Angelina Jolie Pitt $1.3 million and lent her another $8 million since their separation two years ago. The declaration in a court filing Wednesday is meant to counter Jolie Pitt’s assertion in documents a day earlier that Pitt ...

Every decade witnesses changes to our environment

Life was not so difficult 50 years ago and we might learn some valuable lessons if we better understood how that was possible. Having lived through the ’60s, I can state with little reservation that it was possible to live in comfort and safety in a world that used fewer resources. It was ...

Master chef Robuchon dies at 73

PARIS — Joel Robuchon, a master chef who shook up the stuffy world of French haute cuisine by wowing palates with the delights of the simple mashed potato and giving diners a peek at the kitchen, has died at 73. His career was one of superlatives: Named among the best craftsmen in France ...