Local News

‘Looks like a total loss’

BEDFORD — A Monday afternoon fire destroyed an Old Bedford Village community theater, leaving charred timber, a collapsed roof and walls and wisps of smoke in its place. Emergency personnel received a call about the fire at Gardner Memorial Theater about midday, according to Bedford ...

Police: Boys found ‘hanging out window

MARTINSBURG — A Roaring Spring pair is behind bars unable to post bail after being arrested on felony charges of endangering the welfare of a child after two boys, ages 4 and 2, were allegedly found playing near an open window. Allegedly, one of the children earlier walked to the edge of a ...

PennDOT’s Road MaP initiative tackles low-volume rural roads

PennDOT is taking steps to give motorists a smoother ride on some low-volume rural roads. The improvements are being made as part of the PennDOT Road Maintenance and Preservation, or Road MaP, initiative announced by Gov. Tom Wolf last spring. A piece of Road MaP is addressing relatively ...

Crime

Man jailed on drug charges A 43-year-old Duncansville man is in Blair County Prison in lieu of $50,000 cash bail on drug charges stemming from two recent heroin buys by a confidential informant, according to Altoona police. Gerald E. Smith Jr. sold 30 packets of heroin for $300 to the ...

Claysburg man accused of fleeing traffic stop

MARTINSBURG — A Claysburg man accused of exceeding 100 mph while fleeing police is behind bars facing more than a dozen charges, including a felony. He was later found lying in a cornfield. On Friday, Joseph D. Billotte, 28, of 148 Catherine St., allegedly drove his white Chevrolet ...

Man’s relief request denied

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County judge has rejected the latest arguments from an Altoona man seeking relief in connection with his 2014 convictions on child sexual abuse charges, resulting in a 25.5- to 51-year sentence. William Donald Leigh, 47, currently housed at the State Correctional ...

Tyrone teen faces charges after chase

TYRONE — A Tyrone teen faces more than a dozen criminal charges, including two felonies, after leading police on a car chase, which ended in a crash. Jacob C. Stimer, 19, of 2105 Glad Ave., allegedly drove his brother’s car, a silver Mercury Cougar, while speeding away from Tyrone Borough ...

Women charged for false benefit event

Two Bedford women have been charged with felony theft by deception for scheduling a horse race ostensibly to raise money for state police — but subsequently failing to donate the profits. Heather Mearkle, 20, and Corrine Heltzel, 42, scheduled a barrel horse race they called the 2017 Run ...

Eichelberger to hold final town hall meeting

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Sen­ator John H. Eichelberger Jr., R-Blair, will hold his final Blair County town hall meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Geeseytown Fire Hall. “Even though this is my last town hall (meeting) in Blair County, it’s just as important as each one before,” ...

Grants encourage home ownership

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County residents buying a house for the first time may be eligible for a grant of up to $5,000 to put toward closing costs and down payments. With part of the revenue from a county-levied fee on deed and mortgage transfers, grants are going to become available through ...

Meeting recordings at heart of conflict

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Legal action will be the result of frustration with partial and missing recordings of public meetings and the transparency implications they’ve created, a Hollidaysburg watchdog said last week. Richard Latker, president of the Hollidaysburg Community Watchdog group, ...

Wrapping up term, Andzelik ‘leaving big shoes to fill’

BEDFORD — Judy Andzelik is wrapping up her term as commander of Bedford American Legion Post 113 and hopes one day to return to that position. In the summer of 2017, Andzelik, 70, was elected as the first woman commander of the post. Post bylaws state that a commander can only serve one ...

Bar owner continues bid for music

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A two-year effort by a local bar owner to host live outdoor music on his property continued last week. Like the many discussions that preceded it, talks at the Hollidaysburg Borough Council meeting failed to produce results. But it ended in hope for Lance Laratonda, owner of ...

Mothers find solace in writing notes

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories by Pennsylvania print, digital and broadcast news organizations on the opioid crisis in the state. BUTLER TOWNSHIP — They are women connected by a fate none of them wanted. Together, they are trying to accept. All of them lost a child or ...

Body found in reservoir

HOLLSOPPLE (AP) — Officials said the body of a missing paddleboarder has been recovered from a western Pennsylvania reservoir almost a week after he went missing. State police in Somerset County said the body of 18-year-old Joseph Dubics of Seward was found shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday at ...

‘Living the issues’

HOUTZDALE — A sharpened cigarette roller found in an inmate’s waistband by corrections officers at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale lay on the captain’s slightly cluttered desk. Corrections officers discovered the hidden, pointed cigarette roller during one of their ...

Court upholds murder conviction

The first-degree murder conviction and life sentence of a Cambria County man who stabbed his girlfriend to death more than three years ago has been upheld by the Pennsylvania Superior Court. David Leon Johnson, now 39, went to the Richard Township Police Department during the early morning of ...

Man in recovery: Overdose death of fiancee ‘saved my life’

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories by Pennsylvania print, digital and broadcast news organizations on the opioid crisis in the state. MIDDLETOWN — Two weeks after Valentine’s Day, the wooden table in Wendy Loranzo’s dining room in Middletown still was covered with large ...

Saying goodbye to Misty

I have been very fortunate to have personally met a large number of readers that follow this column and quite often some will mention enjoying the columns I have written about my wife’s dog, Misty. I guess that is because, like my wife and me, many of you are pet lovers, and for some ...

Toomey wins symbolic vote

Senate Republicans — even those who occasionally quibble with President Donald Trump — have rarely challenged the president’s policies as a group. But it seems Trump’s overseas trade wars are too much for Republicans, led by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to stomach. Alongside colleagues ...