County to sign road agreement

with PennDOT, ABCD Corp.

Blair County will sign a reimbursement agreement with PennDOT and the Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. that will permit construction of two turn lanes and related traffic signals on Convention Center Boulevard.

ABCD Corp. pursued $589,008 for the project through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Appalachian Local Access Road Program. The improvements are linked to the proposed development of Convention Center Commons, which is expected to include a hotel, a 12-screen movie theater, a restaurant and an office building.

PennDOT Project Manager Greg Illig said the proposed project is limited to work on Convention Center Boulevard. While Blair County will have no financial obligation toward construction costs, it will continue to handle road maintenance on the county-owned road and Allegheny Township will continue to be responsible for maintaining the traffic signal.


Commissioners hire appraiser

for Seventh Avenue house

Blair County is hiring Four Seasons Appraisal Services Limited Liability Corp. to appraise a house at 415 Seventh Ave.

Commissioners voted to pay $250 for the appraisal.

Blair County’s 911 Center, its Emergency Management Agency and the offices of Magisterial District Justice Jeff Aucker are located in the building beside the property.

From Mirror staff reports



Lowmaster affiliate receives probation

A Carrolltown man who conspired with the so-called “Lowmaster Organization” drug-trafficking group was sentenced to five years’ probation, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton announced Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson imposed the sentence, the first 12 months of which must be served under house arrest and monitored electronically, on Paxton D. Clark, 44, 109 Hite Road.

Clark also was ordered to complete 500 hours of community service for his role in the drug organization, headed by Carrolltown man George M. Lowmaster, who is set to be sentenced June 23.

Evidence presented to the court showed that from March 2008 to May 9, 2011, Clark conspired to commit money laundering and attempted to conceal the source of Lowmaster’s drug-organization money to “promote the carrying on” of the organization, Hickton said in a press release.

The Lowmaster drug ring was broken up by federal, state and local investigators in May 2011.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Valkovci prosecuted the case.


Hang glider call actually balloons

A search for a possible downed hang glider was called off late Tuesday afternoon after officials found the victim to be nothing more than some festive party decorations.

A Cambria County emergency services supervisor said a call came in about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday from a Loretto-area resident who believed he saw a hang glider or small aircraft falling from the sky.

Workers couldn’t confirm a crash from the description, the supervisor said, so Loretto and Ashville fire departments were dispatched for a search in Allegheny Township.

State police at Ebensburg also were notified, the supervisor said.

A state police official said such crashes are uncommon, but a trooper had been sent out to assist in the search.

Crews spent about three hours searching for the mystery aircraft and its operator before finding a bundle of balloons in the woods and calling off the search.

From Mirror staff reports



Tyrone board OKs preliminary budget

The Tyrone school board approved its preliminary general fund budget for the 2014-15 school year at its meeting Tuesday night.

This version of the budget will be available for public review until June 17 at the district’s administrative offices, said John Clark, district business administrator.

The board is set to approve the final version at its regular session that night.

Clark said the district is operating on a deficit of about one million dollars, but such deficits have been typical historically. The district has not voted to raise taxes.

Current curriculums, arts programs, athletic programs and other student activities will be maintained, Clark said. He said that rising health care and pension costs contribute to budget fluctuations, as they impact employee salaries and benefit payments.

He noted the “years of dedication” that pulled the district out of debt. The Rev. Norman Huff, the board’s treasurer, thanked Clark for his work on pulling the budget together.

“We are most fortunate, as a district, in having Mr. Clark with us,” Huff said.

Police seeking info on damaged trees

Several city trees were intentionally sawed in half, and Altoona police are looking for who is responsible.

Trees located at 12th Avenue and 17th Street; Union Avenue and 19th Street; and Sixth Avenue and Union Avenue were vandalized over the weekend.

Police said it appears as if someone used a handsaw to cut the three trees. Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Altoona police at 949-2489.

From Mirror staff reports



Police: Man killed in two-vehicle crash

A two-vehicle crash has taken the life of a Centre County man.

Joshua G. Kline, 26, of Philipsburg, died late Monday after a vehicle he was driving crashed along Route 53 in Decatur Township, Clearfield County, near Coal Run Road, according to state police.

State police report Kline was headed north on Route 53 at 9:15 p.m. when his vehicle collided with the rear of another vehicle driven by 23 year-old Wesley S. McMasters, also of Philipsburg.

Police said McMasters’ vehicle came to a rest on the berm of the road while Kline’s vehicle drove off the road and struck a tree. Kline was pronounced dead at the scene by Clearfield County Coroner Michael Morris.

Two passengers in Kline’s vehicle also suffered injuries, police said. John D. Phelan, 23, of Philipsburg, was flown to UPMC Altoona, while a second passenger, Cody A. Golding, 22, of Munson, was taken to UPMC Altoona by ambulance along with McMasters, according to police.

Police said Kline and the two passengers in his vehicle were not wearing seat belts. It isn’t known if McMasters was buckled in, police added. The crash remains under investigation.

Houtzdale, Osceola Mills, Sandy Ridge and Philipsburg fire departments assisted at the scene along with EMS personnel from Moshannon Valley and Sandy Ridge.


Police: Boy locked inside home alone

Bedford police and public works employees climbed a ladder to free a 2-year-old boy locked alone in an apartment Tuesday, officers said in an online post.

The boy accidentally closed a locked door when his mother stepped onto a porch alongside their second-floor West Pitt Street apartment, police said.

A photo uploaded by police showed a Bedford Borough officer climbing a ladder to an outside window to free the child. The child was unhurt, police said.

From Mirror staff reports


GOP?women host state candidates

The Blair County Republican Women will host the Republican state committee candidates at their dinner meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at Hoss’s Steak and Sea House in Altoona.

The public is invited to attend.

Those attending should make reservations on the group’s website:

Republican State Committee members are elected every four years countywide. Blair County is allocated two men and two women to serve on the state committee.

For more information, contact club President Susan Nebgen at 931-1065.


Utility work to begin near Cessna

Lumadue Excavating LLC of West Decatur will begin relocating utility lines for the Bedford Township Municipal Authority in the area of the current Route 56/Route 4009 intersection near Cessna on Monday. This work is being done in preparation for the upcoming intersection improvements project.

Weather permitting, operations will begin Monday at Route 56 and Business Route 220. Single lane traffic patterns controlled by flaggers will be used. Motorists could experience minor delays during the work and are urged to avoid the area if possible.

The overall intersection improvement project is expected to start later this spring and be completed later in the fall of 2014.

Sugar Run work to begin Monday

Contractor Francis J. Palo, Inc. of Clarion will begin work on the Sugar Run Bridge replacement project in Allegheny Township on Monday.

On Monday, the contractor will begin 24 hour flagging operations for about five days to construct and realign Sugar Run Road with Broad Avenue Extension. Beginning May 19, traffic on Sugar Run Road will be detoured about 4.5 miles. The detour will run until Sept. 29, 2014.

The detour will follow: Sugar Run Road, Broad Avenue Extension, Carson Valley Road, Route 764, 58th Street, Oak Avenue and back to Sugar Run Road.

From Mirror staff reports