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Thursday February 14 2013

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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013

DEADLY HIT AND RUN

STATE POLICE IN CENTRE COUNTY SAY THEY HAVE NO SUSPECTS IN A FATAL HIT AND RUN. EARLY TUESDAY MORNING, 32 YEAR OLD SHERRY HOUTZ OF BELLEFTONE WAS KILLED WHEN SHE WAS HIT BY A VEHICLE AS SHE WALKED ALONG THE BERM OF I-99 SOUTH IN PATTON TOWNSHIP. TROOPERS HAVE BEEN RECEIVING CALLS FROM PEOPLE PROVIDING POTENTIAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE CASE AND AN ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTIONIST IS TRYING TO DETERMINE DETAILS OF THE CRASH. POLICE SAY HOUTZ WAS INVOLVED IN SOME SORT OF INCIDENT A SHORT TIME EARLIER AT THE BENNER PIKE SHEETZ STORE, BUT THAT IS NOT THOUGHT TO BE DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO THE HIT-AND-RUN.

FORMER COP CLAIMS COVER-UP

BLAIR COUNTY JUDGE TIM SULLIVAN YESTERDAY UNSEALED 2 MEMOS WRITTEN BY FORMER ALTOONA POLICE DETECTIVE CRAIG ZAHRADNIK. THE ALTOONA MIRROR REPORTS THAT THE MEMOS IMPLY THAT TOP ALTOONA POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS WANTED TO COVER UP THE BEATINGS OF 2 MEN BY OFF-DUTY COPS. IT HAPPENED IN 2010 AT PELLEGRINE’S LOUNGE. A JURY RECENTLY CONVICTED FORMER OFFICER DUANE EICHENLAUB OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND CONSPIRACY WHILE ERIC KRINER PLEADED GUILTY TO REDUCED CHARGES OF SIMPLE ASSAULT AND CONSPIRACY TO OBSTRUCT A LAW ENFORCMENT INVESTIGATION. POLICE CHIEF JANICE FREEHLING SAYS THE MEMOS WERE ZAHRADNIK’S FAIRY TALE VERSION OF WHAT HAPPENED.

ALTOONA SCHOOLS CLOSING?

2 ALTOONA ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS ARE SLATED FOR CLOSURE AT THE END OF THIS SCHOOL YEAR. THE ALTOONA MIRROR REPORTS THE DISTRICT PLANS TO SHUT DOWN WRIGHT AND WASHINGTON-JEFFERSON. OFFICIALS RECEIVED A REPORT FROM AN ARCHITECT WHO SAID CLOSING THE SCHOOLS WOULD RESULT IN MORE EFFICIENT USE OF BUILDING CAPACITY AND BALANCE CLASS SIZES DISTRICTWIDE. OFFICIALS SAY THEY CAN SAVE MORE THAN 1-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. UP TO 10 TEACHERS FROM ANY OF THE DISTRICT’S SCHOOL COULD LOSE THEIR JOBS AND ABOUT 8 SECRETARIAL, CUSTODIAL, AND OTHER POSITIONS COULD BE CUT. PUBLIC HEARINGS WILL BE HELD MONDAY, MARCH 11TH AT THE ALTOONA AREA JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL…THEN THE BOARD MUST WAIT 90 DAYS BEFORE VOTING ON THE CLOSURES.

PENN STATE FINE MONEY STAYING IN PA?

LEGISLATION SPONSORED BY SENATOR JAKE CORMAN TO KEEP THE 60 MILLION DOLLAR NCAA FINE TO PENN STATE IN THE COMMONWEALTH PASSED THE STATE HOUSE YESTERDAY AND NOW GOES TO THE GOVERNOR FOR HIS SIGNATURE. CORMAN SAYS THE MONEY WILL GO TO PROGRAMS PREVENTING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND ASSISTING THE VICTIMS. THE NCAA HAD PLANNED TO DISTRIBUTE THE MONEY NATIONWIDE. 

CHANGING ALTOONA’S FORM OF GOVERNMENT?

ALTOONA CITY COUNCIL LAST NIGHT PASSED AN ORDINANCE THAT COULD LEAD TO A PERMANENT CHANGE IN THE CITY’S FORM OF GOVERNMENT. A REFERENDUM WILL GO ON THE PRIMARY BALLOT AUTHORIZING A GOVERNMENT STUDY COMMISSION TO CONSIDER WHETHER TO ADOPT HOME RULE. THIS COULD ENABLE ALTOONA TO LEAVE THE STATE’S DISTRESSED CITIES PROGRAM SOONER.

FIGHTING FOR TRAIN SERVICE

STATE REPRESENTATIVE MIKE FLECK OF HUNTINGDON COUNTY IS PUSHING FOR FUNDING TO MAINTAIN THE OPERATION OF AMTRAK’S PITTSBURGH-TO-HARRISBURG PASSENGER TRAIN. “THE PENNSYLVANIAN” ALSO MAKES STOPS IN ALTOONA, HUNTINGDON, LEWISTOWN, AND TYRONE. UNDER STATE LAW, PENNDOT MUST COVER THE 5-POINT-7 MILLION DOLLAR ANNUAL SUBSIDY TO OPERATE THE ROUTE.FLECK SAYS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE DEPEND ON THIS RAIL LINE.