THURSDAY JULY 10 2014

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THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014

WE’RE JUST HOURS AWAY FROM HEARING GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT'S DECISION ON WHETHER HE WILL SIGN THE BUDGET. HE TOLD REPORTERS YESTERDAY HE IS STILL REVIEWING DOCUMENTS FOR THE MORE THAN 29-BILLION-DOLLAR SPENDING PLAN, BUT HE DID NOT TIP HIS HAND IF HE WAS LEANING TOWARD SIGNING OR VETOING THE PACKAGE, OR ASKING THE HOUSE AND SENATE TO FIX THE PROBLEMS HE HAS WITH IT.

AN AUDIT REPORT OF 2013 ALTOONA FINANCES PRESENTED TO CITY COUNCIL LAST NIGHT SHOWED AN OPERATIONAL SURPLUS OF ABOUT 400-THOUSAND DOLLARS. ACCORDING TO THE ALTOONA MIRROR, THAT WAS BETTER THAN EXPECTED, AS THE BUDGET HAD PROJECTED A BREAK-EVEN YEAR. FINANCE DIRECTOR OMAR STROHM ADMITS THE SURPLUS REPRESENTS A SUCCESS FOR THE CITY’S ACT 47 RECOVERY PLAN.

THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES REPORTS THAT ATTORNEYS FOR FORMER FBI DIRECTOR LOUIS FREEH ASKED TO HAVE THE DEFAMATION LAWSUIT BROUGHT BY EX-PENN STATE PRESIDENT GRAHAM SPANIER MOVED TO FEDERAL COURT. FREEH HAS BEEN FIGHTING A CENTRE COUNTY JUDGE’S DECISION TO GRANT SPANIER A STAY IN THE CASE WHILE HIS CRIMINAL CASE PLAYS OUT IN DAUPHIN COUNTY COURT. SPANIER’S LAWYERS FILED A NOTICE OF THEIR INTENT TO SUE ALMOST A YEAR AGO, BUT THEY HAVE STILL NOT FILED A FORMAL COMPLAINT OUTLINING THE ALLEGATIONS OF DEFAMATION AGAINST FREEH.

WEATHER FORECASTERS HAVE NOW CONFIRMED THAT AT LEAST 2 TORNADOES HIT DIFFERENT PARTS OF PENNSYLVANIA TUESDAY. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAYS A TWISTER PACKING MAXIMUM WINDS ESTIMATED AT 90 MILES PER HOUR TOUCHED DOWN NEAR THE TOWN OF HOAGLAND IN MERCER COUNTY, TRAVELING 2-AND-A-HALF MILES. ANOTHER TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN NEAR NEW ALBANY IN BRADFORD COUNTY. IT DESTROYED A MOBILE HOME AND A BARN. UTILITY CREWS HAVE BEEN WORKING TO RESTORE SERVICE TO 10S OF THOUSANDS OF PENNSYLVANIA CUSTOMERS LEFT WITHOUT POWER.

HOLLIDAYSBURG POLICE CHIEF JEFFREY KETNER SAYS 44 YEAR OLD CHRISTOPHER JOHNSTON OF HOLLIDAYSBURG BROKE INTO DOZENS OF CARS IN THE AREA SINCE MAY, STEALING LOTS OF PURSES AND WALLETS. SO FAR, HE HAS ONLY BEEN CHARGED WITH 3 THEFTS, BUT POLICE HAVE RECOVERED ENOUGH EVIDENCE FROM HIS HOME TO CHARGE HIM WITH UP TO 40 OTHERS. THEY ALSO FOUND SUSPECTED HEROIN PACKETS AND DRUG PARAPHERNALIA. JOHNSTON IS IN THE BLAIR COUNTY JAIL WITH A PRELIMINARY HEARING TENTATIVELY SET FOR TUESDAY.

A DOOR-TO-DOOR PIZZA SCAM…AND NOW JOHNSTOWN POLICE HAVE CHARGED JON BELTZ AND NICHOLE CAIRNS, BOTH OF JOHNSTOWN, WITH 3 COUNTS EACH OF THEFT AND RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY. THEY ALLEGEDLY FUNDED BELTZ’S HEROIN HABIT BY KNOCKING ON DOORS SELLING “LITTLE CAESAR’S PIZZA KITS” IN MAY AND JUNE. THEY USED A CHILD AS PART OF THE SCAM, SO BELTZ AND CAIRNS ARE ALSO CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION OF MINORS. AUTHORITIES SAY THEY HAVE THE NAMES OF 57 RESIDENTS WHO DONATED BETWEEN 18 AND 20-DOLLARS FOR PIZZA AND CINNAMON STICKS. ONLY 11 PEOPLE HAVE COME FORWARD SO FAR.

GARY VAUGHN, WHO OWNED GARY’S STEALS & DEALS PAWN SHOP IN PORTAGE, WAS CONVICTED OF PURCHASING ITEMS STOLEN BY DRUG ADDICTS AND SELLING THEM ON THE INTERNET. HE IS SERVING 2 YEARS IN A FEDERAL PRISON FOR CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MONEY LAUNDERING AND MAIL FRAUD. NOW, THE ALTOONA MIRROR REPORTS THAT THE IRS IS ASKING A U-S DISTRICT JUDGE TO FORCE VAUGHN TO FORFEIT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AND 67 SILVER BARS FOUND IN HIS HOME. HIS WIFE, TONIA, IS ALSO CHARGED WITH SELLING STOLEN ITEMS AFTER HE HUSBAND’S INDICTMENT. HE IS APPEALING.

A RECENT STUDY BY AARP RANKS PENNSYLVANIA AS ONE OF THE WORST STATES FOR THE ELDERLY. THE REPORT IS TITLED "RAISING EXPECTATION," AND USES DATA COLLECTED FROM 2009 TO 2013. PENNSYLVANIA COMES IN AT NUMBER 42 ON THE LIST…GETTING POOR RATINGS WHEN IT CAME TO AFFORDABILITY, ACCESS TO LONG TERM CARE, QUALITY OF LIFE CARE AND FAMILY CARE GIVER SUPPORT.

GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT YESTERDAY SIGNED INTO LAW LEGISLATION THAT WILL ALLOW ALL HUNTERS IN THE STATE TO USE CROSSBOWS IN DEER, BEAR, AND TURKEY SEASONS. THE NEW LAW WAS INTRODUCED REPRESENTATIVE GARY HALUSKA OF CAMBRIA COUNTY, CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE GAME AND FISHERIES COMMITTEE. HE SAYS IT WILL TAKE EFFECT BY EARLY SEPTEMBER.

THE LAW WAS SIGNED THIS WEEK IN HARRISBURG AND THE 17TH STREET BRIDGE CARRYING TRAFFIC OVER ROUTE 56 IN WINDBER IS NOW OFFICIALLY KNOW AS THE STATE TROOPER JOSEPH SEPP JUNIOR BRIDGE. THE 1986 WINDBER AREA GRADUATE WAS GUNNED DOWN ON DUTY IN NOVEMBER 2002 FOLLOWING A CHASE THAT ENDED IN DOWNTOWN EBENSBURG. MARK LEACH, THE MAN WHO SHOT SEPP, DIED IN PRISON IN 2011.

TODAY IS THE FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF THE CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS IN DOWNTOWN STATE COLLEGE. THE EVENT FEATURES ARTISANS FROM ALL OVER THE U-S…FESTIVAL FOOD…LIVE MUSIC…AND OTHER ENTERTAINMENT. MUCH OF IT IS FREE AND YOU CAN BUY ARTSFEST BUTTONS ON-LINE OR AT LOCAL VENDORS. YESTERDAY WAS CHILDREN AND YOUTH DAY. ARTSFEST RUNS THROUGH SUNDAY.

THE FOOD NETWORK’S SHOW “RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE” IS COMING TO MAMMA LUCREZIA’S PIZZERIA IN BELLEFONTE NEXT WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY. EVERY TABLE HAS ALREADY BEEN FILLED FOR THE JULY 17TH FINALE. CELEBRITY CHEF AND HOST ROBERT IRVINE’S WEEKLY CHALLENGE ON THE SHOW IS TO “SAVE AMERICA’S MOST DESPERATE RESTAURANTS FROM IMPENDING FAILURE.” HE CRITIQUES FAILING RESTAURANTS, THEN — IN THE COURSE OF JUST 2 DAYS AND WITH 10-THOUSAND DOLLARS — SETS OUT TO RETURN THEM TO PROFITABILITY. “RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE” AIRS WEDNESDAY NIGHTS AND THE MAMMA LUCREZIA’S EPISODE WILL AIR IN LATE SUMMER.