The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 27, 2014

Local briefs 3/28/2014

Johnstown woman had $3G in heroin, police say

A Johnstown woman faces drug charges after police said they found $3,300 worth of suspected heroin in her vehicle during a traffic stop Wednesday.

In a criminal complaint, police said they stopped a GMC Yukon at Bond Street and Linden Avenue for a traffic violation.

A police sergeant said that when he informed the driver, 30-year-old Kayla Ann Clark, that her driver’s license had been suspended for drunken driving, she tried to slam the door on his arm.

Police obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and said they found 13 bundles of heroin in a black purse and 20 bundles of heroin in a small brown box.

The complaint lists Clark’s addresses as the 200 block of Chandler Avenue and the 500 block of Grove Avenue.

She was arraigned by on-call District Judge Galen Decort of Cresson on multiple drug-related charges and resisting arrest.

Clark was freed after posting bond.

Man gets 10 years in drug, weapon case

A Johnstown man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug and weapon possession by a federal judge on Thursday.  

Gerald P. Carr, 32, of Cypress Avenue, also will serve three years probation after his release for being found in possession of less than 100 grams of heroin as well as a .45-caliber rifle, federal prosecutors said. Because Carr had been convicted previously for felony cocaine possession, he was not permitted to possess a firearm, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said.

An investigation by Johns­town police and the FBI’s Laurel Highlands Resident Agency led to Carr’s arrest, he said.

‘Kasey’s Quest’ earns Keystone Press Award

The Tribune-Democrat has been named a winner of a Keystone Press Award for daily newspapers with circulations between 20,000 and 39,999.

The publication was honored with a second-place award for Editor Eric Knopsnyder’s personality profile “Kasey’s Quest” about the life of Richland High School transgender student Kasey Caron.

Nearly 4,300 entries were received from 142 Pennsylvania Newspaper Association members with 27 categories across seven circulation divisions.

Winners will be recognized May 31 in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Press Conference in State College.

Panera Bread hosting autism fundraiser

The Pieces of Hope for Autism fundraising campaign will be held Tuesday through April 7 at Panera Bread locations in Johnstown and Altoona.

Proceeds from each Puzzle Piece shortbread cookie sold will be donated to Windber Medical Center’s pediatric occupational therapy autism program.  

To pre-order cookies, go to

Blairsville man gets 20 years for exploiting girl, 7

An Indiana County man will spend 20 years in federal prison for exploiting a 7-year-old girl by posting child pornography of her online using his neighbor’s wireless Internet connection.

Joseph Payson, 46, of Blairsville, was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Pittsburgh.

Payson previously pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting the girl by taking sexually explicit photos of her.

After police discovered the images were being sent using the neighbor’s wireless connection, they searched Payson’s home and seized a camera and computer, discovering the images he had made of the girl.

Anonymous donor ups reward in unsolved slaying

An anonymous donor has increased a reward for information in an unsolved slaying in Westmoreland County to $50,000.

State police in Greensburg said the last time the reward was increased – from $5,000 to $20,000 in 2012 – they received an influx of tips.

Still, police have yet to charge anyone in the death of 22-year-old Samantha Lang. She was found with her throat slashed in the Derry Township home where she lived with her father and brother on March 27, 2007.

The Lang men weren’t living there at the time because they were incarcerated on drug charges. Police said the house was known for drug activity and was found ransacked.

The increased reward offer, announced Wednesday, will expire on April 26.

Tech school grads sue over accreditation

Four former students have sued an Indiana County technical school, claiming the certified medical assistant course they took wasn’t accredited.

The plaintiffs contend that alleged failure by the Indiana County Technology Center means they can’t take a test to be certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants, nor can they now get jobs in that field.

The Indiana Gazette reported the students are seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tuition and other damages, saying they must now get the same training somewhere else to pursue careers as medical assistants.

The school’s executive director, Carol Jean Fry, has declined comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit contends the course wasn’t accredited during the 2011-12 school year, when the plaintiffs were enrolled.