The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 19, 2012

Local and State Briefs | 11/20/2012

Coroner IDs victim in mobile home fire

The Indiana County coroner’s office on Monday confirmed the death of a county man as the result of a structure fire Sunday night.

Coroner Michael Baker said 36-year-old Steven Brewer died when flames swept through his mobile home at 215 Lincoln Ave. in White Township.

The cause and origin of the fire are under investigation by a state police fire marshal.

The initial call on the fire was received by Indiana County 911 Center shortly after 10 p.m.

When firefighters arrived minutes later, the structure was nearly fully engulfed in flames.

Baker said Brewer’s body was found in the kitchen area. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:13 p.m.

Baker said the man’s dog also perished in the flames.

Brewer’s 16-year-old son was found to be safe with friends when the fire broke out, Baker said.

Blair woman in coma after fire kills son

ALTOONA – Family members said a woman remains in a medically induced coma after she escaped with her 2-year-old daughter from a fire that killed her son.

Relatives of 33-year-old Brandy Etchison, of Altoona, said doctors were trying to clean out her lungs from the Thursday fire that killed 3-year-old Daryl Etchison Jr.

Altoona police said 62-year-old Aaron Wilson Dishong set the fire in an attempt to kill his ex-girlfriend, who sometimes stayed with the Etchisons but wasn’t there at the time.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Dishong, who faces a preliminary hearing Wednesday. The Altoona Mirror reported that Dishong remained in the Blair County Prison without bond Monday.

Police said Brandy Etchison jumped from a third-floor window to save herself and her daughter, Madison.

Flue fire damages Wilmore workshop

WILMORE – Fire caused moderate damage to a two-story workshop in the 800 block of Turkey Path Road in Summerhill Township on Monday afternoon.

The fire originated in the flue serving a wood-burning stove, said Summerhill Township fire Chief George Fedore. The fire gutted the rear wall and caused smoke damage throughout the two-story building, located about 21/4 miles north of Wilmore, he said.

The owner of the structure was identified as Charles Lamer.

Also responding were volunteers from Summerhill, Wilmore, South Fork and Portage.

Sheetz blames Sandy for gas shortage

HARRISBURG – An Altoona-based convenience store chain said it’s just now feeling the effects of Superstorm Sandy, three weeks after the massive storm moved into the area.

Sheetz stores in central Pennsylvania reported running out of 87 and 89 octane gasoline over the weekend. A company spokeswoman said the shortage is a delayed reaction to the storm that made landfall late last month.

Spokeswoman Monica Jones told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg that until now the chain has been using gas produced before the storm hit. That supply was disrupted when refineries along the coast went offline.

The company hopes the interruption is temporary.

Red Cross reminds residents of need for blood

The American Red Cross is urging the public to not only give thanks, but to give blood as well.

“Today there are hundreds of thousands of people across our country who have received transfusions of blood and blood components,” said John Hagins, CEO of the Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region, based in Johnstown.

“They and their family are thankful to the blood donors who gave their time and their blood donation to help save lives.”

From Wednesday through Monday, those donating blood will receive a special holiday themed, white long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last.

While donors of all blood types are needed daily, there currently is great demand for type O negative blood, the universal blood type.

For an appointment or to find other blood donation opportunities, call (800) RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or go online to

College’s EQ courses gain recognition

Cambria-Rowe Business College was featured recently in the Career Education Review.

The national publication included an article titled “Reinvented” on how Cambria-Rowe incorporated soft skills, also known as EQ (emotional intelligence) skills, into its curriculum.

Mike Artim, the college’s executive director, discussed why the school made the changes and how it was accomplished.

Cambria-Rowe is one of the first colleges in the country to focus on the EQ skills employers are demanding throughout the curriculum.

To read the article, visit

Help center needs a hand to light up garden

The Women’s Help Center is asking for the public’s help to light its Peace Garden for the holidays.

Supporters will be able to purchase a string of lights for $20, a glass solar lantern for $25 or a star tree topper for $100.

If the items are purchased in honor or memory of a loved one, an acknowledgement will be sent to the honoree.

All proceeds will go to the center, which provides domestic violence services free of charge in Cambria and Somerset counties.

The help center is at 809 Na­poleon St. in Johnstown.

Information is available by calling 536-5361.

Dance raises $4G for breast care center

Organizers of Brothers and Sisters Unite, a benefit dance, raised $4,050 for patient care services at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center in Windber.

The dance, held earlier this fall at Ace’s in Johnstown, featured the Band-Aids, members of a local bands including the Tom Katz Band, The Boomers, Johnstown Classic Rockers and Totem.

Breast cancer survivors spoke about their battles against the disease. Speakers from the breast care center were on hand to answer questions.

The organizers were Carolyn Brumbaugh, Dianna Burkhart, Tom Voytas, Dee Michaels, Cathy Costlow and Patty Felton.

Teacher, 61, carjacked outside Pgh. school

WILKINSBURG – Police were searching Monday for a man who used a stun gun while carjacking a 61-year-old teacher’s vehicle  near the Pittsburgh-area elementary school where she works.

Lois Clark said the man targeted her head with the stun gun but told WPXI-TV she fought him off: “I kicked, and kicked and kicked.”

That didn’t stop the man from driving away in her 2004 green Honda Odyssey minivan, which she had just parked at Kelly Elementary School in Wilkinsburg about 7:45 a.m. Monday.

Clark wasn’t hurt but was checked out at a hospital as a precaution.

Wilkinsburg School District Superintendent Archie Perrin Jr. said the incident happened on the street, off school property, in the crime-ridden suburb.