The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 18, 2012

In brief: Critz holding telephone town hall tonight

Staff and wire reports

— U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, has scheduled a telephone town hall meeting tonight for 40,000 constituents of the 12th Congressional District in Cambria and Somerset counties.

At 6:15 p.m., calls will go out asking residents to participate in the event. Critz will provide a short update on current legislation and then answer questions from participants.

The program will end at 7:15 p.m.

Windber principal retiring

Douglas Ledney, Windber Middle School principal, will be retiring this summer but said he plans to remain active in the educational field.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with a great staff, teachers and parents over the years. It’s been a wonderful experience and working environment,” Ledney said in a release.

Ledney said he wishes everyone at the Windber Area School District continued success.

Bank ranks 1st in one-year return

SOMERSET – Somerset Trust Inc. announced at its annual meeting recently that it ranked first among community banks nationwide in one-year return to shareholders – stock appreciation plus dividends.

That return was pegged at 59.8 percent, the bank said.

Separately, the bank was named one of the Top 200 Community Banks in the country by SNL Financial. The bank is 36th on the list based on a three-year average of return on equity.

“We are honored by this achievement,” CEO G. Henry Cook said in a release.

Table games revenue up 7.4 percent last month

PHILADELPHIA – State gaming officials say revenue from table games was up 7.4 percent last month when compared with May 2011. That increase is boosted by play at Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opened in March.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said Monday that table games brought in $55.2 million in gross revenue last month, up from $51.4 million during the same period last year.

The totals include $2.2 million in gross revenue at Valley Forge; without that revenue, revenue at existing casinos was up about

3.1 percent – led by an increase of more than 50 percent at Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem.

Harrah’s Philadelphia, The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Hollywood Casino, Mount Airy Casino Resort, and The Meadows Casino and Racetrack all saw declines in their numbers.

Clay drilling lubricant leaks into creek

POINT MARION – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is monitoring a creek where a clay substance used as a lubricant leaked from an underground drilling operation in Fayette County.

The DEP says the bentonite leaked into Georges Creek on June 2 or 3. The substance is naturally occurring clay used to lubricate natural gas pipeline drilling bits and sometimes the underground pressure of drilling forces it up through fissures in the ground and into waterways.

The Herald-Standard of Uniontown reports the pipeline is owned by operated by Laurel Mountain Midstream. A spokesman says such leaks are unpredictable and that the company is working with regulators.

Although bentonite is a natural substance, environmentalists say if too much gets into the water it could harm fish by coating their gills.

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