The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 8, 2013

Local briefs 5/9/2013

Lightning damages 2 Richland Twp. homes

Lightning from a thunderstorm damaged two homes in the 200 block of Coldren Street in Richland Township late Wednesday afternoon.

Lightning hit the first home, splintering a roof joist, then jumped to a home at the rear of the property, starting a stove on fire, said Richland Assistant Fire Chief Tim Shaffer.

Firefighters extinguished the stove fire, he said.

Que release valve problem solved

A torque adjustment apparently was all that was needed to get the Quehmahoning Reservoir’s whitewater release valve back in order. A Somerset County contractor determined that settings needed to be adjusted on mechanisms used to open and close the valve, Cambria Somerset Authority Manager Earl Waddell said Wednesday.

Waddell said the valve has been tested since with no issues.

The valve stopped working Saturday during a multiphase process required to close it. The problem forced the authority to cancel a planned whitewater release the following day.

Casting foundry closing at month’s end

WHEMCO plans to close its Johnstown Specialty Castings plant at the end of the month. The company is a worldwide supplier of heavy industrial metal parts for power plants and shipbuilding.

WHEMCO announced in March that the plant would close later this year and laid off 36 out of more than 100 workers. Other workers have been laid off since, and about 40 remain who are working to close the plant.

Company officials said the plant’s work is being moved to another, more efficient, plant in Midland, Beaver County. WHEMCO and the Harvard Investment Group of Florida bought the plant from the former Johnstown Corp. in September 2005.

Ex-workers steal $16G with bogus returns

INDIANA – Two former workers at a Lowe’s home improvement store were guilty of creating many unhappy returns for their employer, state police said.

The accused are Joseph Chunkala, 21, of Penn Run, and David Cochran, 21, of Indiana.

Troopers from the Indiana barracks allege the men stole more than $16,000 by faking return receipts at the White Township store and pocketing the cash. Since February, the two allegedly created roughly 80 bogus return receipts, which they used to generate refunds worth $16,349, which police said the men pocketed.

The men were each arraigned on a charge of theft Wednesday.

Both are scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday.

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