Bryan Beppler of Johnstown has been named by the Cambria County commissioners as the county’s human resources director.
He succeeds Ron Baker, who resigned in April.
Beppler, who had been the assistant director since 2007, has been filling in as interim director. His salary was increased to $65,000 a year, up $12,470 from his current $52,530 a year.
President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder said Beppler’s salary still is below what Baker was making. He was paid $68,346.
Beppler began working for the county in 2006 as payroll supervisor at Laurel Crest, the county’s former nursing home.
He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received a master’s degree from St. Francis University.
In another promotion, Kimberly Oliveros, the county assurance risk management specialist, was named deputy mental health administrator.
Her salary was increased $2,270 to $47,676 a year.
River celebration rolls in Saturday
TIRE HILL – Fun on the Stonycreek River – from a canoe and kayak sojourn slicing though whitewater to leisurely tube floats – is expected to draw hundreds of paddlers, campers and other outdoors enthusiasts to Pennsylvania River of the Year ceremonies all day Saturday.
Shoreline and off-shore activities are planned at Greenhouse Park. The celebration comes six months after the Stonycreek, flowing through Cambria and Somerset counties, was named River of the Year in online voting.
“Our current River of the Year has rebounded from abandoned mine drainage threats,” said Richard Allan, secretary of the state department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“The Stonycreek has it all: Near-wilderness, pristine trout waters; nationally acclaimed whitewater adventure, and a watershed steeped in natural and historical resources.”
Before emptying into the Conemaugh River in Johnstown, the Stonycreek flows 46 miles across southern Cambria and northern Somerset counties.
Part of turnpike will close overnight
PennDOT is advising motorists that the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be closed in both directions between the Irwin Exit, No. 67, and the Pittsburgh Exit, No. 57, from 11:59 p.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Sunday.
Shutting the pike is necessary to accommodate overhead work on the bridge that carries Route 130 over the turnpike in Westmoreland County near the Harrison City maintenance facility.
The closure will depend on the weather.
The recommended detour for westbound traffic exiting at Irwin is 4.6 miles on Route 30 east, then 7 miles on Turnpike 66 north and 10.5 miles on Route 22 west. Motorists can re-enter the turnpike at the Pittsburgh interchange.
The recommended detour for eastbound traffic is the opposite. Motorists will re-enter the turnpike at the Irwin interchange and follow signs for Harrisburg and east.
The bridge-replacement project began in March and is expected to be done by November.
Garrett Shortcut project to begin
SOMERSET – Work is scheduled to begin Monday on the Garrett Shortcut in Somerset County, PennDOT said.
The $2.1 million project involves resurfacing the entire eight-mile length of the road from Route 219 to Route 653 near Garrett. Minor shoulder widening, drainage and guiderail upgrades will be included.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane and controlled by flaggers.
Motorists should be patient while traveling through the work zone and expect minor delays during daylight construction hours, PennDOT said.
The work is expected to be completed by mid-September.
New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co. Inc. of Bedford County is the prime contractor on the project.
Rock snot plagues Yough, state says
OHIOPYLE – An invasive form of algae called “rock snot” that disrupts the aquatic food chain has been found in the Youghiogheny River.
The state Fish and Boat Commission said the slimy goop was spotted earlier this month in Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County.
The algae can cover riverbeds, snuffing out insects and other organisms that feed larger fish, officials said. The algae, known as Didymo, also can make swimming and boating a slimy, unpleasant experience.
State officials want boaters and fishermen to make sure they properly clean their gear before using it in a new waterway to prevent the spread of the algae.
Rock snot also has been spotted in the Delaware River in Bucks County and the Dyberry Creek in Wayne County.
Lack of lifeguards limits swimming
PAVIA – Because lifeguards are not available, the Pavia pool at Blue Knob State Park will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The closure will remain in effect until further notice.
PennDOT to display bridge plans
SOMERSET – PennDOT will conduct an open house and plans display for the Coxes Creek Road bridge replacement in Somerset Township.
The session will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Somerset Township Building, 2209 N. Center Ave. The site is accessible to people with disabilities.
PennDOT representatives will answer questions from the public. The bridge is a half-mile north of Route 31. The existing structure will be removed and replaced in 2014.