The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 2, 2013

In Brief | Sheetz closing old store along Scalp

Staff and wire reports

JOHNSTOWN — It appears there’s room for only one Sheetz at a busy Scalp Avenue intersection after all.

Sheetz is closing its convenience store at the Scalp-Eisenhower Boulevard intersection, saying the experiment of pairing the old store with a new one that opened over the summer within one commercial block did not work out as well as it hoped.

“It’s probably a twofold reason,” Sheetz spokeswoman Monica Jones said, adding the decision wasn’t as simple as how the store was faring day to day.

The older store, with its cramped parking area and decade-old design, would have required significant investment that likely would not have paid off, she said.

“People want the offerings our modern stores carry,” Jones said.

All employees have been relocated to existing stores – many to the new one across the street and others to locations closer to their homes, she said.

Jones was not sure whether Sheetz owns or leases the Scalp-Eisenhower location, and said future plans for the lot are unknown.

Coroner seeks family of man who died

The Cambria County coroner’s office is asking for help to find the family of a Kernville man who died recently in his home.

John A. Small III, 58, was found dead on Saturday, but he apparently died a few days before that, Chief Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Lees said.

“He died of natural causes,” Lees said.

Mail was piling up at his home in the 600 block of Sherman Street. Neighbors had not seen Small for several days, Lees said.

His landlord discovered Small’s body when checking on him. The landlord and neighbors did not know of any family, Lees added.

“We are asking the public if they know the gentleman,” Lees said. “If they know of any next of kin, they should contact me.”

The coroner’s office phone number is 535-6222.

Turnpike tolls to increase on Sunday

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls are scheduled to increase this weekend.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said Wednesday most cash-paying customers will see a 10 percent increase, while E-ZPass users will pay

2 percent more. Motorists on the Southern Beltway in the Pittsburgh area will see a steeper increase in cash tolls.

The increases take effect Sunday.

The commission has been expanding the differential between cash and electronic tolls since 2011. E-ZPass travelers saved up to 17 percent last year, and the pending changes will widen that to 25 percent in 2013.

As part of a campaign to convert the turnpike to all-electronic tolls, officials have reduced fees in the E-ZPass program.

They say using technology to deduct tolls as vehicles roll through the toll booths is safer, less expensive and more convenient.

Pgh. clinic overlooks worker safety: Report

PITTSBURGH – Violence prevention efforts at a Pittsburgh psychiatric clinic where a gunman shot six people last year focus too much on patients and not enough on employee safety, a consultant hired by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration found.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday reported the findings by Jane Lipscomb, a professor at the University of Maryland Nursing School who was paid nearly $31,000 by OSHA to review workplace violence at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. That’s where mentally ill gunman John Shick killed one worker and wounded five others before he was fatally shot by University of Pittsburgh campus police on March 8.

“WPIC’s workplace violence prevention efforts are completely overshadowed by patient safety considerations,” Lipscomb found, though she acknowledged “a number of initiative(s) designed to protect patients also infer staff safety.”

Still, she concluded, “WPIC’s management commitment to violence prevention is obscured by their nearly singular focus on patient safety.”

Prank caller targets widows

GREENSBURG – Police in Greensburg are trying to find a prank caller who has played a sick joke on recently widowed women.

Police said the caller tells the women that their relative has been abducted and tied up.

The caller has targeted two women whose husbands recently died and, in each case, used the specific name of a relative. That’s leading police to believe that the caller is finding the names of widows in newspaper obituaries and then using the names of surviving relatives as part of the ruse.

Police said both widows contacted them after receiving the calls last month. Police determined neither relative had really been harmed.

Greensburg police Lt. Doug Marcoz said, “Nothing leads us to believe that anybody is in any danger.”

Gas leak forces building evacuation

HARRISBURG – Authorities said a natural gas leak forced the evacuation of an office building near the state Capitol and, eventually, the early dismissal of many state employees.

Utility workers responded to the report of a gas odor in the basement of the Capitol Complex’s North Office Building on Wednesday morning.

Department of General Services spokesman Troy Thompson said workers were evacuated around noon. Shortly after, officials decided to send employees home for the rest of the day.

About 400 employees work in the building for the Pennsylvania departments of State and General Services, and for some legislative offices.

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