The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 16, 2013

IN BRIEF | RoxCoal to open underground mine

The Tribune-Democrat

— FRIEDENS – RoxCoal, a sister company of Friedens-based PBS Coals, has begun work to open a new underground mine in Brothersvalley and Black townships near the intersection of Garrett Shortcut and Mud Pike.

The work to get the mine into production will take about a year and represent an investment of about $15 million, said Roger Dean, vice president of underground mine operations.

“I am excited about the potential for the new A-seam mine,” he said. The coal has a low sulfur content, and the coal seam is 6 to 8 feet thick.”

The mine covers 3,174 acres and is estimated to have a life expectancy of five to seven years at a production level of 2 million raw tons a year, Dean said.

The initial operation will employ 30 to 50 miners. During full production, 150 or more miners will be needed, he said.

Diocese to honor scholarship supporters

Two receptions to recognize supporters of the Second Century Scholarship Fund and to educate businesses about the opportunities will be hosted by the Most Rev. Mark L. Bartchak, bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese.

They will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Ramada Inn, 1 Sheraton Drive, Altoona, and at 6:30 p.m. June 5 at the Holiday Inn, 250 Market St., Johnstown.

The diocese has received a record amount of contributions to its Second Century Scholarship Fund, which accepts contributions from businesses participating in the tax credit program and distributes scholarships to eligible students attending Catholic schools within the eight-county diocese.

During the past fiscal year, more than 145 businesses have contributed more than $1.4 million to the fund. As a result, the diocese will award a record amount of scholarship money to students attending Catholic schools throughout the Altoona-Johnstown area during the 2013-2014 academic year.

For more information, call 695-5577 or visit

Grandma gets jail for hog-tying boy at home

ALTOONA – A Blair County woman will spend 60 days to two years in jail for hog-tying her 5-year-old grandson to a chair so she could go to a methadone clinic.

The Altoona Mirror reports 49-year-old Evelyn Himes, of Duncansville, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading no contest to endangering the welfare of a child and simple assault.

Police charged Himes after the boy’s preschool called county social workers after noticing a mark on his wrist. The boy told investigators he’d been tied down, and investigators later determined Himes bound him with scarves.

Himes claimed the boy was behaving badly and reminded the judge the court had given her custody of the boy.

Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva told Himes that the boy has been well-behaved since he was placed in foster care and called Himes “misguided.”

Man faces sentence on jackpot tax evasion

PITTSBURGH – A 71-year-old Fayette County man faces up to 18 months in prison when he’s sentenced by a federal judge in Pittsburgh for trying to evade income taxes on $520,000 worth of Pennsylvania Lottery winnings.

Sherman Friend, of McClellandtown, pleaded guilty in September to having 40 people cash in lottery tickets worth $520,000 so he could avoid paying federal income tax on the winnings.

Prosecutors said Friend won big when he bought 208 50-cent tickets on the number 1127 for the lottery’s midday Big 4 drawing on Dec. 17, 2009. Each ticket was worth $2,500, so Friend asked more than 20 friends, who in turn recruited others, to cash the tickets so the tax liability couldn’t be traced back to him.

In most instances, Friend paid the ticket-cashers $250, or 10 percent of each ticket’s value.

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