The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 4, 2013

Local briefs 2/5/2013

Bishop seeks information from ex-students

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A Roman Catholic bishop in Ohio has appealed for information from former students about alleged sexual abuse by a Franciscan brother who killed himself after the allegations emerged.

Bishop George Murry of Youngstown said Monday he has sent letters to about 1,200 adults who attended John F. Kennedy High School in Warren from January to June 1978 and August 1985 to January 1992, while Brother Stephen Baker taught and coached there.

Baker, 62, was found dead of a self-inflicted knife wound at the St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, Pa., on Jan. 26, 10 days after the disclosure of financial settlements in 11 alleged abuse cases at Kennedy.

Since then, claims also have emerged at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Pa., where Baker also taught and coached.

City man faces drug, weapons charges

A Johnstown man was arrested Friday on drug and firearms charges.

Gerald Carr, 31, of the 400 block of Cypress Avenue, was accused of possessing a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, prohibited offensive weapon, prohibited firearm and a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

A state parole agent alleged that 90 packets of heroin and about  four grams of cocaine were found during a search of  Carr’s residence.

District Judge John Barron issued a $100,000 bond during an arraignment hearing Friday. Carr remains in jail.

Coroner rules fire fatality accidental

Cambria County’s coroner has ruled a Johnstown woman’s death in an Oakhurst fire was accidental.

Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said an autopsy Monday showed Crystal Ann Thomas, 26, died of smoke inhalation stemming from a fire in her apartment Sunday.

The fire, which started on the main floor of Building 8 at the Oakhurst Homes, sent crews from Johnstown to the scene Sunday evening to battle flames. Thomas was the only person inside the home, Kwiatkowski said.

The fire itself is believed to be accidental, responders said Sunday, but a state police fire marshal is investigating because the blaze involved a death.

Man, 72, harassed Sears worker, police say

SOMERSET – A Somerset-area man was charged with harassment Saturday after he allegedly grabbed a Sears employee.

State police in Somerset said Melvin E. Tunstall, 72, grabbed and yelled at a man inside the North Center Avenue store. Tunstall also faces disorderly conduct charges.

Flood museum closes during water cleanup

A broken water pipe has forced the Johnstown Flood Museum to close until cleanup crews complete their work.

The pipe, which is part of the museum’s sprinkler system, broke early Sunday morning.

Shelley Johansson, Johnstown Area Heritage Association communications director, said that because the sprinkler system is monitored automatically by the Johnstown Fire Department, fire officials were able to notify museum administrators.

Although the break occurred on the museum's third floor, damage was minimal, she said.

“Fortunately, the archives and the exhibits are unaffected, but the museum was closed Sunday and will be closed Tuesday as the cleanup continues,” Johansson said. “We expect to be able to reopen relatively soon, and will be posting updates on and our Facebook page.”

Fire hits Lincoln Township home

SOMERSET – Seven fire companies responded to a structure fire in Lincoln Township on Monday.

The residence is located in the 1800 block of Keyerstown Road.

The incident was reported shortly before noon. Firefighters remained on scene for three hours.

Learning Lamp plans open house events

The Learning Lamp is offering 30 minutes of free homework help at open house events in Johnstown and Somerset.  

Sessions will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Somerset Tutoring Center, 451 Aberdeen Drive, Somerset, and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Learning Lamp, 2025 Bedford St., Johnstown.

This event is for pupils in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Special discounted pricing on tutoring will be available to families who attend.

Refreshments will be served.  

Registration is required and space is limited.

To register or schedule a free 30-minute homework help session for students in grades seven through 12, call 262-0732.

For more information, visit

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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