The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

March 7, 2014

Local and state briefs 3/8/2014

Saudi national to be deported

A Saudi Arabian national is being deported to his homeland after pleading guilty Friday to child pornography charges in Indiana County court.

Omar Alghamdi, 25, who has been residing in the 1300 block of Oakland Avenue in Indiana, also was sentenced to 14 days to one year in the Indiana County Jail and ordered to pay $316 in court costs, said District Attorney Patrick Dougherty.

President Judge William Martin paroled Alghamdi, at which time the federal Department of Immigration and Naturalization took custody of him for deportation to Saudi Arabia.

Alghamdi was arrested Dec. 12 after an investigation by the district attorney’s office and state police showed that he knowingly possessed child pornography.

Tons of road salt headed to area

The Johnstown-Altoona area is expected to receive 5,000 tons of road salt to replenish stocks, PennDOT secretary Barry Schoch said.

PennDOT began shipping 35,000 tons of road salt from a port in Delaware to maintenance sheds statewide.

The salt for this region will be picked up by PennDOT trucks in Fulton County and delivered here, according to the announcement.

Working with the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, PennDOT issued emergency low-bid contracts to five haulers to pick up the salt and deliver it to maintenance yards statewide.

So far this winter, PennDOT has used 1.12 million tons of salt, 35 percent more than the past five winters, when the ave­rage usage was 831,000 tons.

Reservations due for SAMA lecture

Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto is conducting a series of lectures to offer insight and appreciation of art history.

“Conversations With the Curator: A Lecture-and-Lunch Series for Art Lovers and Collectors” is a course that will take place quarterly. The first lecture is scheduled for Thursday.

The program will begin at 12:15 p.m. and will include a 45-minute talk by Scott Dimond, SAMA curator for visual arts, as well as a box lunch.

 The March program is titled “Likenesses and Loved Ones: Silhouettes, Miniature Portraits and Cased Photographs.” Using slides as well as actual objects, Dimond will discuss the art and social significance of these miniatures as well as tips for collecting and preserving them.

An informal question-and-answer period will follow.

Cost for the program is $25 per lecture, which includes lunch.

Reservations for the initial lecture must be made by Monday by calling 472-3920.

Additional lectures are scheduled for June 12, Sept. 18 and Dec. 4.

For more information, call 472-3920 or visit

CEO of long-delayed steel museum resigns

The embattled head of a long-delayed industrial museum at the former Bethlehem Steel site has resigned from his post in the wake of a grand jury investigation accusing him of negligence and mismanagement.

Stephen Donches resigned Friday as the president and CEO of the long-promised but never opened National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem.

He will remain at the museum as an employee at half of his former $180,000 annual salary.

A grand jury report released in January didn’t find criminal wrongdoing but did find mismanagement and wasted private and public funds. The report questioned why there’s still no museum after 17 years and $18 million in fundraising.

The grand jury recommended that Donches should resign or be fired and the organization should consider suing him.

Keystone pipeline protest planned

Environmental groups are planning a protest in Philadelphia against the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

The protest is planned for Monday at 12:30 p.m. at the Federal Building on Arch Street, according to a release from the Earth Quaker Action Team and the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club. They say the event will include civil disobedience targeting the Obama Administration.

The proposed 1,100-mile pipeline has become a high-profile symbol of the political debate over climate change.

Pipeline supporters say the project would create jobs and reduce the need for oil imports. Opponents say the pipeline would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming.

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State News
  • PennDOT contractor arraigned on $3.6M theft charge

    A Department of Transportation contractor stole $3.6 million in public funds by billing the state for work that was never done, state prosecutors said Thursday in what they described as an ongoing corruption probe of PennDOT’s southeastern Pennsylvania district.

    July 31, 2014

  • Police: Women stole thousands from elderly sisters, used money to show St. Bernards

    Two western Pennsylvania women have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from two elderly sisters and using the money to attend dog shows.

    July 29, 2014

  • Intervening neighbor’s death now ruled homicide

    The Allegheny County medical examiner says a neighbor who died after he intervened in a fight between a couple next door is the victim of homicide.

    July 29, 2014

  • Housing police: Naked women slashes 3 in melee

    Allegheny County Housing Authority police were trying to identify a naked woman who allegedly slashed or stabbed three other women in an apparent lovers’ quarrel at a public housing complex.

    July 29, 2014

  • Police: Rescued boys never mentioned drowned teen

    Police say two teens who were rescued from a jetty in Presque Isle Bay in Erie last week, and two others who were with them, never mentioned a fifth boy who drowned and whose body wasn’t found until Saturday.

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 arraigned, denied bail in deadly Philly carjacking

    Two men accused of carjacking a woman in north Philadelphia and plowing into a family selling fruit on a street corner, killing three children, have been ordered held without bail.

    July 29, 2014

  • PennDOT pushes ‘Yellow Dot’ vehicle stickers

    It’s the car sticker that could save your life.
    PennDOT’s “Yellow Dot” program has been around for several years, said Daniel Zakraysek, coordinator of the Cambria Allegheny Regional Highway Safety Network.

    July 28, 2014

  • Remembering elephant’s rampage

    The circus elephant paced the landing outside the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona.
    Police formed an uneasy line around the perimeter of the venue’s lawn, rifles at the ready.
    It was a cloudy, cold day in April 1993, and Tyke the elephant had just run around the circus ring, slapped a baboon and burst through a building’s front door, tearing off part of the wall above the door.

    July 28, 2014

  • State briefs 7/29/2014

    July 28, 2014

  • TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man’s carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport.

    July 28, 2014


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