Here is a look at the top stories of local interest published in The Indiana Gazette during the week of Oct 20 to 26.
SUNDAY, OCT. 20
Indiana County will be part of KDKA Radio’s “KDKA to Z” series, a monthlong feature that goes through the alphabet, taking KDKA Radio and its hosts to different locations through October. KDKA CBS Radio Morning Show will broadcast from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday from IRMC Park on North Seventh Street in Indiana Borough. Morning show hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway will talk with guests from Indiana and shine a spotlight on what the county has to offer.
MONDAY, OCT. 21
The Indiana County Tourist Bureau and well-known Indiana community figures Carson Greene Jr. and Carl Kologie will be the recipients of the 2013 George Bailey Award. The James M. Stewart Museum Foundation annually presents the Bailey Award to special friends of the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana and to those who share the values and integrity of the film star.
Pauline Simms, president of the board of directors of the museum foundation, also confirmed that celebrity impersonator Rich Little and Judy Stewart, Jimmy Stewart’s daughter, will present the awards during a dinner ceremony Nov. 23 at the Rustic Lodge in White Township.
TUESDAY, OCT. 22
The Indiana Foundation for Education, a nonprofit advocate for educational quality and community growth, invites the public to an open forum for school board candidates in the Indiana Area School District. The forum will take place in the East Pike Elementary School gymnasium on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. Five of the nine seats on the board will be filled during the Nov. 5 election.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 23
Indiana County businessman Daniel Pikel was sentenced Tuesday to serve 27 months in prison for his guilty plea to a count of conspiracy connected to a money laundering scheme at an area drilling business. Pikel, 57, of Griffith Drive, Home, the owner of Pikel’s Universal Auto Service and the BP Inn, both in Rayne Township, admitted to laundering through his accounts almost $3 million in funds embezzled from Falcon Drilling LLC, of Indiana.
Federal prosecutors charged that Pikel accepted and cashed checks from Falcon’s former chief operating officer, Larry Winckler, between 2009 and 2012, when a company employee, Cheryl Brooks, approached authorities to report the situation. Brooks and Winckler both were initially charged by Pennsylvania state police but Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty withdrew the cases, allowing federal officials to take over the investigation. Brooks has been indicted and has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.
THURSDAY, OCT. 24
An Indiana man died early Thursday from injuries he suffered in a traffic crash in White Township. Vernon Troup, 71, died at 3:07 a.m. at Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, where he had been sent for treatment in the trauma center, authorities said. State police at Indiana reported that Troup was ejected from his car at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday when the car collided with another driven by Virginia Holmes, of Indiana. Troup stopped on McKnight Road, then entered Warren Road, crossing into the path of Holmes’ car, police reported.
FRIDAY, OCT. 25
Blairsville’s part-time police officers will see their base wages rise by close to 26 percent over the next four years under a new labor agreement with the borough. Under the contract, base wages for part-time officers will increase from $10.22 to $12.85 per hour by 2016, the final year of the five-year agreement. Wages for full-time officers will rise from $17 to $19.35 per hour by the final year, nearly a 14 percent increase.
The deal received final approval during a special council meeting Thursday evening. Council approved the deal on a 4-0 vote. Councilwomen Mary Ugoletti and Carolyn Smith were absent. Police officers had ratified the agreement prior to the council vote.
SATURDAY, OCT. 26
A standardized policy that would allow people to carry weapons in some places and prohibit them from doing so in others at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities remains on the table as Chancellor Frank T. Brogan has called for a series of public hearings on the matter. At the State System of Higher Education Board of Governors’ meeting earlier this month, Brogan recommended that the hearings be held at various places throughout the state to gather public input on the proposed policy.
The policy, as drafted, would ban people from carrying weapons in “sensitive” areas on the campuses. For purposes of the policy, a weapon includes loaded and unloaded guns, ammunition, knives with blades longer than three inches, daggers, swords, clubs, and bows and arrows.