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Autism Society hosts 'Things That Go' events

The Central PA Autism Society is hosting a series of free events in the realm of public transportation this month.

The goal of the events is to give children with autism and other special needs exposure to the tasks involved with traveling and help make the process more comfortable for families.

“Things That Go” began on Saturday at the Altoona-Blair County airport in Martinsburg. Children and families were able to practice navigating through airport security, checking a piece of luggage, and boarding a plane.

It was an exciting experience for approximately 80 participants who got to meet a pilot and see the airplane.

Lindsay Martsolf, president of the Cental PA Autism Society, extended thanks for the airport and the TSA for allowing the groups to learn the process of flying step-by-step.

“This was a great idea for an event!” said the mother of one boy who participated. “He came home very excited.”

The event garnered support from many, especially from parents and families who have traveled or are planning to travel in a similar situation.

The series will continue on September 21 at the Everett Railroad in Hollidaysburg, allowing participants to board and ride a train, and on September 28 where participants an ride on a public bus at Amtran, Altoona. To register, please contact Lindsay Martsolf at (814) 935-0409 ahead of time.

Children will be able to explore their surroundings and become familiar with what to do based on each form of transportation. Each child will also receive a shirt and a passport to document their completion of activities at each event.

Local business support Challenge Program

Local businesses contributed $45,000 to The Challenge Program, Inc. to support the Program’s efforts to motivate and reward students during the 2018-2019 Program year in Blair County high schools.

Through The Challenge Program, Inc., businesses introduce careers in the community to sophomores, juniors and seniors and challenge students to compete in TCP’s five award categories that directly link to academic and workforce success. The categories are Attendance, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Community Service, Academic Improvement, and Academic Excellence. Additionally, businesses engage students in a variety of work-related activities such as facility tours, industry presentations, career days, job shadowing, and internships.

Participating Blair County businesses and schools:

Altoona Area School District Foundation and Reliance Bank-Altoona Area High School; M&T Bank-Bellwood-Antis High School; Keller Engineers, Inc.-Bishop Guilfoyle High School;NPC, Inc.-Central High School; Sheetz, Inc.-Claysburg-Kimmel High School; G.A.P. FCU and The Hite Company-Greater Altoona CTC; Irwin Financial, Inc.-Hollidaysburg High School; Sickler, Tarpey & Associates-Tyrone Area High School-Sickler; The Hite Company-Williamsburg High School.

Currently accepting sponsors for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Challenge Program, Inc.’s mission is to build sustainable Business/Education partnerships while motivating students to develop the solid work habits required to succeed in school in their future careers.

Join us today and build the future workforce in Blair County. The Challenge Program, Inc. can be reached at (814) 533-7401 x104 or info@tcpinc.org.

Business owner raises concerns to council

Tyrone Borough council members heard concerns last night from the owner of Bald Eagle Games, a local business along West 10th Street. He said that there is a real issue with sidewalks being blocked by tents, chairs and canopies and businesses being blocked in by various festivals downtown.

While members of Tyrone Events & Promotions have been really helpful, he said, there have been issues with tents blocking the entrance to his store and even boxes against the store during the wine and beer festival. Also, during Hoopsfest, he said that there were so many coolers and chairs on sidewalks that it was difficult to walk down the sidewalk and would have been impossible to get anything through in the case of an emergency.

The business owner added that, in addition to being a problem for businesses, it is also an issue of public safety and asked if there is an ordinance, or should be a new ordinance, to have enforced during these situations. He said, “If there’s not an ordinance in place, how do you enforce it.”

Borough manager Ardean Latchford said that typically extra police officers are brought on staff for events but said that it should be a matter of common courtesy, for people participating in the festivals to not block the doors and walkways for area businesses.

Chief Romeo added that though it is difficult to navigate, he has been able to get through.

Mayor Latchford noted that the crowds almost double the size of Tyrone during the events and said, “I think it falls more upon the event planners. Whoever is putting the event on really needs to take charge of this situation ... I think a lot of it really boils down to education between the event planner and their participants.”

The business owner reiterated that the events committee has really helped out and that they are “great people.” But added that it isn’t fair to put it all on them. “The whole community needs to help.”

At Bald Eagle Games, he said that customers come from State College, Lock Haven and Altoona every week. “This is a great spot for a business.” As a specialty store, people also travel from Clearfield and Huntingdon, but that when there are five Saturdays during a summer that people can’t see the store, “that’s a deterrent.”

History author to speak in Bellwood

A special program this evening at Bellwood-Antis Public Library will welcome Judith Redline Coopey, a fiction author born and raised in the area who has a deep passion for Pennsylvania history.

The public is invited to the program from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to hear about the research and historical background Coopey has used in a newly released book, “Don’t You Cry for Me.” The book features the story of a Confederate spy sent to Blair County on special assignment to sabotage Horseshoe Curve during the Civil War.

“This book means a lot to me because it is a true story handed down from my mother,” said Coopey.

Born in Altoona and raised in Williamsburg as the youngest of eight children, Coopey weaves family history and local history into her novels. Both of her parents were avid readers, but Coopey says her passion for history is inherited from her father, Kenneth Redline — a history student and World War I veteran. She edited a novel authored by her father in 2017 about World War I.

Cooper began writing at the age of 11. Her love for Pennsylvania and its history is reflected in her writing. Her previous novels have highlighted the Underground Railroad in Bedford County, the Johnstown flood, and the 19th century iron industry set on a iron plantation in Juniata.

An avid reader and genealogist, she also enjoys the outdoors, hiking and camping, and summers spent at the family cabin in Arizona with her husband and their German Shepherd, Sadie.

Tonight’s program at Bellwood-Antis Public Library is open to the public to attend, ask questions, and to meet the author. Her latest book, released just last week, will be available to view.