Journalism

Austin Ayers' Journalism Career At The Leader Times

Austin Ayers started his career at the Leader Times, which is owned by the West Penn Media Group and Sample News Group of Huntingdon, Pa. Austin was hired as a newspaper paginator in November of 2018. His role was to design and develop newspaper pages via computer software, which requires artistic ability. Following with his position as a paginator, Austin also took his talent and skills to the next level which included ENG (electronic news gathering) capabilities for photos, videos, and live broadcast. Acting as a staff photographer, Austin gathered the ability to write small editorial stories as well.

Ford City Borough man transported to trauma center following crash


A 32-year-old Ford City Borough man, who policed declined to identify, was transported to Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, Allegheny County, after he crashed Monday over a steep hillside in a BMW 540i which belonged to an unspecified dealership.

Several area fire departments were originally dispatched shortly after 8 p.m. to a vehicle rollover in the area of Lenape Heights Golf Course, in Manor Township, with a person possibly trapped inside.

Crews from Manor Township Volunteer Fire Co., Ford Cliff Volunteer Fire Co., and Ford City Hose Co. 1 responded to the incident.

Photo credit: Austin Ayers[/caption]

Fire department officials cancelled Ford City Hose Co. 1 after arriving on scene.

A utility pole was sheared off in the midst of the crash.

Manor Township VFC fire Captain Jim McAfoose was in charge of the scene.

“West Penn Power told us it would be one-to-two hours before they would get here. They were here quicker than that,” said McAfoose as he pointed at a bucket truck shutting off power to the wires down along Route 66.

“I live across from the station and I walked into the station hearing Ford Cliff was already en route. I think they were already out doing something,” he added while crediting Ford Cliff Volunteer Fire Co. for the speed of its response to the scene.

The male victim had glass throughout his face and arms from the crash, which prompted Ford City Ambulance Service to transport the male via ground to Forbes Regional Hospital’s trauma unit.

The victim was up and walking around prior to EMS arriving on-scene.

The driver reportedly was traveling north on 66 from Speedy’s Tasty Treats to Ford City, where he resides.

As of yesterday’s production deadline, Manor Township Police Department is currently investigating the crash, pending toxicology results.

Armstrong County commissioner credited with helping to save man’s life


A duo of friends were credited with saving a man’s life at Avi’s Tavern in Rural Valley Borough early Saturday evening.

Pat Fabian, chair of Armstrong County’s board of commissioner, and his friend, Cary Gossett, were traveling between multiple volunteer fire department gun raffles when they decided to stop in at Avi’s for a quick drink.

“The line to get into Rural Valley (Volunteer Fire Dept.) was down the block, and I’m not one for standing in lines,” said Gossett Sunday evening in a telephone interview with the Leader Times.

As Gossett and Fabian walked into Avi’s, neither was expecting what was going to happen later in the night, Gossett said.

As the two were having a cold drink, Gossett said, a minor bit of commotion occurred in the back near the pool table of the local tavern.

Gossett was sitting near the bartender, he said, when he overheard the bartender being asked to call 911 for help.

A male whose identity was not made available as of Sunday’s production deadline, was in need of immediate medical attention.

“The guy was not responding to anything at all,” Gossett said. “I asked, ‘How long was he like this,’ and someone said, ‘Five to 10 minutes.’”

Gossett said he turned to Fabian and asked if he knew CPR — cardio pulmonary resuscitation.

“Pat said for me to keep his head elevated while he did the chest compressions,” Gossett said, while he asked for the person’s name.

As Fabian continued to do chest compressions on the victim, as Gossett started talking loudly to the person and checking for any sort of pulse.

According to Gossett and Fabian, around 10-12 compressions in, a large amount of air escaped through the victim’s mouth.

“That was a good sign,” Gossett said.

With each chest compression, a faint flutter in the victim’s eyes started to occur, he said.

Then a pulse could start to be felt as small moans began to be heard, Gossett said.

The victim’s eyes then began to open, and a solid pulse was established before emergency responders arrived, he said.

“That guy was dead unless Pat was there. There were close to 25 people in that bar, and only me and Pat were the ones that went back there,” Gossett said. “Most people didn’t even look up from their drink. This is disturbing how so many people just sat there and they didn’t do a thing.”

Gossett, a former United States Marine and West Kittanning Borough resident, stated how he will be taking a CPR class after this incident.

“You just never know when you need to use it. I never thought I’d have to, but I will be taking a class now,” he said.

Fabian agreed with Gossett, “I’m trained in giving Narcan, too, and you know, people don’t even think about it. You give it to police officers, K9’s, even babies in cardiac arrest.”

According to Armstrong County 911, the call happened around 6:30 p.m. and Citizens’ Ambulance Service of Plumville responded to the call.

No condition on the victim was available at the time of publication.

A rare Groundhog Day indeed — Famed mammal fails to see shadow


PUNXSUTAWNEY (Jefferson County) — Thousands of spectators arrived early Saturday morning at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., to witness the 133rd-annual installment of Groundhog Day.

They got a rare show.

Famed mammal Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow — an statistically in frequent occurrence, which traditionally portends an early spring season ahead.

In fact, Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter weather 104 times while forecasting an early spring just 19 times.

“Every Feb. 2, we look forward to celebrating this beloved Pennsylvania tradition with the rest of the world,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in a statement issued over the weekend. “Groundhog Day is something you can only find in our commonwealth, and we’re honored to share Phil’s prediction with visitors, residents, and the millions of families watching from their homes.”

The story of the holiday tradition declares that if the groundhog annually emerges early on the morning of Feb. 2 and sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter weather will ensue.

Should he not see his shadow, an early spring is believed to be in the offing.

The yearly event began in 1886, when a spirited group of groundhog hunters dubbed themselves “The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club” and proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil to be the one and only weather prognosticating groundhog.

Frigid scene surrounds groundhog’s prognostication

With the temperature at 1 degree Fahrenheit before 6 a.m., the ground was frosted over, and covered by loose straw. Roads were closed throughout the region by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).

Barricades provided by Armstrong County lined the streets of Punxsutawney as school buses shuttled travelers to Gobblers Knob, bus by bus.

Various events took place center stage, including the National Anthem being performed by members of the United State Navy.

As the lights dimmed, 15 members of the Groundhog Club Inner Circle — a closegroup of handlers and executive members that care for Punxsutawney Phil — were escorted through the captive crowd to Gobblers Knob by a heavy PSP escort.

The members took center stage, one by one. That exclusive group included: Bill Deeley, Jeff Lundy, Jon Johnston, Tom Dunkel, John Griffiths, A.J. Dereume, Butch Philliber, Jeff Grube, Ron Ploucha, Dave Gigliotti, Jason Grusky, John Prushnok, Dan McGinley, Patrick Osikowicz, and the group’s newest member, Jory Serrian.

The following proclamation was read aloud in-person and on worldwide broadcast networks live: “Predicting the weather, that’s my song. For 133 years, I’ve never been wrong. So, is early spring, or more winter forecast? Stop the music … here is my forecast. Faithful followers, there is no shadow of me. And beautiful spring, it shall be!”

Warm weather in store this week

According to National Weather Service (NWS) — Pittsburgh, Armstrong Countians can expect a springlike Monday with mostly sunny skies and a high near 52 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tonight a chance of showers is forecast, mainly before 5 a.m., with cloudy skies and a low around 39, according to the service. Temperatures are predicted to bring daily highs in the 40s through the week, with a spike back into the 50s forecast Thursday, the service’s website states.

Event is a worldwide phenomenon

The event now attracts up to 30,000 visitors to Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

“Even in the 133rd year, sharing Punxsutawney Phil’s prognostication with the world never ceases to amaze me,” said Groundhog Club Inner Circle President Bill Deeley.

“I think it’s safe to say our favorite furry weather forecaster has a special place in the nation’s heart.”

Punxsutawney was originally a Native American campsite.

Its location is situated halfway between the Allegheny and Susquehanna rivers, which made it convenient for travel.

In fact, the town is located on the earliest known trail to the east, the Shamokin Path. Punxsutawney was officially incorporated as a borough in 1850 and has a current population of nearly 5,500.

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