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M AI NLI NE newspapers

Vol. 114 No. 37

USPS 439-000

Portage, Pa.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Portage Township takes action to investigate supervisor

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The last item of the agenda at the Sept. 5 Portage Township Supervisors meeting raised a number of unanswered questions. There was a 2-1 vote to approve a motion to appoint special counsel, attorney Nathan Karns of Hollidaysburg, to review several township employees’ complaints that supervisor Elwood Selapack possesses and/or distributed township employee personal identification information. The motion was made by supervisor William Cooper and seconded by supervisor Jeff Kostan. The motion passed with supervisor Selapack voting against the motion. Cooper said Selapack took the employees’ personal

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identification information and passed it to others. “You do what you have to do,” said Selapack. No estimate was provided of when Karns will begin reviewing the complaints. The township solicitor could not be used in this matter as he is employed by the township. If the complaints have been determined to be factual, the information can be forwarded to the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General or the state police for criminal investigation. According to the Pa. Crimes Code, chapter 41, section 4120, “a person commits the offense of identity theft of another person if he possesses or uses, through any means, identiSEE INVESTIGATE, PAGE 2A

Enjoying the game

Kerry and Weston Danel get ready to enjoy a evening of high school football at the Forest Hills at Richland game Sept. 7. Photo by Ron Portash.

Portage Boro police to update technology

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Tailgate party

The Portage Public Library held their annual tailgate party of good food and fun before the Portage Area High School football game Aug. 24. Members of the library’s board of directors Matt Decort (left), Steph Schrift and Devonie McCabe talk with Cambria County commissioner Tom Chernisky (second from left). Submitted photo.

Recently discovered WWII veteran’s remains to be returned to Portage

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Richard Kozak, the nephew of Walter “Bert” Mintus, the recently identified missing World War II veteran, spoke at the Portage Borough Council meeting Sept 4. Kozak thanked the council members and the community for their efforts and support in honoring Mintus, who was born in Lilly and raised in Portage. Several members of the borough council have taken an active part in planning a ceremony for Mintus. His remains will be returned for burial in Sacred Heart Cemetery Nov. 10. Bert Mintus was a crew member of a Navy bomber aircraft from the same squadron as for-

mer President George H.W. Bush. The TBM Avenger bomber was launched from the carrier U.S.S. San Jacinto July 27, 1944, for an attack on the Pacific archipelago of Palau. The plane was shot down on its bombing run. The plane landed in the water off of the island of Aimeliik. According to Kozak, the pilot was able to parachute out and landed in the water nearby. He was then swarmed by Japanese boats. There are no Japanese military records citing if the pilot was captured or killed. Mintus’ only exit from the plane was through a small hatch in the side of the plane. There were no reports of other parachutes or survivors in the water, so for nearly 74 years, the two men were listed as missing/presumed dead. The aircraft containing the remains of Mintus and the turret gunner was located by a team called Project Recover. The Project Recover volunteers have set a goal to find the final underwater resting places of all

Americans missing in action since World War II. Since 1993, Project Recover has located 36 American aircrafts that were lost or unaccounted for. Once the resting spot for the plane’s wreckage was located, the military was notified. The recovery efforts of the human remains were led by the United States Naval ship Salvor, a rescue and salvage ship. The recovery team worked for 45 days in 12-hour shifts to bring the remains of the missing servicemen to the surface. Officials from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) contacted Mintus' family in December 2017. The remains were confirmed in July by DPAA through DNA testing with Kozak and other family members. The search for the Avenger and its crew lasted nine years and was conducted using local stories and contacts, historical archives, interviews with veterans and ship and squadron logs.


The Portage Borough Police Department recently received a number of grants to assist the department in updating several essential pieces of equipment. Funding was received from donations from the Portage Moose Lodge 131 and the Dr. Charles and Adele Kupchella Fund, established through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. In addition, the department received a grant directly through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

Proud mom

At the Sept. 4 Portage Borough Council meeting, police chief Ed Miller informed the council that an additional grant to complete the needed equipment purchases is expected to be released by the state in October. Earlier in the year, the state issued an unfunded mandate that requires all police departments to use an automated system to submit citations and criminal charges. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts SEE POLICE, PAGE 5A

Michele Chesnutwood (right) wishes her daughter McKenna good luck before the Forest Hills High School football against RIchland Sept. 7. Photo by Ron Portash.

The Dispatch  
The Dispatch