What you missed over winter break in Indiana
• Zach Beeken, 18, of Indiana, and his deep voice made it through several rounds of elimination on Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor.”
Beeken graduated from Indiana Area Senior High School in May, and his father, Ryan, is a music professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Beeken is one of three members of the country band, Restless Road. He and contestants Andrew Scholz and Colton Pack were paired together during season three of “The X Factor.” The band currently has more than 500 nominations for a Shorty Award. Fans can cast their votes at http://shortyawards.com/ RestlessRdMusic.
The group did not win the competition but neither did One Direction when the band was formed by Cowell in 2010. Yet One Direction went on to claim a $50 million slice of the pop world, according to the Sunday Times.
• Jack Edmunson Jr., of Saltsburg, was accused by state police with fatally shooting Frank Petro, of Tunnelton, Dec. 31. Petro was the owner of Frank’s Taxidermy and Gun Shop, where the shooting took place.
Edmunson was arraigned at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh Jan. 11 after sustaining a gunshot wound during the New Year’s Eve struggle.
• Nancy “The Voice of IUP” Noker passed away Friday, Jan. 10.
Noker was the switchboard operator for IUP from 1962 until her retirement in 1997. She was born in 1927 and was an Indiana resident since 1951.
• The Challenger Learning Center gained more countywide traction in recent weeks. The Challenger network works with NASA and top aerospace companies to create centers that feature space-based missions for middle school students.
A $1.37 million grant for the CLC was one of the projects approved in the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, according to a Dec. 23 news release from State Sen. Don White.
White was just one of the local legislators who helped to bring in the much-needed grant support.
“It’s clear we need to encourage our next generation to think seriously about careers in math and science as that knowledge base is critical to our economic vitality in the future,” White said. “It’s also proposed to be sited at the Indiana County Technology Center, so it will have a great synergy for our region on a number of levels.”
Currently, the plan is to build the Central Allegheny Challenger Learning Center at the Indiana County Technology Center. The cost to build a CLC is about $7-8 million, according to a Dec. 24 Indiana Gazette article.