The United Way of the Laurel Highlands had its first annual campaign update meeting last week, revealing that it already has raised 20 percent of this year’s goal.

The campaign opened on Sept. 1 with a goal of raising $1.1 million, a 10 percent increase over last year’s goal.

Through Thursday, organizations participating in the campaign had pledged $219,181.

The update also showed that membership in the Leadership Club, individuals contributing $500 or more, is up by 10 percent this year.

“Now is the time to give – in tough times, needs increase,” said Bill McKinney, president of the United Way of the Laurel Highlands.

“Many people right here in our own backyards don’t have the comfort of friends and family to turn to. It’s times like these that the United Way, through our 25 member agencies, provides a wide range of services for those who need help the most.”

For more information or to contribute to this year’s campaign, call 535-2563, or visit its Web site at www.uwlaurel.org.

Packaging-shipping store opening Monday

A new independent packaging and shipping store will open on Monday at the Westwood Plaza.

MailBin will be located on Entrance Drive at the Lower Yoder Township shopping center.

Among the services the store will offer are packaging solutions, mailbox rentals and copying/faxing facilities.

Customers also will be able to use an in-store monitor to compare real-time shipping price quotes from all major carriers, including the U.S. Postal Service.

MailBin is owned and operated by Johnstown natives Daniel and Michelle Nyanko.

“We are very excited about this service,” Michelle Nyanko said.

“With costs increasing almost everywhere, our customers can be sure they are paying the lowest possible price and still receiving the highest quality service.”

For more information, contact the store at 619-4095 or mnyanko@mailbinstores.com.

Lawsuit claims age discrimination

A former produce buyer for the Wal-Mart Distribution Center outside Bedford is suing the company, claiming he was let go due to age discrimination.

Richard M. Hite of Echo Valley Drive in Bedford filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Johnstown.

Hite, who only says he is older than 40, said he worked for the company from 1999 until May.

Managers at work knew of age-discriminatory remarks made to him by other employees but did nothing to stop them, Hite said.

He said he was let go due

to false claims made against him.

“The reason given for the termination was, therefore, a pretext for age discrimination,” the suit said.

Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., did not immediately offer a reply.

Hite said he was paid an $80,000 salary – in addition to $35,000 in stock options and incentives – to buy apples for all states except California and Washington.

He seeks reinstatement to his job, interest, damages and attorney’s fees.

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