Marcellus Shale natural gas is creating jobs in Blair County and across Pennsylvania, Lt. Governor Jim Cawley said Thursday during a tour of New Pig Corp. in Tipton.

“Whether it is at one of the drill sites in the southern end of the county or right here at New Pig, Marcellus Shale is creating good, family-sustaining jobs. Gov. Tom Corbett and I want to see more of this happen across the state,” Cawley said.

Cawley cited recent Department of Labor and Industry statistics showing that 29,000 people are working in the drilling industry in the state with average annual earnings of $81,000.

Since 1985, New Pig has manufactured products for leak and spill management. Employing nearly 360 people in Tipton, it makes 4,000 different products.

In 2011, New Pig developed a well pad containment liner for natural gas drilling sites. This innovation led to the creation of a dozen new jobs and increased business for trucking, warehouse and suppliers that work with New Pig.

Man pleads guilty to federal drug charges

An Elmora man pleaded guilty in federal court in Johnstown to a charge of conspiracy to manufacture and possess marijuana plants, said U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton.

Gerald F. Knee, 61, of the 100 block of Bradley Street, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson.

In connection with the plea, the court was advised that in the spring of 2011, Knee conspired to manufacture and possess with the intent to distribute fewer than 100 marijuana plants.

The evidence also reflected that Knee conspired with George M. Lowmaster and others to grow the plants with the intent to facilitate and promote Lowmaster’s drug-distribution organization.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Valkovci Jr. prosecuted the case.

Jewelry theft under investigation

SOMERSET – A 74-year-old grandmother suspects a relative in the theft of jewelry from her home, Somerset Borough police said Wednesday.

Charlotte Ross said a family member recently came to her Jonathan Lane home to return some borrowed books.

Ross alleged that while the family member was there, she went into Ross’s bedroom and stole 11 pieces of jewelry, including wedding rings and necklaces.

Police said they will file charges after an estimate is received on the value of the stolen goods.

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