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Regional News from WTAJ

Families remaining in a local mobile home park were fighting in court Tuesday.
 
Four families are still occupying their homes in Franklin Manor Mobile Home Park in State College.
 
We're told each of the families met with their defense attorneys, along with the attorney for the Temple family, who owns the park.
 
Each case was handled individually.
 
We're told settlements were reached in the situation and more specific details about those settlements will be released Wednesday.

GRAMPIAN, CLEAFIELD COUNTY – Lou Raye Haag has been entering the publisher's clearing house contest for 40 years.
 
About a week and a half ago, she said she got a call that she had won $5,000 a week for life, a new car and $10 million. Local TV stations would even be there for it all.
 
All she had to do was get prepaid debit cards called Green Dot cards.
 
"I said well you're a fraud, he said well no the only reason I want the Green Dot he says is because you've got to pay the taxes."
 
So she'd get them, and read the number off the back to the man over the phone.
 
$3,165 later, Haag called the publisher's clearing house fraud department. That's when she found out, she'd been scammed, and lost her savings.
 
"They go into detail, and they give you a name whether it's a phony one or not, and like I said, I feel for it."
 
It's been a growing trend in Pennsylvania, seniors getting scammed.
 
"The best thing to do either hang the phone up or contact your local law enforcement and we can take it from there," said Trooper Jeff Petucci, Pennsylvania State Police.
 
Haag was told scammers rarely go this in depth, and it's unlikely that she'd get that full amount back.
 
"Now I just have hope and pray to the good lord that I at least try to get somebody to somehow get my money back or whatever."
 
Haag said she's done entering any contests. State police say if something's free, it's free. Don't send money for taxes or anything else.

PENN STATE, UNIVERSITY PARK - A major expansion project is officially underway in Centre County.

The project expands the collaboration between local businesses and Penn State by adding on to Innovation Park, near the university's main campus.

Penn State calls Innovation Park a local business ecosystem that merges business, education and research, by giving local businesses access to university research institutions.

The new building will be located at 331 Innovation Boulevard. It's a four-story, 82,000 square foot facility that folks at the university are hoping will help with a growing demand for development.

You could say Innovation Park is popular.

"We've been 99.6 percent leased, full all the time and people have made inquiries and they would have been great tenants in the park, but we've not been able to accommodate them," Robert Barron, CEO of GLP Development Company, LLC, said.

That's why Barron is doing something about it.

"We added all of that up and when we totaled it up, we said we need to do a new building so that we can accommodate all of those inquiries and the people that want to be here," he said.

GLP broke ground on 331 Innovation Boulevard Tuesday. Neil Sharkey calls it a win-win.

"It's great news, actually. This is just part of our overall master plan at Innovation Park, so it's another building going in," Sharkey, Penn State Vice President for Research, said. "You notice how the buildings here already, they're all occupied, fully occupied. Some of them have businesses that are start-ups from Penn State."

He's hoping the addition will reinvigorate economic growth in the area and provide a collaboration between Penn State and new businesses.

"It fits really well with Penn State's plan and what President Barron has been talking about for the last couple of months," Sharkey said. "They found that we are reinvigorating our emphasis in economic development, technology transfer, where we want to make an impact on the local economy."

This will be the fourth building built by GLP in Innovation Park. This project will cost nearly $18 million, making an overall investment of $56 million in three years.

So far, there are no permanent leases, but officials are accepting applications. The project is expected to be complete by late August 2015.
BERLIN, SOMERSET COUNTY--- A clerk fights off a woman who attempted to rob her with bug spray.  It happened Sunday night at the Coalfield’s Mini Market along Main Street in Berlin.

A heavyset woman wearing a mask walked into the store threw a bag on the counter and demanded cash.

"She repeats herself and I'm like excuse me,” said Annabelle Miller, store clerk.  “I held it front of her face so she would get the point to leave then she was kind of seeming like she was frigidity so I sprayed her."

Miller sprayed the robber right in the eyes with Raid Bug Spray.  The 28 year old said she has worked the overnight shift for more than a year and never had a problem; she also never thought she would have to use the spray in self defense.

"It never occurred to me I would have to use it," said Miller.  ‘But I’m glad it was there.”

"We've had it there just in case we need it for protection,” said Anthony Emory, Family Owns Store.  “Obviously we had not had to use it until Sunday and it came in handy."

Walking into the store there is a sign on the glass doors that states “For safety sake remove all ski mask and unload all weapons before entering.”  Miller said apparently this ‘pest’ didn’t read the sign but got the message loud and clear.

“I don’t think she will be coming back,” said Miller.  “I don’t think that could have felt good on her eyes.”

Anyone with information on who the suspect may be is asked to call state police in Somerset.

Miller said the attempted robbery didn’t keep her from working but the can of raid will stay right next to her.

“It’s for peace of mind, ya know!”


PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - It was an emotional meeting Monday night at the Sheraton Hotel in Pittsburgh.  17 year old Altoona native, Dalton Igoe finally got the chance to meet the family that donated a heart to him over 2 years ago.

Valerie Sinclair, of Indiana state lost her daughter Da'Jeianna when the young girl was only 12.  Sinclair made the difficult decision to then donate Da'Jeianna's heart.  The recipient was Dalton Igoe.

"I'm more blessed that my daughter's heart went to an amazing kid," Sinclair said.

Dalton meantime says he'll never forget what the Sinclair family did for him and his family.

"[I] definitely think of Da'Jeianna everyday," said Igoe.

Dalton unfortunately is not done with surgeries.  He needs to have back surgery coming up in mid November to correct scoliosis in his back.
JOHNSTOWN - A local hospital is ramping up its efforts to deal with potential Ebola cases. Workers at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown,  put up a tent outside the hospital's emergency department Tuesday morning.

Patients suspected of having ebola will first be isolated and treated there for up to 6 hours, while a special quarantine area is being prepared inside the hospital.

Patients will be treated by medical staff wearing special protective equipment. Critical Care Manager Ian Brown is among those training  to use the suits.  "I feel very well protected from any external contaminations. Everything as you can see, all the seams are taped up, he explained.

Conemaugh emergency personnel say their suits exceed even the new CDC guidelines for keeping the skin completely covered.
 

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania kids with asthma could soon have an easier time keeping their symptoms under control. Under current state law,  students with known allergies and a prescription can carry and use their own epinephrine auto-injectors, also known as  EpiPens.
But schools can't store epinephrine for emergency use, and school employees aren't protected against liability claims if they administer these medications in emergencies.

Now, a new law that's cleared the legislature and is headed to the governor's desk, would permit schools to maintain a supply of EpiPens and train school employees to administer the medication to people who may have a severe allergic reaction at school.

ALTOONA - An $8 million settlement has been reached between 88 victims of Brother Stephen Baker and the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, Bishop McCort High School, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown and several individuals.

Brother Stephen Baker was a member of the Franciscan Order of the Third Order Regular and assigned to the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. He taught religion at Bishop McCort High School and was also an athletic trainer between 1992 and 2001.

Brother Stephen Baker committed suicide after the allegations against him were made public.
Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced a tenth captive deer has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania since the disease was discovered on a captive deer farm in 2012.

The seven year old white-tailed deer died at a farm in Reynoldsville, Jefferson County, on Sept. 18, and tested positive for the disease at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg.

Four Jefferson County deer farms where the deer had lived are under quarantine. Currently 31 captive deer farms across the state are quarantined, where deer cannot be moved on or off the properties. The investigation continues and additional herds may be quarantined.

There is no evidence that humans or livestock can get the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chronic Wasting Disease attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal.
Symptoms include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer and elk may also allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine.

The first cases of CWD in Pennsylvania were detected when two Adams County deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in 2012.

Surveillance for the disease has been ongoing in Pennsylvania since 1998.

The Department of Agriculture coordinates a mandatory surveillance program for more than 23,000 captive deer on 1,100 breeding farms, hobby farms and shooting preserves. Ten captive deer have tested positive since 2012.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from hunter-harvested deer and elk and those that appear sick or behave abnormally. Since 1998, the commission has tested more than 48,000 free-ranging deer and elk for the disease. Six wild deer have tested positive for the disease since 2013.

For more information, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on the “Chronic Wasting Disease Information” button.

MEYERSDALE BOROUGH, SOMERSET COUNTY - One woman is behind bars for allegedly stabbing a man.
 
Kelly Jarvis, 45, was arrested by Meyersdale Borough police Monday. She was allegedly with Clifford Felker and a few others at the Large Street Apartments. The two began arguing when Felker apparently pulled Jarvis sweater. That’s when the Jarvis grabbed a knife stabbing him.
 
Police arrested Jarvis at her apartment a few doors away. The stab wound punctured the Felker’s lung. He was flown to Conemaugh Hospital.

UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on October 28, to discuss the the Freeh Report. Alumni Trustee Al Lord put forward a resolution in July requesting that the board be open to revisiting the Freeh report.

That report has come under heavy criticism since it was released in July 2012. The report that Penn State commissioned to find out how the university could have better handled the Sandusky scandal was the basis for the sanctions levied against Penn State by the NCAA.

The board will first discuss the Freeh Report in executive session on Oct. 28 from 10-11 a.m. The meeting will take place in the boardroom at the Nittany Lion Inn. A public meeting will be held from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. in Ballroom C of the Nittany Lion Inn.
BELLEFONTE, CENTRE COUNTY - Eric Crader was sentenced on Tuesday in the Centre County Courthouse to 50 to 100 years in prison for the repeated rape of two children. The 33 year old Pleasant Gap man pleaded guilty in July to more than 200 counts of child rape and two drug related charges.

According to court documents those rapes occurred over a span of two years between 2011 and 2013. Crader had originally been charged with more than 1000 counts of child sexual abuse before accepting a deal. Police say the abuse was discovered when one of the children reported the abuse to a school guidance counselor.
Federal Safety Regulators and Toyota Motor want car owners with airbags that might explode to bring them in.

Almost 8-million cars have the problems airbags, which were manufactured by Japanese Parts Maker, Takata.

The Orlando Sentinel Reports police are investigating the death of a woman who was driving a recalled car.

Authorities say the woman suffered stab-like wounds in her neck that were apparently caused by the exploding airbag.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it knows of six incidents involving the defective airbag.

The affected cars are made by six major auto manufacturers.

A gruesome story is unfolding in Northwestern Indiana, where police say a possible serial killer has left a trail of bodies that could stretch back two decades. The suspect is in custody, but police say their investigations are just beginning.

Police search the Gary, Indiana home of 43-year old Darren Vann, who could be responsible for at least seven deaths - potentially more - dating back to the 1990s.

Police say Vann met 19-year old escort, Afrikka Hardy, at a Motel in Hammond, Indiana. After a coworker failed to reach Hard by cell phone, she and a friend arrived to discover her body Friday. Hardy had been strangled. Police tracked down Vann using the cellphone number on file at the escort service, and arrested him at his home.

Police say Vann confused to the murder... and much more.

Chief John Doughty, Hammond, IN Police said, "During a subsequent interrogation of Mr. Vann, he admitted his involvement in the Hammond incident and had expressed an interest in notifying police of other criminal incidents he was involved with."

Vann told police about six other bodies, and where to find them.

Marvin Clinton was engaged to another alleged victim, Teaira Batey, who disappeared in January.

He said, "How she met this guy, I don't know... It's a puzzle, it's a mystery to me. I'm devastated really."

Police aren't saying how the other women died, but they are saying that Vann told them there may be other victims - possibly dating back decades.

Doughty said, "It could go back as far as 20 years based on some statements that's yet to be corroborated."

Vann was convicted of sexual assault in Texas seven years ago. He's already charged with Hardy's murder. Charges for the other six women are expected this week.

Police say all of the victims were found in abandoned homes in Gary. Three of them were found on the same block.

CBS News. Brad Edwards reports from Gary, Indiana.

SOUTH AFRICA - Olympian Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison for negligently killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius was sentenced Tuesday morning.

The double-amputee sprinter insisted that he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder when he shot her through a toilet door on Valentine's Day 2013.

Pistorius made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the Able-Bodied Olympics in 2012.


New York City - It was a special night for WTAJ as Perry Sook, the chairman, president, and CEO of our parent company Nexstar Broadcasting Group, was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.

Sook was one of 12 industry pioneers honored Monday night in New York City.

Nexstar was founded in 1996 with one station in the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, Pennsylvania market and has grown to 80 television stations in 46 markets, including Altoona/Johnstown/State College, reaching approximately 13.1 percent of all U.S. television households. 

Sook says it’s all about serving the community. "I think what we do in the community is essential. We produce local content and help local advertisers sell their wares. I think that's essential and I think there is no substitute for what we do and I think if we concentrate on our core constituency of viewers and advertisers we are always going to be in business and it will be a good business to be in."

He says Nexstar is successful because of the commitment of its more than 3,000 employees to their communities.

"When I receive an honor I feel it's an honor on behalf of all of our employees,” Sook said. “The Nexstar nation started in Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, Pennsylvania and has grown to the company it is today. Wilkes-Barre-Scranton had always been part of our roots. So I feel this is as much a tip of the hat to our employees around the country as it is to me."

Sook and Nexstar's achievements have industry experts paying close attention.

Louis Hillelson, Vice President, Group Publishing at Broadcasting & Cable, said, "If you think about Perry, he's a leader in the broadcasting business. Each year we honor an executive who is a leader in the broadcast space. I think there's no better person to honor than Perry because of his accomplishments."

The night capped off with Sook being inducted into the hall of fame and taking the podium. In the end, Sook says it's all about serving our communities.

Nexstar Broadcasting Group is marking its 11th year as a publicly traded company.


Now in its 25th year, the Blair County Chamber of Commerce inducted 4 new members into their Business Hall of Fame.
 
Holiday Inn Express of Altoona, Homewood of Martinsburg, J.C Orr and Sons, Inc. and the James E Van Zandt VA Medical Center took home the hardware and well-deserved recognition for success in their respective industries for 25 years or more.

Chamber President Doug Mingle echoed the sentiments of the Chamber members.  "It's wonderful to see everybody come together to celebrate the excellence in Blair County businesses and we never seem to run out of people to give awards to because we have a good business community here and they like to celebrate the accomplishments of one another."

10  additional Blair County businesses received Awards of Distinction in various categories as recognized below:

Excellence in Small Business Award
The ARC of Blair County
BeeLine Wholesalers, Inc.
Canary Labs

Community Service Award
Nason Hospital

Young Emerging Business Award
Bill Sell's BOLD
DiVersity Salon & Spa
Foxtrot Runners, Inc.

Technology Award
Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries

Safety Excellence Award
Ward Transport & Logistics Corp.

Committee Choice Award
The Door


DUNCANSVILLE, BLAIR COUNTY - With all the recent pharmacy robberies local shops are changing the way they do business.

Ron Dick is the owner of Duncansville Pharmacy. He says the trend is alarming and he tries not to focus on it while doing his job but it is at the back of his mind. He says the police and people that work in the pharmacies are aware of the threat and are watching closer.

He also takes steps to keep his business safe. He says they “upped their game” and hope it is a deterrent to would-be thieves.

He thinks the police taking more drug dealers off the streets is one reason more people are stealing drugs from pharmacies. Judy Rosser with the Blair County Drug and Alcohol program says there's also tougher legislation on prescription drugs in the last couple of months. The Senate just passed another bill that would prevent people from getting the same pain prescription from different doctors. It's called doctor shopping.

They both would like to see people go for help before they do something criminal.
Pets took center stage at the Fourth Annual Pet Expo in Altoona. About 4,000 people were expected to show up.

Folks from as far as Ohio and Virginia traveled to share their pets and products with the area.
The exotic zoo was a hit with families. It included a lemur, kangaroos and reptiles.

"We have so many strays and we have so many people who adopt animals who aren't really prepared for what they're getting into,” said Candance Holliday, the event coordinator. “So this show really educates them and gets them ready for their new member of their family."
 
The event included sessions on obedience, agility and dog breeds throughout the day.

Parents will soon be able to use an app on their phone to track their teens practice drive time and training process.

The Parent's Supervised Driving Program was developed by the Safe Road Alliance and is sponsored by Sheetz and State Farm Insurance.

There will be booklets for the new driving programs in all drivers license centers across the state.

Sheetz and State Farm are covering the cost and saving the state $70,000 in annual printing costs.