Home
 
The News
The Talk
The Station
The Community
 

Regional News from WTAJ

BELLEFONTE, CENTRE COUNTY - A town in Centre County changed its holiday decorations this year to honor a man who had a long tradition of spreading Christmas cheer.

"This was his specialty. He lived for Christmas time," Ron Pletcher, Bob Dorman's best friend, said.

Around this time of year, you would probably find Bob Dorman in a bucket truck.

"He loved putting the lights up, he usually has his Santa hat on and anyone at work with him, they usually had a Santa hat on too," Pletcher said.

Pletcher and Dorman were best friends for 30 years.

"He loved everything about Christmas and he'd do anything for anyone, so it's tough to lose a fellow like that," Pletcher said.

Dorman succumbed to lung cancer a few weeks ago. He was 58 years old. For more than 25 years as the borough's electrician, Dorman took it upon himself to adorn Bellefonte in lights for Christmas.

"Bob always wanted colored lights on the tree and we could never get away with it until this year," Craig Harold, borough electrician, said.

As a Victorian town, regulations call for white lights only. This year, they're making an exception.

"Knowing that they put colored lights on the tree this year was particularly special because that was always something he tried to incorporate when he did decorate it," Emily Barrey, Dorman's daughter, said.

Barrey said her father would be thrilled.

"I'm sure he would have been emotional, just like we all were just because Christmas meant so much to him," she said. "Seeing the support that the community and our family and friends came together for this night, I'm sure he would be tickled."

"He wasn't the one to get a lot of recognition. He liked to stay in the background, he didn't like big crowds and to make a big fuss," Pletcher said. "But he well deserved it, that's for sure."
We're getting closer to the snow starting. Are there any changes being seen? Joe takes a look and shares the latest thinking as you start preparing for the holiday.


LEWISTOWN, MIFFLIN COUNTY - Seven years ago, a local man and woman were murdered while they slept. And for seven years, both of their families have pushed for justice in the case. 

Sherry Jo Leonard and Jason Specht were attacked in Specht's Lewistown area mobile home. Police haven't made an arrest, though the Mifflin County District Attorney said they have a person of interest in the case.

Leonard’s family says the wheels of justice are moving much too slowly for them.

"Mason sat beside me, he said this is just so sad I can hardly stop from crying,” said Sheila Hancock, Leonard's Sister. “Its so sad they should be here with her."

Mason was just one year old when his grandmother passed away. But seven years later, he knows the pain his family continues to feel.

Sherry Jo Leonard was brutally killed, along with her friend Jason Specht in Specht's Lewistown area home. Both were beaten and a fire was set to try and cover up the crime.

"We never thought we would be sitting here today waiting to find justice," said Hancock.

Waiting and wishing. Hancock and Michele Huntsman are just two of the many family members who are pushing for an arrest and conviction in the case.

"We want someone prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law we want justice served," said Huntsman, Leonard's Sister.

Two years ago, Mifflin County District Attorney Dave Molek talked of getting a grand jury convened to look at the evidence, But that has not yet happened.

District Attorney Molek did not return a call seeking comment on the case.

Frustration with the justice system is boiling over.

"We just wont let it rest until its solved,”said Hancock.

"Sherry would absolutely be fighting for us,” said Huntsman. “She would be doing the same exact thing. She would be there."

If you know any information, you're asked to call state police in Lewistown. 

JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY--- A Johnstown man led city officers on a chase Monday afternoon and the entire thing was caught on camera.

Hasus Harding is facing a long list of charges after being arrested by Johnstown Police.

"It was a beautiful day outside so we had the windows opened in the office when we heard a jingling go by and it caught our attention and heard sirens in the background," said Paul Stohon, JMA Manager.

The collision center is located on Somerset Street in the city’s Kernville neighborhood. It was built about a year ago and has security camera’s surrounding it.  At the end of the day on Monday, Stohon said they heard a noise outside their office window.

"When we looked out the window that's when we saw the police officer chase him down," said Stohon.

The entire chase was caught on the company’s security cameras.

Hardy was spotted by a police officer who knew there was a felony warrant out for his arrest.  Hardy took off, hit a car near the YMCA and then ran off on foot but didn’t get very far.  Pax the city’s K9 officer caught up with him.

"Luckily the dog apprehended the individual and no one else other than suspect was hurt,” said Captain Andy Frear, Johnstown Police.  “Mr. Hardy was told to stop multiple times and he did not, he was given verbal commands about Pax.”

Hardy was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and is now in the Cambria County Jail.  According to online records the 27 year old has a number of offenses against him, including a shooting in April that was connected a homicide.


ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - A group of employees from an area nursing home are asking help from the county commissioners and holding a protest.

Employees at Valley View Nursing Home say they were notified of a big hike in their insurance premiums with their parent company Reliant. Gretchen Miller said her bill went from $84 a month to a thousand. Miller and a group of other union employees protested outside of Valley View Tuesday afternoon.

And earlier in the day they asked the Blair County Commissioners for help. The county no longer owns Valley View, but the workers were asking commissioners to call Reliant and try to convince them to meet the union and compromise.

Ted Beam said he will call, but they have no authority with the new owners. Commissioner Diane Meling said this all came about because of the Affordable Care Act, and she said they should take their concerns to Washington DC.

Union leaders will meet with Reliant again on December third. The company didn’t return WTAJ’s phone calls for a response.
STATE COLLEGE, Centre County -- On any popular social media site, you can see posts of people hitting the gym and giving  daily updates about their work outs. A lot these updates are using hashtags to connect other social media users who have similar work out goals.

Some of the popular hashtags include #Fitspo and #FitFam..

When you click on the hashtags, thousands of sculpted bodies appear.  These images are known as fitspirations.

"It takes you directly to people who are interested in the same things," says Stephen Teeters, a fitness enthusiast. "If you want someone to get a great work out idea, it's the perfect hashtag to use."

Teeters says he hits the gym four to five times a week. He says he'll scroll through social media sites, looking for motivation and finding new workouts to try.

He says while he uses it for good, he can see some people crossing the line.

"You can directly see some of the people who just have, in general, physique disorders, body issues," says Teeters. "They'll take it to the extreme and be like 'Oh, I've been in the gym for like three hours.' but that's the seventh day in a row."

Some doctors agree with Stephen's concerns and observations.

"A lot of our patients are spending a lot of time on social media sites," says Dr. Jennifer Seidenberg. "They're usually posting pictures of themselves, looking at pictures of other people. That tends to be triggering for them and can lead to deeply entrenched eating disorder thoughts."

Dr. Jennifer Seidenberg is an eating disorder specialist with the Hershey Medical Center Eating Disorder Clinic in State College. She says eating disorder thoughts include a preoccupation with image. She says people who have eating disorders spend around 80 to 90 percent of their day thinking about food and how they look.

"The patient is not satisfied with their appearance," says Seidenberg. "They overvalue their weight and their shape in their evaluation of themselves."

Seidenberg says over-exercising is a way some people with bulimia purge their calories.

"Typically, over-exercising means that they're not able to maintain a healthy body weight," says Dr. Seidenberg.

Seidenberg says she feels fitspirations can impact both genders but may be more triggering for men.

"They focus on how fit they are; how much they have a six pack; how little body fat they can get down to" says Dr. Seidenberg.

For both men and women, these thoughts that they need to achieve a certain type of physique to feel good can be attached to larger issues.

"Anytime we engage in obsessive behavior, especially working out, the root of that is insecurity and trying to live up to the standard of perfection," says Meghan Lemery Fritz, a psychotherapist.

With these fitspiration hashtags and searches, perfection is a common trend seen in comments.

"I see 'Fit is the new thin' and 'strength is the new thin', those types of things," says Courtney Lynch, a former collegiate power lifter.

She says she used social media to tailor workouts to her style.

"I think they can be a detriment because we're going to keep striving for these perfect bodies with very little body fat," says Lynch.

Doctors say striving for that perfect body and being upset about and off-tipped scale is about more than a number.

"When somebody suffers from insecurity and lack of self-esteem, they're in emotional pain." says Lemery Fritz. "You cannot put a number to resolve that pain."

While sites are saying Fit is the New Thin, doctors are saying that phrase worries them.

"That implies that there is no limit to how fit you can be," says Dr. Seidenberg.

Lynch says using social media and searching hashtags like fitspo have helped her hit milestones in her fitness career.

"I was at a much lighter weight but much unhealthier before I became a power lifter, before I started lifting," says Lynch. "My weight went up but my body fat went down."

Lynch's healthier lifestyle has given her a better, more positive outlook on life, all thanks to a fitness community she started connecting with on social media.

"We really need to be comfortable with who we are and keep getting stronger," says Lynch. "The stronger we get at the gym, the stronger we are and more confident we are."

Both Dr. Seidenberg and Lemery Fritz says the ever evolving social media world does concern them because it allows patients to be one step ahead of them but they also say they're trying their hardest to keep with the current trends.

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced the arrest of five individuals for charges that include drug trafficking and prostitution in two separate investigations conducted by narcotics agents in her office.

On Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, authorities in State College arrested an alleged drug dealer they referred to as "a one-stop shop" for a variety of narcotics. Nicholas Keener, 20, 1435 Jody Ave., Lebanon, Lebanon County, was arrested following a series of controlled purchases in recent weeks.

A search warranted executed on Keener's residence yielded 1.25 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $7,625; 52 doses of LSD with a street value of $520; 18 Vicodin tablets with a street value of $90; and two Adderall tablets with a street value of $10.

Keener is charged with 10 counts of possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, nine counts of possession, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of criminal use of communications facility.

On Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, agents arrested Jamal Nelson, Theresa Benson, Brittney Rugg and Tess Triplin after they traveled to Altoona to allegedly deal heroin and engage in sexual activity as a business at a local hotel. 

Authorities said they made a controlled purchase of $90 worth of heroin from the group, after which they arrested Nelson, Benson and Rugg and obtained a search warrant for several hotel rooms. Tiplin was inside one of the rooms when the warrants were executed, which yielded an additional amount of heroin packaged for sale, marijuana, paraphernalia, cash, a large supply of condoms and used condoms. 

Jamal Nelson, 34, 307 Decker Ave., Johnstown, Cambria County, is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to commit prostitution, one count of promotion and prostitution, one count of delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, one count of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of marijuana and one count of criminal use of communications facility.

Brittany Rugg, 28, 711 Homer St., Windber, Somerset County is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit prostitution, one count of promotion and prostitution, one count of delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, one count of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of criminal use of communications facility. 

Tess Triplin, 29, 625 Kennedy Ave., Johnstown, Cambria County, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit prostitution, one count of promotion and prostitution, one count of delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, one count possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of criminal use of communications facility.

Theresa Benson, 32, 307 Decker Ave., Johnstown, Cambria County, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit prostitution, one count of promotion and prostitution, one count of delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of communications facility.

Attorney General Kane thanked the State College Police Department and the Altoona Police Department for their assistance with the investigations. She also thanked the businesses and community leaders in Blair County involved with Operation Our Town.

Individuals who have witnessed a drug deal in their neighborhood or suspect illegal drug activity where they live or work can send an anonymous tip to the Office of Attorney General by texting PADRUGS + YOUR TIP to 847411. Tips can also be submitted electronically here.

Harrisburg – Hunters can help feed the more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians who are at risk for hunger by donating venison through the state-supported Hunters Sharing the Harvest deer donation program.

Hunters Sharing the Harvest helps hunters donate deer to be processed into ground venison and distributed by Pennsylvania food banks, soup kitchens and pantries.

“Nearly 600,000 Pennsylvania families face the reality each day of wondering how they’ll find their next meal,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig during an event to kick off the program today at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg, Dauphin County. “This is a prime opportunity for all hunters to help fight hunger in their communities by donating venison this holiday season.”

Hunters can take their deer to one of 90 participating meat processors throughout the state and donate any amount of their venison to the program – from several pounds to the whole animal. New this year, the $15 tax-deductible contribution hunters were asked to pay to help cover processing costs is eliminated, thanks to support from sportsmen and major sponsors alike.

The Department of Agriculture, through the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program, contributes $1.35 per pound of donated venison to reimburse processors.

“Last year nearly 10,000 meals were provided by hunters donating venison through Hunters Sharing the Harvest,” said Joe Arthur, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “With the number of families looking for food assistance at record levels, this is an excellent opportunity for Pennsylvania sportsmen to make a donation of one of the most nutritious meats available and help provide great nutrition to families struggling with hunger.”

Pennsylvanians can also donate money to the Buck for the Pot campaign, which supports Hunters Sharing the Harvest. Corporate sponsorships are also welcome to assist with processing costs.

CONSOL Energy has significantly expanded its support by pledging to assist with processing costs in Armstrong, Butler and Indiana counties, in addition to counties supported last year: Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

“Thanks to multiple regional sponsorship initiatives, we hope to reach even more people in need and fight hunger in their communities through Hunters Sharing the Harvest this season,” said John Plowman, executive director of Hunters Sharing the Harvest. “Each year we try to get more folks involved by expanding our county volunteer team and appointing qualified deer processors.”

Established in 1991, Hunters Sharing the Harvest today covers 53 participating counties and provides more than 750,000 meals annually to food banks, churches and social service feeding programs. Last year, hunters donated nearly 100,000 pounds of venison to more than 4,000 emergency food assistance agencies through the state’s 21 regional food banks.
To learn more about the program or for an interactive map and list of participating meat processors, visit www.sharedeer.org, or call toll-free 866-474-2141.
Even though the sun was shining today snow will be causing a headache for travelers on the day before Thanksgiving. Where will be the most tricky spots? Right now it looks in the eastern part of the state.
DUBOIS - A DuBois man is facing charges for allegedly contacting a 13 year old on Facebook, inviting her to a party and then having sex with her.

Police charged 20 year old Brandon Runyon with a number of offenses including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and statutory sexual assault.

Police say Runyon provided alcohol to the 13 year old victim at that party he invited her to.

He's currently in the Clearfield County Jail.
FRIEDENS, SOMERSET COUNTY - One person is dead another was life flighted to an area hospital after a crash Tuesday morning.

The corner was called to Coleman station road in Stoneycreek Township, Somerset County.

It was just before 11 when two cars collided, it happened in front of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.

Emergency crews are on scene and have the road shutdown. State police are investigating.

FERGUSON, MISSOURI - Protestors marched into the early hours overnight.

Demonstrations spiraled out of control.. And turned violent... At least a dozen buildings were set on fire, businesses looted, windows broken, and police say hundreds of shots of gunfire were heard.

All angry over a grand jury decision NOT to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18 year old Michael Brown.

Following the decision -- prosecutors released documents reviewed by the 12 jurors ...including images...and testimony by Officer Wilson.

Wilson says he shot a series of rounds at Brown during the August ninth confrontation which began while he was still in his squad car.

Wilson said 'His hands were inside on me. ... And he entered my vehicle with his hands, arms, and his head...assaulting me."

Police continued to urge for protesters to demonstrate peacefully...

Brown's mother broke down among protesters following the decision...calling for the system that claimed the life of her teenage son to be fixed.

Even in her anger -- she urged protesters not to combat violence with violence.

Danielle Nottingham reports from Ferguson.

Everyone is invited to the New Day Annual "Giving Thanks" dinner.

It is held in 4 different locations Tuesday night in Johnstown- and one location Wednesday night in Windber.

The dinners will be served at 5:30 pm both nights.

Tickets are completely free for anyone! You can stop by the New Day office and pick up your tickets.


New Day, Inc.

109 South Street

Johnstown, PA 15901


Morrellville Church of the Brethren

408 Chandler Avenue

Johnstown, PA 15906


First Lutheran Church

415 Vine Street

Johnstown, PA 15901



Moxham Lutheran Church

500 Park Avenue

Johnstown, PA 15902



St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church

605 Graham Avenue

Windber, PA 15963


Any questions? please call New Day at 535-8202.


BELLEFONTE, Centre County -- A jury found Elvin Lamey guilty on multiple charges including child rape.  Prosecutors say the sexual abuse began in 2010.  Lamey lived with the three young victims for around five years. Prosecutors say the abuse began when the eldest was around 4 or 5 and the youngest, just 2 or 3.

The children testified at the trial via videoconferencing.

Charges against Lamey came about in July 2012 after the children's mother came home to find two of them inappropriately touching each other. The kids then told their mom they learned it from the way Lamey touched them.

Centre County D.A., Stacy Parks Miller, says she is relieve for the young children, who are now 5, 7 and 8, that the trial is over.

"It's been a long process," says Parks Miller. "One child was only three years old when this began. It took some time for her to be able to testify.  The other children were five and six. It's been a while and it's been a tough road but they were very brave today."

Parks Miller say the Commonwealth will seek a lengthy prison sentence for Lamey.

He's behind bars tonight in lieu of a half million dollars bail. His sentencing is set for February 26th.
ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - The Home Nursing Agency lit their Lights of Love.

The white lights represent hospice patients and the blue lights are for the Healing Patch which is a free grief counseling service.

They also placed luminaries in front of the building in honor of people in hospice and people who have died.

They want people to know what services home nursing agency is there to provide.

The Home Nursing Agency lit their Christmas lights in seven different counties Monday night.
Chillier air is making a return to the region. That combined with two disturbance may result in bad travel conditions for people on the day before Thanksgiving.
CLAYTON, Mo. -- A St. Louis County grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The August 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Brown, who was black and unarmed, by Wilson, a white police officer, unleashed a flurry of protests in Ferguson. The initial demonstrations triggered a forceful police response that drew criticism from community activists.

On Monday, hundreds of protesters gathered at several locations in the Ferguson area, as well as in other cities around the country, anticipating the grand jury decision.

A week ago, Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency, saying the National Guard would be deployed to assist police if necessary. Brown's parents and Ferguson community leaders repeatedly have called on their son's supporters as well as law enforcement to remain "peaceful, calm and dignified."

The disputed circumstances surrounding the death brought global notoriety to the St. Louis suburb, where the majority of the population is black but the police force is predominantly white.

HOLLIDAYSBURG, BLAIR COUNTY - Monday was a near record warm day, and people across our area were taking advantage of it.

Joe Mercer was playing golf for the first time in about a month. The weather had kept him off the course. But when the weather was nice he wanted one last round.

Other people were taking advantage of the warm weather to get some work done. Adam Ulrich and the crew from LDC Construction were replacing a sidewalk in Hollidaysburg. The ground was frozen earlier and this is their first chance to break ground.

Whether they were working or playing everyone that talked with WTAJ wanted to get something accomplished before the weather bad again.
PORT MATILDA, CENTRE COUNTY - Rain and freezing temperatures caused quite the mess Saturday in Centre and Clearfield counties, as dozens of cars crashed along I-99 and I-80.

Two people died in a crash Saturday afternoon along I-80.

People we spoke with who were struck along I-99 Saturday say they're frustrated and felt like PennDOT wasn't prepared.

PennDOT officials are responding Monday, saying there were several contributing factors that led everyone to be unprepared.

"We had almost everybody out in both counties," Jim Surkovich, Assistant District Engineer for Maintenance at PennDOT District 2, said.

Surkovich said between Centre and Clearfield counties alone, nearly 80 PennDOT trucks were out to help treat the icy mess. Additional crews from surrounding counties were also called in to help.

"Sometimes, we like to go out and pretreat the roads, or anti-ice, but because what they called for initially was to start as rain, we couldn't do that because it would have washed everything away," Surkovich said. "We didn't do any pretreating, we were just going out there, putting down the salt and anti-skid as it started to happen, but with the freezing rain, it just would freeze right on top of the surface."

He blames a late and fast-changing forecast.

"Freezing rain is the most difficult to prepare for and to react to. When the temperature gets down that low and you get the freezing rain, you almost have to wait for Mother Nature to start helping you," Surkovich said.

Surkovich said preparations are already underway for Wednesday's predicted storms.

"We'll go out tomorrow and we'll look at the situation tomorrow, see what we have left on the roads from what we put down over the weekend, if we have salt residue left on the road, then that is basically the pretreating," he said.

With that snowy weather in the forecast during a busy holiday travel time, PennDOT officials said it's important that everyone be prepared before hitting the road. That includes having a snow emergency kit in the back of your car with a flashlight, extra blanket and some salt in case you get stuck. Make sure you have a full tank of gas when you head out and make sure your cell phones are fully charged.

TAYLOR TOWNSHIP, CENTRE COUNTY - One person is dead after a motorcycle crash.

It happened just after 3 o'clock Monday afternoon on Tyrone Pike in Taylor Township, Centre County.

Police say the driver went off the road hitting an embankment and was thrown into a tree.

The driver died at the scene.