Home
 
The News
The Talk
The Station
The Community
 

Regional News from WTAJ

JOHNSTOWN - For the second time in two weeks, a number of rescue crews were called out to the water near Point Stadium in Johnstown.
 
Crews were first called out to the river after six o'clock Sunday in the area near Haynes Street.
That's were they found two people, outside their boats, near the construction going on in the area. Their boats had been capsized.
 
Crews quickly found though that those two people weren't the only ones that needed to be rescued.
 
"A third individual made through that area but was reported to be out of the boat as well so we had to split our crews," said Chief Anthony Kovacic, Johnstown Fire Department.
 
The third person actually got out of the water and went back to help get the other two out. Fortunately no of those rescued were hurt.

CENTRAL CITY, SOMERSET COUNTY - Five crews responded to a fire at a home in Central City late Sunday afternoon.  It happened along Lincoln Highway.

We're told by crews on site that there was smoke and fire damage to the second floor of the home.  Some of the furniture inside caught on fire. 

Central City, Windber, Shanksville, Stoystown, and Hooversville fire departments all responded to the scene.  They say they were able to quickly put the fire out.

Everyone did make it out of the home safely, even the pets.

Currently crews believe the cause may be electrical, but they're still investigating.

HARRISBURG - We're on day five without a budget in the state of Pennsylvania, and come Monday, lawmakers promise they're getting back to work to pass one.
 
Governor Tom Wolf, (D) Pennsylvania, vetoed a budget passed mostly on party lines by the republicans. He put his budget out in March.
 
The key differences come with items like natural gas tax, liquor privatization and pension reform.
 
After he vetoed their budget, Gov. Wolf said he wanted to get started moving to next stage, one that he calls coming to an agreement.

"When you have conversations, you can make the plan better,” said Gov. Wolf. “As I say, I've already heard from numerous people that the floor idea in my formulas was wrong and poor judgment, and I took it out. So I think those kinds of conversations have to move forward."
 
The governor said he is looking forward to those conversations.

WEST MIFFLIN, ALLEGHENY COUNTY - A woman was shot in the chest inside Kennywood Park on Saturday night.
 
According to the CBS station in Pittsburgh, KDKA the 26-year-old woman was still inside the park, but was shot from outside.  She was taken to the hospital where she's currently in stable condition.
 
After the shooting, Kennywood was put on a lockdown for a period of time.
 
It's unclear who the shooter was. Police first believed it could have been a drive-by shooting, they say the woman was not targeted.
 
Police are continuing to investigate.

SOMERSET - According to the McCarthy Tire Service Company website they have been providing tires and repair services to the Somerset community for many years, but soon that will no longer be the case.

A published article reveals that the company filed a notice on June 17 that stated they will be closing the Somerset location, which means both industry and jobs are on their way out the door.  It's something residents, like Mark Marteeny, aren't too happy about.

"It's industry on a closer residential end, but at least it keeps people moving around here.  That's one more building that's going to be sitting empty and that's no good for anybody."

The residents tell us rumors have been floating around the area for a few weeks now.  They're concerned for some of the familiar faces who worked just down the street from them.  Each one will now be one of the 38 workers without a job.

"It's a shame especially around Somerset.  You know we would rather see things opening rather than closing."

According to the Times Leader in Scranton, after the notice was filed McCarthy Tire Service Company announced they will sign an agreement with a North Carolina based tire company.  This will open three new McCarthy facilities in North Carolina and one in Georgia, leaving the Somerset location out of the mix.

It has residents in the area upset that their "good neighbor" will no longer be around.

The plant will be open for a few more weeks.  They're set to officially close on August 17.

ALTOONA-- In the city of Altoona, there's tradition on Independence Day. Saturday morning, more than 900 people braved the rain to participate in the YMCA's July fourth Angie Gioiosa memorial race.

It's the 41st year the race has been held.

There were 15k and 5k runs and a two mile walk.

This race is one of Altoona's biggest.

SOMERSET COUNTY - Two people had to be flown to the hospital after two different ATV crashes in Somerset County.
 
The first one happened just after three o'clock Saturday afternoon on Boone Road in Stonycreek, at the Mountain Ridge ATV Trails. According to 911 dispatch, one man had to be flown to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.
 
Just before 8:30 Saturday night, another man was flown to Conemaugh after crashing his ATV on Lower Listonburg Road in Listenburg.
 
No word at this time on either condition.

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, BEDFORD COUNTY - Two people from Illinois are in jail in Central Pennsylvania, after robbing a woman at gunpoint.
 
This happened just after seven o'clock Saturday morning at the Midway Plaza in South Bedford Township.
 
That's when police say Ashley Cundari, 25, and Sal Montes, 25, both from Melrose Park, Illinois, robbed a 50-year-old woman at gun point for her purse.
 
The two took off on the turnpike. A witness called police with a description of the car. Police pulled them over near mile marker 154.6.
 
Both are in the Bedford County Jail on $150,000 straight cash bond.

Celebrations are going on throughout the country this Independence Day and in major cities, security was amped up after threats from terrorist groups.
 
Washington D.C., expects to see thousands celebrate at our nation's capitol, with a visit to the monuments and showing their patriotism.
 
But there is plenty of security on hand throughout this weekend.
 
Even cities link New York and Philadelphia have heightened security.
 
This comes after Isis has called for attacks during the holy week of Ramadan for Muslims.
 
Officials say, though, no specific threats have been made.

OSCEOLA MILLS, CLEARFIELD COUNTY - Saturday was filled with patriotic parades throughout the region, including one that brings in hundreds of people from near and far to celebrate the Fourth of July.

"It's such an exciting parade and you get all this candy.  There's fire trucks and everything is like so awesome," says Zoe O'Shea.

The rain Saturday morning didn't keep Zoe, her sister Eryn, and their family from traveling from Maryland to see what they call the best parade.  It's become a tradition for their family, like many others.

Fire trucks, emergency responders, and performers were just a few that drove through the streets for the two hour parade that hundreds attended for their own special reasons.

"We get lots of candy," said Eryn O'Shea.

It wasn't just the candy that the kids loved.  They got a chance to see some of their heroes walk through the parade too.

Matthew liked the fire trucks that were in the parade, "Because when your house is on fire they will help you so you don't get burned."

Parents and kids like Zoe agreed that it was a day to celebrate and honor together.

"It's a time to celebrate America, our country, and what it's done for us and stuff like that."

MAPLETON BOROUGH, HUNTINGDON COUNTY - State Police arrested a man for trying lure a six year old to his home Friday.
 
This happened just before two o'clock Friday afternoon along Main Street in Mapleton Borough, near the OUP Restaurant.
 
That's when police Antonio Spongia, 75, of Mapleton Depot, tried getting the young boy to come inside his home. That boy was able to run away.
 
Spongia was taken into custody and charge with attempted child luring.
 
A preliminary hearing has been set for July 14th.

JOHNSTOWN - Three adults inside a home along Church Avenue in Johnstown made it out safely after flames broke out this evening.
 
Unfortunately, not all of the pets inside made it out of the home. Crews from the Johnstown Fire Department, Police Department and West End Ambulance responded to the fire.
 
The fire started on second floor before it quickly spread to third floor
 
"My guys quickly put a hose on the second floor, quickly took the fire down and from that point it was trying to get to the fire that extended to the third," said Chief Anthony Kovacic, Johnstown Fire Department.
 
The State Police Fire Marshal is assisting in the investigation to what caused the fire.

ST. MARYS, ELK COUNTY - Concerned citizens in St. Marys plan to hold a meeting next week to discuss changes at Penn Highlands Elk.

Retired nurse Priscilla Phillips says she began discussing plans for the meeting about a month ago, and has been getting calls from more and more people who are upset with the hospital.

She says she's trying to find out the facts, but it has been difficult.

A hospital spokeswoman says their president, board of directors president, and system CEO met with Phillips, but will not be attending the meeting as they do not feel it's appropriate to be a part of that public forum.

"The biggest fear that people have in this area is that the hospital will close. I had a meeting yesterday with the officials of the hospital and they said it wouldn't, but I think there is a mistrust," says Phillips.

The hospital announced that it cut 28 jobs and 15 other positions in March.

The public meeting is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the St. Marys High School cafeteria.

JOHNSTOWN - Two men are recovering at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown after an altercation Friday morning that ended with one man stabbed and the other hit with a dumbbell.

Residents in the community tell us they have to continue to be united after Friday morning's attack. 

According to police it happened at an apartment building on Messenger Street.

"The suspect came to the home, knocked on the door, and was requesting a cigarette," says Johnstown Police Department Captain Andrew Frear.

That's when the attack began.

"When the victim turned around to get a cigarette that's when the suspect stabbed him."

Captain Frear says the suspect, William Hardwick, knew the 53-year-old victim who was stabbed in the abdomen.

"After a result of that the victim grabbed a dumbbell and turned around and struck the suspect in the head knocking him down and putting him out."

Neither of the men suffered life threatening injuries, but they were transported to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for treatment.

Hardwick will face multiple charges according to Captain Frear.

"He'll be facing burglary, aggravated assault, criminal trespass, simple assault.  He did have a small amount of marijuana on him so there would be a drug charge on there also."

Residents in the area expressed their concern about this attack.  They say it's like taking two steps forward and one step back.  Many thought the community's peace march lifted the city and its surrounding neighborhoods away from this type of crime.  They say they can't let one small bump in the road get in the way of their peace.

Police say the suspect, Hardwick, will face the charges once he's release from the hospital.  The victim has not been identified yet and is not facing any charges as of right now, but police say their investigation is still ongoing.

MARTINSBURG, BLAIR COUNTY – Hobby Car Corvettes opened in 1986 and it could arguably be called one of the best kept secrets in Blair County.
 
It's a place where you expect more corn than corvettes.
 
R-j Sottile is the proud, and to say he has a couple cars is an understatement.
 
RJ Sottile, Owner, Hobby Car Corvettes, said, "We currently stock about 70 Corvettes between our warehouses."
 
They specialize in corvettes from 1968-1982. It makes them the largest dealer of its type in the country. There's always a steady stream of cars RJ  is fixing up, too.
 
Sottile said, "I not only sell them -- I do all the buying and a good portion of the repairs I do myself."
 
He fixes 50 to 100 per year -- and each of them has their own story.
 
"Some are just amazing -- the feel you get it'll throw you in the seat,” he said.
 
The dealership caught the eye of John Aiello and his son who saw it and had to stop.
 
John Aiello from Pittsburgh, said, "You drive by, you see some stalks of corn and next thing you know it's got 50 or 60 corvettes sitting in a showroom."
 
 It's a business RJ’s dad started.
 
Bob Sottile, President, Hobby Car Corvettes, said, "It's been a well-kept secret in the cove for many years because a lot of people don't realize what we do. "
 
"We've had people from France, we had a gentleman here from Germany last month,” RJ said.
 
He says they've sold a Corvette on every continent -- except Antarctica., and it all comes from right here in Central PA.
 
"Being in the middle of nowhere, we've sold cars basically everywhere in the world,” RJ said.
 
They're open 6 days a week and invite anyone who wants to take a look to come visit.

You can visit their website by clicking here.

ALTOONA - Two years ago on July 1, one of the area's largest hospitals joined a major health system based in Pittsburgh.

When Altoona Regional became UPMC Altoona, its parent company, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center pledged to spend $250 million to upgrade the local facility over the coming ten years.

Here are some of the changes that have taken place since the merger occurred.

UPMC President Jerry Murray says the hospital has recruited 21 new physicians over the past 24 months."That is by far the most number of physicians I  can recall recruiting in that period of time," he says.

Among them,  is Dr Elliot Bilofsky, an ear, nose and throat specialist who offers procedures to repair damaged vocal chords, allowing patients to speak again.

Elite Orthopedics, part of UPMC  Altoona, has grown to include 5 specialists and expects to add more.  A founder of the practice, Dr. Charles Harvey says "we just recruited a young man who's doing an upper extremity fellowship. We've been working on this for 2 years and this gentleman can actually handle any problems from your fingertips up to your shoulder."

As part of its new Breast Health Center, UPMC Altoona has recruited Dr. Dianna Craig, a surgeon who concentrates on breast diseases. The facility began offering 3 D mammography and recently unveiled a second opinion option where patients just diagnosed with breast cancer, can consult via telemedicine with a breast specialist at UPMC Magee Women's Hospital.
 
"One of the early concerns was that Pittsburgh would act as a center where they would want our patients to go there and that hasn't happened at all," Dr. Harvey says. "As a matter of fact, Pittsburgh has made it very clear to us, they want our patients to stay right here in Altoona."
 
And Murray adds,"they're looking at us as the hub in the eastern part of the state or the central part, what they call the eastern region for UPMC."

Murray says in the next couple of years, UPMC Altoona will focus on 5 key areas neurology, orthopedics, oncology, women's health and cardiology.

UPMC Altoona has also added a pediatric telemedicine program, hooked up to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and a transplant clinic at Station Medical Center for patients before and after their procedures.

CLEARFIELD - Two administrators who resigned from Clearfield's vo-tech school are now facing criminal charges.

William Weaver, 55, Bellefonte, and Cathy Thomas, 61, Morrisdale, are each facing misdemeanor charges of failure to report following the incident on May 1, according to online court records.

They resigned on May 11. The Clearfield County Career and Technology Center superintendent of record said it involved inappropriate sexual talk in front of students by a longtime sub.

Darice Brady-McKee, 34, of La Jose, is facing felony charges of discussing explicit material in front of minors and 32 counts of corruption of minors.

She's also an auditor for Chest Township and president of an organization called the Chest Creek Watershed Alliance.

The charges were filed by the Lawrence Township Police Department, which declined comment on Friday afternoon.  All three suspects are due in court on July 29.

FRAKSTOWN TOWNSHIP, BLAIR COUNTY - Two Blair County teens are facing charges after police say they smashed mailboxes along Scotch Valley Road in Frankstown Township.
 
Police say one teen drove a pick up truck while the other stood in the back, throwing sandbags at mailboxes, damaging at least three. This happened about a week ago. They're facing criminal mischief and disorderly conduct charges.

STATE COLLEGE - Folks in State College will be holding a special meeting this coming Tuesday to discuss what they call a dangerous intersection in their neighborhood.
 
State College Police Chief Tom King will be speaking on the topic at the meeting set for 7 p.m. at the State College Church of Christ.
 
In the past year two people have died at the Atherton Street and Park Avenue intersection. Last year a jogger was killed crossing the intersection. Two weeks ago a man riding a scooter was killed after a mini cooper crashed into him.

WILCOX, ELK COUNTY - Police say two young men suffered major injuries after a speeding car rolled over near a railroad crossing in Elk County.
 
It happened around 7:30 Thursday night on Rasselas Road near Fritz Road, east of Wilcox. Brogran Lovette, 20, of Emporium and Tyler Pharis, 20, of Ohio, suffered major injuries. Erin Garrigan, 18, Nathan Andrus, 19, and Cain Barr, 20, all of Emporium were also hurt. All were rushed to the hospital.
 
Police believe the driver, Erin Garrigan, was driving under the influence.