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Regional News from WTAJ

MILFORD, PIKE COUNTY - Suspected cop killer Eric Frein has been arraigned.

Frein was found hiding in an old airport hangar last night around 6 Thursday night. It's the old Birchwood Resort near Tannersville, in Monroe County.

Frein was arraigned at around 9 o clock Friday morning in Pike County where he was charged with the murder of Corporal Bryon Dickson.

At his formal arraignment Frein answered some yes or no questions but didn't say much else. After 48 days on the run people from the community came out to see the man that sent their town into an uproar. Frein had cuts on his face and a busted nose; troopers say he had those injuries when they found him.

Frein didn't answer the crowd as they shouted at him. And police aren't saying much about what he has said to them.

Frein didn't enter any pleas and the prosecutor says he's going for the death penalty. Both police officers and people that live in the area where he was captured are glad this is finally over.

His first hearing is scheduled for November 12th - but the District Attorney of Pike County has already said he is asking for the death penalty.

ALTOONA - Here in the United States, you don't have to travel far to find a skilled surgeon to replace a severely damaged hip joint. But that wasn't the case  for an Ecuadorian man, badly injured years ago in motorcycle accident.

Fortunately a good friend in our region, was willing to go more than the average mile for him, and she brought an area surgeon along with her.

On Friday morning, a medical team prepped Mauricio Benitez for a hip replacement at the Advanced Center for Surgery in Altoona.  To his side, his 84-year-old mother Beatriz who came with him from Ecuador, and their good friend Sarah Braxton from Huntingdon.

They developed a close relationship a  few years ago, when Sarah stayed with the family  while studying to teach English as a second language. "It  was immediate," Sarah says, "She was my mother and my sister altogether and Mauricio was a brother ."

That close connection prompted Sarah to try to seek a solution for Mauricio's chronic hip pain.
After calling all over Pennsylvania requesting help, Sarah found it close to home from Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Chris McClellan.
 
"I love doing this. There's nothing better than helping someone who's in misery,"  Dr. McClellan says.  It didn't hurt that Sarah's husband teaches at his alma mater,  Juniata College.

Dr McClellan, who's with University Orthopedics, is one of the pioneers of  Same Day Joint Replacement Surgery, a procedure he's doing free, for Mauricio. The surgery center is also offering its services.

According to Dr. McClellan, the Ecuadorian man is a perfect candidate for same-day joint surgery.  He's only 42, is in good shape, and will have someone at home, Sarah's home, to oversee his recovery, a 4 to 6 week process.
  
Once Dr. McClellan opened up Mauricio's hip, he discovered it was worse than he thought---very stiff with bone spurs that have been growing for a long time.  That takes a little longer to get everything to fit just right, but with a few adjustments  the new hip joint was installed and in just  an hour or so Mauricio was taking a few steps. That's the hallmark of the same day surgery.
 
Dr. McClellan says Mauricio will be surprised how much his hip will actually move within the next week or two.

Mauricio doesn't speak much English but he did say, "thank you,  thank you." He and his mother will stay with Sarah, while he recovers, until the first week of December.

Dr. McClellan started performing same day joint surgery last fall at the Advanced Center for Surgery.  Since then, he's done 140 procedures, the most of any facility in the state.
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Blue is a seven year old black and white Terrier mix. She is an adorable, friendly dog. She hopes to be adopted by a loving and caring household. Blue was found a few weeks ago on 17th Street at Reliance bank. If you would like to meet Blue, stop by the Central PA Humane Society just north of Altoona on Pleasant Valley Blvd, or call (814) 942-5402. Also, the Perfect Pet 2015 Calendars are now on sale. All the profits from these calendars goes to the Humane Society to care for the animals. For more information on how to purchase a calendar, click here.

SUMMIT TOWNSHIP, SOMERSET COUNTY - The parents of the driver of the ATV that crashed killing 4 year old Tailynn Felker were charged today. Stacy Felker and Bradley Felker of Meyersdale were charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Their 14 year old child was driving an ATV on Scratch Hill Road in Meyersdale on Monday with 4 children on board when the vehicle crashed killing Tailynn Felker and injuring the other passengers.
BELLEFONTE, CENTRE COUNTY - 40 year old Jalene McClure, of Spring Township was sentenced this morning to 10-20 years behind bars for shaking a baby that she was caring for back in 2010.

Back in September, a jury found McClure guilty on a number of charges including Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Police said back in 2010, McClure shook a 5 month child that she was caring for at her "in-home" daycare.  The baby started showing signs of "shaken baby syndrome" in August of 2010.

 
PIKE COUNTY, PA - Eric Frein was taken into the Pike County courthouse with dozens jeering and heckling him.

State Police said Frein was on the run for 48 days after the ambush that left Corporal Bryon Dickson dead and Trooper Alex Douglass badly wounded.

Authorities took him into custody using Corporal Dickson's handcuffs and patrol car.

Officials said Frein already had a scratch on his face when he surrendered without a fight, and is in better health than they thought he would be after 7 weeks on the run.

Investigators are not saying what Frein has said to them so far. They say he was captured during a routine sweep, ending a 7 week, 10 million dollar manhunt.

The county prosecutor said he'll seek the death penalty.
MILFORD, PIKE COUNTY - Eric Frein has been charged with murder and several other charges related to the shooting death of Corporal Bryon Dickson, and injuring Trooper Alex Douglass in a shooting last month.

Those charges include murder in the first degree, criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer, assault, possession of weapons of mass destruction and some misdemeanors.

He was arraigned on those charges in front of a district judge this morning. He'll be held without bail at the Pike County Jail. Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin says he will seek the death penalty.


Hello Nittany Nation!!!

 November can bring quite chilly and unsettled weather to Beaver Stadium. This Saturday, the Maryland Terrapins come to town for the first of three November home games. You're going to want to have your cold weather gear for the game, but it's not going to be as cold as it initially appeared.

 There should not be too much in the way of travel problems coming in from the south or east of State College with just some clouds and some rain showers that may mix with wet snowflakes as you draw closer to Happy Valley. Coming in from the west may pose a few more issues as snow showers may leave a covering of snow on some of the higher ridges.

 It will be chilly for the pregame tailgates with some rain and snow showers possible. Temperatures will rise into the middle 40s during the morning and then will probably drift down to the lower 40s for the noon kick off. The possibility for rain and snow showers will continue through the game with a lean to snow showers toward the end of the game. There is a chance this precipitation event could end up quite light with sprinkles and flurries, though it is a better bet to bring the cold weather gear, hat and gloves. This should not be enough precipitation to hamper the players on the field. Traveling home to the west there can be some slick roads through the higher terrain.

Fight on State!

Joe
MONROE COUNTY AND PIKE COUNTY - A sigh of relief as accused cop killer Eric Frein is in a jail cell.
One September 12th, two State Troopers were ambushed and one of them died.
The search for Frein began shortly after in Monroe and Pike Counties.

Here are a few of the major dates in the search.

September 15th was a major break in the case - A man found a partially submerged jeep in a pond.
Then the following day, police found personal information linking 31 year old Eric Frein to the case.

September 17th, State Police issued a stern warning for the suspected trooper killer.

On the 26th, police announced that they found computer evidence indicating that Frein planned the trooper ambush for years... It also uncovered that he had searched "survival skills" as well as "how to avoid police in a manhunt."

On the 30th, police announced they found two pipe bombs.

On October 8th, STate Police read portions of a journal they say Frein wrote.

Frein was captured on October 30th and his preliminary arraignment will be at 9 am on October 31st in Milford, PA.
This is accused cop killer Eric Frein being led by State Police - likely where he will await arraignment.

You can see he's in orange prison scrubs and has obvious facial injuries.

He will be arraigned at 9 this morning at the Pike County Court House in Milford, PA.
HAWLEY, PIKE COUNTY -- U.S. Marshals caught Frein outside of an abandoned air hanger in the Poconos, roughly four miles from where he was seen earlier this week. He was taken into custody without incident.

They found a rifle and handgun nearby. Reports say the marshals spotted him and when they approached and called for him, he surrendered right away.

State Police believe Frein is the man that shot and killed Trooper Bryon Dickson and shot and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass outside the police barracks in Blooming Grove back on September 12th.

Frein is a self taught sniper and survivalist and was among the FBI's most wanted fugitives.

About 150 state police were looking for Frein each day over the last 48 days. Search costs were estimated at $1.5 million a week.

"Let me assure everybody here ... justice will be served," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday night at a news conference about Frein's capture.

Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty for Frein, Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin told reporters.

The suspect is now sitting in a cell at the same barracks outside which the two officers were ambushed, authorities said. He was cuffed with Cpl. Dickson's handcuffs, officials said.

Officials plan  to arraign Frein Thursday night into Friday.
ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - Local police officers handed out thousands of pieces of candy for Trick or Treat night.

The Altoona Police department sent out five extra officers, they wanted a bigger police presence to keep people safe with so many kids on the street and they were also handing out candy as part of the Candy from a Cop program. They handed out more than two thousand pieces of candy. They also had stickers and fingerprint kits if anyone was allergic so no one was left out.

Some people were surprised to see police officers pull up next to them. But they were grateful to see the officers interacting with the kids.

Sergeant Brian Freiwald ran into a little boy whose father was in jail, and had a special message for him. He told him to stay in school, get good grades, and he could be anything he wanted when he grew up. The little boy told Freiwald he wants to grow up and be a police officer.

The Candy from a Cop program was so successful the Altoona police plans to do it again next year.
ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY --  Common Core standards have been controversial since they took effect in March of this year. 
 
Jennifer Sodmont is a grandmother of six and says helping kids with homework used to be easier.
 
Sodmont of Hastings, said, "It was a lot easier -- 1 plus 1 was two or whatever. Now they do everything in a roundabout way."
 
Thursday, the acting secretary of education was visiting Altoona School District to learn about its new freshmen academy, and she says she understands some of the confusion about Pennsylvania Core Standards.
 
Carolyn Dumaresq, Acting Secretary of Education, said, "We heard a lot of feedback from parents about, 'Well, we used to know what we were supposed to do, but it's changed and you're expecting more.' and yes we are."
 
People on our Facebook aren't too excited about the new standards either. Charity Goddard commented, "I was in advanced math classes for most of my life, and I can't help my kids with their math."
 
Dumaresq has advice for parents who are struggling to help their children.
 
Dumaresq said, "Contact our local school district. Go in and talk to their local teachers. See if they can get help in understanding the new methodologies for teaching math at a more rigorous level. "
 
The secretary says the state sets standards, but districts create the curriculum. Sodmont feels sorry for parents who have to work with that to try to help their kids.
 
Sodmont said, "Cause some of them don't understand it, you know? And then there are kids who don't understand it, and I don't know but I think they should be going back to basics maybe where it was a lot easier."
CLEARFIELD, CLEARFIELD COUNTY – There are just five days until the election, and both candidates for governor are making our region a priority. On Thursday, Governor Tom Corbett was in town.
 
The governor made one of his final campaign stops in central Pennsylvania this morning.
He made it a point to talk almost everyone there, making sure they get to the polls this Tuesday.
 
Governor Corbett spoke to a crowd outside Grice Museum in Clearfield. He addressed key issues like pension reform, agriculture and education. He brought up points on how he kept promises of no tax increases, while his opponent is talking about new taxes.
 
Before he left, the governor told supporters to make sure they show up November 4, saying that every vote counts.
 
"This election is going to be a turn out election in Pennsylvania. Everybody's talking about it, obviously the democrats are worried,” said Gov. Corbett. “They brought Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton and now going to bring President Obama in to get the turnout up, and we want to get our turnout up."
 
The governor's challenger Tom Wolf (D) has made a number of stops here in our region, as well.
The two say this is an important area for their campaigns.

Pennsylvania State Police say that alleged cop-killer Eric Frein is captured after 48 days on the run. He is alive.

There were numerous reports of him being spotted Thursday. Frein is charged with shooting outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks, killing Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding another trooper.
STATE COLLEGE - Penn State's Nittanyville is a one of a kind display of college football passion.
 
And now you get a unique look - only on WTAJ - inside the heart of PSU's student fan base.
 
Nittany Nation reporter Jacob Kaucher shares his night in Nittanyville.
 
 
These students are so committed to their Nittany Lions that they spend up to five nights before games sleeping in the elements outside of Beaver Stadium’s Gate A.
 
For a night leading up to Penn State’s White Out against Ohio State, I grabbed my sleeping bag and found a tent to join the campers.
 
“This is where you can display your passion for football like nowhere else in the country or the world,” Nittanyville president Brian Sanvido says. “Everyone here is just passionate fans.”
 
This particular week, there are more than 80 tents housing 812 fans outside of Beaver Stadium's student entrance.
And campers are bracing for near freezing temperatures.
 
“My number one essential is camping cot, so you are off the cement,” veteran camper Laura San Roman says.
 
“If you can stay warm you can sleep. And as long as you can get some sleep, you'll be fine,” adds Nittanyville officer Darian Somers, who is marking his eighteenth week all time in Nittanyville.
 
Tents come in all shapes and sizes. You can have as few as one camper, or as many as 10 per tent.
 
What's on the line are the best seats inside Beaver Stadium.
 
“So if you sign in the fastest, then you get spot number one,” Sanvido says.
 
“There has to be someone at the tent 24/7,” San Roman adds. The only time tents are allowed to be empty is during class hours.
 
As I quickly learn, the Nittanyville experience is about much more than simply spending the night.
To add some excitement campers hold a dunk contest, with players from Penn State’s men’s basketball team on hand to judge.
 
“Throughout the week, it's a bunch of fun events,” Sanvido says.
 
And you never know who's gonna show up.
When Nittany Lion quarterback Christian Hackenberg drops by with pizza, everything stops.
 
“It's great,” Sanvido says of the support from Penn State’s football players and coaches. “They come out all week. Give us food and support us. Keep us going so that we can support them.”
 
Now that they've got their fuel, the campers are ready for what's called the “drumline,” a mini pep rally that keeps the students excitement building toward game day.
 
“This is all just to prepare people for Saturday. We do fight songs every night,” Sanvido says. “We do that stuff to make sure everyone knows it. So that they can sing the words. Everyone behind them hears them singing. It's a trickle effect behind them in the stadium.”
 
On this evening, the campers go through renditions of Zombie Nation, Rock & Roll Part 2 (The Hey Song), and Fight On, State. A half dozen students beat rhythms on trash cans as the rest of the campers sing the songs.
 
12:30 a.m.
It wouldn't be a “Night in Nittanyville” without the actual night in Nittanyville. So it's time to part ways for the evening, and I'll see you tomorrow.
 
2:32 a.m.
It's a little cool here - the layers though keep me pretty warm - even though it's only about 40 degrees outside.
We'll have a little more sleep before waking up tomorrow for real.
 
8:10 a.m.
Good morning. It is a little after 8:00 a.m. here in Nittanyville, and I did survive the night.
I learned it's a little uncomfortable to sleep on the concrete but I only have to do this one night this week, while the rest of these fans are here five nights.
 
And somehow they're still ready to rock on for the game on Saturday night.
 

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - A town in our area is being recognized for its value to veterans.

State College was named the seventh best place in the nation to live for veterans who are first starting out. The ranking comes from the USAA.

Happy Valley is home to a lot of people who come from different areas and backgrounds, but there's one group in particular who make Happy Valley a special place to be.

"I served from 1986-1991 in the Marines," State College Police Lt. Chris Fishel said.

Lt. Fishel protects the State College community now and started doing so right after retiring from the military.

"Being a veteran and having a college degree, I had a lot of options that I didn't have prior to the military service, so I had to choose where I wanted to go. I had so many options," he said. "I came here because it's a safe place to live and there are a lot of opportunities."

Those are just a few reasons the USAA ranks State College so highly for veterans just starting out. Other reasons include factors like population growth, unemployment rate, job growth, G.I. Bill enrollment and the presence of colleges and universities, to name a few.

Brian Querry works with veterans every day, with somewhere between 9,300 and 10,000 veterans living in Centre County alone.

Representatives with Penn State's Office of Veteran's Programs said there are more than 4,000 veterans enrolled in classes, university-wide.

"What it's really showing is that Penn State has a very good support system for G.I.'s coming back and using their Post-9/11 GI Bill," Querry, Director of the Centre County Veterans' Affairs Office, said. "I think they have at least four certified counselors there who work with vets as they come in, help them get signed up to make sure they get all of their monies, things like that."

Lt. Fishel credits Penn State's ROTC program, too.

"It does have a lot to do with the ROTC program and the opportunity for people to study at a great school and then serve in the military," he said.

Pittsburgh is number one on the list of places for veterans first starting out, followed by Austin, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Airports and  hospitals are learning some hard lessons from the handful of Ebola cases diagnosed and treated in the U.S.
 
Customs and border protection officers are now armed with thermometers at Dulles International Airport, JFK in New York, Chicago's O-Hare, Atlanta, and Newark. It's part of enhanced screening for travelers from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Passengers arriving from West Africa get interviewed - and a Care Kit to track and monitor themselves. Anyone with symptoms at the airport is quarantined and then,  they're kept away form the general population, once they get to a hospital.

One Virginia hospital  spent $650,000 to add  extra walls, a decontamination area, and a lab in its trauma area.
  
There are no direct flights to the 3 West African countries in the hot zone. The CDC estimates about 150 people arrive in the U.S. from there each day.    
 

In this Hometown Hero segment, we recognize an upcoming event for servicemembers at a Penn State football game. The November 15th home game against Temple is part of Penn State's Military Appreciation Week and game. And the university is sponsoring a Seats For Soldiers program. There's a tailgate planned before the game and special events during the game. 5500 people have donated tickets for the November 15th game. That's more than double last year.  There are still a few hundred left as of Thursday afternoon that need to be claimed by noon on Friday. You can click on 
https://www.jointservicessupport.org/Events/KioskRegistration.aspx?Mode=AddNew&Id=ae43ad1b-26fd-460e-8327-ce20eabb386b
JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY--- Officials dedicated CamTran’s new building Thursday along Maple Avenue.

It took about 18 months to complete and about $17 million dollars to build and dozens turned out to see the new state of the art facility.

"It's all efficient new modern offices, the dispatch and everything is new,” said Ed Cernic, CamTran Chair.  “This will make everyone’s job a lot easier and a lot nicer."

State, federal and local dollars were contributed to build the facility on donated land.  The project came in about $500,000 under budget.

"The old one was around when horse power meant horse power the facility was probably obsolete for generation and obsolete for a decade,” said Senator John Wozniak.  “Something had to be done."

With the money saved CNG pumps will be installed along with solar panels to help cut energy costs.

There are new CNG buses that are being ordered and the first should arrive Spring 2015.