The News
The Talk
The Station
The Community

Regional News from WTAJ

PORT MATILDA, CENTRE COUNTY – This weekend is one of the last chances for some of us to get out pumpkins before Halloween.
Way Fruit Farm was busy for their Pumpkin Festival. They had tractor rides out to the patch.
This is the last weekend of their fall celebrations. All the proceeds from the weekends over the month of October go to help an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.
"The proceeds that we've gotten over these Fall Saturdays have really taken that orphanage from really sad state to really being a very great orphanage and you know being much more up-to-date," said Jason Coopey, Co-Owner Way Fruit Farm.
Volunteers throughout the year also help out to raise extra money for the orphanage

ALTOONA - For the first time its 109 year history, there's now a bar at the Mishler Theater.
"Spirits" is officially open. It's the basement of the theater.
It's taken two-years, from to planning to the grand opening. Board members say in the process, they discovered hidden treasures of the theater, for people to check out while they're there.
"We didn't modernize it, we exposed the stone and cleaned it and sealed it,” said Kate Shaffer, Executive Director of the Mishler Theater.  “So a lot of the elements of the theater are present. And there's a lot of historical memorabilia around. It's almost as if its a museum."
"Spirits" will be open during performances only.

ALTOONA – In less than two weeks, voters will be heading to the polls, and candidate for governor is making campaign stops in our region.
Tom Wolf (D) is in town this weekend. He made stops in Somerset, Duncansville and Johnstown.
It's all part of his final push as we near November 4th.
Wolf said this is experience has been completely new for him.
"It's been fun. This is the first time I've ever done anything like this. And I got to say, I'm meeting nice people like this, so it's been a great joy."
Wolf will be making his way into the Pittsburgh area Sunday, as heads across the state to meet with voters.

MORRISDALE, CLEARFIELD COUNTY – A man is facing charges after he crashed a car, police say he stole.
According to state police, Jeremy Nearhood, 35, of Morrisdale, was driving along Ttroy Hawk Run Road in Morris Township when he crossed over the center line, hitting a telephone pole, mailbox and bush.
The car flipped and he was stuck inside. A nearby resident had to break the window to get him out.
Police say he stole that car he was driving. They also found him to be under the influence. Nearhood now faces charges.

BELLWOOD, BLAIR COUNTY – State police released the name of the person killed in that fatal car crash along Interstate 99 Friday night.
Della Snyder, 60, of Tyrone, was killed when she lost control of her car.
It happened just before nine o'clock last night last night, near the Bellwood exit.
According to police, Snyder’s car rolled multiple times after she crossed the median. She was thrown from her vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
Another person in the car at the time suffered minor injuries.

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY -- The rally to restore the wins is drawing lots of Penn State fans, and the group that organized it is not surprised by the large crowds.
Dana Garcia and his son Jeff are here with family enjoying downtown before the game. But before they went to the stadium, they signed the 409 banner to restore Joe Paterno's 409 wins.
Dana Garcia said, "Restoring the wins in our mind, in most Penn Staters minds -- just tries to get things back on the right track."
James Garcia said,"Joe Paterno has had such a big impact on Penn State and what he really did deserves notice of everybody."
A local film group working on a documentary called The People’s Joe is behind the project and says this event is important to remember Paterno's contributions to the university.
Connie Ferrara, Producer, The People's Joe, said, "It is just evident to us that there is so much more to Joe Paterno than just a football."
This morning, Franco Harris joined the list of big names signing the banner.
Franco Harris said, "You know after three years you would think people would get tired, people would get weak, but this has been three years and we're more energized than ever."
Penn State trustee Ted Brown is an executive producer of The People's Joe and says Paterno's legacy is known by people who never saw him coach.
Ted Brown, Penn State Trustee, said, "There are people of all ages. There are undergraduate students -- there are people who are signing it when Joe was not head coach. "
Some Penn State fans like Jeff Sarabok think Paterno contributed a lot, but that there are more important things than restoring his wins.
Jeff Sarabok said, "It's just a number. We were all here. We know what he did. We know he won 409 games. We don't need an official record to tell us that."
And even young Penn State fans like James Garcia say Paterno's record will last.
Garcia said, "People know who Joe Paterno is and what he did for everyone, not just the football program or the athletic program, but for Penn State."
The group plans on sending the signs to the NCAA President.

BELLWOOD, BLAIR COUNTY - Crews were on the scene of a deadly crash on Interstate 99 for several hours.

A little before 9:00 Friday night a car crashed on the interstate. It happened in the north lane right at the Bellwood exit. The car ended up on its roof, and traffic was cut down to one lane.

The Blair County Coroner was on scene. State Police are investigating what caused this crash. They haven't released any other information.
ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - A local group is trying to start a semi-pro football team in Altoona.

Craig Wolf has played sports all his life now he is trying to keep that going the Altoona Bouncers Semi-Pro football team a reality.

Other people like Tyisha Williams are doing it for their kids. Her son is graduating from Altoona this year and she wants him to have a way to keep playing and possibly move on in football.

They have about 30 players signed up and they'd like another 30. They're also looking for cheerleaders, coaches, and some local sponsors. Everyone on the team will sign a contract to also do at least 20 hours of community service.

The organizers hope to have their paperwork finished by January and start the season in March.

The Bouncers will be at the Altoona Wal-Mart from 9:00 to 5:00 Saturday handing out information and looking for those sponsors.
A duffel bag filled with heroin was thrown out of a window and the person police say is responsible is now behind bars, but another suspect remains on the run.

County sheriffs were in the area look for Cortney Todaro.That's when Torrance Edison allegedly threw a duffel bag full of heroin out the window of Building 18 at Coopersdale homes in Johnstown.

Police say more than 1700 packaged baggies of heroin were inside of it.

The 24 year old jumped out another window and took off down the river wall and was arrested.

Anyone with information on Todaro's whereabouts is asked to call police.

A suspect is now in the Somerset County Jail charged with at least one of more than a dozen burglaries in Somerset Township.

State police have charged Michael Lowrey of Somerset with breaking into Stoy Excavating over the weekend.

Since September about 20 businesses-- all within a mile of each other-- have been burglarized.

Police say Lowrey lives near where the companies were broken into. He has only been charged with one incident for now.

Troopers say the investigation is on going.

EBENSBURG, CAMBRIA COUNTY--- A Cambria County Prison guard saved an inmates life and was honored for it Thursday.

Ralph Hansen was humbled to be recognized Thursday but said he was just doing his job back on October 6th, 2014.

“He was choking, I called ‘code blue’ ran over and started the Heimlich maneuver,” said Hansen.  “I did several compressions and out come these apple slices and he started breathing again.”

The 32 year old inmate’s identity is not allowed to be release due to medical laws.  Hansen said that was the first time he ever gave someone the Heimlich.

"It was the first time I ever did anything to that affect and to save someone's life,” said Hansen.

“You know you don't hear too many people that successfully do the Heimlich maneuver,” said Doug Lengenfelder, Commissioner. 

Hansen said he saw the inmate a few days later who thanked him for saving his life.

“I was just doing my job.”

The Warden said this was the first time he could recall an incident at the prison where a guard saved an inmates life that was choking.

PENN STATE, UNIVERSITY PARK - Nittany Nation is ramping up the spirit Friday as thousands of fans make their way to town for the Penn State versus Ohio State University football game.

Traffic has been backed up since early Friday morning as thousands of RVs are waiting to get their parking spot on campus.

Local businesses are hoping to get a big boost from the weekend crowds.

"It's packed," Laryssa Hertel, of York, said.

Packed may be an understatement, as Penn State is expecting more than 1,000 RVs to park on campus this weekend.

"We got here about 1 A.M. this morning," Stephanie Mellinger, of Virginia, said.

Mellinger and about 14 of her friends are camping out for the fourth time this season and they made sure to get here early. They're expecting this weekend to be the biggest and best yet.

"I think it's going to be the most anticipated game," Mellinger said. "We're hopeful for a good outcome. There are always miracles when it comes to Saturday night Ohio State games, so that's what we're hoping for. Something like 2005."

Pat Mente and his crew are relaxing Friday before the madness begins.

"It filled up pretty fast," Mente said. "Energy has been great, it's electric. Everybody is having a good time."

They're not the only ones getting ready. Folks at Baby's Burgers and Shakes in downtown State College are bracing themselves for a whirlwind weekend.

"I have every cook except for one scheduled," Tassy Lopez, General Manager of Baby's said. "On a weekend like this, there's pretty much no way they're getting off."

Lopez looks forward to weekends like these, especially to see some old friends.

"We have a couple from Atlanta and others who come in from Jersey," she said. "They'll come in and sit at the counter because they know they can access us and catch up."

"It's great. It's a good time," Manager Kevin Selders said. "It's stressful, but in the long run, it's more fun than stressful."

Selders isn't sure how the weekend will pan out business-wise, but said they'll be ready, no matter what.

"We know we'll be busy. I don't know if we'll have our busiest day, but we'll be up there," he said.

Last year for the Michigan game, Penn State parked about 27,000 vehicles, including RVs. They're expecting the same, if not more, this weekend.

Is self-monitoring enough for people who've been exposed to Ebola, but are showing no symptoms? Some top health officials now seem to be questioning whether more restrictions should have been put on on the movements of Dr. Craig Spencer, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in New York City. 
Doctors Without Borders, the group Spencer had been working with in Africa, says the physician followed guidelines since returning to the United States. Spencer was taking his temperature twice a day and watching for Ebola symptoms like fever, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. And he did what he was supposed to, notifying authorities as soon as he detected a low-grade fever.

Still, some question whether doctor Spencer should have been able to move about so freely given his potential exposure, and Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health,  indicated possible changes could be on the way. 
"That is something that is, right now, under very active discussion and you will be hearing shortly about what the guidelines will be," he said.

According to the CDC, only people considered high risk are quarantined, for example, having exposure to Ebola patients, without wearing the correct protective gear. Spencer posted a picture of himself in Guinea wearing his equipment.

Doctors Without Borders encourages doctors returning from West Africa to stay away from their usual jobs for 21 days, which is something Dr. Spencer also adhered to.

ALTOONA - Students at Altoona Area High School got a special surprise Friday.
The Life Skills students at the high school got some training from members of the Altoona Fire Department.
They got to learn about the gear they wear and tools they use. They also got to go out and check out the trucks.
Some of the teachers got to show the kids just how things work.
"I'm having so much fun watching firemen,” said James Gailey. “Firemen are our heroes. They take good care of us."
"My favorite part about them is they're the best people and we need them around here," said Christopher Cowfer.
This training opportunity was part of National Fire Prevention Month.

DUNCANSVILLE, BLAIR COUNTY - Hollie Ayers has been sharing her story of domestic abuse for more than a year.
"Their eyes bulge their mouth drops because there's no other, you can't sugar coat what happened."
March 23, 2013. A day that Ayers won't forget. That's when her ex husband killed her 2 1/2 year old son, right in front of her. And shot her in the leg and face.
"She was able to make you see the picture in your mind of every step that happened," Leslie McConnell, Listener.
"I was hurt and angered over the situation she endured," said Tom Beauchamb, Listener.
Her story really got to Beauchamb. And as hard as it was to hear, he said it needed to be told.
"I wish more people like Hollie would speak out, and let people know what's on their mind and what's going on with their lives,” said Beauchamb. “Keeping this stuff bottled up, it's just not right."
Listeners in the crowd said when you see the facts, like 1.3 million women are impacted by domestic abuse each year, it's important to keep telling these stories, and not just in Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"Changing the system and educating people is how I'm going to survive, and making sure that people know the part they play and the kindness that they play, the support that they can give can truly make a difference," said Ayers.
Ayers said talking about domestic violence is important. She wants people to know that it's ok to talk about. Because she believes it’s the only way to end it.

HARRISBURG - Unions that represent healthcare workers in Pennsylvania say they're getting involved with efforts to fight Ebola.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and its nurse alliance announced Friday that they're taking steps to make sure medical personnel get the proper training and equipment to deal with Ebola.

The Nurse Alliance of SEIU-Pennsylvania says its working to keep members up to date with the most accurate information and to collaborate with local hospitals. The group says members are evaluating each facility's plan, taking steps to ensure that the frontline staff is protected, and group working with management to ensure compliance with updated guidelines.

"Frontline nurses are the backbone of any healthcare facility and an incredibly effective agent in responding to a health crisis such as Ebola," said Deborah Bonn, RN, director of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU-Pennsylvania. "It is critical that nurses are given the correct tools and training when responding to such a deadly virus in order to not only protect the health and well-being of caregivers, but also to ensure the virus doesn't spread."

Buster is a 2-year-old Toy Poodle who came to the Central PA Humane Society in mid October after being surrendered by his family.

He is playful and very affectionate, and has been neutered. Buster is up to date on his Rabies vaccinations and is currently staying in the puppy room at the humane society.

The Central PA Humane Society will be at the Halloween Parade in downtown Hollidaysburg October 25th and at Temple Beth Israel in Altoona Sunday, October 26th for the blessing of the animals at 12:15.

Please contact the Central PA Humane Society at 942-5402 for more information about Buster or any other animal who is looking for their fur-ever home.
BELLWOOD, BLAIR COUNTY - Who could ever forget those legendary "Super" Steelers teams of the 70's?  A big part of those teams was running back, Rocky Bleier, who went on to win 4 Super Bowls with Steelers.

Bleier's story goes beyond football though.

After being drafted by Pittsburgh in 1968, Bleier was selected for duty to fight in Vietnam.  Bleier's hopes and dreams were then quickly threatened, as just months after entering the war he was wounded in both legs by enemy fire.  Of course the severe injuries did not keep Bleier down as he went on to have a great NFL career with the Steelers.

He now serves as the "Beating the Odds Foundation's" Co-Chair and Quarterback and Life.  He spoke at Bellwood-Antis High School on Friday morning and he says his message is to kids is a simple one, because he speaks from the heart.

"Sometimes an influence of a person or what somebody says may change the way you think or what you might become or what you want to do, Bleier said." 

"In my case specifically, obviously the story of being wounded during Vietnam, and coming back and overcoming those obstacles, and not having size or speed kind of fits within that frame work."

 - On a separate front Bleier also weighed in on the current state of the NFL, and their well documented negative publicity of late.  Bleier thinks that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should put together a no tolerance rule book, that simply states the rules.  Bleier said if you break those rules, then you should be out of the league.

Shanksville, Pa. – The National Park Service has completed a thorough inventory of the museum collection items lost in the fire that destroyed the Flight 93 National Memorial headquarters on October 3. The findings of the inventory, conducted with the assistance of museum professionals and archeologists from the National Park Service’s Museum Emergency Response Team, confirm the findings of the initial inventory completed within 48 hours of the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, though arson and foul play have been ruled out.

There were significant losses, including objects being prepared for exhibit in the new visitor center. In all, 334 original photographs and 25 recovered items and personal mementos of passengers and crew members of United Airlines Flight 93 were lost. The photos had been loaned to the memorial by family members for digital reproduction. The digital reproductions of all photos were recovered. The lost objects include a boarding pass from United Airlines Flight 93, a parking receipt from Newark International Airport, and various identification cards of passengers, all recovered from the crash site. Approximately 113 small objects and paper items donated by family and friends for the general collection were also lost.

“These items are irreplaceable and we are devastated by their loss,” said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of Flight 93 National Memorial. “Nonetheless, this only strengthens our resolve and commitment to create a memorial that reflects the lives and heroic actions of the 40 passengers and crew members and fully tells the story of Flight 93.”
Gordon Felt, president of the Families of Flight 93 said, "For many of us, the fire represents a wrenching second loss. But that cannot deter us – indeed it must push us forward – toward completion of the memorial so that those on board and their collective actions will stand to inspire future generations.”

Also lost were approximately 100 visitor tributes and items from the 2001 investigation and recovery of Flight 93 that were being considered for the exhibit. These include items donated by the FBI and others that responded to the crash of Flight 93.
110 boxes of tribute items left at the temporary and permanent memorials since September 11, 2001 by visitors were also lost; these include decorative items, cards, children’s artwork, lapel pins, religious items, patches, and toys. Approximately 100 of these items were being considered for temporary or rotational exhibits.

As previously reported, the American flag that flew above the United States Capitol on September 11, 2001, was also among the destroyed items, but the Congressional Gold Medal was stored in a separate facility and not damaged by the fire.
At the time of the fire, all of the items slated for display in the new visitor center were in the temporary curatorial storage and processing area at the Flight 93 National Memorial headquarters in preparation for a visit from exhibit fabricators for the new visitor center, scheduled for later in October. The long-term storage of the object and archival collection is at a high-security facility in the Pittsburgh area. Approximately 90% of the memorial’s collection is housed at that facility, where many government agencies, including the National Archives, store materials.

“We continue to be grateful that no lives were lost in this terrible fire and that thanks to the quick-thinking of our on-site staff and the efforts of local emergency responders, a number of critical items were able to be saved,” added Reinbold.

Among the items saved from the fire are:

  • Three audio recordings of phone calls made by passengers and crew members to family from Flight 93.
  • Of the 834 oral history interviews conducted by the memorial, either the original audio or a written transcript or both were recovered for all interviews. For 250 of the interviews, the original audio has been lost
  • The entire collection of photographs from the crash site, the investigation and recovery, and memorial services and activities was saved. This includes thousands of images stored on 463 disks.
  • More than 35,800 of the 38,000 comment cards left by visitors were recovered.
  • Extensive paper files on the lives of each passenger and crew member, videos of the recovery and investigation, and the reference library were also saved.

The fire at the headquarters of Flight 93 National Memorial on October 3, 2014 destroyed three buildings which served multiple functions for the operation of the memorial, including administrative and staff offices for the National Park Service and the Friends of Flight 93, conference facilities, and temporary storage of some of the memorial’s archival and curatorial collection.

Keystone Kitchen - Pumpkin Dip

This is a delicious and easy fall treat..
All you have to do is mix all of the ingredients together!
You can dip whatever you want into it, but we chose ginger snaps!


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow cream

¾ canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla