The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 8, 2013

Local News in Brief | High-speed chase reported on turnpike

Staff and wire reports

SOMERSET — An alleged retail theft at a Verizon store in Somerset sparked a high-speed chase on the Pennsylvania Turn­pike on Monday evening, Somerset 911 officials said.

The incident was reported at 8 p.m.

A suspect fled on North Center Avenue, according to reports. A 911 supervisor said the vehicle eventually ended up on the turnpike and was headed west with an unknown number of vehicles pursuing. Somerset Borough police and state police were involved in the chase, the supervisor said.

A trooper at Somerset’s turnpike barracks said the chase quickly passed through their jurisdiction. He referred calls to borough police, who could not be reached for comment late Monday.

DEP provides $135G for water project

ST. BENEDICT – The state Department of Environmental Protection will provide a $135,000 grant to the West Carroll Township Water and Sewer Authority to help in the cost of extending municipal water to homes in the St. Benedict area.

State Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Patton, in announcing the grant Monday, said the money will be used to help pay the cost of materials for the project.

He said many homeowners in the St. Benedict area have been waiting for decades for a reliable and safe water supply.

“Abandoned deep coal mines have adversely impacted many wells in the St. Benedict area,” Haluska said. “Getting public water to these homes was important for the health and safety of residents.”

Odor causes UPJ evacuation

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Engineering & Science building was temporarily evacuated Monday afternoon because of a gas-like smell, school officials said.

UPJ officials said the evacuation was brief. The odor apparently was caused by fumes drawn into the building’s ventilation system from construction work next door at the Nursing and Health Sciences building.

Students were allowed to return to the engineering building around 3 p.m., about a half hour after the initial evacuation, according to a post by school officials on UPJ’s official Facebook page.

Man in video says he wasn’t a rioter

ALTOONA – One of 12 students arrested and charged with rioting at a Penn State satellite campus apartment building claimed to be a bystander only on a video taken by a friend.

The (Altoona) Mirror reported the video shows a Logan Township officer choking and struggling with Kevin Nelson, 19, who was on his apartment porch playing a guitar but not involved in Saturday’s disturbance at the Nittany Pointe apartment building.

Police declared the party – in which several hundred people were drinking and dancing outside – a riot after liquor bottles were thrown as a police car.

Chief Ron Heller said that police can order people not directly involved in the disturbance to go inside in such an instance and that Nelson was arrested for not doing so.

School safety expert to speak on bullying

LORETTO – “Weakfish: Bullying through the Eyes of a Child,” a talk by international school safety expert Michael Dorn, will be presented at 6 p.m. Thursday in Room 213 of the Disepio Institute on the St. Francis University campus. It is part of the university’s school safety conference.

 The presentation uses the case study of a real child who was chronically bullied in school to illustrate problems that are not detected by or reported to adults who work with children. It also examines the critical role that educators, mental health professionals, law enforcement officers and others play as role models for children who face extreme challenges.

Dorn is the executive director of Safe Havens International Inc., a global nonprofit school safety center, and has written and co-authored 26 books on school safety.

The event is sponsored by St. Francis University Police, Residence Life, Student Government Association and Student Engagement and Leadership.

Cultural conference open to public

LATROBE – A cultural and policy conference called “Western Civilization and the Academy” will be presented Thursday through Saturday at St. Vincent College.

According to a recent study by the National Association of Scholars titled “The Vanishing West,” undergraduate survey courses in the history and great books of Western civilization have all but disappeared from top U.S. colleges. The conference is designed to explore the roots, extent and long-term consequences of such an educational climate.

The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with Bruce Cole of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Five speakers are scheduled to lecture Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m. and concluding at 1:30 p.m.

The Saturday session will feature three speakers beginning at 1 p.m.

All lectures will be held at the Fred M. Rogers Center on campus. Admission is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.

For more information, go to