The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 30, 2012

A look back at 2012: Recapping the T-D’s top news

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — The Tribune-Democrat’s biggest stories of 2012 covered a wide spectrum – from tragedy to politics, religion to alleged criminal activities, economic development to job losses.

Our newsroom employees selected the following events as the most newsworthy occurrences of the year, listed here in order from 10th through 1st. Recaps have appeared in the paper and e-edition every day between Dec. 22 and today. At the same time, the articles have been displayed at, as part of a readers’ poll; results of which are in today’s edition of The Tribune-Democrat and online.

Here is a quick look at the staff’s top 10 picks:

10. New businesses find Richland real estate

Sharon-based chain Quaker Steak & Lube opened a restaurant in University Park Plaza. Three other well-known national chains – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Sweet Frog – announced plans to soon open locations in Richland Township.

9. Holy journey: Bishop Gregory of Nyssa follows God’s path

Bishop Gregory of Nyssa was ordained as the new leader of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA during a nearly four-hour ceremony at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in November. He is responsible for overseeing 81 church communities through 13 states and parts of Canada.

8. Horner guilty of first-degree murder

Johnstown native Nicholas Adam Horner was found guilty of two first-degree murder counts in March. He shot and killed 19-year-old Scott Garlick and 64-year-old Raymond Williams in April 2009 near a Subway restaurant in Altoona. Horner served two tours in Iraq. Defense attorney Thomas Dickey first claimed his client’s actions were caused by post-traumatic stress disorder and later blamed a drug-induced delirium brought on by PTSD medication.

7. Tractor-trailer collides with school bus

Robert Dodson Jr. of Duncansville was killed when his tractor-trailer collided with a school bus on Route 281 near New Lexington and the village of Kingwood. More than 20 occupants of the bus were injured. The bus passengers from Turkeyfoot Valley Area School District were on their way home from Somerset County Career and Technology Center.

6. GOP regains Cambria office after eight years

Republicans Mark Wissinger and Doug Lengenfelder were sworn in as Cambria County commissioners in January. It was the first time the GOP held the majority on the three-person board in eight years. Democrat Thomas Chernisky became the minority member.

5. City inferno investigated: 13 homeless as 3 Moxham buildings burn

James Richard McDonald, 46, a Windber resident, was charged with two counts of arson after allegedly setting a fire on the 600 block of Coleman Avenue in the Moxham neighborhood of Johns-

town. The blaze left 13 people homeless.

4. Alleged gunman shot in Richland Township

Kevin McGee, 45, allegedly fired a shotgun blast into an unoccupied Richland Township Police Department cruiser on Sept. 13. He then turned his weapon toward officers located inside the Richland Township Municipal Building. After McGee ignored commands to put down the shotgun, Officer John Lucas shot him in the torso.

3. No NDIC jobs to stay in city

The Department of Justice closed the National Drug Intelligence Center located in downtown Johnstown. Eighty-seven people lost their jobs. No NDIC positions were kept in the city.

2. Driver killed, passenger wounded in police shooting

A 27-year-old Johnstown man, Elip Cheatham, was fatally wounded during an incident with members of the Johns-

town Police Department on June 25. Cheatham was driving a 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue away from a shooting outside Edder’s Den in the city’s West End when he encountered officers who were detaining another motorist on North Sheridan Street. When Cheatham ignored commands to stop, three officers opened fire. One passenger, Hayward Gaines III, was grazed by a bullet in his leg. Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan ruled that the officers used justifiable force. Many of Cheatham’s family members and friends disagreed with the finding and staged multiple demonstrations in Johnstown.

1. Critz falls victim to redrawn 12th district

U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, lost to Republican challenger Keith Rothfus in the 12th Congressional District general election race. As a result, when Rothfus officially becomes a congressman on Thursday, it will be the first time since Johnstown’s Rep. John Saylor took office in 1949 that there will not be a city resident serving in the House. The 12th was redrawn significantly by the Republican-controlled state government, following the 2010 U.S. Census, presumably to make it more friendly to GOP candidates.

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