The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

July 15, 2014

Local and state briefs 7-16-2014

Murdered woman’s dogs await new homes

Two dogs owned by a murdered former Ferndale Area High School student are being held in the hopes that a family member will step forward to claim them.

Sgt. Ferris Simmons of the Albuquerque (New Mexico) Police Department said two dogs owned by Danette Webb, a 1978 Ferndale graduate, were found in her home when her body was discovered on June 30.

Webb was found naked, her ankles and wrists bound with duct tape. The investigation into her death continues.

The animals will be held until July 30 by the Albuquerque Department of Animal Welfare before being made available for adoption through a shelter there.

Simmons said people who may have connections to Webb and who want to claim the dogs may call the police community relations office at 505-967-6684.

Webb’s death and reactions of her classmates were the focus of a story published Saturday in The Tribune-Democrat and at

Bike ride to benefit St. Francis center

Brother Shamus McGrenra, T.O.R., will conduct his annual bicycle ride to benefit St. Francis University’s Dorothy Day Center, an outreach provider to the region.

For the past three years his charity rides and events have raised more than $64,000.

McGrenra will ride from Tuesday through July 26. He plans to travel five states in five days and will be joined on his journey by eight friends. The group will travel from Philadelphia to New Church, Virginia.

He plans to hold another charity, the Brother Shamus Shuffle, on Aug. 23.

The shuffle will begin at the Ghost Town Trail in Ebensburg at the Memorial Field Pavilion.

Bicycle riders, runners and walkers can participate and will depart at 9, 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. respectively. There is not a minimum distance to travel.

The registration fee is $20, and registrants will receive a shirt and refreshments. To receive a shirt, participants must register by July 31.

For more information about the shuffle or to register, visit or call 472-3004 or 472-3150.

Animal rescue group plans fundraiser

PAWS House Inc., a Johns­town-based animal rescue organization that is trying to raise funds to build an animal sanctuary, will conduct a fundraising basket party at 1 p.m. July 27 at the Oakwood Restaurant near Davidsville.

Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. for the Sweet Treats Basket Bonanza. Tickets are $6 and include one card of tickets, all-you-can-eat sweet treats and light refreshments.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at, on Facebook or through the mail at P.O. Box 5441, Johns­town, Pa 15904.

Anyone interested in donating a basket can email the organization at or call 270-6550.

PAWS also will accept donations of dry and wet cat and dog food for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church’s Animal Welfare Ministry (pet food bank) in Johnstown.

Guests can earn an extra free 25-ticket strip by bringing a bag of dry cat or dog food to the basket party. A person must purchase a ticket to be eligible for a free ticket. Only one free ticket will be given per person.

Rock dropped on car injures Ohio woman

An Ohio teacher who was badly injured when some teenagers deliberately dropped a rock from a highway overpass in Union County onto her family’s car was hospitalized in critical condition on Tuesday, police and her family said.

Sharon Budd, 52, was struck in the face, lost an eye and needed surgery on her brain to reduce the pressure from swelling, said her husband, Randy Budd. The rock’s impact made it feel as though the car “exploded,” he said.

Brothers Brett Lahr, 18, and Dylan Lahr, 17, of New Columbia, face felony counts of aggravated assault and related charges for their involvement in dropping the large rock from a bridge over Interstate 80 late on July 10, authorities said.

Sharon Budd was sitting in the front passenger seat when the rock blasted through the windshield. Randy Budd and his 19-year-old daughter, Kaylee Budd, who was driving, were uninjured.

Home explosion kills 2, propane fuel suspected

A husband and wife were killed Tuesday in an early-morning house explosion Tuesday in Beaver County.

The couple were inside the ranch-style home when the blast occurred about 4 a.m. in South Beaver Township, a rural area about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, police said. The two were identified as Ray Trautvetter, 74, and Janet Trautvetter, 69.  

Fire crews extinguished the blaze after they were initially kept away because of smaller explosions that police believe was ammunition going off.

Officer Jesse Richman said the home used propane for fuel and police believe the explosion “is going to be gas-related.”

Capitol portraits now mention sentences

Three former state House speakers and one former Senate president pro tempore each have new information on the plaques beneath their official portraits hanging in the Capitol’s corridors: details about their criminal convictions.

The new plaques were hung Tuesday.

Aides to House Speaker Sam Smith and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said they ordered the new plaques to respond to criticism from lawmakers that the portraits of convicted former House and Senate leaders should not be displayed.

The lawmakers are former House speakers John Perzel, Bill DeWeese and Herbert Fineman, and former Senate president pro tempore Robert Mellow. Mellow and Perzel last served in 2010, DeWeese in 2012 and Fineman in 1977.

All four went to prison on corruption-related charges.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

Do you think pet obituaries should be included with death notices?

Yes, my pet is considered a member of the family.
No, pet obituaries are inappropriate.
Pet obituaries should be placed on a different page in the newspaper.
     View Results
House Ads