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Ligonier Twp. golden retriever wins group at National Dog Show

Daniel did it again on Thanksgiving, taking home hardware from the 18th annual National Dog Show for a second straight year.

The 5-year-old golden retriever won the best sporting dog title at the show just outside Philadelphia and was a finalist for best in show. Thor, a 2-year-old bulldog, won the non-sporting category and best-in-show.

Last year, Daniel, whose full name is Hillock’s Jack Daniel’s, won best in breed at the annual Thanksgiving Day dog show.

Daniel’s breeder, Tammy Tomlinson, who owns Hillock Golden Retrievers in Ligonier Township, noted that Daniel is the winningest golden retriever in the country in the past 35 years. He has won 19 best-in-show titles overall, 26 specialty wins and the 2019 GRCA National Specialty title.

Daniel and his handler, Karen Mammano, will compete in the 2019 AKC National Championship in Orlando, Florida, on Dec. 14-15, and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 10-11. After that, Daniel will retire from competitions.

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Shop Hop Night in Latrobe to feature gingerbread house voting, more

A holiday-themed Shop Hop Night will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, in downtown Latrobe.

Participating city merchants will be hosting open house events to welcome shoppers and celebrate the Christmas shopping season.

A new addition this year is a gingerbread house competition. Creative bakers and builders can submit their gingerbread houses to Latrobe Art Center, where voting will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, during Shop Hop Night.

Contest winners will be announced at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the art center during the Holly Jolly Christmas event in Latrobe Featuring Santa’s Party in the Park.

From there, the gingerbread houses will be displayed until Dec. 21 at various downtown merchants, including: Latrobe Art Center, Paper Heart Affairs, Rose Style Shoppe, Eclectique, Chicoras, Gray Dog Comics and Terri’s Gourmet Sweet Treats.

The gingerbread house contest will have three age categories: Youth (ages 3 to 12), Teen (13 to 17) and Adult (18 and up). The houses must be made with at least 75% edible materials.

Gingerbread houses must be dropped off at Latrobe Art Center during the following hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 and Tuesday, December 3, and 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Dec. 4.

For more gingerbread house contest details and how to enter, visit www.latrobeartcenter.org/events-all/2019gingerbreadcontest

Photo by Bill Pribisco  

Claire Shaffer, 4, of Latrobe waits for Santa Claus while wearing her light-up outfit at the Light Up Ligonier light-up night event in Ligonier on Friday night.

Photo by Mike Pedicone  

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels is forced out of bounds by Cleveland Browns safety Sheldrick Redwine during Sunday’s game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Samuels had seven carries for 32 yards and two receptions for 22 yards as the Steelers gained revenge against the rival Browns with a 20-13 victory, the team’s sixth win in seven games.

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Terrelle Pryor, girlfriend charged after Pryor stabbed in Pittsburgh

Former Jeannette, Ohio State and NFL player Terrelle Pryor is expected to make a full recovery after being stabbed early Saturday during an altercation at his Pittsburgh apartment that ended with criminal charges against both Pryor and his girlfriend.

Shalaya Briston, 24, of Munhall was charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault. Pryor, 30, was charged with simple assault.

According to police, neighbors at the Heinz Lofts apartment complex reported hearing a domestic dispute in one of the apartments and police responded to the building on the city’s North Side, finding a trail of blood leading from a fourth-floor apartment to a black Mercedes Benz registered to Pryor in the building’s parking garage. The apartment manager confirmed to investigators that Pryor and Briston live in the apartment.

Police later got a call that a stabbing victim had arrived at UPMC Mercy hospital around 4:30 a.m.

A witness told police that she, Briston, Pryor and another witness went out for dinner and drinks when Briston and Pryor began arguing and Pryor went home while the three women continued to a club. When they returned to the apartment, Pryor and Briston allegedly began arguing again, with Pryor allegedly knocking one of the witnesses to the ground and beginning to “tussle” with Briston.

The fight continued to the kitchen, according to police, at which point a witness said Pryor grabbed his chest and was bleeding.

At the hospital, investigators allegedly overheard one of the witnesses speaking into her smart watch saying “She was just defending herself and had to do it,” according to court documents. The woman also said “The only reason I’m here is to make sure that he didn’t die” and “We should have just let him die,” according to police.

Briston told police she didn’t know anything about the stabbing, according to the affidavit. Investigators noted her nose was bruised and two of her fake fingernails were missing. Another witness allegedly told police she didn’t know who stabbed Pryor, but acknowledged that Pryor and Briston “had domestic issues.”

Gregory Diulus of Vantage Management Group, which represents Pryor, said family members had been told Pryor is expected to make a full recovery.

Pryor was a national star in high school at Jeannette, where he was considered one of the top high school athletes in the country after leading the Jayhawks to the school’s first state football championship in 2007. His college recruitment drew national attention as he waited until March 2008 to commit to Ohio State. Most prospects make their signing announcements in early February.

At Ohio State, Pryor started as a freshman and was the Rose Bowl MVP during his sophomore season in 2009.

Late in the 2010 season, Pryor and several Ohio State teammates were found to have broken NCAA rules by trading their equipment, memorabilia and autographs for tattoos at a shop in the Columbus area.

That NCAA investigation led to the revelation that Ohio State coach Jim Tressel had lied to investigators seeking information on Pryor and his teammates. Tressel, who had won a national championship at Ohio State, was forced to resign on Labor Day weekend 2011.

With allegations of more possible violations mounting and the possibility of a being ruled ineligible, Pryor decided to skip his senior season and leave Ohio State in June 2011. He was selected in the NFL’s supplemental draft later that month by the Oakland Raiders.

Pryor was tied for the most touchdown passes in Ohio State history at 57 and second-most wins with 31 total victories at the end of his career, according to the university’s athletics department.

He was never punished in college for the NCAA violations but began his NFL career with a suspension of five games.

Pryor started 10 games across two seasons at quarterback for the Raiders in 2012 and 2013. He moved to wide receiver, playing for the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in June, but was released in September after reaching an injury settlement with the team.

Information from the Associated Press appears in this article.

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Winter weather advisory in place for Ligonier area

The Ligonier Valley is expected to see its first significant snowfall of the 2019-20 winter season starting today, Dec. 2.

A National Weather Service-issued winter weather advisory is in place for portions of southwestern Pennsylvania from 7 a.m. today to 7 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3. That includes around the Ligonier area, where snow totals of 2 to 6 inches are expected.

The advisory also includes parts of northern West Virginia and western Maryland.

The Latrobe area could see 1 to 2 inches of snow though Tuesday morning, according to the weather service.

Later in the week, a chance of rain and snow is projected for Wednesday and Friday. No precipitation is forecasted for the weekend, with mostly sunny skies and a high near 40 degrees on Saturday and a high of 50 on Sunday.

In other areas of the Keystone State, the NWS has issued ice storm and winter storm warnings.

Additionally, travel restrictions were put in place early this morning by state transportation officials. Speed limits have been reduced to 45 mph and double trailers, empty trailers, non-commercial vehicles pulling trailers, recreational vehicles and motorcycles will be barred on:

  • Interstate 81 north of the junction with I-80 to the New York line;
  • Interstates 84 and 380 in northeast and north-central Pennsylvania;
  • Interstate 476, the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Northeast Extension, north of the Pocono/White Haven exit for Interstate 80.

Elsewhere, forecasters said mountain areas of West Virginia could get up to a foot of snow. The NWS said less than an inch of snow is projected for the Pittsburgh area, while Indiana County could receive up to 2 inches.

Pennsylvania’s sexual abuse laws leave survivors conflicted

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — When Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws this week after a years-long battle, absent from the bill-signing ceremony were some of the people who had worked hardest for the changes.

Some sexual-abuse survivors and victim advocates felt conflicted by the compromise package: Missing was a cornerstone of the recommendations by last year’s landmark grand jury report on child sexual abuse inside six of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses.

That recommendation was for a two-year window in state law to allow now-adult victims of child sexual abuse to sue over claims that are past Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.

Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s Senate, in a party-line vote, defeated it, 28-20, after longtime opposition by bishops and insurers. As an alternative, they offered the longer, more deliberative process of amending the state constitution to create a two-year window to sue.

That has left survivors and victim advocates knowing they have little choice but to trust lawmakers to pass a resolution to amend the constitution in the 2021-22 legislative session. Then they may have to fend off a legal challenge or a well-funded campaign to defeat it in a statewide voter referendum.

“We had hope up until the end,” said Mary McHale, a Reading resident who told the grand jury of her experience 30 years ago as a 17-year-old in a Catholic high school. “And we’re not done. We’re not finished, this is just a different route. But it’s hard when something’s right there and it’s tangible, and you have hope and then it’s gone again.”

Among the provisions signed into law is one giving future victims of child sexual abuse until their 55th birthday to sue their perpetrators and institutions that may have covered it up.

Many adults in Pennsylvania who were sexually abused as children lost their right to sue when they turned 20, and they say they are powerless to go to court, where a judge can force an institution to divulge what it knew.

“When you talk to victims, the absolute biggest thing is discovery, holding perpetrators accountable to get them off the street, holding institutions accountable so things change,” said Patty Fortney-Julius, one of five sisters from the Harrisburg area who have accused their now-dead parish priest of sexually abusing them as children.

Lawmakers, they say, could vote both to change the law and the constitution.

“They presented this constitutional amendment as their way of ensuring our justice,” said Brooke Rush, who has told of being molested at age 11 by Johnstown pediatrician, Johnnie Barto, who prosecutors say spent decades abusing patients in his exam room. Barto was handed effectively a life sentence in March. “So, if they truly wanted the end result of the retroactive window, there’s no reason they shouldn’t have let both go forward together.”

While the Senate was holding up the legislation this year, Pennsylvania’s dioceses opened temporary victim compensation funds. Many people who applied took the offer of money. But it came with strings attached: They had to agree not to sue.

Rush and others are now questioning whether lawmakers are committed to seeing through a constitutional amendment. They also worry about lawsuits to block it or how it might be fought in a statewide referendum.

“There are a lot of people with the money and interest to see that this thing never comes to light,” said Jennifer Storm, who directs the state’s Office of Victim Advocate.

Storm worries about a TV ad campaign, warning voters that passing the referendum will jack up their taxes.

Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, predicted that a referendum will pass easily because voters who have read about sexual abuse scandals understand the need to deliver justice to victims.

“If we would put it on the ballot box tomorrow, I think it would pass with 90% voter approval,” he said.

Rozzi, a longtime sponsor of the legislation who has spoken publicly about his rape as a 13-year-old by a Roman Catholic priest, shifted his stance earlier this year to support a constitutional amendment after years unsuccessfully pushing for a two-year window in the law.

It was, he said, a necessary compromise in the face of Senate Republican opposition and the potential that a court challenge would block it. His change in stance caused a rift among victim advocates, including some who skipped Tuesday’s signing ceremony.

But, Rozzi said, “they will understand when we get to 2021 why we did the things that we did.”