The media circus that descended on the Pennsylvania borough of Bellefonte to cover the preliminary hearing of Jerry Sandusky has left town.
In its wake are shop owners who are feeling let down.
The hubbub is over. Traffic lights that were set to blink yellow and red to accommodate traffic were back to their usual pattern Wednesday, the day after Sandusky waived his right to a preliminary hearing and cut legal proceedings short.
But the tempers of some business owners are flashing red. They are not happy that the horde of reporters didn’t patronize the local shops.
Jerry Hall, who runs The Old Country Crow shop, said he expected to do a lot of business Tuesday.
“The borough gave us a paper saying that there was going to be thousands of people to town and it was going to bring lots of business to town, but it did not,” said Hall, whose store sells decorations that do well during the holidays.
Arlene Milton, who runs the Diamond Deli across from the courthouse, said she showed up early to serve breakfast to the new arrivals in town. Milton says she was ready to serve a big buffet breakfast at 5 a.m. to media assembled for the 8:30 hearing. A lot of that food was never sold, she said.
While some downtown merchants are annoyed that the hundreds of reporters didn’t bring better business, John Luckovich said his drugstore, across the street from the courthouse, is no worse for wear. And he said his town did very well in the sudden spotlight.
But, Luckovich said, he doesn’t know how Bellefonte wouldl deal with a longer trial if Sandusky’s case does indeed make it to a jury.
Sandusky will plead not guilty to charges that he sexually abused children.
Both his lawyer and the state attorney general’s office say no plea bargain is in the works.