Pittsburgh-Area Employers Added 22,300 Jobs In April

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunny Kourkoutis spent six months on unemployment and a couple more working in a job she hated before she found something that suited her restaurant experience.

“When I was on unemployment, I could have easily gotten a job as a server,” said Kourkoutis, 42, of Bridgeville. “But at my age, it’s not something I really saw myself doing.”

In April, Kourkoutis finally found a job she enjoyed. She was hired as reservations manager at Jacksons Restaurant in Cecil and since was promoted to assistant executive manager. In so doing, she joined a hospitality industry that added 8,100 jobs last month and has led growth in the local economy.

Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh region added 22,300 nonfarm jobs in April, and the unemployment rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.6 percent, according to preliminary figures released on Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The decline occurred as 3,900 more people began looking for work, an expression of confidence in Pittsburgh’s economy.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6188520-74/22300-added-april#ixzz338k1vjC0
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Connellsville Area School Board Hears Option To Consolidation

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Connellsville Area School Board members heard a new option Monday night concerning possible consolidation of the district’s schools.

During the board’s agenda meeting, representatives from Eckles Construction presented what they considered a final draft of the feasibility study, which details eight options that include renovations, school closings and student relocations.

Previously, the directors were presented seven options.

“It’s more of a dramatic study,” said Mark E. Scheller, project architect with Eckles Construction. “And that’s for realigning the district’s grade levels.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/fayette/5903323-74/elementary-district-connellsville#ixzz2yKX18buj
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PennDOT To Spend More In Fayette, Westmoreland Counties

English: Pennsylvania county map

English: Pennsylvania county map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state is primed to pump approximately $33.8 million in additional money into highway and bridge projects in Fayette and Westmoreland counties this year with revenue generated from higher fees paid by motorists.

PennDOT said it would use the revenue from Act 89 to make about 59 miles of improvements to 12 roads in both counties.

In Westmoreland, 40 miles of improvements are planned to Routes 66, 119, 130, 356, 381, 819, 981 and 993 in Allegheny, Donegal, Hempfield, Loyalhanna, North Huntingdon, Penn, Salem, Unity and Washington townships, as well as Greensburg, Jeannette, Irwin, Manor and Trafford.

Those projects are estimated to cost $10.5 million.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/5890090-74/bridge-museum-penndot#ixzz2yKTmZ9oQ
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Heroin With $23,000 Street Value Seized, 2 Juveniles Arrested In Connellsville Bust

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Connellsville police reported on Friday that two juveniles were charged, and additional arrests are likely, following a drug bust that took about $23,000 worth of drugs off the streets.

“This was a big one,” city police Chief James Capitos said concerning the arrests of two male juveniles from McKeesport, with one having ties to Connellsville.

The origins of the arrests occurred on Wednesday afternoon when police pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation. The driver and passenger were found to be in possession of suspected drugs, and police reportedly were able to get information from where the drugs were purchased.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/fayette/5888773-74/capitos-heroin-police#ixzz2y41MkIk5
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Man Exonerated In Fayette County Double Killing After 27 Years Sues Prosecutors, Investigator

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Freed after a quarter-century in prison following what federal judges called “a badly tainted and highly suspect conviction” for the Bear Rocks killings, David Joseph Munchinski has sued the men who prosecuted him and is asking that the state pay eight figures to make up for his lost time.

“Fair is fair,” said Mr. Munchinski’s longtime attorney, Noah Geary, on Wednesday after filing the lawsuit Tuesday night. “The man did 27 years wrongfully, and it’s time to do the right thing.”

The lawsuit names as defendants three former prosecutors, two of whom are now senior judges on the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas, plus the estate of a late state trooper. But its target is the commonwealth, as it claims the four men were acting as state agents and adds that their actions have been defended by the Office of the Attorney General during a decade of litigation.

“I think it’s eight figures,” Mr. Geary said of Mr. Munchinski’s claim for economic, psychological and punitive damages.  He said he hopes the state will settle.  Otherwise, “it would be up to a federal jury.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-south/man-exonerated-in-fayette-county-double-killing-after-27-years-sues-prosecutors-investigator-701937/#ixzz2e2NUR7JV

Unemployment In Pittsburgh Region Falls To Lowest In Post-Recession Recovery

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unemployment in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area fell to 6.8 percent in June, a rate one-tenth of a percentage point below May’s 6.9 percent but that marks a new low of the post-recession recovery.

The last time unemployment was at 6.8 percent in the region was in March 2009, when unemployment was rising in the midst of the Great Recession.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/unemployment-in-pittsburgh-region-falls-to-lowest-in-post-recession-recovery-697432/#ixzz2aYC55kY0

ACLU Defends Brownsville High ‘Harlem Shake’ Video

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A version of the Harlem Shake performed by students at Brownsville High School last month continues to reverberate.

Thirteen students at the Fayette County high school were given two-day suspensions in February for their involvement in filming a 29-second Harlem Shake video and posting it online, part of a popular song-and-dance craze that has swept through the Internet in recent weeks.

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the National Coalition Against Censorship emailed a letter to Philip J. Savini Jr., Brownsville Area School District superintendent and Rocky Brashear, school board president, urging the district to revoke the suspensions and expunge the students’ records.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/aclu-defends-brownsville-high-harlem-shake-video-678338/#ixzz2MtMmBTIL

Brownsville Students Suspended For Harlem Shake Video

The Harlem Shake, an Internet dance video craze, is everywhere. Here, however, the shake has shuddered to a stop.

Thirteen students at Brownsville High School in Fayette County were given two-day suspensions this week after a Harlem Shake video was filmed in a high school classroom and posted online.

“There’s nothing wrong with the song. It’s just what was done with it,” Rocky Brashear, president of the Brownsville Area School Board, said in a phone interview Wednesday, describing the video as “graphic.”

The shake, for those not familiar with it, has swept through the Internet in recent weeks.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/washington/brownsville-students-suspended-for-harlem-shake-video-676244/#ixzz2LZqOALL1

If you want to see what all the fuss was about, click here: http://youtu.be/jj0gAMNdbtg\

Marcellus Shale Yield Skyrockets In Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The amount of Marcellus Shale gas produced in Allegheny County more than doubled in the first half of 2012, with nine online wells concentrated in Frazer and Fawn producing more than 3.6 billion cubic feet of gas, according to new data released by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Even with the increase, the county still contributed a pittance to total statewide production figures.

Gas production across the state climbed from January to June, with 704 billion cubic feet of gas produced, up from the 630 billion cubic feet reported from July to December 2011.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/marcellusshale/county-marcellus-shale-yield-skyrockets-649379/#ixzz246GMjMrr

Trooper Moochers: Big Towns That Rely On State Police Still Get Off Easy

Don’t shed any tears for the sizable towns in Pennsylvania that are going to lose the revenue from traffic tickets written on their roads by state police. They still get to keep a more lucrative freebie, the use of state troopers instead of locally funded officers to handle all their law enforcement.

It’s nothing short of cop welfare — a local expense covered by state taxpayers for towns that, relatively speaking, aren’t even needy.

The loss of the ticket money is due to the enactment of Senate Bill 237, which will take effect Sept. 3 in municipalities with 3,000 or more people that have no local police force. Among the towns that will be affected are Hempfield (population 42,000), Unity (24,000), Derry Township (15,000) and Mt. Pleasant (11,000) in Westmoreland County; White (16,000) in Indiana County; North Union (12,700) in Fayette County and Somerset Township (12,000) in Somerset County.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/trooper-moochers-big-towns-that-rely-on-state-police-still-get-off-easy-645772/#ixzz21Sgah8jz

Verizon Loses $300,000 To Copper Thieves In Fayette County, Pennsylvania

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A sign of rough economic times is people breaking the law to get money.  Usually, things like shoplifting, armed robbery and burglary are the most common.  However, some clever criminals in Fayette County are stealing telephone line to strip the copper wire out and sell it. 

We had a copper thief here in Pottstown.  They were stealing copper rain gutters off churches, of all things, and selling it.  They were  fortunately apprehended.

In Fayette County, 35 thefts of telephone line have occurred since April.  Since October, 19 of these thefts have occurred.  Guess somebody needs some Christmas cash?

Verizon is offering up to $50,000 in rewards for information leading to an arrest. The downside is, in addition to Verizon being out money, Verizon customers are losing their phone service. 

Fayette County is mostly rural and located south of Pittsburgh.  The county shares its southern border with West Virginia.  The county seat and largest city is Uniontown.