Teen Stabs 22 At Pittsburgh-Area High School

Map of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Unit...

Map of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MURRYSVILLE, PA (AP) – Flailing away with two kitchen knives, a 16-year-old boy with a “blank expression” stabbed and slashed 21 students and a security guard in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him.

At least five students were critically wounded, including a boy whose liver was pierced by a knife thrust that narrowly missed his heart and aorta, doctors said. Others also suffered deep abdominal puncture wounds.

The rampage – which came after decades in which U.S. schools geared much of their emergency planning toward mass shootings, not stabbings – set off a screaming stampede, left blood on the floor and walls, and brought teachers rushing to help the victims.

Police shed little light on the motive.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140409_ap_dc67f56a2abf466db1c027077138e2cd.html#JcEUTVsMhStwpXdM.99

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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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Drugs Found At Scene Of Monessen Slaying

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Seven packets of heroin were found outside, just feet from where masked assailants fired at least four shots through a back door, striking and killing Chris “Snaxx” Fincik at his Monessen home.

Westmoreland County Detective Ray Dupilka testified on Thursday during the third day of the second- and third-degree murder trial of Chalsee Hughes that even more drugs were found on a kitchen table.

Prosecutors contend Fincik, 36, was gunned down during a robbery on Dec. 3, 2012, at his Maple Avenue home. His attackers left behind more than $3,200 and 390 packets of heroin, Dupilka said.

Hughes, 21, of Duquesne is charged as an accomplice in the slaying. Police said she used her identification to purchase a $16 box of ammunition that was used in the shooting.

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2 Jeannette Men Pistol-Whipped, Shot In Home Invasion

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

A man was shot and beaten during a home invasion involving three men with their faces covered who burst into his Jeannette home early Thursday morning, city police said.

Faron “Oldman” Stanford, 56, was shot in the shoulder and pistol-whipped, according to Cpl. Chris Mason. He was admitted to Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville where he was kept overnight for observation.

Police and paramedics found Stanford lying on the living room floor, his shirt blood-soaked. He suffered a gunshot wound and lacerations to his head.

A second man in the home, Jocquinn Harris, 27, sustained head wounds from being beaten with the handgun, police said. He was taken to Forbes for treatment.

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Human Services Chief: Bulk Of Westmoreland County’s Violent Crime Linked To Addictions

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Nearly all violent crime in Westmoreland County is drug-related, and it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, according to the county’s human services director.

The national epidemic of drug abuse should be treated as a public health issue rather than a crime problem, Dr. Dirk Matson said this week at a Central Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

In 12 years, the death rate from drug overdoses has nearly quadrupled, Matson said.

“The community needs to own the problem,” he said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/5590452-74/county-drug-matson#ixzz2tPcdTYT4
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Railroad Ups Estimate Of Oil Spilled In Vandergrift Derailment

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Norfolk Southern Railroad officials say four of the derailed tanker cars in Vandergrift leaked more than 3,500 gallons of crude oil.

Initial reports Thursday said only about 1,000 gallons had leaked from one tanker.

David Pidgeon, Norfolk Southern spokesman, estimated that between 3,500 and 4,500 gallons of viscous “heavy” crude oil leaked from four tanker cars after the derailment. Pidgeon said most of the oil ended up in an MSI Corp. parking lot. None of it made it into the Kiski River.

In Thursday’s cold temperatures, the oil congealed soon after hitting the snow and workers were removing the oil and contaminated soil for proper disposal.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourallekiskivalley/yourallekiskivalleymore/5596923-74/railroad-oil-norfolk#ixzz2tKEFEJyM
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Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails In Vandergrift

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Twenty-one cars of a freight train hauling oil and gas derailed this morning in Vandergrift, striking a building that houses a specialty metals firm, authorities said. No one was injured.

Hazmat crews responded to MSI Corp. in the 200 block of First Street in Vandergrift, and the state Department of Environmental Protection was sending a three-member emergency response team after reports that oil was leaking from overturned cars.

The 120-car Norfolk Southern Railway train with three locomotives was headed east around 8 a.m. when it derailed. Nineteen of the 21 derailed cars overturned.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/westmoreland/2014/02/13/Train-carrying-crude-oil-derails-in-Vandergrift/stories/201402130275#ixzz2tF0xF5Zs

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Delivery Of Road Salt Falling Short Across Western Pennsylvania

Penn Township in Westmoreland County ordered 500 tons of rock salt Jan. 21, 500 more Jan. 23 and 500 more Jan. 30, for a total of 1,500 tons. As of Friday, only 350 tons — less than enough to deal with two typical accumulating snowstorms — had arrived.

The township is not alone. Communities throughout the state and across the Midwest and Northeast are struggling to keep up with a winter that has gnawed away at their salt supplies.

There is no shortage, according to one major supplier. The problem is twofold: recurring snowfalls, none of them blizzards but with enough accumulation to require road treatment, and bitter cold that has iced rivers and slowed the progress of barges carrying salt to depots.

“We have plenty of salt,” said Peggy Landon, director of corporate communications and investor relations for Compass Minerals, parent of Kansas-based North American Salt, which ships rock salt to 5,000 destinations in North America. “It’s being transported every single day.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/02/10/Shortage-of-road-salt-growing-in-Western-Pennsylvania/stories/201402100071#ixzz2sw8Bkboz

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Potent Heroin, Painkiller Mix ‘All Over Pittsburgh’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

The deadliest batch of heroin to hit Western Pennsylvania in more than 25 years killed as many as 13 people during the past week as authorities scrambled to warn users.

The unknown distributors of the drug apparently mixed in the powerful painkiller fentanyl and sold it in stamp bags marked with the brand name Theraflu — the same as the over-the-counter cold medication. The potent combination is causing overdoses and deaths in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

“I’m only at the very beginning of investigating the number of deaths,” said Dr. Karl Williams, Allegheny County‘s medical examiner. His office identified 13 people ranging in age from 25 to 51 whose deaths were believed to be connected to the batch. In four cases, authorities found bags with the Theraflu stamp with the victims.

“It’s all over Pittsburgh. It’s all over Allegheny County. It’s all over the surrounding counties. It’s a major regional issue,” said Williams, who with officials in Westmoreland County raised alarms about the drug on Friday.

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Westmoreland County Will Ask For $1 Million From State To Raze Monsour Medical Center

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Westmoreland County will ask the state for $1 million to pay for demolition of the former Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette, which officials say has deteriorated to the point it poses a hazard for pedestrians and motorists.

Jason Rigone, executive director of the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp., will ask the county commissioners on Thursday to approve a business plan that will be submitted to the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program in Harrisburg by the Feb. 7 deadline.

The program is highly competitive. Last year, Gov. Tom Corbett approved 58 projects totaling $133 million across the state.

“It will be competitive going in for Monsour, but I think the state sees Monsour as a priority,” Rigone said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/5465027-74/county-million-monsour#ixzz2rKuPVrIl
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Pittsburgh Councilwoman Deb Gross Proposes Land Bank

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Deb Gross is proposing the creation of a land bank for the city of Pittsburgh, a mechanism that could streamline the process of redeveloping tax-delinquent land.

Ms. Gross today introduced a bill today creating the legal framework for the land bank, which would be an entity separate from the city. The legislation is a work in progress because Ms. Gross wants to get community input on many of the program’s details.

In 2012, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed the State Land Bank Act, which allowed for the creation of land banks. Since the passage of the law, Westmoreland County, Dauphin County and Philadelphia have created land banks.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/01/14/Pittsburgh-councilwoman-Deb-Gross-proposes-land-bank/stories/2014011401450000000#ixzz2qQ6pSLFH

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Crowd Rallies For Change On The Streets Of Jeannette

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

A crowd of about 150 people lined the sidewalks and stood in the middle of Second Street in Jeannette on Sunday, as more than half a dozen speakers urged them to “take back” their city.

“I think the good people (of Jeannette) want to make a change,” said Chad Fetty, who organized the “We Are One … A Rally For Peace.”

Fetty said he wanted residents to focus on and support the positive things happening in Jeannette, including new businesses opening in the city.

A 10-year resident, Fetty, lead singer of East Coast Turnaround, is raising his family in Jeannette.

“Just like I love music, I love this city,” he said.

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Plan Maps Future For Murrysville

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Murrysville is home to an aging population along with younger families who can’t afford to buy the empty-nesters’ larger lots, according to an architect who is developing the municipality’s comprehensive plan.

The plan provides a glimpse into Murrysville’s future, including some trends that are beginning to emerge, Andrew Schwartz, of Pittsburgh-based Environmental Planning and Design, told officials this week.

“You need to start thinking about that (55- to 65-year-old demographic) now,” Schwartz said. “Are there some places that maybe there should be higher densities encouraged?”

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Clairton’s Winning Streak Snapped At 66 By Monessen

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  It had to happen eventually. Congrats to Clairton High for their record-setting run.

The longest active winning streak in American high school football was snapped at 66 games Friday night in Clairton’s 42-24 home loss to Monessen.

Clairton had not lost since Sept. 4, 2009.  Its winning streak ended tied for the 10th-longest in American history.

The Clairton Bears have won the Pennsylvania Class A championship every year since 2009 but this year’s team was hit hard by graduation.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/high-school-football/clairtons-winning-streak-snapped-at-66-by-monessen-704199/#ixzz2fXx4LWc4

18 Charged In Wilkinsburg Heroin Ring

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

Detectives had known about the Wilkinsburg Crew for quite some time when they met with a confidential informant on Oct. 8, 2012, searched him for drugs and cash and then asked him to call a number operated by the violent heroin dealers.

There was no answer.  Almost immediately, the informant received a call back.  The man on the other line had two bundles — or 20 stamp bags — of heroin called Daily Dosage.  It was less powerful than the kind the informant had requested, but it could be his for $140.

The informant got into a car, drove down winding McNary Boulevard in Wilkinsburg and parked in an agreed-upon location.

A boy, about 13 years old, walked up to him and passed him 56 bags of heroin.  The informant handed the boy cash and the two parted ways.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-east/18-charged-in-violent-heroin-ring-in-wilkinsburg-701252/#ixzz2dQHV2vQ5

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

Westmoreland County Community College Breaks Ground On Tech Center In Former Sony Plant

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Last week, Westmoreland County Community College broke ground on its new $9.4 million Advanced Technology Center in the former Sony plant near New Stanton.  The college’s workforce development program will move to the expanded classrooms and labs by fall 2014.

But county and college officials also hope the new center will be an incubator to help grow manufacturing businesses throughout the region.

“We are building on Western Pennsylvania’s manufacturing roots,” said Doug Jensen, WCCC assistant vice president for workforce education.  “The entire manufacturing sector is growing in so many ways we need a different workforce and skill sets.

“Just as Pittsburgh has been an incubator for businesses in the biotech field with its universities, we want Westmoreland County to be an incubator for the manufacturing sector; we want entrepreneurs to come here. We want to serve the entire region in these emerging sectors, including energy.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-east/wccc-breaks-ground-on-tech-center-in-former-sony-plant-695932/#ixzz2ZQYib94b

Have We Lost All Desire To Vote?

Editor’s note:  Apparently yes!

While other row offices were eliminated, Luzerne County’s home rule charter kept the controller to independently scrutinize its $260 million in spending, 1,400-plus workers and more than 50 departments providing services from tax assessment to 911 dispatch.

The public — not county employees or officials — pick the person who fills this $64,999 elected post for the next four years to be the fiscal watchdog.

Although an estimated 256,800 residents are eligible to vote on this decision, the number who narrowed down the controller finalists from four to two in Tuesday’s primaries was 31,000 — only 12 percent of the over-18 population.

“When you break it down and see the percentage of the population making the decision, that’s pretty troublesome,” said Barry Kauffman, executive director of the nonprofit citizen advocate group Common Cause Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/539857/Have-we-lost-all-desire-to-vote

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