The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 10, 2012

Midday Briefing | Grandma says woman took kids to buy drugs

HOMER CITY — A western Pennsylvania woman has been charged with endangering her three children after the children's grandmother told police the woman had taken the children with her when she'd buy and use drugs.

Online court records don't list an attorney for 34-year-old Bonnie Marie Rudgers, of Homer City, who remained in the Indiana County Jail on Tuesday.

Police say Pam Buterbaugh, the mother of Rudgers' deceased husband, called police after her grandchildren told about their mother taking them along to drug deals. The oldest of Rudgers' three daughters is 10.

Police say Rudgers had the girls with her during at least three drug deals from September until July 3.

Buterbaugh says her 10-year-old granddaughter learned in school that drugs were bad, and told her grandmother about the drug deals because she was afraid.

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Victim dies in hospital mental health assault

BEAVER — A man already jailed on charges that he assaulted an 82-year-old patient in a western Pennsylvania hospital's mental health unit will now be charged with criminal homicide because the victim has died.

Brighton Township police tell the Beaver County Times that 82-year-old Gerald Rooney Jr., of Economy, died Sunday of brain injuries he suffered Thursday at Heritage Valley Beaver Hospital.

Police say Rooney suffered from dementia and was attacked when he entered the room of 58-year-old Peter Kuchynsky, a patient who suffers from schizophrenia. Hospital officials say Kuchynsky gets upset and violent if someone enters his room or touches his belongings. Police say Rooney upset the suspect when he entered Kuchynsky's room — possibly by mistake — looking for a jacket.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Kuchynsky who remained jailed Tuesday.

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Scranton mayor cuts city workers' pay to minimum wage

SCRANTON — Unions representing workers in the northeastern Pennsylvania city of Scranton expect to file a federal lawsuit against the city after the mayor abruptly cut their pay to minimum wage.

The attorney for three unions, including firefighters and police, tells The Times-Tribune of Scranton he expects to file several legal actions, including a motion to hold Mayor Chris Doherty in contempt of court for violating a judge's order to pay full wages.

Doherty last week cut the pay for about 400 employees to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. He says it was the only way for the cash-strapped city to pay bills, and promises to restore pay once finances are stabilized.

Doherty is locked in a dispute with Scranton's city council over a financial recovery plan as it faces a $16.8 million budget deficit.

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