The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 7, 2013

Midday briefing: Allegheny County health board seeks 24-hour drilling notice


Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The Allegheny County Board of Health wants natural gas companies to provide 24-hour advance notice before drilling starts.

The board passed the recommendation unanimously Wednesday night. Authorities say they want the advance notice so air pollution can be monitored at drill sites. Pittsburgh is in Allegheny County.

The requirement covers shale gas extraction, including well drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The county recently approved a long-term contract for gas drilling on thousands of acres of land around the Pittsburgh International Airport.

The plan must still be approved by the Allegheny County Council and county executive Rich Fitzgerald.



Pittsburgh teacher accused of abusing teen girl



PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher has been charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl.

Prosecutors allege that 30-year-old Michael White of Pittsburgh made the Perry Traditional Academy student perform lap dances for male students, that he kissed her in the classroom, and that they had sex outside the school.

White has been on paid leave since another student alleged that she was assaulted, too.

Blaine Jones, one of White's defense attorneys, says he's innocent of the charges.

Pittsburgh Public Schools officials referred the first abuse allegations to police after an internal investigation.

White is charged with institutional assault of a minor, indecent assault, corruption of minors, and other charges.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 15.



$1M gift to establish professorship at Penn State



STATE COLLEGE — A California couple has donated $1 million to Penn State's department of industrial engineering.

The Centre Daily Times reports the donors are alumnus Tom Lucas, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1976, and his wife, Nicki. They're from of Trabuco Canyon, Calif.

The money will create an endowed professorship. Department head Paul Griffin says it will help add a top-notch faculty member and also provide resources for current and future students.

Lucas retired last year after a career in the pharmaceutical and biomedical industry.



Paper: 30 officers made over $100K off-duty



PITTSBURGH – Thirty members of the Pittsburgh Police Bureau made over $100,000 for off-duty security details over three years, including one lieutenant who earned nearly $261,000.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Thursday that a husband and wife also made more than $250,000.

The paper says the police Office of Special Events paid officers more than $17.4 million from Jan. 1, 2010, to Feb. 22, 2013. About two-thirds of the 850-member force work special details for events, businesses and construction projects.

The figures don't include officers' regular wages or overtime or money they make from separate jobs.

Former police chief Nate Harper resigned last month after the FBI gathered boxes of records from police headquarters, and City Controller Michael Lamb announced an audit of the force's special events office.



DA to announce findings in Bucks County standoff death



WARMINSTER — Bucks County prosecutors plan to announce the results of their investigation into the death of an 89-year-old woman killed during a police standoff and shootout at a suburban Philadelphia apartment complex.

One issue being probed is who fired the shot that killed Marie Zienkewicz on Feb. 19. She lived directly below Andrew G. Cairns, who's charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at police. Officers returned fire.

The Bucks County Courier Times reports prosecutors plan to announce the results of their investigation Thursday. District Attorney David Heckler has said two matters needed to determined: whether police acted appropriately and what additional charges Cairns could face.

Investigators were responding to a report Cairns was going to kill himself. Authorities say Cairns fired at officers, who fired back.