The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 12, 2011

In brief: Troopers investigate community center bids

MEYERSDALE — An unsealed state police search warrant shows investigators are probing whether bids were rigged by contractors who renovated a community center where the borough has offices.

Meyersdale Borough Solicitor Pat Svonavec told the Daily American of Somerset that he has advised borough officials not to comment.

The newspaper said state police got a warrant in May for construction and bidding records related to work done this summer on the Meyersdale Community Center, where the secretary’s office, police station and council meeting rooms are located. The warrant was unsealed last month.

According to the warrant, police are investigating whether a contractor illegally pooled bids, a process in which subcontractors secretly split the contract so each would get some work.

State police said the investigation is nearly complete.

Suspended cop held for trial

LIGONIER – A suspended Pittsburgh-area police officer has been ordered to stand trial on charges including burglary and stealing crack cocaine from a police evidence room that he allegedly used to buy the silence of a former live-in girlfriend who is accused of helping him.

Ligonier District Judge Denise Snyder Theiel made the ruling after a five-hour preliminary hearing.

Braddock Borough Council voted Tuesday to suspend

29-year-old James Scuffle, of Plum, from the borough police department after he was ordered to stand trial earlier in the day.

Authorities said Scuffle also filed a false insurance claim for the theft of his car and a motorcycle trailer during the burglary in question in April.

The charges stem from incidents that occurred while Scuffle was off-duty due to a duty-related car crash in 2009. He finally returned to work in June.

Scuffle’s attorney, Lee Rothman, said the officer’s ex-girlfriend and another witness are not credible.

Fire damages East Taylor home

Fire damaged a one-story home in the Woodvale Heights area of East Taylor Township on Wednesday evening.

Tammy Burgan was not at home when a fire started in a bedroom, said Rick Buchan, township fire chief. Firefighters knocked down the fire within six minutes of arriving, he said.

The fire was confined to the bedroom and caused moderate damage, Buchan said. There was heavy smoke damage throughout the remainder of the home.

Also responding were firefighters from Jackson Township, East Conemaugh and Franklin boroughs, and Johnstown.

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