Staff and wire reports
Ebensburg Borough recently completed improvements to the former Babcock site on South West Street.
Work at the site include a new pavilion, sidewalks and curbing, paving, landscaping, utilities, fencing and gate and a parking area.
“The project has greatly improved the appearance at the entrance to town,” Shawna Drop, community development director, said. “The park will serve as a multipurpose for sports teams and their fans at Memorial Park, a rest stop or luncheon area for the Ghost Town Trail and also as a welcoming site for Ebensburg’s visitors.”
Ebensburg Council is seeking a name for the park. Suggestions can be submitted to Ebensburg Borough, 300 W. High St., Ebensburg, Pa., 15931; by calling 472-8780, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sweaters, gloves, phones collected for vets
Hindman Funeral Homes & Crematory, in conjunction with more than 1,000 veterans and family memorial care providers nationwide, is sponsoring the annual Operation Sweaters for Veterans initiative.
Beginning Nov. 1 and running through Veterans Day, Nov. 12, Hindman will accept new or gently used sweaters and gloves to be delivered to local veterans’ hospitals, homes and service organizations.
In addition, Hindman, along with Easly-Hindman Funeral Home & Crematory, Hastings, is a Cell Phones for Soldiers drop-off center.
Residents are invited to bring old cellphones to be recycled and be converted into free talk time for military personnel.
The phones, sweaters or gloves can be dropped off at Hindman Funeral Homes, 1521 Frankstown Road or 146 Chandler Ave.; or Easly-Hindman Funeral Home, 333 Beaver St., Hastings.
Representatives collecting for food pantries
State reps. Frank Burns, D-East Taylor Township, and Gary Haluska, D-Patton, announced their constituent service offices are now accepting nonperishable food donations to benefit local food pantries for the holiday season.
Donations may be dropped off at Burns’ Johnstown office, 535 Fairfield Ave., or Ebensburg office, 119 S. Center St., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
Donations also may be dropped off at either of Haluska’s constituent services offices, located at 323 Mellon Ave., Suite 1, Patton, and 808 Caldwell Ave., Suite 103, Portage.
For more information, call Burns’ office at 536-8400 or Haluska’s office at 674-8939.
St. Francis ACS chapter recognized
St. Francis University’s chemistry club earned an Outstanding Chapter Award from the American Chemical Society for its 2011-2012 activities.
The award was one of 36 given nationwide among more than 1,000 eligible university chapters. This is the second consecutive year that the chemistry club won the award.
In addition, the chemistry club was recognized as a Green Chemistry Student Chapter by ACS for successfully performing activities that highlight the value of green chemistry to humans and the environment.
The club will be recognized in the November/December issue of inChemistry Magazine, and at the 245th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans.
Edward Zovinka, professor of chemistry, is the faculty adviser for the club.
For more information about the chemistry department at St. Francis, visit www.francis.edu/chemistry/.
Ground broken for trail’s final link
HOMESTEAD – Groundbreaking was set on the final mile of the Great Allegheny Passage, a 141-mile bicycle trail from the Pittsburgh area to Cumberland, Md.
Friday’s groundbreaking was set for the Sandcastle Waterpark, which is closed for the season. The work will require utility poles to be moved.
That work must be done, and electricity restored, by the time the park in the Pittsburgh suburb of Homestead reopens in the spring.
Once the final mile is complete, the Great Allegheny Passage, which travels through Somerset County, will offer an uninterrupted path to Maryland.
That’s where the Great Allegheny Passage links up with the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, which stretches to Washington, D.C.
Bulletproof vest saves Pittsburgh officer
PITTSBURGH – A city police officer was saved when his bulletproof vest stopped a shot fired by a gunman who wanted to “kill an officer” but was instead wounded by return fire, police said.
“The intent of Tiant Mitchell was to kill an officer,” police Chief Nate Harper said at a news conference about Friday’s shooting involving Officer Andrew Baker.
Baker responded to a call reporting shots fired about
5 a.m. in the city’s Stanton Heights neighborhood.
Harper said Mitchell has a long criminal record despite being just 25 years old, and police believe he’s involved with a street gang.
Suit accuses state rep of reneging on prize
PITTSBURGH – A Pittsburgh woman is suing state Rep. Jake Wheatley in small claims court, saying he only coughed up half of the $200 prize she claims he promised the winner of a community day cake-baking contest.
Denise Robinson, 55, who like Wheatley is a Democrat, said the dispute isn’t about the $100, it’s about the principle.
The paralegal said, “If my state rep will breach a contract for $200, then what is he doing for $200,000?”
Wheatley told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the whole thing is a misunderstanding.
Wheatley acknowledged fliers for the Sept. 8 event tout a $200 prize, but said contestants were told the prize would depend on the number of entrants who paid $10 each – and that the prize was smaller because fewer people entered than expected.
Robinson said Wheatley should honor the flier.
Pitt tops $2 billion fundraising goal
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh said it has topped its $2 billion fundraising goal.
Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said Friday that more than 182,000 donors have contributed to the capital campaign, an effort that has enabled major construction projects at all five Pitt campuses, plus supported educational and research initiatives.
Pitt began the “Building Our Future Together” campaign
12 years ago with the goal of raising $500 million. After reaching that milestone in 2002, the target was doubled to $1 billion. In 2007, the goal was doubled again to $2 billion.
The university received $125 million – the largest gift in school history – from former steel executive William Dietrich last year. In recognition, Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences has been named for Dietrich’s father.
River locks closing to recreational boaters
KITTANNING – The Army Corps of Engineers said it is going to close the two Allegheny River locks farthest from Pittsburgh to recreational boaters and that commercial boaters can use them by appointment only.
Those locks are in Clinton and Kittanning, more than 25 miles upriver from the city.
They are being closed to recreational boaters because they were only sporadically used for that purpose last fiscal year.
Corps officials said lower federal funding is to blame, but said the cuts will enable them to restore 24/7 service on three locks in and nearest the city, which have much more commercial and recreational boating traffic. Locks 8 and 9, which are even farther upriver than the two locks being closed to recreational boats this year, were reduced to offering commercial lockages by appointment only since last year.
Cleaning woman admits stealing $3M bust
BRYN MAWR – A cleaning woman told investigators she stole a $3 million bust of Benjamin Franklin from a suburban Philadelphia home because she had been fired and was angry at her boss.
Lower Merion Township police released details of an interview with Andrea Lawton, 46, during her preliminary hearing Thursday. They said she also had an accomplice in the Aug. 24 theft from the Bryn Mawr home.
According to police, Lawton said she stole the plaster bust because she was told it was valuable and wanted to get her boss fired but she did not know how valuable until seeing news reports of the theft. She allegedly fled with the bust to a relative’s home in Alabama before being arrested Sept. 21 as she got off a Greyhound bus in Elkton, Md.
The bust was recovered but it was cracked and will need restoration.
Union supporting cop who punched woman
PHILADELPHIA – Members of the city’s police union are planning a fundraiser for a lieutenant who is being fired
for punching a woman at a parade, an encounter caught on video.
Earlier this month, the city’s police commissioner announced that Lt. Jonathan Josey was suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.
Mayor Michael Nutter apologized to the woman, saying he was “appalled,” “sickened” and “ashamed” by the video. It shows 39-year-old Aida Guzman being struck in the face and falling to the ground, her face bloodied, and then being led away in handcuffs during a street festival associated with the city’s annual Puerto Rican Day parade.
A disorderly conduct charge against Guzman has been withdrawn.
Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.
Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.