Blast puts hole in roof of Derry metals plant
DERRY – An explosion blew a 60-foot hole in the roof of a specialty metals plant in Derry Township, but no workers were reported injured.
ATI Allegheny Ludlum spokesman Dan Greenfield said the incident was caused when water came into contact with hot metal.
Westmoreland County emergency dispatchers were notified of the blast shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday.
The plant houses an electric arc furnace used to make nickel and other specialty alloys.
Worker sentenced for rifle incident
GREENSBURG – A Greensburg man was sentenced to three to 23 months in jail for bringing an assault rifle to a foundry after he was suspended from work for three days.
Matthew D. Smith, 28, was suspended from work May 22. Later that morning he showed up at the Perma-Cast building in Penn Township with an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun.
Smith allegedly told employees to leave. He surrendered to authorities the next day. No injuries were reported.
Westmoreland County Judge Alfred Bell ordered Wednesday that Smith undergo a mental health evaluation.
Police: Nearly $90G missing at PSU frat
STATE COLLEGE – Police are investigating a report that nearly $90,000 is missing from a fraternity at Penn State.
State College police said someone at the Theta Delta Chi fraternity reported the missing money.
According to a search warrant, bank records show about $57,000 in suspicious cash withdrawals from a fraternity bank account between August 2011 and December 2012. Police said in the same search warrant that about $30,000 worth of debit card withdrawals also appeared to be unauthorized.
Nobody has been charged, and the fraternity has not commented on the investigation.
Judge fines juror who cursed when selected
ERIE – A woman has been fined $500 for cursing because she was frustrated with being picked to serve on a jury.
The Erie Times-News reported that Erie County Judge Ernest DiSantis levied the fine Wednesday on Kathleen Port.
DiSantis told the Erie woman she was “totally out of line” and explained that jury service is a duty of citizenship.
Port, whose phone number is unlisted, apologized several times but was fined nonetheless.
She told the judge she was upset because jury service would make her miss work and cost her income. DiSantis said Port could have claimed a hardship on her jury service questionnaire, but did not.
Port was thrown off the jury.
Statistical duel marks voter ID trial
HARRISBURG – A statistician hired by the state criticized the methodology of another expert who claimed hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters lack the photo identification they would need to cast ballots under a pending law.
William Wecker testified Thursday that his review of Philadelphia statistician Bernard Siskin’s report overstated the number of voters without IDs by failing to subtract those who have died, moved out of state or are barred from voting because they are incarcerated felons.
On cross-examination, a lawyer for the plaintiffs sought to counter Wecker’s review by focusing on weaknesses in his own approach to assessing the influence of those voter groups.
Washington lawyer Michael Rubin said outside the courtroom that Wecker showed only “a tiny sliver” of voters identified in Siskin’s report who may have other valid ID.
The nine-day-old trial in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the photo ID law on constitutional grounds is scheduled to resume Tuesday in Commonwealth Court.
Jury deliberates music church case
PITTSBURGH – A federal jury has begun to deliberations on whether the constitutional rights of a Fayette County religious group were violated during a 2009 drug raid.
The Uniontown Herald-Standard reported that deliberations began Thursday over the Church of Universal Love and Music, which held concerts at a 147-acre farm.
Blast puts hole in roof of Derry metals plant
- State News
4-year-old killed by van after dad’s funeral, police say
Police in southeastern Pennsylvania say a 4-year-old boy was struck and killed by a passing van hours after returning from his father’s funeral.
Woman gets 6 to 12 years in infant kidnapping
A Pittsburgh area woman was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison after she was convicted of kidnapping an infant by luring the mother to a Fayette County motel with a phony story about a commercial photo shoot for disposable diapers.
Lawyer: Evaluate stabbing suspect’s mental health
The attorney for a 16-year-old accused of stabbing 21 other students and a security guard at their high school said Thursday he wants to have a mental health expert evaluate the boy and hopes to have the case moved to juvenile court.
Obamas send prayers to school stabbing victims
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims of a stabbing spree at a Pennsylvania high school.
Stabbing spree at Westmoreland County high school leaves 20 injured
A 16-year-old armed with two knives went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, leaving 20 people injured, including a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal, authorities said.
Student flashed 2 knives, injured 20 in Westmoreland County school, police say
A 16-year-old boy "was flashing two knives around" when he injured 19 students and a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, a police chief said.
Police: Man killed by train was texting
Police say a man killed by a commuter train in suburban Philadelphia was texting a friend when he was struck while walking on the tracks.
Investigators seek cause of fire that killed three brothers
Authorities searched the rubble of a burned-out farm house over the weekend for the cause of a fire that took the lives of three young brothers left home alone while their widowed mother worked the overnight shift at a direct mail company.
Lawmakers want more aid for cities
Several bills circulating at the Capitol would open improvement zones more quickly or allow smaller cities to participate.
Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, wants to make the concept available to more cities the size of Johnstown.
No shows escaped death by Craigslist killer
The young woman who says she was driven by satanic spirts to commit a cross-country murder spree over the last six years says authorities are not taking her claims seriously and that she tried to lure other central Pennslyvania men into her death snare with online companionship ads but they didn't show up.
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- 4-year-old killed by van after dad’s funeral, police say