84-year-old competes in 5th half-marathon
The week's news in the Alle-Kiski Valley began with a senior citizen's plans to run in a 13-mile race and ended with an area resident being charged in a $15 million real-estate scam.
Here are the highlights of the past week's news:
• School buses powered by compressed natural gas may become a growing trend in the Alle-Kiski Valley as companies such as Valley Lines Inc. in South Buffalo expand their use. Valley Lines has used the buses to transport Butler Area and Armstrong school district students and will offer the vehicles to Freeport Area next year. It also plans to open the first natural gas fueling station, the first in the Valley, at its site along Sarver Road in the next few months.
• Peg Lutz of Clinton Township was set to run in the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon on Oct. 19 against people who are more than 50 years younger. It was to be the fifth time the 84-year-old Lutz planned to compete in the race.
• Alle-Kiski Valley residents who heat their homes with oil are expected to catch a break this winter. Heating oil prices have not only dropped, but it is the one home heating fuel that is expected to be lower than what it was last winter.
• The Fox Chapel, Burrell and Oakmont-Verona chapters of the Rotary Club were among five clubs that joined together to donate a vehicle that is allowing hospice workers to treat the sick in South Africa. Gabriel Gardiner, a student at Penn State New Kensington, brought the need to the attention of those clubs along with Rotary Clubs in Turtle Creek and Elizabeth, which bought a four-wheel-drive Toyota and donated it to hospice volunteers serving the sick in the rural areas around Knysna, South Africa.
• Lower Burrell Council on Monday approved an agreement with the owners of the Burrell Plaza property regarding code violations. The Widewaters Group agreed to repair fascia, awnings, wiring, fencing and walls, among other things, in order to head off an appeal hearing on the big commercial property where J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward stores were once located.
• Highlands School Director Ron Lang continues to pay on the delinquent taxes he owes to the district. However, property tax records show that despite the repayments, Lang's tax debt increased because of 2012 taxes and the 10 percent interest penalty charged on delinquent taxes. He owed just under $33,000 on four properties last April but now owes nearly $35,000.
• Motorists traveling through Lower Burrell along Craigdell Road got an unwelcome surprise on Tuesday: yellow paint on their vehicles. Police directed residents to contact PennDOT because Craigdell is a state road. A PennDOT spokeswoman said paint crews were working in the area but said if paint splattered on vehicles it was because drivers crossed over lines that were being painted.
• Voters in Vandergrift will use both voting machines and paper ballots in voting for council on Nov. 5. Westmoreland County Judge Gary Caruso ordered council President Brian Carricato's name be put on a paper ballot to compensate for an error that left his name off the voting machine ballots. Carricato is one of four Democrats running unopposed for four council seats.
• A Harmar woman was charged with simple assault and harassment for allegedly grabbing a 16-year-old girl's arm at the Oct. 5 Springdale Jr.-Sr. High School homecoming dance. Police said Dana Kris Schreckengost, 40, a chaperone, accosted the girl for playing too much rap music at the dance.
• A contract impasse between the New Kensington water authority and its 23 union workers is approaching its fifth year with no resolution in sight. The workers, who maintain the system that supplies water to Arnold, Lower Burrell, New Kensington and Upper Burrell, have been working on an extension of the contract that expired in 2008 and have received no pay raises since then.
• Ian Frederick Sagucio, 31, a former aide at a Bell Township group home, was sentenced to 23 months in jail and three years of probation for neglecting a severely handicapped resident who suffered injuries in the home last year. Sagucio pleaded guilty to neglect and no contest to reckless endangerment and simple assault charges. Police said the victim, who is autistic, deaf and has the mental capacity of a 1-year-old, suffered severe bruises and lacerations on his genitals in the incident.
• A federal judge sentenced a Washington Township woman to 3 1⁄2 years in prison for her role in a real estate fraud that bilked investors of more than $15 million. Bonnie Gardner, 56, of Quarry Lane received the sentence after pleading guilty in May to charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Her partner in the scheme, Frank Guzik Jr., 44, of Derry, was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2010 but has not been located. He was last spotted in Texas in 2009.
• Springdale officials have suspended police Officer David Walton with pay after he was accused of having a sexual encounter with a young woman in his patrol car while on duty. Several juveniles who said they witnessed the encounter filed a report with the borough, which prompted the suspension and an internal investigation.