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Ambulance firm seeks municipal funding support from Homestead

| Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, 1:16 a.m.
Photo courtsey of Maggie Stasko
Norwin High School is celebrating its homecoming this weekend with a number of activities. Crowning of a king and queen will take place during halftime of tonight's 7:30 game against the Gateway Gators. Members of the 2013 court are, front row from left, freshmen Gabrielle Albensi and Lexie Kolano, sophmores Gianna Detore and Victoria Carrick, and juniors Shannon Douglas and Kasey Auld. In the back row are seniors, from left, Sarah Kerr, Brian Czapor, Angela Tyke, Davion Heron, Chelsea Gasparich and Mason Bryan. Activities for Saturday include a parade beginning at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Irwin and a dance from 7-10 p.m. in the high school gymnasium and cafeteria.

An ambulance company in the Steel Valley is asking municipalities it serves for help.

Munhall Area Prehospital Services president Michael Aldrich asked Homestead officials on Thursday to budget for emergency medical services in the coming year.

“We are in a money pinch,” Aldrich told council during its monthly meeting, noting that revenues from the company's subscription drives are not as high as they need to be.

Aldrich said the company sends out 7,500 subscription requests annually but only gets a 22 percent return from the communities it services, which, in addition to Homestead, include West Homestead and Munhall.

Aldrich asked Homestead to consider allocating $25,000 in its 2014 budget to help support the service. He said he's already asked Munhall for support and plans to present a similar request to West Homestead next month.

Homestead business manager Ian McMeans said the borough will consider the request as it prepares to draft its budget for the coming year.

“We'll definitely keep that in mind as we go through the budget process and see how the numbers come out,” said McMeans, though he added the borough couldn't make any promises.

McMeans said the borough has made $1,000 annual donations to MAPS for the past two years.

Aldrich said this is the first time the company has asked municipalities to provide support. He said the company does non-emergency transport trips and other tasks to make extra money but it is still not enough to stay in the black.

DA shuts down bar

In other news, Homestead police Chief Jeff DeSimone announced at the meeting that the Ragtime Saloon has been shut down by the Allegheny County District Attorney's office following a shooting there on Wednesday. It's unclear how long the bar may remain closed but some borough officials said they believe it may be permanent.

A bar patron was shot in the buttocks by one of two men who fled the scene afterward. The culprits remain at large but DeSimone said he is confident Allegheny County police soon will make an arrest.

The bar has been the scene of a number of crimes including a fatal shooting on Sept. 23 that claimed the life of Qaeed Braxton, 36, of Duquesne. Wilbert Keith Johnson, 36, of Allentown has been charged in connection with that incident.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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