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North Belle Vernon council settles property lawsuit

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

During a special meeting Tuesday, North Belle Vernon council approved a motion to settle a lawsuit that was filed against the borough and other entities.

According to Mayor Ed Lyons, the lawsuit had been ongoing for a couple of years.

The suit was filed by Timothy Feher and involved property at 205 Graham St. in the borough.

The borough's settlement included a payment of $25,000 plus closing costs on the property, which will now become borough property.

Lyons said no other details would be available on the matter until all parties have signed off on the deal.

Washington Hospital union workers authorize strike

More than 400 service workers at Washington Hospital voted to authorize a strike but will stay on the job as contract talks continue.

The SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania union said its members on Monday night “voted by an overwhelming majority to strike, if they cannot reach a fair contract agreement.”

Officials at the 274-bed hospital declined to comment. The nonprofit hospital employs 1,812 people, including those in the union.

Hospital officials and union negotiators have negotiated since early January on a contract to replace one that expires Thursday.

SEIU members work in dietary, housekeeping and other service positions. They planned to hold an information rally at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Alpine Club Lanes in Washington.

The union says the hospital's contract proposals would put health insurance out of reach for many hospital workers, cut wages for dietary and housekeeping workers by $4 a hour, and reduce protections for employees on medical leave.

Karen Gownley, a union spokeswoman, said members would need to vote again before they could walk off the job.

“We do not want to go on strike and will continue negotiating as long as possible,” she said.

Robinson Township sued over decisions on gas wells

Range Resources Corp. is taking Robinson Township, Washington County, to court to win approval for two gas well sites.

The Texas company's local subsidiary filed suit in a state appeals court on Monday asking it to review land-use decisions from township supervisors. The company claims township officials aren't following their own laws and have illegally extended local permit hearings since November.

The company controls oil and gas rights on a 168-acre tract off of Midway Candor Road and an 84-acre tract on Valley View Road, according to the complaint. It wants to develop both properties.