TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods


Plum teacher, held for trial, vows to fight witness intimidation charge

By Megan Guza  and Karen Zapf 3:51 a.m.
When a Plum High School teacher outed her as a sex assault victim before a class full of students, the senior testified, “I wanted to ...

Plum schools, dealing with sex scandal, to form panel in June

By Donald Gilliland
Saying student safety is their “highest priority,” Plum school board members voted unanimously Tuesday to revive the board’s committee on safe and supportive schools. Board members ...

Live coverage tonight of Plum school board meeting

By Donald Gilliland
LIVE COVERAGE - Follow the comment stream below for live updates from the Plum school board meeting which begins at 7 p.m. (If you don’t ...

Plum witnesses seen entering grand jury building in Dormont

By Megan Guza  and Karen Zapf
Two men who voiced concerns that Plum High School teachers could be sexually abusing students appear to have testified Thursday before a grand jury investigating ...

No increase slated in Plum school tax bill — for now

By Karen Zapf
The Plum School District’s 2015-16 preliminary budget holds the line on property taxes. School board members during a May 21 special meeting voted 6-2 to approve a $61.6 million preliminary spending plan that is balanced by emptying the capital-reserve fund and ...

Plum high school robotics team takes 1st place in nationals

By Staff Report
Plum School District’s robotics team and robot Knockout took first place in the National Robotics League (NRL) competition May 16 at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. The team also competed with robot Night Stalker. The grand champion award went to the ...

Plum Community Festival to offer additional activities

By Karen Zapf
Visitors to next month’s annual Plum Community Festival will notice more activities for the event’s youngest patrons. Organizers are adding a Kid Zone that will be ...

Lack of planning director tables housing development talks in Plum

By Karen Zapf
A vacancy in the borough planning director’s position in part has delayed consideration of a proposed housing development. The Plum Planning Commission on Monday night voted to table action on two applications for the proposed Autumn Ridge — 78 single-family homes ...

New Plum School District bus garage to undergo remodeling

By Karen Zapf
Plum School District officials are working to get a new transportation facility ready by fall. School board member Richard Zucco said the board, during its ...

Plum musical receives 11 Kelly award nominations

By Tribune-Review
Plum High School’s spring musical, “Shrek the Musical” has been nominated in 11 categories for the Pittsburgh CLO’s Gene Kelly Awards. The nomination categories are as ...

Grand jury investigating Plum sex scandal involving possibly 8 students

By Adam Brandolph  and Karen Zapf
An Allegheny County grand jury is investigating whether teachers at Plum High School abused as many as eight female students over as many as eight ...

Photo gallery: Plum Prom Night 2015

By Tribune-Review
The Omni William Penn in Downtown Pittsburgh was the venue for the 2015 Plum High School Prom on Friday, May 8. ...

Two Plum officials resign after being put on leave this month

By Karen Zapf
Plum council on Monday accepted the resignations of two employees who were placed on paid administrative leave this month. Council voted 6-0 to accept the resignations of Assistant Manager Greg Bachy, 44, and Planning Director Jason Straley, 38. They had been ...

Judge orders psych exam of Plum man accused of selling PPG trade secrets to Chinese firm

By Brian Bowling
Thomas Rukavina must remain in jail while a psychiatrist evaluates his mental competence to face charges that the PPG Industries retiree sold industrial trade secrets to a Chinese company, a U.S. magistrate ordered Monday. Federal agents arrested Rukavina, 62, of ...

Handling of Plum High School sex scandal saddens victims’ advocates

By Chris Togneri
Nearly three decades ago, Beth Docherty says, she was raped by her high school band director. Despite rumors and reports that the teacher had sexually abused ...

Proposed Plum residential development draws flooding concerns

By Karen Zapf
Several residents of the New Texas Road area told Plum Council during a Monday-night public hearing that they are worried about the potential for additional flooding if 78 single-family homes are built off New Texas Road, between Mallisee Lane and ...

Plum Borough officials placed on paid administrative leave

By Karen Zapf
Plum Borough’s assistant manager and planning director are on paid administrative leave, accused of “personal use of borough phones and computers,” Councilman Dave Vento said Monday. Assistant Manager Greg Bachy, 44, and Planning Director Jason Straley, 38, borough employees for more ...

Plum student’s online post spurred assembly

By Megan Guza  and Karen Zapf
The Allegheny County district attorney and Plum police chief do not appear to be on the same page as the investigation into student sex abuse at Plum High School proceeds. Social media posts by one student prompted a school assembly that ...

Hearing set for proposed 78-home development in Plum

By Alex Felser
With a public hearing scheduled May 4, Plum’s planning commission on Monday tabled discussion regarding Autumn Ridge’s planned-residential-development application. The 78 single-family homes would be located on New Texas Road, between Mallisee Lane and Mallisee Road. “It seems to me that ...

Plum parents: Hold school officials accountable

By Megan Guza and Karen Zapf
Students and parents in Plum held nothing back during a Tuesday night school board meeting while addressing board members and administrators about a sexual abuse ...

Plum High School teacher hires attorney who also represents Jerry Sandusky

By Karen Zapf
A Plum High School teacher has hired an attorney who also represents Jerry Sandusky. Drew Zoldak, 40, of New Kensington, has hired Butler county defense attorney ...

Plum officials: District won’t inhibit ‘constitutionally protected speech’

By Megan Guza  and Karen Zapf
Just a few hours after student protesters at Plum High School left for the day with the promise to return Tuesday morning, school board members ...

Protest planned Monday at Plum Borough High School

By Karen Zapf
Protesters plan to defy warnings from police and school officials against posting on social media about the sex abuse investigation involving teachers at Plum Senior High School, and the school board has scheduled an executive session for Monday night. Fliers posted ...

Plum school officials ignoring help, advocacy group’s chief says

By Megan Guza
Plum High School officials were not interested in a local advocacy organization’s offer of training and information on sexual abuse, according to the organization’s executive director. Alison Hall, director of Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, said her organization reached out to administrators ...

First Amendment experts decry Plum authorities’ warning to students

By Megan Guza  and Karen Zapf
Students who talk, text, email, tweet, or post comments on Facebook about the ongoing sexual abuse investigation at Plum High School could be subject to ...

Zappala fears sexual abuse of students common knowledge at Plum school

By Megan Guza 10:17 a.m.
School directors should consider firing administrators at Plum High School if it was common knowledge that some teachers had sex with students, and some school ...

3rd Plum high school teacher charged in connection with student-sex case

By Megan Guza
Police on Wednesday arrested a third Plum High School teacher, accusing him of intimidating a student in front of a class by singling her out ...

Expert: Plum district’s silence about sex allegations could erode trust

By Karen Zapf
Plum School District officials have remained largely silent in the two months since two teachers were accused of allegedly having sex with female students and ...

Plum 5th-grader collecting donated bikes for children

By Ed Phillipps
Have an old bicycle taking up space? Then Kadence Simko wants to speak with you. Simko, a fifth-grader at Regency Park Elementary School in Plum, is holding her second annual bicycle donation drive. It will benefit the Red Lantern Bike ...

Teachers union advises lawyers for colleagues of Plum pair investigated on sex charges

By Karen Zapf
Teachers in Plum may be getting mixed messages from union officials about talking with investigators about teachers accused of having sex with high school students. In ...

Brick campaign raises money for Plum, Renton emergency services building

By Ed Phillipps
It’s last call for the Plum Emergency Medical Service and Renton Volunteer First Department’s Buy-a-Brick Campaign. As the two groups await the finishing touches on ...

Plum schools might join initiative to provide iPads to students

By Karen Zapf
The Plum School Board is considering spending about $1.2 million during the next six school years on a “1:1 Initiative” by providing an iPad for each student. “I am excited,” board member Michelle Stepnick said. “I want the Plum School District ...

Plum council approves $24K in employee raises

By Karen Zapf
Plum council has approved merit-based raises for the borough’s administrative employees. Council members on Monday night voted 5-0 to approve the raises, which total about $24,000 and range from 2-percent to 3.5-percent increases, according to Councilman Leonard Szarmach, personnel committee chairman. ...

Judge allows Plum teacher to remain free after attempt to contact friend of his alleged victim

By Bobby Kerlik
An Allegheny County judge said Thursday it would be “harsh” to jail a Plum high school teacher accused of intimidating a witness in his pending ...

Golf resort in Plum being demolished; use for property undecided

By Tom Yerace
A pile of rubble is all that’s left of the Golf Resort on the Plum side of Greensburg Road. Demolition work on the property, which began ...

Prosecutors want Plum teacher back in jail

By Bobby Kerlik
Allegheny County prosecutors will ask a judge Thursday to jail a Plum high school teacher they say has tried twice since his arrest to contact a female student with whom he’s accused of having sex. Jason Cooper, 38, of Monroeville reached ...

Plum board votes for new Regency Park Elementary building

By Karen Zapf
Plum School Board members have committed to a new Regency Park Elementary building. The school board during last week’s meeting voted to award three contracts to Rucon Construction of Murrysville, Pennsylvania Soil & Rock of Monroeville and the L.R. Kimball architectural ...

Teachers, not Plum officials, targeted, police chief says

By Bobby Kerlik
Plum police Chief Jeffrey Armstrong asked for patience Tuesday and said he advised Plum school officials not to talk about the ongoing investigation into two ...

No one hurt in Plum house fire

By Brian C. Rittmeyer
A Plum couple is trying to wrap their heads around how they’ll recover from a fire that caused extensive damage to their home Tuesday morning. Chris ...