TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods


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
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 ...

Plum High resource officer reassigned as probe into teachers continues

By Karen Zapf
Plum police Chief Jeffrey Armstrong has transferred veteran high school resource officer Mark Kost to the junior high as an investigation continues into two high school teachers accused of having sex with students. Joe Little, who in January began his job ...

Plum district served warrants in probe of 2 teachers accused of sex with students

By Bobby Kerlik and Karen Zapf
Investigators served multiple search warrants on the Plum Borough School District in past weeks looking for any emails or communications going back years related to ...

Plum World War II veteran sues VA over Legionnaires’ disease

By Brian Bowling
A World War II veteran admitted to UPMC East on Feb. 9, 2013, and subsequently diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease became infected while being treated in the VA University Drive hospital, the man and his wife claim in a federal lawsuit ...

Former Plum teacher says he warned district about possible inappropriate conduct

By Karen Zapf
A former Plum School District employee claims he warned school officials nearly two years ago about a teacher’s possible inappropriate behavior with female students. JROTC instructor Scott Kolar emailed board members on Feb. 20, three days after police arrested teacher Joe ...

Newly remodeled Plum bar provides shuttle service to ensure safety of customers

By Karen Zapf
Michael Ricciuti wants customers at his revamped Shooti’s Bar & Grille to be safe after a night of drinking so he provides them with a ...

Plum school food service department shows loss

By Karen Zapf
Plum School Board members say they will take a hard look at the district’s food service department, which has lost money during the past two school years. “Is this a trend that’s going to continue?” board vice president Richard Zucco asked ...

Plum police search for home invasion suspect

By Liz Hayes
Plum police were searching for a man who claimed to be a police officer when he kicked in the door of a residence Friday afternoon at the Longwood at Oakmont retirement community. The man shouted that he was the police …

Plum teacher followed law when reporting colleague’s relationship with student

By Karen Zapf
When Plum High School art teacher Dennis Swogger overheard a student talking about tweets between chemistry teacher Jason Cooper and a senior female student, Swogger went to his principal because he suspected a relationship between Cooper and the student. The information ...

Police seek more information about Plum teacher accused of sex with student

By Karen Zapf
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office wants to hear from anyone who has information regarding a suspended Plum High School English teacher accused of having sex with a student. The request on Wednesday was made a day after Joseph Ruggieri, 40, ...

Plum High School students look forward to production of ‘Shrek The Musical’

By Karen Zapf
Logan Smith tried to contain his excitement when he started hearing late last year that “Shrek The Musical” was going to be selected as the ...

Plum School Board leans toward building new Regency Park

By Karen Zapf
Parent Leigh Anne Weiss is pleased that the majority of Plum School Board members say they support building a new Regency Park Elementary School. Still, Weiss, whose two children attend the school, said she won’t feel at ease until board members ...

Sponsors sought to help pay for multipurpose sports field in Plum

By Karen Zapf
Plum school and borough officials are committed to making way for a multipurpose field at the site of the former Pivik Elementary School. Now the two entities are looking to outside backers to get the project rolling. “We are looking for third-party ...

Businessman offers help with Plum sign ordinance

By Karen Zapf
A Monroeville businessman has stepped up to advise the Plum Borough Planning Commission on proposed changes to the town’s electronic message board ordinance. Buddy Swisshelm, regional manager for Signtronix that sells outdoor lighted signs, LED signs and indoor signs, told commission ...

Alleged chat ends in revoked bond for Plum teacher Ruggieri

By Karen Zapf
A Plum High School English teacher went to jail Tuesday, accused of contacting a student with whom he allegedly had sex and urging her not ...

Plum offering ‘Dinner & Dialogue’ about school safety

By Karen Zapf
A month after two Plum High School teachers were arrested and charged with having sex with students, district officials want to talk about school safety. Superintendent Timothy Glasspool and resource officer Mark Kost are hosting a “Dinner & Dialogue” from 5:30 ...

Plum employee raises could be based on merit

By Karen Zapf
Plum council is looking at tying administrative salary increases to job performance. Councilman Leonard Szarmach, personnel committee chairman, said Monday night that members are looking at merit-based raises rather than across-the-board increases that have been given in the past to the ...

Plum teacher’s attorney: Victim’s age a factor in sex assault case

By Karen Zapf
The attorney for Plum High School teacher Jason Cooper praised Plum school officials’ efforts to protect children in the aftermath of two teachers arrested and ...

Plum High School boasts new Distinguished Alumni class

By Karen Zapf
Rich Kelly is eagerly anticipating the month of April and the birth of his first child. About a month ago, Kelly, 29, of Forest Hills, found ...

Plum man claims marijuana search unlawful

By Karen Zapf
A Plum man who police said was growing marijuana in his home has sued the department, including fired officer Jeremy Cumberledge, claiming authorities conducted an illegal search and raid. Richard John Oleniacz, 57, of Peppertree Drive — in a 14-page complaint ...

Fired Plum officer won’t get job back

By Karen Zapf
Fired Plum police officer Jeremy Cumberledge will not get his job back, municipal manager Michael Thomas said Tuesday. An arbitrator’s decision Monday afternoon upheld the borough’s ...

Teacher conduct under spotlight in Pennsylvania

By Tory N. Parrish
Pennsylvania law bans sexual contact between teachers and students, regardless of students’ ages, but as reports of teacher improprieties surface, experts say school districts must tell staff that inappropriate conduct won’t be tolerated. There are state mandates to train staff to ...

Antiques show at Oakmont Country Club keeps Kerr Museum going

By Pamela Murphy
It’s been a long, cold winter. But next weekend, antiques enthusiasts will be able to shake off their cabin fever, escape the winter doldrums and ...

Arrests of Plum teachers prompt tight-lipped reaction

By Karen Zapf 9:09 p.m.
Some students say the atmosphere inside Plum High School remains tense and tight-lipped ever since the arrest of two teachers accused of having sex with students. “It has been very tense,” said Max Barone, 17, a senior. “Teachers have been uptight ...

Plum School District will move bus terminal to Greensburg Road

By Karen Zapf 9:00 p.m.
The Plum School District transportation operation is moving to Greensburg Road. Board members in a special meeting last week voted 5-3 to spend nearly $1.7 million ...