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Fayette man stabbed

| Thursday, July 3, 2003

A Fayette County man is in jail, facing multiple charges arising from a stabbing Wednesday morning that left another man hospitalized.

Justin T. Rahm, 22, of 134 McCoy Hollow Road, Connellsville Township, allegedly stabbed Kelly Flynn, 36, of Connellsville, in the neck with a pocket knife, piercing his jugular vein.

Flynn was flown by medical helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh's Oakland section, where he is listed in critical but stable condition, according to police.

Court papers filed in Rahm's arrest indicate he got involved in a fight outside of Luigi's Restaurant on Route 119 in Dunbar Township at approximately 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.

A witness told police he saw Flynn and Rahm start to argue in the restaurant, then go outside where the argument continued.

Rahm admitted stabbing Flynn, according to police.

"The defendant claimed he was acting in self-defense," according to police documents filed in support of the arrest.

State police from the Uniontown station interviewed the owner of Luigi's, James Emery, who described the altercation.

According to Emery, Flynn had approached Rahm at his car and was arguing there with him when the stabbing occurred. Rahm then fled the scene and threw the knife out his window.

He later led police to the spot where he disposed of it.

Rahm faces charges of attempted homicide, recklessly endangering another person, and two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault.

He was arraigned before Dunbar Township District Justice Dwight Shaner and placed in the Fayette County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail.


Fireworks warning

Although a holiday tradition, the Pennsylvania State Police warn that the use of fireworks is not only dangerous, but strictly limited by state law.

State police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said that the law permits public fireworks displays by certain organizations, but only after proper bonding, permits, registration and inspection requirements have been met in the municipality where the display is presented. Violators face a fine of up to $100 and a jail term of up to 90 days.

"The only fireworks permitted for the public's use are sparklers and devices containing extremely small amounts of powder; no more than in a toy-pistol cap," said Miller, who stressed that items like firecrackers, Roman candles, cherry bombs and M-80s are illegal in Pennsylvania.

Some municipalities, like the city of Pittsburgh, even ban the use of sparklers. Residents are urged to check their local fireworks law before attempting to purchase or use sparklers.

"Sparklers can be dangerous, particularly when used by children, because they burn at high temperatures and can ignite clothing," Miller said. "I urge you to play it safe this year and leave fireworks to the experts."


Fireworks displays

— Connellsville will hold its fireworks display tonight near the city plaza. The presentation will begin around 9:30 p.m.

— East Huntingdon Township will hold its fireworks display around 9:30 p.m. Friday, behind Southmoreland Junior High School.


Traffic changes

PennDOT District 12 said there will be minor changes in traffic on the bridge carrying Route 711 over Mill Creek in Ligonier Township, beginning July 7 through September. The work will consist of replacing the existing fascia beams with steel I-beams, replacing parapets, drainage, replacing portions of the deck and guide rail updates.

Two-lane traffic will be maintained with barriers separating the work zone. Traffic changes will be in place for the rehabilitation of the bridge. There is no detour is place. All work will be done weather permitting.


Gas rates cool

Natural gas customers in western Pennsylvania will see their gas bills either drop slightly or stay the same at least for the next three months, as wholesale gas prices have leveled off for local gas providers despite forecasts of sharp increases.

All three local utilities filed quarterly gas cost rate adjustments with the state Public Utility Commission this week.

Customers of Columbia Gas, which has 400,000 in western Pennsylvania, will actually see a slight price drop of 22 cents per thousand cubic feet (mcf) of gas used, from $8.8716 to $8.65. The average residential customer uses 10 mcf monthly and the average bill will drop 1.8 percent, from $119.66 to $117.42. That is still 86 percent higher than rates from a year ago for Columbia customers.

Gas cost rates for customers of Equitable Gas and Dominion Peoples Gas will have no change for the next three months. The average customer of Equitable Gas, which has 274,000 customers, will see the monthly bill remain at $111. Equitable's gas cost rate is still 31 percent higher than last year.

The average customer of Dominion Peoples Gas, which has 348,000 in 16 counties in southwest Pennsylvania, will have an average bill of $98.74. The gas cost rate for Dominion People's customers is 90 percent higher than the same time last year.


CARE project

State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said troopers will be participating in Operation CARE, a national program aimed at reducing crashes on interstate highways during the holiday weekend driving period.

Troopers will engage in highly visible, aggressive highway-enforcement activity.


Funding continues

The Charleroi Main Street Program has been awarded a $60,000 exit grant from the state, reported state Rep. Peter J. Daley. Charleroi returned to the Department of Community and Economic Development program in 2001, following earlier Main Street involvement in the late 1980s. During the last two years, Charleroi received individual $40,000 grants.

The local program is a joint venture of the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce and Charleroi. The borough matched $40,000 of the current grant with the chamber matching the balance.


Pleads guilty

Dwayne Hall, 27, of Dunbar pleaded guilty to third-degree homicide Tuesday following an arson in which a man died.

Hall testified before Judge Steve P. Leskinen that he set a Village of Thompson 2 house on fire Dec. 23, 2000, because a woman who lived there allegedly stole his children's wrapped Christmas presents.

Hall said that he and three other men knocked on the door before setting the house on fire, but Curtis Solomon Long died in the fire. Long was 38.

As part of his plea, Hall must cooperate with authorities if they choose to prosecute any of the other three men who were present.

District Attorney Nancy Vernon said that charges could be filed against at least one other person, based on Hall's statements.

When sentenced next month, Hall could face a maximum of 20 to 40 years in prison.

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