Laurels & lances: A baby, a DUI, deaths and support |
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Laurel: To Miles Everett Bartko. It isn’t every kid who gets this much attention, especially at just a couple of days old. But kudos to young Miles for his keen sense of timing. He wasn’t just the first baby born in Westmoreland County this year. He was the first birth at any regional hospital in 2019.

Lance: To yet another member of the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department having a criminal record, however briefly. Caitlyn Kralovic, 27, of Sewickley, is a corporal in the department. On Wednesday, she was admitted to the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program that could end up expunging her record of a May DUI involving a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.

Kralovic is the fourth department member to face legal troubles within the last year. Former chief deputy Patricia Fritz in October was found guilty of summary harassment; suspended Capt. Travis Day’s State College harassment and stalking case is pending in Centre County; and Sheriff Jonathan Held, whose December corruption trial ended in a mistrial, will be retried in April.

Laurel: To drug overdose awareness and education efforts. Deaths from accidental drug overdoses in Westmoreland County decreased by 36 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, an indicator that efforts by state and local officials might be working. While the epidemic has crept into many daily lives in a negative way, it has also affected a range of public officials — from judges to school superintendents — who keep the problems in mind during their work. The conscious effort seems to be working. Keep it up.

Laurel: To Charley Family Shop’n Save and the Franklin Regional School District for working with local students who have learning disabilities.

The Charley family worked with FR officials in making modifications to the interview process for Blake Ritter of Murrysville, who is now working part time as a Shop’n Save cashier. FR learning support teacher Michelle Longo said job interviews have been a real stumbling block for students with learning disabilities, and she hopes that Ritter’s experience with Shop’n Save can serve as a model moving forward.

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