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News briefs: City OKs tax break for technology center

| Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh City Council on Monday passed a tax-increment financing plan for a new technology center in Oakland.

In the final legislative session before a monthlong break, council approved a plan by Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh to build the Panther Hollow Research and Development Center and parking garage on the university's side of the hollow with a tax break from the city, Pittsburgh Public Schools and Allegheny County.

Under the plan, 60 percent of taxes, more than $7 million, would not be collected for 20 years to offset the cost of construction. The hillside property is owned by the university, which as a nonprofit pays no taxes on the land now.

The school district and the county jumped on the "no-brainer" to collect 40 percent of taxes, plus more than $720,000 a year in newly generated property, parking and wage taxes, Urban Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Mulugetta Birru said.

Only council President Gene Ricciardi voted against the plan.

U.S., N. Ireland police to see city system

Police officials from three U.S. cities and from Northern Ireland will be here this week to study the Pittsburgh police computer system that tracks officers' histories and watches for potentially bad cops.

Representatives from police departments in Phoenix, Baltimore, Steubenville and Belfast will arrive Wednesday and attend the Pittsburgh police bureau's quarterly Computerized Supervisor's Trend Analysis Review (COMPSTAR) meeting.

Part of the meeting covers a review of the early warning computer program called the Performance Assessment and Review System, which tracks the performance of all 1,100 officers in the department. City police officials use the system to evaluate officers and compare their arrest records, disciplinary files and history of complaints to other officers across the city, in their station or on their shift.

Pittsburgh's implementation of the system has become a model for other police departments, city police spokeswoman Tammy Ewin said. More than 75 law enforcement agencies have requested demonstrations of the system, she said.

Falling ceiling tiles close Fort Pitt Tunnel

The inbound lanes of the Fort Pitt Tunnel were closed for about three hours Monday morning after tiles fell from the ceiling.

The tunnel was reopened by 12:30 p.m. after workers retrieved the fallen tiles and repaired any damage, according to the PennDOT press office. There was no indication of any major damage to vehicles in the tunnel.

Work will continue this weekend to replace the fallen tiles. It is expected that all the tiles will be replaced by Sunday.

Acting director gets airport post

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has appointed a new director of general aviation facilities.

Stephanie Saracco, 39, of Upper St. Clair, will hold the position at the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin.

She previously held the position of acting director, in which she managed the operating budget and oversaw capital projects.

Prior to working at the county airport, Saracco worked for 16 years in operations at the Pittsburgh International Airport. While there, she implemented a wildlife program and acted as the liaison between the airport and the USDA Wildlife Services.

She has been a licensed private pilot since 1983 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business management and an associate's degree in aviation management from Salem College in Salem, W.Va.

Motorcyclist was from Waynesburg

The motorcyclist killed in an accident Sunday night in Greene County was identified Monday as Larry McCord, 41, of Waynesburg.

The accident occurred at 9:40 p.m. along White Ridge Road in Franklin Township near Waynesburg, state police said.

McCord was traveling alone when he failed to negotiate a turn, struck a barbed-wire fence and was thrown off the motorcycle, troopers said.

Ford City driver remains in hospital

A man remained hospitalized in critical condition Monday with injuries suffered in a two-vehicle accident over the weekend along Route 66 in Armstrong County, state police and hospital officials said.

Donald M. Sickenberger, 21, of Ford City, Armstrong County, was flown to Allegheny General Hospital, North Side, with injuries suffered in the crash at 11:15 a.m. Sunday in Manor Township, troopers said.

State police said a car driven by Sickenberger crossed the center of the roadway and collided with an oncoming pickup truck driven by Thomas L. Storey, 39, of the Kittanning area. Storey was not injured.

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