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News Briefs: Water damage won't delay opening

| Tuesday, July 2, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

Water damage caused by a faulty sprinkler at the Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside will not delay its long-awaited opening, UPMC Health System officials said Monday.

The damage occurred June 6 on the third floor of the center's laboratory pavilion along Centre Avenue. Tom Schwartzmier, director of facilities and construction at UPMC Shadyside, said a sprinkler was activated for no apparent reason, sending water down through three stories but causing what he called minor damage.

Schwartzmier said the sprinkler, which went off at 4:45 a.m., was not shut off for about an hour and 45 minutes. Water damaged the lower part — about 2-feet-deep sections — of about 15,000 square feet of drywall on each of the pavilion's three floors. It also damaged some ceiling tiles and carpeting. About 90 percent of the drywall has been replaced, Schwartzmier said.

The sprinkler has been sent back to its manufacturer and replaced with a new one, he said.

Schwartzmier said researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute are on schedule to start moving into the research pavilion in mid-July. A week or two of delays have been caused by last-minute requests from researchers who need special equipment or ventilation systems for their working areas.

Cancer patients are scheduled to begin using the 150,000-square-foot ambulatory tower — adjacent to the research pavilion — on Sept. 9.

Construction of the $104 million Hillman center began in September 1999.

Meanwhile, officials at UPMC rival West Penn Allegheny said yesterday their own $35 million cancer center is scheduled to open July 16. The five-story center, about a third smaller than UPMC's building, will be located on the campus of Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side.

Storms bring some flooding, power outages

Minor flooding and scattered power outages were reported after a storm hit various parts of southwestern Pennsylvania late Monday afternoon.

Other power outages were reported as a result of an underground cable failure in Oakland in the afternoon, Duquesne Light Co. spokesman Joe Balaban said.

"The storm developed very fast. It's been humid and there's tons of moisture in the atmosphere," said Rich Redmond, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Moon Township.

There were reports of flooding along Route 51 in Pleasant Hills and Jefferson Borough.

A lightning strike shortly before 6 p.m. hit a pole along Bower Hill Road in Mt. Lebanon, knocking out power to some 4,400 customers, Balaban said. Power was restored by 8:15 p.m., he said.

Balaban said the underground transformer failure occurred at 5:22 p.m. at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard in Oakland. The cable there affected an undetermined number of customers in Oakland and some 1,200 customers in North Braddock.

Most of the Oakland customers were restored to service within 30 minutes, except for Carnegie Institute and The Children's Home, which had power by 7:20 p.m., Balaban said.

Drowning death ruled accidental

A medical examiner said the drowning death of an Indianapolis man whose body was found in the Ohio River last week was accidental.

Sgt. Raymond Anderson, of the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, said the state medical examiner's office determined that Peter Krieg, 65, drowned in the river near Ravenswood, W.Va. His canoe had been found more than a week ago and his body was found last Wednesday.

"There was no violence or trauma whatsoever," Anderson said. "There was no medical problem like a heart attack.

"How and what happened when he tipped the canoe over, we don't know. The investigation is continuing."

Krieg started the 570-mile trip in Pittsburgh three weeks ago. He was heading toward Madison, Ind., on a canoe ride he had dreamed of taking since childhood, his daughter, Lisa Krieg of Glenshaw, said. Lisa Krieg is director of international education at Carnegie Mellon University.

Ellis School names new leader

The Ellis School in Shadyside has named Mary H. Grant its new head of school. Grant started Monday at the private school for girls in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Grant is the former assistant head of school and head of the upper school at Springside School in Philadelphia. She also has taught at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C.

Discounted Kennywood tickets available

The American Respiratory Alliance of Western Pennsylvania has a limited number of discounted ride-all-day tickets to Kennywood Park in West Mifflin.

Tickets, which can be redeemed all summer, are $14 and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Proceeds from the ticket sales will help the alliance in its mission to control and prevent lung disease through education, training, direct services, research funding and advocacy.

For more information, call (800) 220-1990.

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