Lodge to open
The community is invited to an open house Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the new Masonic Center, 530 Pleasant Valley Road, Route 982, Connellsville.
Bill would ban
phone use while driving
State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Pittsburgh) announced legislation that would prohibit cell phone use and text messaging while driving.
The measure would make an exception for calls made using hands-free technology, such as speakerphone or earpiece-microphone accessories.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving, which includes the use of cell phones, contributes to between 20 and 30 percent of all traffic wrecks. Washington state has enacted legislation banning cell phone use while driving. Other states have measures pending final approval.
Ferlo said the recent death of five teenagers in western New York is cited as an example of where cell phone use was a major contributing factor in the tragedy.
Gas prices increase
The average price of a gallon of regular, unleaded, self-serve gasoline increased 4.2 cents this week in Western Pennsylvania. This brings the price at the pump to $2.767.
According to the AAA Fuel Gauge, the nationwide average price of self-serve regular gasoline is $2.814 cents per gallon. This is 3.4 cents per gallon higher than one week ago.
In Uniontown, the average price for gas came in at $2.758.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will hold Pour for a Cure at 30 E. Main in Uniontown from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday. Pittsburgh Passion team will be available to sign autographs. All proceeds benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night in Uniontown on Sept. 22. Registration takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Participants who raise $25 or more will carry illuminated balloons, cancer patients and survivors will carry white balloons and to honor the memory of someone who lost the battle with cancer, participants will carry a gold illuminated balloon. All other participants carry red balloons at the 7:30 p.m. walk.
State police at Uniontown said someone spray-painted approximately 32 road signs, several guard rails, fences and mailboxes along Main Street, Turkeyfoot Road, Pine Ridge Road, North Pine Ridge Road, Water Street and Brushwood Road sometime between 1 and 5 a.m. Aug. 16. "LP" was spray painted on most of the signs. Hundreds of dollars in damage is reported.
expects big bill
The bill will be a whopper for Westmoreland County.
Warden John Walton warned the Prison Board on Tuesday that the cost of treating an inmate who tried to kill himself at the county jail last month "is going to be an extravagant bill."
George R. Richardsen, 22, of Brackenridge in Allegheny County, jumped off the second tier of the prison. He was flown to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Oakland with head and neck injuries.
Although Walton said he doesn't know the exact cost of Richardsen's hospitalization, it likely will be expensive.
The county will be expected to pay for Richardsen's helicopter flight from the Hempfield lockup to the Pittsburgh hospital. It also must cover his eight-day stay in the hospital's intensive-care unit.
Richardsen was housed in the jail's H-Unit, where all new prisoners are placed. He was waiting to be screened by a counselor when he bolted from his cell and jumped over the second-floor railing, falling about 20 feet to the concrete floor below.
approves floating bond
The Fayette County Hospital Authority has approved the borrowing of $50 million to pay for upgrades and to refinance old debt at Uniontown Hospital.
Joe Ferens, authority solicitor, said the authority gave its approval this week to floating the tax-exempt bond.
County commissioners must also give their approval before the hospital can proceed. Ferens said the county incurs no obligation with its approval, but commissioners must give their OK in order for the bond to be tax-exempt.
Hospital CEO Paul Bacharach told commissioners last month the facility will use the majority of the bond proceeds to install a new wing, convert rooms from semi-private to private, double its emergency room space and consolidate out-patient services. The remaining cash will be used to refinance an earlier bond.
The hospital authority will float the bond, then loan the money to the hospital.
Commissioners are expected to consider approving the bond at a Sept. 27 meeting.
planned for today
Efforts to control adult mosquito populations will be conducted today as fogging/spraying is planned in East Huntingdon Township.
Weather conditions permitting, spraying will take place this evening in the West Overton area, including Fayette Avenue, Bessemer and Lou streets, a small section of Overholt Drive and along the biking/hiking trail. In addition, spraying will occur in the Buckeye area, including Locust Street, and Evergreen, Paul and Buckeye drives, and along the biking/hiking trail there.
The treatment is being done to control the West Nile virus, which mosquitos are known to carry. There have been no confirmed cases in Pennsylvania this year.
Southwest Regional police are warning residents about an Internet loan scam that allegedly cost a Fayette County man $750.
According to police, Brian Zampatti, 30, of Newell, attempted to secure a $5,000 loan through www.eloan.com from his home computer on Sept. 7.
While in the process of securing the loan, Zampatti was allegedly directed to another site and instructed to call a "Brenda Smart." Zampatti called "Brenda Smart," and she allegedly told him that he would have to pay $750 for insurance for a $5,000 unsecured loan "in case of injury or death."
Police said he was then directed to send the money to "Carron Francis" in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Smart allegedly told Zampatti that she and Francis worked for E-Loan.
Police said Zampatti sent the money as he was directed, but he was unable to contact Smart after he sent the payment. The victim reportedly contacted E-Loan and was told the incident was under investigation. Zampatti also told police the firm informed him they do not ask for money before approving a loan.
Southwest Regional police said residents can contact them at 724-929-8484 if they have had a similar experience or if they have any information about the incident.
with beer bottle
State police are searching for two men who assaulted a Brownsville man with a beer bottle and stole money from a Fayette County tavern.
According to police, two white males age 30-35 entered Jilli's Bar in Luzerne at 10:30 p.m. Monday and took an undetermined amount of cash. Police said the men struck Joseph Tarreta, 28, in the head with a beer bottle, causing a laceration. The pair fled in a vehicle, but no description was available.
Anyone with information about the robbery and assault should call state police at Belle Vernon at 724-929-6262.