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Search continues for man seen jumping off bridge

| Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Police and firefighters in Lawrence County continued to search Tuesday night for a man last seen jumping off a New Castle bridge into the Shenango River.

Officers were chasing the man in the afternoon when he plunged into the water. Police have not said why the man was wanted.

Firefighters and officers were searching the water and riverbanks for any sign of the man. A state police helicopter also was used before it got too dark to see from the air.

Allegheny County

Allegheny County police are investigating the fatal shooting of Phillip Wiggins, 41, in his home on Corey Avenue in Braddock.

Wiggins died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest, a spokesman for the Coroner's Office said.

County police Lt. John Brennan said two black males were seen leaving Wiggins' apartment building after neighbors heard shots shortly after 10 p.m. Monday.

Allegheny County

A former state representative who planned to challenge Republican incumbent Vince Gastgeb, of Bethel Park, for a seat on Allegheny County Council dropped out of the race Tuesday.

Christopher K. McNally, an Upper St. Clair lawyer who left the General Assembly in 1994 to make an unsuccessful bid for Congress, withdrew from the race in council's Fifth District, according to records filed with the county Elections Division.

Gastgeb now is unopposed in his bid for a second four-year term.

  • An Allegheny County judge is expected to rule later this month whether voters can decide if Sheriff Pete DeFazio should take control of the county police.

    Lawyers for the county Deputy Sheriff's Association and the county argued Tuesday before Common Pleas Judge Joseph James about a referendum the union wants on the May 20 primary ballot.

    Voters would be asked to shift control of the county police from Chief Executive Jim Roddey, a Republican, to the Democratic sheriff. The union sued after the county Elections Board, which includes Roddey, invalidated union-backed referendum petitions.

    County Solicitor Charles McCullough argued that such a broadening of the sheriff's powers requires a change to the Home Rule Charter. Union attorney Joseph Chester argued the proposal doesn't require a charter change and can go on the ballot as presented.

    Crafton

    A Turtle Creek man faces a preliminary hearing Thursday on charges of robbing a bank in Crafton.

    Michael Lloyd Smith, 41, of Leneake Street, was arrested last week near the Greenway Apartment complex in the West End.

    Smith is accused in the March 4 holdup of the Parkvale Bank in the Crafton Ingram Shopping Center. Police do not believe the robbery is related to two other bank holdups that day, one in East Liberty and the other in the Hill District.

    Homewood

    Pittsburgh police are investigating a report of a 10-year-old girl being raped in Homewood this week.

    Detectives said the girl was playing with several friends in the 7200 block of Race Street on Sunday afternoon when an unknown man approached her. She said she left with the man, returned and told her friends that the man had sexually assaulted her in a nearby house, police said.

    On Monday, the friends told the girl's mother, who called police. Detectives were trying to identify the man yesterday.

    Mt. Washington

    The outbound lane of P.J. McCardle Roadway between the Liberty Bridge and Mt. Washington will be closed between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. today and Thursday for the placement of Jersey barriers, the city's Department of Public Works said.

    Penn Hills

    Seven people arrested after police seized about 50 illegal video gambling machines in a variety of establishments have entered guilty pleas to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct.

    The seven, who were among 14 people charged in the case, agreed to sign orders to destroy the machines and turn over their share of about $6,000 seized in the raids.

    They are former Penn Hills Mayor John Ford, 60, of Hawthorne Drive, now the owner of Johnny Mike's Bar on Rodi Road; Patty Ann Sylba, 42, of James Street, Verona, who operated machines in the lower level of the Fitness Center on Wildwood Road; Guy J. Pratillo, 59, and Dawn Pratillo, 31, of Saltsburg Road, owners of the Donut Shack on Frankstown Road.

    Charged in connection with machines found at Mr. Ribbs on Rodi Road are Mauro P. Matone, 60, with addresses on Shenandoah Drive and Spring Grove Road; James Posey, 50, of Woodward Avenue, Brookline; and John J. Lysakowski, 42, of Priestly Avenue, Carnegie.

    Wilkinsburg

    Allegheny County detectives and Wilkinsburg police arrested a man Tuesday on charges of stealing $81,000 during an armed bank robbery last year.

    Allen Darell Wade Jr., 32, of Rebecca Street, Wilkinsburg, was jailed to await a preliminary hearing on charges of robbery, carrying a gun without a license, reckless endangerment and receiving stolen property.

    Wade is charged with the March 8, 2002, holdup of the PNC Bank drive-through branch on Penn Avenue. Investigators believe he called 911 with a phony report of a man carrying a shotgun on the opposite end of Wilkinsburg. While police were responding to that call, they believe Wade went to the bank.

    After learning Wade and his estranged wife had paid cash for several new cars in the days after the robbery, police showed his photograph to the teller who was robbed at gunpoint. Police said the teller identified him as the robber.

    Region

    Migraine attacks are significantly under-diagnosed by physicians, according to an article by a University of Pittsburgh neurologist published in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Dr. Robert Kaniecki, director of the headache center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said nearly half of all doctors lack adequate training to diagnose a migraine. In turn, many people who are diagnosed as having tension or sinus headaches are, in fact, suffering migraines.

    About 28 million Americans suffer from migraines, usually described as intense, throbbing pain in the head, along with visual disturbances and sensitivity to light and sound.

    Kaniecki said misdiagnosis of migraines is contributing to antibiotic resistance because doctors are wrongly prescribing antibiotics for nonexistent infections.

  • Moderate drinking may reduce the risk of dementia in elderly patients, a study partly conducted in Pittsburgh finds.

    The study show that light drinkers -- those who had one to six drinks per week -- had the lowest odds of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

    But researchers warn that the consumption of large quantities of alcohol has negative effects.

    "This really shows that if you want to have a nice glass of red wine with dinner, it's not going to hurt you," said Dr. Lewis H. Kuller, one of the study's principal investigators at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

    Researchers for some time have suggested the blood-thinning and cholesterol-lowering properties of ethanol in alcohol may ward off dementia, which often is caused by a blood vessel problem.

    South Side

    A South Side health club has agreed to pay $4,000 in penalties and costs as a result of an agreement with state Attorney General Mike Fisher.

    The South Side Athletic Club of Pittsburgh in the 1200 block of East Carson Street agreed to settle alleged violations of the state Health Club Act.

    The attorney general accused the club of soliciting memberships and accepting payments without registering with Fisher's office and without filing the required paperwork as mandated under the Health Club Act. The club also was accused of failing to have a certified cardiopulmonary resuscitation administrator on the premises.

    Under the terms of the agreement, the club admitted to no wrongdoing and agreed to pay $3,000 in civil penalties and $1,000 in investigation costs.

    Washington County

    An assistant federal prosecutor said Tuesday that additional charges will be filed against the Washington County leader of a white supremacist group who already faces charges of possessing and transferring components of a pipe bomb.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Picking said David Hull, the Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of Pennsylvania, which has ties to the Ku Klux Klan, will be named in a superseding indictment on additional charges,

    Hull, 40, of Amwell, pleaded innocent to the pipe bomb charges at his arraignment yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Ervin Swearingen. Picking didn't disclose the nature of the new charges.

    Hull, who has demanded a jury trial, was arrested Feb. 13 on charges of owning components of a pipe bomb, unlawfully transferring those components to another individual and unlawfully making the pipe bomb.

    Homewood

    A 15-year-old boy told Pittsburgh police he was shot Tuesday night as he walked along a street in Homewood.

    The teen, who city paramedics said was struck several times in the arm, said he was walking along the 7700 block of Baxter Street shortly after 7:30 p.m. when he heard some shots ring out from the dark.

    The teen ran to a home on Nolan Court for help. He was taken to Children's Hospital in Oakland for treatment.

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