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Briefs: Police trying to ID suspect nabbed in zoo chase

| Friday, Aug. 20, 2004

City police on Thursday were trying to identify a man accused of leading officers on a car chase and then running through the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Officers caught the fleeing man, who had no identification on him, early yesterday when he climbed over a fence to get out of the zoo in Highland Park.

Police stopped the man on Frankstown Avenue in Homewood shortly before midnight after he drove through a red light. He then sped away and crashed the car near the zoo, police said. No injuries were reported.

Oakland MDA to recognize research efforts

The Muscular Dystrophy Association will honor the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis program today as an MDA/ALS Center of Excellence for research and clinical care.

The ceremony is scheduled at 9 a.m. today at the Neurology Clinic in the Liliane S. Kaufmann Medical Building, 3471 Fifth Avenue, Oakland.

UPMC is one of 33 centers in the country to receive the designation.

Uptown Blood drive planned for Sept. 2 at Mercy

Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh and Central Blood Bank are having a one-day blood drive on Sept. 2.

The drive will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Sister M. Ferdinand Clark Auditorium-Side B at Mercy Hospital, 1400 Locust St., Uptown. Walk-ins are welcome, although appointments are encouraged. To schedule an appointment, call Mary Wiegel at Central Blood Bank at (412) 209-7082.

To be eligible, participants must weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 17 years old and in good health, and have not given blood in the past eight weeks. Participants will be asked to present identification, such as a driver's license or blood donor card.

West

South Fayette Mayview seeks volunteer workers

Mayview State Hospital in South Fayette is looking for volunteers.

Volunteers at the psychiatric hospital can perform a variety of functions, including walking patients to religious services, helping out in the gift shops, guiding patients on off-grounds shopping trips or taking patients to dinner. The Mayview Volunteer Department and the hospital's Chaplaincy Department are working together to match volunteers with interested hospital residents. Anyone who would like to help out at the hospital can call Tim Stevens or Betty Kostyak at (412) 257-6498 or (412) 257-6386.

North

Mars Area schools Parents asked to bone up on bus schedules

Parents of Mars Area School District students are asked to visit their child's school or the district's administration office to check bus schedules for the coming school year, which starts Wednesday for students.

The bus schedule posted on the district Web site was for last year and is not correct for this year, school officials said. This year's schedule will not be posted on the Web site, they said.

Schedules are posted on the door of each school and at the administration office. For more information, call (724) 625-1581.

East

Penn Hills Council to hold meeting to award contracts

Penn Hills council will conduct a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in chambers, 12245 Frankstown Road, to award four capital improvements contracts totaling nearly $600,000 rather than wait until the next regular meeting on Sept. 13.

"These projects are ready to go, and if we hold off, we'll lose a month of prime construction weather," Penn Hills planning Director Howard Davidson said.

Contracts include Rosedale storm sewer improvements totaling $338,530; parking lot expansion at the Penn Hills Senior Center, $135,284; stream bank stabilization along South McCully Drive, $63,811; and gym heating at the Lincoln Park Community Center, $48,650.

Funeral services set for soldier killed in Iraq

Funeral arrangements have been announced for First Lt. Neil Santoriello, 24, of Penn Hills, killed Aug. 13 by a roadside bomb in Iraq. After a memorial service today in Fort Reilly, Kan., the body will be returned to Penn Hills this weekend, where calling hours will be from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Soxman Funeral Home on Saltsburg Road.

A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Zion Lutheran Church, Frankstown Road. Burial will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. Officials with Boy Scout Troop 139 in Penn Hills have asked Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato to name the Boyce Park Archery Range in Santoriello's memory. Refurbishing the range was his Eagle Scout project.

Penn Hills schools Board establishes home-school policy

The Penn Hill School Board has established a policy allowing home-schooled students to attend district classes as long as classroom space permits.

The catalyst for the policy, which has been adopted in other local area districts such as the Bethel Park and Armstrong school districts, was a request from Nathan Parenti, 17, who is interested in taking a digital sound recording class offered at the senior high school.

Susan Richman, one of the co-founders of the Kittanning-based group Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Inc., said more than half of the 501 school districts in the state now allow home-schoolers to participate in extra-curricular activities. Parenti already is on the volleyball team at Penn Hills Senior High School.

South

Castle Shannon Camp to be held for grieving children

Family Hospice and Palliative Care will hold a camp Saturday for grieving children.

Camp Healing Hearts will start at 8 a.m. at the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God in Castle Shannon, and will feature activities to help children realize that they're not alone in the grieving process, as well as teaching some coping skills.

The camp is the first one put on by Family Hospice, and about 15 children are expected to attend.

Region

Police departments to get COPS cash

Three police departments in the region will be getting a federal upgrade.

Departments in Baldwin Borough in Allegheny County, Brighton in Beaver County and Belle Vernon in Fayette County are receiving federal grants through the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS.

The funding will provide the departments with 75 percent of the salary and benefits of additional officers. Baldwin Borough is receiving $225,000 for the hiring of three full-time officers, Belle Vernon is receiving $79,130 for two part-time officers, and Brighton is receiving $75,000 for one full-time officer.

Mercer County Charges dropped against 'cottage parent'

Authorities dropped weapons charges against a "cottage parent" at a home for troubled boys in Grove City.

Nathan A. Horstman, 32, was charged in February with illegally possessing weapons on school property because he had a pistol, pellet rifle and two large hunting knives in the cottage where he lived with several teens at George Junior Republic. Although George Junior Republic is a school, the cottage it owns also was Horstman's home. Mercer County Assistant District Attorney Timothy Bonner said the charges were withdrawn because it is not illegal for a person to have weapons in his home.

It remains a violation of the school's policy, however, school Chief Executive Officer Rick Losasso said. Horstman no longer works there.

Bedford County Bedford County Fair to bloom early next year

Gardeners will have to plant their vegetables and flowers a little earlier next year if they want to compete at the Bedford County Fair.

For the first time in more than 50 years, the fair won't be held during the first full week in August, but from July 24 to 30.

The fair was rescheduled because officials wanted to change amusement companies to get newer, different rides -- but the company they hired, Steel City Amusements of Pittsburgh, is all booked up in early August.

Erie County Rain pushes back finish of Bayfront Connector

A rainy summer construction season has delayed completion of the Bayfront Connector, which was to have opened this fall.

Instead, the $180 million, 6.2-mile highway spur that will link Erie's bay front to Interstate 90 will not open until May or June, state Department of Transportation officials said.

William Petit, district engineer for northwestern Pennsylvania, said crews need the extra time to guarantee that the road will be safe and of high quality.

State

Pa. gets an 'F' in the fight against fat

A new national study gives Pennsylvania an "F" in treating obesity as a threat to public health, according to Pennsylvania Advocates for Nutrition and Activity, a statewide coalition that promotes programs that support healthy eating and activity.

The University of Baltimore Obesity Initiative's first national report card on the issue looked at things such as nutrition standards for public schools, whether body mass index is measured in schools, state-mandated physical education in schools and whether obesity treatment is covered by health insurance. Measurement of body mass index will be mandatory in Pennsylvania schools starting next year, according to the coalition.

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