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Briefs: Motorcycle hits tree in Mt. Oliver, victim found nearby

| Saturday, Aug. 11, 2007

The body of a Mt. Oliver man was found near McKinley Field in Mt. Oliver early Friday after a motorcycle crash.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Russell Hilinski, 32. A passer-by found Hilinski near the motorcycle shortly before 2 a.m., police said. He apparently struck a tree and was not wearing a helmet, investigators said.

Police are investigating.

Hilinski died of head and body injuries, and the death was ruled accidental, according to the medical examiner's office.

Oakland Fourth candidate enters race for mayor

An Oakland man filed paperwork to run for Pittsburgh mayor as a Libertarian, which makes four candidates for the city's top office.

Tony Oliva, 27, filed Thursday to be a replacement candidate for Libertarian Mark Rauterkus, who withdrew from the mayor's race Wednesday. Rauterkus is running as a Libertarian for City Council in District 3 and for city controller.

Democratic Mayor Luke Ravenstahl also faces Republican Mark DeSantis and Socialist Workers Party candidate Ryan Scott in the Nov. 6 election.

North Side Teen ordered held for trial in shooting death

A North Side teenager was ordered held for trial Friday in the shooting death of another man last month.

Jovon Knox, 17, is charged with homicide in connection with the July 8 death of Jehru Donaldson, 18, who was killed when he arrived at his girlfriend's Brighton Place home to pick up children to take to a Pirates game, police said.

Knox's twin brother, Devon Knox, also is charged in connection with Donaldson's slaying. The pair is accused of shooting Donaldson while trying to steal his car as he drove away, investigator said.

Authorities dismissed and then refiled the charges against Jovon Knox.

Citizen's Police Academy applications accepted

The Pittsburgh Police Department is accepting applications for the Citizen's Police Academy, set to begin Sept. 4.

The program will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays at police headquarters, 1203 Western Ave., North Side, police Lt. Jennifer Beidle said.

Participants learn about law-enforcement functions, some criminal law, search and seizure, patrol tactics, firearms, crime scene processing and other topics.

The class is free and limited to 30 people. Applications must be received by Aug. 24. For an application or more information, call Beidle at 412-323-7889.

Allegheny County

Munhall Homestead man charged in stabbing

A Homestead man has been charged in connection with the stabbing of another man in Munhall.

John Phillips, 31, was arrested Thursday in West Homestead, Allegheny County police said.

Phillips was charged in connection with the Monday night stabbing of Samuel Jones, 29, of Homestead, in Munhall. Jones was listed in critical condition at a local hospital, investigators said.

Phillips was charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault. Investigators haven't released a motive for the attack.

Oakmont Council to appeal gas well ruling

Oakmont Council has decided to appeal a May 9 Commonwealth Court ruling on gas wells to the state Supreme Court, the borough's attorney said Friday.

Clifford Levine said there's a good chance the high court will hear the case because the decision affects every community in the state.

Oakmont rejected a request by Huntley & Huntley Inc., of Monroeville, for a conditional use permit to drill a well in a residential subdivision. The borough partly based its decision on its zoning ordinance. The company appealed to Common Pleas Court, which upheld the borough's decision, and then to Commonwealth Court.

Commonwealth Court ruled the local ordinance can't control well location because state law already deals with the issue. Under the state oil and gas law, local governments are banned from passing statutes on issues already covered by the law.

McKees Rocks Reward offered for stabbing data

Pittsburgh Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of as much as $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for a fatal stabbing in McKees Rocks.

The body of James Maitland, 58, was found about 8 a.m. Monday inside his residence in the 200 block of Island Avenue by borough police. The officers were called to check on Maitland by his girlfriend, who became concerned when he did not pick her up at work.

Maitland died of multiple stab wounds to the chest. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 412-255-8477.

Monroeville Officials reschedule canceled meetings

Monroeville officials have rescheduled two meetings that were canceled Thursday because of a power outage.

The regular monthly Citizen's Night meeting will start at 7:30 Monday at the municipal building, 2700 Monroeville Blvd. The monthly council work session will start after that meeting. The council's voting meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal building.

Butler County Spraying to target mosquitoes in Penn

To control the threat of West Nile virus, state officials will spray insecticide in Penn Township on Monday.

Samples taken in the Butler County community by state Department of Environmental Protection officials show high populations of adult mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus, which can cause brain swelling and death in rare cases.

An insecticide called Biomist 3+ 15 will be sprayed in low concentrations with truck-mounted, ultra-low volume spraying equipment. Spraying will occur in evening hours if weather permits.

There has been one confirmed case of West Nile virus in Pennsylvania this year. A 56-year-old Clearfield County man was treated at a hospital earlier this summer and released.

Lawrence County No charges for reporter who recorded sources

A New Castle News reporter will not be charged criminally for recording sources without their permission, and the newspaper will formalize a policy about how reporters can record sources as part of a court settlement.

After a meeting of all parties, Senior Judge Michael Wherry ordered the newspaper to delete audio recordings of sources who did not consent to be recorded. The News also must implement a policy requiring reporters to ask permission to record sources.

Reporter Pat Litowitz acknowledged recording the Northwest Lawrence Regional police chief and another official for a story but said he did so to ensure accuracy.

Pennsylvania law requires both parties to consent before a phone conversation can be recorded and failure to do so is a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Beaver County Bridge replacement to close Roslyn Road

A part of Roslyn Road will close Monday morning for a year-long bridge replacement project over the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The existing multigirder, steel bridge that carries Roslyn Road over the turnpike in Big Beaver will be removed and replaced by a concrete box beam structure. The new bridge is expected to be ready by Labor Day 2008.

Traffic will be detoured around the construction site on Route 168 and Britton School Road.

Review requested for estate case

A Downtown attorney is asking the state Supreme Court to review a case involving alleged mismanagement of a wealthy widow's estate.

E.J. Strassberger, of the firm Strassberger, McKenna, Gutnick & Potter, said he filed an appeal with the court Friday.

The late Common Pleas Judge Walter Little ruled last May that Bernadine V. Strobel had a weakened intellect when attorney Meg Burkardt drafted a will that gave Burkardt and her father half of the 97-year-old woman's $560,000 estate.

A three-judge Superior Court panel reversed Little's decision last month and sent it back to Common Pleas court for a new trial.

Armstrong County Man killed when pickup hits oncoming coal truck

An Armstrong County man was killed Friday when the pickup he was driving collided with an oncoming coal truck, state police said.

Patrick Minich, 48, of Rural Valley, was attempting to pass three vehicles when the accident occurred at 6:45 a.m. on Route 210 near the dam in Plumcreek, state police said.

Troopers said Minich was driving south when he crossed into the northbound lanes to pass the vehicles. There was not enough clearance to complete the pass, and his pickup collided with the oncoming tri-axle coal truck driven by Samuel Keener, of Rossiter in Indiana County, state police said.

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