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Probation awarded in judge-stalking case

| Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003

PITTSBURGH: A Harrison man was placed on five years' probation after pleading guilty to harassing and stalking District Justice Carolyn Bengel last February.

Michael C. Bailer, 42, of Freeport Road entered the plea before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Robert E. Colville Sr.

Bailer agreed to participate in a mental health and drug and alcohol treatment plan at Family Services of Western Pennsylvania in Tarentum and to take medication as directed. A condition of the probation is that Bailer have no contact with Bengel.

Colville said Thursday that Bailer, who had been arrested for harassing Bengel in 1997, is to call the treatment team, his attorney or probation officer if he ever has the urge to contact the district justice.

New Kensington

The developer of the soon-to-be-built Valley Sports Complex at Falcon Park is planning a formal ground-breaking next week.

The $5.1 million facility will feature an ice rink and tennis courts.

Rick McDonald, partner in DR Ice, the developer, said he expects the facility to be operational by Sept. 1. At the very least, the rink will be open, he said.

Allegheny County

All three members of the Allegheny County Elections Board must step down before the start of what is expected to be a raucous political campaign season this year.

County Executive Jim Roddey, and county Councilmen Dave Fawcett, an Oakmont Republican, and John DeFazio, a Democrat from Shaler, will quit the board by March 11 because of their November re-election bids. Candidate nominating petitions are due by that date.

The county Home Rule Charter prevents any members of the board, which settles election disputes and has the power to conduct investigations, from also being a candidate for elected office. Roddey and Fawcett pushed a board investigation last year that alleged voter fraud in Kennedy involving county Treasurer John Weinstein.

Replacements to the board will be named by Common Pleas Court President Judge Robert Kelly and must be of the same political party. That means the board will continue to have two Republicans and one Democrat.

  • Gov. Ed Rendell will pick a replacement for outgoing Allegheny County Register of Wills David Wecht, a spokesman said Thursday.

    Wecht is expected to resign from the $64,000-per-year elected post to become a Common Pleas Court judge. The state Senate confirmed Wecht's appointment this week to fill a vacancy.

    Tom Hickey, a Rendell spokesman, said the governor will name a replacement to serve the remaining 10 months of Wecht's term.

    Ross attorney Bonnie Brimmeier, a Democrat, already has announced her candidacy for the May 20 primary. Former county Councilwoman Eileen Wagner of Scott also is expected to run, county Democratic Chairman Tom Flaherty said this week.

    South Butler County

    The school board this week approved funding for a ninth-grade girls basketball team for the 2003-04 school year. Cost of the program is $4,100, which includes a coach's salary.

    The board also approved a field trip for the Knoch Middle School chorus to Williamsburg, Va., on May 16-17 at no cost to the district, and a field trip for Knoch High School orchestra students to Philadelphia from March 14-17 at no cost to the district.

    -- Kay Bernard, VND correspondent

    Westmoreland County

    The county's DUI Task Force will be conducting roving patrols in the Allegheny Township area this weekend. The Task Force is made up of officers from Allegheny Township, Arnold, Lower Burrell, New Kensington, Upper Burrell, Vandergrift and Washington Township.

    Compiled by staff writer Michael Aubele

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