Briefs: West Mifflin teen shot dead; friend wounded
A West Mifflin youth was fatally shot and a North Side youth was wounded Sunday in Troy Hill, police said.
James Jones, 17, died at Allegheny General Hospital, North Side, while undergoing emergency surgery for treatment of what police said were multiple shotgun blasts.
The unnamed North Side youth, 16, suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the shoulder in the incident, which happened shortly before 3 p.m. in the 100 block of Rhine Place.
Pittsburgh homicide detectives are investigating the case but declined comment. An autopsy is scheduled this morning.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call homicide detectives at 412-323-7800.
Postal service plans for holiday rush
The United States Postal Service will add Sunday mail collection and extend post office hours in the evening and on Saturdays to handle holiday mail.
Mail collection was added for yesterday and Dec. 18 to accommodate the spurt in Monday mail load.
Today marks the beginning of a busy week for postal workers. Dec. 19 is expected to be the busiest mailing day of the year, with nearly 2.5 million cards and letters postmarked. Postal officials said the busiest delivery day will be Dec. 21.
While there are no mailing deadlines, customers are advised to send their packages by Wednesday if they wish to take advantage of the parcel post rate. Items sent priority mail will arrive before Christmas if they are sent by Dec. 21 to out-of-state locations or by Dec. 22 to destinations within 150 miles. Express mail items postmarked Dec. 23 for all U.S. destinations will arrive by Christmas.
Phone numbers offered for weather conditions
State police advise motorists against calling the barracks for road and weather conditions so phone lines can be kept available for emergency calls.
To check those conditions, use these numbers:
Pennsylvania interstates: 888-783-6783
Pennsylvania Turnpike: 800-331-3414
Pittsburgh area: 412-936-1212
Erie area: 814-452-2000
Ohio roadways: 888-264-7623
New York roadways: 800-847-8929
Man pleads guilty to gun, drug charges
A Lawrenceville man faces a minimum five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges of violating federal narcotics and firearm laws.
Ebon Brown, 21, of Howley Street, was charged with intent to distribute less than 100 grams of heroin on Jan. 13 and carrying a firearm in connection with that offense.
He is to be sentenced April 13 by U.S. Judge Alan N. Bloch. Brown could be fined up to a $1.25 million.
Men plead guilty to cocaine charges
Two New Brighton men pleaded guilty in federal court in Pittsburgh to possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine and cocaine hydrochloride.
Anthony K. Moore, 27, of Ninth Avenue, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Hardiman of two counts of possessing with intent to deliver 58 grams of crack cocaine and 9 grams of cocaine hydrochloride in July 2004.
Hardiman is to be sentenced on March 10 and could face a maximum of 80 years in prison and a $4 million fine.
Khion T. Brown of Third Avenue, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond to one count of possessing with intent to deliver 41 grams of crack cocaine and 13.7 grams of cocaine hydrochloride. Brown conspired with Angel Ikard in August 2004 to possess with intent to distribute 41 grams of crack cocaine and 13.7 grams of cocaine hydrochloride, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Brown could face 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 7.
Church to provide shelter for homeless
A Severe Weather Emergency Shelter program for the safety of homeless people is operating from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. through March 31 at Smithfield United Church of Christ, 620 Smithfield St., when weather conditions warrant.
Those conditions include a temperature predicted to be 20 degrees or lower, factoring in the wind chill; freezing rain; heavy snowfall; a severe wind chill factor; and a National Weather Service-declared blizzard or emergency.
Food, clothing and counseling will be available at the church. Those deemed by staff to be a danger to others may not be admitted.
The shelter is operated by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services in conjunction with Mercy Hospital’s Operation Safety Net. For details, call Operation Safety Net at 412-232-5739.
Homeless persons’ memorial day planned
National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day will be observed at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at the south end of Grant Street.
Since 1998, Dr. James S. Withers, Operation Safety Net’s founder and medical director, has organized an annual memorial service at a wall of plaques beneath the Parkway East overpass, where Grant Street turns onto Fort Pitt Boulevard. Plaques dedicated to the memory of homeless people who have died are added each year.
For details, call 412-232-5739.
School board, NAACP to weigh school plans
Members of the Pittsburgh school board and the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will meet Tuesday to discuss school superintendent Mark Roosevelt’s plan to close schools and “right size” the district.
The discussion will be be during the quarterly membership meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. James AME Church on Lincoln Avenue.
Local members also will vote on nominees for the group’s national board of directors.
Residents asked to join rec center’s re-opening
Citiparks and Operation Weed and Seed are inviting community residents to join in the grand re-opening of the Paulson Recreation Center from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The center is at 1201 Paulson St., Lincoln-Lemington. It initially was closed because of city budget cuts and did not reopen with other centers because of a remodeling project. The center has a basketball court, weight room, recreation area and new computer room.
For details, call Citiparks at 412-255-2493 or visit www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us.
Man indicted on heroin charges
A North Side man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on two counts of possession with an intent to distribute 100 grams of heroin.
Robert D. “Blip” Bledsoe, 31, of Shadeland Avenue, is accused of conspiring to distribute heroin from October to about Nov. 15, officials said.
If convicted, Bledsoe could face a prison sentence of five years to life, plus a fine of as much as $4 million.
Man pleads guilty to firearms charge
A Hill District man pleaded guilty to violating federal firearms laws.
Pierre Johnson, 27, of Protectory Place, could face a 10-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced March 17 by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
Prosecutors said Johnson was found with a .45 caliber handgun when he was arrested May 16 as he attempted to flee a traffic stop in Pittsburgh, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Johnson was prohibited from carrying a handgun because of prior convictions in Allegheny County Court on aggravated assault, drug possession and possessing firearms without a license, with carry jail terms of more than one year.
The Pittsburgh police and the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms and Tobacco conducted the investigation that led to Johnson’s arrest.
District appealing dismissal suit
Western Beaver School District is appealing a county judge’s decision to reinstate its superintendent after it fired him for allegedly misusing money.
Judge Robert Kunselman ordered Thursday that superintendent Enrico Antonini be reinstated, saying the board showed “bias and prejudice” when it fired Antonini in April, six months after Antonini’s suspension for alleged misconduct.
The school board accused Antonini, superintendent since 1994, of improperly using federal school money to pay the tuition of two employees who were studying to become administrators. The board also alleged that he failed to finish making a restroom handicapped accessible and tried to finish the work without seeking bids.
“This man was done an injustice, and we’re not going to stop until we win,” said Antonini’s attorney, James Ross.
A phone message left for lawyers representing the school district was not returned.
Nursing students offered tuition plan
Nursing students willing to work full-time for at least a year at the Southwestern Veterans Center in Highland Park may qualify for waiver of as much as $10,000 in student loans.
To qualify, students must complete their study between Nov. 17, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2006, begin work within three months of graduation and complete at least a year of continuous, full-time direct patient care employment at one of the state’s six veterans homes. The others are in Erie, Hollidaysburg, Philadelphia, Scranton and Spring City.
Students must pass a state licensing exam as a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse within nine months of graduating. The program would forgive up to 50 percent of the student loan debt over three years. The program is administered and funded by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
For details, visit www.pheaa.org or call 800-233-0557.
Deadline extended for loan assistance
Pennsylvania has extended the deadline to apply for a program that will pay $2,500 off of a student loan for people who have done active duty military service since Sept. 11, 2001.
The active duty must be more than the training required for Reserve and National Guard service. Pennsylvania residents and, in some cases, out-of-state students have until Dec. 31, 2006, to submit an application to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
For details, call 800-233-0557 between 7:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekdays or visit www.pheaa.org/loanforgiveness/armed_forces.shtml.
is a former freelancer.