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February 20, 2014

News briefs from Feb. 20, 2014

- — Police search prompts BC3 campus lockdown

NEW CASTLE – Butler County Community College on Wednesday locked down its Lawrence Crossing campus near New Castle while authorities searched for “a person of interest,’’ the college said.

The individual, who was not identified by the college, entered the campus around 11:15 a.m.

“It’s standard procedure to proactively keep our students and staff safe when a situation like this arises at any of our BC3 campus locations,” said Susan Changnon, BC3 executive director of communications and marketing. “We followed our process and immediately issued a lockdown for BC3 @ Lawrence Crossing.”

Police caught the individual at about noon. At 12:40 p.m., the college lifted the lockdown and resumed day and evening classes and activities.

At no time were students or faculty in danger, the college said.

Authority issues contract for sewer rehab project

HERMITAGE – Hermitage Municipal Authority on Wednesday awarded a contract to Insight Pipe, Harmony, Pa., for a sanitary sewer rehabilitation project.

Insight’s bid, $123,554, was the lowest of three.

The project calls for replacing 380 feet of pipe, and 680 feet of sliplining, also known as curing in place. Sliplining is a process where a fabric is pulled through an existing pipe and heated so it adheres to the existing surface.

Most of the work will be done on Fairfield and Bartholomew drives, with smaller sections on Parkview Boulevard and Lillian Drive in the area southwest of Buhl Farm park.

A small section of Easton Drive also will be rehabilitated.

The contract calls for a 45-day construction period.

Man goes into ARD, gives up inheritance

SHARON – A Sharon man accused of gutting his grandmother’s bank accounts was admitted into a diversionary program Tuesday after agreeing to forfeit his inheritance and pay restitution.

Bret C. Friedrich, 30, of 389 Service Ave., has been admitted into Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for 2 years.

ARD is a probation-like program. If he completes it, charges of theft will be dismissed and the record of the case expunged.

Friedrich is giving up a $75,000 inheritance and agreed to pay restitution, court costs and costs of ARD.

Mercer County Area Agency on Aging began an investigation when it received a report May 6, 2011, that Friedrich’s grandmother, a Hermitage resident, could not live safely on her own and her bills were not being paid, said a Mercer County detective.

Friedrich, who had power of attorney for his grandmother, refused to give access to her records, and a common pleas court judge issued an order Oct. 4, 2012, for access, the detective said.

The records showed Friedrich had taken $185,565 from her money market account, a certificate of deposit and a checking account and moved it into accounts that were his or that he shared, the detective said.

He spent his grandmother’s money for membership to a country club, to make payments on a BMW and to pay credit card debt, the detective said.

Prosecutors had a forensic accountant prepare a report detailing the alleged loss, but a judge ruled it inadmissible because it was not turned over prior to a deadline.

Successful appeal boosts authority’s report card

MERCER COUNTY – Mercer County Housing Authority has won an appeal over an inspection that officials said will push its annual grade to an “A.”

The authority is graded on factors such as rental occupancy, rent collections and an inspection of its properties.

Officials lamented in December that a Dumpster fire the night before an inspector was to visit Vermiere Manor, Sharon, cost it 7è points because officials chose not to clean up from the fire until an insurance adjuster had been there.

With the fire-ravaged inspection grade for Vermiere, the authority’s overall grade was expected to be 89.6 percent. Officials want to score a grade of at least 90 to be labeled a high performing authority, which would give better access to certain grants and other federal funding.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development heard the appeal and changed the score of the Vermiere inspection, boosting the authority’s overall score to 90.33, Executive Director Nannette Livadas said Wednesday.

While HUD has not officially released the authority’s report card, Livadas said it’s easy to do the math.

“That was a long time coming, a lot of work,” said authority board President Carol Gurrera.

If the score comes as expected, it would be the authority’s first time reaching high-performer status since 2008.

The authority score was 87 percent in 2012.

Local reports

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