The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

April 4, 2013

Controlling violence starts at home, group told

FARRELL — “If we stand together and make enough noise, someone will listen,” the Rev. Charles Johnson told about 15 people who turned out Wednesday to a gun-control news conference.

The event, held at the urging of the national group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, was organized in part by Farrell Mayor Olive McKeithan and Democratic activist Judy Hines.

McKeithan apologized for asking for impromptu speeches, which were given by Johnson and Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Chief Riley Smoot.

“I know I’m putting you on the spot. Because we’re on the spot,” McKeithan said, noting she received word to hold the event on Tuesday from the mayors’ group.

It was one of several held across the country to gather signatures to petition Congress for gun-control legislation.

“Whenever we talk about violence, it concerns all of us,” said Johnson, the pastor of Cedar Avenue Church of God in Sharon and the president of the Shenango Valley Ministerial Association.

“I’m also a father and a husband,” he said. “As a pastor, as a father, as a leader, I believe it’s important to show up for things like this,” Johnson said. “We must make sure we’re doing all we can to make this community a safe place,” he said.

Although billed as a news conference, the event could better be described as an informal powwow of people who support some form of gun control.

“I think we have to educate the parents,” McKeithan said.

“To have a 12-year-old packing a gun on the corner should be unheard of,” she said, although she admitted it isn’t unusual for that to happen in Farrell.

Smoot, who has three decades’ worth of experience in law enforcement in the Shenango Valley, said the problems in the area go beyond what can be remedied by gun laws.

“I think we have a long way to go to get to where we address this issue,” Smoot said.

He asked those who attended for specific ways to help him enforce gun laws to make the area safer.

“Don’t tell me the pie in the sky” stuff, Smoot said.

No specifics were offered up, however.

“If there was a way” to reduce the amount of guns available to criminals, Smoot said police would do it, but there isn’t adequate funding for something like a gun buy-back program here, and even if there were, there’s little evidence such programs work to reduce crime.

“The problem is there’s always going to be that opportunity to get it,” Smoot said of a gun.

“It’s unacceptable to do nothing,” said Bob Lark, a former chairman of the Mercer County Democratic Party.

“I don’t think there’s one silver bullet,” to solve the problem, Johnson said.


Text Only
Local News
  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo