JANUARY

1 – A hundred or so daredevils brave the elements to jump into the Shenango River at the annual Shenango Polar Bear Plunge.

1 – Sharon Regional Health System, as part of a new Community Health Systems-wide policy, announces it will no longer publicize the first baby of the year born in the hospital.

6 – Robert “Bob” Fiscus Jr. has been named supervisor of two Sharon city departments – chief of code enforcement and fire rescue.

6 – Bruce R. Sankey, 45, of 842 E. Jamestown Road, Greene Township, has pleaded no contest to a charge of having sex in 2010 with a teenage girl who worked at Pymatuning Deer Park in Jamestown, where he was the manager. 

6 – A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General says Richard D. Hodge, 55, of 17 N. Third St., Greenville, “is believed to be the largest heroin trafficker in the Greenville area.” Hodge was arrested Dec. 10.

7 – Assault charges against Timothty Dunham, 17, a Mercer High School student, are bound for Mercer County Court of Common Pleas. He’s being charged as an adult accused of injuring a girl during class.

8 – Greenville has received a $500,000 state grant to expand and renovate Greenville Area Public Library.

11 – Pennsylvania drivers are flocking to Ohio for gasoline up to 50 cents a gallon cheaper.

13 – Sharon businessman Joseph Altenor and Grace Chapel Community Church in Hermitage have partnered to help villagers in Perlerin, Haiti, recover from a 2010 earthquake.

13 – A resident of Riverview Manor in Sharon, Debbie LaMotte, is startled by an early morning discovery in her fifth-story apartment – a four-foot-long ball python on the floor of her bathroom.

14 – Buhl Farm park critic Glenn Siminick of Sharpsville files a broad-based civil rights lawsuit against 23 people or entities over a series of criminal prosecutions.

15 – Sharon council issued certificates of recognition to 10 people who in various ways came to the rescue of James Flickinger, a Hermitage man who was playing Santa Claus at the police union’s annual Christmas party when he collapsed from a heart attack.

17 – Greene Township neighbors of Combined Systems Inc. have sued the munitions maker alleging nuisance and trespass and citing noise, smell and waste. The suit was filed in Dec. 2.

19 – A three-alarm fire at Georgetown Apartments in Sharpsville displaces four families.

20 – Ryan Mergl, new chairman of the Mercer County Democrat Committee, says he wants to differentiate between issues the national party focuses on and those emphasized locally.

21 – Antiques collector Moe Jones of Sandy Lake is featured on the History Channel’s “American Pickers.”

21 – State Supreme Court says it will not hear an appeal of convicted killer Joshua L. Stewart, upholding a suppression ruling by his trial judge. The former Farrell man is serving a life sentence for the 2011 slaying of Farrell bar owner William Basilone Jr.

22 – Christopher W. Blake, 26, formerly of Grove City, is sentenced to 67 to 134 years in prison for sexually assaulting two children.

23 – The yearlong centennial celebration of Buhl Farm gets underway with a food, wine and music event at the park’s Casino.

23 – Hoping to increase expectations about the kind of education provided by Brookfield Local School District, Superintendent Tim Saxton has sent out a survey to find out what students, parents and educators consider important.

26 – A second suspect in the May 2013 fatal shooting of Andrew T. Walko of Farrell agrees to testify against co-conspirator Shawn Edward Lee, formerly of Masury. Zachariah Ryan Owens, formerly of Sharon, joins Miguel Julians Huey in cutting a plea deal with prosecutors.

26 – A schoolwide reading assignment to promote reading at home begins with a circus for students at Sharpsville Elementary School.

28 – Richard Dean Hodge, 55, of 17 N. Third St., described as the Greenville area’s drug kingpin, has 14 drug-related charges dropped but 29 new ones added after his son, Justin Dale Hodge of Williamsfield, Ohio, and Allen Todd Smith of Greenville are arrested by the Mercer County Drug Task Force. Among their charges: being employees of a corrupt organization.

29 – Retired Mercer County Judge Michael J. Wherry of Greenville dies at 78.

30 – National Fuel Gas slashes rates by more than 12 percent, dropping them to their lowest level since 2000.

 

FEBRUARY

2 – Farrell council has voted to convene a committee to review and update the city’s charter, which hasn’t been changed in 35 years. Three weeks later, council hires Cleveland State professor Lawrence Keller to lead the commission, which will include four city officials and up to seven community members.

3 – Mercer Area Boomtown, the Mercer Chamber of Commerce-led group working to revitalize the county seat, is discussing plans for growth and projects to build on activities from 2014.

3 – Sharon police arrest Phillip J. Root, 35, of 676 Hull St., and say he has confessed to eight armed robberies in Sharon, Farrell, Hermitage and Brookfield. In October, Root pleads guilty to two of five holdups of Shenango Valley stores with which he is charged.

4 – One-time Greene Township resident Bruce R. Sankey, 45, former manager of Pymatuning Deer Park in Jamestown is sentenced to 10 to 20 years in state prison for having a sexual relationship with a then-14-year-old family friend.

5 – A plea agreement reached in the case of a Greenville woman and her mother and stepfather – Mary C. Rader, 28, Deana C. Beighley, 48, and Dennis C. Beighley, 59 – who are accused of starving a boy nearly to death, puts the brunt of the blame on the grandmother. 

5 – Fire chases the Ronald Norris family from their Jackson Township home and forces firefighters from eight departments to work in deep snow and frigid conditions.

5 – A federal judge rules that present and former corrections officers at Mercer County Jail are not entitled to back pay for a former contract provision that they attend unpaid roll call prior to beginning their shifts.

8 – With the weather just warm enough to be enjoyable, hundreds turn out for the fourth annual Buhl Park Winterfest. 

8 – An early morning fire at 632 S. Oakland Ave. destroys the home of a Sharon couple away for the weekend.

9 – Firefighters rescue seven cats from the house at 666 Spencer Ave. in Sharon but 14 others perish in the fire. The homeowner, Cindy Riggs, 53, reported she had 27 cats in the home, most of which were abandoned by their owners.

10 – Some 15 people who love Buhl Farm park talk about cross-country skiing, a dog park, golf and social media in the first “State of the Park” open forum with park officials.

13 – A mistrial is declared in the Andrew T. Walko murder case after testimony by defendant Shawn E. Lee’s girlfriend, who said he’d been in prison years earlier, a statement that may cast doubt in the minds of jury members on Lee’s presumed innocence.

13 – Jillian Leigh Rebel, 40, of Volant dies in a one-car crash on Interstate 80 in East Lackawannock Township.

14 – Fires cause property damage but no injuries in three emergencies around Mercer County – at homes at 511 Centertown Road in Pine Township and 1256 Hendersonville Road in Sandy Lake Township, and at a barn at 491 Mercer Road in Hempfield Township.

14 – Dozens of cold-weather enthusiasts deal with plummeting temperatures and blowing snow at Winter Fun Days at Pymatuning State Park.

16 – Thiel College education majors are studying the effects of poverty on learning.

16 – Sharpsville school directors award contracts to build more space for central office use in the elementary school, at a cost of just over $1 million, about $260,000 over estimates.

18 – Reynolds High School is locked down around dismissal time after a bullet is found in a classroom. After the county sheriff’s K-9 until swept the building, students were dismissed by classroom.

18 – Longtime Herald managing editor Wally Wachter dies at 95.

18 – A lawsuit filed by the city of Farrell seeking to recoup money from Wesex Corp. of West Middlesex is dismissed. The case involved a building Wesex built for Sharon Steel, which in part borrowed money from Farrell for the project before going bankrupt. Wesex was awarded the building and later sold it.

19 – Keystone Blind Association is working with county officials to obtain a $2 million grant to relocate and expand the agency, with plans to purchase the former Bolotin’s furniture store in Hermitage.

20 – The third annual “Art’s Alive in the Dead of Winter” is held in James E. Winner Jr. Arts & Culture Center in Sharon.

20 – Leonard Figgins, 25, of Wheatland, is sentenced to up to 10 years in state prison in connection with an April 2014 shooting in Sharon.

21 – WaterFire Sharon announces its theme of nostalgia with modern flair and dates for the three celebrations – July 18 (Americana), Aug. 22 (Jazz) and Sept. 26 (Boheme).

21 – Buhl Community Recreation Center invites the public to swim for free at the opening of its refurbished pool.

22 – Skaters flock to Buhl Farm park, which permits skating on Lake Julia for the first time in decades. 

23 – Case Avenue Elementary School students and teachers are doing fundraisers to help with medical costs of 11-year-old Janaya Dollman, who is being treated for leukemia.

24 – Sharon is among cities seeking a federal grant that would bolster fire department staffing and cut operating costs with no requirement to pick up the tab after the grant money expires.

25 – The harsh winter has put a freeze on Mercer County Community Transit, which lost $18,000 in revenue in January, caused by ride cancellations or no-shows.

26 – Southwest Mercer County Regional police settle for $150,000 a lawsuit filed over two policemen fatally shooting a Farrell man, Donteau Napier, 27, on Nov. 24, 2011. The suit was filed by Taliea Robinson, administratix of the estate.

27 – A jury finds Sean J. “Rudy” Rain Jr., of Farrell, not guilty of an Oct. 10, 2013, shooting of Leonard Figgins, 25, of Wheatland.

28 – A disagreement between friends at a birthday party ends in a fatal shooting and prompts a manhunt. Michael Dwayne Bagnall, 31, of 222 Shenango Blvd., Farrell, whose birthday was being celebrated, is charged with criminal homicide in the death of Jaylen “Bubby” West, 23, of 903 Spearman Ave., Farrell.

 

MARCH

2 – Alleged gunman Michael Dwayne Bagnall of Farrell, the suspect in the Feb. 28 shooting death of Jaylen “Bubby” West, 23, of Farrell, is captured in Pittsburgh and later arraigned on a criminal homicide charge and taken to Mercer County Jail.

4 – Heavy snow collapses a Perry Township dairy barn, killing 10 cows. Rescue crews released other trapped cows, with an estimated 150 being trucked to Mercer Livestock Auction barns in Coolspring Township and several injured animals being taken to neighboring farms.

4 – Seven parents are charged with theft of services over unpaid cafeteria bills at Sharpsville Area School District.

7 – Faulty sensors were the likely causes of a persistent fire that damaged Woodcraft Industries, 62 Grant Road, Pymatuning Township.

8 – A fire that started in the kitchen destroyed a Farrell home at 816 Lee Ave. Two adults and two children got out safely; no names were released by Fire Chief Bill Mortimer.

11 – Clifford Robert Zuschlag, 38, of Greenville, a one-time Eagle Scout who held down a good job for years, has been sentenced to up to 20 years in state prison for committing 16 burglaries around Mercer County to feed his heroin addiction.

11 – Phillip Beire Tantuo, 20, of 3465 Mount Hickory Blvd., is charged with drug offenses after a shooting incident in Sharon involving two cars. 

12 – Bruce A. Perryman Jr, 33, and Samantha L. Perryman, 25, both of 127 Monroe St., Grove City, are charged with abusing and mistreating his 2-year-old daughter.

13 – A witness at the murder trial of Michael D. Bagnall said the victim, Jaylan “Bubby” West, pleaded for his life before being shot dead. John Gregory hosted the birthday party for Bagnall where West was killed.

13 – Lashara D. Wilder, 38, of Hermitage pleads guilty to murder in the 2014 stabbing death of her boyfriend, Eric. W. Williams, 32, in their Bolde Drive apartment.

14 – The second annual “Shamrock and Run” 5K draws 250 runners who help raise money for Primary Health Network Charitable Foundation and Laurel Technical Institute’s respiratory care program.

16 – Jamel L. Brown, 18, of 79 Morton St., Wheatland, the starting point guard for the Farrell High School basketball team, is arrested in New Castle on drug charges the night before the Class A western regional championship game.

16 – West Middlesex Area School District business manager James Hughes has detailed budget concerns including skyrocketing pension contributions.

17 – Southwest Mercer County Regional police have charged eight people with being involved in “Fight Night,” an unlicensed women’s boxing event that was shut down by Farrell officials because of code and permit violations. A ninth person is later charged.

18 – The closed Girl Scout camp at 2300 N. Neshannock Road in Hermitage is born again as the home of Lighthouse Baptist Church of the Valley. The church has received the blessing of the city zoning board but has other city regulations to meet.

18 – Mercer County Regional Council of Governments approves a contract with public transportation drivers, mechanics and washers that gives workers a pay hike but also institutes health-care co-pays and reduces some sick and holiday benefits.

19 – As part of Buhl Farm’s centennial celebration, officials are highlighting the park’s habitats and critters.

19 – Michael D. Bagnall, accused shooter in the death of Jaylan “Bubby” West, is charged with drug offenses after jail guards found marijuana in a body cavity. Sheriff Gary Hartman said he does not think any of the narcotics were distributed inside the jail.

20 – Reynolds Water Co. issues a “do not drink the water” advisory to its customers. Water sample results showed low pH levels. The ban was lifted a week later.

22 – The number of Mercer County residents in the labor force in January – 52,800 – was the lowest since the state Department of Labor and Industry began keeping records in 1990.

23 – Paul J. McNulty is formally installed as the ninth president of Grove City College.

25 – Greenville residents will decide just how much they value full-time fire protection after borough officials put a proposed 3-mill tax hike on the May ballot.

25 – Three Mercer High School speech team members – Adam Hoge, Ryan Hamilton and Maddie Rowe –  win state championships at the Pennsylvania High School Speech League tournament.

26 – The mother, grandmother and grandfather of a Greenville boy who had been nearly starved to death are sentenced to state prison. Marcy C. Rader, 28, was sentenced to 5½ to 15 years, Deana C. Beighley, 48, to 5 to 10 years and Dennis C. Beighley, 59, to 1 year 10 months to 5 years.

27 – Penn-Northwest Development Corp. plans to buy the downtown Sharon building that houses the offices of the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly and move from its location in Coolspring Township.

28 – An unidentified Pine Township man is burned over 80 percent of his body in a fire at his mobile home.

29 – Aqua Pennsylvania has earmarked $5 million to upgrade more than 11 miles of pipe in its local distribution system that stretches from the Shenango Valley to Mercer.

30 – Fred E. Abbott II, 36, of 3625 Saranac Drive in South Pymatuning Township, is sentenced to 3 months to 1 year in jail followed by 4 years’ probation for drunkenly striking and killing his friend, Charles D. Frederick.

APRIL

1 – Police say they found 2.6 pounds of marijuana in the Farrell home of Adrian J. Baker, 36, of 1221 Dakota St., who had been arrested for allegedly shooting at a woman.

2 – An accident at Combined Systems Inc., Greene Township, sends an unidentified employee to a trauma center.

3 – Mercer County’s workforce hits 25-year low according to preliminary figures for February. The number of residents working was 52,500.

7 – Mercer County’s John Lechner and Matt McConnell share the concern of colleagues at the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania that Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed severance tax on gas drilling will not bring in as much money as the current impact fees collected by counties.

7 – A former Hermitage man, Aaron M. Bradley, 29, waives his right to a new trial and pleads guilty to robbing a Sharon pharmacy in 2008. The robbery was precipitated by a bomb threat called into West Hill Elementary School to divert police. Bradley’s accomplice, Joseph P. VanMeter, formerly of Hermitage and Hartstown, pleaded guilty and is serving a prison term. Bradley is sentenced to 4 to 10 years in prison three weeks later.

8 – State police have charged Antoinette Besser, 39, of Hermitage, with illegally calling in more than 16 prescription refills for a narcotic for herself while working at the state prison in Findley Township.

8 – Brookfield police still are looking for elderly homeowners in Wyngate Manor who may have been scammed by a Hartford Township man. Theodore Watt, 47, who was fired as a maintenance worker at the mobile home park, is accused of taking money for work he never performed.

8 – Citing a lack of money and inability to reach a contract agreement with South Pymatuning Township supervisors, volunteer fire department members close the doors of the station. Firefighters remained out for a week before returning to service after members said it became clear a contract agreement could not be reached with supervisors. Neighboring fire departments covered the township in the interim.

11 – Michael D. Bagnall, 31, of Farrell, who is in Mercer County Jail on charges he shot and killed a friend at his birthday party, is facing Greenville-West Salem Township police charges for a robbery in Greenville last September.

11 – Local providers for the Strengthening Families program, aimed at improving dynamics between teens and parents, are looking to expand within the African American community.

12 – Sharon police and school officials will host training during the summer for community members to learn how to respond during an active shooter emergency.

12 – The Mercer Art Collective selects Tennessee artist Kevin Bate to do its first project, a mural in the courthouse square.

12 – A husband and wife die in what a Mercer County deputy coroner believes to have been a homicide-suicide in Hermitage. George Gresko, 89, of 540 Applewood Lane, is pronounced dead at home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and Marie Gresko, 85, was pronounced dead at a local hospital of a single gunshot wound, John A Libonati said.

14 – A man with a gun caught on surveillance video steals small amounts of cash from at least two locations in Mercer County. The suspect, Lucas Dean Miller, 24, of 502 Hadley Road, Greenville, is found on the porch of a house in Sharon by police the next day. Brookfield police are investigating whether Miller robbed a business there.

15 – The Verizon Foundation awards a $20,000 grant to Farrell Area School District for its after-school Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program.

18 – Veterans of Foreign Wars Shenango Valley Post 1338 celebrates its 90th anniversary at its club at 439 E. State St., Sharon.

18 – Pennsylvania plans to invest $10 million in two major multi-year improvement projects at Pymatuning State Park – Pymatuning Dam repairs and Linesville-area marina renovations.

18 – A 9-year-old Lackawannock Township Amish girl is accidentally shot by a younger sibling after their father put down a loaded shotgun to go fishing nearby. She was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.

19 – Two die in homicide-suicide shootings in Pymatuning Township. Jack G. Johnson, 45, of Sharpsville, is pronounced dead in a home at 650 Crestview Drive of two gunshot wounds; his death is ruled a homicide. Cody L. Kuykendall, 32, a resident of the home, is found dead in a nearby wooded area from what is ruled a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

20 – Ohio Highway Patrol arrests Kennedy A. Stafford, 58, of 3785 Perry Highway in Sandy Creek Township, on a Pennsylvania State Police warrant charging him with trying to lure four children into a pickup on fourth occasions in Perry Township.

22 – Eight candidates for county commissioner tout their qualifications at a forum at Mercer High School.

23 – The long-vacant Wave Restaurant in downtown Sharon is purchased at auction for $900 by Cody Lewis of Hermitage, who plans to to turn it into a sandwich shop.

24 – The Avenue of 444 Flags Foundation announces a new program to provide emotional support dogs to veterans.

27 – Grove City Area School District Superintendent Dr. Richard J. Mextorf, 52, is hired for the same position in Hamburg, Pa., near Reading.

28 – County leaders, union workers past and present, and business owners gather in the Mercer County Courthouse in observance of Workers’ Memorial Day in Pennsylvania.

29 – Michael D. Chambers, 21, of Masury is sentenced to up to two years in jail followed by three years probation for a July 31 hammer attack on a Brookfield convenience store owner in a home in Hermitage.

 

MAY

1 – Mercer Area School District, in partnership with Mercer County United Way, earns national recognition for its Success by Six program.

2 –  A rededication of the war memorial at East State and Silver streets in Sharon is held after a facelift done jointly by Sharon American Legion Auxiliary Post 299 and the Sharon Beautification Commission.

4 – Cravings Cafe and Creamery opens at 76 Shenango Ave. in Sharon, a business venture between Primary Health Network Charitable Foundation and Penn State Shenango aimed at strengthening the link between the college and the city.

5 – Two Sharpsville businesses are moving to a new location in the borough and a national auto parts chain is coming to Hermitage. New Horizon Site Services and Stan Alfredo Insurance Agency are moving from one side of the Sharpsville Plaza to the other to take up residency in the former home of Laird Technology Inc. In Hermitage, O’Reilly Auto Parts is moving into the former site of Ponderosa and China A Buffet on East State Street.

5 – Thomas Marshall of Sharon wins $110,000 playing the Ohio Lottery Rolling Cash 5 game.

5 – Candidates offer their viewpoints on the role and responsibilities of a Mercer County commissioner in a League of Women Voters forum at Penn State Shenango.

6 – The body of an unidentified man is found at the scene of two shooting deaths April 19 at 650 Crestview Drive, Pymatuning Township. Authorities do not release the man’s name or cause of death. The shooting deaths a little more than two weeks earlier of Jack G. Johnson, 45, of Sharpsville and Cody L. Kuykendall, 32, a resident of the home, were ruled a murder-suicide.

The next day, the man is identified as Rudy Kuykendall, 63, of Elm Avenue, Sharon, whom authorities say shot himself near the same spot where his son had taken his own life.

8 – Army veteran Stan Rambeck, 91, of Hermitage recalls celebrating VE Day in Paris 70 years ago to the day at the close of World War II. Conversely, another Army veteran who was in Europe, Raymond Bartolo, 91, of West Salem Township, said he and many of his comrades did not engage in much celebration when Victory in Europe was announced, saying they’d seen too much and knowing the war with Japan was ongoing.

10 – In an effort to minimize the risk of avian influenza, or bird flu, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is suspending poultry shows at all state-approved agricultural fairs, including county fairs and the 2016 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

10 – Sharon Historical Society and Sharon Beautification Commission sponsor a Mother’s Day history walk along East State Street in the city.

11 – Would-be valedictorian Jacob Hall is threatening legal action against Hermitage School District for capriciously docking him points that drop him from the top of the class. The district initially invokes a little-used board composed of two administrators appointed by the superintendent and two teachers selected by the Hermitage Education Association, then reinstates Hall’s No. 1 status among graduating Hickory High School seniors, citing a computer glitch for the controversy.

11 – Sharon A. Trumphour, 26, of 414 Stewart Ave., Grove City, a former employee of George Junior Republic, admits having inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old boy housed at the Pine Township residential treatment and detention center for boys.

11 – Another of Buhl Farm park’s swans is killed by a hit-and-run driver. The park bought the swan and a female companion in fall 2013 after a mating pair was killed by a hit-run-driver June 15, 2013.

13 – Friends recall Dr. Gulam Moonda on the 10th anniversary of his shooting death along the Ohio Turnpike, for which shooter Damian Bradford and the doctor’s wife, Donna Moonda, who were having an affair, were convicted of plotting and executing the murder.

13 – A house fire in Sharon is owner Jon Martin’s third property to go up in flames since October. The tenants were not hurt, and the fire was ruled accidental.

18 – Brookfield officials are renewing their push for residents to clean up their properties, going to court to force one homeowner to clear the debris.

18 – Alexis Riley of Greenville is crowned Mercer County Dairy Princess.

19 – Topping primary elections results, Republicans nominate incumbent Matt McConnell and Scott Boyd and Democrats vote for Tim McGonigle and Ken Ammann to face off for open seats on the three-person county commissioners board.

21 – Sharon officials hope to find the money to tear down the former Wengler Avenue Elementary School, which they call a fire hazard that depresses property values and could attract criminal activity.

21 – Hillcrest Memorial Park in Hermitage is officially renamed America’s Cemetery.

21 – A resident of Christy Road in Hermitage say a group home has “ruined” their neighborhood, citing traffic and noise among other factors.

23 – Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is looking for local sponsors to take over some community gardens in the county that were first planted a decade ago using the organization’s money and state grants.

24 – The Shenango Valley Urban League is looking for a new executive director to replace the retiring Michael Wright, 61, a lifelong Farrell resident who has spent more than 32 years serving with community organizations and boards. His retirement will be effective Aug. 30.

25 – Memorial Day events across the county included Navy veteran Robert “Bill” Lindsey, the speaker at the Lakeview community observance, who conceded that the holiday means different things to different people but that includes “remembering all who made us who we are,” and that veterans “enable us to move on and live our lives in freedom, to speak, to worship.”

25 – The annual Friends of Buhl Park 5KRun/2K Walk on June 6 will conclude with a Dash to the Splash, as participants will be allowed to jump into Lake Julia to cool off at the end of the event.

27 – Subsidence caused by 19th-century coal mines is forcing Sharon City School District to undertake a $1.2 million facelift of Tiger Stadium.

28 – Sharpsville native Brian Stafford, a former Secret Service director, speaks at a function at Buhl Farm park’s Casino.

30 – Sharon police are reopening a substation at Malleable Heights after an absence of more than 10 years, with two officers stationed in the Quinby Street Resource Center.

31 – On the 30th anniversary of deadly tornadoes that swept through eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, including Wheatland and Hermitage, a small tornado touches down in Hermitage, causing some damage but no injuries.

 

JUNE

1 – A handful of drivers learn what the speed limits are on several downtown Sharon streets, as police work in teams using speed timing devices and issuing tickets. Chief Gerald Smith says the crackdown “is about safety, not fines.”

4 – Hermitage Municipal Authority’s anaerobic digestor at the sewage-treatment plant has surpassed what officials hoped it would do in terms of gas production and destruction of solids.

4 – Salvation Army officials in Sharon find a Japanese “good luck” flag, given to soldiers before they went off to war, tucked in a donated book about World War II.

5 – Refurbished Grove City Memorial Park Pool opens for the season.

6 – Sharpsville police Chief Keith A. Falasco alleges Sharpsville school officials failed three times to follow the Safe Schools Act rules to immediately notify the local police department when a crime occurs on school property, a school bus or at a school-sponsored activity. Borough council later sides with the police chief.

7 – A complaint about the lack of handicapped access at Brookfield High School’s football stadium has school officials scrambling for a solution before the season opens in August. State and federal mandates come at a prohibitive cost that the district, which is in fiscal emergency, cannot afford. Renting a playing site would negatively impact fundraising by school organizations including the marching band. School officials hold two public meetings 10 days later to get residents’ input on what to do and to seek community donations.

8 – A Penn State study of Pennsylvania roadside springs found 97 percent of them failed at least one drinking water standard. The popular spring in West Middlesex was among those that failed to pass a test.

10 – Recent Hickory High School graduate Kacie Beatty placed first in the Congressional Art Competition and will have her entered photo displayed in the U.S. Capitol for a year along with those of winners from other congressional districts.

12 – State police determine that an unidentified Grove City Medical Center security guard shot himself but told authorities he was shot during an altercation with four men who ran away. He is accused of filing false reports.

12 – “Bigfoot The Movie,” a horror comedy loaded with rednecks, mullets, guns and beer, is screened at the Guthrie Theater in Grove City.

13 – Brookfield residents and community leaders gather to dedicate the township green, which features a refurbished gazebo, floral landscaping, memorial benches, decorative lighting and stone walkways. As part of the ceremony, Lois Werner is named the first “Brookfield Citizen of the Year” for her work in compiling township historical artifacts.

14 – Lightning strikes the chimney of First Presbyterian Church in Sharpsville during a storm that flooded roads, knocked down trees and caused power outages throughout the county and part of Brookfield. The heavy rain revealed drainage problems along Thornton Run coming from the outflow of Lake Julia in Buhl Farm park.

15 – Plans to upgrade Brandy Springs Park in Mercer include improving existing features such as basketball and tennis courts as well as additions such as a spray park and snow tubing.

16 – A bomb threat clears First National Bank sites, including the evacuations of Wal-Mart and Tractor Supply Co. in Hermitage which share space with bank branches. No bomb is found.

17 – Longtime Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Chief Riley Smoot Jr. announces he will retire Sept. 30.

17  – Sharpsville school directors debate their options before deciding not to raise taxes but to balance the $16.4 million budget by using about half of the district’s $1.4 million reserve.

23 – Hermitage businessman Jeffery Michael Huey, 48, of 1980 Parkview Drive, is charged with theft and other crimes in what police say was a scheme to inflate his bonuses when he managed New Wilmington Motors from January 2009 until he was fired Nov. 30, 2012.

24 – Brookfield school officials say they’ve put together a multi-phase project that meets the handicapped-accessibility demands at the football field, calling on community and business leaders to pull it off in time for the Aug. 28 home opener.

24 – The family of Lisa Marie McGhee-Dickson holds a vigil to remember the toddler slain in 1994 on the day her convicted killer, William C. Everhart, is released from prison.

25 – Wheatland Tube Co. is blaming surging pipe imports for its decision to indefinitely idle its Sharon hot mill operations which, along with cutbacks elsewhere, will result in nearly 100 workers being laid off.

26 – Sharon Regional Health System names Jason N. Roeback as chief executive officer, effective July 1. He is a project CEO with Community Health Systems-affiliated hospitals. CHS owns Sharon Regional.

26 – Greater Morris Chapel A.M.E. Church in Farrell holds a memorial service for the June 18 shooting victims who died in “Mother” Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C.

26 – Lisa Peterson, 45, and William Knauff, 41, both of Delaware Township, are charged with 15 counts of animal cruelty by Mercer County Humane Society agents for mistreating dogs at a home along Oniontown Road.

29 – Sharon school directors raise taxes a mill and two administrators’ salaries in adopting the district’s 2015-16 budget.

30 – Greenville Area School District directors have approved a five-year partnership with an academy in China for an innovative curriculum project.

 

JULY

1 – Farrell Homecoming 2015 opens, the first city-wide festival since 2005.

1 – Brewtus Brewing Co. opens a downtown Sharon brewery and restaurant in the building that housed the former Tap House Bar and Grille on Chestnut Street.

4 – The Army Corps of Engineers issue an advisory of blue-green algae forming at Shenango River Lake, cautioning swimmers and pet owners about risks of nausea, diarrhea and skin rash. Three days later, a break in heavy rainfall dissipates enough algae to allow more boat launches and campsites to reopen.

5 – Heavy rain last month has local businesses drowning in lost time and productivity. Army Corps of Engineers report it rained at Shenango River Lake 23 of 30 days in June.

5 – James D. Hobart, 52, of Masury dies in a fire at his 8136 Ohio St. home.

5 – Hermitage School District has denied it was negligent when a former student softball player was injured while shagging fly balls in 2012. Alexandra Thompson of 1988 Spangler Road, is citing field conditions in seeking compensatory damage to cover almost $73,000 in medical expenses.

6 – Quaker Steak & Lube announces it’s bringing back the Bavarian Fun Fest after a two-year absence, scheduling the event at its downtown Sharon restaurant grounds for Aug. 6-9.

11 – White nose syndrome has decimated the bat population in the Northeast, including Mercer County sites of Maurice K. Goddard State Park, Shenango River Lake and Pymatuning State Park. A bat’s diet consists largely of mosquitoes. 

11 – Officials call the turnout for the Hermitage Arts Festival at Rodney White Olympic Park as the best in the 12 years of the event.

14 – Months of work on a long-range plan for Brookfield Township is complete and officials are seeking public comment before adopting the guidelines.

14 – A 16-year legal battle ended at the end of June when Joseph L. Viola discontinued the lawsuit he and his late wife, Marie A. Viola, had filed against Sharon Regional Health System and others concerning her care. The sides settled their dispute in mediation; Marie Viola died of cancer in 2003.

15 – Robert S. Goeltz is retiring Aug. 1 as Hermitage fire marshal, concluding a career that began in 1961.

16 – Twelve first responders who helped save the life of a Sharon man involved in an accident outside his home on June 26 are honored by city council and police and fire departments.

18 – Sweltering weather greet thousands in downtown Sharon at the year’s first WaterFire – “Americana,” a smattering of art, music and other features typical of classic American culture. WaterFire officials cite teamwork of city departments, volunteers, downtown businesses and vendors for the event’s success.

21 – A rapidly developing but brief storm dumps heavy rain and knocks out power to the Mercer County area.

21 – West Middlesex borough council obtains a $350,000 state grant for housing rehabilitations.

23 – Larry Haynes, 51, pastor of Grace Chapel Community Church in Hermitage and executive director of the Sharon-based Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, is found dead at his Hermitage home. Mercer County Deputy Coroner John Libonati said the death was not of a suspicious nature but did not rule on the cause because the death came at Haynes’ home. Thousands turn out at the church five days later to pay their last respects, sharing tears, laughs and memories.

23 – Shenango Township supervisors and West Middlesex council members are in talks about sharing services including those involving police.

24 – An oil tank in Brookfield leaks an estimated 10 to 14 barrels of crude oil into a stream that feeds into the Shenango River, which supplies the area’s drinking water. Aqua Pennsylvania says the water is OK to drink but asks users to conserve water because water intakes at its treatment plant were shut down. The advisory is lifted three days later.

26 – A double shooting in a parking lot of Sharon Regional Health System leaves one man dead and a woman injured. William “Bill” Emmett, 45, of Hempfield Township, a nurse at the hospital, died at the scene and his wife, Amy Emmett, 46, was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, where she was listed in critical but stable condition.

26 – About 300 turn out for the second annual Pizza Palooza in Hermitage to raise money to help the Children’s Center of Mercer County build a handicapped-accessible playground.

27 – Work begins to lay down artificial turf at Greenville Area School District’s Stewart Field.

28 – James D. Parsons, 24, of 510 Wilson St., Sharon, will go to trial in Crawford County on four counts of attempted homicide. He is accused of shooting into the Titusville-area home of Mark Wright, who said he and his sons have known Parsons for years.

29 – For the second time this month, the Army Corps of Engineers issue an algae advisory for Shenango River Lake.

30 – Hermitage funeral director John R. Flynn has been named the city’s fire marshal, succeeding the retiring Robert S. Goeltz on Aug. 1. He has worked 30 years as a paid and volunteer firefighter in Los Angeles and Hermitage.

31 – Mercer County’s jobless rate drops to 5.1 percent, lower than state and national levels.

 

 AUGUST

1 – Amy Beth Emmett, 46, of 204 Windridge Road, Hempfield Township, is charged with murder in the first and third degree in the Sharon parking lot shooting death of her husband, Williams Emmett, on July 26.

2 – A gunfight on Quinby Street in Sharon takes place just a block away from a birthday party with 40 to 50 kids outside. A week-long manhunt turns up two suspects, brothers Jaylan Ray Marrow, 21, of 537 Sherman Ave., and Larry Donnell Marrow Jr., 27, of 752 Sherman Ave., both Sharon, found near Columbus, Ohio.

3 – Taco Bell will build a restaurant in the Kohl’s development in Hermitage.

5 – Former Ohio State football star Maurice Clarett, who served time in prison before becoming an entrepreneur, is guest speaker at the Farrell observance of National Night Out, an anti-crime event.

6 – The four-day Bavarian Fun Fest opens on the grounds of Quaker Steak & Lube in downtown Sharon.

6 – Gage Frederick Carrozzi, 19, of 417 Meek St., Sharon, is charged with threatening to behead his parents with a machete-style sword.

7 – Four of nine people charged with participating in illegal boxing matches in Farrell have agreed to testify against “Fight Night” co-organizer Lawrence M. “Crusty” Owens.

8 – Kevin L. McFadden, 47, of Emlenton, Venango County, the subject of a months-long regional manhunt, is arraigned on charges of receiving stolen property after being apprehended in Ohio and turned over to state police in Mercer County. He is accused of stealing farm machinery and other power equipment in several northwestern Pennsylvania counties.

9 – Touch A Truck features plenty of big rigs for kids of all ages to enjoy at Buhl Farm in Hermitage.

9 – The city of Sharon is trying to evict “resident” geese from Bicentennial Park using “hazing” scare tactics to thin the downtown flock, which litters the area with excrement.

10 – Aqua Pennsylvania’s water treatment plant in Sharon remains on water watch more than two weeks after oil spilled into the Shenango River. The plant also has had to contend with two algae blooms from Shenango River Lake. Water remains OK for customers’ use.

10 – A 3-year-old boy, Layden Thomas, dies in a house fire at 1043 Sherman Ave., Sharon. The family was using a candle for light after a thunderstorm knocked out electricity in the neighborhood.

11 – A section of state Route 718 in Shenango Township is closed after a truck with its ramp up struck the underpass of Interstate 80.

12 – A Sharon woman is found stabbed to death in her home at 469 Davis St. Dr. Mary R. Bovier, 63, was a family physician who practice medicine in Ohio. Detectives questioned a person of interest, a man who reported finding the body.

13 – A surprise inspection by Mercer County Humane Society officers finds animals healthy and well care for at Pymatuning Deer Park. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report based on a complaint by PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – had shown noncompliance with the Animal Welfare Act.

14 – Quaker Steak & Lube co-founder Gary Meszaros dies of complications following surgery. Most recent among the South Pymatuning Township resident’s involvement with numerous community organizations and projects was initiating the drive to bring WaterFire to Sharon.

16 – Dennis Bachinsky, 63, of Stoneboro dies when a vehicle he had been working on at the Shenango Township home of his grandson slipped off the jack and suffocated him.

17 – Hermitage School Board and Hermitage Education Association, in separate votes, approve a new five-year contract that includes pay hikes and increases in health-care premium sharing.

18 – Jameson Hospital in New Castle says it will no longer admit maternity patients, closing its birthing center earlier than the previously announced Sept. 1.

19 – A 4-year-old girl from Masury dies two days after lifeguards at Willow Lake in Champion, Ohio, under water. Tillasia Douglas was swimming with family members and was taken to hospitals in Warren and Akron, where she died.

20 – A Greenville-West Salem Township policeman and his son, driver Jeremiah Lee Christner, 41, and passenger Jeremiah Lee Christner Jr., 17, both of Salem Township, die in a two-vehicle crash in Salem Township. Police said Christner lost control of his vehicle on a curve and collided with a box truck driven by Tomekin W. McDougall, 29, of Sharon. He and passenger Russell R. Mohney, 30, of Hubbard were transported to a hospital.

20 – Dersean Alberty-Brown, 22, of Sharpsville, is shot to death in a failed robbery in Pittsburgh’s East Hill district. Ramon Collin Harris, 22, was arrested the next day and the alleged shooter, Deshawn Hall, 23, was being sought.

22 – The late Gary Meszaros is honored at the year’s second WaterFire in downtown Sharon. Meszaros was instrumental in bringing the attraction to the city.

22 – Penn State Shenango kicks off its 50th anniversary celebration in downtown Sharon. Activities are planned throughout the school year.

25 – Richard Dean Hodge, 56, called “the largest heroin trafficker in the Greenville area” by the state attorney general’s office, is sentenced to at least 7½ years in prison.

26 – After nearly a year of study on how to combat area poverty, the United Way of Mercer County announces a new strategy to help meet the needs of the poor. Agencies that receive money from the United Way, which will benefit from a new coordinated data base, will have to prove their programs are effective in a measurable way.

27 – The two-months-long state budget impasse is beginning to put local service agencies at risk in providing for those in need.

28 – The city of Farrell and the Community Library of the Shenango Valley are working to bring Stey-Nevant Library in Farrell into partnership with the Sharon-based library. The effort is aimed at sparing Stey-Nevant from budget cuts as part of Farrell’s exit plan from Act 47 status as a distressed city.

SEPTEMBER 

1 – Brookfield trustees meet to hammer out priorities from the newly completed comprehensive plan they hope will revitalize the community.

1 – State police warn area residents of an aggressive phone scam in which callers pretend to be from the IRS and have defrauded people out of $15 million in the last two years.

1 – Joshua’s Haven men’s shelter in Sharon is moving to the larger former Keystone Blind Association building on Stambaugh Avenue.

2 – Antonio D. Venable, 22, of 1012 Federal St., Farrell, is charged with causing a fire at his sister’s home and then fleeing without trying to warn her or call for help.

3 – PennDOT closes a section of Main Street in Greenville after bricks fell from the former N.N. Moss building that had been condemned by inspectors. The closure is expected to last for months and downtown business owners are worried about the impact.

5 – Farrell council has taken precautionary steps toward setting up alternative police protection if the city decides to leave the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department.

7 – Buhl Day marks the 100th anniversaries of Buhl Farm park and the Labor Day event held there. Buhl Day was observed through 1946, then resumed 35 years ago in 1980.

9 – Sharon Regional Health System officials invite longtime faculty members and alumni of St. Joseph School to the hospital to witness the opening of a time capsule found behind the former school’s cornerstone. Sharon Regional purchased the adjoining property and is demolishing the school building.

10 – Hermitage officials, acting on behalf of Virginia Road homeowner Nancy Raich, have again asked Arthur Brown, 78, of 5829 Virginia Road, to limit the outside lighting at his home that he has said is meant to ward off aliens. Raich says the situation across the street has made it impossible to sell her house.

10 – Sharon council hires a demolition contractor to tear down dilapidated houses. A week later, council hires another contractor to tear down the long-vacant Wengler Elementary School building.

11 – Volunteers say the newly formed Sharpsville Community Food Pantry will open in October. Map the Meal Gap data shows Mercer County has 16,000-plus residents who face not having enough to eat on a regular basis, 14 percent of the population, and 59 percent of countians are eligible for food stamps.

11 – Fire destroys a Pulaski building most recently used as a meeting place by Rebel Motorcycle Club.

11 – Lawrence A. Stevens, 45, pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Rachel Goodnight, 24, of Sharon in Columbia, S.C. The couple had met when they worked for Arc of Mercer County.

13 – Mercer County Historical Society is cleaning up the burial ground for indigents, the Mercer County Home Cemetery along Greenville-Mercer Road in Coolspring Township.

14 – The Environmental Protection Agency says it has reached a proposed deal with Dunbar Asphalt Products Inc. to clean up a 29-acre portion of a Sharon Steel Corp. Superfund site in Hermitage.

15 – Businesses in Hermitage’s industrial corridor on Broadway Avenue are catching up on shelved investment plans. Solar Atmospheres, Samuel Stamping, CCL Container, Chambers Steel and Miller Industries are in various stages of expansion.

15 – Capt. William Hite is appointed interim police chief by Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission. He will succeed Chief Riley Smoot Jr., who will retire Oct. 31.

16 – The U.S. Department of Labor awards grants totaling $15 million to Ohio Workforce Investment Board, Area 19, with Mercer County among five border counties to receive money. Three communities are singled out to get high priority, including Sharon and Farrell.

17 – Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission Chairman Tom Tulip reports the department has a nearly $120,000 deficit and with Farrell seeking further budget concessions, the threat of dissolution looms.

20 – The James E. Winner Jr. Arts and Culture Center in downtown Sharon will close after WaterFire on Sept. 26, Karen Winner Sed of the Winner Foundation announces.

21 – Farrell city council votes to leave Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department and form their own police department, effective Dec. 31.

21 – Paul C. Yoos, 82, of 527 Carpenter Road, New Vernon Township, dies in a one-car crash in the township.

22 – Candidates for Mercer County commissioner, district attorney and coroner make their pitches for election to office in November at a forum in Mercer High School.

23 – Hermitage School District has adopted the ALICE program – Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate – to respond to acts of violence in school. Staff is trained to be more pro-active in the face of danger, from trying to get children out of the building if it can be done safely to striking back at an aggressor.

24 – Walter Henry Krieg, 54, of 1917 Mercer-West Middlesex Road, Mercer, is arrested for kidnapping and attempted rape by state police after he led multiple police departments departments on an hour-long vehicle and foot chase. Krieg had recently completed a 14-year state prison term for rape.

25 – Erin Houston, 33, a Farrell High School graduate who participated in an agency program as a youth, has succeeded the retired Michael Wright as executive director of the Shenango Valley Urban League.

26 – An open house marks the 50th anniversary of the Shenango Dam.

28 – The Fraternal Order of Police union appeals to Farrell council to reconsider its decision to withdraw from Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department.

29 – West Middlesex residents express concerns at a council meeting over the future of police services in the borough. West Middlesex and Wheatland are the lone remaining communities in Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department after the departure of Shenango Township and a council vote by Farrell to follow suit.

29 – A trial date of Jan. 12 has been set for Tracy Linn Hassel, 34, who is charged in the 2013 slaying of Greenville-area businessman Frank Crash.

 

 OCTOBER

1 – The state budget impasse is affecting county schools differently, mostly depending on how much of their budgets come from the state.

2 – Because of an illness of third-generation owner Brian Euckland, Hartford Apple Orchards is asking the public for help to bring in what’s left of their crop and keep the iconic business open until mid-November.

2 – Corey Lamar Hilton, 17, and Corey Allen Adkins, 18, both of Shenango Boulevard in Farrell, are arrested and charged in connection with a shooting in the city the day before.

2 – Farrell native and noted humanitarian Dr. Daisy Alford-Smith gives the keynote speech at the 52nd annual Freedom Fund Banquet, sponsored by the Mercer County Unit NAACP.

4 – Jarrod R. Lehman of Akron faces criminal and traffic charges after leading police from three local departments on a high-speed chase in a van stolen in Ohio.

5 – Sharon council is taking aim at owners of city properties with delinquent tax bills, seeking the city’s share of about $7.5 million in unpaid real estate taxes.

5 – Justin M. Delfratte, 33, of Sharpsville, interrupts his sentencing hearing for stabbing Sharon Regional Health System emergency room greeter Linda Clark in November 2013, verbally abusing the victim, the hospital, police and religion. Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert G. Yeatts sentenced him to 10 to 20 years in prison, the maximum sentence for aggravated assault, which Delfratte had agreed to in July.

7 – For the second time in two months, Pymatuning Deer Park faces violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act after the U.S. Department of Agriculture received a video from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

8 – Jason D. Gould, 45, of Carlton is found dead in his burnt car. Deputy Coroner Robert L. Snyder ruled the death accidental, saying Gould died of asphyxiation by smoke inhalation after he had an apparent cardiac event and the vehicle caught fire.

9 – Dede Radkowski of Sharon recounts her travels to New York, Washington and Philadelphia to see Pope Francis on his visit to the U.S.

10 – The county’s jobless rate for August of 5.1 percent is the lowest in more than eight years.

11 – Greenville merchants say their businesses are hurting because of the closing of Main Street caused by the condemning of the crumbling former Moss building.

12 – A story details after 50 years the retirement of the “King of the Mill,” Howard King of Farrell, who earlier in the month worked his final shift at the Farrell mill that was the former Sharon Steel Corp. and is now NLMK Pennsylvania.

13 – After having polluted water from its River Road landfill treated for almost 30 years at the Sharon sewage treatment plant, Waste Management of Pennsylvania Inc. thinks the leachate from its landfill that closed in 1986 may be safe enough to discharge untreated into the Shenango River and submits reports to state and federal agencies.

14 – Greenville has hired Brian Mazzanti, 49, of Butler, as head of its emergency services department.

14 – Penn State Shenango holds its second annual Stamp Out Stigma, designed to bring awareness to mental health issues.

15 – A man from the eastern European country of Moldovan ran an email phishing scheme that netted stolen bank information from U.S. companies but failed to take money from Sharon City School District, federal prosecutors say.

15 – The U.S. Supreme Court has said it would not hear an appeal filed by a billboard company that claims the city of Hermitage’s zoning ordinance is unconstitutional.

16 – A Mercer student, Nick King, 10, is recovering in UPMC Children’s Hospital in PIttsburgh after being seriously injured in a fall from a float in the school district’s homecoming parade.

17 – Sharon police have an arrest warrant for Marlin Maurice Freeman, 26, of Malleable Street, who they say was involved in a home invasion and robbery of the victim’s gun collection in July 2014. Two other men already have been prosecuted in the case and one of them is serving a prison sentence.

19 – Patrice S. Pinkins, 36, of 305 Spearman Ave., Farrell, allegedly one of the co-organizers of “Fight Night” illegal boxing matches, pleads guilty to promoting a tough guy contest.

20 – The new sound system installed with extensive upgrades at Tiger Stadium has Sharon neighbors complaining about increased noise.

20 – Arthur Brown, 78, of 5829 Virginia Road, is challenging Hermitage’s zoning ordinance in response to the city’s attempt to get him to tone down the exterior lighting at his home. Brown denies his lights, which he says are meant to ward off aliens, are a nuisance, large in number or exceptionally bright, or violate the ordinance.

20 – A rolling wall memorial with 3,000 names of victims killed by drunken drivers highlighted a program at Reynolds High School for National Teen Driver Safety Week.

20 – Richard Barnes, 79, of West Middlesex wins a million dollars from a $20 scratch-off lottery ticket.

20 – West Middlesex residents complain to council over the lack of progress in assuring the borough of police services in 2016.

21 – David Yoder, 25, of 500 Kinsman Road, Greene Township, is killed in a farm tractor accident.

22 – A steel beam from one of the World Trade Center towers destroyed by a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, is on display in Jamestown on the way from New York to Decatur, Ill., where is will be the focal point of a memorial.

25 – The state store in the Hermitage Towne Plaza is one of the first in Pennsylvania to be rebranded as Fine Wine and Good Spirits.

27 – A Farrell man wanted in Sharon shootings is caught in Greenville. Quentin D. Mathews, 34, of 1044 Hamilton Ave., is accused of shooting two teens who were in the backseat of a car.

28 – A Waste Management garbage truck explodes in Farrell in the early morning hours. No one was injured and wiring was the likely cause, Fire Chief Bill Mortimer said.

30 – A Dallas company is kicking the tires on building a plant in Mercer County that would be used to supply its new nearby-Ohio car plant that also is on the drawing boards.

NOVEMBER

1 – Fireworks are the climax to a year-long celebration marking Buhl Farm park’s centennial. The day also included pony rides. kids’ crafts, a concert and birthday cake.

2 – Mercer County Area Agency on Aging closes its senior centers in the face of the continuing state budget impasse.

3 – On election day, Republicans Matt McConnell and Scott Boyd and Democrat Timothy McGonigle win county commissioner seats. Republican Miles Karson is elected district attorney and Republican John Libonati wins the coroner race. McConnell is the lone incumbent among the five winners.

4 – Some 75 downtown Greenville merchants and family members along with borough residents rally for the reopening of Main Street, which PennDOT closed nearly two months ago as a safety precaution for the crumbling former N.N. Moss building.

5 – A Mercer County jury has awarded $2.2 million to Susan G. Pettyjohn, finding Earl D. Riddle negligent in the 2009 car crash that seriously injured her. The award is believed to be the second largest in county history.

6 – Jason D. Lambert, 432 W. Main St., Sharpsville, a Mercer County Jail inmate already charged by state police with sex offenses, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography.

6 – Youngstown State University president Jim Tressel speaks to Sharpsville High School seniors about handling success in life.

8 – Hodge Foundry workers go on strike after the last of several contract extensions expire at the Hempfield Township company,

9 – Hermitage firefighters evacuate about 30 families just before midnight from North Buhl Farm, Homewood and Ridgelawn drives and Charlotte Avenue until National Fuel Gas worker could repair a gas leak.

10 – A rancorous West Middlesex council meeting at which members and residents bicker with one another leaves several issues unresolved, including police protection for the coming year.

10 – Lawrence M. “Crusty” Owens pleads no contest to promotion of tough guy contests for his role in the illegal boxing matches in Farrell known as “Fight Night,” which featured scantily-clad women. He is sentenced to one-year probation with nearly five months’ credit. He was returned to state prison to serve out a parole violation.

10 – Steelmaker Terry Day, an employee of NLMK Pennsylvania in Farrell, has raised more than $81,000 for local charities over the last three years through a raffle among co-workers.

11 – Veterans Day observances are held across Mercer County.

13 – Shawn J. Jarrett, 52, formerly of Farrell, is sentenced to 60 to 90 years in prison for the second-degree murder of a 40-year-old woman he worked with at a greenhouse in Walker, Mich. That’s on top of two life sentences he is serving for raping an 85-year-old woman in Grandville, Mich. Jarrett had served 20 years for the 1982 slaying of Mary Sposito in Farrell and for aggravated assault and burglary involving a 58-year-old Sharon woman.

16 – Quaker Steak & Lube files for bankruptcy and enters into a deal to be sold for about $25 million to Travel Centers of America.

16 – Grove City College president Paul McNulty briefs Washington, D.C., policy-makers on the shortcomings of the federal Department of Education’s College Scoreboard. Grove City was not listed when the Scoreboard, despite being billed by President Obama as a comprehensive guide to every college and university, was launched in September, apparently because the college takes no federal money.

17 – Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission is moving to dissolve the department in the aftermath of the departures of Shenango Township and Farrell.

17 – A truck carrying steel coils rolls over and blocks state Route 18 in Shenango Township for 3½ hours.

17 – The write-in vote count gives write-in candidate Kristy Fox a seat on Greenville council, ousting an incumbent.

17 – West Middlesex council cites union negotiations and holding out for a possible better deal from neighboring communities in putting off a decision on police protection for the coming year.

18 – Mercer County Regional Council of Governments terminates a financial services contract with Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department, which is dissolving. COG was paid $13,000 a year and its 2016 proposed budget is $5,000 less than this year’s spending plan.

20 – Shenango Township supervisors plan to lower property taxes 13.6 percent next year and anticipate ending 2016 with an estimated balance of almost $356,000.

23 – Newly sworn-in Farrell police Chief Tom Burke apologizes for using the N-word in a personal email in mid-April, which recently came to light. Two days later, Burke resigns.

24 – A divided West Middlesex council votes to buy police protection from Shenango Township, ending a long period of uncertainty in the wake of Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department’s dissolution.

24 – Farrell resident Flossi Holloway ends her four-decade run of providing free Thanksgiving dinners to the community.

25 – Ryan P. Bowers, 24, of 2884 Mercer-Butler Pike, Liberty Township, is sentenced to life in prison for his part in the 2014 slaying of Michael A. Johns Sr. of Pine Township. Patrick S. McCamey, 40, of Liberty Township, who prosecutors say killed Johns, was previously found guilty and will be sentenced in January.

30 – Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio names Kyle English as chief executive officer. He succeeds Larry Haynes, who died in July.

 

DECEMBER

1 – Ralph Lloyd, 56, of Grove Street, Hermitage, is found dead after a shooting near his home.

2 – Animal advocate Deb Shaulis presses Mercer County commissioners for a countywide shelter, calling unwanted pets a growing problem. The Shenango Valley Animal Shelter serves only the six communities that support it through the Mercer County Council of Governments.

3 – After long-awaited applications for and issuances of permits, preliminary work begins on the former N.N. Moss building in Greenville. Structural concerns prompted a three-month closure by PennDOT of state-maintained Main Street, costing business owners thousands of dollars. Just a day later, PennDOT reopens the street.

3 – Two county row officers, Kathy Kloos and Ginny Steese Richardson, want county commissioners to establish security screening for visitors to the courthouse. Mercer County is one of two in the state that do not have centralized screening.

4 – Phone calls to donate to senior centers in the county, which have been closed because of the state budget impasse, are scams, says Sam Bellich, Mercer County Area Agency on Aging director.

7 – A fire at her home at 1580 Perry Highway in Springfield Township sends a woman to a Pittsburgh hospital burn unit.

7 – Most of the animal cruelty charges against Lisa Mussi of North Summit Road, Greene Township, are withdrawn in district court and she is allowed to keep the 20 animals she was accused of mistreating, drawing the ire of a representative of an animal rescue shelter.

8 – The Rev. Roy D. Harriger, 72, is charged with a variety of sex offenses involving children while he was pastor of Mercer Community Church of the Nazarene from 1991-97. He was recently imprisoned in New York state for similar acts.

9 – The Christmas and New Year’s break for some Mercer County school district may be extended because of the state budget stalemate.

10 – The inquiry of one resident has led to the cleanup of one Sharon neighborhood, with city workers hauling away loads of trash and tag junk vehicles. Officials hope involvement of residents in other neighborhoods will lead to the effort spreading in the city.

10 – Sharon Outdoor Army Store owner Harmon Lustig says he’s retiring and expects to close the 68-year-old Sharon business by year’s end.

11 – Nicholas R. Furman, 21, of Slippery Rock is killed in a one-car accident on state Route 258 in Findley Township. He was a passenger in a car driven by Fallon N. Dovidio, 20, of Mercer, who was taken by helicopter to a Youngstown hospital. An infant in the vehicle was “likely” to be OK according to police.

12 – Matthew D. Randall, 27, of 416 Liberty St., Jamestown, has been charged with committing 13 burglaries in Mercer County from June through September. Kayla N. Adams, 20, of 300 Conneaut Lake Road, Sugar Grove Township, and Travis L. Taylor, 28, of 704 Denver St., Jamestown, have been charged for participating in some burglaries.

12 – A bomb threat clears the Wal-Mart store in Hempfield Township. A Greenville man, James V. Burns, 58, was arrested at the store, where police say he made the threat. The store was closed for 4½ hours.

13 – Astronomer and philanthropist Ted Pedas has donated $100,000 to digitally upgrade the planetarium named for him at Farrell High School. The first show is “The Mystery of the Christmas Star.”

14 – Farrell City Manager Mike Ceci appoints Sgt. Jon Rococi of Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department as interim chief of the newly formed Farrell Police Department.

15 – Mercer County is in the midst of a heroin epidemic and its beginning can be directly traced to prescription pain pills, says Jeff Hanley, a prevention specialist from the Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission.

15 – The state is taking over the prosecution in the murder trial of Tracy Linn Hassel, 34, who is accused of killing Greenville businessman Frank Crash in 2013. Incoming Mercer County District Attorney Miles K. Karson had represented the Crash estate, creating the conflict of interest.

17 – Drug agents raid two houses simultaneously and arrest two Youngstown men – Gregory G. Weidner, 28, and Alan J. Ward, 27 – in connection with the discovery of a large amount of heroin found at one. Raids were on houses at 839 Federal Drive, Sharon, and 928 Fruit Ave., Farrell.

20 – Jayne I. Reichard, 47, of Jackson Center, dies in a one-car crash in Lackawannock Township.

21 – Pittsburgh resident Ketaki Desai has been hired as executive director of the eCenter@LindenPointe, the Hermitage business incubator and testing lab that caters to technology firms. Her hiring follows by three weeks that of Donald G. Morrison of Sewickley as LindenPointe Development Corp. chairman.

22 – Red Kettle donations to the Salvation Army are up in Sharon but down in Greenville. The Sharon campaign was enhanced by establishing new donation sites outside the city, while Greenville’s was impacted by a bomb threat at the Hempfield Township Wal-Mart and the three-month closure of the town’s Main Street that cost businesses money.

23 – Mercer Area School District’s effort to take through eminent domain a piece of neighboring property is turned aside by a county judge. The school board may appeal to Commonwealth Court.

24 – Hermitage is rated No. 1 among the “Top 8 Christmas Towns in Pennsylvania” by Only in Your State, an infotainment website.

26 – Sharpsville’s budget for the coming year will not, for the ninth straight year, include a property tax hike.

29 – Robert Alberson spent three days and $3,000 randomly paying for customers’ groceries at Brookfield Sparkle Market as a way of sharing a recent inheritance. In exchange, he got a visit from the cops because some confused customers were frightened by his actions.

– Compiled by Jeff Turk, Herald copyeditor

EDITOR’S NOTE: The dates listed are either when the event occurred or the day a story was published. Some stories developed over weeks or months, and every development might not be included in the chronology. 

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