Build a Better Block looked good in New Kensington

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 11:58 pm

New Kensington, Pa. – Great weather and a good crowd was on hand this past Saturday in New Kensington as a grassroots community revitalization program was portrayed in the downtown area of the the city as it could be – with active storefronts and viable businesses.

Build a Better Block event launched with pop-up businesses, both inside normally empty storefronts and outside under tents, selling coffee, food, flowers, art, quilts, artisanal soap, pet supplies, and other items. Empty lots were transformed into live music venues and playgrounds. Volunteers cleaned up garbage-strewn properties and planted trees and roses to beautify the area.

The Greater Allegheny Kiski Area Board of REALTORS Inc. and the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS provided a grant that brought Andrew Howard of Team Better Block here last month to discuss the revitalization program he co-founded in 2010. He led public planning sessions at Westmoreland County Community College’s branch in New Kensington and walking tours through downtown New Kensington.

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

In attendance was Mayor Tom Guzzo and several member of city council. AKVNEWS.COM spoke with several residents from the New Kensington and surrounding areas who thought the event was a great way to educate the communities youth of what shopping in downtown was like years ago. There was a time years past when businesses thrived in downtown New Kensington and the community felt safe to be downtown. New Kensington Police provided a safe atmosphere with patrol officers on foot and bicycle; a major key component to the revitalization process in New Ken.

John Turack, exec director/community development assistant Smart Growth Partnership at Penn State Extension, New Kensington Campus said this Better Block event is a good start for getting the city back on the right track for community growth and development.

For more information on the Build a Better Block program, please visit the following facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/newkenbetterblock?_rdr

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

 

Homeowner jailed and charged with arson in South Buffalo Township fire

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 11:16 pm

South Buffalo Township, Pa. – (UPDATE: @ 1:22 am )  Charges filed against Jody Lynn Meade after being suspected of setting her house on fire Saturday afternoon.  One count each:  Felony 1 – ARSON-INHABITED BUILDING OR STRUCT, Felony 3 – CRIM MISCH/DMG PROP INTENT, RECKLESS, OR NEGLIG and Felony 2 – ARSON-INTENT DESTROY UNOCCUPIED BLDG

Jody Lynn Meade (ACJ Photo)

Jody Lynn Meade (ACJ Photo)

(Original Story)  Multiple fire companies responded to a house fire in South Buffalo Township at 413 Short Street about 3:30 pm Saturday afternoon.

South Buffalo Fire Chief and Armstrong County Emergency Management Director Randy Brozenick said smoke was coming from the structure when firefighters arrived on scene. Fire crews were alerted to a possible unsafe situation resulting from a previous police call at 3:00 pm.

South Buffalo Township Detective Jeffrey Kuntz said there was virtually no delay in firefighters getting in position to fight the fire. Several dogs and turtles were removed from the residence along with a cat that was rescued by Harrison Hills firefighter Mark Phillippi. Phillippi said firefighters had to breach the cellar door to rescue a cat that was hiding under some debris. Chief Brozenick said it only took about ten minutes to get a good knockdown on the fire but the structure was a total loss.

Detective Kuntz said a fire marshal was called to the scene and his investigation revealed multiple fires were set inside the home. Arrested and charged with arson was Jody Lynn Meade age 52, homeowner of 413 Short Street. Meade was arraigned and charged with Arson, Criminal Mischief and other related charges. She is lodged in the Armstrong County Jail on $100,000 straight bond. Detective Kuntz said the structure was unoccupied when the fires were started and there were no injuries to report.

Firefighter Mark Phillippi comforts a cat rescued from under debris in the home's basement.

Firefighter Mark Phillippi comforts a cat rescued from under debris in the home’s basement.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Volunteer companies responding were South Buffalo, Ford City, Ford Cliff, Freeport and Harrison Hills. Freeport EMS assisted firefighters at the scene. Short Street is located near the Cadogan Line along Ford City Road.

 

Female driver escorted from crash scene in handcuffs

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 12:02 am

Allegheny Township, Pa. – A single vehicle crash in Allegheny Township results in the arrest of a female driver from Vandergrift.

Allegheny Township Police said Kelsey Plusquellec, age 23 of Vandergrift has been charged with DUI after crashing her vehicle along a straight stretch of road on SR56 in the area of the old John Deere business location.

At the crash scene, Plusquellec drove off the roadway and into an old mulch bed with the vehicle coming to rest on its side leaking gasoline. Police said Plusquellec was out of the vehicle by the time they arrived on scene. Plusquellec was medically cleared by Lower Kiski EMS and released to Allegheny Township Police where she was handcuffed alongside the EMS unit and escorted to a police car for transport to Allegheny Township Police Station.

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Fire Crews from Markle and Allegheny Township assisted Allegheny Township Police at the scene. Kochka and Son Towing of Vandergrift removed the Chevrolet Blazer from the side of the roadway. Traffic was controlled by fire departments at the scene and there were no major delays in traffic progression along the highway.

 

Sea, Air and Land Challenge to be held today in Armstrong County

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The Armstrong County Industrial Development Council (ACIDC), owners of the Northpointe Business Park in Armstrong County, will be providing their facilities on Saturday, May 2, 2015 for the 3rd Annual Sea, Air, and Land Challenge. The event, developed by the Penn State Electro-Optics Center, and funded by the Office of Naval Research, is a series of engineering competitions for high school juniors and seniors.

True to the name, the engineering challenges are held in the air, in the “sea” and on the ground. Teams of students work throughout the school year to design and build unmanned vehicles and custom payloads for each challenge. Aerial challenges will be conducted on one of the recently created large development sites, while the sea and land based challenges will be held on courses set up at a multi-tenant building also owned by the ACIDC.

Dennis Smail, Chairman of the ACIDC, said, “The students participating in this event are our future leaders, scientists and business owners; we’re happy to help in any way we can.” The challenges mirror the types of missions real life department of defense engineers may encounter as they develop technologies to support soldiers and sailors. The goals of the event are to introduce students to the engineering processes used to solve complex engineering challenges, and expose them to the engineering career opportunities available within the department of defense.

Over 150 students from nine (9) local schools, including Freeport High School and Lenape Technical School are expected to compete this year. Lenape Technical School’s Administrative Director, Dawn Kocher-Taylor said Lenape’s team will compete in all three events. “The challenges presented in this competition provide multiple benefits. First and foremost, they are interesting and keep the students engaged; secondly they provide students with an opportunity to experience working in a team, using and further developing their problem solving skills and seeing firsthand how advanced manufacturing skills are so incredibly important in today’s world.”

The event is supported by retired US Navy SEALS and US Army Green Berets, who will give presentations to the participants regarding the importance of technology to national security. The program, which was developed by engineers and scientists at the Electro-Optics Center, will be held in four (4) additional cities throughout the United States next year, with the hope of full national coverage by 2017.

 

Three arrested in Arnold after state parole visit

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 4:56 pm

Arnold, Pa. – A state parole visit at 1700 3rd Avenue in Arnold results in the arrest of three suspects in possession of illegal drugs on Friday morning.

Arnold Police Chief Willie Weber said Josh Colwell, age 25 of apartment 103, Logan Graham, age 20 of Prospect Road in Cadogan and David E. Gallaher, age 20 of Maple Lane in Kittanning were found to be in possession of illegal drugs during the parole visit on Colwell. With a search warrant secured, police seized drugs, cash and various items of drug paraphernalia.

Chief Weber said Colwell was on parole for burglary and would be charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia. Logan Graham will be charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia and David Gallaher would be charged with cocaine possession with intent to deliver plus additional charges on possession of drug paraphernalia. Seized was $2400 in cash, 3 cell phones, 3 digital scales, 30-40 empty stamp bags, and numerous drug paraphernalia items.

Arnold Police Sgt. Mike Krahe and Police Chief Willie Weber processed the scene and transported the three suspects to New Kensington lockup for arraignment.

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


This is the second drug bust in Arnold this week. On Monday, April 27, multiple units from New Kensington and a K-9 unit from Lower Burrell assisted Arnold Police in a drug bust located at 1601 5th Avenue just after 5:00 pm on Monday evening.

At the scene on 5th Avenue, police executed a drug search warrant on the residence and confiscated eight bricks plus two bundles of heroin (approximately $4400.00 street value), approximately $4400.00 in cash, prescription pills, $40.00 worth of K2 marijuana and ammunition. K-9 Dax from Lower Burrell Police Department did a drug search of the apartment and areas along 5th Avenue and 16th Street.

 

Fatal crash in Armstrong County

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Rayburn Township (Armstrong County), Pa. – The Pennsylvania State Police investigated a fatal crash on River Road – Rayburn Township just before 1:00 am Friday Morning.

Robert A. Morrow, 56 of Painter Rd. Templeton was Traveling South on the River Rd. when the 2005 GMC Sierra Pickup he was driving left the roadway, striking a bank, slid on its side and landed back on its wheels. Morrow was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Brian K. Myers. Cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and chest. An autopsy will not be performed. Toxicology results are pending.

The coroner’s office was assisted at the scene by Rayburn Twp. FD, Kittanning Twp. FD, Templeton FD and Kittanning #6 Ambulance.

 

Apartment fire in Vandergrift

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Vandergrift, Pa. – (UPDATE @ 3:26 pm)  Multiple fire departments from surrounding communities as far away as Tarentum are on scene of an apartment/business establishment fire at 146 Washington Avenue in Vandergrift.  At least one firefighter was evaluated at the scene for a shin/ankle injury and there has been one other report of a firefighter suffering a broken wrist.  That firefighter was transported to Allegheny Valley Hospital.  The fire broke out around noon and was reported there was heavy smoke and flame coming from the structure.

Fire crews did most of their work from the rear of the structure where flames were seen in between an adjoining structure as the fire appeared to intensify inside the apartments.  About 1.5 hours into the blaze, additional fire crews from Arnold, Tarentum and New Kensington arrived on scene.  At least four aerial trucks were pouring water on the structure at one time.    Smoke coming from the center of the structure continued to change colors suggesting fire inside was intensifying. At one point, heavy black smoke billowed from the structure as heavy flames broke thru the center of the roof.  Fire crews recently reported the fire to be under control.  The fire marshal has been called to the scene. 

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

(From the Scene) Vandergrift fire crews are on scene of an apartment fire on Washington Avenue in Vandergrift. There are no reports of injuries and it’s reported that everyone is out of the building. There is still lots of smoke at the rear of the structure where firefighters are concentrating their efforts.

 

Two injured in East Deer crash

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 10:54

East Deer Township, Pa. – Police, fire and EMS responded to a two vehicle crash in the 500 block of Freeport Road in East Deer Township about 3:00 pm Wednesday afternoon.

The crash occurred at the stop light near the entrance of Air Products and Third Street with one vehicle rear ending another vehicle that was stopped at the red light. East Deer Police Chief John Manchini said the driver of the second vehicle was distracted and looking at her GPS when she struck the stopped vehicle in front of her. Eureka EMS and East Deer EMS transported both female drivers to Allegheny Valley Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Assisting East Deer Police was Frazer Township PD while East Deer VFD tended to debris cleanup and traffic control. Both vehicles were removed from the scene by Terry’s Service of Brackenridge. No major traffic delays resulted from the crash. The incident was cleared in about 45 minutes.

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

 

Allegheny Township Police seek help in locating missing man

Missing man Ronald George

Missing man Ronald George

(Submitted Photo)

Allegheny Township, Pa. – (UPDATE:  10:33 pm)  Ronald George was found in Dubois Pa. at a convenience store by Pennsylvania State Police.  He was taken to a local emergency room to be checked out.

(Original Story)  Allegheny Township Police are looking for a missing man who left his residence and did not return yesterday morning.

Police are looking for Ronald George, age 76 who is driving a Tan 1999 Chevrolet Suburban. Mr. George is an Alzheimer patient and was spotted yesterday afternoon about 3:00 pm at the Leechburg Post Office. Mr. George is wearing a flannel shirt and should have a small black and white dog with him.

The vehicle registration is DGK-6127. If you see this man or this vehicle, please contact 911 or call the Allegheny Township Police at (724) 845-9410. The image below is similar to the truck Mr. George is driving.

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SR 366 Bridge replacement nears completion

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 11:28 am

New Kensington, Pa. – Work is nearly complete near Memorial Park as construction crews put the finishing touch on a bridge replacement project that began in April 2014.

Construction crews were busy installing the mini medial concrete barriers on the approaches to the bridge over the past several days. Prime Contractor Carmen Paliotta began the $ $2,796,296.63 project in April and has until 5/6/2015 to complete the work. The new bridge will be approximately two feet higher to accommodate new bridge and roadway standards.

This bridge has been constructed in 2 phases maintaining 2 way traffic eastbound and westbound throughout the entire project on SR 0366. Motorists are reminded to drive with caution and be alert when entering a work zone.

 

New Kensington Police make cocaine drug arrest

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New Kensington, Pa. – One suspect is arrested in the 1200 block of Forest Avenue early Monday morning for possession of cocaine, marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.

Detective Sgt. Dino DiGiacobbe said New Kensington’s CERT unit was utilized in the 11:00 am drug related search warrant investigation. Police did a knock and announce on the residence but did not have to do a breach because a tenant answered the door.

Arrested in the raid was Michael Allen Hudzick Jr., age 28 of Forest Avenue. Sgt. DiGiacobbe said Hudzick will be charged with felony possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hudzick is being held in the Westmoreland County jail on $25,000 bond. New Kensington police would like to thank those individuals and the community for their tips during their ongoing investigations.

 

Drug bust in Arnold nets Heroin and lots of cash

Arnold Police Sgt. Joe Nixon  Law Enforcement Officer Wes Biricocchi escort Jordan James Jackson to a waiting police car.

Arnold Police Sgt. Joe Nixon – Law Enforcement Officer Wes Biricocchi escort Jordan James Jackson to a waiting police car.


© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 7:24 pm

ARNOLD, PA. – Multiple units from New Kensington and a K-9 unit from Lower Burrell assisted Arnold Police in a drug bust located at 1601 5th Avenue just after 5:00 pm on Monday evening.

At the scene on 5th Avenue, police executed a drug search warrant on the residence and confiscated eight bricks plus two bundles of heroin (approximately $4400.00 street value), approximately $4400.00 in cash, prescription pills, $40.00 worth of K2 marijuana and ammunition. K-9 Dax from Lower Burrell Police Department did a drug search of the apartment and areas along 5th Avenue and 16th Street.

Arrested by Arnold Police was Jordan James Jackson age 24; a resident of the second floor apartment. A 17-year-old juvenile was also found inside the apartment. Jackson faces numerous charges including possession of marijuana, heroin, and corruption of minors.

Jackson was lodged in New Kensington lockup will be arraigned sometime Tuesday.

Arnold Police Chief Willie Weber and Officer Biricocchi look over drugs and money seized in Monday's drug bust.

Arnold Police Chief Willie Weber and Officer Biricocchi look over drugs and money seized in Monday’s drug bust.


© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


LEO Steve Cernava and K-9 Dax from Lower Burrell

LEO Steve Cernava and K-9 Dax from Lower Burrell