Brackenridge resident harvests “BEAR” near Bakerstown Road in Tarentum

Bill Hartman -  Tim Orr

Bill Hartman – Tim Orr

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer 4:10 pm

Brackenridge, Pa. – After 44 years of hunting that started at the age of 12, local resident Tim Orr of Nelson Avenue bagged his very first bear just after 7:30 am Wednesday morning along Bakerstown Road in Tarentum.

His soon to be future son-in-law Bill Hartman of Arnold accompanied Mr. Orr by setting out Wednesday morning to hunt for deer from tree stands in a wooded area near the Comcast Tower just off of Bakerstown Road.

“This is archery season” said Orr and the post hunting season has paid off by scouting out the area! Orr and Hartman were about 400 yards apart when Orr heard a bunch of racket as the bear came up the hillside into view from tree cover. The bear was about 10 yards away when the harvest took place. Friends Max and Keith Palmer along with Hartman helped drag the bear from the wooded area.

The female bear appeared to be about 2-3 years old and weighed approximately 200 to 250 pounds. Orr said he called the Pa. Game Commission and no one was available to come out and validate the harvest until Thursday. Orr put the bear on ice and was trying to locate a place to store it overnight.

Orr said he called his wife about getting the bear mounted and sent her a picture telling her, “Baby get the checkbook ready”!


Assistant fire chief suspended for alleged sexual relationship with underage girl

Kenneth Steiner

Kenneth Steiner

New Florence, Pa. – Assistant fire chief Kenny Steiner, age 56, of New Florence is facing several criminal charges stemming from the investigation that started in 2013. New Florence police and Westmoreland County detectives wrote in an affidavit of probable cause that Steiner sent text messages to a girl under 16 that had applied to be a junior firefighter.

Police said the alleged sexual encounters started in September 2013. The victim reportedly told police Steiner would tell her to come over his house and they would engage in sexual activities either in the camper in his front yard or inside his house. The victim’s friend alerted a school guidance counselor of the alleged activity.

The fire departments Tuesday evenings meeting of administrative and line officers decided to suspend Assistant Chief Steiner from duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation and the disposition of criminal charges.

Steiner Preliminary Hearing is scheduled for October 14, 2015 in front of Magisterial District Judge Denise S. Thiel.

He faces the following charges: Two F1 counts of Statutory Sexual Assault: 11 Years Older, two felony counts of IDSI Person Less Than 16 Yrs Age, 2 F1 counts of Unlawful Contact With Minor – Sexual Offenses, two F3 counts of Criminal Use Of Communication Facility, one count Diss Explicit Sex Mat’l Minor, one F3 count Corruption Of Minors – Defendant Age 18 or Above and two M2 counts of Ind Asslt Person Less 16 Yrs Age. Bond was set at $25,000 unsecured.


AG Kane announces undercover operation in Pittsburgh area targeting unregistered contractors



HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced on Monday the results of an undercover operation in the Pittsburgh area designed to ensure that home improvement contractors are in compliance with the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA).

The operation was the third phase in a statewide undercover investigation organized by the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The operation resulted in eight settlements with businesses that were filed in the form of assurances of voluntary compliance (AVCs). Monetary relief resulting from the AVCs totaled $5,600. Of that total, $3,100 will go toward restitution.

At this time, five of the eight contractors whose HICPA registrations were out of compliance have renewed their registrations with the Attorney General’s office. The remaining three are not currently operating as home improvement contractors. Should they provide home improvement services in the future, they must register or face enhanced civil penalties of up to $5,000.

Daniel Belin, who did business under the company name D&D Roofing and Remodeling, has agreed to pay $2,500 in restitution to a consumer who previously filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office. Belin was not registered at the time he entered into the contract. Additionally, consumers complained that Belin’s workmanship was poor. Belin is not currently operating as a home improvement contractor, but under the terms of the AVC, in the event he acts as a contractor in the future he must first register. Failure to do so could result in the payment of civil penalties of at least $1,000.

Andrew Schillinger, who did business under the company name Perfection Remodeling and Home Services, allegedly used a false home improvement contractor (HIC) number in advertisements. He has agreed to pay $250 in civil penalties and is required to register for his own HIC number in order to continue doing business in Pennsylvania.

Steven Schneider, who did business under the company name Schneider Construction, has agreed to pay $600 in restitution. Schneider resolved previous complaints on his own. Schneider was accused of entering home improvement contracts after his HICPA registration lapsed. Schneider has since renewed his HICPA registration and is currently in compliance with the law.

HICPA requires contractors doing business throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to register with the Office of the Attorney General and include certain consumer provisions in their contracts. They include clear descriptions of the contract terms, start and complete dates, a limited right to rescission, identification of their HICPA registration numbers and contact information for all known subcontractors at the time of the agreement.

During undercover operations this year, agents posed as homeowners looking for estimates for general home improvements. Agents located contractors through various advertisements and matched those to a database of registered contractors. The undercover agents later called the contractors and set up appointments.

Once the contractors arrived, agents showed them problem areas in a house. Contractors were allowed the time to ask questions and take measurements. Agents then requested an estimate.

After the contractors provided a price for the work, agents announced they worked for the Office of Attorney General and presented the contractors with a copy of the HICPA law, the consumer protection law, a registration form and a subpoena for documents related to the contractor’s business.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection earlier this year organized undercover HICPA operations in Bucks and Erie counties.

To report contractors in your area

Consumers or businesses may call the Office of Attorney General’s Home Improvement Registration Hotline, at 1-888-520-6680, to report unregistered contractors operating in their communities. Complaints about unregistered contractors may also be emailed to the office at


Vehicle hits utility pole and rolls over in East Deer Township

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer 11:44 pm

East Deer Township, Pa. – Police, Fire and EMS units responded to a single vehicle crash and rollover along the 1300 block of Freeport Road in East Deer Township just before 11:pm Monday night.

Radio chatter indicated three juveniles and one male adult were not injured after the SUV type vehicle hit a utility pole and flipped on its side in the Southbound lane of Freeport Road. A resident near the crash scene said she heard a loud crash and then a man screaming right after the incident occurred.

At the scene, three small children were sitting on the sidewalk along with the male. They did not appear to be suffering any injuries however one juvenile and an adult were transported to Allegheny Valley Hospital.

East Deer Police was assisted by Tarentum and Frazer Township Police. Freeport Road was closed in both directions while Terry’s Towing of Brackenridge was called to the scene for vehicle removal. West Penn Power crews were also called to the scene. Eureka Fire Rescue and East Deer Township provided traffic control. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer


Fully involved house fire in Allegheny Township

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer 10:45 pm

Allegheny Township, Pa. – Firefighters from multiple departments in the Allegheny Township area are battling a fully involved house fire at the intersection of Pine Run Road and SR 356. Crews at the scene deployed ladder truck and multiple hand lines fighting the blaze.

The house appears to be a total loss and initial radio information indicated everyone was out of the house. The fire alarm went out at 9:09 pm.

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer

AKVNEWS will update this story as more details become available. The cause of the blaze is unknown at publish time.


Gunshots ring out in New Kensington

New Kensington Police investigate shots fired along Leishman Avenue in New Kensington

New Kensington Police investigate shots fired along Leishman Avenue in New Kensington

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer 7:56 pm

New Kensington, Pa. – Police in New Kensington were called to the 1300 block of Leishman Avenue for a “shots fired” call just after 2:00 pm Sunday afternoon.

Detective Sgt. Sam Long said one shot struck a residence, at least two shots ricocheted off the grassy area in an adjacent yard and four casings were recovered in a back yard across from the house that was hit.

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer 7:56 pm

Police spoke with neighbors and investigated the corner structure in an effort to locate additional evidence.

AKVNEWS spoke with several residents in the area who said at least 4-5 shots were heard and two individuals were seen running East up Catalpa Street. No injuries were reported. If you have any information on this incident, you are asked to call the New Kensington Police Department at (724) 339-7533.


Kinloch crash sends one man to a Pittsburgh Hospital

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer 11:39 pm

Lower Burrell, Pa. – One man is injured and transported by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh Hospital after a single vehicle crash along Broadway Avenue in the Kinloch section of Lower Burrell about 10:10 pm Saturday night.

At the scene, Lower Burrell firefighters didn’t have to go far to get to the crash that occurred a couple hundred feet from the fire hall. Medics and firefighters quickly extricated the man who was initially going in and out of consciousness and suffering a head injury after striking a utility pole breaking it in half.

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer

The landing zone for StatMedevac was the front parking lot of the of the fire hall as medical crews went to an awaiting EMS unit for patient treatment and packaging for a return flight to Pittsburgh. The scene was cleared at approximately 11:15 pm.

Assisting Lower Burrell Police was Kinloch Station 54, New Kensington Police, Lower Burrell EMS and New Kensington EMS. There were no other injuries to report.


Citizens Bank robbed in Oakland


PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Violent Crime Unit is investigating a robbery at Citizens Bank in the 3700 block of Fifth Avenue in Oakland.

According to the investigation, at approximately 4:50 p.m. a black male believed to be in his 50s entered the branch and handed a note to the teller. He stated he had a gun but did not show a weapon. He fled the scene on foot with an undetermined amount of money.

The man is approximately 5’8”. He was wearing a black T-shirt, pants, white tennis shoes and a dark baseball cap with the numbers “804” displayed across the front. He had a scruffy beard that is turning gray and was wearing glasses.

Anyone with information regarding this crime, is encouraged to contact police by calling 412-323-7800.


Apollo man charged with insurance fraud

Mario Anthony Giannotti

Mario Anthony Giannotti

(AG Image)

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced criminal charges have been filed against eight individuals across the Commonwealth following unrelated insurance fraud investigations. One of those individuals is from Apollo.

Mario Anthony Giannotti , 25, 3188 Sportsman Road, Apollo, Armstrong County, was charged Sept. 9 with two counts of insurance fraud and one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. An investigation revealed that Giannotti’s automobile insurance policy with Progressive Insurance lapsed in November of last year. The following month, agents said Giannotti made a payment to reinstate the policy, at which point he also claimed that he had not been involved in an accident since his policy lapsed. The day after the policy was reinstated, Giannotti filed a claim related to an accident in which he reported that his vehicle was struck from behind by another vehicle. Agents said they learned the accident actually occurred roughly 90 minutes before Giannotti called to reinstate his auto insurance policy. A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 14.

The charges, which were filed in recent weeks, were the result of investigations by the Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section. The Insurance Fraud Section is the largest law enforcement entity in Pennsylvania with specific authority to investigate and prosecute such crimes.

“Insurance fraud is one of the most costly crimes in the entire country,” Attorney General Kane said. “We all pay when insurance rates spike due to fraud, which makes it extremely important that we continue to investigate and prosecute those who seek to defraud insurance companies.”


Police raid in Arnold nets cash and heroin

Andre Johnson escorted back to New Kensington Lockup by Law Enforcement Officer Wes Biricocchi after arraignment.

Andre Johnson escorted back to New Kensington Lockup by Law Enforcement Officer Wes Biricocchi after arraignment.

Arnold, Pa. – Police in Arnold, in conjunction with the State Attorney General’s Drug Task force and local police departments executed a drug search warrant about 6:30 am Thursday morning at 1702 3rd Avenue in Arnold.

Law Enforcement Officer Wes Biricocchi said police seized $4,000 in cash, heroin, a small amount of cocaine residue and drug paraphernalia.

Arrested in the incident was Andre Johnson, age 33 of 3rd Avenue in Arnold. Johnson and two others were taken from the scene and transported to New Kensington lockup shortly after entry was made into the residence. Only Johnson was charged, and subsequently arraigned by the Honorable District Magistrate Frank Pallone Jr. on the following charges: 2 felony charges of Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver, 2 misdemeanor charges of Int Poss Contr Subst By Per Not Reg and 1 misdemeanor charge of Use/Poss Of Drug Paraphernalia.

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer

At the scene, Arnold Police, agents from the Pa Attorney General’s Office BNI Drug Task Force, State Parole, New Kensington Police and Law Enforcement Officer Steve Cernava of Lower Burrell PD with K-9 Dax surrounded the residence and began their search as some local residents came to doors and windows inquisitive about police activity. A short time later 3 residents were cuffed and taken to police lockup. Evidence taken from the residence to be submitted to the PA State Police Regional Lab for analysis.

Johnson is lodged in the Westmoreland on $75,000 straight bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled on October 15th @ 11:15 am.

Lower Burrell Law Enforcement office Steve Cernava and K-9 Dax complete search of residence after drug raid.

Lower Burrell Law Enforcement office Steve Cernava and K-9 Dax complete search of residence after drug raid.

© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer


Harrison crash injures two Wednesday afternoon

© Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer

Harrison Township, Pa. – Two people were injured and transported to the hospital after a two-vehicle crash in Harrison Township about 1:00 pm Wednesday afternoon.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Burtner Road and Freeport Road when two vehicles collided at the traffic light disabling both vehicles with moderate front end damage. Police at the scene reported one elderly patient and a female were transported by Citizens Hose EMS and Eureka EMS. Citizens Hose fire crews were dispatched to the scene for debris cleanup. Southbound Freeport road traffic was diverted onto Burtner Road until the scene could be cleared by Terry’s Towning of Brackenridge.

The intersection has seen at least 3 recent crashes, one of them a motorcycle incident involving a a car operator running the red light from Burtner Road injuring a Brackenridge man who sustained serious leg injuries. Southbound motorists are urged to slow down when approaching the Burtner Road intersection and watch for unexpected traffic trying to beat the light coming up the slight grade.

The roadway was completely reopened by 1:30 pm. The extent of injuries to both operators is unknown.


Greensburg Road fatal crash victim identified

© Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer 1:18 am

Murrysville, Pa. – Westmoreland County Coroner, Kenneth A. Bacha, has released the following information identifying the victim of a fatal crash on Greensburg Road, Murrysville as Lee E. Blaskovic, age 55 of Sardis Road in Murrysville.

Blaskovic was the operator and lone occupant of a Hyundai Santa Fe traveling south on State Route 366. The coroner’s report states vehicles were stopped in the northbound lane of State Route 366 at the intersection of Drennen Road when a Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling north on State Route 366 crossed the centerline into the opposite lane of travel and struck the decedent’s vehicle in a head-on type collision, then struck one of the stopped vehicles in the northbound lane.

Blaskovic was entrapped in the vehicle following the crash. Deputy Coroner John A. Ackerman investigated the incident and pronounced the decedent dead at the scene. A seat-belt was not utilized by the decedent and air bags were deployed in the Blaskovic’s vehicle. The report states cell phone use was not a factor in the incident.

An autopsy will be performed by Dr. Cyril H. Wecht and Pathology Associates on October 1, 2015. The cause and manner of death will be pending autopsy results, toxicology results, and reconstruction of the incident.