Here is a look at the top stories of local interest published in The Indiana Gazette during the week of April 28-May 4.
SUNDAY, APRIL 28
Dog license canvassing in Pennsylvania will begin May 21, meaning that local dog owners need to have their pet properly licensed as mandated by state law.
Under state law, dogs over the age of 3 months must be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. The period of the license then runs through Dec. 31, when it will need to be renewed. Fines can range from $50 to $300, in addition to court costs, which can range from about $120 to $150.
Pet owners can obtain a license in the Indiana County treasurer’s office in the courthouse at 825 Philadelphia St. or online at www.licenseyourdogpa.com.
MONDAY, APRIL 29
Two men were arrested Saturday afternoon after patrons and restaurant owners foiled a robbery attempt at King Buffet along Oakland Avenue in White Township, state police in Indiana reported. Jeremia Fromme, 22, of Ernest, and Adam Wilson, 26, of Indiana, were both held in the Indiana County Jail to await arraignment.
Police said the two men entered King Buffet around 2:50 p.m. Saturday, and Fromme put a handwritten note demanding money on the counter in front of a 17-year-old girl working behind the counter. But when the two men tried to leave the restaurant with the money, police said restaurant patrons and the owners tackled them and held them until police arrived.
TUESDAY, APRIL 30
Health insurance company Highmark Inc. received conditional approval Monday from Pennsylvania regulators to take over the financially troubled West Penn Allegheny Health System as part of its plan to compete with UPMC, western Pennsylvania’s dominant network, for patients and their health care dollars.
The takeover is a landmark transaction, said Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner, Michael Consedine, and proponents of the deal hope it will slow the growth of health care costs and improve health care in western Pennsylvania.
The deal creates one of the largest integrated health networks in the nation, said Highmark’s CEO, William Winkenwerder Jr. Highmark is the nation’s only Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee to own a health system or hospital, according to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 1
The move of Leechburg High School’s athletic program from the WPIAL to the Heritage Conference is set, according to conference officials. Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, the addition will bring to a close an awkward period during which the league had an uneven number of members, and it should set the conference up for the future, barring any unforeseen developments.
The conference was in a bind the summer of 2010, when Laurel Valley closed in a merger with Ligonier Valley. Since then, the league has played with nine members — Blairsville, Homer-Center, Ligonier Valley, Marion Center, Northern Cambria, Penns Manor, Purchase Line, Saltsburg and United — and will do so for the 2013-14 school year, as well. District 6 and the PIAA leadership still have to give the move approval.
THURSDAY, MAY 2
Shooting a buck in a Walmart parking lot counts as a “conscious disregard” for other people’s safety, Magistrate Judge Jennifer Rega said at a preliminary hearing Wednesday morning for Arcangelo Bianco Jr. as she held the charges over for trial in the Court of Common Pleas.
Bianco, 40, of Derry, was charged in March with a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment as well as five summary offenses, all hunting law violations. He will face all the charges in the Court of Common Pleas. His attorney, Jason Huska, of Latrobe, argued that Bianco was shooting the buck behind the store, and that a rise in the grade of the area up to Old Route 22 meant he was shooting toward an embankment rather than a highway, a spot the defendant believed did not endanger others.
FRIDAY, MAY 3
Three men have been charged in connection with a drug-related home invasion robbery on Wayne Avenue Monday, and Indiana Borough police said more arrests are expected as the investigation continues. Police said Shaquille Howard, 19, of Robinson; Deontae Bradley, 19, of Pittsburgh; and Jalil Dill, 20, of Indiana, have been charged in the incident. Bradley and Dill are currently incarcerated in the Allegheny County Jail on unrelated charges; a warrant has been issued for Howard’s arrest.
According to the charging documents filed against Howard, three men broke into an apartment at 642 Wayne Ave. around 2:50 a.m. Monday and struck a resident on the head with a handgun.
They demanded money and drugs, and stole $900 out of a dresser drawer before fleeing, according to the documents.
SATURDAY, MAY 4
A jury in Greensburg found Kevin Murphy guilty Friday of first-degree murder in the deaths of his mother, sister and elderly aunt in his automotive glass shop near Saltsburg in 2009. Jurors deliberated just a few hours before returning their verdict against Murphy, of Conemaugh Township. They will return to the Westmoreland County courtroom Monday to begin the penalty phase of the trial, when they must choose between the death penalty and life imprisonment.
Murphy was convicted of killing his mother, Doris Murphy, 69; his sister, Kris Murphy, 43; and his aunt, Edith Tietge, 81, in April 2009 at the shop in Loyalhanna Township, Westmoreland County. Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck argued during the 10-day trial that Murphy killed the women because they disapproved of his relationship with the still-married woman who later became his fiancee, Susan McGuire.