Here is a look at the top stories of local interest published in The Indiana Gazette during the week of Feb. 23-March 1:
SUNDAY, FEB. 23
State police in Indiana are looking for the man who held up a White Township convenience store on Friday night.
The robbery occurred shortly before 10 p.m., when a man walked into the EZ Mart along Ben Franklin Road South, brandished a silver handgun and demanded money, police said. He then left with an undetermined amount of cash and three packs of cigarettes.
According to the police, the robber, who is believed to be in his 20s, is white, between 6-feet and 6-feet-2 and weighs between 215 and 230 pounds. He was wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans and white tennis shoes. Anyone with any information has been asked to call police at (724) 357-1960.
MONDAY, FEB. 24
State police in Indiana are looking for the man who exposed himself to two women inside a White Township grocery store on Friday afternoon. According to police, the man followed the women into the aisles at the Giant Eagle along Ben Franklin Road and exposed himself around 3 p.m. The man then left the store.
Police said the man is his mid-30s, is about 5-feet-9 and weighs around 200 pounds. Police also said he has long black hair with a mullet cut and a mustache. He was wearing blue jeans, a black sweatshirt with a blue skull printed on the front and a loose pair of work boots.
TUESDAY, FEB. 25
The administration in the Indiana Area School District has extended the school year to make up days of classes lost to snow, ice and bitter cold this season. The district will hold classes on four days originally listed for snow makeup — March 17, April 17, April 22 and May 23 — then keep the schools open on Friday, June 6, one day after the scheduled last day for students.
District Superintendent Dale Kirsch told the school board Monday that the district may ask the state Department of Education to allow the district to excuse seniors from the additional day and to hold graduation as scheduled on June 5.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26
A Conemaugh Township man was left homeless after a fire destroyed his Nowrytown Road residence Tuesday night. According to Saltsburg Fire Chief John Dice, the fire gutted the home of James Prenni, of 19 Nowrytown Road. It was reported at 7:28 p.m. by a passer-by who saw smoke and flames coming from the two-story house, which sits at Nowrytown and Elders Ridge roads.
Prenni was not home at the time. In addition to Saltsburg, firefighters from Tunnelton, Iselin, Coal Run, Bell Township and Slickville responded.
THURSDAY, FEB. 27
Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been named as the host location for a prestigious, statewide awards ceremony recognizing artistic achievement. That ceremony, the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts, will be held Sept. 28 in Fisher Auditorium. The awards, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, are the state’s highest recognition given to those who have excelled in the arts.
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The Indiana Fire Association is proposing to move from its longtime home in the Indiana Borough building to a new station to be constructed along Philadelphia Street.
President Bill Simmons said the fire association has placed an offer on a site at Fifth and Philadelphia streets and will look to build a new station there. But the association has not yet closed on the property, something that is to take place within the next 90 days, Simmons said, and it is too soon to talk about the specifics of the proposed project, he said.
FRIDAY, FEB. 28
The harsh winter has been unforgiving on the highways and byways across Indiana County, leaving cracks and craters in roads that can do serious damage to vehicles.
Officials want to know about these trouble spots, and drivers in the area can report potholes by calling (724) 465-6512, or by emailing the location of the hole todfairman@indianaboro. com. Potholes on state roads can be reported to PennDOT by calling (800) FIX ROAD.
SATURDAY, MARCH 1
An SCI Pine Grove inmate was charged with aggravated assault and other offenses for allegedly punching and kicking a corrections officer. Larrie Derrick Jefferson, 37, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and single counts each of assault by prisoner, simple assault and harassment.
According to state police in Indiana, Jefferson punched and kicked corrections officer Clifford Allison, 48, following a verbal exchange between the two at the White Township prison on Feb. 14.
Allison suffered a cut to his lip and chin and abrasions on his head, according to reports.
Jefferson is serving 15- to 30-year sentence for third-degree murder.