Thursday, August 2, 2012

Morning Briefing | 2 rider deaths come before Pittsburgh BikeFest - The Tribune-Democrat

PITTSBURGH â€" Two fatal crashes involving bicyclists on a busy street have Pittsburgh officials suggesting riders use alternate routes as the city prepares to host its annual two-week celebration of two-wheeled transportation.

Police say one rider died after being struck late Tuesday by an unlicensed driver on Penn Avenue, just over the city line in Wilkinsburg. Another bicyclist died a July 25 after being struck by a hit-and-run driver just a couple blocks away where the street crosses into Pittsburgh.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Bike Pittsburgh director Scott Bricker suggested riders avoid Penn Avenue in favor of less-busy side streets. Bricker says the onus should be on drivers to be more considerate but his main goal is rider safety.

Bike Pittsburgh hosts its annual BikeFest starting Sunday with a 63-mile through city streets opening the event.

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The Meadows Casino fined for minor gambling

HOUSTON, Pa.. â€" The Meadows Racetrack and Casino has been fined $45,000 by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for four instances of allowing underage people to gamble.

The gaming board says the casino about 15 miles south of Pittsburgh self-reported the violations which occurred between March 24 and May 19 and involved four people aged 18 to 20. The legal gambling age is 21.

The underage gamblers were playing slot machines or table games.

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Pittsburgh says 'critical' firefighter was paid

PITTSBURGH â€" Pittsburgh officials say in court documents they had already cut a $16,000 check to cover a retired firefighter's sick pay before he sued claiming the money was being withheld for criticizing city street crews in a TV news interview just days before he retired.

The 56-year-old retiree, David Cerminara, sued alleging the city retaliated after he told KDKA-TV he thought it was "stupid, and a waste of taxpayer money" when lines painted on a city street near the fire station in May were removed hours later when the street was repaved.

Cerminara's July 5 lawsuit contends the city public safety director disciplined him and withheld his accrued sick pay in retaliation. But the city says the check was cut on June 29.

Cerminara's attorney claims he still had to threaten to sue to get the check.

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Closing arguments set in Pittsburgh beating trial

PITTSBURGH â€" Attorneys are set to deliver closing arguments in the trial of a young black man's lawsuit claiming he was wrongly beaten and arrested by three white Pittsburgh police officers in January 2010.

The federal court jurors will be asked to decide three things: whether the officers wrongly arrested, maliciously prosecuted or used excessive force in stopping and arresting then-18-year-old Jordan Miles.

A district judge threw out charges that Miles was prowling and assaulted police. The officers contend Miles ran from and fought with them after they saw him lurking near a neighbor's house with a gun-like bulge in his pocket.

But Miles contends he wasn't near the house, panicked and thought the officers were robbing him when they failed to identify themselves, and didn't have a gun â€" nor even the soda bottle police claim was in his pocket.

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Washington County woman, 18, claims rape by online date match

MCDONALD â€" Police say they're looking for an unidentified man who allegedly raped an 18-year-old Washington County woman at a secluded gas well site after meeting her through an online dating site.

The man told the woman he was 20-year-old Enzo Scott and says he lived near Canonsburg, though police are not sure if any of that is true.

The woman says the man picked her up Tuesday evening after they met online then drove her to the rural location in Robinson Township where she was raped. Police say the man then drove the woman back to McDonald, the borough where she lives, where she got out and walked home.

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Maine man gets life in 2010 Pa. abduction rape

ERIE â€" A registered sex offender from Maine will spend the rest of his life in prison for kidnapping and raping a woman in a northwestern Pennsylvania national forest two years ago.

A federal judge sentenced Mike Beaulieu to life plus seven years in prison for the August 2010 abduction and sex assault involving a couple in the Allegheny National Forest.

Beaulieu was arrested in Canada after the victims said he accosted them at gunpoint, tied up the man and raped the woman.

The Anson, Maine man pleaded guilty in March in hopes of a lesser sentence. But the judge called Beaulieu a "violent recidivist who will remain a threat to society until the day he dies."

Beaulieu's rap sheet includes a 2005 sex assault conviction.

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Judge weighs charges in Cumberland County SUV slaying

CARLISLE â€" A central Pennsylvania woman says her ex-husband indicated he'd kill her boyfriend in the days before the man was fatally shot in front of her and her three children.

Ashley Murray described in testimony Wednesday how her then-estranged husband Ricky Miller killed Kenneth Geiger as he sat in a vehicle with Murray and her children in July 2009.

A Cumberland County judge is deciding whether Miller should face first- or third-degree charges in Geiger's death.

Authorities say Miller, of Gap, shot Geiger in the head through the driver's side window after trapping the vehicle near Geiger's Hampden Township home.

Police say Geiger emailed police a day before the shooting that he feared for his life after getting a message from Miller that it was "hunting season" on his street.

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