Mercer Co. official suspended from job

Mercer Co. officialsuspended from job
MERCER, Pa. -- Mercer County Fiscal Director Jeff Swartzbeck has been suspended from his job. County Commissioners Gene Brenneman and Olivia Lazor confirmed the suspension Monday but wouldn't say why Swartzbeck was suspended or what kind of investigation the county is doing.
"He's not at work. That's all I can say," Brenneman said. Lazor said Swartzbeck was suspended with pay Thursday but declined to say more, noting it is a personnel matter.
Roberta Leonard, assistant fiscal director for the county, is running the office in his absence. Swartzbeck is also a Mercer Borough councilman and is seeking re-election this year. He has an unlisted telephone number and couldn't be reached to comment.
Aiding homeless
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- Westminster College's chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national, coed service fraternity, is holding a Quad-a-Thon in an effort to raise awareness of homelessness tonight.
At 8 p.m. in Wallace Memorial Chapel, Sister Claire Marie from the Prince of Peace shelter in Farrell will speak on homelessness and the shelter's efforts in the area.
After the presentation, members of Alpha Phi Omega will take cardboard boxes to Westminster College Quad, where they will sleep from 10 tonight to 5 a.m. Wednesday. For each person who sleeps in the quad, Alpha Phi Omega will donate $2 to the shelter. A collection also will take place across campus the rest of the week.
Grant for heart device
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The Neshannock Township Volunteer Fire Company will receive a $1,000 grant from The Prudential Helping Hearts program to buy a portable cardiac defibrillator.
The money will be handed over to township officials at 7 tonight at the fire station. The grant is part of a nationwide effort by Prudential to outfit local emergency workers with the lifesaving devices.
Defibrillators administer jolts of electricity to reset the heart's natural rhythm once a person has gone into cardiac arrest.
Fire school refunds
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Registered pupils and fire departments scheduled to participate in the 44th annual Mercer County Fire School will have their registration fees returned.
The event, scheduled for this past weekend, was canceled out of respect for firefighters who lost their lives in New York City. Some of the classes will be scheduled later.
Facing drug charges
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Police arrested a man accused of selling cocaine to an undercover Pennsylvania State Police officer.
Anthony Raymond Burroughs, 38, of Raymond Street faces two counts each of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy. Police said the arrest stems from an undercover sting in January and February in New Castle. They arrested Burroughs on Monday at his home, and he was arraigned before District Justice Melissa Amodie. Burroughs was placed in the Lawrence County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
House fire investigation
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal is investigating a house fire on Arlington Avenue. New Castle Fire Chief James Donston said firefighters were called to 832 Arlington Ave. at 6:34 p.m. Sunday.
He said the fire started in a first-floor rear room and there was severe fire and heat damage throughout the house. Owner Roy Prosser was not home when the fire started, Donston said. The American Red Cross is assisting Prosser and housemate Michelle Lepisto, he said. Firefighters estimated damage at $20,000.

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