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Acquitted cops return



Published: Sat, February 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Acquitted cops return

YOUNGSTOWN -- City police officers Mark Rakocy and Christopher Lombard, acquitted this week of robbery charges, have returned to work.

Both had been on unpaid suspension while criminal charges were pending against them. They were accused of robbing a Struthers man in the restroom of the Pulse bar in March 2001.

Immediately after their acquittal Tuesday, Police Chief Richard Lewis said their suspended status would not change until after he consulted with the city law department.

Atty. Dennis DiMartino, who represents Rakocy, said they were allowed to go back to work Thursday.

Lewis said earlier this week that the officers could still face disciplinary action within the department, but could not be reached to say whether that's still the case. DiMartino did not know whether disciplinary action is still possible.

Tapes submitted

CLEVELAND -- U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. submitted three audiotapes to federal court Friday as part of the evidence he intends to use at his racketeering trial, which begins Monday. The tapes were recorded Thursday, the Poland Democrat said in his notification to the court.

Charge dropped

NILES -- Charges of passing bad checks against an employee of a steel company have been dismissed. The misdemeanor charge against Zita Schmeltzer, an employee of HM Steel's Cleveland office, were filed last week in Niles Municipal Court and dismissed Friday.

The charge had been filed by an employee. Some employees have said in recent weeks that they haven't been paid or their checks have bounced. HM Steel bought the former Hunter Steel Co. on Hunter Avenue in February 2001 and renovated the building and equipment.

Trumbull County and the city of Niles gave HM a 10-year, 75 percent property tax abatement and the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 55-percent, 10-year tax credit for the company.

Greenville meeting

GREENVILLE, Pa. -- A public meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Greenville High School to review the borough's financial status for taxpayers has been postponed. It has been rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the high school and will include a report from the borough's auditor. Greenville Borough Council is trying to rework a 2002 budget that shows a $90,000 revenue shortfall.

Protecting kids

NORTH LIMA -- "Protecting children online" will be the topic of Lt. Ken Frost and Officer Dan Valentine of the Beaver Township Police Department in a free, public seminar on computer crime for parents at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the South Range High School auditorium. Free child care will be provided for ages 3 and up. The one-hour seminar will cover computer terminology, various types of computer crimes and how they occur, chat rooms and how to prevent your child from being influenced by a "computer friend." The event is sponsored by the South Range PTO.

9 to 5 workshop

WARREN --The local chapter of the National Association of Working Women, called 9 to 5, is sponsoring a cultural awareness workshop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 16.

The event is $5, including lunch, and will be at the Upton House, 380 Mahoning Ave.

For more information, call (330) 395-6913 or (330) 369-2440.

Telephones down

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A winter storm in western New York state left some people in Lawrence and Mercer counties without telephone service.

Fairpoint Communication, a local telephone service provider, lost telephone service to about 2,000 customers in western Pennsylvania when a tree fell on a fiber optic line, said Bob Ingram, senior vice president of operations and engineering at Fairpoint's headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.

Telephone service had not been restored Friday afternoon to customers in Lawrence County that included a local talk radio station, WKST-AM, the Neshannock Township Municipal building and several businesses, said Frank Janetti, director of 911 operations for Lawrence County.

Janetti did not know how many Fairpoint customers are in Lawrence County, but said most are businesses.

Ingram said about 2,000 customers were affected in the following areas: New Castle, Sharon, Oil City, Franklin, Erie, Altoona, Clarion, Dubois, State College, Warren and Indiana, Pa.

Roof blows off

NEW CASTLE -- High winds, sometimes gusting over 50 mph, blew the roof off a building at Riley's Fun Spot on U.S. Route 224 in Union Township at 12:02 p.m., according to a 911 dispatcher. No injuries were reported. The recreational facility features batting cages and miniature golf.




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