Pandering charges

Pandering charges
LISBON -- A Middleton Township man faces criminal charges related to possessing illicit photos of a minor.
A Columbiana County grand jury secretly indicted George Brown Jr., 52, of state Route 7, on eight counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, each of which is a fourth-degree felony.
Brown is accused of having illicit pictures of a 14-year-old girl he knew.
Each offense bears a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail. Brown is free on a personal recognizance bond.
Investigating fire
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania state fire marshal's office is investigating a fire at a Pulaski Township man's home. The New Castle station of the Pennsylvania State Police said someone intentionally set a fire near a natural gas line Sunday at the home of Russell Graham, 28, of Lapin Road.
Police said Graham looked out a window of his home about 12:30 a.m. and saw flames. He was able to extinguish the fire before his home was damaged, police said.
Burglary attempts
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The Neshannock Township Police are seeking information about several burglary attempts at the Bellaire Apartments on Wilmington Road.
Police said within the past week someone has made several attempts to pry open the main exterior doors. On one occasion, police said a white man driving a green sport-utility vehicle was seen prying open a door, then the man left the area. Anyone with information that might aid the investigation is asked to call police at (724) 654-4211 or stop at the station at 3131 Mercer Road.
English urges VA action
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Phil English of Erie, R-50th, wants the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to reopen health-care enrollment for veterans. "The problem of veterans' access to the VA health system is reaching crisis level," English said, noting that area VA hospitals are full and some veterans have to wait two years for their first visit to a doctor.
The VA, faced with rising costs and tight budgets, has put a freeze on enrolling some lower-priority cases in its system, and English is urging VA Secretary Anthony Principi to reverse that decision.
The 2004 budget proposed by President Bush includes an 11 percent funding increase for the VA, and that money should be used to improve the department's health system, English said, adding that he supports the increase.
Competency evaluation
YOUNGSTOWN -- Municipal Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly ordered a competency evaluation for Stephanie M. Gardner, who police said tried to attack Bishop Norman Wagner at Mount Calvary Church on Feb. 2.
Gardner, 35, of Kansas City, Mo., was in court Monday for a preliminary hearing on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon and a pretrial on a charge of disorderly conduct. Police said she became enraged when told she would have to make an appointment to see the bishop. A loaded handgun and a full magazine were found in her pockets, reports show.
Teens charged in theft
YOUNGSTOWN -- Two North Side boys, 15 and 16, were arrested Monday afternoon after police recognized the car they were in as stolen. Police first spotted the car on Gypsy Lane and pursued it southbound on Coronado Avenue, where it stopped and the boys ran. The driver escaped.
The 15-year-old passenger, of Covington Street, was caught behind a garage on Goleta Avenue. He faces charges of receiving stolen property and possession of criminal tools (screwdriver). He identified the driver for police, who, after speaking to the boy's mother, arrested the 16-year-old Saranac Avenue boy at Choffin Career and Technical Center. The driver faces charges of receiving stolen property and no driver's license. Both boys were taken to the juvenile justice center.
Vienna seeks volunteers
VIENNA -- Individuals and organizations interested in helping with a community celebration planned for Aug. 1-2 are invited to an organizational meeting Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in the town hall.
Call Cheri Fiest at (330) 856-4585.

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