YEAR IN REVIEW PART II | Looking back at the second half of 2022
-YEAR IN REVIEW PART II-
We bring you part two of the year in review, a look back at the past six months in local Gazette 2.0 news coverage. In our last edition, we selected the best stories in local news from the first half of 2022 as part of our two-part year-in-review series. This week we’re bringing you the highlights from July through December as we cap off 2022 and look ahead to the new year.
As we reflect on 2022, the Gazette 2.0 team at hyperLOCAL Media LLC is extremely proud of our consistent delivery of honest and thoughtful reporting throughout the communities we serve. We work hard to improve with each subsequent edition.
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The Sto-Rox School board unanimously voted to appoint Andrew Lisiecki to head up the district’s police force. The Sto-Rox school district looked to address escalating safety concerns by hiring new security specialists for all three buildings. School directors approved the positions and authorized the beginning of the hiring process during their April 28 business meeting. The move was mandated by the state-mandated recovery plan.
An investigation revealed Lisiecki had a long history of suing former employers, settling with the City of Pittsburgh for $95,000 and winning a suit against the North Huntingdon Police force for unlawful firing. For that suit, Lisiecki was awarded $600,000.
Lisiecki was a central figure in the 1998 Jeffrey Cooperstein murder trial which was notorious at the time for involving accusations of racial bias against Cooperstein who was white, was accused of shooting a Black motorist named Deron S. Grimmitt Sr. following a car chase through the Hill District. Lisiecki initiated the chase that resulted in Grimmitt’s death and testified on Cooperstein’s behalf. Cooperstein was acquitted, but the trial became a flashpoint about race and policing. Lisiecki later sued Pittsburgh, saying he was demoted because of his support of Cooperstein.
During a 2010 prostitution sting in Green Tree, where he was Police Chief for three years, he was accused of taking his clothes off and allowing a sex worker to initiate a sexual act before arresting her. The woman filed a criminal complaint against him. The incident was widely reported at the time in a variety of news outlets and he admitted to it in the press. However, Lisiecki was not disciplined. Stephen Zappala Jr., district attorney for Allegheny County declined to prosecute and Green Tree council members did not reprimand him.
During their August 11th meeting, the district rescinded Lisiecki’s hiring and brought on private security firm The Commission, LLC.
Ingram said goodbye to its volunteer ambulance services and welcomed NorthWest EMS as its sole provider on July 1. Before this, Ingram’s volunteer ambulance had been the primary provider for 49 years.
Pet food bank
To combat increasing need, the Focus on Renewal Pet Food Pantry opened July 19 at 500 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks. Thanks to a partnership with Animal Friends, a no-kill animal shelter, residents who visit the food pantry can pick up chow for their cats and dogs.
Robbie Boyer, a woman accused of exposing her grandchildren to street drugs leading to the overdose of a 10-month-old-baby, had long been the subject of consternation to her neighbors before the July 31 incident. Neighbors had complained of drug dealing and other criminal behavior centered on the Fair Oaks residence Boyer rented. She fled the scene and was not apprehended until the end of August, when she returned to her home. Boyer was charged with an additional warrant stating the two other children Boyer babysat, a 3-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl identified as her other two grandchildren, tested positive for exposure to drugs.
The Sto-Rox Teacher Union ratified a one-year contract extension after working the previous year without. School directors unanimously voted in favor of the contract.
The teachers union ratified the agreement July 31, avoiding a strike.
Negotiations on a successive agreement will begin in early January 2023, according to a press release from the district.
Teachers received a 4% raise.
With the help of $3.5 million in Commonwealth Financing Authority funding, a 25-acre parcel in Pittsburgh’s Fairywood neighborhood is set to become the home of two new 150,000-square-foot single-user warehouses. Ferguson Enterprise LLC, plumbing, HVAC and industrial product distributor, in June, signed a lease for one of the warehouse spots. Construction was scheduled to begin at the site of the former Broadhead Manor public housing development located near Thornburg, Crafton and Ingram in October.
An overflowing dumpster on Sarah Street which had been causing consternation to neighbors for several years was finally removed after an article in Gazette 2.0 detailed the problem.
McKees Rocks has been dealing with landlords who are delinquent in paying tax and sewage bills and maintaining properties. The landlord in question had unpaid tax bills across Allegheny County, not just in McKees Rocks, and did not have a permit to own rental property in McKees Rocks. The council met with the offending landlord, which caused him to act.
As of late, borough officials have been discussing ways to crack down on similarly offending landlords.