Metro Beat 6-26

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PA. CROWD, COUNCILMAN CHEER GAY MARRIAGE DECISIONS

PITTSBURGH (AP) — At least 250 people gathered on a downtown Pittsburgh street closed for the occasion were cheering U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage.

City Councilman Bruce Kraus told the crowd Wednesday morning, “To my fellow gay, lesbian, transsexual and queer friends, welcome to full equality.”

City police have issued a permit for Wednesday’s rally on Liberty Avenue, during which a portion of the busy downtown artery was to remain closed from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh organized the rally, which was called “Riot or Rejoice.”

The Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which kept married same-sex-couples from receiving some legal benefits that heterosexual couples receive, while another decision left in place a trial court’s decision that California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.

 

FORMER W. PA. POSTMASTER CHARGED WITH THEFT

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A former western Pennsylvania postmaster has been indicted by a grand jury on allegations he embezzled funds.

Prosecutors say in a Wednesday release that 47-year-old Lawrence F. Stoken III of Export allegedly took over $13,000 in stamps and postal money orders between October 2011 and March 2013.

Stoken was the former Rural Valley postmaster in Armstrong County. That’s about 50 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

A number listed for Stoken was not in service.

DEPUTY KNOCKED OUT AS PA. TEEN ESCAPES COURTROOM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A western Pennsylvania sheriff’s deputy was recovering after being knocked unconscious while tackling a defendant who ran out of a juvenile court hearing.

The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday was not identifying the deputy or the juvenile, because charges against minors are usually not public record.

But according to a news release, the incident happened about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday after a judge ordered the boy confined in the county-run Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.

That’s when the boy ran out of the courtroom and down the main stairwell at the county’s Family Law Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

The deputy tackled the youth and was knocked unconscious when his head hit a wall. The youth was not injured.

The deputy was revived by other at the scene, then treated and released from UPMC Mercy hospital.

 

PITTSBURGH RESPONDS TO UPMC’S TAX DISPUTE SUIT

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Claims by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that the mayor is challenging the hospital network’s tax-exempt status to deflect attention from a grand jury investigation of city finances are as “irrelevant as they are ridiculous,” an attorney for the city and the mayor said in a new court filing.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl sued this year, asking a judge to declare that UPMC shouldn’t be tax-exempt because it operates more like a for-profit business in some respects than a charity.

UPMC then responded with a federal lawsuit claiming Ravenstahl’s suit was violating its civil rights and meant to divert attention from former Chief Nate Harper’s resignation and indictment on charges relating to a slush fund, as well as a continuing federal investigation that now appears to be focusing on Ravenstahl.

UPMC’s amended complaint “contains a breathtaking mix of innuendo and illogical leaps,” city attorney E. J. Strassburger wrote Tuesday, challenging UPMC’s attempt to link the timing of the tax-status lawsuit to the unrelated federal probe.

UPMC spokesman Paul Wood then responded to the city’s latest court filing by calling Ravenstahl’s attack on UPMC’s tax-exempt status “bizarre and breathtakingly improper” and “shameful.”

 

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