Metro Beat March 27…Pittsburgh board votes to sell 2 vacant schools

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Pittsburgh school board has voted 8-1 to sell two vacant schools in order to raise money for the cash-starved district.

Board members decided Wednesday to sell the Madison School in the city’s Hill District to Schenley Heights Community Development program for $65,000.

The board also voted to sell Burgwin School in Hazelwood for $475,000 to the Hazelwood Initiative for use as a Propel charter school and for community programs.

Both schools were closed in 2006.

In 2012, the school district a real estate company to evaluate vacant school buildings.

Last year, the district sold the former Schenley High School in Oakland and McCleary School in Lawrenceville. Both are being converted for residential use.

The board last year approved sale of Morningside School to the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Census: Pa. population increases slightly

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pennsylvania’s population rose modestly last year, as did counties around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Census Bureau estimates released Thursday show that the state’s population last July 1 was 12,773,801. That’s about 9,300 more people than the previous year.

Some metro areas gained population, while many rural counties continued to lose people.

Philadelphia County population increased by 4,518 in 2013, to 1,553,165. That’s a gain of about 4,500. Population in Allegheny County rose by 1,615, to 1,231,527.

Luzerne County declined the most, with a drop of 1,320 people.

Philadelphia’s growth last year primarily stemmed from births and foreign immigrants. After peaking at more than 2 million people in 1950, the city’s population began a 50-year decline that paralleled the loss of its manufacturing base.

Pittsburgh symphony postpones plan to visit Iran

PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra says it has postponed plans to perform in Iran this August, but still hopes to reschedule for next season.

The Pittsburgh Symphony was the last American orchestra to perform in Iran, in 1964. Officials had hoped to return for a 50th anniversary tour. James Wilkinson, president of the symphony, says in a statement that they need to devote more time to planning.

The American Middle East Institute, which was also working on the trip, says the idea has made progress on many fronts. The group plans to continue to work with the State Department to make the trip happen.

Defense: Woman didn’t buy bullets for Pa. murder

PITTSBURGH (AP) -

An attorney representing a woman accused of helping to buy bullets later used to kill a western Pennsylvania man says his client isn’t guilty because she didn’t actually purchase the items.

Twenty-one-year-old Chalsee Hughes of Duquesne is charged with second- and third-degree murder in Westmoreland County in the December 2012 slaying of 36-year-old Chris Fincik.

Prosecutors say the bullets were purchased only three hours before the slaying, which authorities say occurred during a botched robbery.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/1m5N4Cu ) reports that defense attorney Tim Andrews said Hughes didn’t know that Fincik was the target of a robbery and didn’t actually buy the bullets, only showed her identification so that others could purchase them.

Hughes’ boyfriend, 20-year-old Earl Pinkney of Monessen, is scheduled for trial later in the case.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com

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