Metro Beat…Sheriff warns of jury duty calls from fake deputy

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – The county sheriff based in Pittsburgh says someone pretending to be a deputy has been calling residents and threatening to arrest them for missing jury duty unless they paid him money.

The Allegheny County sheriff’s office says the caller used the name of a real lieutenant, but made the calls from a cellphone. The number had been disconnected by Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office says the calls are a scam and that citizens will not be notified over the phone if there’s a warrant for their arrest. Rather, deputies will appear in person to make the arrest.

The two calls reported over the weekend targeted elderly residents, including one message left on an answering machine for a person who died four years ago

 

62,000 UPMC employees have ‘work day’ smoking ban

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Some 62,000 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center employees can no longer take smoking breaks or otherwise use tobacco during the work day.

UPMC previously made its hospitals and campuses smoke-free in 2007, though workers could leave the grounds and buildings to smoke.

But starting Tuesday, employees, doctors, students and volunteers can no longer take smoke breaks.

The hospital network has offered a free smoking cessation program to its employees since announcing the policy a year ago. UPMC still hires smokers, but they must either quit or refrain from tobacco use during their shifts.

UPMC says slightly more than 10 percent of its employees reported using tobacco in a recent survey. Roughly 280 workers had signed up for the cessation program through Jan. 31.

Pittsburgh gets $30M HUD grant to fight blight

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh is one of four U.S. cities to receive $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to building housing, parks, streets and social services.

Pittsburgh plans to use the money in Larimer, a blighted, high-crime neighborhood. City officials believe they can leverage as much as $90 million more funding from other sources with the HUD money and hope to use the money to build 350 units of housing in the next 10 years.

About $21 million of the money will be used to replace 155 units at two housing developments, one owned by the Pittsburgh Housing Authority and the other subsidized by HUD.

Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; and Norwalk, Connecticut are the other three cities to receive the grants this year.

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