BRADFORD — A wandering Australian emu has been returned to its northwestern Pennsylvania owner.
The Bradford Era reports the bird was captured by Foster Township police and a former McKean County humane officer on Tuesday.
The bird's owner, Ken Hardy, of Corydon Township, says the bird is one of six he still owns after investing in the birds so he could raise them about 20 years ago.
It was unclear how the bird got free from Hardy's property, but it had been spotted in various portions of the county since Friday, including Marilla Reservoir, Glendorn, and several locations in and around Bradford in McKean County. That's about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Officials say they were able to subdue the bird because they chased it into some woods where it became disoriented.
Washington man guilty in sledgehammer attack on ex
WASHINGTON — A western Pennsylvania man has been convicted of attempted homicide for hitting his ex-girlfriend in the head with a sledgehammer, which he contends was an accident.
The Observer-Reporter of Washington, Pa. reports 48-year-old Paul Helmick, of Canton Township, was convicted Wednesday in the Jan. 29 attack on 51-year-old Lori Ann Phillips.
Helmick testified that he used the sledgehammer to beat on her apartment door because he wanted to confront a man he believed was in there with her. Helmick says she opened the door as he prepared to hammer it again and claims he just shoved aside the woman and hit her accidentally with the hammer in the process.
Washington County prosecutors say Phillips spent 11 days in the hospital with a fractured skull, a broken rib and now has dizzy spells and memory problems.
Police: Black man hates on disabled white official
CARNEGIE — Police have charged a black man with harassing a Pittsburgh-area borough official by screaming "I hate white people" as the woman arrived early for a council meeting.
Online court records don't list an attorney for 40-year-old David Settles, of Carnegie, whose phone number has been disconnected
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Thursday that Carnegie police filed harassment and disorderly conduct charges Tuesday against Settles stemming from the July 9 encounter with Carnegie borough Councilwoman Carol Covi.
The 65-year-old white woman, who uses a motorized scooter because of a disability, tells police that Settles ran up to her that afternoon and shouted, "I hate white people. I hate all white people." Police say Settles also screamed profanities and told the 4-foot-7-inch woman to leave or "you'll be sorry."
Police: Mom hacked her kids' grades
NEW TRIPOLI — A Pennsylvania woman allegedly changed her children's grades after logging into a school computer system using passwords obtained when she worked for the district.
Investigators say Catherine Venusto used the Northwestern Lehigh School District superintendent's password to change the grades. She was arraigned Wednesday on a half-dozen felony counts and released on bail.
Officials say Venusto changed a failing grade to a medical exception for he daughter in 2010, when she was still a district secretary. The New Tripoli woman is also accused of bumping one of her son's grades from 98 to 99 percent in February.
State police say Venusto admitted changing the grades, saying she thought her actions were unethical but not illegal.
A phone listing for Venusto could not immediately be located Thursday.
Teacher convicted of having sex with 2 teens
LANCASTER — A central Pennsylvania jury needed just two hours to convict a teacher of having sexual relationships with two teens, including one from the school where she worked
Thirty-four-year-old former McCaskey High School teacher Christy Lee Smith was convicted on 18 of 22 counts involving relationships she had with teens between 2008 and 2010.
Both victims testified during Smith's trial in Lancaster County court. Prosecutors say both men, now 19 and 20, had similar accounts of the relationships and shared specific details about Smith and her apartment that couldn't be fabricated.
One victim met Smith through the school, the other a dance class.
Smith's attorney declined comment after the verdict.
Sentencing will take place in about three months.
Kennywood Park agrees to beer conditions
WEST MIFFLIN — A Pittsburgh-area amusement park has agreed to limit proposed beer sales to satisfy a state lawmaker who had planned to fight the park's application for a liquor license.
State Liquor Control Board officials aren't commenting on Kennywood Park's pending license. But state Sen. Jim Ferlo says he's satisfied with the conditions park officials have agreed to in order to maintain the park's "family-friendly" atmosphere.
Some of the key conditions are limiting sales to two beers per person, using an electronic scanning device to check customer IDs, and limiting beer sales to a garden area near the park's lagoon. The park would also restrict beer sales to 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on school picnic days.
The park in West Mifflin traces its history to 1898 and still operates two rollercoasters that date to the 1920s.
Worker dies when truck hits downed pole
MUDDY CREEK — State police say a western Pennsylvania man was killed when a truck hit the downed utility pole he was trying to haul away.
Investigators say 29-year-old Allan Greenwood died Tuesday when a tri-axle truck clipped the pole that was partly blocking a road in Muddy Creek, Butler County. The truck then fled the scene.
Authorities say Greenwood was working for a company that was removing the downed pole.
Officials are seeking information on the truck that struck the downed pole.
Police: Man sprayed girlfriend with solvent
PITTSBURGH — A retired firefighter who was arrested following a standoff last month is facing charges after police say he sprayed his girlfriend in the face with caustic cleaning chemicals.
Investigators say 41-year-old Marc Vrane sprayed a cleaning solvent in his girlfriend's mouth and face on Monday, then threatened her and his parents after she fled to their home.
Vrane faces charges including aggravated assault and harassment. He's being held on $10,000 bail.
Vrane was arrested last month following a three-hour standoff after neighbors said he was firing a gun into trees near his Pittsburgh home. The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun.
Pittsburgh police tell WPXI-TV Vrane has mental health issues.
Chilling video shows Philly child abduction try
PHILADELPHIA — Police are seeking the man who tried to abduct a 10-year-old Philadelphia girl in broad daylight but fled after the girl struggled and screamed.
Surveillance footage shows the man approach the girl from behind as she walked with her 2-year-old brother on Tuesday. The man puts his hand over the girl's mouth and tries to carry her away.
The attempted abduction lasts only seconds before the man runs to his car and drives off. Police say the man followed the children, even leaving his car door open with the apparent intention of dragging the girl to the vehicle.
Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the man's arrest.
The girl suffered superficial injuries.