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This Just In: July 3 - 10

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Chancy Gardner

Summary: A man wielding a weed-whacker creates some small-town havoc. Reporter: Jennifer Miele, WTAE Channel 4 Airtime: 1 minutes, 39 seconds on June 25 Visuals: * The underside of a "line trimmer" -- its gasoline-powered engine going full force -- slowly being directed toward the camera in a menacing fashion! * A special Wayne's World effect in which the camera unsteadily zooms in and out on the weed-whacker -- so that we are really frightened! Highlights: * When Miele reports, "An allegedly horrific crime playing out in a peaceful neighborhood of southwest Greensburg. Police say [a 67-year-old man] attacked his neighbor with a running weed-whacker because his neighbor told him to get off his property. Police say he aimed right for his neighbor's face." * When the purported victim's wife alleges, "He, um, pointed the weed-whacker at my husband while it was going full speed, and my husband put his hand up to stop it from hitting his face, and at that time, um, he injured his hand." * When Miele proudly informs us: "This is the actual weed-eater that police say cut his hand and leg that we're told are still raw. Neighbors say this isn't the first time [the 67-year-old] has been violent with neighbors. He was convicted of punching a teen-age neighbor for parking in front of his home, arrested again for allegedly spraying another neighbor with a power-washer -- that case was thrown out of court. Then he was charged for harassing his 80-year-old neighbor lady, who promised to drop the charges if he moved; he never did. One neighbor is so afraid she wouldn't show her face on camera." * When the faceless neighbor pleads, "We just want peace in our neighborhood. There's no peace here." * When Miele says, "[The suspect] is charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. [He] was released on $10,000 unsecured bond and as terms of his release, the judge ordered him to stay away from the southwest Greensburg neighborhood until his hearing in August. We're told he's currently living at a home in Mount Pleasant Township -- that's about 15 miles from the alleged attack." What We Learned: That even the high price of gas isn't enough to deter some from using gas-powered weed-whackers. Unanswered Question: You're supposed to attack your neighbors with chainsaws, aren't you? News Value: 1. The neighborhood doesn't sound too "peaceful" to me, Jennifer. The entire story seems slightly overstated, and the visuals, well, are just too over-the-top -- even though I certainly empathize with the real fear the neighbors say they have.

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