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editor's pick
Man convicted in county's first drug delivery resulting in death trial gets 15 to 30 years in prison

A judge on Friday imposed a sentence of 15 to 30 years on a Philadelphia man who was the first to stand trial in Washington County for drug delivery resulting in death.

A jury convicted Michael Martin, 36, of causing the drug overdose death of Stacey L. Greenawalt, 30, 2½ years ago, along with related charges.

State law was rewritten in 2011 to make it possible to convict someone for “drug delivery resulting in death” without having to prove an intention to kill the victim.

Greenawalt’s father found her dead after she collapsed in the bathroom of his Fredericktown area home in December 2016 after she had been staying elsewhere with Martin.

Laboratory tests showed she had died of combined toxicity of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.

Judge Gary Gilman, who presided at Martin’s trial in March, heard statements from Greenawalt’s friends and family at the sentencing Friday.

Megin Appel, a friend of Greenawalt’s, told of feeling “emptiness that no one will have her here anymore” and expressing sadness that Greenawalt’s two young children have lost forever nurturing from their mother.

They said Martin, who maintained his innocence, showed no emotion and declined to apologize.

After the verdict, Martin’s court-appointed attorney, Mark Adams, said he expects to appeal the case to Superior Court.

Assistant District Attorney Rachel Wheeler requested a sentence of 16 to 32 years because Martin, who was on parole, was convicted on a host of charges involving drug possession and dealing plus illegal possession of firearms as a convicted felon in addition to the death.

Martin and others were staying at a house on Martindale Road near Fredericktown at the time of his initial arrest Dec. 8, 2016, when state police executed a search warrant and confiscated evidence of drug dealing.

editor's pick
Student paralyzed in ATV accident walks to pick up diploma

Less than 13 months ago, Audriana “Bug” Michrina was injured in an ATV accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down.

On Friday, the 18-year-old walked across the stage at Chartiers-Houston’s stadium to accept her diploma.

Michrina’s classmates Ty Mazutis and James Dillie carried her wheelchair up the steps and onto the stage, and English teacher Erin Gasper helped her lock her leg braces.

Then, Michrina pushed herself to her feet, and using her braces and a walker, she made her way to center stage, where school board president Richard Hall hugged her and handed her the diploma.

She received a standing ovation from her classmates and the crowd in attendance, including nearly three dozen people wearing “Bug’s Battle Buddies” T-shirts.

“It was overwhelming, but exciting,” said Michrina.

Michrina said she made it her goal a few months after the May 13 accident to walk at graduation.

“I was determined I was going to do it,” she said.

Michrina was paralyzed on Mother’s Day in 2018, two days after prom, when an ATV on which she was a passenger flipped and landed on her.

Michrina was transported from Canonsburg Hospital to Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, where an orthopedic surgeon performed a 6-hour operation and inserted two rods and 12 screws in her broken back.

Doctors told Michrina she had less than a 10 percent chance to walk again.

Michrina spent 10 days at AGH, followed by 82 days as a patient at Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital, where she underwent intensive therapy, pushing herself to meet her goal of walking at graduation.

She travels to Harmarville twice a week for therapy, focusing on core and upper body strength training.

“This is her moment to shine. She’s earned this,” said Holly Michrina-Wargo, Audriana’s mother. “She’s amazing. She’s unstoppable. She’s very brave. There were a few nights we laid awake at Harmarville and we talked about the situation, so there were a few moments, but I reassured her this is not the end of her life, the journey doesn’t end here.”

In fact, Michrina’s journey is just beginning.

She plans to attend Duquesne University in the fall, where she has enrolled as an undecided major.

She’s had what she described as an “amazing senior year.”

Michrina was elected to the homecoming and prom courts, and teachers and administrators worked with her to make sure she could graduate on time, with her classmates.

A typical teenager, she attended high school football games, and enjoyed shopping and spending time with friends.

Michrina, who played for Chartiers-Houston girls volleyball team and soccer, is determined to get better.

“I just kind of think positively about all of it. I don’t tell myself I won’t walk again, I say, ‘When I walk again,’” said Michrina, who returned to school in November, six months after the accident. “I tell myself that it might not be the best right now, but it’s the best at this moment.”

Michrina keeps up to date on advancements in science and bionic technology that offer hope to spinal cord injury patients, and she reads inspirational biographies of people like Victoria Arlen, who went from being paralyzed at age 11 to Dancing With the Stars.

She also met surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm to a shark in 2003 at age 13 and was surfing again less than a month later.

Michrina and her mother are grateful, too, for the Chartiers-Houston School District and their family and friends, who have made sure she is not alone on her journey to recovery.

Coaches, teachers and friends visited often when she was hospitalized, and provided emotional and financial support to Michrina -whose father, Frank Wargo, died in 2015 – and her mother.

Her volleyball coach, Sean Cleary, purchased specially designed Nike tennis shoes with a zipper in the back that allow her braces to fit. Michrina wore them to walk at graduation.

Family and friends also renovated Michrina’s home in Stabane, converting the dining room into a first-floor bedroom, and adding a handicapped-accessible bathroom.

“I’m eternally grateful to everybody,” said Michrina-Wargo, who has documented her daughter’s progress on a Facebook page, Audri’s Army. “We couldn’t have done this by ourselves. I couldn’t have gotten through it without everyone who kept me strong so that I could be strong for Bug.”

Michrina experiences severe nerve pain in her legs and gets leg spasms, for which she takes medication.

But she wants to live a normal life and try new things, so when a family friend of Michrina-Wargo’s loaned the pair his property in Maui in January, she went scuba diving and horseback riding.

Michrina said she wants to be an inspiration for other young adults who are paralyzed.

“Now that this has happened, I’m hoping that if there’s anyone who end up in the situation I was in, that they can talk to me,” said Michrina. “I can tell them my experience, how I did it, and they’ll know they will be able to do it, too.”

From Washington, D.C., to Washington, Pa., Rudy Stolfer drums for a cause

An international movement begun by a Swedish schoolgirl who seeks to combat climate change has inspired a local man to promote a movement known as “Fridays for Future.”

Every Friday since March 15, Rudy Stolfer has literally been beating a drum in Washington to draw attention to a planet preservation movement begun by Greta Thunberg, whom he called “the 15-year-old Swedish girl who’s changing the world.”

Thunberg, now 16, became famous for camping out at her country’s parliament building, boycotting classes as part of a school strike to draw attention to rising temperatures and sea levels. Her Twitter account has 669,100 followers.

A four-year Marine Corps veteran, Stolfer arrives each Friday morning at the veterans pavilion on South Main Street with his djembe, a goblet-shaped wooden drum with a goatskin drumhead that traces its origins to West Africa.

“This is my weapon of choice,” he said of the drum he said he purchased uptown. “We need to wake up. I mean, this town is owned by fossil fuel.”

Carved vertically on the drum are letters that spell “Walt Roots,” which Stolfer said represents the saying “we are living the results of our thoughts,” which he attributed to a Cherokee medicine woman.

“Me and Walt have been at it for a while,” he said, harking back to protests at the turn of the 21st century during which he provided a rhythmic backdrop in Washington, D.C.’s, Lafayette Park across from the White House.

He was wearing a stars-and-stripes bandana yesterday, pointing out that his flag apparel was upside-down as a distress signal because “the corporatocracy’s in charge.”

As a cancer survivor whose drinking water comes from a well, he said he’s concerned about pollution from “coal, oil, nukes and gas. I grew up here. I know we’re all asleep in this place.”

Stolfer played drums in grade school at Lone Pine and graduated from Trinity High School 52 years ago on the day of his interview, describing his age as, “I’m going to leave the 60s this year.”

Along the sidewalks of the nation’s capital, Stolfer said he met visitors from all over the world, concluding, “We’re not a lot different.”

Stolfer said he hopes to drum on South Main Street every Friday morning through Sept. 20.

Associated Press 

Food Healthy Breakfast Bowl

Associated Press

Associated Press

A pumpkin and spice breakfast bowl