The coldest homicide case in Indiana County

A Civic Project story

Pauline Fumea Alexander at her kitchen table in her Blairsville home, August 4, 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

Pauline Fumea Alexander at her kitchen table in her Blairsville home, August 4, 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

By The HawkEye staff

BLAIRSVILLE — Pauline Fumea Alexander, 79, has known who murdered her husband since a couple of teenage boys found his decomposing bullet-riddled remains by a swimming hole near here on a broiling Sept. 23, 1985.

“He was the last person to see my husband alive,” Alexander said over coffee and pie on May 19 at Dean’s Diner on U.S. Route 22. “And he wouldn’t take a lie detector.”

Alexander’s allegations regale a group of regulars gathered around her vinyl and Formica booth, a Greek chorus recalling the killing, accusing their prime suspect and recounting the confrontations that have shadowed him here ever since, they say. The man they suspect, a Blairsville resident, has had run-ins with local authorities for offenses that range from moving violations to drug violations, police and court records report.

But Pauline Alexander says she does not know why authorities have not arrested the man she suspects of killing her husband, David John “Dave” Alexander, 34, an informant for a county-based state police drug-investigation task force, on the night of Sept. 16, 1985. Hundreds of times she has asked local, state and federal officials for information about the case, she says. The answers vary depending on when and whom she asks.

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The gunfire at Carriage House

By The HawkEye staff

INDIANA – News accounts attributed to local police and a spokeswoman for Indiana University of Pennsylvania reported that as many as 40 gunshots were fired during a late-night melee at an off-campus apartment development last weekend. A 19-year-old IUP student was injured by a bullet, and two cars were hit, according to the news accounts.

The student was treated and released from a Pittsburgh hospital.

One resident of the Carriage House apartments recorded the sound of several of the shots.

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IUP faculty union president: Why I will strike

Opinion

Nadene A. L'Amoreaux, Ph.D., president of the IUP chapter of APSCUF, the statewide union of faculty members and coaches.

Nadene A. L’Amoreaux, Ph.D., president of the IUP chapter of APSCUF, the statewide union of faculty members and coaches.

By Nadene A. L’Amoreaux

INDIANA – Next week, faculty members and coaches at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and our sister universities across the commonwealth will vote on whether to authorize a strike. We will vote in the face of a threat to college education in the state of Pennsylvania.

We grow increasingly discontented with a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education that has failed to implore the General Assembly to adequately fund higher education. That has allowed tuition increases across the State System to place greater financial burden on students and their families, thereby making the possibility of higher education to become further out of reach for our students.

Pennsylvania ranks third highest in the nation for student loan debt. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, funding cuts are accompanied by tuition hikes and cuts in campus staff and programs, which in turn lead to decline in the quality of education. Cuts to our higher education system are making college less affordable and are threatening the quality of education students receive at the state’s public four-year and community colleges. Per-student funding for our public colleges and universities is 33 percent below 2008 levels, while tuition costs have increased more than $2,200. Only five states have cut higher education funding more than Pennsylvania (Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, South Carolina and Alabama).

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Active Shooter 101

Indiana University of Pennsylvania police Sgt. Tami L. Cramer leads a class of faculty and staff on active-shooter response strategies. Photo by Ethan C. Brogan.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania police Sgt. Tami L. Cramer leads a class of faculty and staff on active-shooter response strategies. Photo by Ethan C. Brogan.

By Ethan C. Brogan

INDIANA –- Indiana University of Pennsylvania faculty and staff heard how to respond to a shooter who is attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area: Run. Hide. Fight. Some of the 17 who attended the Stephenson Hall session said it was good advice.

IUP police Sgt. Tami L. Cramer led the hour-long morning meeting using a Federal Emergency Management Agency online presentation that includes 48 slides and a six-minute video.

“We stress the importance of always being prepared,” Cramer said during the training.

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Semiotics of summer ‘16

Sutton Hall signage, July 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

Sutton Hall signage, July 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

By Ethan C. Brogan

INDIANA –- By summer’s end, Indiana University of Pennsylvania will have erected 2,000 new signs, including street, parking and disability guideposts, the administration reports.

L&H Sign Co. in Reading laid the groundwork for the Signage Project by digging an estimated 3,000 holes around the campus.

Sutton Hall signage, June 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

Sutton Hall signage, June 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

IUP adopted the project in 2012, according to June and July emails from Michelle S. Fryling, executive director of communications and media relations. Campus administrators approved the $1.4 million “complete navigation system” in 2015.

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Mobile game ‘craze’ mobs IUP campus

Ethan A. Isenberg, 25, of Homer City (left), and Chad A. Corle, 24, Justice S. Cowen, 14, and David C. Williams III, 28, of Indiana, play Pokemon Go on Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus, July 11. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

Ethan A. Isenberg, 25, of Homer City (left), and Chad A. Corle, 24, Justice S. Cowen, 14, and David C. Williams III, 28, of Indiana, play Pokemon Go on Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus, July 11. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA –- Indiana University of Pennsylvania has become a hotspot for Pokémon Go.

Familiar name? It is the latest wrinkle of a wildly popular game that emerged from Japan in the 1990s, sparking “Pokemania” then. Since the updated, free-to-play, augmented-reality mobile game was released in selected countries on July 6, it has achieved “craze” status, The Wall Street Journal reported July 11. The phenomenon has boosted game-developer Nintendo’s stock value by $9 billion in a week.

And it drew more than 90 players to IUP’s campus in the wee hours of Sunday morning on the game’s debut weekend.

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Local Muslims, non-Muslims unite

Najlaa Alharbi, doctoral student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, at University Square, June 21, 2016. Photos by Ethan Brogan.

Najlaa Alharbi, doctoral student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, at University Square, June 21, 2016. Photos by Ethan Brogan.

By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA – Members of the Islamic Center of Indiana PA and the local Muslim community say they are banding together following the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando by a self-avowed Islamic jihadist. And they are finding friends among non-Muslims.

Najlaa Alharbi, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania doctoral student from Saudi Arabia, said she tried to explain jihadists to her four children as she watched various national news networks the day after the attack.

“They are talking about groups of crazy people,” Alharbi said in a June 21 interview in a local coffeehouse. “That group doesn’t belong in Islam.”

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The last of the IUP dorms

Elkin Hall, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, June 19, 2016. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

Elkin Hall, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, June 19, 2016. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA — A milestone will pass this fall at Indiana University of Pennsylvania when its last open-access dormitory will close its doors to student residents. Elkin Hall, a five-story “traditional residence hall” built in 1964 on School Street near Oakland Avenue to house more than 300 undergraduates, is being converted to administrative offices, university officials said.

Elkin will be remodeled to house the IUP Center for Student Life and the Multicultural Center, Michael W. Lemasters, IUP associate vice president of student affairs, said in an April 14 interview in Ruddock Hall. Newer residential housing is more attractive to prospective students, he explained.

“Visiting high-school students find the new suites more appealing,” Lemasters said.

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Academic building falls; dining hall to rise from rubble

Gutted Keith Hall from behind Leonard and McElhaney halls, June 11, 2016. Photos by Ethan Brogan.

Gutted Keith Hall from behind Leonard and McElhaney halls, June 11, 2016. Photos by Ethan Brogan.

By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA — One of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s oldest buildings is being demolished after 77 years of housing the academic departments of special education, history, industrial and labor relations, political science, and continuing education.

Keith Hall, built in 1939, is falling to make room for yet another feeding facility, the North Dining Commons, as set out in the campus master plan and its revisions. The new facility will allow students to grab some grub on the opposite side of campus from the Crimson Café, which opened in 2014 on the south side. Folger Dining Hall re-opened in fall 2015 following a $13.7 million makeover.

The new north-side diner is scheduled to open during the 2017-2018 academic year. That’s when already-shuttered Foster Dining Hall is scheduled for demolition.

Keith Hall, on the other hand, fed minds — and in more than one dimension.

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Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Fest ’16: hot weather, cool scene

Dancing in North Seventh Street. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

Dancing in North Seventh Street. Photo by Ethan Brogan.


By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA — Summer heat and bright sun drew crowds downtown to start the 2016 Memorial Day weekend at the Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Festival.

Festival organizers said Saturday’s weather cooperated and business support increased for the third annual music fair.

“This year we tried to up the game,” said Matthew R. Baumer, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania music professor and an event coordinator.

Organizers estimated daytime attendance at 1,200 as weather reports pegged temperatures in the low 90s.

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