Tri County Report For February 12th, 2019

There’s no word yet on the cause of a fire that destroyed a Lawrence County home.  South New Castle firefighters say the blaze broke out yesterday afternoon in the Prospect Street home.  The house was reportedly undergoing furnace and plumbing repairs when the fire started.  The homeowners’ cat was killed.

A man from Hopewell Township is accused of firing a gun at a vehicle with a woman and infant inside.  Michael Hribik is accused of assaulting the woman Sunday and firing the shot as she and her daughter tried to escape the suspect’s home on the first block of White Gate Road.  The 33-year-old was able to post bail.

State Police in Butler County have issued an arrest warrant for a Slippery Rock man for allegedly possessing child pornography. 52 year old Christopher Dublin is wanted after an extensive investigation into possession and distribution of child pornography. No other details were released.

Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office Executive Director Matthew Knittel says an analysis of last year’s proposal by Governor Wolf to increase the state’s minimum wage would have resulted in an increase in economic activity. However, the analysis found a hike in the minimum wage would have also resulted in job losses. The IFO hopes to complete an analysis of the governor’s latest proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage next month.

The suspected gunman in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.  This morning, federal prosecutors charged 46-year-old Robert Bowers with 63 counts in all, some of which carry the death penalty.  Investigators say Bowers shot and killed eleven people in the Squirrel Hill synagogue back in October because he was motivated by his hatred of Jews.  The Department of Justice has not yet determined if they will seek the death penalty.

The parents of a Westmoreland County girl are in jail after police say they refused to get medical treatment for the child.  Tiffany and Robert Aquilina were arrested this past weekend on charges of child endangerment and reckless endangerment.  The couple is accused of not following an order to take their seven-week-old baby to the hospital after a doctor reported a low birth weight and below-normal body temperature.  Tiffany Aquilina also tested positive for marijuana.

A New Kensington man faces several charges after police found him carrying two guns while he was at River Casino over the weekend.  According to arrest records, Charles Mitchell was acting erratically near the valet area on Saturday night and was pacing back and forth when police arrived.  When police attempted to arrest him, he fought back and tried to reach for his front pocket where he kept a loaded revolver.  After using a Taser to subdue Mitchell, officers found a second revolver in the same pocket.

A woman from Monaca is accused of taking a six-year-old girl in her care with her to buy heroin early Friday morning in Aliquippa.  Allison Welling was charged Monday with endangering the welfare of a child after being stopped by police near Sheffield Avenue and Orchard Street.  Welling is in Beaver County Jail in lieu of 25-thousand-dollars bail.

Gas prices in Western Pennsylvania are five cents more expensive this week at $2.51 per gallon, according to Triple-A  East Central’s Gas Price Report. In New Castle drivers are paying 2.39 a gallon while in Sharon the average price is 2.50 a gallon. On the week, the national gas price average is two cents more expensive, landing at $2.28.  At the start of the workweek, nearly half of all state averages also saw jumps – some at or more than a dime increase. A year ago prices in the area were at 2.88 per gallon.