Tri County Report For July 1st, 2016

In its first-ever meeting Wednesday, the state Horse Racing Commission found itself dealing with an issue that could potentially derail the proposed racetrack and casino in Lawrence County. The Ellwood City Ledger reports, Endeka Entertainment, the group applying for state approval to build a gambling facility in Mahoning Township, temporarily dropped out of compliance in May when one it it’s investor’s withdrew.  Lawrence County Commissioner Dan Vogler said the group found another investor less than a month later but did not reveal the investor’s identity. Even though Endeka again has the required investment commitment, according to Vogler, it remains to be seen whether the commission will act in response to the temporary period of noncompliance. The commission took no action on Endeka Wednesday.

Shenango Township Police are asking members of the public for information of a car running down a man walking along East Washington Street back in May. David Sheller of New Castle was hospitalized for treatment of road rash, as well as fractures of the wrist, foot and ankle, when he was struck by an SUV on East Washington Street. Police say after striking Sheller into the air the vehicle did not slow down and continued to travel in the direction of New Castle. Investigators on Thursday released what they describe as digitally enhanced photographs on the departments facebook page. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 724-654-2243.

State police are looking into a tractor accident in Butler County.  One person died during last night’s accident in the 300 block of State Street Extension in Clay Township.  The victim died after the yard tractor rolled over around 7:15 p.m.

An Allegheny County probation officer is in trouble with the law.  Matthew Joseph Mullen of Swisshelm Park was arrested yesterday and charged with sexual assault, bribery and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse among other things.  He’s accused of forcing parolees to perform sex acts and send him nude pictures.  Mullen is in the Allegheny County jail.

New Castle City police arrested a cityman on a warrant who was found to be illegally carrying a concealed weapon.  The New Castle News reports, 19 year old Gage Gilmore of West Miller Street, was charged with receiving stolen property and carrying a concealed firearm without a license. Police said they encountered Gilmore, who was wanted on a warrant,  and another man walking on Taylor Street around 6pm on Tuesday. Police found a .357 handgun on Gilmore.  He was arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Jail on 15 thousand dollars bond.

A budget bill is on Governor Wolf’s desk.  The House voted in favor of the main 31-billion spending plan yesterday.  There is still no official blueprint for how to fund the package, but Republican Representative Sue Helm says they know where the money is coming from, and just need to get it organized for a vote.  Some of the proposals include higher tobacco taxes and more legalized gambling.

A Sharon man has been charged by State Police in Lawrence County with a Firearms Act Violation.  According to police, Bruce Alan Holmes attempted to purchase a firearm at Fitz Firearms in Pulaski Township, and provided false information on the ATF formes.  Holmes was charged with the sale or transfer of firearms and unsworn falsification.

A father is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to threatening officials with the Mt. Pleasant Area Junior Football League in Westmoreland County.  Joseph Loughner entered the plea Wednesday and is expected to be ordered to make restitution to the league, which cancelled part of its season due to the threats.  Officials say Loughner sent a letter to a referee that caused him to resign.  He was also accused of leaving bullets, with the names of league officials written on them, scattered in the parking lot of Hurst Field.  The league is seeking 16-thousand dollars in revenue loss.

The Senate is advancing legislation that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse to report the crime.  The bill passed the house yesterday and would also give victims until the age of 50 to file civil action, instead of 30.  It now goes back to the House for final approval.

The Mercer State Police and Sharon Police Departments announced they will conduct a sobriety checkpoint during the holiday weekend. According to a news release, the checkpoint will be held today through July 4th.  Both departments will utilize recent DUI and crash data to determine the location, date and time of the checkpoint.