Tri County Report For September 14th, 2016

A former Hermitage woman has been sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison for murdering Greenville area businessman Frank Crash. The trial was scheduled to begin yesterday morning for 35 year old Tracy Hassel. Instead Hassel pleaded guilty to charges of third degree murder and burglary, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted the case. WFMJ-TV reports police believe the 35-year-old former Hermitage woman knew Crash, and broke into his home on July 25, 2013 during an attempt to steal money.  Hassel stabbed Crash 76 times and then stole a diamond ring from his finger and the money from his pockets.

Police are investigating a report that a parent pulled out a gun at a youth football game.  Officers were called to the Rochester School District’s football field Sunday after the man displayed the gun during an altercation behind the bleachers.  It is not known if any of the fifth-and-sixth grade players saw the gun.  Anyone with information is asked to call police.

California University of Pennsylvania is reaching out to students left in a lurch by the closure of ITT Technical Institute.  The school recently announced it will waive application fees and streamline admissions for former ITT students who enroll in the Finish Line degree completion program.  Officials say Cal U will “work very closely with every individual student to determine which credits will transfer.”  Some students may be able to start classes as early as October.

Pennsylvania is borrowing more money.  The treasury drew over a billion dollars from a line of credit yesterday to pay the state’s bills.  The state’s Treasurer, Timothy Reese, says the move “illustrates Pennsylvania’s poor financial health.”  The money must be paid back by next June.

Senate candidate Katie McGinty’s legal team is in court.  McGinty’s lawyers are arguing that she should not have to turn over thousands of emails to the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.  The emails in question are from McGinty’s time as chief of staff for Governor Wolf.  McGinty’s attorneys say the GOP’s request is too broad.

A New Castle man with a history of exposing himself to others in three counties now faces similar charges in Mercer County. 49 year old Preston Sager has been charged by police in Hermitage with corruption of minors, indecent exposure and open lewdness. According to media reports Sager exposed himself to a 16 year old at a coffee house on East State Street last week. The teen used her phone to photograph the act and reported the incident to police. Sager has pleaded guilty to similar charges in both Lawrence and Beaver Counties. He was arraigned and is in the Mercer County Prison on 50 thousand dollars bond.

The Butler Area School Board is considering the possibility of asking for a state exception to raise taxes above the maximum allowed index. Inside Butler County reports Officials say the reason for raising the tax rate over the approximate 3 percent yearly inflation index would be to pay for continually rising pension costs. Several board members stressed that requesting the budget earlier than normal does not guarantee that a petition will be made to the state, but it will provide them with more accurate information to then decide if that action is necessary.

The Clarion County coroner says the 13-year-old girl who died Friday was swept away by a creek.  The coroner says Shevy Lynn McGiffin’s death was ruled an accidental drowning.  Her body was found Sunday afternoon in a creek.

Corrosion is to blame for the natural gas pipeline explosion in Salem Township.  Spectra Energy announced yesterday the pipeline had lost about 30-percent of its steel wall four years earlier, causing the April explosion.  The discovery has led to a change in the company’s standards.  They went from once every five years to an inspection every three to four years.  Corrosion was found in 2012 but not enough to suggest action on the pipeline.