Tri County Report For September 21st, 2016

The Lawrence County commissioners are considering an $11 million bond issue to stabilize the amount the county pays annually into the pension fund. According to the New Castle News The county retirement board at its quarterly public meeting yesterday discussed the dynamics of the bond issue, which the commissioners expect to vote on in early October. County Controller David Gettings said he proposed the move, which would stabilize the county’s liability,  the amount it has to contribute to the fund each year for the retirees contribution. He said the county is able to borrow the money because the interest rates are so low, around 4.25 percent.

Michelle Obama is coming to Pittsburgh.  The first lady will be campaigning for Hillary Clinton a week from today.  Mrs. Obama is expected to discuss the high stakes of this election and urge Pennsylvanians to register to vote before the October 11th deadline.  More information is available at

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has a new executive director.  Charlie Mooney, the current chief operating officer, was appointed to the position yesterday.  Mooney, who will take over in November when John Metzger retires, will implement the Act 39 state liquor law reform.  Current board chair Tim Holden says Mooney’s
“extensive agency experience and his eagerness to embrace change as opportunity are great assets, particularly now, as we adopt so many new consumer-friendly changes and conveniences.”

The Mercer County District Attorney’s Office is appealing a judge’s decision to suppress evidence in a case charging three Chinese natives with transporting 99 pounds of marijuana. According to the Sharon Herald Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel P. Wallace said state police did not have probable cause to stop the rented minivan for traffic violations, making the discovery of the 99 heat-sealed packages illegal. The stop occured in December of last year. A  trooper pulled over the van for traveling too slowly and the lane violations. The judge said there is no posted speed limit on that stretch of the interstate and the van’s speed did not “impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

PennDot is inviting people in Mercer to a presentation Tuesday at 7 p.m. detailing plans for replacing the Route 19 bridge over Munnell Run.
That bridge also runs through Coolsprings Township. The presentation will be at the Mercer Borough building located at 145 North Pitt Street in Mercer.
The project involves the replacement of the Route 19 (Perry Highway) bridge over Munnell Run.  The project is expected to be constructed in the summer of 2018. The purpose of the presentation is to provide project plans and mapping, identify the planned detour routes and gather public input.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would give Second Amendment supporters the right to sue municipalities over gun restrictions.  The bill would allow individuals and organizations such as the National Rifle Association to challenge local gun laws in court and be awarded compensation for their legal expenses if they win.  The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure yesterday.  It will now go to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for approval.

Governor Wolf is one of the many politicians calling for state Representative Leslie Acosta’s resignation.  Representative Acosta  pleaded guilty to felony charges earlier this year.  She is refusing to leave office and says she will continue campaigning to be re-elected.  Governor Wolf says a public official who is guilty of a crime should not be in office.

The Gateway School Board is appealing a judge’s ruling to not allow the district to have an armed police force.  Gateway petitioned to employ its own officers, but the judge ruled against the idea last week.  The board voted eight-one yesterday for the appeal.  The officers would be allowed to arrest and issue citations for summary offenses.  They would detain students until Monroeville officers arrive for misdemeanors of felonies.

The latest round of talks lasted almost a week with the union and the PA State System of Higher Education no closer to an agreement. A spokesman says the State System is suggesting bringing in a third party fact finder, but the union calls that a stalling tactic, adding if they really want to move the process along, State System should agree to binding arbitration, where recommendations on a contract would have to be followed by both sides.

Monroeville Deputy Fire Chief George Gerstacker is charged for impersonating a police officer.  He was charged yesterday for last week’s incident near William Penn Highway and Golden Mile Highway.  Gerstacker is accused of pulling over a motorcycle and asking for the driver’s information.