Tri County Report For December 14th, 2016

One person is in the hospital following a police chase that crossed two counties.  According to State Police, Shenango Township police attempted to pull over a suspicious vehicle on Route 388  yesterday but the driver, later identified as 34 year old  Shawn Hobel of Ellwood City, would not stop.  The chase crossed into Butler County and eventually wound up back in Lawrence County on Interstate 376.  Hobel allegedly hit a passenger in the head with his gun several times as he was driving and when police finally stopped him, he threatened to shoot her.  A New Castle police officer took several shots and hit Hobel multiple times.  No one else was injured. Hoble was taken to the hospital for treatment. Police said Hobel faces a number of charges including aggravated assault. Interstate 376 was closed for several hours yesterday morning.

The Butler Area School District is training some staff members to administer the anti-overdose drug Naloxone.  The school board approved the move yesterday.  The program is expected to go into effect next year and will include a training course for nurses and possibly security officers.

Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is calling for steps to strengthen the election system.  A federal judge denied Stein’s recount request in Pennsylvania earlier this week saying there is no evidence the results were compromised.  Stein says neither the state, nor the country has a voting system voters can trust.  She also claims the recount request was stopped by political cronyism and bureaucratic hurdles.

A man is in custody in connection to an attempted armed robbery in Butler Township.  The victim was leaving the Butler Commons Walmart late Monday when he was approached by a man with a gun.  The suspect demanded money but when the victim said he had none, the thief claimed he was kidding.  Police later found Keel Welch the Second in a car in the store’s parking lot with four BB guns in his vehicle.  He claims he thought the victim was someone else and says the whole thing was a joke.

Recycling pick-up in the city of New Castle is being reduced to once a month starting in 2017. The New Castle News Reports, according to the mayor’s office the change is necessary because of an increased fee that the landfill is charging to process the recyclables. Public works will make the pick-ups on one of the first four Friday’s of each month depending on when their garbage pick-up is scheduled.  No pick-ups will be made on the fifth Friday of any month.

The tax on gasoline is going up in Pennsylvania.  Officials say that the tax will increase by eight-cents on January 1st bringing the total to 76-cents a gallon. The Keystone State already has the nation’s highest gas tax.

Several inches of snow didn’t deter at least 100 people from attending a hearing Tuesday that will determine whether Shell receives permission from Potter Township to build a $6 billion ethane cracker plant. According to the Ellwood City Ledger The hearing concerns Shell’s conditional use application that was submitted in August to Potter officials. The application must be approved by the supervisors before Shell can start construction. The project will provide nearly six thousand construction jobs and nearly 600 jobs at the plant once it opens.

The security team at Gateway School District will be armed by the end of the week.  An Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judge approved a petition to allow the district’s police officers to carry guns.  Officers will also be allowed to issue citations on campus.  The team was hired in August and was working as security guards.  The 13 officers are all retired police.