Tri County Report For January 27th, 2017

An Ellwood City man faces charges after allegedly shoving his way into a Union Township home and assault a resident.  The New Castle News reports 28 year old Scott Douglas of Loop street was charged following the incident just after 10 o’clock Tuesday night at a home in the 3000 block of McClelland Avenue. Douglas was charged with aggravated assault, burglary, crminal tresspass, simple assault and harrasment. When police arrived at the home they found a man and a woman on the front porch and the man was bleeding from the head. Douglas was arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Prison on bond.

The Wolf administration is planning to close Pittsburgh State Prison.  Governor Wolf made the announcement yesterday saying the move will save money.  Two prisons were originally scheduled to close but the final decision includes just one. The SCI prison in Mercer County will remain open. The number of inmates in the state has fallen by almost 25-hundred over the last five years.

Police in Ellwood City arrested an Ohio woman this week week who is accused of making repeated trips to Ellwood City Hospital and using several false identities to obtain medications. 38 year old Sharon Denise Shaw-Chandler of Warren, Ohio was charged Tuesday with 11 counts of criminal attempt to obtain a controlled substance. The Ellwood City Ledger reports  that Shaw-Chandler had gone to the hospital six times between Oct. 12 and Dec. 20, when she was taken into custody. The investigation is continuing.

The number of deadly drug overdoses in Butler County is growing.   The Butler County Coroner’s Office released the information yesterday citing 74 deaths last year as compared to ten in 2013.  Over 75-percent of the fatalities were between the ages of 25 and 44 and most were men.

Pennsylvania’s budget gap is getting bigger.  The state Legislature’s Independent Fiscal Office said yesterday that revenue collections are weaker than expected, causing a projected hole of almost three-billion-dollars.  The Republican-controlled Legislature shot down Governor Tom Wolf’s efforts to implement a broad tax increase so Wolf says he will now have to rely on cuts and saving measures.

The Butler County district attorney is calling for an investigation into the handling of high lead levels at Summit Township Elementary School.  The D.A. released a statement yesterday saying in part, “I requested the State Police open an investigation, and an investigator has been assigned.  At this time, we do not know if a crime was actually committed.  We are hoping the investigation will give us more answers to allow us to make that determination.”

A state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would require full insurance coverage for screenings for women with dense breast tissue.  Isabella Fitzgerald says her bill would extend mandated insurance coverage if a mammogram indicates dense tissue.  The bill also mandates coverage for women who are at increased risk of breast cancer. Fitzgerald is now looking for co-sponsors.

Some state-owned universities are facing closure.  The head of the State System of Higher Education made the announcement yesterday, explaining that funding amounts and enrollment are both down.  A review of the system is being conducted and may result in school mergers or shutdowns.  The report is expected by the end of the year.

A 19-year-old man is headed to prison for at least 15 years for a shooting at the Monroeville Mall.  Tarod Thornhill of Penn Hills was sentenced yesterday to up to 30 years behind bars for the February 2015 shooting inside Macy’s.  Thornhill was found not guilty of attempted homicide, but he was convicted on three counts of aggravated assault, among other things.