Tri County Report For February 21st, 2017

The Mohawk area School District has cancelled classes today. On the district’s website, Superintendant Michael Lietera says while the district is in the process of upgrading plumbing at the high school, some outlets throughout the building began displaying discolored water. Lietera said the district is going to error on the side of caution and the district is going to examine the issue further and continue to take a cautious approach.

Federal agents are now investigating a New Castle man arrested with a gun, cash and drugs in Salem Ohio back in November of last year. WFMJ-TV is reporting A U.S. District Court judge has given the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives permission to examine the data on seven cellular phones confiscated from 35-year-old Michael Betts, Jr. when he was arrested by Salem police. Police found a nearly $900 in cash, a loaded handgun, 27 grams of suspected heroin, 84 grams of suspected crack cocaine concealed in the false bottom of an Ajax cleanser container. Betts has not yet been charged with any federal offenses, but he is scheduled to go on trial in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court next month on a weapons violation.

A man is facing charges for allegedly trying to lure young girls into his car in Ambridge.  Kurtis Netherland was arrested over the weekend and is accused of approaching two girls and asking if they wanted to get in his vehicle and make some money.  Netherland is a delivery driver and was at Economy Village on company time when the alleged incident was caught on security cameras.  Netherland later confessed but claims he was just joking around with the girls.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is making some changes to its schools.  On Saturday, diocese officials announced that it intends to close one of its schools and merge ten others.  Holy Redeemer Catholic Elementary School in Ellwood City will close in June.  The school was opened in 1945.

A missing four-year-old is safe after wandering away from his Chippewa home.  The little boy was reported missing late Sunday afternoon.  Police were concerned because the area is heavily wooded and has a creek nearby.  Neighbors found the child in their home a short time later and believe he followed their dog into the house.

Governor Wolf is holding a town hall meeting today.  The event will be livestreamed on Facebook at 2 o’clock this afternoon.  Questions can be posted on Wolf’s Facebook page.

New Castle City Police have charged a North Hill man with sexually assaulting a teenage girl. The New Castle News reports 32 year old Olajuwon James Wilkins of Laurel Boulevard, is charged with five counts of statutory sexual assault of a mnor, 10 counts of indecent assault and one count of corruption of minors. Wilkins is accused of assaulting a 14 year old girl between September and December of last year. Wilkins was arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Jail on 15 thousand dollars bond.

As the weather warms up, at least briefly, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is reminding people about boating safety.  Officials released the accident figures for 2016 last week.  Eleven people died in boating incidents last year and more than half of those deaths involved alcohol.  Accident reports indicate almost 80 percent of all boating fatalities also involve boaters not wearing life jackets.  Pennsylvania boaters must wear a life jacket between November 1st and April 30th.

An idea to force heroin and opioid addicts into treatment is gaining more support with state lawmakers at the capitol.  Legislators from both parties are crafting bills that would let family members petition to involuntarily commit an addicted relative into a treatment center.  Numbers from the DEA show drug-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania went up nearly 24-percent from 2014 to 2015.  State officials expect the numbers in 2016 to show a similar spike.

A 56-year-old Hookstown man is dead after a wreck in Beaver County.  Police say Michael S. Stroud died yesterday morning at the scene of the crash.  He was driving through Kendall Road and State Route 168 in Hanover Township when he hit an embankment.  The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has started a drain cleaning project along Route 422. The project started yesterday and is taking place through Friday between 7am to 7pm and part of a single lane of route 422 will be blocked off. That lane restriction runs about 2-and-a-half-miles between Pulaski Road and Harbor Road. Crews will be improving drainage systems and cleaning pipes in that area. The project will continue through the end of March.