Tri County Report For February 24th, 2017

State Police report a pair of hikers are home safe after being rescued from McConnells Mill State Park.  The couple got lost on a trail after dark Wednesday and couldn’t get out on their own.  They eventually found an area with cell service and called 911.  This is the third time this week hikers had to be rescued from the park.

A man is facing charges after being found passed out in his vehicle in Adams Township.  An officer noticed a suspicious car at Mars Middle School Wednesday and found Max Glazer slumped over the wheel.  Heroin marijuana, cocaine and Xanax were also in the vehicle.

10th District State Representative Aaron Bernstine will be holding an open house at his Ellwood City Office on March the 6th.  The open house will take place from 3-6:30pm. Bernstine said its an opportunity for residents to learn more about what he and his staff can do for them. Bernstine defeated the incumbent Democrat, Jarred Gibbions back in November. The event is open to all residents of the district.

A former state senator is switching jobs and getting a huge pay bump.  Sean Logan of Plum resigned yesterday as chair of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission only to be appointed to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.  His salary also jumped from about 30-thousand to 145-thousand dollars.  He replaces Greg Fajt, who served the maximum of three, two-year terms.  Logan was named to the turnpike commission in 2013 and took over as the chairman in 2015.

The Lawrence County Democratic Party will be holding a petition signing event Thursday night March 2nd at  6pm, at  the Moose Club in New Castle.  Party Chairman Richard Christofer said the quartly meeting will also take place that night. Demoratic candidates are welcome and all committee people are asked to attent. The meeting is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

A new poll is showing low approval ratings for President Trump.  The Franklin and Marshall College survey found just one-third of all Pennsylvania voters approve of Trump’s performance so far, with 32-percent saying he is doing a good job.  More than half say they disapprove of the president and 46-percent also say they are not confident Trump can handle the country’s immigration issues.  Voters also gave him an honesty rating of four-point-five on a one-to-ten scale where ten is the most honest.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf appears to be moving in the right direction with voters.  A new Franklin & Marshal College poll found 38-percent of those surveyed believe the governor is doing a “good” or “excellent” job.  The new poll shows a boost of seven percentage points from last month.  However, 52-percent of voters surveyed say the state is “on the wrong track” as it tries to overcome a 700-million-dollar budget shortfall.

Police are investigating a report of shots-fired in Allegheny County.  A man and woman told detectives they recently called for a Lyft driver and as they were getting in the vehicle, they realized they forgot something.  The female driver allegedly got angry when the customers asked if they could go back and get the item.  She is accused of pulling a gun and firing a shot into the air before she took off.  Lyft has fired the driver.

Police say a Wayne Township man faces a number of charges after leaving the scene of an accident earlier this month.  The Ellwood City Ledger reports 49 year old Robert Bollinger struck several vehicles along North Street around 8:30pm back on November 14th.  An investigation by police led them to Bollinger’s vehicle that was stopped along Highland Avenue and North Street.  Bollinger’s blood alcohol level was nearly three times above the state’s driving standard.  Bollinger was charged with an accident involving damage to an unattended vehicle or property, and DUI.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is upholding the murder conviction and death penalty imposed against the ringleader of a group that tortured and killed a mentally disabled woman in Greensburg.  Thirty-year-old Rick Smyrnes [[ Smeer-NESS ]] led a group of six roommates in holding Jennifer Daugherty captive for nearly three days. The group tortured the woman and then stabbed her to death.  Smyrnes claimed that the judge in his 2013 trial improperly allowed evidence to be presented to jurors during his penalty phase.  The death sentence against one of Smyrnes’ codefendants was overturned by the state Supreme Court last year.