Tri County Report For February 27th, 2017

A New Castle man was taken to a Pittsburgh Hospital following a one vehicle accident in Butler County Friday afternoon. According to State Police, 87 year old Jack Frazier was northbound on Interstate 79 in Jackson Township, when it’s believed he suffered a medical emergency. Police said Frazier’s vehicle left the roadway and struck a guardrail. He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital with non life threatening injuries from the crash.  The roadway was shut down for about an hour.

In the coming months, some of the schools in Pennsylvania’s 14-university system of higher education may get pink slips. Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education officials plan in the coming weeks to hire a consultant to give recommendations that could include consolidating degree programs, revamping marketing and shuttering schools. Overall, the system’s enrollment is down 5 percent over the last decade to 104,000, but 12 percent since enrollment peaked in 2010.

State Police in Butler County are investigating a drug overdose that took place in Muddy Creek Township.  Police said the accused is a 35 year old female from Pittsburgh.  The incident took place at a gas station parking lot. The woman was treated by Portersville EMS and was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital for treatment.

New Castle City Police are looking for a suspect that allegedly robbed the Market 24 convenience store on Sunday.  The New Castle news reports the incident took place around 11:50pm when a man wearing all black with a bandanna over his face entered the store walked up behind a clerk holding a knife and demanded money. The suspect got away with a little over one hundred dollars in cash. No injuries were reported as the investigation is ongoing.

A man is facing charges for allegedly threatening to “shoot up the dorms” at Waynesburg University.  Damiyan Davis was dating a female student at the school, and when she broke up with him, he allegedly continued to contact her even after she asked him to stop.  Police say Davis called the victim over the weekend and when she wouldn’t talk to him, he threatened her roommate and the entire campus. He was arrested a short time later at his West Newton home.

Butler is down a police officer.  During a private session at the council meeting last week, council members voted to fire the officer, who has not yet been identified.  Few details were given other than the officer was terminated for misconduct and a violation of policy.

Pennsylvania has one of the highest average student loan debt burdens at around 33-thousand dollars. The average debt for students graduating from state system schools is a little lower, at 28-thousand dollars. System Chancellor Frank Brogan says universities need to present prospective students with clear data on what their education will cost…and help students graduate on time. The state system’s four year graduation rate is under 50 percent. Brogan says officials are working to create clear data for prospective students, so they fully understand the cost of their education.

The Governor is again proposing a six and a half percent tax on natural gas extraction. Last year, the Independent Fiscal Office estimated that rate could raise 500 million dollars in the first full year of collections. Some Republicans called those numbers misleading, because the projections don’t use the real price of gas in the commonwealth. Democrats remarked on what a shame it is the state has passed up this revenue stream in the past, as the state’s structural deficit now approaches 3 billion dollars.