Tri County Report For May 10th, 2017

New Castle City Council is expected to take a vote tomorrow night to determine the fate of the Fisher building. The New Castle News reports, Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo said  various city officials, including the city’s engineer, code enforcement officials, firemen and council members, entered the structure Monday, and found the building to be extremely inadequate. Council is expected to vote on Thursday to make funds available to demolish both the former Fisher Brothers Dry Goods building at 103 S. Mill St. and the smaller building next to it facing Croton Avenue.  A previous bid some time ago to demolish the structures came in at 169 thousand dollars. Back in March City Fireman saw bricks falling from the building promting the city to close Croton Avenue from the intersection of South Mill Street to East Washington Street.

Families across Pennsylvania are asking state lawmakers to consider more than a dozen bills aimed at those at high risk of committing a DUI.  The families who have lost loved ones to DUI crashes want harsher penalties from repeat offenders.  They met with lawmakers in Harrisburg yesterday.  High-risk DUI offenders are repeat offenders, those with a BAC of point-15 or higher, drugged drivers or those driving on a suspended license.  Some officials say Pennsylvania is among the most lenient states in the country for DUI laws.

If you travel across the Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge regularly you’d better find a new route.  PennDOT officials have close Route 65 North after a truck hit a high-pressure water line attached to the bridge yesterday.  All northbound traffic is being detoured until the water line can be repaired.  Southbound traffic won’t be affected.

Propety owners in the Shenango Area School District could see there taxes going up.  The New Castle News reports, the districts preliminary budget calls for an increase of .46 mills. The vote on the preliminary budget was 7-0. The proposed increase will cost the average property owner nearly forty dollars a year. The board said the increase is necessary to close the gap on the district’s deficit.

The White House says President Trump will nominate PUC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  He was originally nominated to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in June of 2008 by Governor Ed Rendell to fill the remainder of an unexpired term.  He was later renominated by Rendell for a full five-year term.  Powelson is a couple of years into a second five-year term.

Another eight members of a Penn State fraternity are out on bond awaiting trial after being arraigned in connection to the death of a pledge.  A Centre County judge set their bail at 50-thousand dollars yesterday.  Their arraignment in the deadly alcohol-fueled hazing case came after ten other members of Beta Theta Pi went through the same process on Friday.   The young men who were in court yesterday face charges ranging from tampering with evidence, reckless endangerment, hazing and alcohol violations in the death of Timothy Piazza of New Jersey.

Lawmakers are considering a new bill that would end indoor smoking at bars, casinos, clubs and hotels that still allow it in Pennsylvania. The bill would get rid of a list of exemptions in the 2008 Clean Indoor Air Act that lets businesses continue to allow smoking under certain conditions. The bill says that smoking will still be allowed in private homes. There are 18 lawmakers who are sponsoring the bill including both Democrats and Republicans. The proposal needs approval from the Health Committee, the House, the Senate and the governor to become a law.

The Ellwood City School Board is set to vote on a preliminary budget at its meeting Thursday. According to the Ellwood City Ledger the preliminary budget calls for spending an estimated $29.2 million, an increase of about 2 percent from the 2016-17 budget. Projected revenues are about $27.6 million. Business Manager Richard Zarone said the school board is prepared to commit a portion of its reserve fund to cover most of that deficit. Both Zarone and Superintendent Joe Mancini said a decision on whether to increase property taxes in the preliminary budget would be made at the meeting Thursday. The district hasn’t raised taxes since the 2013-14 school year.