Tri County Report For May 12th, 2017

An online auction for the Lawrence Village Plaza drew a bid of 2.3 million dollars. Shenango Township Supervisor Frank Augustine said the bid did not meet the reserve amount wanted by the buyers. The New Castle News reports, the owners have to decide weather to sell it, according to Augustine. The property is currently held by KLNB Retail and has struggled to maintain tenents over the last several years. Augustine did not know the identity of the bidder.

An investigation into the disappearance of a thirteen year old girl in Ashtabula, Ohio led authorities across state lines into Sharon yesterday. WFMJ-TV reports 46-year-old John Richard Bove was arrested following a car chase and foot pursuit. Bove is a registered sex offender. The body of a girl, believed to be that of Kara Zdanczewski, was discovered in Saybrook Township, which is between the City of Ashtabula and Geneva-on-the-Lake. According to state records, Bove is required to register as a sexually oriented offender because of 1990 rape conviction in New York.

The mother of a four-year-old, killed by her boyfriend in Butler Township, is going to trial.  Mackenzie Peters waived her preliminary hearing yesterday.  She is accused of child endangerment related to injuries Bentley Miller suffered before his death.  Jordan Lambing is being held without bail on homicide and rape charges for the boy’s murder.  Prosecutors say Lambing caused the blood loss that led to Miller’s death.  The Butler County District Attorney says he will seek the death penalty if Lambing is found guilty.

Support from President Trump is climbing in Western Pennsylvania.  A new Franklin & Marshall College poll shows that 60-percent of voters in the Western Pennsylvania area outside of Allegheny County approve of Trump’s job performance.   Allegheny County was the only Western Pennsylvania county that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 Election, but even there the President’s approval rating has going up six points to 31-percent over the past three months.  Pollsters say Trump’s recent moves to crackdown on illegal immigration and to revitalize steel and coal manufacturing are the reasons for his surge.

Butler County Commissioners are pondering a vehicle fee.  The five dollar fee would be charged each time a vehicle is registered and would bring in over 900-thousand dollars for the county.  PennDOT is offering a two-million dollar incentive to get the vote passed.  The issue will be discussed at the next commissioner’s meeting on Thursday, May 18th.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is calling for an independent council into allegations of Russian interference in the presidential election.  Shapiro joined a group of 19 other attorneys general yesterday also calling for an investigation.  All of the attorneys general are Democrats.

The Amtrak engineer, involved in the 2015 derailment that killed eight people, may be criminally charged.  A Philadelphia judge yesterday ordered involuntary manslaughter charges be filed against Brandon Bostian.  The city district attorney’s office declined to file charges earlier this week saying it couldn’t prove “conscious disregard” in Bostian’s actions when he accelerated to 106 miles-an-hour on a 50 mile-an hour curve.  The city has passed the order to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office to avoid a conflict of interest.  Shapiro’s office is reviewing the order and could appeal.

President Trump is not allowing Pennsylvania to get federal disaster aid to help with March’s snowstorm.  Governor Tom Wolf made the announcement yesterday saying, “This disaster declaration would have provided much-needed financial assistance to hard-hit communities in northeastern Pennsylvania.”  The storm dropped close to two-feet of snow in some areas and cost the state more than seven-million dollars.  A disaster declaration could have gotten back up to 75-percent of those costs.

The Ellwood City school board adopted its 2017-18 preliminary budget, with a planned 0.18 mill property tax increase, at its meeting last night. The Ellwood City Ledger reports Business Manager Richard Zarone said the tax hike would pay for a plan to replace an exterior wall along the third-floor walkway at Lincoln High School and upgrades to the school’s science wing. It would cost the average homeowner in the district an additional 11 dollars.