Tri-County Report For September 8th, 2017

A New Castle business owner says several break-ins are taking their toll.  Lawrence County police were called to the Puff & Snuff store for the fourth time in about two weeks yesterday after an overnight burglary.  Michelle Cioffi says she already has an alarm system and surveillance cameras but that hasn’t stopped the thieves.  She says she’s forced to put bars on her windows.  She says even though she has insurance she still has to pay deductibles and it’s getting to be too costly.  Police say they’re making progress in catching the suspects but an arrest hasn’t been made.

The New Castle News is reporting that A South Side woman is facing charges for allegedly threatening to blow up a school after being questioned about why her children were absent. City Police in New Castle  have charged 25 year old  Susie Gemmill, of W. Home St., after she allegedly made the threat over the telephone to an employee of the Lockley Early Learning Center. Gemmill has been charged with terroristic threats causing serious public inconvenience.

The South Butler School District is still dealing with lead and copper in its water.  Test results this week revealed five water sites still have elevated levels, although that is down from 38 in July.  The district’s water engineering firm is working on a plan to address the remaining sites and then another batch of tests will be done.  The five affected sites will be out of service until further notice.

Governor Tom Wolf is asking Pennsylvania’s members of Congress to help protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  Wolf sent a letter yesterday saying the beneficiaries of the program benefit the state’s economy and know no other country after growing up in the United States.  President Trump announced earlier this week that he is ending the program.  State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is one of 14 attorneys general suing to block Trump’s decision.

State Police in Lawrence County have charged an Ellwood City man with Driving Under the Influence after a one vehicle crash last month on Route 488 in Perry Township. According to police 34 year old Colby Tooker, of  Wood St., crashed into an embankment in Perry Township near Bauder Mill Road back on August 12th. His blood alcohol level was at 0.148 percent.

The Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Red Cross is looking for shelter volunteers to help with Hurricane Irma.  The organization is holding 13 “boot camps” over the next week to train new people.  Participants must be 18-years-old and willing to accept a two-to-three-week deployment if necessary.  The training is free.  Register at

A man is facing charges for allegedly committing a lewd act in a Cranberry Township business.  David Whitten was arrested this week and is accused of fondling himself while following a child around in Costco.  He is also suspected of a similar incident at a Sam’s Club in Ohio Township.

Police say a garbage truck driver will be cited for rear-ending an ambulance in Neshannock Township Tuesday. David Bortmes of Karns City, a driver for Waste Management, will be cited for careless driving. According to a police report, the Elite EMS Ambulance was stopped in traffic on Route 18 northbound when the garbage truck rear-ended the ambulance. The accident happened around 12:30 pm past Maitland Lane near Aleyna Drive. Three people were taken to UPMC Horizon for treatment. Bortmes was not injuried.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike plans to replace a bridge on the toll road in just one weekend. The bridge is located in Beaver County over Brush Creek. It’s a new construction method that will take just 55 hours. Crews will tear down the existing bridge and position the new one. The turnpike will be closed from Route 376 in New Castle to the Cranberry interchange. The detour starts Sept. 22nd at 9 p.m. and lasts until Sept. 25th at 4 a.m.

Pitt and Penn State fans are gearing up for tomorrow’s 98th meeting between the two football programs.  The two teams are scheduled to play each other again in both 2018 and 2019.  Penn State officials say after that they won’t play each other again until 2026 at the earliest.  Penn State leads the series 50-43-and-4, however, the Panthers have won two straight over the Lions.