Tri County Report For September 13th, 2017

The state House is delaying a preliminary vote on a plan to solve the budget gap by taking money from public transportation and environmental improvement programs.  Speaker Mike Turzai adjourned the chamber after a brief session yesterday.  The next step in solving the three-month budget stalemate is not clear.

Two year old Anankin Gammon,  whose disappearance was the subject of a massive search by first responders and community members Sunday in Sharon, drowned to death. According to the Sharon Herald,  Mercer County Coroner John Libonati said he is not ruling on the manner of death – the options are accident, homicide, suicide or natural causes – until he reads reports from Sharon and Brookfield police. No charges have yet been filed.

A New Castle man accused of attacking and kidnapping his girlfriend has waive all charges in court. According to the New Castle News 24 year old Brandon Samuels of Arlington Avenue reamins in the Lawrence County Jail on 100 thousand dollars bond. Samuels was charged by New Castle City Police with 28 counts including nine counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful restraint along with eleven counts of recklessly endangering another person. The incident took place back on July 27th when Samuels allegedly hit the car of his 22 year old girlfriend. Samuels was later found in Mercer County and led police on a high speed chase until he was taken into custody on Interstate 70.

A tentative agreement is in place between the Butler Area School District and its custodial employees.  Weekend talks reportedly led to the deal and a final board vote could come as early as next week.  The details of the contract have not been released.

The Plum Council has approved a settlement involving a student-teacher sex case.  The seven member council voted unanimously for that action last night, and authorized the school district’s president to sign the deal.  An anonymous victim filed suit against the district claiming it ignored allegations that teacher Joseph Ruggieri was having sex with female students for three years.  The plaintiff alleged that it allowed him to keep preying on female students.  Ruggieri is currently serving a prison sentence for the crimes.  Details surrounding the settlement have not been made available.

The engineer of the Amtrak train involved in a deadly crash in Philadelphia is being cleared of involuntary manslaughter.  A judge dismissed the charges against Brandon Bostian yesterday.  Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued a statement saying his office is reviewing the judge’s decision.  The train derailed in 2015 while going 106 miles-an-hour on a curve with a 50 mile-an-hour speed limit.  Eight people died in the accident and more than 200 were injured.

A $1.1 billion reconfiguration project for the Pittsburgh International Airport that has won local approval will include a new landside terminal, an expanded security checkpoint and streamlined baggage system. The Allegheny County Airport Authority voted to approve the renovation project during a meeting on Tuesday. The project will require FAA approval before it moves forward. According to the Allegheny County Airport Authority website, no local tax dollars will be used to fund the extensive project. Officials hope to start work in 2019 and complete the project by 2023.

Bills have been introduced in the state House and Senate that would let school boards decide if teachers can carry firearms in the classroom. Supporters say it would give teachers the chance to defend students in a worst-case scenario. Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera says students can’t learn if they don’t feel safe. He says the state should invest more in existing programs that make a difference for kids from Philadelphia to Erie. Rivera says the Office of Safe Schools must be allowed to continue providing tools to educators that can be used to address violence.