Tri County Report For September 14th, 2017

A “no new taxes” borrowing plan is on its way to the state Senate.  The House voted 103 to 91 to pass the plan last night.  Governor Tom Wolf says if there is no deal by Friday, the state will not be able to pay its bills on time. Wolf opposes the revamped plan, which would borrow a-billion-dollars from future revenue and make cuts to mass transportation and environmental protection programs.

State Police in Lawrence County have charged a New Castle man with two recent burglaries, and are looking for a suspect that joined him in one of the break-ins. 47 year old Shawn Marshall is accused of breaking a window at North Memoral Animal Hospital in New Wilmington and taking one hundred dollars back on July 10. Marshall is also one of three people were broke into Cox Corner Store in Pulaski Township back on June 14th and got away with nearly seven thousand dollars. Also charged in the Pulaski burglary are 58 year old Robin Delany and 36 year old Dean Perkins, both from New Castle. A warrant has been issued for Perkins.

A Grove City man is  in the Mercer County Jail, accused of committing sex offenses against three children. State Police say 33-year-old Jeffrey Norcross was arrested on Friday and faces sixteen charges including rape of a child, sexual assault, corruption of minors, and indecent assault. According to court records, the alleged victims were less than 16-years-old and less than 13-years-old. Bond was set at 50 thousand dollars.

Congressman Tim Murphy could face discipline from the U.S Navy after he admitted to having an extramarital affair.  The eight-term Republican representative is a commander in the Navy Reserves, and currently reports to a Voluntary Training Unit in Washington, DC.  A Navy spokesman said officials are reviewing Murphy’s case, but wouldn’t elaborate on the details.  Last week, Murphy admitted to having an affair with a personal friend in 2016.

A social media post is being blamed for an added police presence in the Butler Area School District.  Police say the post mentioned a “possible shooting,” but was very vague and did not specify a school.  Extra officers were placed at all the district’s buildings yesterday and students had to go through metal detectors.  A bomb threat also caused an evacuation at Butler Intermediate High School on Friday.

According to Triple-A’s East Central’s Gas Price Report, Gas prices in Western Pennsylvania rose by four cents to an average of $2.87 per gallon this week. As pipelines and refineries return to their full operations following Hurricane Harvey, Triple-A said  prices should start to decrease later in the month. In New Castle drivers are paying 2.79 a gallon.  In Sharon the average price is at 2.88. The national average is at 2.67 a gallon.

The former PAstor of Chippewa United Methodist Church is facing charges for allegedly embezzling more than 30-thousand dollars.  Rodney Smith was arrested this week following a year-long investigation into missing church money.  Police say Smith bought gift cards for needy PArishioners, but then kept and used them himself.

The number of people without health insurance is dropping in Pennsylvania.  Governor Tom Wolf’s office announced yesterday that the uninsured rate is now the lowest on record.  The U.S. Census Bureau released the data this week and claims the state’s 2016 uninsured rate was five-point-six percent, which is the 12th lowest in the nation.  That’s down from six-point-four percent in 2015. The national uninsured rate was eight-point-six percent last year.

A routine traffic stop at the Pennsylvania Turnpike leaves a man behind bars for a big drug bust.  State police say a trooper pulled over the New Yorker for a turn signal violation west of New Stanton, in Hempfield Township on Monday.  Authorities say the driver gave the trooper permission to search his car and that’s when he discovered six-thousand stamp bags of heroin.  The driver was arrested and taken to Westmoreland County Jail on several drug-related charges.