Tri-County Report For December 15th, 2017

State Budget Secretary Randy Albright says Pennsylvania is on track to end the fiscal year with a 30-million dollar surplus.  Albright made the announcement yesterday, pointing out that last year, the state had a one-point-five-billion dollar deficit.  He also said he hopes the legislature will pass a natural gas extraction tax next year, claiming it would make budgeting much easier.

Ellwood City Area School District Superintendent Joseph Mancini has been given a year’s extension on his contract. According to the Ellwood City Ledger, Macini’s contract was set to expire in June of next year. It now runs to June 30th of 2019. Mancini who has been the superintendent since November of 2014 will earn a base salary of 122 thousand dollars.

A lawsuit filed against the Butler Area School District is being dismissed.  Former student, Robert Wellman Jr., filed the suit after he suffered a concussion in 2009 while playing flag football in physical education class.  He later moved to a private school and signed a settlement that included a release for the district.  He then filed another suit, which the court dismissed this week because of the release.

The man accused of killing New Kensington Officer Brian Shaw will stand trial.  During a preliminary hearing yesterday, Judge Frank Pallone Jr. ruled there was enough evidence to send Rahmael Sal Holt to trial.  He’s facing murder charges on a law enforcement officer.  Holt maintains his innocence.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is resisting the rollback of net neutrality.  Shapiro says he plans to fight back to protect consumers and will take legal action to undo yesterday’s FCC vote to do away with the Obama-era regulations.  At least 18 other attorneys general are also expected to join the suit.

The rape trial for a man accused of killing a Pitt student back in October has been delayed until next month.  Matthew Darby is facing charges in a separate cases where he is accused of raping an ex-girlfriend in Indiana County, as well as an underage girl from Elizabeth.  One of those trials will now take place on January 26th.  Pittsburgh Police say Darby killed his ex-girlfriend, Alina Sheykhet, after the two got into a fight in her off-campus apartment.

Sixteen states, including Pennsylvania, are running out of federal funding for their children’s healthcare programs.  CHIP will likely run out of money by the end of the year if the funds don’t come and Senator Bob Casey is pushing for a solution.  Casey says the program is being held as a bargaining tool.  CHIP expired in September and Republicans have not been able to figure out how to fund it.

A bill that would allow nonprofit groups to increase their bingo prizes is on its way to Governor Tom Wolf.  The Senate approved the bill Wednesday and Wolf’s office previously said he would sign it.  The proposal would increase prize limits to help organizations attract more players.  It also allows groups to advertise the dollar value of cash prizes, and advertise bingo on the Internet and social media.

State Police in Mercer County report at least  one person was seriously injured yesterday morning in an accident on Interstate 80 in Pine Township. The crash took place just after 8 o’clock. According to police 34 year old Derek Sealand of Mercer County lost control of his tractor trailor, traveled into the median and rolled over. Both the west and eastbound lanes were closed for about two and a half hours. Sealand was taken to the hospital for treatment.