Tri County Report For March 15th, 2018

A member of Ellwood City’s fire department is in a Pittsburgh Hospital after the department said he suffered a severe brain injury on Sunday.  According to the department’s facebook page Captain Frank Condell was first taken to a local hospital then flown to a Pittsburgh Hospital and was taken immediately into surgery where the doctors were able to remove a large clot. No other information was released.

The PA House of Representatives is giving the green light for driverless trucks to protect highway work zone employees.  The automated trucks would be positioned at the end of a work zone, mimicking the moves of a control truck at the front.  Should a distracted driver enter the work zone, the truck would be tasked to take the impact, protecting the workers.  The bill is off to the state Senate for a vote.

Governor Tom Wolf is congratulating Democrat Conor Lamb on his victory Tuesday night in the special election.  In a statement, Wolf said Lamb’s win “proves that Pennsylvanians want leaders who put the lives of people ahead of party politics.”  Wolf also said that he has faith Lamb would help address issues involving the opioid crisis and infrastructure when he begins work in Congress.

Campaign officials for Rick Saccone are weighing a challenge to the results of Tuesday’s special election for the 18th Congressional District.  By day’s end Wednesday, Democrat Conor Lamb had a less than 700 vote lead on the Republican.  Allegheny County’s election review process will begin on Friday.  Once the review is completed, all court challenges must be filed within five days.

Teachers in the South Butler County School District will strike today.  The union representing teachers said they could not reach an agreement with district administrators despite attempting to work through a state mediator.  The teachers had been working without a contract since 2014.

Court officials say a Washington County man is getting three years federal probation after illegally obtaining contracts for PennDOT and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission bridge projects.  Prosecutors say 78-year-old Donald Taylor was ordered to pay a 30-thousand-dollar fine and perform 300-hours of community service.  Taylor was convicted of using another company, WMCC, Inc., as a front for his company to obtain federal contracts.  Century Steel Erectors Co. is not certified in the U.S. Department of Transportation disadvantage business enterprise program, but WMCC was.  That program encourages the use of small, minority-owned businesses for federally funded projects.

A pair of state lawmakers are introducing a bill that will require schools to test their drinking water annually. State Reps Karen Boback and Patrick Harkins say their legislation would establish regular testing for all schools with that info being shared with parents.  Boback says between 2012 and 2015, Pennsylvania was on the top of the list for the number of times elevated lead levels were found in daycare and school drinking water.\

Governor Tom Wolf’s administration is launching the Opioid Data Dashboard to provide the public with info about the severity of the opioid crisis.  Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Rachel Levine says the dashboard is a living document that will constantly be updated with new information about state and local efforts to combat the epidemic.  Levine says the dashboard will also help those directly fighting the crisis to have a better idea of what type of response may be needed.

Officials with the Allegheny County Airport authority say they are looking for artists to create three installations at Pittsburgh International Airport.  Representatives say its part of their Art in the Airport program, looking to enhance the facilities for visitors and staff.  The first of the three installations will be on display starting June 1st.  Each artist or organization selected will receive 15-hundred dollars.