Tri County Report For April 18th, 2018

Investigators say a Rochester crash Tuesday morning is part of a man’s weeklong crime spree.  Ambridge police say a man they confronted for stealing a ladder from a worksite Tuesday led police on a pursuit in a stolen car that ended in the crash.  The man escaped on foot.  Investigators think the man is connected to several crimes in nearby communities.  Police say the suspect is already wanted on state parole violations and they are working to track the man down.

Organizers say several dozen nurse practitioners rallied at the State Capitol in Harrisburg Tuesday looking to better serve Pennsylvania families.  The group is asking lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow them to provide full and specialized care to patients by giving them full practice authority.  Currently, a nurse practitioner must enter a collaborative agreement with two physicians to be able to practice.  By lifting the restriction, organizers say they will be able to better reach underserved communities in the commonwealth.

U.S. Representative Charlie dent says he’ll be stepping down in the coming weeks.  The Pennsylvania Republican made the announced today, saying he would leave office sometime next month.  The seven-term lawmaker, who’s been vocal in his criticism of President Trump, had already said he would retire when his term ended in January.  Dent joins more than 40 House Republicans who’ve announced  they are retiring, seeking other offices or resigning.

A Mars man has been sentenced for his role in an alleged fraud scheme at a Beaver County-based pharmacy chain. Inside Butler County is reporting 48 year old Gino Cordisco, has been sentenced to serve one year and one day after his conviction on one count of conspiracy. Cordisco was the Vice President of Store Operations for Med-Fast Pharmacy. The company is accused of defrauding Medicare and Pennsylvania Medicaid programs by intentionally mislabeling and re-using old medication from nursing homes.

A non-profit is pledging to plant five trees for every baby born in the month of April.  The group is planting the trees as part of a pilot program that aims to turn an old coal mining site into a reforested site.  For every baby born this month at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC five trees will be given life starting on Saturday which is Earth Day.  They expect to plant five-thousand-trees in total.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central gas price report, Gas prices in Western Pennsylvania are up by nearly five cents this week to $2.92 per gallon. In New Castle, prices are averaging 2.89 in Sharon drivers are paying less at 2.78. At $2.71, the national  gas prices are at their most expensive point in nearly three years and continue to climb.  On the week, the national average increased a nickel.  Motorists in six west coast states are paying more than $3/gallon.  Across the country, only 27 percent of gas stations are selling gas for $2.50 or less.

The state House of Representatives is passing legislation that will help grandparents get temporary guardianship of their grandchildren.  House Bill 1539 enables grandparents to more easily step in when parents are unable to care for kids, primarily due to substance abuse.  The bill protects the parents’ parental rights while allowing grandparents to make basic decisions for the children.  Governor Wolf is encouraging the state Senate to give its approval.

A DEA study says the record number of overdose deaths due to the opioid epidemic is helping ease America’s organ shortage.  Officials say the number of people who died from an overdose and donated an organ nationwide is around 13-percent.  The CEO of the Gift of Life Donor program says they are working to encourage doctors to do more to utilize the overdose donor organs to save more lives, adding that drugs affect the donor’s brain and not their vital organs.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says he has declared a countywide disaster emergency.  In a statement, Fitzgerald says that move enables county and municipal governments to increase resources needed to clean up after floods, landslides, and destroyed homes.  County officials say that home owners’ insurance doesn’t often cover landslides, so they will attempt to get FEMA invited to help those affected.