Tri County Report For June 14th, 2018

New Castle City  Police say a man scaled a fence to steal a minivan from an impound lot earlier this week.  Investigators say the man was spotted on surveillance video ramming other vehicles and eventually crashing through a locked gate to escape.  Anyone with information on the man or the vehicle’s whereabouts is asked to call police.

The Laurel Area School District passed its 18.7 million dollar budget for the 2018-2019 school year and does not include a tax increase. The district is facing a deficit of nearly 475 thousand dollars. According to the New Castle News the district will balance the budget through its fund balance. The district has raised taxes the last two years.

A state Representative says he wants schools to do a better job of identifying threats before they happen.  Republican State Rep Jason Ortitay is pushing a bill that would require public schools to have an assessment team whose job would be to identify threats before they occur.  Ortitay says two companion bills would make those same requirements at public colleges and universities and would make all public schools responsible to be equipped with security cameras.

A widower of a flight attendant killed on Flight 93 is scheduled to speak at a memorial this weekend.  Lorne Lyles will be the guest speaker at the Flight 93 Speaker Series program in Shanksville, at the memorial near where the plane went down on 9/11.  Lyle’s wife, CeeCee Lyles was one of 40 passengers and crew members who died that day.  Lyles is expected to talk about the conversation he had over the phone with his wife as the plane was going down.  The event is scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Educators in the South Butler School District say they have a new contract.  The teachers voted to approve the new deal Wednesday evening that will run through the summer of 2022. In March, the teachers had walked off the job during the negotiation.

A new poll shows President Trump’s approval numbers are improving in the commonwealth. The new poll by F&M College in Lancaster shows that President Trump has gained 5 points in his approval rating in PA – from 30% to 35…these are registered voters who say the president is doing an excellent or good job. 52% still say President Trump is doing a poor job, but that number is down slightly from just 3 months ago when 54% disapproved. The poll was taken before the president’s North Korea summit…

Property owners in Shenango Township will be paying more in school taxes next year. According to the New Castle News the passage of an 18.4 million dollar budget means residents will pay on average forty dollars more a year. The school board approved the 18.4 million dollar spending plan by a 7-1 vote. It’s the second straight year the district has increased taxes.

A state Senate committee is supporting legislation to expand the list of crimes that would force a public official to forfeit their taxpayer-payed pension.  The Senate Finance Committee passed the measure that would require the pension to be forfeited whenever a public employee is convicted of any felony.  Currently, state law only has about a dozen specific crimes that automatically triggers forfeiture.  The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

A routine traffic stop in Westmoreland County nets state police dozens of pounds of pot.  Troopers say they pulled over Giovanni Baassiri of Cranberry Township for not using turn signals and following too closely on Route 119 in Youngwood near the PA Turnpike.  Investigators say the street value of the marijuana they collected exceeded 500-thousand-dollars.