Tri County Report For July 18th, 2018

The New Castle Police Department has arrested three people after a search of a home on Clearview Avenue found drugs, money and guns. According to the department’s facebook page a search of the home was done by New Castle Narcotics, Lawrence County District Attorneys Special Investigative Unit and New Castle Street Crimes members Monday night. Arrested were Jeremy Perine of New Castle, Tristen Morgan residing in New Castle from Detroit, and Antonio Hamilton of Detroit. All three face drugs and weapons charges. Perine is in the Lawrence County Jail on a robbery warrant. The investigation is continuing by police.

Pennsylvania’s Auditor General is asking the federal government for help keeping the commonwealth’s voting systems protected from election interference.  Eugene DePasquale says he sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and three U.S. Attorney offices to start discussions on the topic.  DePasquale says the state is reviewing its options to modernize election systems.

Police say a former Kiski Area School District employee is charged with having sexual relations with students.  Investigators say 27-year-old Ryan O’Toole was a coach and physical trainer at the school who had sex with at least one student in his vehicle in the spring of 2017 and made out with another.  School district officials fired O’Toole after the allegations came to light in November 2017.

Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino is among a push to offer online gambling options to customers.  Rivers was one of nine casinos in the state to apply of a license to offer slot machine simulators, table games and poker to gamers within the state who create online accounts.  The license is what the state has called a “bundled” licensing option, allowing casinos to offer in-person and internet gaming options for ten-million dollars.  Last year, state lawmakers approved legislation that would allow Pennsylvania to become the fourth state in the country to legalize online gambling.

A grand jury report detailing sexual abuse at six Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania could be released sometime today.  The names of accused priests and Church leaders mentioned in the eight-hundred-page report are expected to be redacted while the state Supreme Court hears appeals.  The Diocese of Pittsburgh and Greensburg were both named in the latest scandal.

Members of the shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity charged in the death of a pledge last year will stand trial next February.  Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine set the date for the 21 defendants accused of hazing and reckless endangerment in the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey.  Court officials say 10 of the defendants will be in court August 21st for their preliminary hearings.

Officials say revenue from Pennsylvania’s casinos is at an all-time high.  Representatives from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board say revenue is up by 45-million, or about one-point-two percent over last fiscal year.  Last year’s figures showed Pennsylvania as the number one state in tax revenue from the casino industry.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central gas price report Gas prices in Western Pennsylvania are down by a penny over the week to $3.10 per gallon. Gas prices are as much as eight cents more expensive on the week for Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, while a handful of states saw prices decline by a penny.  In Pennsylvania, motorists are paying an average of a penny more for gasoline over the week.  In New Castle drivers are paying 3.05 a gallon while drivers in Sharon are paying 3.01.  Since July 4, gas prices have increased three cents, putting the national average at $2.88

The Wilmington Area School District will check student’s backpack’s starting for the upcoming school year. According to the New Castle News, District security officer Claude Shorts told school board members the checks will be daily but random. Shorts said every fifth, or seventh or 10th student who walks though the front door will be pulled aside and have their backpack checked. Students who arrive early on the bus will also be checked.

A special prosecutor is going to focus on opioid cases in Washington County as part of a nationwide program.  Officials say the program is targeting the hardest hit areas in the nation and Washington County was chosen as one of those spots.  District Attorney Gene Vittone says his team will try drug arrests in federal court, where there are minimum sentences for dealers.