Tri County Report For July 30th, 2019

Investigators say nine people were arrested as part of a big drug bust over the weekend in Butler.  It began Friday evening with two separate drug raids on East Locust Street and West North Street.  Two of the defendants are from Butler County while two others are from Ellwood City.  The four are accused of being part of a larger group from Ohio who had been selling crack cocaine and heroin in Western P-A.

The New Castle News reports that an East Side man was arrested in Ellwood City on Sunday for allegedly threatening people with a gun.19 year old Randy Alexander Mulig was charged in connection with the incident that took place in the 800 block of Pershing Street. No injuries were reported. He is charged with possession of a firearm prohibited, carrying a firearm without a license and terroristic threats. He was arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Jail on 50 thousand dollars bond.

Beaver County officials say 26 people have died this year due to drug overdoses in the county.  That’s four more than at this time last year.  Officials say they began to see an uptick in calls starting in March of this year.  The Beaver County Times says it’s still down significantly from the peak of the epidemic in 2016 and 2017.

Some 200-thousand Pennsylvanians could lose their food stamps benefits due to a rule change by the Trump administration, according to Governor Wolf’s office.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is attempting to close a loophole that allows anyone who qualifies for benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to also get SNAP benefits.  In a statement, Governor Wolf says the proposed change is a punishment for working families and would hurt Pennsylvania’s economy because retailers rely on people spend that SNAP money.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central gas price report the average price of gasoline across Western Pennsylvania is two cents cheaper this week at $2.95 per gallon. Across the Commonwealth the price is 2.89. In New Castle motorists are paying 2.88 a gallon while drivers in Sharon are paying 2.99.  The national average is at 2.73 a gallon. A year ago drivers in Western Pennsylvania were paying 3.08 a gallon.

The manager of a Penn Hills apartment complex is criticizing Peoples Gas for what he calls its slow response that led to the destruction of the building.  Seven firefighters were hurt in the fire Sunday at Churchill Plaza in Penn Hills.  Officials with the utility blame a mislabeled shutoff valve for the delay in cutting off the gas line.  Damage is estimated to exceed one-and-a-half million dollars.

An Eire man was sentence to 70 months in prison yesterday following his conviction violating federal laws relating to the sexual exploitation of children. 33 year old Eric J. Andrzejewski was sentenced yesterday in U.S.District Court in Pittsburgh. According to information presented to the court, Andrzejewski received computer images depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The case was brought forward by  Project Safe Childhood.

General Motors announced its suspending production at its 78-year-old transmissions plant in Warren, Michigan. The automaker said it’s focusing on building more electric cars. GM said this restructuring plan will save an estimated $6 billion. The Michigan plant now joins the idled 50 year old Lordstown, Ohio factory.

The state Department of Human Services is looking to expand programs which help people to overcome barriers to success in the workforce. DHS Secretary Teresa Miller says they hope to expand the number ofSNAP 50/50 partnerships in the state from 14 to 30 by the end of the year. Miller says her department is also looking to expand the Keystone Education Yields Success program which supportsSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipientspursuing education at a PA community college.