TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JANUARY 16TH, 2020

The superintendent of the Laurel Area School District has a new contract. According to the New Castles News, Leonard Rich has a new contract that will pay him 123 thousand dollars for the 2019-2020 school year. The current contract runs until June of 2023. Rich has been superintendent since since 2016 and his current contract was set to expire at the end of the month.

Pennsylvania is one step closer to banning drivers from using hand-held devices while they drive.  In a Wednesday vote, state representatives moved forward a bill that would not only ban texting while driving, but would prohibit any hand-held device from being used.  Police wouldn’t be able to stop driver for the reason alone, however.  The measure is now off to the state Senate.

Lawrence County authorities are looking for a paintball vandal.  Shenango Township police say residents of Highview Drive and Old Butler Road woke up yesterday to find their homes covered in paintball tags.  The suspect is also accused of leaving their mark on homes in New Castle.

A Slippery Rock University football player is accused of driving under the influence with a child in his car.  Monongahela police say Devin Sims’ one-year-old child was in the vehicle when he was pulled over this week on Route 837.  Officers found a bottle of alcohol in the car and Sims admitted to smoking marijuana before driving.

State Health Department officials say there have been eleven more flu-related deaths this season.  Statewide, that brings the total to 24 with more than 32-thousand confirmed flu cases since the end of October.  That number may be even hire since most people who come down with the flu may not be tested.  Last year, 133 people died from flu, with most over the age of 65..

The practice of taking homeless men out of Beaver County is continuing.  The county has gone for six months since its men’s shelter, Crossroads, left a church in Beaver Falls.  The Beaver County Times reports that 27 individuals have been taken outside the county since October because there was no shelter room available.  A Beaver County program director tells the paper she thinks the area homeless are aware of the situation and are seeking services on their own.

The man behind an alleged motorcycle – A-T-V theft ring across Western P-A is in custody.  Karon Smith is allegedly behind burglaries in Allegheny, Washington, and Westmoreland County totaling upwards of 150-grand.  Three other suspects believed to be part of the ring have been arrested and W-P-X-I T-V reports more are coming.

Beaver County is going to lend some help to this year’s Maple Syrup Festival.  Wednesday, the county decided to waive a fee in a contract between them and the Beaver County Conservation District for the April festival, meaning they will not charges for services performed by public works, sheriffs, tourism, or recycling.  The festival had been in question over the past few months after the state E-P-A revoked some of the district’s permit abilities.

A jackpot-winning Pennsylvania Lottery Cash 5 ticket sold for the Tuesday drawing matched all five balls drawn to win a $200,000 payout. The ticket was sold at Penn Ohio Lottery & Deli in Sharon, which will earn a $500 bonus for selling the winning ticket. The winner has not yet been identified.