TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JANUARY 29TH, 2020

Taxes are going up by one mill in Lawrence County.  The County Commissioiners yesterday introduced a a new budget that will cancel out the 2020 budget that was adopted last month by the previous board of Commissioners. According to the New Castle News the county has also instituted a hiring freeze.  Commissioner Chairman Morgan Boyd explained that the former plan did not include a significant contribution to the county retirement fund, which is set at $1.3 million. It also included about $500,000 of unsubstantiated revenue that the county does not know whether it will receive.

Governor Tom Wolf is again calling for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to eventually more than double its current amount by 2025.  In a news conference Tuesday, Wolf discussed his proposed pathway from seven-and-a-quarter an hour to 15-dollars an hour.  Pennlive-dot-com reports a deal with Senate Republicans to rise the wage to nine-50 an hour by 2022 is now off the table.

Authorities are searching for an inmate who escaped from Mercer County Jail while out on furlough yesterday. Travis Brandt was being transported back to the jail when he escaped from the vehicle. He was last seen by family members in Hermitage. Brandt is described as white with brown hair and brown eyes. He is five-feet-five-inches tall and weighs about 180-pounds. Anyone who thinks they may have seen Brandt should call Mercer County State Police.

The Pennsylvania Senate is expected to make a vote on a bill requiring insurers to cover breast M-R-I and ultrasound screenings for women with dense breasts and women at high risk.  The founder of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, Pat Halpin-Murphy, says the legislation will allow thousands of women will have affordable access to the breast cancer screenings.  If it becomes law, Pennsylvania will be one of the first in the country to require insurance coverage for the critical screenings.

Investigators say a man from New Brighton is facing charges for receiving money for work he never did.  Michael Beaver, who owns Certified Welding, was reportedly paid more than ten-grand to install a metal fence at a Chippewa Township home.  The 56-year-old is accused of cashing the check that day and never returning.  Police say Beaver didn’t respond to several letters but did, at one point, answer a phone call from the victim.  In that call, Beaver reportedly told the victim he didn’t have the money anymore.  Beaver was charged with theft by deception and other charges.

Four people are being treated for smoke inhalation following a two-alarm fire Monday night in Beaver Falls. Fire officials say the fire started around 5:00 p.m. in a two-story house. The victims are expected to make a full recovery. No word yet on the condition of the house. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Officials with Senaca Valley School District say they’ve been awarded a grand to help kids get ready for careers in technology. The 35-thousand-dollar PAsmart Targeted grant comes from the state Department of Education to increase students’ exposure to age appropriate computer science learning in grades three-through-six.  It also will help fund teacher training and expand computer science clubs that focus on artificial intelligence, coding, and robotics.

Registration is officially open for students interested in the P-S-P’s Camp Cadet.  The program run by Troop D is for any interested students 18-and-younger from Butler, Lawrence, and Mercer County.  The program has three phases that span basic training to professional leadership development.  The camp is this August with registration available on Troop D’s website.

An investigation is underway into a fire that gutted a Butler County business.  Jackson Township firefighters say the blaze broke out yesterday inside an auto body shop on Route 19.  Crews were able to keep the fire from spreading to attached businesses.

Voters in P-A are a step closer to not casting a ballot for Lieutenant Governor.  A proposed amendment would allow the candidates for governor to select a running mate similar to the presidential election.  The state Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the measure already approved in the state House last year.  All that’s left is the O-K from the General assembly during the 2021-2022 term and a majority of voter support.