Tri County Report For April 15th, 2020

The number of new cases of the novel coronavirus in Pennsylvania increased by 1,146 since Monday, bringing the statewide total to 25,345. Of those, 44 are in Mercer County and 51 in Lawrence County, where there are also four deaths. Across the state, the number of deaths is now up to 584.

Health officials in Butler County say there has been another death related to coronavirus.  The latest update confirmed the death, bringing Butler County’s total to five since the spread of the virus.  There were no new cases for Butler County announced Tuesday, leaving its total number of positive tests at 143.

Police in Neshannock township say a woman who drove off Wilmington Road and hit a utility pole Monday morning had suffered an apparent medical condition that caused the accident. According to the New Castle News the accident took place just after 9:30 on Wilmington Road near Green Ridge Drive. Police said the driver, 53 year old Luellen Brocklebank of New Wilmington was traveling south went her vehicle went off the roadway and struck the utility pole. She was taken to UPMC Jameson for treatment.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank officials are planning another food distribution in Butler County after overwhelming demand yesterday.  Vehicles filled Alameda Park in Butler Township for the food bank’s first large-scale event since the coronavirus pandemic started.  One-thousand vehicles were loaded with enough food for 40 meals in less than two hours.

Organizers are canceling this year’s Memorial Day parade through Beaver.  The group is also postponing next month’s Town Yard Sale, its Spring Clean-Up and the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department Five-and Ten-K races, according to the Beaver County Times.  The Garrison Day arts and crafts festival, which typically happens in June, will now occur in late August.

A man from Jefferson Township is accused of sexually assaulting a teen.  Investigators say 66-year-old Mitchel Stevens allegedly touched the boy and offered him money to perform a sex act during a recent overnight visit.  The 13-year-old told police that other kids hang out at Stevens’ home because he is fun and lets them play on his video game systems.  Stevens is in Fayette County Prison on a quarter-million-dollars bail.

The state House has approved a bill which seeks to reopen many businesses closed by an order from Governor Wolf in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would require the Governor to use criteria developed by the CDC in determining whether a business is life-sustaining and should remain open during an emergency.  Representative Mike Tobash voted for the bill saying  the state should be leading the nation in working safely instead of in unemployment.  But Representative Joe Hohenstein opposed the bill, saying it puts a higher value on company profits than on human life

Gas prices in western Pennsylvania have fallen even lower both regionally and locally over the last week. According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas price report prices dropped by four cents across western Pennsylvania as a whole this week, averaging $2.14 per gallon. The cheapest gas in the area can be found in New Castle at $1.80 per gallon, while the most expensive is $2.26 in Mercer. The average national gas price declined for the seventh consecutive week to $1.86

Cranberry Township’s Community Response Team is beginning to work beyond its borders.  The team is expanding its reach into Jackson and Lancaster townships as well as Evans City, Harmony, and Zelienople to help neighbors in need.  The group will purchase essential supplies for people in the area using donations they’ve received.  The group is able to expand their reach thanks to a donation from MarkWest Energy Partners.