TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR APRIL 21ST, 2020

30 New Castle City employees were furloughed Friday to help reduce costs to the city’s budget due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the New Castle News, Mayor Chris Frye said we have a responsibility to be stewards of the taxpayer’s money and this decision is solely predicated on doing what’s best for the residents of our city. The city could see a shortfall between $500,000 and $1.3 million in earned income tax revenue. The furloughs will save the city about 600 thousand dollars.

Plans are in the works to slowly reopen Pennsylvania’s economy after the coronavirus crisis.  Governor Tom Wolf announced yesterday that the state would get back to business on May Eighth.  The statewide stay-at-home order will remain in effect until then.  Decisions on which businesses and regions open up first have not been made.  Pennsylvania has more than 33-thousand-200 COVID-19 cases, with more than 12-hundred deaths.

Organizers say several thousand people gathered at the state Capitol Monday to protest two of Governor Tom Wolf’s recent orders.  Three grassroots groups put on the event to show their displeasure with the stay-at-home order and to demand the Governor reopen P-A’s economy.  Footage of the event showed many people not wearing masks and not social distancing, prompting concerns about a surge in COVID-19 cases from some nurses counter-protesting nearby.

Pennsylvania Health officials say they don’t need to reopen Ellwood City Medical Center yet.  The Commonwealth is identifying sites for alternative care or testing should hospitals reach their capacity.  About two weeks ago, Ellwood City’s Mayor, Anthony Court, and State Representative Aaron Bernstine said the shuddered facility was being considered as an emergency site, according to the Beaver County Times.

Two men are facing charges after a burglary in Butler over the weekend.  Matthew Cline and Trevor Walker allegedly smashed the front door of the E-Z Shop along the 300-block of North Main Street Sunday morning.  Police spotted the two leaving the scene and eventually took them into custody a short while later.  Investigators recovered an unopened safe taken from the convenience store in the back seat of their vehicle.

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 $2.12. In New Castle drivers are paying 1.78 per gallon while in Sharon the price is at 1.92. The national gas price average decreased by a nickel pushing the year-over-year savings to $1.03/gallon. A year ago drivers in Western Pennsylvania were paying 3.03 a gallon.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is now organizing its data on positive and negative COVID-19 tests down to ZIP code-level.  That data allows residents to get a closer look at how coronavirus is impacting where they live and work.  The new info doesn’t detail where those deadly COVID-19 cases are coming from, however.

Police in Sharon have arrested a man they say allegedly fired several gunshots in the air to intimidate his neighbors. 27 YEAR OLD John Domascieno is charged with making terroristic threats with intent to terrorize, making terroristic threats causing a public inconvenience and reckless endangerment. WFMJ-TV reports the incident took place around 9 o’clock Sunday night. Domascieno was arraigned and placed in the Mercer County Jail on 50 thousand dollars bond.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is joining mayors from around the country in imploring President Donald Trump for financial help.  Peduto warned that Pittsburgh will likely face a 120-million-dollar short fall this year, which could prompt the city’s reserves to be drained only to cover two-thirds of that loss.  The group of mayors are asking Trump for 250-billion-dollars in emergency assistance.

State police across the commonwealth are canceling several youth camps, including the popular Camp Cadet.  The move comes due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.  Colonel Robert Evanchick says they made the decision with the health and safety of all attendees, staff, and community partners in mind.  They anticipate resuming the programs in 2021.

State police are identifying the man struck and killed on the P-A Turnpike in North Sewickley Township early Sunday morning.  It’s believed 44-year-old Christopher Elliott was struck while standing in the right westbound lane near mile marker 15-point-five.  The Beaver County Coroner determined Elliott’s death was an accident.