TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR APRIL 30TH, 2020

The Lawrence County Courthouse will be closed until June. According to the New Castle News Commissioner chairman Morgan Boyd said the directive will effectively extend the courthouse closure to the public at least through June 1st. The courthouse was shut down in March. Boyd said that court operations will continue as they have for the past couple of weeks, with only limited and emergency court proceedings.

There are now more than 44-thousand-300 cases of Coronavirus across the commonwealth.  Wednesday’s announcement added eleven-hundred-two cases to the state rolls.  The state’s death toll is nearly 22-hundred people since the start of the pandemic. Lawrence County now has six deaths and 64 cases while Mercer County has 65 cases and one death.

A Butler man is accused of stabbing another man twice early Tuesday morning.  David Demharter was reportedly in a fight with the victim, Jacob Trinkley, near the intersection of Chestnut and Shore streets.  The 22-year-old Demharter surrendered to police later in the day and gave his side of the story.  Trinkley is still in the hospital following two stab wounds to the abdomen.

Pennsylvania’s Education Secretary says they are planning for the best but preparing for the worst.  During a conference call, Pedro Rivera acknowledged uncertainty on whether students will return to a physical classroom this fall.  Rivera added they are weighing several options on educating kids, including a model that includes both in-person and remote learning or having students stagger days in physical buildings to decrease the number of people present at one time.

A liquor reform bill is on to the state senate after passing the house Wednesday.  House Bill 327 will amend the Liquor Code to essentially streamline the process voters would go through to permit alcohol sales in their municipality.  The bill would also permit licensed restaurants and hotels who’ve lost more than 25-percent of their average monthly sales to sell prepared beverages or mixed drinks for off-premise consumption.

Governor Tom Wolf signed a pair of bills into law yesterday.  House Bill 18-69 allows active duty National Guard members to be covered by the Heart and Lung act if they come down with diagnosed.  Wolf vetoed a third bill that focused on telemedicine, saying it didn’t go far enough.

Aliquippa’s chief of police is suing the city after being placed on administrative leave in 2018.  In the lawsuit filed by Chief Donald Couch, he accused Aliquippa City Council of violating his right to due process and damaging his reputation while he was being suspended for an undisclosed accusation.  The Beaver County Times quotes Couch as saying he was put on paid leave for stealing, which he maintains he didn’t do.  Couch remains on paid leave.

The Beaver County Commissioners are extending their property tax deadline.  Residents now have until the end of the year to make the payment without incurring a penalty.  Solicitor Garen Fedeles tells the Beaver County Times the county will accept the face value period that would have ended May 5th through the end of the calendar year.  It’s estimated the county will lose about 400-grand in penalty fees.

COVID-19-related travel restrictions are taking a bite out of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s budget.  Turnpike commission officials say traffic volume is down 60-percent over the past month because of Governor Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order.  Fewer vehicles on the toll road means revenues were down 50-percent last week to 12-million-dollars.  Revenue in early March was 23-million-dollars.

Officials with Concordia at Villa Saint Joseph nursing home in Baden say one of their residents has tested positive for coronavirus.  The positive test is the first resident confirmed to have COVID-19 and the second case in the facility overall.  An employee who had previously tested positive has since fully recovered, according to Concordian Lutheran Ministries.