TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JUNE 5TH, 2020

City police in New Caste are investigating a double shooting that took place last night at the Harbor Heights Housing project. The New Castle News is reporting police were called to the scene on Booker Drive just after 11:15 p.m. The condition of the two people was unknown. City police were assisted on the scene by Union Township police. No other details were given.

The Lawrence County Fair has been canceled. According to a press release the fair board made the announcement last night. The main reason, was COVID-19 and Pennsylvania’s limitations on large gatherings. Another factor was the increased cost of safety equipment needed to safely put on the fair. This year’s event was to be the 67th annual fair.

Governor Tom Wolf is releasing a series of law enforcement reforms as many in the state and across the nation protest against police brutality, racism and the death of George Floyd. Wolf says he’s taking steps to address concerns about community relations with law enforcement and accountability on police. The reforms call for the review of force training and standards for police, creating an advisory commissions to oversee allegations of misconduct and more mental health support for officers. Wolf also plans on addressing the looming systemic failings that created the situation the nation is in.

Most of western Pennsylvania is going green today.  Counties that had been in the “yellow” reopening phase since last month are now operating without many COVID-19 restrictions.  Hair salons and gyms are reopening, and restaurants are allowed to serve customers indoors and outdoors.  Social distancing guidelines are expected to be enforced.  Gatherings of up to 250 people are also allowed.  Beaver County is still in the “yellow” phase.

Robert Morris University is eliminating jobs and furloughing staff in the wake of a potential ten-million-dollar loss.  In a statement this week, R-M-U officials say the furloughs will focus on staff whose workload is significantly diminished due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like members of the Athletic Department.  Other staff positions, including some that were vacant, were among those eliminated.  The Moon Township university is set to reopen August 28th.

A lawsuit filed by some western Pennsylvania counties against Governor Tom Wolf is still pending.  The governor has until this afternoon to respond to the suit filed by Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties.  The counties claim the governor’s COVID-19 shutdown orders violated business owners’ constitutional rights.  They’re among the counties entering the green reopening phase today.

The Ellwood City Ledger is reporting that Southwestern Pennsylvania’s April jobless rate was the highest it’s been since the 1980s steel industry collapse as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the local economy. Beaver County had the region’s second-highest unemployment rate — 18.7 percent — up from its March jobless rate of 6.4 percent. Roughly 15,900 Beaver County residents were out of work in April; that number is expected to drop in May when various industries were permitted to reopen with new guidelines.

State Health Department officials are adding 537 more coronavirus cases to its statewide total.  That brings the Commonwealth to nearly 74-thousand confirmed or probable cases since the start of the pandemic.  They also announced 75 more deaths across P-A, with the death toll standing at 58-hundred-17. No new cases were reported in Lawrence County which has 83 confirmed Covid-19 cases and eight deaths.

A Doctor at U-P-M-C say they are seeing less severe COVID-19 cases at this point during the pandemic.  Health officials announced 13 more deaths related to coronavirus complications, with all but one coming from long-term care facilities.  Doctor Don Yealy tells W-P-X-I T-V the total amount of virus looks like it has come down, adding that even when people test positive they seem to have less of it.

Organizers of the annual Jeep Festival in Slippery Rock say they still want to help charities even without the annual event.  Representatives with the Bantam Jeep Association are selling the 2020 Parade and Festival t-shirts through August 30th, with the proceeds benefiting partner organizations.  Since 2016, the Bantam Jeep Association has donated over 81-grand to local charities and non-profit organizations.