TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JULY 2ND, 2020

A Lawrence County man who was sent to prison for a murder he didn’t commit at age eleven is looking for justice.  Jordan Brown filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit in federal court this week, claiming state troopers fabricated evidence to frame him for killing his father’s pregnant girlfriend.  The now-20-year-old Brown was exonerated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2018.

The New Castle Area School District earlier this week passed the 2020-21 school budget  that does not raise taxes. According to the New Castle News, a deficit of nearly 470 thousand dollars was offset by taking that amount from its fund balance. The overall budget is $706,572 above that of the 2019-2020 school year.

Mask wearing is now mandatory nearly everywhere in P-A.  Health Secretary Doctor Rachel Levine signed a mandate Wednesday expanding mask wearing in businesses and just about everywhere else under the Disease Prevention and Control Act.  Exceptions to the rule include people with a medical condition, if the mask creates an unsafe work environment, if someone is unable to remove the mask without help, or if the person is under two-years-old.

Pennsylvania health officials are confirming more cases of COVID-19 throughout the state. Officials say that yesterday saw an increase of 636 new cases, with the state total now surpassing 87-thousand. About 38 more deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is just below 67-hundred. Lawrence County added one cases and now has 102 Covid-19 cases.

It’s unclear if anyone is hurt after a two-vehicle crash in Center Township around midday Wednesday.  It happened outside the Abie Abraham V-A Center on North Duffy Road with one vehicle sustaining front-end damage.  There’s no word on what may have caused that wreck.

The P-A Supreme Court is siding with Governor Tom Wolf and ending an effort by Republican state lawmakers to stop the shutdown order.  Wednesday, the divided court ruled the resolution passed with mostly Republican votes was a legal nullity because it was never sent to Wolf for his signature or veto.  Early last month, both chambers voted to end the emergency disaster declaration that closed non-life-sustaining businesses and banned large gatherings.  In a statement, Wolf’s office said it was pleased with the outcome to keep the disaster declaration in place.  A similar statement from House Republicans claimed the ruling sends a message to residents that the governor and State Supreme Court do not want to hear from them.

The nursing home at the epicenter of Beaver County’s COVID-19 outbreak is facing a wrongful-death lawsuit.  The family of Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center employee Elizabeth Wiles sued the facility yesterday, claiming infection control procedures were not followed.  Wiles worked as a housekeeper at Brighton and died from coronavirus complications in May.

A 53-year-old man is suing the Center for Community Resources, saying they are to blame for his assault in Butler last year.  Robert Faitelson was assaulted by a short-term housing resident in November 14th while Faitelson was a permanent resident of the building on East North Street.  The complaint says staff members with the center ignored regular threats made by the suspect, Julian Bindernagel.  Faitelson and his wife moved out of the building last month.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report the average price of gasoline across Western Pennsylvania is three cents higher this week at $2.47 per gallon. In New Castle the average sits at 2.40 a gallon while in Sharon drivers are paying 2.47. On the week, gasoline demand increased 10% from 7.8 million barrels to 8.6 million barrels. The increase in gasoline demand contributed towards the national gas price average’s four cent bump to $2.17. While that average will continue to increase ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, travelers will find pump prices about 50 cents cheaper than last year’s holiday.