TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JULY 15TH, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf signed two police reform bills yesterday.  House Bill 18-41 requires police departments to keep a database of officer disciplinary measures and House Bill 19-10 requires them to provide training to their officers on use of force and implicit bias.  They also require officers involved in use-of-force incidents to undergo mental health screenings.  These bills come amid similar police reform measures being implemented nationwide after George Floyd’s death prompted protests against police brutality.

Butler police are investigating an incident that sent a four-year-old boy to the hospital.  Detectives say the child was playing with relatives at Connoquenessing Creek this week when he was swept under by the current.  There have been no updates on the boy’s condition.

In an announcement yesterday, Lawrence County and state officials announced Stonecrest Golf Course in New Beaver Borough soon will be home to a new $7 million business park.  According to the New Castle News The project, proposed by Pittsburgh area developer John LaCarte on the 213-acre tract, promises to bring more than 1,000 jobs. Lawrence County Commissioner Chairman Morgan Boyd credited State Senator Elder Vogel Jr., and State Representative Aaron Bernstine along with the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation for pulling off the deal. The golf course will remain open for as long as possible until the project begins

A renovation project to convert several New Castle buildings into a new, state-of-the-art senior housing facility in Lawrence County got a boost yesterday with approval of a $102,456 grant. Ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato said the grant approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority under the High Performance Building Program will help fund New Castle Real Estate LLC’s project to renovate four buildings into the future New Castle Wellness Center – a long-term senior housing facility with ancillary services, including up to 400 beds. The total project cost is about $2.48 million, with matching funds of about $2.38 million from Commercial PACE Finance.

COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania are continuing to rise throughout the state. Officials say yesterday saw an increase of nearly one-thousand new cases, with the state total surpassing 96-thousand. Officials reported 20 new deaths related to the virus as the death toll sits at 69-hundred-31. Lawrence County added three cases and now has 200 confirmed Covid-19 cases with nine deaths.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is passing a bill in an attempt to allow green counties to move beyond that phase. House Bill 2549 would grant county leaders the power to loosen current COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, if the county has been green for 14 days and has not seen a significant spike in new cases. Sponsor of the bill, Grant Everett, says the governor’s office and its “arbitrary” mandates have been a major roadblock for businesses to recover from the pandemic. The bill is heading to the Senate next, but Governor Tom Wolf’s spokeswoman says if it reaches his desk it will be vetoed.

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference is reportedly suspending sports through the end of the year.  An official announcement by the conference, which includes Slippery Rock, Clarion, California University of P-A,and I-U-P, , is expected to be made this morning.  School presidents from the 18 PSAC [[ Pee-SACK ]] schools met Tuesday afternoon to vote.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas price report the average price held  steady this week at $2.47 per gallon. In New Castle the average price is at 2.42 a gallon while drivers in Sharon are paying 2.48.  On the week, the national gas price average only increased one penny to land at $2.19. That is nine cents more than last month and nearly 60 cents less than a year ago.