TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR AUGUST 27TH, 2020

Pennsylvania Heath Officials say yesterday saw an increase of 501 new cases, pushing the state total to 130-thousand-536. About 19 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which sits at 76-hundred-24. Lawrence County reported its 18th death yesterday due to Covid-19 complications. It’s the county’s second death since Saturday. Two new cases were announced yesterday bringing the county’s total to 445 Covid-19 cases.

A Beaver County nursing home has seen a surge of COVID-19 cases in the past week. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Providence Care Center in Beaver Falls saw its case number rise among patients from seven to 26 since Aug. 17. Staff cases rose from 15 to 32. WTAE-TV reports the numbers were posted Wednesday at noon. According to the state, no deaths were reported.

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and Congressman Scott Perry are blaming Governor Tom Wolf for what they call a weak state economic recovery. Toomey pointed to the governor’s mitigation efforts aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19 saying the severe lockdown lasted longer than it needed to and the 25-percent indoor capacity limit for bars and restaurants is hurting business. Perry criticized the demand from states for federal assistance, like Pennsylvania, who he says has one-billion dollars left from CARES Act funds that has yet to be disbursed because state lawmakers are withholding it until Washington decides on a second stimulus package.

Allegheny County Judge Mark Tranquilli is suspended without pay after comments he made about a black, female juror.  The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board made that decision Tuesday following misconduct charges filed against the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge earlier this month.  Tranquilli is accused of describing one juror as Aunt Jemima to the county’s assistant district attorney while talking in the judge’s chambers.  The board is continuing its investigation.

Sharon regional medical center has a new President. In a press release Robert Rogalski will assume leadership according to hospital officials. Rogalski had been CEO of Excela Health System, based in Greensburg, Westmoreland County. He had previously been an administrator with UPMC and Allegheny General Hospital in a career spanning more than 25 years.

Butler County’s president judge is being denied immunity by a federal appellate court.  That announcement Wednesday affirms a lower court’s decision in the case against President Judge Tom Doerr by a former county employee.  Crystal Starnes originally sued Doerr in 2018 for sexual harassment and misconduct.  Doerr was asking for immunity from civil suits, unless the plaintiff showed he clearly established statutory or constitutional rights which a reasonable person would have known.

Officials with Seneca Valley School District are shutting down their high school football team for two weeks after a possible COVID-19 exposure.  In a statement, practice was suspended for their program Tuesday and tomorrow’s scheduled scrimmage against Pine Richland is off.  Because the team won’t have enough practice ahead of their season opener, the game set for September 11th against North Allegheny is also postponed.

A Fayette County priest is accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy.  Father John Kawecki surrendered yesterday to face charges of indecent assault and deviate sexual intercourse.  The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office says Kawecki assaulted the boy at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Fairchance for three years, starting in 2004 when the victim was eleven-years-old.