TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR OCTOBER 15TH, 2020

Police in New Castle are investigating a shooting last night in Downtown. According to the New Castle News, the shooting took place around 7pm. One man who has not yet been positively identified is hospitalized in Pittsburgh with multiple gunshot wounds. Police Chief Bobby Salem said He was a passenger inside a vehicle when the shots were fired, and the gunfire hit him multiple times. The incident was reported to have occurred on the Columbus Inner Belt at West Washington Street. The man was flown from UPMC Jameson to a Pittsburgh Hospital.

The Pennsylvania System of Higher Education is considering the idea of combining several universities so they can remain financially sustainable without having to borrow money. This idea would combine Clarion with California, Edinboro with Slippery Rock and Lock Haven with Mansfield, which would all operate under one administrative team, with one budget and one faculty. Though the universities would be combined through this plan, they would maintain their campus identity. The next step to get this idea rolling is for a plan to be developed and presented to the board around April of next year.

State health officials are not sure the current surge of COVID-19 cases is going to trend downwards anytime soon. State health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, says they believe the state is at the beginning of the fall resurgence, which officials anticipated would come as the weather got colder and more people gather indoors. For about nine days in a row, the state has seen daily case counts of the virus reaching more than one-thousand and hospitalizations doubled in the last month. Levine added that at the moment there are no plans to change any restrictions currently in place.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported an additional 1,276 positive cases of COVID-19 and 27 new deaths since Tuesday’s report, when 1,342 new cases and 16 new deaths were reported. That brings the statewide total to 175,922 cases and 8,411 total deaths attributed to COVID-19. Lawrence County has 653 Covid-19 cases and 24 fatalities.

Election officials in Allegheny County say nearly 29-thousand voters have received incorrect ballots in the mail. The ballots were sent out back on September 28th, and the issue came to light after some voters reported the problem. Starting today, new ballots are going to be sent out and will have the words corrected ballot on the front as well as instructions for voters on what to do. The new ballots should arrive next week.

Butler County is releasing more than two-point-seven-million dollars in funds from the federal coronavirus relief program for small businesses and non-profits.  County commissioners have given preliminary approval to funds for fifty non-profits and more than one-hundred small businesses.  Non-profits in Butler County received 443-thousand dollars, and small businesses received about two-point-three-million dollars.

Ambridge Police Chief James Mann has been found innocent of charges that he falsified timesheets while on disability for a back injury in 2017 and 2018.  Beaver County authorities contended he was not entitled to more than 54-thousand dollars in compensation during the period.  Mann’s attorney said Mann worked through his injuries to keep the department running, and that other officers had used similar practices in the past.

Construction at Zelienople Airport and two state roads adjacent to the airport is for safety improvements at the airport and not runway expansion.  Airport officials deny rumors that the runway is being expanded for use by FedEx and UPS flights for their local fulfillment centers.  The runway is due to reopen this month, and the work on adjacent Route 288 is scheduled for completion by first quarter next year.

PennDOT officials are putting the call out now to find winter season help.  It’s reported they have 98 temporary positions and right now only half are filled.  PennDOT officials add that those who take on the work can grow with the department.