TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR OCTOBER 16TH, 2020

The New Castle News is reporting the former president of the New Castle Area School District’s teachers union is accused of using the labor organization’s bank debit card to spend thousands of dollars on personal purchases and expenditures. After a year long investigation the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against 64 year old Charles Farris implicating him in the misspending of more than 35 thousand dollars that belonged to the New Castle Federation of Teachers.  Farris is charged with six counts each of theft and access device fraud, and one count of access device fraud. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Dozens of residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at a long-term care facility in Lawrence County. The state Department of Health says 29 people at Quality Life Services in New Castle have recently been infected. That brings the total number of people who have contracted the illness there to 109. The CEO of the facility says it’s impossible to stop the virus from entering the building, however, everyone who has tested positive is being isolated from other residents.

A single-vehicle accident in Beaver County has left one person dead.  The accident occurred yesterday on Route 51.  Authorities say the vehicle went over the side of the road off of Route 51 toward Chippewa and overturned, trapping the driver inside.  First responders needed a ladder to reach the accident site.  State police continue their investigation of the cause of the accident.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is continuing the call to protect the Affordable Care Act. Wolf says the U.S. has the highest healthcare rates of any developed nation in the world and less than average outcomes. He added that the ACA provides health care to more than one-million Pennsylvanians and protects those with pre-existing conditions in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An investigation by USA Today and Columbia Journalism Investigations has found some 28-thousand mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania could be rejected or discarded next month.  Of those 28-thousand, the report estimates more than 450 could come from Beaver County and more than three-thousand from Allegheny County.  The analysis is based on the number of ballots rejected in the last general election in 2016, when more than 25-hundred mail-in ballots or just under one-percent were rejected in Pennsylvania.  This year, more than three-million Pennsylvanians are expected to vote by mail, which may mean some 30-thousand ballots could be discarded or rejected.

An adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law has resigned from their position. The school says the professor used a racial slur while in the classroom Tuesday morning. The name of the professor and the class they were teaching hasn’t been revealed by the university. The school says it apologizes to anyone who was offended, and that there’s no reason to use such language, even in an academic setting.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting the state has 1,598 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 177,520 as of yesterday. Lawrence County saw an increase of 28 cases yesterday bringing its total to 584 cases and 24 fatalities.

Pennsylvania State Police say charges will not be filed against the woman who verbally assaulted Second Lady Gisele Fetterman this week.  Police say Fetterman and her family, including her husband, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, do not want to press charges against the woman.  The incident occurred Sunday while Gisele Fetterman was shopping in Forest Hills.  The woman walked up to her and called her names, including a racial slur.  A State Police spokesman called the woman’s actions racist and intolerable, but the family says they want the woman to receive help and not prosecution.

The Butler Planning and Zoning Commission has turned down a proposal to set up an entertainment district downtown.  Commissioners discussed establishment of a district that would restrict where certain businesses could be located.  The proposal is fashioned after a similar district in Beaver that incentivizes the use of second floors of downtown buildings.  But commissioners said the model could not be applied in Butler.