The Laurel Area School District has announced that its elementary school will be closed for the next week after four students showed COVID-19 symptoms. According to the New Castle News the announcement was made Tuesday evening. Laurel Elementary School serves students in kindergarten through sixth grade. District Superintendant Len Rich said that the school will go to virtual learning starting on Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported the largest increase in daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The department reported an additional 2,751 positive cases of COVID-19 and 23 new deaths. That brings the statewide total to 198,446 cases and 8,696 total deaths attributed to COVID-19. Lawrence County added 13 new cases yesterday bringing its total to 865 cases and 34 fatalities. Mercer County has 1,034 cases and 25 deaths.

Two teachers at Seneca Valley schools have tested positive for the COVID-19.  Both are quarantining.  Officials with the district in Butler County say one of the staff members teaches mostly online and the second staffer works at Ryan Gloyer Middle School but had little contact with students.

Butler County Community College said Tuesday it placed a part-time instructor arrested in Oho last week on four sex-crime felonies on a leave of absence.  According to the New Castle News, 33 year old  Jarod Mills of New Castle  was arrested Thursday by officers from the Mahoning County Sherriff’s office on charges of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, importuning or soliciting of an adolescent, possessing criminal tools and displaying matter harmful to juveniles. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday. Mills is the pastor of Clifton Flats Alliance Church.

State officials are encouraging everyone to help reduce pollution.  That’s why the Department of Environmental Protection is offering up grant money for farmers and small businesses to reduce their pollution and save money at the same time.  Farmers and small businesses with less than a-hundred employees are eligible.  Those businesses can apply for up to seven-thousand-dollars in funds.  More information is available at d-c-p-dot-pa-dot-gov.

Governor Tom Wolf is urging voters to return their mail-in ballots as soon as possible so their vote will count. Wolf says to fill out the ballot now if you still have it and then hand-deliver the ballot to a secure drop box or at the county board of election. Ballots must be delivered to a drop box by November 3rd and those who plan on mailing theirs in must have it postmarked by the same date. The mail-in ballots must reach the county board of elections by November 6th as the state has a three-day extension to count all the expected mail-in ballots.

A guidance counselor at Karns City High School is missing, and state police in Butler County are asking for the public’s help in locating him.  His wife, Rachel Kelly, says he has not been seen since Friday night.  He was last seen driving a 2012 Ford Fusion. Shawn Kelly has Crohn’s Disease, and he was scheduled to have surgery Monday.  Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Butler Police.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas price report the average price of gas in Western Pennsylvania is down a penny this week to 2.52 a gallon. New Castle has the lowest price in the area at 2.28 a gallon while drivers in Sharon are paying 2.44. The average national gas price remained steady this week at $2.16 which is two cents less than last month and 44 cents less than last year.  According to AAA, the demand for gas is the lowest it has been since mid-June and 14% less than one year ago.

Churches and social service agencies that serve Beaver County say pandemic or not, they’re making sure the area’s needy enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner.  Volunteers with The Center for Hope in Ambridge plan to prepare take-out Thanksgiving meals this year.  People need to register in advance on The Center for Hope’s website.  St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church is preparing meals for The Center for Hope to give away on November 26th.