Tri County Report For November 13th, 2020

Pennsylvania’s highest-ranking law enforcement official said Thursday that more than a week after Election Day he still has not seen any indication there was widespread voter fraud. Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, elected to a second term last week, said lawyers for the Republican Party and President Donald Trump also haven’t produced any evidence of it . He said people should not think that the litigation will reverse the voting results.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania.  The state added more than 54-hundred new cases to the total yesterday, pushing it close to 249-thousand. About 49 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is nearing 92-hundred. Lawrence County has 1,450 cases and 47 fatalities, while Mercer County has 1,648 cases and 30 deaths.

Authorities are working to identify a body found earlier this week in the woods of Butler County.  They believe it may be the body of Laura Graham-Simonetti. Graham-Simonetti was reported missing in early September.  Police say that her car was found near the body.  Identification is on hold pending autopsy results.

State Police in Mercer County report a county resident had a loan taken out in their name without knowledge. Police said the victim had his identity stolen and a Covid-19 relief loan for a small trucking was applied for and granted. The loan that was issued was 45 thousand dollars which was deposited in a now cancelled account. The investigation is ongoing.

Governor Tom Wolf is again extending the state’s Opioid Disaster Declaration.  Wolf originally signed the declaration in January 2018 and has renewed it 12 times.  The move allows P-A to loosen regulations and work outside of typical procedures to expedite aid and other initiatives to help those suffering with opioid use disorder.

There are 39 cases of COVID-19 at the Shell Cracker Plant in Beaver County, though company officials believe the virus was contracted while workers were off-site.  The affected workers are self-isolating, and they’ll be tested before they’re allowed to return to work.  Officials with Shell say temperature checks are given to all workers.  Anyone who does not pass is tested at a lab that’s off-site.

The Butler Area School District is informing students and parents that they are switching over to full remote learning starting this coming Monday.  District Superintendent Brian J. White, Jr. says that many of the school system’s educators cannot work due to COVID-19.  That combined with rising coronavirus rates in the area made the decision to switch an obvious one.  White says that the situation will be monitored on a weekly basis.

Republican State Senator Kim Ward is the General Assembly’s first woman elected to serve as majority leader. Ward says she’s honored to have been chosen and looks forward to working closer with her colleagues in the House on issues they can agree on and that are good for all of Pennsylvania. Ward’s victory was not without a challenge as she was against state Senator Dave Argall, who has served more than 30-years in the House and Senate. The state Senate will reconvene for the 2021 to 2022 legislative session on January 5th.

Beaver Area School District classes are moving online for the next two weeks as administrators try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Officials with the district say cases of the coronavirus have nearly doubled in the last few days.  Beaver Area Superintendent Dr. Carrie Rowe says they’ve seen a 350-percent increase in the number of students who need to quarantine.  This amounts to 163 students, most of whom are from the Dutch Ridge Elementary School.

A Connellsville man is in custody and charged with the rape and sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in this apartment.  Police say 42-year-old Dennis James Miller gave the teen marijuana and let her stay in his apartment, where the rape occurred.  Miller faces charges of rape, sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault.