TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR DECEMBER 2ND, 2020

One person was taken to the hospital following a three vehicle accident yesterday morning in Perry Township. According to state police a driver lost control on route 488 and first struck a guard rail then struck a vehicle operated by Michael Emery of Ellwood City. Emery’s vehicle was then struck by a car operated by 39 year old James Mitchell of Ellwood City. The first driver was taken to the hospital for treatment.

A Republican state Representative says he is going to introduce a bill that would repeal the expansion of mail-in voting in P-A.  Representative Jim Gregory of Blair County says the bill, if passed, would undo provisions set up with Act 77, which gave all Pennsylvanians the ability to request a mail-in ballot without citing a reason why.  Gregory said he had previously voted for the expansion of mail-in balloting, but he didn’t vote for an activist state Supreme Court and secretary of state changing the rules for the election in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

Some Pennsylvania political figures are trying to appeal to the state Supreme Court after loss over mail-in ballots to SCOTUS.  Congressmen Mike Kelly and congressional candidate Sean Parnell want the full U.S. Supreme Court to hold a hearing on their appeal.  The court on Saturday said Kelly and Parnell were too late to claim the no-excuse mail-in voting was unconstitutional when so many people relied on it in this recent election.  The pair claim that Act 77 passed a year ago by the state’s Republican-Controlled Legislature to allow no-excuse mail-in voting violates the state Constitution.

The state Department of Health is reporting 56-hundred-76 new COVID-19 cases across P-A.  That brings the total number of confirmed or probable cases to 367-thousand-140 since the start of the pandemic.  Tuesday’s announcement added 180 new deaths related to COVID-19 complications, with the death toll now at ten-thousand-563.  Lawrence County saw an increase of 86 new cases yesterday and now has a total of 2,292 Covid-19 cases and 69 fatalities.

Governor Tom Wolf is planning to expand COVID-19 testing throughout the state through mobile COVID-19 strike teams. Wolf says their goal is to make sure anyone who needs a test in the state can get one as each county that doesn’t have a local health department will have one of the state’s five mobile units offering free testing. The mobile units are set to launch today starting with Bedford, Mifflin, Northampton and Tioga counties, with the fifth set to launch in Butler County this Friday.

The Butler Area School Board has voted to go along with a state mandate for COVID-19 mitigation measures, but it also said it did so under protest.  The board Monday night approved an attestation form required by the state so it could provide special need students with in-person instruction.  The board also considered pursuing legal action against the state because board members said they don’t have the capacity to comply with the measures.  Shortages of teachers and staff have complicated school schedules in the district.

An Allegheny County copper processing company is due in federal court in two weeks to answer charges it violated the Clean Water Act.  The charges include failing to report oil sheens on the Ohio River and filing false reports.  The charges state the false reports were filed over a five-year period.  The company is expected to plead guilty to the charges at the December 15th hearing.

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Board, overall gaming revenues were up in October compared to the same period last year. Total gaming revenues from across the state hovered around $320.2 million in October, an almost 13% increase from last year, the board reported. That increase was largely carried by iGaming slots and table games, video game terminals and sports betting.

Employees in the state Department of Labor and Industry’s Unemployment Compensation Service Center have worked some 423,000 hours of overtime since the start of the pandemic. Secretary Jerry Oleksiak says UC Service Center employees have done an outstanding job in responding to the record number of unemployment compensation claims filed in Pennsylvania since March 15th. At the same time Oleksiak says the department wants to make sure those workers are taking care of themselves and maintain good judgement.