TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR DECEMBER 21ST, 2020

Police in Ellwood City have safely located a missing 18-year-old girl.Police say that Kaylea Neupauer was found safe.  She was reported missing on Saturday night around 7:30 p.m. when family found her car approximately three blocks from her house.

Authorities are investigating the cause of a shed fire that spread to a home in Lawrence County.  The fire occurred yesterday morning on Mount Pleasant Street in Union Township.  Police say the flames started in a shed and spread to a nearby house.  Both were destroyed in the fire.  No injuries were reported.

A manhunt is on for a suspect accused of shooting a police officer three times in McKeesport Sunday afternoon.  Twenty-two-year-old Koby Lee Francis had been arrested earlier in the day for violating a protective order.  As officers were taking him to jail, Francis reportedly kicked out a window from the patrol unit.  At the jail, as an officer attempted to remove Francis from the vehicle, reports say that the suspect got hold of a gun and shot the officer three times in the neck and torso.  The officer was last reported in stable condition.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say over the weekend, the state total saw an increase of more than 26-thousand new cases, pushing it over 555-thousand. Over five-hundred new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is nearing 14-thousand. Lawrence County saw an increase of 119 cases since Saturday. The county now has 3,655 Covid-19 cases and 106 fatalities.

State Police in Mercer County arrested a Youngstown man on aggravated and simple assault charges. Police said 32 year old Ceaser Nolasco was involved in a pursuit with police that ended in a crash. While being attended to injuries at Grove City Hospital, Nolasco allegedly kicked a nurse in the face. The investigation is ongoing.

While the temporary ban on indoor dining in restaurants is aimed at further preventing the spread ofCOVID-19, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says those ignoring the order are putting themselves, their workers and patrons at risk.. Levine says there’s robust evidence that restaurants serve as a significant source of coronavirus spread. The ban on indoor dining in restaurants remains in effect until January 4th.

Westmoreland County Sheriff James Albert over the weekend announced that he has no intention of enforcing recent COVID health orders announced by state officials.  Albert joins a growing list of local officials across the state who say that Governor Tom Wolf’s orders suspending indoor dining and limiting capacities for indoor and outdoor gatherings go too far.  Albert says that it’s a delicate balance for leaders to enact government mandates and at the same time protect individual civil liberties.  He says that the governor has violated that balance.

Triple-A expects to see a thirty percent decrease in travel during the holidays due to the pandemic. AAA estimates about 84.5 million people will travel. About 34 million fewer Americans than last year. Spokesperson Jim Garrity said between now and the holiday, more people could decide not to travel. For anyone flying, health leaders recommend wearing a mask, washing your hands, and not eating or drinking on the plane. It is advised you get tested and quarantine before any travel and quarantine at your destination.

Pennsylvania’s jobless rated ticked down in November. According to Labor and Industry spokesperson Theresa Elliot said the state’s November unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent and was lower than the national jobless rate of 6.7 percent for the first time since May 2015. Also notable is that with total non-farm jobs up 21,000 in November the state has now recovered nearly 58 percent of the jobs it lost in March and April.

Penn State’s football season is over.  The school announced after their win over Illinois Saturday night that they would decline any bowl invitations this season.  Head Coach James Franklin and A-D Sandy Barbour said they wanted their student athletes to enjoy the time with their families before returning for the spring semester.