TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR DECEMBER 30TH, 2020

The New Castle News is reporting a North Hill man is accused of having sexually assaulted a minor female earlier this month. New Castle City Police have charged 31 year old Jovoni Parker in connection with the alleged incident. Parker is charged with indecent assault of a person younger than 16 and harassment. He was sent a summons to appear in court on the charges.

Pennsylvania State Police report that an elderly Youngstown, Ohio woman who was headed to New Castle to visit her daughter on Sunday, but never showed up, has been found safe.  Authorities had put out an alert for 77-year-old Ruby Hopson when she failed to show up in Pennsylvania as expected and family members were unable to make contact with her.  Her family said that she suffers from dementia.  Hopson’s loved ones say that they did connect with her on Tuesday when she phoned in from Baltimore, Maryland.

The manhunt is over for the man accused of shooting a McKeesport police officer ten days ago.  Twenty-two-year-old Koby Lee Francis was arrested yesterday in Clarksburg, West Virginia.  Francis had originally been taken into custody on December 20th on the belief that he had violated a protective order.  Video shows Francis being brought to the police station in McKeesport. Francis was arrested at an apartment complex in West Virginia by a task force from the U.S. Marshals Service without incident.  Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office saluted officials at all levels of law enforcement for helping to apprehend Francis.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 85-hundred new cases, pushing it over 622-thousand. About 267 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 15-thousand-353. Lawrence County has 4,162 and 121 deaths. Mercer County has 5.808 and 129 fatalities.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania is at 2.45 a gallon. That’s 40 cents less than a year ago. In New Castle drivers are paying 2.18 a gallon while in Sharon the average price is at 2.24. The national average  is at $2.25  which is  three cents more than last week, 13 cents more than last month, but 32 cents cheaper than last year.

A Butler woman was taken to the hospital following a one vehicle accident in Summit Township. State Police report 26 year old Rebecca Lipke was southbound on Freeport Road when she lost control of her vehicle and struck a tree. Lipke was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital for treatment.

No injuries were reported after a fire early yesterday morning in Hermitage. WKBN-TV reports The fire started in the chimney of the house on Lillian Drive around 2 a.m. It burned a hole in the roof. Firefighters from Patagonia and Sharpsville helped the Hermitage Fire Department.

PennDOT says more than a million Pennsylvanians have now obtained a REAL ID -compliant driver’s license or photo ID card. A REAL ID or other federally-acceptable form of identification will be required to board a domestic flight or enter a federal building which requires identification beginning October 1st, 2021. With over a million REAL ID’s having been issued to state residents, PennDOT says it’s on pace to reach its target of 1.3 million PA residents having REAL ID’s by next October 1st.Eventually PennDOT expects about 2.5 million state residents will get a REAL ID.

With the signing of the $900 billion federal coronavirus relief package, the state Department of Labor and Industry is gearing up for extensions of two programs which have benefited more than 500,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians. L&I’s Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier says the department is eager to begin making payments again through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs. However, Berrier says they’re waiting for guidance and approval from theUS Department of Labor before that can happen. (CUT 4) Berrier says a list of assistance programs can be found by clicking on “COVID-19” at pa.gov.