Tri County Report For January 6th, 2021

Starting today the Lawrence County Government Center is temporarily furloughing 34 employees. According to the New Castle News Commissioner Chairman Morgan Boyd said the layoffs are in direct response to the significant numbers of positive cases of COVID-19 in Lawrence County and the recent general closure of the courthouse and related offices to the public. The layoffs affect 13 departments within county government, including some offices in the courts. The workers will be able to collection unemployment compensation during the furlough.

Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center attorneys are asking for a federal lawsuit that holds the center liable for deaths during a COVID-19 outbreak to be dismissed.  The attorneys representing Brighton Rehab filed a motion on Monday to throw out the lawsuit that was made in October.  They are arguing that the nursing home is protected under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act.  The lawsuit filed in October was created by three law firms that represent family members of 15 residents at the Brighton Rehab Center.  It claims the center disregarded COVID-19 health procedures during one of the state’s worst nursing home outbreaks.

Pennsylvania Lottery officials say that one recent player who bought a ticket in Beaver County is the winner of a one-million-dollar prize.  The winning ticket for January 4th’s Cash Five drawing was sold at CoGo’s on Duss Avenue in Ambridge.  There is no word on whether or not the player has presented that ticket to lottery officials yet.  They have one year to do so.  CoGo’s receives a five-thousand-dollar bonus for selling the ticket.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 88-hundred new cases, pushing it close to 674-thousand. About 185 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 16-thousand-546.  Lawrence County has 4,471 cases and 131 deaths. Mercer County has 6,278 cases and 149 deaths.

State Representative Bryan Cutler is going to serve his first full term as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  The House voted unanimously yesterday to make Cutler the House Speaker.  Cutler took over the Speaker position in the last quarter of 2019-to-2020 after Mike Turzai stepped down.  He has served in the state House since 2006.

Someone who bought a lottery ticket in Mercer County is 100 thousand dollars richer. State lottery officials say a ticket worth $100,000 was sold at the Sheetz at 1650 North Hermitage Road Hermitage. The prize is part of the lottery’s New Year’s Millionaire Raffle drawing held this past Saturday. The winning ticket is in addition to four, $1 million top-prize winning tickets sold in Bucks, Erie, Montgomery, and York counties.

The swearing in of state senators in Harrisburg turned into a free-for-all on Tuesday.  Republicans denied Western Pennsylvania Democrat Jim Brewster the right to take his oath in the state Capitol.  At issue is a continuing challenge from Brewster’s opponent in the November election.  Brewster defeated Nicole Ziccarelli by 69 votes.  Ziccarelli maintains that Allegheny County counted more than 300 votes into the final tally that should have been disallowed.  She says that without those votes, she would be the winner.  During yesterday’s proceedings, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, in his role as president of the Senate, declined to hear a motion by Republicans to decertify Brewster’s win.  As a result, Republicans voted to remove him from his position as Senate president.

Western Pennsylvania customers of the Family Video chain will have to find another outlet to get their entertainment.  The company, which closed nearly 200 of its stores in the fall due to the pandemic, announced yesterday that it has begun the process of closing its remaining 250 or so stores in the U.S. and Canada.  That includes its roughly half-a-dozen locations in the Western Pennsylvania region.