TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JANUARY 14TH, 2021

Former Lawrence County Commissioner Bob DelSignore has died. The New Castle News reports that DelSignore died Tuesday night after an illness. The 82 year old was a longtime businessman in the community as owner of Desco Supply Co., a lighting firm, and was twice elected as a county commissioner.

A Mercer County restaurant has been caught violating Governor Tom Wolf’s order issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and inspector ordered the closure of Hometown Pizza and Grill on North Main Street in Sandy Lake. The restaurant violated Covid-19 mitigation requirements including masking of employees offering carry-out, delivery and curbside pick-up services.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of nearly eight-thousand new cases, pushing it over 741-thousand. About 349 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 18-thousand-429. Lawrence County added 63 new cases yesterday bringing its total cases to 4,934  and 143 deaths. Mercer County has 6.801 cases and 179 fatalities.

The University of Pittsburgh has begun reaching out to students with word that they can soon begin returning to campus.  Pitt administrators on Wednesday said that students can begin their return on January 29th.  Upon their arrival back to the university, students will be asked to shelter-in-place for ten days whether they are living on- or off-campus.

Democratic State Senator Jim Brewster was sworn-in to his third term in Harrisburg on Wednesday.  The brief ceremony took place a little over a week after Republicans in the chamber refused to allow Brewster to take his office due to a challenge of election results.  Republican Nicole Ziccarelli had gone to court questioning the validity of some mail-in ballots that were counted in Allegheny County giving the democrat a very narrow victory.  A federal judge this week ruled that Brewster had lawfully won the race.   Brewster represents the state’s 45th District which includes Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.

The Pittsburgh FBI Office is investigating several local residents who were at the U.S. Capitol during the riots last week.  The office announced yesterday that it is investigating about 42 people who were shown inside the U.S. Capitol building during the protests on January 6th.  Officials say the 42 people may not be from western Pennsylvania, but they are a part of 170 open investigations.  Authorities are looking into whether those people committed any federal offenses.  As of right now, the city’s FBI says there are no imminent threats detected for the inauguration.

The Pennsylvania State Police announced that the fourth quarter of 2020 was the busiest in the history of their firearm background check system. This was the second straight record-setting quarter, beating the record set in the third quarter of 2020. According to state police, 420,581 checks were conducted between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.  Nearly 75 hundred of those applications were denied and another 13 hundred were referred to law enforcement agencies.

Beaver County’s Martin Luther King Junior Celebration event is going to be canceled this year.  Organizers announced yesterday that the MLK Day Celebration event that was supposed to take place this Sunday is canceled.  It has been canceled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases coming after the holiday season.  The banquet event was going to be held for students in grades four-through-eleven that would write essays about the importance of the historic civil rights leader for a chance to win scholarship prizes.