TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 3RD, 2021

State police this week are reporting the recent rescue of four children and dozens of animals from a mobile home in Lawrence County.  State police reporting finding terrible conditions at the Washington Township home this past Saturday and returned with a warrant the next day.  Children and Youth Services removed four children from the home.  Police removed 30 American pit bull terriers and nearly a dozen other animals as well.  State police say they expect to soon file child endangerment and animal cruelty charges.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 44-hundred new cases, pushing it over 850-thousand. About 125 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 21-thousand-812. Lawrence County has 5,508 cases and 170 deaths. Mercer County saw an increase of 38 new cases yesterday bringing its total to 7,536 and 225 fatalities.

Governor Tom Wolf is planning to increase education spending dramatically as he revealed his 2021 through 2022 budget proposal yesterday. The governor’s proposal includes raising the income tax to nearly four-point-five-percent to generate more than three-billion dollars for the state annually. More than a third of that revenue will go to basic education funding, raising the total funds for education to more than eight-billion dollars. Funds from the income tax raise will also be used to provide tax relief for lower-income families and tax shifting at the local level.

A 60-year-old man is being accused of threatening to blow-up a federal building in Downtown Pittsburgh.  Albert Morris Junior was arrested yesterday after he allegedly called in a bomb threat to the William S. Moorhead Federal Building on Monday.  Several downtown streets were closed as the federal building was evacuated, but no devices or threats were found inside.  Morris is being charged with terroristic threats and threats to use weapons of mass destruction.  He is currently being held at the Allegheny County Jail.

State Police in Lawrence County report a one vehicle accident yesterday morning in Slipper Rock Township. According to police 31 year old Brandon McCreary of New Castle was eastbound on route 422 when he lost control of his vehicle and struck a large rocky embankment. McCreary refused treatment at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

A man from Westmoreland County is now behind bars for allegedly being in possession of child pornography.
Officials confirmed yesterday that 56-year-old John Zanandrea was taken into custody this past Monday. He is being charged with criminal use of a communication facility, disseminating images of children involved in sex acts and possession of child pornography.  He was released from the Westmoreland County Prison yesterday after posting 25-thousand-dollar bond.  A preliminary hearing for the case is scheduled to take place on February 8th.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania dropped a penny this week to 2.72 a gallon. In New Castle drivers are paying 2.52, while in Sharon the average price is at 2.69.  The average national gas price has risen by two cents over the last week to $2.42. AAA reports that even though demand for gas continues to decline, crude oil prices remain high which may result in increases at the pump.

The VA Pittsburgh Health Care System is opening a walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic for eligible senior veterans this week.  The system announced yesterday that it will be offering the vaccine at its University Drive campus in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood this Saturday.  The walk-in clinic will be open from eight-in-the-morning until 4:30 p.m.  Veterans must be 65 or older and registered for Veterans Health administration care to be considered eligible to get the vaccine.