Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal is the largest increase in state personal income taxes in Pennsylvania’s history.  Governor Wolf wants to raise the income tax from three-point-zero-seven-percent to four-point-four-nine-percent starting in July.  The taxes would net the state close to three-billion-dollars in taxes annually.  However, the ones paying the higher taxes are those making more money.  Wolf says the system is structured so only the top-third of the state wage-earners would actually pay more and most would pay less or see no change in their tax rate.

A Beaver man has been indicted in federal court in Pittsburgh.  24 year old Calvin Brady, Jr. is being charged with knowingly making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer in order to purchase firearms for others. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both

Teachers in the Mars Area School District are preparing to strike if a new contract isn’t agreed upon this month.  The Mars Area Education Association sent the district’s superintendent a notice yesterday that demands a new contract be reached by February 19th or the teachers will strike.  The union says the teachers’ contract expired last June.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are thanking a few local healthcare workers in a special way this year.  The team announced yesterday that it is sending four U-P-M-C employees on an all-expense-paid trip to Super Bowl 55 this Sunday.  The surprise is a part of the NFL’s initiative to send about 75-hundred healthcare employees around the country to the Super Bowl to honor their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is launching a new podcast called “P-D-E Presents.”  The department announced the new podcast in a press release and also launched its first episode this past Tuesday.  Officials say the podcast centers on the department’s mission and outcome of education.  New episodes are going to be made available every month on the department’s YouTube channel.

New COVID-19 cases are still on the rise in Pennsylvania.  The state’s Department of Health announced over three-thousand new positive cases yesterday.  There have now been over 853-thousand confirmed positive cases in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.  About 143 more people also passed away due to complications of the coronavirus. Lawrence County reported 23 new cases and now has a total of 5,531 cases and two new deaths. The death toll stands at 172. Mercer County reported 19 new cases (7,555 cases total) and one new death (226 deaths total).

State and local health officials are advising citizens to withhold from hosting large gatherings this year for the Super Bowl this Sunday. Officials say now is not the time to let your guard down as we need the virus to continue to decline in our communities and hospitals. Football fans are encouraged to watch the big game with only members of their own household this year. This warning comes as cases of the different COVID-19 variants have been reported throughout the nation, which are reportedly more contagious and in some cases deadlier.

Two girls’ basketball teams in Allegheny County are going to be making a stand against racism during a game set to take place later this month.
Shaler Area School District’s Response to Racism committee announced yesterday that the Shaler Area and North Allegheny varsity teams will be warming up in T-shirts that have an anti-racism message printed on them for their game on February 15th.  Shaler Area’s head coach Cornelious Nesbit says the T-shirts will be worn to spread awareness and education on racism.