TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 5TH, 2021

FBI agents on Thursday raided the Mercer County home of a woman suspected of being involved in the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill.  Mother of eight, Rachel Powell, has said that she is the woman shown in numerous photographs and video recordings with a battering ram and a bullhorn appearing to help provide direction to others taking part in that day’s violent activities.  In a brief statement, the FBI would only say that their actions yesterday were court-authorized and that they are searching for Powell.  Neighbors say that she hasn’t been seen at the home for at least a week.

State Police in Lawrence County report a Volant woman was the victim of a recent scam. The 76 year old woman told police she was contacted by phone from someone saying there were from Publishers Clearing House and she had woman three million dollars. The caller told the woman she needed to send 300 dollar pre-paid American Express card to cover the delivery of the check. The investigation is ongoing. Police are warning people if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

TSA agents at Pittsburgh International yesterday reached out to Allegheny County police and the FBI after observing a man at a security checkpoint with a gun in his overcoat.  Officers responded at around 5 a.m., with the man in question telling them that he had forgotten that he had the three-eighty-caliber weapon on him.  Police say he did have a valid concealed carry permit, but even with that, you cannot bring a gun onto an airplane.  The weapon was confiscated, and the gentleman was allowed to continue his travels.  No charges were filed.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 33-hundred new cases, pushing it close to 856-thousand. Pennsylvania is now the fifth state to surpass 22-thousand total deaths related to the virus since the start of the pandemic as officials reported 146 yesterday. Lawrence County has 5,565 cases and 175 deaths as three more county residents have died from Covid-19. Mercer County has 7,584 cases and 228 fatalities.

Pennsylvanians who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are going to have some more time to enroll in health insurance soon.  State officials announced yesterday that a special enrollment period is going to be launched to help people get coverage through Pennie, the state’s health insurance marketplace.  The enrollment period is scheduled to be held from February 15th through May 15th.  Those who don’t have insurance are being encouraged to visit Pennie’s website to view their available options.

The Pennsylvania Equine Coalition is upset with Governor Tom Wolf’s 2021 through 2022 budget proposal. Officials say it would result in the end of horse racing in the state as the plan would cut nearly 200-million-dollars from the Horse Racing Development Fund. However, the money that would normally go to that fund will instead be allocated to a program that would provide financial assistance for students enrolled in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The coalition is still upset about it as they claim the benefit will cost thousands of jobs.

Authorities have identified the body of a man found in a Sharon creek this past fall. WFMJ-TV reports the Mercer County Coroner’s Office has determined that 41-year-old Eric Dallacroce was discovered in the creek near Stambaugh Avenue and the Shenango Valley Freeway on September 1. Authorities circulated a photo of a distinctive tattoo from Dallacroce’s body to help establish his identity. The coroner has ruled the death accidental.

A woman accused of keeping her sister in a cage so that she could collect her social security checks pleaded guilty to fraud on Thursday.  Prosecutors say that Leona Biser kept her 53-year-old sister in a wooden cage with a dirty mattress and baby bottle inside.  They say that Bider cashed benefit checks for nearly a year starting in the fall of 2018 stopping only when the situation was discovered.  The mistreated sister is now being cared for in a rehab facility.

The state House has approved a bill to benefit the dairy industry when it comes to travel restrictions imposed during heavy snow. The bill would allow milk trucks to travel on highways during weather-related commercial vehicle bans. Representative Martin Causer says the reason for this is simple, they transport a perishable product which cows continue to produce regardless of the weather. (CUT 2) Despite overwhelming approval in the state House and Senate last session Causer says a similar bill was vetoed by the governor.