TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 25TH, 2021

A Wednesday morning house fire in Beaver County has left one woman dead.  Fire crews and police responded to the scene on Center Grange Road at around 8:30 a.m. and found the home fully engulfed.  An elderly gentleman was able to make it out of the house, but his wife was not as fortunate.  Firefighters found the woman in a back bedroom and brought her out.  They were unable to revive her, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.  The male victim sustained injuries in the blaze but was expected to be released from the hospital.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Lawrence County Courthouse will remain closed to the general public until March 18th. The New Castle News reports, Commissioner Chairman Morgan Boyd said the county government buildings were scheduled to reopen on March 1, but the deadline has been extended to coincide with trial suspensions put into place earlier this month by President Judge Dominick Motto. Boyd went on to say that according to figures provided by the governor’s office and the state Department of Health, Lawrence County still is showing a substantial level of transmission of the virus. In comparison, other surrounding counties have fallen to a moderate level

Officials are looking for a Farrell man who’s wanted for violating federal drug and gun laws. 36 year old Dimetrius Morris had an indictment returned on Sept. 22, 2020. It was unsealed Tuesday. According to federal authorities Morris, possessed with intent to distribute cocaine, fentanyl and methamphetamine. He also allegedly had a firearm after several felony convictions. Anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact the FBI at 412-432-4000.

Two state senators are proposing a new legislation to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania.  Republican Dan Laughlin and Democrat Sharif Street announced a bipartisan proposal to legalize marijuana in the state yesterday.  Laughlin is the first ever Republican lawmaker to co-sponsor a recreational marijuana legalization bill in the state.  The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office reports that marijuana legalization could bring between 400-million-dollars to one-billion-dollars in new tax revenue for the state.

A Slippery Rock woman was taken to the hospital following a two vehicle accident in Portersville. According to State Police in Butler County 49 year old Timothy Gerlach of Petrolia was attempting to turn onto the interstate 79 ramp from East Portersville Road when he pulled into the path of a vehicle operated by 45 year old Margaret Skelley. Police said Skelley was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital for treatment.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 27-hundred new cases, pushing it over 920-thousand. About 76 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 23-thousand-787. Lawrence County reported 17 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing its total to 5,961 cases and 181 deaths. Mercer County has 7.973 and 237 fatalities.

While positive case numbers are down in Allegheny County, Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen says the county now has three active cases of the U.K. COVID-19 variant.  Bogen announced yesterday that there are two new cases of the U.K. variant in the county.  She is encouraging residents to continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing as it is the best way to prevent an outbreak of the U.K. variant.

The borough of Zelienople is going to be considering a new ordinance that would ban residents from drinking alcohol in public areas.  Borough leaders proposed the ordinance yesterday, and if passed, it would prohibit the possession and consumption of alcohol in any public street, sidewalk, park, recreation area and parking lot.  Officials say they are currently taking public comments into consideration before moving forward on making a decision to pass the ordinance.

Some pharmacies are frustrated over the continued problems with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the state.  Some owners said they don’t have any vaccine supply and don’t know when they will get more doses.  Governor Tom Wolf says that doses are on their way.  State officials are promising those who are waiting for a second dose will get it within the C-D-C recommended 42 day window.  However, pharmacies are saying there is the probability of everyone getting their second dose on time becomes less and less likely by the day.