TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MARCH 16TH, 2021

Police in Beaver County are continuing to investigate after a man was found dead by fire fighters Sunday while they put out a house fire. The victim was found to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds.  Authorities yesterday said that one man has been arrested in the case, and warrants have been issued for the arrest of two other individuals.  Police say they believe the fire was set to hide the killing of 26-year-old Rolando Contreras.  Detectives are continuing to ask that anyone with additional information on the shooting or the fire call police.

The Ellwood City Boys Basketball team captured their first ever WPIAL basketball Championship last night with a 53-50 win against top seed South Allegheny to win the Class 3A title. It was the Wolverines first trip to the championship game since 1986. The Wolverines advance to the PIAA playoffs and will meet either the District 5 or District 9 champion on Saturday at a time and site to be determined.

Governor Tom Wolf on Monday announced that restrictions placed on bars and restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of COVID will soon be relaxed.  The governor says that on April 4th, bars and restaurants will be able to operate at 75-percent of capacity and that alcohol sales will be permitted without a food purchase.  Eleven p.m. curfews will also be lifted at those establishments.  Other businesses like gyms, casinos and movie theaters will also be able to operate at 75-percent of capacity starting on the 4th.  Wolf says that Pennsylvanians have stepped up and done their part to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Pennsylvania’s legislative session is officially underway. The top priorities for the Republican-controlled House and Senate this session is economic recovery and pandemic-related legislation. The session only started yesterday, and actions could be taken as early as next week for removing statutes that prevent victims of child sex abuse from suing their abusers years after the crimes.

An employee in Riverside Beaver County School District is being put on administrative leave.  The school board announced during last night’s meeting that the employee is on paid leave after the school learned about them possibly having inappropriate conduct with students.  The district has reported the incident to law enforcement, but the employee’s name hasn’t been released yet.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the state’s largest gun show promoter are agreeing to ban the sales of “ghost gun” kits. Shapiro says Eagle Arms Productions is the first gun show promoter in the nation to do this. He added that ghost guns are quickly becoming the weapon of choice for criminals and fueling the gun violence epidemic. Ghost gun kits are often sold without background checks, can easily be put together and can operate as a fully functional firearm that can’t be traced. Shapiro says more than ten-thousand of these guns were recovered nationally in 2019 alone.

State Health officials say yesterday, the state Covid-19 case total saw an increase of more than 13-hundred new cases, pushing it over 967-thousand. About 14 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 24-thousand-587. Lawrence County has 6,263 cases and 189 deaths related to the virus.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price Report the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania is up a penny this week to 3.06 a gallon. In New Castle the average price is 2.96 a gallon while motorists in Sharon are paying 2.99. Following last month’s winter storm in Texas, the national gas price average has jumped nearly 40 cents to $2.86. Prices will likely continue to increase this week.  A year ago the average price in Western Pennsylvania was at 2.48 a gallon.

Families of residents living in the Kane Community Living Centers are going to be able to make visits again soon.  The Kane Centers announced yesterday that family visitation at all four centers will resume this week.  Officials say visits are required to be scheduled in advance, and only two family members will be allowed in at a time.  Those who are planning to visit a family member soon are being reminded that they will be asked screening questions, have their temperature taken and must wear a mask before they can enter the building.

An investigation is underway to look into how the Wolf Administration handled nursing homes during the early stages of the pandemic. More than 12-thousand people in nursing homes died from complications caused by COVID-19, and officials like House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff feel like the data on these deaths is incomplete. Benninghoff says families across the state have not received answers as to why and whether or not government orders contributed to the spread of the virus at these facilities.