TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MARCH 24TH, 2021

State Police in Mercer County report a 73 year old woman from Grove City was recently scammed out of thousands of dollars. Authorities say the woman got a phone call claiming they were from “Norton Antivirus”, a computer security software company. The woman was instructed to buy several Walmart gift cards, worth a total of $4,200 and gave the information to the caller. According to its website, Norton will never ask customers to wire funds through services such as Western Union or send a cashier’s check. The investigation is ongoing.

Pennsylvania is celebrating a huge milestone in its COVID-19 vaccination effort.  Governor Wolf’s administration announced yesterday that more than one-hundred-thousand teachers and school staff members have been vaccinated through 28 Intermediate Units.  Governor Wolf says the milestone is a big step towards helping students return to their classrooms for in-person instruction this year.

Pennsylvania is one of the worst states when it comes to fully vaccinating seniors from COVID-19. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that only 34-percent of Pennsylvanians over the age of 65 have been fully vaccinated, placing the state at 46th in the nation for this category. Local agencies say this is due to big communication gaps from the state, and their input is not always taken into account when it comes to statewide decisions. State officials argue that things may change drastically as they recently enacted a four-pillar plan to ramp up vaccine distribution.

The Terminal Modernization Project at the Pittsburgh International Airport is going to be resuming soon.  Airlines that serve the airport gave their approval yesterday for the project to restart after it was delayed a year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The Allegheny County Airport Authority is going to be awarding contracts for work on concrete and steel decks, foundations and underground utilities starting this coming spring.  Officials say construction for the project is expected to end in 2024, and the new terminal will be able to open in 2025.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price Report the average price of gas in western Pennsylvania dipped three cents this week to 3.03 a gallon. In New Castle the average price is down to 2.85 a gallon while in Mercer County drivers are paying 3.10. The average national gas price increased by two cents over the last week to $2.88 which is the highest since May of 2019

Students in the Butler Area School District are going to have to enjoy their prom a little differently this year.  The district announced yesterday that it is planning on holding the event outdoors on May 7th from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  Officials say students will be required to follow C-D-C and state COVID-19 guidelines during prom, which includes mask-wearing and dancing within six feet of their dates.

Governor Tom Wolf is calling for there to be changes to Pennsylvania’s gun laws following the recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado.  Governor Wolf teamed up with CeaseFire P-A to host a virtual town hall on gun violence yesterday.  During the conference, Wolf said he is advocating for changes to gun laws in the state that include creating Extreme Risk Protection Orders, reporting lost or stolen firearms within 72 hours and tightening the state’s background check system to prevent the purchase of military-style rifles from private sellers.

Pennsylvania is seeing more positive COVID-19 cases.  The state’s Department of Health reported more than 35-hundred new positive cases yesterday.  There have now been over 991-thousand confirmed positive cases in the state since the beginning of the pandemic. Lawrence County, there are 6,420 cases and 194 deaths. Mercer County, there are 8,418 cases and 246 deaths.

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller is resigning. Miller says Pennsylvania has afforded her the opportunity to work on issues that are deeply close to her heart and for that she is extremely honored and grateful. She will be leaving her position on April 30th to move to another opportunity outside of Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Wolf plans on nominating Meg Snead to replace Miller. Wolf says Snead is an exceptional public servant whose background includes extensive experience in policy development for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens.