TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MARCH 25TH, 2021

Pennsylvania State Police are asking the public for help in finding a missing woman from Butler County.  Regina Fornadley of Slippery Rock has been missing since this past Saturday.  Investigators announced yesterday that they believe she could be heading to North Carolina in a dark-colored 2016 Honda CR-V.  Anyone with any information on her whereabouts is being asked to contact the nearest State Police Department.

Two Lawrence County girls basketball teams will play for state championships today. The Neshannock girls will take on Mount Carmel in the Class 2A title game at noon. Meanwhile the Lady Warriors of Mohawk High school battle West Catholic for the Class 3A championship this afternoon at five.

Local police say that a Mercer County woman was killed Tuesday night when she was run over by her own vehicle.  Witnesses say that 31 year old Kayla Rushwin was running alongside of the vehicle, trying to catch it as it rolled down a steep driveway.  Her three young children were inside.  Reports say that Rushwin tripped and was run over and later died of her injuries.  No other injuries were reported.

A former University of Pittsburgh employee this week was indicted on charges that he stole more than 13-thousand N95 respirator masks and surgical face masks from the school’s supply to sell on his personal eBay account.  Christopher Casamento was the university’s director of emergency management and had access to Pitt’s supply of the PPE gear meant for school employees and students.  Prosecutors say that Casamento collected nearly 19-thousand dollars by selling the masks between February 28th and March 22nd.  Casamento was fired by Pitt on July 17th.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw its largest increase in more than a month with over 46-hundred new cases. Pennsylvania is nearing one-million cases since the pandemic started. About 48 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 24-thousand-876. In Lawrence County, there were 38 new cases for a total of 6,458 and deaths remain at 194. Mercer County, there were 21 new cases for a total of 8,439 and deaths remain at 246.

Pennsylvania’s historic sites and museums are reopening to the public next month. State officials say face masks and social distancing will be required when state-owned historic sites and museums reopen to the public on April 30th. All locations will have limited capacity, and hours of operation will be reduced. No events, gatherings or rentals will be allowed at locations for the time being.

A mall in Butler County is going to be used as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site next month.  Officials announced yesterday that the Clearview Mall in Center Township will be administering vaccine doses at the former Sears location starting April 14th.  Butler County residents who are eligible to receive a vaccine are being encouraged to schedule an appointment through the Butler Health System.

The White House this week has announced that President Biden, out promoting the benefits of the most recently-passed coronavirus aid package, has scheduled an appearance next week in Pittsburgh.  The President will be in town next Wednesday, March 31st.  More details on his visit will be revealed at a later time.

Former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine is making history as the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Yesterday, Levine was confirmed in a 52 to 48 vote to become the next U.S. Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary. Pennsylvania’s senators were divided in their votes with Senator Pat Toomey voting against his state’s former health secretary and Senator Bob Casey voting in favor.

State lawmakers are calling for anti hate legislation. This comes after this month’s mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.  Lawmakers say they want several bills passed this year by the Legislature to discourage racist or hateful acts. Two bills currently being worked on would increase penalties for those convicted of ethnic intimidation and require them to complete diversity education as part of their release. They also want to make it easier to report hate crimes.