TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR APRIL 14TH, 2021

A Sharon man has pleaded guilty in connection with a shooting that took place in New Castle back in June of 2019. 61 year old Raymond Rice pled guilty to charges of terroristic threats and criminal mischief. According to the New Castle News Rice is accused of shooting holes in his friend’s car following an argument during his friend’s birthday party. The charges carry a jail sentence of five to 23 1/2 months. His formal sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 25th.

The Allegheny Health Network and UPMC have suspended the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine upon the recommendation of federal authorities.  Yesterday the CDC and the FDA recommended a temporary pause for the treatment after six reports of patients developing blood clots within two weeks after receiving the shot.  Both health care providers will continue using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at clinics.

Nearly 600-thousand Pennsylvanians are applying to vote by mail for the upcoming primary election in May. Department of State officials say these impressive application numbers show that mail-in voting has become a popular option for Pennsylvanians, valued for its convenience, accessibility and security. Almost 20-thousand have applied for absentee ballots. The deadline to register to vote in the municipal primary election is May 3rd and election day is May 18th. All mail-in ballots must be received by the county board of elections by 8 p.m. that day, and registered voters have until May 11th to apply for mail-in ballots at pavoterservices-dot-pa-dot-gov.

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against husband-and-wide landlords in Oil City over alleged sexual harassment against a tenant.  According to court documents filed in Pittsburgh Allen Woodcock attempted to force himself on the woman back in April 2019 when he stopped by to do maintenance work.  He then later sent the victim an inappropriate text message.  When the woman filed a complaint, the wife, Heidi Woodcock, called her a liar and filed a complaint in county court to get her evicted.

Pennsylvania is now ranked 11th in the nation for first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered by percentage of population. As of yesterday, nearly 40-percent of all eligible Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of the vaccine and about 22-percent are fully vaccinated. This comes after the state opened vaccine eligibility to all Pennsylvanians aged 16 and up. However, yesterday the CDC and FDA recommended a halt on the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate a potential rare safety issue with it.

State officials on Tuesday announced recipients of nearly 11-million dollars’ worth of state grants to enhance STEM education efforts.  A number of benefiting organizations are based in Western Pennsylvania including the Boys and Girls Clubs. Funding comes from the state’s PAsmart initiative.

A lawsuit that claimed the Pennsylvania State Police’s fitness test is discriminatory against women is ending with a more than two-million-dollar settlement. The U.S. Department of Justice filed the lawsuit in 2014, saying that these fitness tests resulted in a higher percentage of male applicants being hired over female applicants for entry-level positions since 2003. They added that it violated title Seven of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under this agreement, PSP will compensate those women who were harmed by the employment practices and offer priority hiring relief for up to 65 women.

Dozens of residents in Pittsburgh are voicing their outrage over the shooting of Duante Wright in Minnesota.  Protestors gathered at the corner of Centre and Penn avenues yesterday before marching to Point Breeze and back.  They also stopped in front of Mayor Bill Peduto’s house in Point Breeze for about 20 minutes before the protest ended around nine-at-night.  Officials say no arrests were made as the rally was done peacefully.  It was put on just a few days after a police officer shot and killed 20-year-old Duante Wright during a traffic stop in Minneapolis.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw its largest daily increase since late January with more than 66-hundred new cases, pushing it over one-million-82-thousand. About 66 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 25-thousand-472. Lawrence County has 6,913 cases and 198 deaths. Mercer County has 8,782 cases and 250 fatalities.