TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MAY 4TH, 2021

A Michigan man was arrested following a traffic stop in the city of New Castle. State Police report 19 year old Deyon Robinson of Southfield Michigan, faces a number of charges including possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance and illegal possession of a weapon. A search of Robinson’s vehicle found 193 grams of raw herion, 86 grams of crack-cocaine, cash and a handgun. Robinson was arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Jail on 250 thousand dollars bond.

State lawmakers and restaurant workers are calling for a boost in the minimum wage. Many restaurant servers and bartenders are being paid around two-dollars and 83-cents an hour and survive off tips, but workers say that is not enough to survive today. Department of Labor and Industry officials say the ridiculously low tipped wage grants managers an unprecedented power to reward or punish workers with shifts, tables and tasks that can make or break bank accounts. The workers and officials are demanding that every worker in the state be paid at least 12-dollars an hour.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania held steady this week at 3.04 a gallon. In New Castle drivers are paying 2.91 a gallon while in Sharon the price is 2.99. The national price is at 2.90 a gallon. While April saw slight fluctuations, May is likely to see much larger increases alongside demand spikes, especially closer to Memorial Day weekend. A year ago during stay-at-home orders and shutdowns, the average price in Western Pennsylvania was at 2.07 a gallon.

Pennsylvania is making progress toward herd immunity. Officials say as of yesterday, more than four-million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated from COVID-19, that’s nearly one-third of all state residents. Nearly 50-percent of state residents have received at least one-dose of the vaccine.

Police are searching for a suspect who is being accused of assaulting a man in Butler.  Authorities say Danielle Cornell Frazier slashed a man several times in the arm and face with a weapon while they were exchanging property on South Main Street last week.  An arrest warrant was recently issued for Frazier for aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person.  Anyone with any information on his whereabouts is being encouraged to contact their local police department.

A Bethel Park High School security guard was arrested Monday after being found in possession of firearms on school grounds.  The weapons were found as Bernard Switala was being taken into custody on a separate warrant.  Switala is accused of threatening two people on a motorcycle with a firearm last week.  He was found with a pair of 38-caliber pistols yesterday.  By state law, only members of law enforcement are allowed to carry firearms on school property.

The Little League World Series is returning to Pennsylvania this August. However, officials say the 2021 tournament will only feature U.S. teams while there will be a limited amount of spectators allowed. Staff will also be required to show proof of vaccination. Last year, the tournament was canceled due to the pandemic, which was the first time in the 75-years the league has been around.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 17-hundred new cases, pushing it over one-million-158-thousand. One new death related to the virus was added to the death toll, which is at 26-thousand-276. Lawrence County  has 7,286 cases and 205 deaths. Mercer County has 9.182 cases and 254 fatalities.

There is still help available for Pennsylvania renters that are struggling to pay utility bills. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is available right now to those who pay rent on a residential property and who are struggling to afford electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash removal and other utility bills. Department of Human Services officials say the program is designed to help people dig out of what may be some very deep holes after a global pandemic and economic crisis. Pennsylvanians are encouraged to apply at compass-dot-state-dot-pa-dot-us as soon as possible as funds are being distributed on a first-come first-served basis.