TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MAY 5TH, 2021

State Police in Lawrence County are investigating an alleged sexual assault from March of this year. According to police the victim is a 34 year old female from North Beaver Township. No other details were released.

Health officials across the state are waiting for the FDA to authorize the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for younger groups. The FDA could determine if kids between the ages of 12 and 15 can receive the vaccine as early as next week. Penn State Health officials say the vaccine seems as safe for this new group as it was for individuals aged 16 and up. They added that children need to be vaccinated if we want to reach herd immunity as kids still do get the virus and spread it to others

Federal prosecutors yesterday said that a Pittsburgh-area man has pleaded guilty to charges related to the sharing of child sex videos.  Forty-nine-year-old George Goodwin has admitted to taking part in an online chat last year in which he shared multiple videos of children engaged in sexual activities with adults.  Goodwin is free on bond and awaiting a September 7th sentencing date.  He could receive as many as 20 years in prison and a fine of up to 250-thousand dollars.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 31-hundred new cases, pushing it over one-million-161-thousand. About 58 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 26-thousand-334. Lawrence County has 7,297 cases and 205 deaths. Mercer County has 9,210 Covid-19 cases and 254 fatalities.

Pennsylvania is lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, except for mask wearing, on Memorial Day. Governor Tom Wolf says the mask mandate will be lifted when 70-percent of Pennsylvanians over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated. This announcement means that on May 31st, there will be no more caps on indoor and outdoor gatherings as well as capacity limits. Schools can continue with stricter mitigation efforts if they choose to.

Business owners across the state are celebrating the news that all COVID-19 restrictions, except mask wearing, will be lifted on Memorial Day. However, many business owners say there are still other problems they are facing, such as hiring people. President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Gene Barr, says some of that difficulty is perhaps related to anxiety over returning to work and the increase in unemployment benefits. Another issue businesses are worried about is legal action if customers or patrons are exposed to the virus, but lawmakers are currently considering a bill that may protect them.

A dry-cleaning business in Butler County is going to have to undergo some repairs after a car drove through the front of the building.  The incident happened yesterday at the business located along Freedom Road in Cranberry Township.  No one was injured from the accident.  The business will remain open despite the damages.

Lawmakers are advancing a bill that would reinstate pre-pandemic requirements for unemployment benefits. Yesterday, a House committee passed House Bill 406, which would once again require those receiving unemployment benefits to show proof that they are searching for jobs in order to keep receiving benefits. Lawmakers say Pennsylvanians must get back to work as our economies, communities and families depend on it and our businesses need it. The bill is now heading to the full House for consideration.

The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh is putting plans together to rebuild after it suffered the deadliest U.S. antisemitic attack in 2018.  The Tree of Life’s board of trustees and steering committee announced yesterday that it has selected Daniel Libeskind to reimagine the Squirrel Hill synagogue.  Libeskind designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin and also the World Trade Center master plan in New York City following the September 11th terrorist attacks.