TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MAY 7TH, 2021

Pittsburgh yesterday received a visit from U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.  Secretary Pete was in town to drum up support for President Biden’s two-point-three-triliion-dollar infrastructure package.  Buttigieg pointed to the deteriorating condition of many of Pittsburgh’s bridges and said that story is true in cities across America.  Part of the President’s plan would fund repairs to more than 10-thousand bridges around the country.

A popular summer camp in Beaver County is looking for staff members before the start of the season.  Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer in Fombell needs to hire about 50 counselors and 20 support staff members for it to operate at full capacity this year.  The camp will be held for children in second-through-eighth grade, but teenagers will get a full refund for now.  Those who are interested in applying can find more information by visiting Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer’s official website.

Police are asking the public for help with finding a missing teenage boy in Butler County.  Sixteen-year-old Aiden McKinley was last seen by family wearing a black hoodie and black sweatpants on Wednesday.  Anyone with any information on his whereabouts is being asked to contact Pennsylvania State Police in Butler.

Police in Allegheny County this week arrested a couple accused of handcuffing their three young children, physically abusing them and forcing them to sleep in a locked basement.  The situation came to light this week when one of the children resisted going home with his father after school.  A school official then noticed two boys in the backseat of the minivan wearing handcuffs.  Richard Hayes and Natosha Bell both face assault and false imprisonment charges.  The children have been removed from the home.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 24-hundred new cases, pushing it over one-million-166-thousand. About 57 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 26-thousand-447. Lawrence County has 7,317 cases and 205 deaths. Mercer County has 9,256 cases and 255 fatalities.

Lawmakers are proposing a bill that would allow local police to use radars for speed enforcement. Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that doesn’t allow this, as only state police can use radar. State police say they look at radar enforcement as slowing down aggressive drivers who could potentially cause a crash and injure one of your family members or loved ones. However, the National Motorists Association says they’re against the measure and called it a cash grab.

Republican state lawmakers are proposing a bill to ban COVID-19 vaccine passports in the state. However, the governor has already said in the past that he doesn’t plan on ever requiring such a thing. State Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill says state or government at any level should not require every citizen to show proof of this vaccine and called it government overreach. Democratic lawmakers say this bill is just for political show, and it’s something a group of senators decided to do to get attention and rally up their radical base.

Teachers are rallying and calling on the state to increase school funding by at least one-point-15-billion-dollars. Educators say a state increase in basic education funding will provide a more solid foundation for districts to build their budgets and help them recover from the pandemic. They added that districts were already suffering from being underfunded for years, and the pandemic worsened the situation. Teachers say that federal stimulus funds don’t cover ongoing expenses, but do cover one-time expenses like masks, cleaning supplies, mobile hotspots and reducing learning losses.

State Senator Scott Martin is asking the governor to lift all COVID-19 restrictions sooner and for schools to reconsider attendance for graduations. Districts are limiting attendance for commencement ceremonies as current COVID mitigation orders limit gatherings, but they’re set to be lifted on May 31st, except for mask wearing. Districts can make their own decisions on gatherings after that date.