TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JUNE 4TH, 2021

A Republican state lawmaker is shooting down calls for an election audit. State Representative Seth Grove, who chairs the committee that handles election matters, says they will not be authorizing any further audits on any previous elections. This comes after three state lawmakers visited Arizona on Wednesday to see the GOP-ran election audit of the 2020 election there and called for similar action in Pennsylvania.

State Police in Butler County report a woman was scammed out over six thousand dollars. The victim is a 67 year old woman from Butler. According to police following their investigation is was determined that suspect impersonated a PayPal fraud specialist and stole the money from the woman. The investigation is ongoing.

A former accountant for Westmoreland County-based egg distributor Hillandale Farms is accused of stealing nearly seven-million dollars from the company.  Jonathan Weston was arrested yesterday.  The six-count grand jury indictment against him includes charges of conspiracy, money laundering and tax fraud.  Prosecutors say Weston used much of the money to pay for high-dollar personal travel, collectible cars and real estate.  If convicted on all charges, he could face nearly 60 years in prison.

As officials continue to make the case to raise the state’s minimum wage they say it should be done to help many older workers. Acting Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier says while minimum wage workers are often portrayed as teenage burger flippers, that’s not always the case. Berrier says that more than a quarter of PA workers who would get a raise through a boost in the state’s minimum wage are 40 or older. Berrier notes that many of these older workers have been deemed essential during the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of 656 new cases, pushing it over one-million-204-thousand. About 36 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 27-thousand-295. Lawrence County has 7,593 Covid-19 cases and 211 deaths. Mercer County has recorded 9.615 cases and 258 fatalities.

State Senator Judy Ward wants all new COVID-19-related deaths to be investigated by county coroners.  Her bill, she says, would allow for more accuracy and would decrease confusion.  Governor Wolf vetoed a similar bill in the last legislative session.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is again defying a state law that won’t allow unauthorized flags to be displayed on the state Capitol grounds.  This time, Fetterman was flying the rainbow Pride flag from the balcony of his office to show support for the L-G-B-T-Q-I-A community.  The flag was confiscated shortly afterward.

An Erie man was charged following an accident on Interstate 79 in Jackson Township. State Police in Butler County report 53 year old Francis Carroll was southbound on 79 when he lost control of his tractor-trailer crossed the median and ended up in the northbound lanes on I79. Carroll was charged with driving under influence of a controlled substance. No injuries were reported.

Duquesne University on Thursday announced that all students attending classes and other in-person campus activities this fall will be required to have been vaccinated against COVID.  The university will require students to provide evidence of their COVID vaccination status through the Duquesne’s confidential student health record system as they do for other required immunizations.