TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JUNE 10TH, 2021

The New Castle News is reporting that a Shenango Township man who pleaded guilty to shooting at a school van in March of last year will serve three to six years in a state prison. 42 year old Bryon John Benetas was sentenced yesterday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court by President Judge Dominick Motto. Benetas in April had pleaded guilty to two felony counts of aggravated assault attempt at seriously injury, and six counts of recklessly endangering other persons.

A New Castle man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh for violating narcotics laws. According to the news release, 31-year-old Donte Calhoun possessed with the intent to distribute cocaine during January and February 2020 .Calhoun could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both .Pennsylvania State Police and the DEA conducted the investigation that led to the indictment.

Governor Tom Wolf is vowing to battle any legislation the Legislature may bring up that could create barriers to voting. Wolf says the 2020 election was fair and secure, and some Republicans are wasting taxpayer money to spread lies and disinformation. He added that the election turned out to elect a lot of people he personally wasn’t happy with, but that didn’t mean that he had the right to go and start spreading lies about the election. This comes after several Republican lawmakers visited Arizona last week to see the Republican-led election audit and hinted at doing something similar in Pennsylvania.

Butler County health officials say that eight children have become sick since swimming in a community pool on Memorial Day.  The department says that all of the affected kids have suffered from gastrointestinal issues in the last week and a half, and two have tested positive for C. diff and E. coli.  Officials are testing the water in the pool.

Ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato announced yesterday that grant funding of nearly 50 thousand dollars will enhance Lawrence County probation programs and services. The grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will fund programs and resources that help the county steer offenders away from crime and toward more successful outcomes. Sainato said Taxpayers benefit from fewer incarcerations, and our community regains responsible wage earners who can contribute back to the economy.”

State lawmakers are advancing legislation to ban vaccine passports in the state. The bill was passed by the Republican-led state Senate yesterday. The governor has already stated in the past that there are no plans to require any form of vaccine passports. The bill will now head to the state House.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of 496 new cases, pushing it close to one-million-207-thousand. About 22 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 27-thousand-417. Mercer County has 9,657 cases and 261 deaths.  Lawrence County has 7,619 cases and 212 deaths.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is advancing a bill that would make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions if the reason for the procedure is a Down syndrome diagnosis. State Democrats say House Bill 15-hundred makes it a crime to think and consider options, and it is an attempt to roll back access to healthcare in the state. Governor Tom Wolf has previously said that he would block any anti-choice legislation and emphasized that politics do not belong in the doctor’s office. The bill will now head to a Senate committee for consideration.

Residents will be able to get their hunting licenses soon.  Hunting licenses will go on sale in Pennsylvania starting on Monday. The 2021-2022 season starts on July First.  The Pennsylvania Game Commission increased the number of elk and bull licenses for this upcoming season.  You can buy your license by going to pgc.pa.gov.