TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JULY 7TH, 2021

State Police have charged a truck driver in connection with an accident that occurred back on April 19th. The accident took place at the intersection of route 422 and 388. 63 year old Alfred Bell of Aultman, Pennsylvania, faces one felony count of aggravated assault by vehicle, one misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person and several summary charges. The New Castle News Reports 50 year old Micheal Schrek and his 13 year old son Aiden were flown to separate hospitals. Schrek is the Superintendent of the Shenango Area School District.

Tolls for the Pennsylvania Turnpike are increasing. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved a five-percent increase for E-ZPass and Toll By Plate customers yesterday, but it won’t take effect until January 2nd of next year. For Toll By Plate customers in passenger vehicles, prices will increase from three-90 to four-ten. For E-ZPass customers with passenger vehicles, the toll will increase from one-60 to one-70.

Pennsylvania residents receiving unemployment benefits will soon need to look for work again to keep getting paid. The state will once again require those on unemployment to apply for at least two jobs starting June 18th. Beneficiaries will also need to attend a job fair or do an activity to improve their employment prospects each week as well. K-D-K-A reports almost 750-thousand Pennsylvanians are currently getting unemployment benefits.

A Mercer County man has been sentenced to life in prison without the  possibility of parole after being found guilty of first degree murder of a 14 Antonio Gonzalez Junior. WFMJ-TV reports 30 year old Paul Bacorn was the roommate of the boys father Antonio Gonzalez, who is also serving a life sentenced. The two were arrested back in May of 2019. The district attorney says this was the worst case of abuse he has ever seen. Gonzalez Junior had died from low blood volume from blunt force trauma and also suffered from malnutrition.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Yesterday, the state added 116 new cases to the state total, pushing it to one-million-213-thousand-135. One new death related to the virus was added to the death toll, which is at 27-thousand-708.

A group of Pennsylvanians and organizations are calling on Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey to support the For the People Act. The groups gathered outside of his office yesterday, saying that the legislation would expand voter registration, guarantee early voting and vote-by-mail options. It would also create independent redistricting commissions, combat gerrymandering and more. Toomey opposes the bill, saying that the act would nullify state voter ID laws, mandate public funding of political campaigns and transform the Federal Election Commission into a partisan body empowered to limit free speech.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is reminding residents of assistance available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program  that can help people who have been affected by COVID-19 and are facing eviction. The assistance can be used to pay past due and upcoming rent or utility bills or other costs necessary to help them be safely housed. Households may be eligible for up to 18 months of assistance to cover past-due or future rental and/or utility payments.

A borough official in Allegheny County is being accused of unemployment fraud.  Shunta Parms, a code enforcement officer with Homestead Borough, is being charged for allegedly filing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims on behalf of her two juvenile sons.  Her husband and her sister are also accused of fraud as officials say the family collectively received about 57-thousand-dollars in benefits while they all earned paychecks.