TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JULY 20TH, 2021

A New Castle woman pled guilty to drunk driving charges in connection with an accident in August of 2019. The New Castle News reports 29 year old Leah Piccione of East Clen Moore Boulevard pled guilty to aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, drunk driving and recklessly endangering other persons. Two people in another vehicle along with Piccione were all taken to the hospital for treatment. The accident took place on Harlansburg Road. Sentencing is set for September 29th.

State environmental officials have issued a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for portions of Allegheny and Westmoreland County today.  The Department of Environmental Protection says that wildfires in northern and western Canada are creating pollution levels considered unhealthy for young children, senior citizens and those with sensitive respiratory systems. Portions and Beaver and Butler counties are also included in today’s advisory.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Yesterday, the state added 212 new cases to the state total, pushing it to one-million-216-thousand-763. Three new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 27-thousand-795.

The state is allocating 30-million-dollars toward early childhood education. Governor Tom Wolf says children who learn in a high-quality pre-K program perform much better than their peers who don’t. He added that they’re more likely to graduate and earn more money throughout their lives and careers. The investment will reportedly support over 32-hundred kids to get into these programs, but lawmakers say it’s not enough. State Representative Manny Guzman says there are many more children falling through the cracks, and this issue disproportionately impacts Black and brown children.

Officials with the PA Department of Labor and Industry are reporting a rise in unemployment compensation fraud. L and I officials say the most common type of fraud involves using someone else’s identity to apply for UC benefits. As a result, the department has renewed its contract with identity verification experts ID.me to help crack down on fraud. Secretary Jennifer Berrier says they’re also working with State Police and the Attorney General

One lucky lottery player who purchased a ticket last week in Mercer County has reason to celebrate this week.  Lottery officials are confirming that a ticket sold at the Clark House restaurant matched all five white balls drawn in Saturday’s Powerball game and is worth one-million dollars.  The winner has not been identified.  They have a year to come forward and collect their prize.

Pennsylvania is joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Governor Tom Wolf posted on Facebook yesterday, saying the climate crisis is already here and the rate of scorching heat waves and ravaging flash floods will only increase if we don’t take meaningful action now. Pennsylvania now joins 11 other states in an effort to cap and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector.

Despite casinos being closed for weeks due to pandemic restrictions, the state’s gambling industry had a record-breaking year in 2020-2021, fueled by online gambling, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced Monday. Pennsylvania smashed its record for gambling revenue, state regulators said Monday, reporting nearly $3.9 billion in the last fiscal year as every category of wagering showed growth in one of the nation’s largest casino and gambling states. Overall gambling revenue dropped from $3.3 billion in 2018-19, the previous all-time high, to $2.7 billion in 2019-2020.