TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR AUGUST

A man is dead after a fiery crash involving a semi on Interstate 80 in Mercer County Monday night. The Pennsylvania State Police say 61-year-old Gheorghe Ghenciu, of Maryland, was killed in the crash that shut down part of I-80 in Mercer County, a few miles from the Ohio state line. The crash happened just before 8 p.m. Troopers said the driver of the semi slowed down because of backed-up traffic. Ghenciu, who was driving a van, didn’t slow down and rear-ended the semi.  The van caught on fire.The driver of the semi was not hurt.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Yesterday, the state added more than nine-hundred new cases to the state total, pushing it over one-million-227-thousand. Two new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 27-thousand-857. Lawrence County has 7,858 cases and 218 deaths. Mercer County has recorded 9,786 cases and 267 fatalities.

State Police in Lawrence County report a two vehicle accident in North Beaver Township. Police said the accident occurred at the intersection of route 18 and Galilee Road. A vehicle turned into the path of another vehicle causing a head on crash. A 20 year old female from Fredonia was taken to UPMC Jameson Hospital for treatment. Police did not release the names of the drivers.

Officials with Giant Eagle say they will strongly suggest that customers at their stores nationwide wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, starting Friday.  The company says it is not requiring customers to wear face masks.  Officials say they also are considering requiring all employees be fully vaccinated.  Giant Eagle officials say they’re increasing resources and education about the benefits as well as the risks of vaccinations.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price Report the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania held steady this week at 3.30 a gallon. In New Castle drivers are paying 3.24 a gallon. Motorists in Sharon are paying 3.29. On the week, the national average increased by two cents to $3.17 with a majority of states seeing jumps between two to ten cents. A year ago the average price in Western Pennsylvaina was at 2.44 a gallon.

Tioga County Commissioners are receiving death threats for declining state senator Doug Mastriano’s request for an election audit. Had the county agreed, a third party would have gained access to their voting machines, which would have decertified it for future elections and the county would have to pay to replace the equipment. State senator Chris Dush says he’s outraged by the behavior of those who claim to be in support of the audit process, but are seeming to do everything they can to undermine it and the rule of law. The threats have been turned over to state police and the district attorney.

Spirit Airlines ticket holders are hoping for a smoother travel experience today than many others experienced on Monday.  The airline was forced to cancel a number of flights across its network yesterday, including many that were scheduled to fly in an out of Pittsburgh International Airport and Arnold Palmer Airport in Latrobe. The carrier blames what it calls “operational challenges” for the scheduled disruptions and is advising traveler to check their flight status this week before heading to the airport.

The Pennsylvania Lottery has announced record profits. The lottery on Monday reported more than one-point-three-billion dollars in profits were brought in for the fiscal year ending June 30th.  Officials say that over five-point-three-billion dollars in sales were generated by traditional scratch-off and lottery drawing games,  Nearly 900-million more was collected from sales in online games.

Pittsburgh is joining Philadelphia in its lawsuit against State Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s decision in the massive opioid settlement case.  Shapiro — the presumptive Democratic frontrunner in the governor’s race next year — signed on with ten other state attorneys general in agreeing to a 26-billion-dollar settlement with four manufacturers of opioids.  Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala is joining Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner in opposing Shapiro’s decision to settle, saying the money is not nearly enough to address the opioid crisis.