TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR AUGUST 4TH, 2021

Lawrence County Controller David Gettings has resigned. The Ellwood City Ledger report Gettings announced his resignation this past Friday at a special salary board meeting. Chief Deputy Controller Dave Prestopine will serve as acting controller until Gettings’ term ends in January 2022. Gettings was first elected controller in 2007 and served 14 years in the office.

Lawmakers are considering alternatives to the gas tax. State Representative Peter Schweyer says in spite of the state having an extraordinarily high gas tax, it brings in less and less revenue every year. Some options being considered to replace the gas tax include new tolls, increasing vehicle registration fees, a dollar fee for packages delivered in the state and eliminating funding for state police. Schweyer says America is moving in this direction, car companies are moving in this direction, consumers are moving in this direction and government has to be responsive.

The former controller for a Butler County utility company has been sentenced to six years in federal prison.  Paul Harmon pleaded guilty to earlier this year to wire fraud charges related to the embezzlement of nearly one-point-five-million dollars from Fuellgraf Electric Company.  The theft occurred over a period of more than ten years.  Harmon was also ordered to serve three years probation and make restitution to the victim.

Governor Tom Wolf is joining in the calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to step down from office. Yesterday, a five-month non-criminal investigation overseen by New York’s attorney general came to a consensus that Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws. The victims also feared retaliation from the governor. Wolf issued a joint statement with three other Democratic governors, saying they were appalled at the findings of the independent investigation and Governor Cuomo should resign from office. President Biden also said he should step down yesterday.

A number of local businesses are revisiting their mask policies in light of rising COVID numbers.  On Tuesday, Kennywood Amusement Park along with Idlewild and Sandcastle Water Park announced that all guests, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear face masks when indoors at the parks.  For its part, a statement from PPG Paints Arena yesterday said that they now recommend that everyone attending an event at the arena wear a mask.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Yesterday, the state added more than 14-hundred new cases to the state total, pushing it close to one-million-229-thousand. Eleven new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 27-thousand-868. Lawrence County has 7,874 cases and 217 deaths. Mercer County has 9,797 Covid-19 cases and 267 fatalities.

Travelers scheduled to fly out of Pittsburgh International or Arnold Palmer Regional on Spirit Airlines today may want to check those flight statuses before heading to the airport.  The airline experienced another day of widespread cancellations across the country on Tuesday.  For many folks expecting to fly out of the Pittsburgh area, that meant cancellations of their flights to Florida and Mexico.  Spirit is blaming the disruptions on weather, system outages and staffing shortages.

A major contractor is being sentenced to pay over 20-million-dollars in stolen wages to over one-thousand Pennsylvania workers. Yesterday, Glenn O. Hawbaker Incorporated signed a plea agreement to four counts of theft for diverting pension money and other benefits from its workers. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro says the company violated the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act and the Davis-Bacon Act. The company released a statement following the agreement saying they’re pleased to bring the process to a conclusion.