TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR AUGUST 5TH, 2021

Ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato announced Grant funding of 101 thousand dollars, that will expand access to fresh fruits and vegetables for New Castle grade-schoolers. Sainato said the funding awarded under the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program includes two separate grants to New Castle Area School District elementary schools. The money is part of a seven million dollar program awarded to 288 elementary schools statewide under the FFVP. Funding priority was given to the schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

Allegheny County health officials are monitoring the latest rise in COVID-19 cases, but for now, they’re holding off on issuing any mask mandate.  County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says they’re recommending residents and businesses follow the CDC guidelines.  The CDC recently updated its guidelines that call for everyone in areas where substantial risk of COVID-19 exists to wear masks indoors.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that repairs on the Mitchell Road Bridge over I-376 in Neshannock Township, will begin Friday. It will close to traffic beginning at 9 p.m. Friday and will be partially demolished for replacement. Traffic on I-376 to and under the bridge will close in both directions through Oct. 19. Detours are posted for both Mitchell Road to eastbound I-376 and from eastbound I-376 to Mitchell Road.

Governor Tom Wolf is renewing the state’s Opioid Disaster Declaration for the 15th time. Wolf says as we see a spike in overdoses throughout the commonwealth, there has never been a more important time to concentrate efforts in helping individuals with substance use disorder. He added that this ongoing public health crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration will only last for 21 days unless the General Assembly votes to extend it.

At least seven Western Pennsylvania men are facing charges after having been arrested during a sting operation targeting sexual predators in Ohio.  Mahoning County and Columbiana County officials report this week that 34 men in total were arrested durng the two-month operation.  Each of the 34 men was taken into custody when they arrived at a location where they expected to meet a young child for sex.  Among those arrested were men from Western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh area.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Yesterday, the state added nearly 15-hundred new cases to the state total, pushing it to one-million-230-thousand. About 15 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 27-thousand-883.

Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier is out from behind bars today.  Spanier had been jailed for nearly two months at the Centre County Correctional Facility on a child endangerment conviction.  That conviction came in relation to his handling of reports that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused a child.  Spanier will now serve two months under house arrest.

Spirit Airlines continues to cancel flights at Arnold Palmer Regional and Pittsburgh International airports.  The airline has been canceling flights all week due to staffing shortages, weather and systems outages.  Yesterday, Spirit canceled four arrivals and three departures in Latrobe, and eleven of 13 flights were canceled at Pittsburgh International.

Many hourly workers at CVS pharmacies in the area can soon look forward to seeing bumps in their paycheck.  The company announced yesterday that it will increase its current 11-dollar minimum wage for hourly workers to 15-dollars per hour.  The move is part of an effort to attract new staffers to the retailer.  Those currently making the minimum at CVS should expect to start seeing wage increases this month.  The pharmacy giant says that about 65-percent of its hourly workers already make about 15-dollars per hour.