TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR AUGUST 16TH, 2021

New Castle firefighters who responded to an early more residential fire on Sunday say the home is a total loss.  Officials say the North Mercer Street home caught fire at around 5:30 a.m. and was reported by folks several blocks away who saw the flames.  No injuries were reported as the home was vacant at the time and undergoing renovations.

Beaver County officials say a woman is in custody in connection with a domestic incident that led to a shooting early yesterday in Hopewell Township.  The shooting occurred about 1:30 yesterday morning in a home in Brodhead Road.  The victim was a man who was taken to a local hospital.  His condition has not been released.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Since Friday, the state added more than six-thousand new cases to the total, pushing it over one-million-250-thousand. About 25 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 27-thousand-966.

According to the CDC Multiple counties now have a “high” level of COVID-19 transmission. Lawrence and Beaver Counties are on that list. According to the CDC, having a “high” COVID-19 transmission level means for every 100,000 people, there are 100 cases. The CDC recommends everyone, even those who are vaccinated, wear masks indoors in areas with “high” or “substantial” COVID-19 spread.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is recommending that fully vaccinated immunocompromised individuals get the COVID booster shot. Last week, the FDA gave the OK for moderately to severely immunocompromised people to get the shot, only if they’re fully vaccinated with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. State health officials say they are pleased that the federal government is taking steps to ensure individuals who are immunocompromised have the opportunity to receive another layer of protection against the virus.

Ceremonies were held over the weekend to dedicate a new memorial to a group of Lawrence County Vietnam veterans.  A metal tree designed by the New Castle School of Trades stands in tribute to 27 veterans who died of complications from the tactical use chemical Agent Orange.  Friends and family members of those servicemen were on hand for the Saturday ceremony.

Under a proposed bill in the Pennsylvania Senate, parents who defy mask mandates at their children’s school could pay fines if a classmate catches COVID-19.  State Senator Anthony Williams’s bill would state that parents must be aware of a school’s mask mandate and must have given formal notice their child would not comply with them.  Williams says he hopes his bill is unnecessary, but with the low vaccination rates in Pennsylvania, it’s critical to ensure the safety of school children.

An Edinburg man was not hurt after he struck a tree that was on the roadway. State Police report 28 year old Thomas Ascione was northbound on route 551 in Pulaski Township Friday morning when he struck a tree that was blocking the entire roadway. PennDot later removed the tree from the road.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission says residents can feed birds again. Over the last few months, Pennsylvania along with at least ten other states were seeing a mysterious rise of sick and dead birds, but it seems the unknown disease is waning. Officials also found no correlation between the disease and feeding the birds or birdbaths and feeders. However, residents are urged to constantly clean feeders and bird baths.

The man who started the football program at Robert Morris University has died at the age of 85.  Joe Walton, who also worked in the NFL as the New York Jets head coach from 1983 to 1989 and as offensive coordinator for the Steelers from 1990 to 1991, created the Robert Morris football program in 1993.  From 1994 to 2013, Walton’s teams tallied a record of 114-92-and-1 and won three Northeast Conference titles.  Walton was a native of Beaver Falls.