TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 15TH, 2021

State Police in Lawrence County arrested two Ellwood City women following an assault that took place in Wayne Township Monday night. 26 year old Katelyn Weller along with 25 year old Lindsay Weller were arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer. Police said the two assaulted 25 year old Evan Gibbons when they struck him over the head with a rock. The investigation is ongoing.

The fire Marshall is investigating a suspicious house fire from yesterday morning in New Castle.  Crews were called out to Home Street near Pollock Avenue around 5 a.m.  Firefighters say the fire started in an upstairs bedroom, and when they arrived the back door of the house was wide open.  No one inside the house was harmed.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is recommending that all student-athletes, coaches, athletic personnel and officials get vaccinated from COVID-19. The PIAA released its guidance yesterday, saying the decision was put forth after their Sports Medicine Advisory Committee issued their support and recommendation for vaccinations. No mandates have been set except for officials that want to work inter-district competitions like playoffs. 

Beaver Falls Police have two men in custody today who are accused of trying to lure a child into a van.  Detectives say the suspects, both from Michigan, tried to coax the child into the vehicle Monday afternoon.  The incident was reported, and police were able to track down the van and the suspects through rental receipts.  Both men are facing drug charges and charges of trying to lure a child into a motor vehicle.

The Beaver Borough building is closed to the public due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.  Borough leaders say they will stop operations during normal business hours, but residents can still pay off bills and fines online or by making payments into a dropbox at the door.  This all comes after two schools in the Beaver Area School District had to suspend in-person learning due to a spike in COVID-19 cases among students. 

State data on COVID-19 ‘breakthrough cases’ is now available to the public. The data shows that nearly 65-hundred Pennsylvanians died of COVID since January, and 97-percent of those deaths came from unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals. Only about 213 deaths came from fully vaccinated people. Officials say the death rate among the less than fully vaccinated was nearly eight-times higher than the death rate among fully vaccinated people. The data also showed that 95-percent of the nearly 35-thousand people hospitalized with the virus since January were unvaccinated or less than fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Yesterday, the state added over 37-hundred new cases to the state total, pushing it over one-million-354-thousand. About 83 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 28-thousand-651.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy L. Defoor is criticizing the governor for his waiver process for non-life-sustaining businesses that wanted to remain open during the COVID-19 shutdown. According to his report, the administration confused many business owners as their definition of “life-sustaining” businesses was changed at least nine times. The report also showed that the department that handled these waivers made questionable decisions that resulted in detrimental effects for businesses and an unnecessarily increased risk to public health.  Defoor says the process should be reformed before anything like it is used again.

A pair of Pittsburgh universities are being recognized as among the best in the nation.  U.S. News & World Report is out this week with its 2022 Best Colleges List.  The magazine ranks Carnegie Mellon at number 25 on the list thanks in large part to its computer science and undergrad engineering programs.  The University of Pittsburgh placed 59th overall being cited for its nursing program and its accessibility to veterans.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is confirming that it lost over 100-million-dollars in unpaid tolls last year. However, officials say they collected 93-percent of their revenues as this “leakage” is normal for all cashless toll agencies. They added that the majority of unpaid tolls come from those who use the Toll By Plate system. The system uses cameras at toll booths to take pictures of license plates to send the driver a bill in the mail, but it has issues. Sometimes, items block the license plates or motor vehicles agencies from other states don’t provide owner addresses and some bills were just undeliverable.