TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 22ND, 2021

A former Crawford County man was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court to third-degree murder charges in connection with a 2019 homicide in the city of New Castle.  The New Castle News reports, 30 year old Isaiah Angry was originally charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of 32 year old Todd Walker. The murder took place at a home on North Lee Avenue. Several other charges and Angry were dropped.

U.S. Marshals are reporting the arrest of a man suspected in an Ohio murder.  Agents took 26-year-old Kaliaf Ivory into custody Monday in Mercer County.  Ivory has been charged in the fatal shooting of a man last week near the Ohio State University campus.

State lawmakers are holding a public hearing this Thursday to discuss an election reform bill. The bill features recommendations from the state’s Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform, which includes changes to rules on ballot drop boxes, mail-in ballot counting and poll worker training. Lawmakers say they aren’t trying to solve all of the problems with this bill, but they believe there are a few basic items that everyone agrees upon. If all goes well on Thursday’s hearing, lawmakers may take a vote to advance the legislation.

The state Department of Health is preparing for the expected approval of a COVID-19 booster shot for some Americans by the federal government. State health officials issued an order yesterday requiring vaccine providers to offer online scheduling for booster shot appointments, walk-in appointments, and phone lines to help Pennsylvanians schedule appointments. They’re also being ordered to work with agencies to get the shots to people who can’t leave their homes.  The federal government is expected to release guidance for booster shots this Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is reviewing a lawsuit against a law passed two-years ago that guarantees rights for crime victims and their families. The American Civil Liberties Union argues that Marsy’s Law should not go into effect because the one ballot question packed about 15 constitutional amendments, which violates the Pennsylvania Constitution. The ACLU also blames the Legislature for improperly drafting the ballot measure. Supporters of the law say those amendments are all linked to advance victim’s rights, and the votes should be counted. Experts expect this case to take several months before a ruling comes down.

Pennsylvania casinos continue to see huge increases in revenue this year as compared to 2020.  Figures released this week by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board show gaming spots took in about 31-percent more revenue in August of 2021 than they did in August of last year.  Among the casinos seeing a rise in gameplay figures were the Lady Luck Casino in Fayette County, The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County and the Rivers Casino Pittsburgh in Allegheny County.

Union organizers at Pitt say they are launching a campaign to unite staff workers at the University’s five campuses.  According to the Pitt Staff Union website that went live on Tuesday, the Union is recruiting staff members employed by Pitt that are not faculty or graduate students.  The Union says they’ve partner with United Steelworkers in the campaign to unite Pitt’s academic advisors, lab managers, research coordinators, and others.  A faculty union election is also underway at Pitt, with ballots due to be sent to the Labor Relations Board by October 12th. 

State lawmakers are proposing legislation that would offer some protection to medical marijuana patients from being charged with DUI’s. Under Pennsylvania’s current zero-tolerance policy, legal medical marijuana patients could face a DUI charge for driving even if they haven’t used cannabis for weeks. The bill being proposed by state Senator Camera Bartolotta would require proof of impairment for someone to be charged with and convicted of DUI. State Police have expressed their support for the bill, saying legislation like this generally does not have a negative impact on highway safety.

Yesterday, the state department of health added nearly five-thousand new Covid-19 cases, pushing the total over one-million-387-thousand. About 68 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 28-thousand-932.