TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2021

A North Beaver Township man was sentenced to three to six years in prison after being found guilty in August for an accident that claimed the life of 19 year old Alissa Jones. 49 year old Robert Hodge was accused of driving a tractor-trailer that slammed into a vehicle in West Pittsburgh while Jones was standing next to it in June of 2019. She was thrown 20 feet and rushed to St.Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown where she died two days later. According to the New Castle News Hodge left the scene of the accident and tried to cover it up. He also received eight traffic citations.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association is voicing its opposition to a recently proposed bill that would allow parents to opt their kids out of school mask mandates. The Senate Education Committee advanced the bill on Tuesday, and it now heads to the full Senate. PSEA officials say this puts in-person learning and the safety of students in jeopardy. They added that they hope lawmakers will step back, look at the science, listen to what parents and teachers are telling them and do the right thing for the safety of students and staff.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is looking for feedback from the public on their services. The department is holding a 20-question online survey until October 26th to see how residents feel about their construction efforts and road and bridge maintenance services. PennDOT officials say this survey will help them understand needs, measure public expectations and identify educational opportunities. Anyone looking to give feedback is urged to go online to www-dot-511pa-dot-com.

State lawmakers are grilling the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for its decision to ration certain alcohols. A few weeks ago, the PLCB decided to impose a two-bottle limit on 43 select liquors due to a shortage. Republican lawmakers say this doesn’t help bars and restaurants as they try to recover from the pandemic, and they need to be more transparent about decisions like this. The PLCB says every state is experiencing the same shortages as it’s beyond their control.

Bills which would assist Pennsylvania seniors with prescription drug purchases
have been approved by the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee.
Representative Steve Samuelson says one of the bills would raise the income limits on the PACENET
program. Samuelson says this would benefit an additional 20,000 PA seniors. Meantime,
Representative Shelby Labs says another bill approved by the committee would extend the PACE and
PACENET Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment moratorium for another two years. The
bills now go to the full House.

More than one-million dollars in federal grants is coming to Pennsylvania to promote positive parenting and early childhood development across the state.  State officials say the funding will also be used to extend Medicaid coverage to mothers and babies in Pennsylvania.  Currently, coverage runs for 60 days after a child’s birth, but the funding will now extend the benefits for a full year.  The extension will take effect beginning next spring.  

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state.  Yesterday, the state added more than 45-hundred new cases, pushing the total over one-million-425-thousand.  About 97 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 29-thousand-323.

Walmart announced on its corporate blog Wednesday that the chain plans to hire 150,000 at its nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S. The retailer stated that most of the jobs will be permanent, full-time positions to help customers in the stores, as well as curbside and online shoppers. Walmart says its average hourly wage at U.S. stores is $16.40 and jobs in the stores can pay as high as $34 an hour.

Another Powerball drawing with no grand prize winner.  Last night’s jackpot was worth 570-million dollars – the eighth-largest in the game’s history.  With no one matching all six numbers however, the jackpot is soaring to an estimated 620-million dollars ahead of the next drawing on Saturday night.