TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR OCTOBER 8TH, 2021

A Lawrence County man is facing charges after a search of his home this week turned up suspected drugs and trafficking equipment.  Agents serving a warrant on the home of Glen Samuels Wednesday report finding suspected heroin, suspected cocaine and digital scales at the scene.  Samuels was taken into custody.

Chippewa Township police are continuing their investigation after a woman’s body was discovered this week in a Beaver County field.  Forty-six-year-old Sharon Benyo had just been released from prison on Sunday.  A utility worker found her body Wednesday morning.  Police say they have a number of leads in the case and are hopeful that they will soon be able to make an arrest.

A Pennsylvania Congressman and a state Senator are being accused of urging the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election results. According to a report from a U.S. Senate judiciary committee, Congressman Scott Perry and Pennsylvania state senator Doug Mastriano provided false election claims to the former U.S. Associate Deputy Attorney General. Those claims were debunked by the Pennsylvania State Department. The report also calls for further investigation into the two.

A Republican state lawmaker is hospitalized today after being involved in a vehicle crash.  Matt Dowling, who represents Fayette and Somerset counties in the state legislature, was hurt in a single-vehicle accident Wednesday.  Dowling was last reported in serious but stable condition in a Lancaster County hospital.

Pennsylvania is joining with three other states in an effort to reduce gun violence. Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey will be sharing gun crime data for a new database to help law enforcement track similarities in gun crimes and link them to suspects crossing state lines. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says sharing information works. He added that two years after the state launched Track and Trace, police are able to identify a record number of crime guns, allowing investigators to go after the source and help prevent shootings.

Restaurants across western Pennsylvania are still having problems hiring employees even after the end of extended unemployment benefits. Officials with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association say the issue is the worst it has ever been as about 89-percent of Pennsylvania restaurant owners say they do not have enough employees. Owners believe the pandemic caused many to go into other fields of work, but others say the long hours, low pay, weekend shifts and a general lack of stability within the industry are to blame.

The Salvation Army is recruiting volunteers to help with fundraising this year.  The organization says they need bell ringers throughout Western Pennsylvania to man their red kettles at retail outlets in the coming holiday season.  Salvation Army provides a number of aid efforts including emergency and disaster services, food pantries and ministerial services. 

Governor Tom Wolf is reporting that the state’s prison population is the lowest it has been since 2001. As of October 1st, there are 36-thousand-742 people incarcerated in state correctional facilities. Wolf says his administration has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing the prison population with an emphasis on rehabilitation for men and women who are incarcerated and opportunities after incarceration. He added that investing in resources and creating good policies ensures lower incarceration rates, a reduction in recidivism, and a better, more productive quality of life for re-entrants.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout the state. Yesterday, the state added over 58-hundred new cases, pushing the total over one-million-464-thousand.  About 92 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 29-thousand-814.