TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 11TH, 2021

Lawrence County Jail Warden Brian Covert and jail Deputy Maj. Jason Hilton have each been placed on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation by county officials and the Lawrence County Prison Board. The Ellwood City Ledger is reporting the prison board agreed to place both administrative officials on paid leave during a special meeting Wednesday. These actions stem from a recent letter that was sent to the board and the press by Teamsters Local Union No. 261, who represents the corrections officers at the jail. In the letter, it states the correction officers believe jail administrators have abandoned their responsibilities.

A Bessemer man faces a number of charges following a domestic dispute early Sunday morning. 38 year old Robert Mikulski was charged by state police with strangulation, two counts each of simple assault and terroristic threats and a number of other charges. State Police said Mikulski was involved in an argument with a female led escalated to physical violence. Mikulski fled the scene after the incident but was later arrested and place in the Lawrence County Jail.

Today is Veterans Day and in honor of the men and women who have served and are serving our country, restaurants and businesses across the state are ready to serve them. Many national restaurant chains are offering free meals to vets and some are even extending those to family members. Military ID is required to receive the discounts.

The Mercer County Coroner has identified a man who was killed Tuesday in a crash in Farrell. WKBN-TV reports 40 year old  Kevin Sevacko  of Masury, died after the motorcycle he was driving crashed about 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of Mercer and Indiana avenues. The investigation into the crash is continuing.

Huntington Bank plans to close three of its branch locations down in Western Pennsylvania.  The Ohio-based bank says it plans to close branches in New Castle, Beaver, and Beaver Falls as part of a larger plan to shutter 48 sites in several states.  According to Huntington, most of the branches they are closing are ones found in supermarkets. 

A bicyclist is in the hospital after being struck by a tractor-trailer on Wednesday in New Brighton.  According to reports, the cyclist was hit around 10 p.m. at Third Avenue and Eighth Street.  Authorities said the victim was life-flighted to the hospital, and the accident remains under investigation.

A state appeals court ruling issued yesterday frees ODOT from responsibility in a 2017 injury accident.  Father and daughter Fred and Gabriella Polesky suffered serious injuries when they were driving through Beaver County and a tree fell onto their car along State Road 151.  The victims’ suit against ODOT claimed that the department has a responsibility to remove or cut back trees on the sides of the state’s roadways that could be dangerous.  ODOT had argued that the tree was on private property and outside of their jurisdiction.  The Poleskys previously reached a settlement with the owner of the tree.

Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary is ordering a required-by-law, statewide recount for one of two open seats on the Commonwealth Court.  Vote totals in that race have less than a one-half of one percent margin and that status triggers a mandatory recount under state law. As of November 10th, Republican Stacy Marie Wallace held just over 26-percent of the total vote so she’ll get one of the open seats.  However, the second seat to be decided between Democrat Lori A. Dumas and Republican Drew Crompton will need to be recounted.  The Secretary of State’s office says the recount will cost more than a million dollars.

Pennsylvania School children could be going maskless at school sooner than they thought they would. On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf  announced he’ll return authority over masking decisions to local school districts in January.  But Wednesday a state court threw out the governor’s school mask mandate, clearing the way for an even earlier start to not wearing a face covering on school property. The Commonwealth Court ruled that the mask mandate didn’t comply with rules for setting regulations and was adopted without an existing disaster emergency declared by the governor.  The governor’s office has said it will appeal the ruling.

The State Department of Health says COVID cases are still trending upward. The department today reported just over five-thousand-200 additional coronavirus cases in the state, bringing the total to one-million-608 thousand.  About 17-hundred cases are reinfections.  Over 26-hundred people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.