TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR DECEMBER 8TH, 2021

A man formerly of Oak Leaf Gardens apartments pled guilty yesterday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court to voluntary manslaughter. The new Castle News reports 34 year old Juan Suarez was sentenced to 4 ½ to 10 years in state prison in connection with the shooting death of 26-year-old Alfonso Eiram Santiago-Hernandez on April 9th of last year. Suarez was given credit for 604 days already served. Suarez initially had been charged with criminal homicide.

Butler County police are searching for three suspects accused of killing one man and attacking two other individuals.  Police responding to reports of the attack on the two survivors Sunday reportedly followed a trail of blood that led to a man who had been stabbed and shot.  That victim later died at a local hospital.  No description of the suspects has been made available. 

A Beaver Falls man was sentenced in Federal Court in Pittsburgh yesterday for making false statements to purchase firearms. 25 year old Calvin Brady Jr., was sentenced to 37 months in prison along with three years of supervised release. The incident took place last December at a firearms dealer in Monaca were Brady purchased four handguns. Brady certified to the federal firearm licensee that he was purchasing the firearms for himself. The investigation revealed that Brady lied when he made this statement as he was purchasing the firearms for another, which is a violation of federal law.

The heated debate over the mask mandate in schools will hit the State Supreme Court on Wednesday.  Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam instituted the statewide mandate for Pa. schools on August 31. A number of parents and legislative Republicans sued, saying she didn’t have the authority to do that without an emergency declaration. Commonwealth Court agreed with that argument and lifted the mask mandate. Then, the Supreme Court put it back in place, until it can hear arguments today in Philadelphia The Wolf Administration’s mandate is already scheduled to end on Jan. 17. Whenever it ends, school administrators will then decide on mask requirements for their districts.

It has now been 50 weeks since the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine were sent out to states. Now, new federal records show just under 77-percent of allocated vaccines have been administered to residents in Pennsylvania  as of December 2nd. That’s lower than the national average of 80 percent and also amounts to the 14th smallest share of all states.  Also, a little over 67-percent of adults in the Keystone State who have not yet received the vaccine report that they will probably not or definitely not get a vaccine in the future. That’s the 16th largest share of any state. The most common reason cited for not wanting a vaccine is being concerned about possible side effects.

Officials at Butler Memorial Hospital are reporting more than a dozen deaths from COVID-19 at their facility since the weekend.  Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Rottinghaus said yesterday that the 14 deaths since last Friday are alarming.  The hospital says the vast majority of their COVID-19 patients have not been vaccinated, and only four of the patients who died had received the vaccine.

LIVE Casino Pittsburgh is getting a new landlord.  A Berks County-based company is purchasing the property on which the casino sits along with properties that also are home to LIVE Casino & Hotel Maryland and LIVE Casino & Hotel Philadelphia.  The properties will be leased back to the casinos’ current owners who will continue running the gaming operations.  The deal is said to be worth an estimated 1.8-billion dollars.

A new survey from a Muhlenberg College Morning Call poll is showing revealing insight about the pandemic. It has indicated that 50 percent of respondents believe employers should not be able to require inoculations, while 49-percent believe employers should have the right to insist on vaccinations. The poll also revealed approval ratings for President Joe Biden’s handling of the pandemic have decreased since March. Only 40-percent approve of Biden’s efforts on this issue, down 15 percent since the spring. Also, 44  percent of people disapprove of Governor Tom Wolf’s handling of the pandemic, while 35-percent approve of his performance.