TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR DECEMBER 9TH, 2021

A New Castle man has pleaded guilty for his role in a Sept. 21st, 2019, multi-vehicle crash along Route 422 in Slippery Rock Township in which a woman was seriously injured. The Ellwood City Ledger reports 37 year old Alexander Miller pleaded guilty to aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, causing an accident involving injury and DUI. %. Miller also pleaded guilty to one count of corruption of minors for an incident in which he reportedly inappropriately touched a child who at the time was 5 years old. He is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced for both cases at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 25th.

The Lawrence County Commissioners introduced the budget for 2022 on Tuesday. The New Castle News is reporting the 91 million dollar budget does not increase property taxes next year. The commissioners have designated millions of dollars in discretionary funds from the budget to jumpstart economic growth. That includes $150,000 earmarked for design of a new terminal and other upgrades to the New Castle Airport, plus funding for blight removal and tourism. Commissoner Chairman Morgan Boyd said the airport  needs a new upgrade.

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the shooting of a cow on a Mercer County farm this week.  The farm is located on Hope Mill Road in East Lackawannock Township.  Police say the shooting apparently occurred sometime Tuesday.  The cow was hit in the shoulder and in the abdomen.  Mercer Police ask anyone who has information on the shooting to contact them.    

The Lawrence County Historical Society is receiving two grants to continue preserving the county’s past. Ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato said the Historical Society will receive nearly $14,000 from two state grants. The funding comes from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and includes a nearly 10 thousand dollar Historical and Archival Records Grant and a $4,000 Cultural and Historical Support Grant. The funding is part of a package of nearly $2 million in grants awarded to 154 museums and county historical societies in Pennsylvania.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is set to decide on the legality of a statewide mask mandate for schools.  After a day of hearing oral arguments Wednesday, no decision was made.  The school mask mandate was implemented by Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam back in August.  The goal of the mandate, according to attorneys for the secretary, was to allow for in-person classes and limit the need for quarantine and stop the surge of COVID-19. 

Pennsylvania is leading the rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide.  It’s one of six states that is seeing a sharp spike in cases.  Six-thousand-700 were reported yesterday, which is more-than-double the daily amount this time last month.  The other states are Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and New York.  Health officials say there are growing concerns about the new Omicron [[ ahm-ih-cron ]] variant, but the Delta strain still poses the biggest threat. 

Police in Butler are investigating a series of car thefts that occurred this past weekend.  Police say the thefts occurred in the city and nearby areas of Butler.  They say thefts typically increase around the holidays and that residents should be careful to keep their cars locked and any gifts or valuables hidden out of sight.  Most thefts occur in the early morning or evening hours. 

A Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House committee plans to vote on a proposed map of new congressional districts. The State Government Committee’s chair introduced into legislation Wednesday. Democrats swiftly criticized the map as heavily favoring Republicans. Pennsylvania’s U.S. congressional delegation is dropping from 18 to 17 because of lagging population growth. The redrawn districts must be approved by majorities in both houses of the General Assembly and get the governor’s signature.

A state lawmaker looks to make changes to how the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission administers penalty fees.  An investigation from WPXI found E-ZPass customers would get blindsided by the ten-dollar fees when their E-ZPass failed to read property while going through the toll plaza.  The Commission then failed to notify customers about the fees.  Republican Representative Ryan Warner of Fayette County is writing legislation that requires the Turnpike to notify customers about the fees by email within 24 hours.