TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR DECEMBER 20TH, 2021

The New Castle News is reporting that New Castle Mayor Chris Frye is running to become Pennsylvania’s next lieutenant governor in 2022. The 33 year old Frye officially filed paperwork on Thursday allowing himself to receive campaign donations. Frye became New Castle’s first Black and youngest mayor in his first election in 2019. His term as mayor runs through December 2023, which Frye would serve unless he wins this statewide election.

A Beaver County resident has been sentenced in federal court to four months’ in prison followed by three years of supervised release on his conviction of theft of government funds and social security fraud. 47 year old Gerald Black of Aliquippa is accused of receiving nearly 20 thousand dollars in Supplemental Security Income benefits to which he knew he was not entitled. Additionally, Black concealed and failed to disclose changes to his minor child’s living arrangements with the intent to deceive the Social Security Administration.

An Oil City man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh for robbing a tobacco story with a gun. 38 year old Mark Fenstermaker was charged in connection with the robbery back on October 14th, of this year at Spanky’s Tobacco World in Venango County. Federal Authorities said Fenstermaker brandished a firearm during the course of the robbery. The law provides for a maximum total of life in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both.

A hospital system is hoping to mitigate a nursing shortage by creating a new in-house travel staffing agency. UPMC has created UPMC Travel Staffing as a solution to the nationwide nursing shortage and to attract and keep highly skilled nurses and surgical techs. The hospital says they’re the first in the country to launch this type of program. They believe there is the potential to evolve to include additional jobs in the program outside of nurses and surgical technologists. UPMC says their goal is to rely less on outside staff and instead use nurses already employed by UPMC to travel to network hospitals across the state.

A Sharon man involved in the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6th  pled guilty on Friday. Matthew Perna of Sharon plead guilty to Witness Tampering, two counts of Entering a Restricted Building and Disorderly Conduct. WFMJ-TV reports Perna told investigators he did not intend to enter the capital, but was pushed in by the crowd. Perna will be sentenced on March 3rd  at 11:00 a.m. and is currently on release pending sentencing. 

University officials have announced that Penn State Students and staff should be ready to “alter plans” for the start of the spring semester.  As of now, Penn State plans to return in-person learning for the spring semester, but university officials are monitoring pandemic conditions and are preparing to make alternative arrangements. A statement sent out Friday says officials at University Park campus are prepared to alter return plans for the semester, if necessary. Spring 2022 classes are set to  begin January 10th.

Organizers of Beaver County’s annual Maple Syrup Festival say the fun will return in 2022.  The event has been cancelled the last two years due to COVID but planners on Friday said that all things are a go for 2022.  Officials used Friday’s occasion of National Maple Syrup Day to make their announcement.  The festival will take place in April at the Lodge in Bradys Run Park.

The Seneca Valley School District says they are increasing police presence at their buildings after online threats.  On Sunday, officials said the move was in response to a social media threat that moved students to remote learning.  The District says they are seeking involvement from additional law enforcement agencies at the county, state, and federal levels to investigate the source of the threat.  Parents are asked to remind their children that the police are at the schools to protect them.

Non-profit food bank organization Feeding America says nearly 400-thousand children across Pennsylvania struggle to find food when school is out.  Over the weekend, volunteers gathered at Centerpoint Community Church in Monaca to pack meals for local students while they are on holiday break.  Assistant Pastor Stephen Vesolich said they will help provide more than ten-thousand meals over the next few weeks to replace the lunches students would usually receive at school.  More information on helping those facing food insecurity can be found online at Feeding-America-dot-org.