TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JANUARY 4TH, 2022

A Hubbard Ohio man is facing charges after allegedly breaking into a New Castle fire station.  Police report that 38 year old  Krishna James was armed when he broke into the facility on Saturday and struck a door with an ax.  They say he later tried to break into a second building and fired shots at a third.  James was taken into custody and charged.  He’s now being held in the Lawrence County Jail on 100-thousand dollars bond.   The next court date in the case is scheduled for January 11.

Two people were killed after a car crashed into a tree in Big Beaver Borough.  Officers say the crash happened on Centennial Avenue on Sunday just before midnight. 37 year old Jennifer Jeffries, 37, and  30 year old Tennille Smail were killed in the crash. No other details were released.

State Police released data from the New Years travel weekend. From December 31st through January 2nd State Police troopers responded to 471 crashes, including
two fatal crashes in which 2 people were killed. 97 people were injured in crashes investigated by State Police. Troopers also made 278 arrests for driving under the influence. More than 10,000 traffic citations were issued, including over 3,600 for speeding, a little over 300 for seat belt violations andbnearly 70 for child safety seat violations.

New authorizations for utilizing substitute teachers are now in effect in Pennsylvania. State lawmakers have seen the need for doing this with the rise in COVID cases as well as with teacher shortages in some areas. The hiring changes are now in place and include retired teachers now being eligible to fill teacher vacancies on an emergency or short-term basis. A second change includes districts being able to use eligible college students and recent graduates of education programs to serve as substitute teachers. Also, teachers with inactive certificates may substitute for 180 days instead of ninety per school year

With COVID case numbers rising in Western PA and around the country, the FDA has now approved booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for young people ages 12 and up.  A spokesperson for the agency on Monday said he hopes this will not just be a call for people to go get their booster shot, but for unvaccinated Americans to rethink getting those shots.  More than 825-thousand Americans have died of COVID.

Nadine Padezanin [[  PAD UH ZANNIN  ]] is making history in Beaver County.  Padezanin on Monday was sworn in as the first female mayor in the borough of Freedom.  The new mayor says she hopes that her administration will bring a positive tone to the area

Airlines canceled thousands of flights yesterday for the second straight day, including 45 at Pittsburgh International Airport.  Airlines grounded nearly three-thousand flights across the U.S. and over 47-hundred worldwide.  Winter storms and staffing shortages due to COVID-19 have canceled almost 18-thousand flights since December 24th.  Around 400 flights have already been canceled or delayed nationwide today, with travelers advised to check with their airlines before heading to the airport.  

UPMC is asking residents experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19 to avoid going to the emergency room to get tested.  Officials said yesterday that only those with breathing problems or other severe symptoms should go to the ER for a test.  UPMC posted on their Facebook saying going to the ER for a test with mild or no symptoms creates a long wait time to be seen and even longer to get results back.  Officials say they have several alternative sites to get tested for COVID-19, with a list of locations available online at UPMC-dot-com.  

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry says it has returned over three-million-dollars’ worth of missed wages to workers across the Commonwealth. The money stems from over four-thousand alleged labor law violations that were requested from state workers in 2021.  Department Secretary Jennifer Berrier says the violations typically concerned the Wage Payment and Collection Law, the Prevailing Wage Act and the Minimum Wage act.

The :Powerball jackpot just keeps growing. After no one won the grand prize Monday night, the jackpot now stands at $575 million ahead of the next drawing on Wednesday.

Penn State students will return in person this month as planned.  University leaders say they made the decision based on guidance from their COVID-19 Operations Control Center.  The center’s director says during move-in weekend January 7th through 9th, they’ll be prioritizing COVID testing.  Students who did not provide proof of vaccination will be subjected to weekly COVID tests throughout the semester.