The Beaver County Times reports a Rochester man has been charged with assaulting and grabbing at the firearm of a city police officer. 33 year old Tariq Taylor is charged with aggravated assault, disarming a law enforcement officer, criminal trespassing, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. The incident took place back on January 4th in the Valley Terrace Complex.

State Police in Mercer County report a two vehicle accident in Pine Township yesterday afternoon. According to police 21 year old Tavezjhae Johnson of Pittsburgh failed to stop at the intersection of South Center Street and George Junior Road and collided with a vehicle operated by 29 year old Hailey Faull of Youngstown. Johnson along with a passenger were taken to the Allegheny Health Network in Grove city for treatment. Police said Johnson was citied.

New statistics issued Thursday from the Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed that the number of COVID patients continues to grow in the state.  There were just under 27-thousand additional positive cases as of Thursday.  Some 489 new cases were noted in Dauphin County, and nearly 12-hundred cases were noted in York County.  Cumberland County shows just under 500 new cases.  The COVID-19 case total for Pennsylvania is now over 2-million 375-thousand.  Also, hospitalizations have hit a record-high for the third day in a row with just under 75-hundred patients in Pennsylvania hospitals.

In-person classes will resume at three Western Pennsylvania universities next week with updated COVID protocols in place.  Administrators yesterday announced that students at California, Clarion and Edinboro Universities will be required to wear disposable surgical masks or higher-grade masks inside campus buildings.  Cloth masks, bandanas and other similar types of face coverings will not be considered acceptable.  The mandate will be in place until February 1st but could be extended based on circumstances at the time.

PennDot wants to warn interstate drivers about a super load that’s now making its way out of New York State.  The nearly 300-ton, 213-foot-long tank will slowly travel 400-plus miles of Pennsylvania roadways over the next nine days. The empty steel tank is from a decommissioned nuclear reactor in West Milton, New York.  PennDOT says its journey will end next Friday at Alaron Nuclear Services in Wampum, Lawrence County.  A PennDOT spokeswoman said the tank will be disassembled, recycled and disposed of by Alaron, which does low-level radioactive materials processing.

A new candidate is emerging in the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Pat Toomey.  Dave McCormick, a former official in the George W Bush administration who recently resigned as CEO of a major hedge fund, yesterday announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination.  McCormick is a Pennsylvania native who recently left Connecticut and moved to Squirrel Hill.  He says if elected to the Senate, he plans to push many of the policies of former President Donald Trump.

The U.S. Supreme Court has moved to block a Biden administration order that would have impacted a number of Pittsburgh businesses.  On a 6-to-3 vote Thursday, the court blocked an order from the president requiring companies with 100 or more employees to require workers be vaccinated against COVID or be subjected to regular testing.  In response, President Biden said that it is now up to states and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees, and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers.  The court let stand a similar mandate for many healthcare workers put in place by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The University of Pittsburgh is reporting more than 400 cases of COVID-19 on campus over the past week.  Pitt’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office said yesterday that 209 students and 205 staff had tested positive for the virus between January 4th and January 11th.  Recently the school disenrolled some students for the spring semester for not complying with the vaccine mandate.  The University says more than 96-percent of the student body and over 93 percent of the faculty and staff are vaccinated.   

New statistics from state police show they’ve made wide gains in getting illicit drugs off the street.  A news release says overall in Pennsylvania, state police seized more than 72-million-dollars worth of  cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamines and other illicit drugs throughout last year.  The state’s drug take-back program has also been successful in making sure old, prescribed drugs don’t get into the wrong hands.  State officials collected nearly 35-hundred pounds of prescriptions and other medication as part of the drug take-back program throughout 2021.