A former New Castle man was sentenced in federal court yesterday for cocaine trafficking. 32 year old Dante Calhoun was given two concurrent sentences, both for 18 months in prison. Upon release, Calhoun will be placed on supervised release for a period of six years. In 2018 the Drug Enforcement Agency conducted an investigation of a drug trafficking organization based in New Castle. The investigation included a court-authorized interception of communications in which Calhoun was intercepted discussing cocaine trafficking with a member of the organization.

State Police in Mercer County continue to look for three teens who they say stole a car and drove away from George Junior Republic.  Police say two fifteen-year-old boys, and one 16-year-old escaped from the facility in Pine Township on Wednesday.  Anyone with information about the teens whereabouts is asked to contact State Police in Mercer.

Statements made by Tree of Life shooting suspect Robert Bowers can be used against him at trial.  That ruling came Thursday from a federal judge who had considered a motion by defense attorneys to prevent the statements from being presented.  Bowers’ lawyers had said their client’s rights had been violated when he was questioned by officers on the morning of the synagogue attack that left eleven people dead.  The judge stated that the questions posed to Bowers by SWAT officers on October 27th, 2018 were designed to ensure the safety of the officers and the public rather than to elicit incriminating answers.

The state senate has approved a bill that would exempt certain newer vehicles from having to undergo emissions testing. Currently, that’s required as part of the Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program and costs  about 40-dollars per car. The bill has been sent to the House Transportation Committee. To become law, it will need to pass the House and be signed by Governor Wolf, who already has said he opposes it.

The Pennsylvania redistricting panel is nearing the end of its work on the House and Senate maps. The Legislative Reapportionment Commission has until mid-February to make changes to its proposed House and Senate maps. Every ten years, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission oversees redrawing the state House and Senate maps to account for population changes.

A state lawmaker wants to make natural immunity to COVID-19 count the same as being vaccinated to meet employer mandates.  State Representative Eric Nelson said this week that the goal of the vaccine is to create the same antibodies that someone who has recovered from the virus would create naturally.  Nelson said getting antibodies through a vaccine or natural immunity should count the same to comply with employers’ guidelines and prevent people from getting fired. 

Lawrence County chemistry professor from Westminster College,  Doctor Patrick Lackey is celebrating a solid performance on last night’s episode of Jeopardy.  Lackey says he has tried multiple times to get on the show in recent years before having success this season.  Unfortunately his appearance coincided with the amazing run of current Jeopardy champion Amy Schneider who won last night’s episode extending her winning streak to 37 games.  Lackey finished in second place.

An increasing number of cases of COVID-19 has prompted restrictions at the Butler County Jail.  The jail is currently under a ten-day lockdown that took effect this past Monday.  The lockdown means no one can enter or leave the prison at any time.  In the past, Butler County commissioners have commended the jail for its COVID-19 protocols that have been used during the pandemic.

Pittsburgh is being touted as the number one housing market in the U.S. for baby boomers.  That finding comes form a just-released survey by consumer real estate site Knock.  Knock put Pittsburgh into the top spot after considering a number of metrics including housing affordability, cost of living, healthcare access and cultural opportunities.