TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 10TH, 2022

Two men charged in a shooting last month outside the Clearview Mall in Butler County are set to go on trial.  Suspects Carlos Carril and Damian Blystone appeared in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing and were ordered held without bail pending trial.  Police say the two men got into an altercation outside the Rural King store that escalated into gunfire and injured several people, including Blystone.  The start date of the trial was not immediately released.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported nearly 55-hundred additional coronavirus cases as of Wednesday.  Officials say the average daily number of cases over the past seven days equates to a 50-point-two-percent decrease and a decrease of nearly 83-percent over the last 30 days.  To date, there have been two-point-71-million infections statewide since the pandemic began.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor & Industry says it has detected an increase in attempts to steal unemployment compensation benefits through more sophisticated schemes, so it is adding more security layers to the process.   A news release from L and I says a new, two-step process will be added for claimants to offer another level of protection.  The agency encourages people to remain vigilant about guarding their personal and confidential information and to monitor for signs that their information is being used fraudulently.

The discovery of the Omicron variant in white-tailed deer is raising concerns over a new COVID strain.  Researchers at Penn State tested over 130 deer on New York’s Staten Island and found nearly 15 percent had COVID antibodies, suggesting they had previous coronavirus infections and were vulnerable to being infected with new variants.  A lead researcher said circulation of the virus in an animal population provides more opportunities for COVID to evolve into new strains.  It’s the first time the Omicron variant had been detected in a wild animal. 

A bill which seeks to provide early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia has been signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf. Under the new law the governor’s office says the state Department of Health must create a toolkit to provide information on the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. During House debate on the bill the prime sponsor, Representative Carrie Lewis DelRosso, talked about the importance ofit. (CUT 3) DelRosso says over 280,00 state residents are living with cognitive diseases, but onlyabout half of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia have been diagnosed.

A McKeesport man who kept a teenage girl trapped in his home for ten years has been released from prison.  Thomas Hose spent fifteen years in prison after captive Tanya Kach escaped in 2006.  Hose had lured the girl to the house he shared with his parents in 1996 when Kach was 14-years-old after working as a security guard at her school.  Hose is registered as a sex offender with the state of Pennsylvania.

Local health officials report that Allegheny County has passed an unfortunate milestone in the Coronavirus pandemic.  As of Wednesday, more than three-thousand county residents have died of complications from the virus.  Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen says that, by comparison, from 2015 to 2022, all together fewer than 100 county residents died from influenza.

A bill introduced in the state House is aimed at paving the way for new immigrants who arrive in Pennsylvania. The bill would create the Office of New Pennsylvanians, a cabinet-level agency tasked with assisting immigrants once they relocate, connecting them with services at the local, county, and state level. Similar legislation will be introduced in the Senate. Supporters say people from other parts of the world play an important part in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of Pennsylvania.

Federal prosecutors are bringing charges against a Dominican Republic man previously deported from the U.S. who later reappeared in Somerset County.  Forty-eight-year-old Rudys Torres was indicted this week with prosecutors saying that he did not have permission and had not requested permission to re-enter he country.  if convicted, Torres faces the possibility of prison time and heavy fines.

Governor Tom Wolf is poised to sign into law a measure that creates a 25-million-dollar grant program to help EMS agencies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Senate on Wednesday voted unanimously to send to the governor the bill called the ‘Emergency Medical Services COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program.’  It will be funded with money the state received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.  The House passed the measure on Tuesday by a 200-to nothing vote.  A spokeswoman for Governor Wolf says he will sign the bill into law.