TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 14TH, 2022

A Lawrence County man is facing charges following a weekend standoff with police.  Officers responded to a home on State Line Road Saturday after receiving reports that a man had struck a woman several times and threatened her with a firearm.  Thirty-three-year-old Kenneth Borer refused to come out of the residence for a time before surrendering to authorities.  Bond has been set at 10-thousand dollars.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted unanimously to advance a bill legalizing the personal use and possession of fentanyl test strips. The measure now goes to the full Senate for consideration. Senate Bill 845 amends the definition of drug paraphernalia to specifically exclude fentanyl test strips utilized for personal use. Fentanyl test strips can identify the presence of fentanyl in unregulated drugs. They can be used to test injectable drugs, powders, and pills, allowing the user to make decisions that are so-called “harm-reducing.” Some 14 other states have passed similar measures.

The New Castle News reports that a shooting took place at Walmart in Union Township. The shooting took place around 4:30. Unofficial reports were that a woman was shot and was taken to a hospital. State and Union Township police, with help from other nearby jurisdictions, responded to the scene. The condition of the victim was unavailable.

An investigation is underway in the Freedom Area School District after inappropriate comments were allegedly hurled at the New Brighton basketball team. KDKA-TV is reporting the district said in a statement that the comments were made on Friday night. The district did not specify the comments made.

Commuters who regularly travel across the Roberto Clemente bridge will need to make other arrangements for awhile.  Crews are scheduled to close the span beginning today as they begin work to repair and strengthen the structure.  That effort will include work on the bridge’s deck and the replacement of an estimated 15-thousand rivets.  The Roberto Clemente bridge is expected to remain closed until December of next year.

Senator Scott Martin announced on Friday that he has suspended his campaign for Pennsylvania governor due to ongoing medical issues. He recently injured his leg. Martin said the injuries to his leg were beyond a simple broken bone and included a severing of numerous ligaments and tendons in his ankle and required greater and longer rehabilitation.

The House Labor and Industry Committee received an update on the state’s new unemployment compensation system. Since the launch of the new system in June, Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier says morethan 611,000 claimants have been paid nearly $3.4 billion in unemployment compensation benefits. However, Berrier says fraud is still a problem with about 570 million dollars in traditional u-c benefits having been fraudulently paid out from March of 2020 through the third quarter of last year.

An Aliquippa man faces charges following a one vehicle accident in Mercer County. State Police report 40 year old Jose Ruiz-Salazar was traveling south on Interstate 79 when he lost control of his vehicle, struck a snow bank, became airborne and rolled over. Police said Ruiz-Salazar fled the scene of the accident and was later charged with driving under the influence.

Local Salvation Army leaders are working to reduce human trafficking in the region.  An initiative called Light Project has assisted 39 victims so far.  The project offers food, clothing, housing, and free legal services.  The Salvation Army is working with the FBI and local law enforcement to provide 24 hour responses to cases involving victims of sex and labor trafficking.