TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 15TH, 2022

State Police in Lawrence County are investigating a shooting Sunday afternoon in Union Township.  Police and a rescue squad were called to the parking lot near the Union Township Walmart at around 4:30 p.m., when it was reported that a 43-year-old Grove City woman had been shot in the chest. An ambulance took the victim, identified as Melissa Spring, to the New Castle Airport where she was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown by medical helicopter. Spring is listed in critical condition. Police have not yet released the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato announced a five-hundred thousand dollars state grant will help ensure Lawrence County’s most vulnerable residents have safe, secure housing. Sainato said the money will fund a program to help the county – working with Lawrence County Community Action Partnership – serve the elderly, people with disabilities and residents with health issues that make them more susceptible to COVID-19. The funding is part of a package of nearly $14.2 million in Community Development Block Grant – CARES Act funding to support continued recovery from the pandemic.

Investigators say a Hermitage mobile home is a total loss after flames broke out on Sunday. WFMJ-TV reports Firefighters from Hermitage and the Patagonia stations were called to the 3000 block of East State Street at around 6 p.m. after receiving reports of smoke coming from the trailer. When crews arrived, flames were pouring from the trailer at the Kilgore Mobile Home Park.The owner was away at work at the time of the fire.There’s no word yet on what caused the fire.

Governor Tom Wolf has signed into law House Bill 1082. It requires the state Department of Health to establish and maintain a “toolkit” to provide Pennsylvanians with information regarding early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.  His statement that accompanied the signing relayed that early diagnosis can improve care, help maintain a person’s quality of life, and reduce the financial impact of the disease.  Nearly 19 percent of Pennsylvania’s population is age 65 or older, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. State officials say that figure is only expected to grow in the coming years.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says all driver’s licenses and photo centers will be closed next weekend for President’s Day.  Officials say the centers will close on Saturday, February 19th through Monday, February 21st, including the Riverfront Office Center in Harrisburg.  Driver and vehicle online services will still be available at DMV-dot-PA-dot-gov.

Pennsylvania drivers are paying more at the pump as gas prices see an increase across the country.  According to today’s data from Triple-A, the average price for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline in Pennsylvania is three-dollars-and-68-cents, which is 20-cents above the national average.  Lawrence County has the lowest average gas prices in the Keystone State at three-dollars-and-57-cents. In Mercer County drivers are paying 3.67 a gallon.

A Pittsburgh-area drug trafficker is spending eleven years in prison.  Prosecutors say so-called “cocaine kingpin” Jamie Lightfoot Junior distributed large amounts of the drug to western Pennsylvania dealers after working with suppliers in Florida, New York, and California.  The FBI and Pennsylvania State Police seized over one-hundred pounds of cocaine and one-million dollars in cash after a raid at his home in Verona in November of 2017.  Lightfoot was convicted on narcotics charges in 2019 and was sentenced to the prison term in a hearing yesterday.

Pennsylvania is set to receive 25-million-dollars to expand access to electric vehicle charging as part of the first-ever national EV charging network.  Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey says the 25-million is the first installment of an anticipated total of 171-million-dollars for EV charging in Pennsylvania as a result of the new federal infrastructure law.  Distribution of the money will be done through PennDOT, which is required to submit federal paperwork to access the funds.