TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 17TH, 2022

A New Castle man pleaded guilty on Wednesday in U.S. District County to distributing crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of an elementary school. 29 year old Melvin Dorsey Pace admitted to distributing crack cocaine near St. Vitus Elementary School in New Castle on April 6th, 2021. During that time, Pace was on federal supervised release.. Pace faces at least one year and up to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to four million dollars. Sentencing is set for June 21st.

Governor Tom Wolf is pushing a 200-million-dollar bill to help make college more affordable at both universities and two-year colleges.  Governor Wolf announced the Nellie Bly proposal Wednesday afternoon.  The funding would offer scholarships to students based on their needs.  State officials say the funding will also go toward room and board, books, supplies and even graduation expenses.  But Governor Wolf has also asked that recipients who become part of the program stay in Pennsylvania.  He says that would not only help to strengthen the state’s workforce, but also help the Commonwealth’s future and economy.

The suspect in a Tuesday assault and robbery outside of a Butler 7-11 is now in custody.  Thirty-nine-year-old Danielle Kline allegedly stabbed a female victim in the parking lot of the West Jefferson Street convenience store and stole 80 dollars in cash.  Police say they were quickly able to identify Kline as a suspect as she dropped her purse while fleeing the scene.  Kline surrendered to authorities yesterday and is facing charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and robbery.

In U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh yesterday 52 year old Darnell Latham of New Castle was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment followed by six years of supervised release on his conviction for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Federal Authorities said Latham was part of a drug traffic organization. Lawrence County Drug Task Force – Special Investigations Unit; and New Castle Police Department were involved in the investigation.

State gaming regulators on Wednesday said that more than 68-million dollars in wagers were placed on the Super Bowl between the Rams and the Bengals.  Reports show that more than 61-million dollars worth of those bets from Keystone State residents were placed online with the rest being made at retail sportsbooks.

State police are searching for the driver of a tractor-trailer that was involved in a fatal accident Wednesday in Beaver County.  Troopers report that 30-year-old Devin Glace was walking alongside I-76 when he was struck by first one big rig and then another before being hit once more by a box truck.  Investigators are continuing to search for the driver of a green Peterbilt long-wood trailer with grain on its top.  Anyone with information on that vehicle or its driver is asked to call police.

Five people who have no record of ever being employed in Pennsylvania have been charged with defrauding the state’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday that the five live in Delaware, Georgia and New Jersey. He says the  suspects are part of a group of nine people who worked together to file phony claims for pandemic unemployment benefits from working for a trucking company. The state was defrauded of about 456-thousand-dollars in paying the claims; the defendants had filed for more than twice that amount.

Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Secretary has been named to a USDA Equity Committee.  Secretary Russell Redding will help the governmental body examine the fairness of the agency’s policies.  Redding, who has sought to expand opportunities for people of color in the agriculture industry, is one of the 13 members named last week to the Equity Commission’s Subcommittee on Agriculture.  The commission, created in the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, will provide recommendations on policies, programs and actions that can help historically underserved groups access the federal government’s farming programs.

Democratic State Senator Judy Schwank is the prime sponsor of a bill that looks to have a full-time librarian at every school in Pennsylvania.  Schwank says most schools in her district have a certified librarian, but due to funding, those librarians often have to pack up and go do the same work for multiple schools.  She says that travel time could be better used to help kids grow and learn.  Schwank believes the legislation will get support on both sides of the aisle.