TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 28TH, 2022

A Beaver County man was sentenced on Friday to 50 months’ in federal prison and seven years’ supervised release on his conviction of violating federal child exploitation and firearm laws. 34 year old William Johnson of Monaca in 2019 possessed more than 100 digital photographs and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children, some of whom were under the age of 12 years as well as possessed 12 unregistered firearms, Each of the 12 firearms required registration under the National Firearms Act. The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood.

Students in the Ambridge Area School District are on virtual learning through Wednesday of this week.  District leaders say that school buildings will be closed for three days this week as the area continues to deal with water issues.  An equipment failure at the water plant in Ambridge on Thursday has left thousands of residents without access to clean running water at homes and businesses.   Repairs are underway and the water authority expects to announce plans to lift the boil advisory later today. 

State Police in Lawrence County arrested an Ohio man on firearms violation following an incident in North Beaver Township. 44 year old Richard Lucicosky of New Middletown was found to be in possession of a handgun with the serial number removed from the weapon. Police said Lucicosky did not have a valid concealed carry permit. He was placed in the Lawrence County Jail. The investigation is ongoing.

COVID statistics continue their downward trend locally and around the state.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health yesterday reported 915 new cases across the state with 12 additional fatalities. Lawrence County has 18,678 cases and 398 deaths. Mercer County has recorded 23,094 Covid-19 cases and 481 fatalities.

Pennsylvania is moving closer to the endemic phase of COVID-19, according to  acting state Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter.  She says case counts are at their lowest since August and continue to fall and also that COVID hospitalizations are falling. Klinepeter says a lot of the credit for those two factors goes to the majority of people getting vaccinated and many following the guidelines set out by the state and federal government.  State figures show 22 million shots were given across the commonwealth just this week. Over three quarters of adults in the state have been vaccinated.

Three state senators are soliciting co-sponsors for legislation to introduce a resolution urging President Joe Biden to reopen the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Republican Senators  Wayne Langerholc of Johnstown; Joe Pittman of Indiana; and Gene Yaw of Williamsport have posted a co-sponsorship memorandum in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The memo says re-opening the Keystone XL Pipeline will start to ease the energy burden. The senators also say it will protect national energy security going forward.

The state’s Law and Justice Committee has a scheduled public hearing Monday to discuss, among other items, legalized recreational marijuana use in the state. Last week,  Governor Tom Wolf expressed his hope that the idea would come to pass before he leaves office later this year. But political watchdogs say that’s not likely to happen as the General Assembly has competing bills to legalize marijuana, and in different ways.  Marijuana legalization for recreational use been approved in 18 states and the District of Columbia – Pennsylvania would be the 19th.

Drinkers of Russian-made vodkas may need to make other choices for the foreseeable future.  The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board on Sunday pulled the sale of all Russian-made vodkas and other Russian-made products from all Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores throughout the state.  The move comes after Russia’s invasion of its Eastern European neighbor Ukraine last week and a request by Governor Tom Wolf on Sunday that the sales be halted.

Special Olympics leaders are thanking area police departments, school groups, and other organizations after last weekend’s Freezin’ For A Reason event raised over four-hundred-20-thousand dollars.  Hundreds of people gathered at Heinz field to dive into frigid pools to raise funds.  Special Olympics Pennsylvania President Matt Aaron says the Pittsburgh plunge is the largest in the state.  The money raised is used to support 16-thousand athletes participating in the Special Olympics in the state of Pennsylvania.