Jason Richey, one of the 10 Republican candidates for Governor, is reportedly dropping out of the race. Richey’s decision to leave the race was reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Associated Press on Thursday night. Richey did not appear in a Fox News poll released in early March prior to the petition filing deadline.  Former Congressman Lou Barletta and State Senator Doug Mastriano were separated by one point in the poll with Barletta in the lead at 19%.

 Many small businesses across Pennsylvania  who might have trouble paying back COVID loans will be getting some relief . Borrowers with COVID EIDL [[ eye-dull ]] loans can now defer repayment an additional 30 months.  The directive announced Tuesday from the U.S. Small Business Administration is for COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

Celebrity surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz says if he’s elected to be a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, he’ll give up his dual citizenship.  Dr. Oz spoke yesterday about his dual citizenship with Turkey, saying it had become a distraction in his campaign.  Oz said he maintained Turkish citizenship to care for his sick mother, who lives in Turkey and has Alzheimer’s. 

State Police in Lawrence County are investigating a vehicle arson from last month. Police were called to West Lawrence Avenue in Ellwood City on February 19th to investigate a vehicle fire of a black Jeep. Anyone with information is asked to call state police.

Two local basketball teams will play for a chance to move onto the state finals next week in Hershey. The New Castle boys will take on Gateway tonight at Norwin High School at 7pm. New Castle defeated Gateway in the WPIAL semifinals earlier this season. The Lady Lancers of Neshannock will look to punch there ticket to Hersey when they take on Bellwood Antis tonight at 7pm at Armstrong High School.

You’ll soon be able to buy beer and other alcoholic drinks aboard American Airlines flights from Harrisburg.   On Thursday, the airline said it will resume alcohol sales starting a month from today on April 18th. On-board sales had come to a stop two years ago because of the pandemic, then later because of the increase in unruly passengers who were disrupting flight service.

Pennsylvanians can enroll in Pennie, the state based health insurance exchange, while filling out their tax forms which are due this year by April18th. Look for a page on the form called the Health Insurance Coverage Information Request, which provides uninsured taxpayers instructions on how to enroll and the amount of financial assistance available. It’s an initiative between the Pennsylvania Individual Exchange and the Department of Revenue known as “Path To Pennie.

Officials at Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon Universities are loosening COVID-19 restrictions on campus.  Duquesne will no longer require masks beginning on Monday unless faculty members decide to extend the mandate for individual classes.  Carnegie Mellon is making masks optional for fully vaccinated and boosted students and staff beginning on March 28th.  CMU says they are also lifting restrictions on large gatherings on campus.

State health officials say case rates for the COVID virus are declining in almost every county in the state.   The Pennsylvania Department of Health there were just over  943 new cases and 64 new deaths from coronavirus cases reported statewide. Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of health also says 76 percent of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated and 95 percent have had at least one dose. She says the state also will  continue to encourage people to get booster shots as only 41 percent of eligible residents have gotten one.

You’ll soon have to use only credit, debit or gift cards at Hershey Park.  According to the amusement park’s website, the new policy will start when it reopens this spring. Apple payments, such as those from Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay also will be accepted. Hersheypark reopens on April second for its new season promotion called “Springtime in the Park.”