TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MARCH 25TH, 2022

New Castle City police have charged a Hickory Township man with stealing catalytic converters from an auto repair shop and its storage lot. The New Castle News reports 47 year old James Miller is accused of breaking into a South Side building with another suspect 51 Carl Gardner of New Castle back around October 12th. Both men faces receiving stolen property charges. The investigation is ongoing.

Ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato announced more than 400 thousand dollars will be going to area hospitals to restore resources and personnel exhausted by the pandemic.  Sainato said the money – which comes from $225 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding he and other lawmakers helped allocate – includes $408,677 to UPMC Jameson. Sainato said that in addition to the funding to UPMC Jameson, Edgewood Surgical is receiving over 31 thousand dollars.

A New Castle man has been sentenced in federal court to 36 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release on his conviction of violating federal narcotic laws. 26 year old Christopher Shaner possessed with intent to distribute marijuana that had been imported into California from Mexico and then sent through the mail and interstate carriers to the New Castle area. Shaner and other than distributed the marijuana in the New Castle and surrounding areas. The sentence was handed down yesterday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh yesterday.

Governor Tom Wolf says he wants the General Assembly to use money from the American Rescue plane to help the state’s older and disabled residents.  Wolf said he wants lawmakers to use nearly one-point-seven-billion-dollars in unspent federal money on property tax rebates.  Wolf said by investing that money in the Property Tax and Rent Rebate program, older Pennsylvanians and those with disabilities affected by the pandemic can stay in their homes.  Officials say Wolf’s plan would double existing state rebates to around 475-dollars to more than 460-thousand people.   

An Ellwood City man will go to trial on charges of drug delivery resulting in death. According to the Ellwood City Ledger 48 year old Douglass Lample waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday at the Beaver County Courthouse. 48 year old Dawn Dittmer died of a drug overdose in July of 2021 at home in Beaver Falls. Lample allegedly provided Dittmer with Herion that was laced with fentanyl. He remains in the Beaver County Jail on 150 thousand dollars bond.

Security agents at Pittsburgh International on Thursday stopped a traveler with a loaded firearm from getting through a checkpoint.  It was the second time in two days that a flier with a loaded weapon in their carry-on bag had tried to get through security.  No charges were filed in either case as both travelers had conceal carry permits. 

Democrat State Representative Chris Rabb wants to study how well some state employees would do with a four-day work week. The Philadelphia lawmaker says the pandemic has changed how people think about a work-life balance and has called for a cost-benefit analysis for the idea. Rabb says previous studies have found the 32-hour week increases productivity and reduces workers’ stress, but he wants to make sure services wouldn’t be impacted.

Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz is no longer a member of the Presidential Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.  On Wednesday, President Biden sent a request asking Dr. Oz and Georgia Senate candidate and former NFL star Herschel Walker to resign from the council per U.S. law under the Hatch Act.  Members of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition are considered special government employees and by law can’t run as candidates in partisan elections.  Before his removal, Dr. Oz released a statement saying former President Trump had appointed him to the council and he had no intention of resigning.

Idlewild theme park in Westmoreland County has an estimated 700 jobs to fill for the coming season.  The park will host a job fair tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  Available positions include food and beverage cooks, ride operators, admissions staff and lifeguards.  Idlewild yesterday also announced that opening day for the new season has been pushed forward to May 7th.  More information on the job fair and the park’s plans for the coming season can be found at www.idlewild.com.

About 300 fewer total COVID cases have been reported in Pennsylvania in comparison to last week. State Department of Health officials say as of March 20th, there were just under 35-hundred cases of COVID-19. The statewide positivity rate is also going down – it’s now at three percent. That’s down six-tenths of a percent from the week before.