Pennsylvania Department of Health officials say the number of COVID cases in the state have stopped declining. They believe that’s due partially to a new strain of the virus catching on. The latest figures from the CDC show that the new subvariant, labeled BA-point-two is the dominant strain showing up cases now. In PA, nearly 800 new cases were reported as of Tuesday. 

Administrators at Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School in Beaver County are placing new rules on snacks and drinks brought in by students.  School leaders say the change is a response to excessive food and beverages being brought to classrooms.  A post on the district’s website says the school now limits each student to one bag of snacks up to four ounces and one bottled or canned beverage of 20 ounces or less.  The post says anything exceeding those amounts will be disposed of.

State Police in Butler County are investigating a fatal crash yesterday in Slippery Rock Township. The accident took place on route 8 near the intersection at Branchton Road. The Butler County Coroner was called to the scene. The crash involved a logging truck and a car. No other details have been released by state police.

A New Sewickley police officer and another driver are seriously injured after a head-on accident on I-79 yesterday.  Authorities say Corporal Gregory Carney was travelling southbound when a northbound vehicle crossed the median and collided with his SUV.  In a social media post New Sewickley police said Carney was returning from a Meadville training class.  The 68-year-old female driver of the other vehicle was extricated by rescuers and flown to a nearby hospital.

A bill which seeks to address a shortage of specialized nurses has been advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The aims to increase the number of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or SANE’s who conduct critical forensic evidence collection when a sexual assault survivor seeks medical attention. A 2021 study found there are only about 50 of these specialized nurses in the state. The legislation identifies funding for programs to train more of these nurses.

The Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has passed several measures to ramp up domestic energy production across the state. Included in the legislation is a measure asking the governors of New York and New Jersey to end anti-pipeline policies that are currently blocking Pennsylvania natural gas from reaching markets in New England. Other legislation would increase the production and exportation of energy products. One of those would open the Delaware River Basin for natural gas development and exploration

A bridge replacement project in Perry Township is underway. PennDot announced that work on a bridge replacement project on Tower Road in the township, began on Monday. The Ellwood City Ledger reports the road will be closed to traffic between Edgar Lane and McCartney Hollow Road, through late June. Total cost of the project is 787 thousand dollars.

Officials in Washington today are expected to make an announcement that could impact student loan borrowers from Western PA and around the country.  Federal student loan repayments, first paused in 2000 as the country was beginning to feel the effects of the COVID pandemic, are currently scheduled to resume next month.  Reports are that leaders today will announce that the restarting of those loan payments will be pushed back to September.

A Mount Pleasant man who took part in last year’s insurrection in Washington is avoiding jail time.  Samuel Fox pleaded guilty in November to a charge of disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.  At sentencing on Tuesday, he was given three years of probation and two months on house arrest in addition to being ordered to pay 5-hundred dollars in restitution and a 25-hundred dollar fine.  Prosecutors had asked the court to sentence Fox to 30 days in jail.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro says a Penn Hills used car dealership can no longer do business.  Shapiro announced Monday that Martino Motors on Rodi Road violated an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance agreement required by Pennsylvania car dealers.  The AG’s office began to look into consumer complaints against the company in February.  Shapiro says the dealership sold vehicles they knew were not road-worthy.