TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR APRIL 29TH, 2022

Two students at the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center are in trouble after reportedly being caught in possession of a stolen firearm.  A school resource officer says they found the students with the weapon in a backpack yesterday.  New Castle police officers responded to the scene and took the duo into custody. 

COVID-19 cases are rising again at the highest rates in two months.  Yesterday, the state recorded more than 21-hundred-70 new cases, the largest case increase since late February.  They say the Commonwealth’s rolling seven-day average is almost 16-hundred, up from nearly 13-hundred-40 last week and more than double the amount a month ago when a little more than 600 were recorded.  Yesterday, 13 new fatalities due to COVID were registered.

Officials with Slippery Rock University have announced  creation of a search committee for the campus’ next president.  Current president Dr. Bill Behre [[ berry ]] announced he’s retiring in June of next year.  The search committee consists of members of the campus’ board, administrators, students and faculty.    

Lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House have passed a package of bills, which Republicans say will make Pennsylvania safer by targeting illegal gun holders. In a Wednesday evening news release,  Republican House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff says the legislation will demand that current laws on guns be followed and enforced.  Earlier this week,  Democratic lawmakers called on the General Assembly to pass new legislation.

County officials and farmers from across Pennsylvania are letting their voices be heard about topsoil erosion and waterway issues. Lawmakers at a House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee heard testimony Thursday about the impact of flooding. Last month, a package of bills to give local landowners and governments more control over waterways was announced and the bills were the subject of the committee meeting. They currently await committee approval before they  can be taken up for a vote on the House floor.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says his office has filed a suit against the U.S. Postal Service about its new vehicle program.  The suit revolves around the Postal Service’s plans to replace 90 percent of its fleet with vehicles that use fossil fuels. Shapiro and other states’ attorneys general say the new policy fails to comply with the basic requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. Shapiro says the Postal Service signed a contract and put a down payment for new vehicles before any environmental review could be complete.

Legislation before the state House proposes to overhaul Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. Representative Louis Schmitt says it was February 2021 when he began working on his bill to make significant changes to PA’s Right to Know Law which ensures people have access to public records of government bodies. (CUT 2) Schmitt says the process to overhaul the law remains ongoing and he welcomes suggestions to make it better. The bill was recently approved by the House State Government Committee

The DEA is partnering with participating local health organizations and law enforcement agencies for tomorrow’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  The event is an opportunity for area residents to safely drop off and dispose of expired and unneeded prescription medications.  Drop-off locations will be available in most communities.  A complete list of those sites can be found at www.dea.gov/takebackday.

The U.S. Justice Department is closing their Pittsburgh immigration court.  Officials announced last week that the court will no longer hear cases after the close of business today.  Those who need to appear before a federal judge in immigration proceedings will now have to travel to Philadelphia.  Local immigration advocates say the decision adds even more complication to the already difficult process of becoming a U.S. citizen.