TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MAY 5TH, 2022

A former Beaver County resident has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh for prison contraband crimes.  40 year old Ross Landfried  formerly of Moon Township  and along with another inmate were charged with possessing and attempting to obtain contraband while in federal prison between July 2017 and January 2019. The Indictment states that the contraband was a Schedule I synthetic controlled substance.  The law provides for a maximum total sentence of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

A Slippery Rock man is in the Mercer County Jail on 100 thousand dollars bond after he allegedly stabbed another man. State Police in Mercer County report 46 year old Varek Vanistandael faces a number of charges following a nearly nine hour standoff with police. Vanistandael is accused of stabbing 26 year old Andrew Miller of Grove City. Police later found Vanistandael at his home and he refused to come out. He surrendered without incident. Miller was first taken the Allegheny Health Network in Grove City then was life-flighted to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. He’s listed in critical but stable condition.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro says some Pennsylvania residents will soon receive a different kind of tax refund.  Shapiro announced yesterday the state will get a portion of a federal settlement connected to alleged unfair business practices with popular preparation software, TurboTax.  The attorney general says parent company, Intuit, deceived users by advertising a free service and then later collecting fees.  Around one-hundred-50-thousand eligible users in Pennsylvania will be notified and sent payments of around 30 dollars by mail for each year they paid fees to the company.

A state trooper has been arrested and suspended from work without pay for allegedly having steroid drugs sent to his home. Investigators say the steroids were found when a postal inspector intercepted a package for Trooper Joseph Czachorowski [[zack-cor-OW-ski]] and asked for a federal search warrant for it.  The trooper will remain on suspension until the charges are resolved.

At least one state lawmaker is continuing to push for passage of legislation aimed at bringing more film and television productions to Pennsylvania. State Senator Wayne Fontana says Pennsylvania continues to lose out on film and television productions because of the $70 million cap on its film production tax credit. But he says uncapping the tax credit would provide the predictability the film industry is looking for. Since the inception of its film production tax credit in 2007 the state has approved $812 million in tax credits resulting in a total economic impact of $3 billion.

The death of a nine-year-old boy whose body was found Wednesday morning not far from his home in New Kensington has been ruled a homicide.  Officials say the child had been reported missing at around 6 a.m. and his body later discovered in a wooded area.  His identity and cause of death have not been revealed.  Neighbors say the boy was a cancer survivor. 

Pennsylvania is among the top states to receive millions of dollars in federal wildlife funding.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the Commonwealth will receive one-point-seven million dollars to support the state’s stewardship of its natural resources and to preserve habitats for its wildlife.  Since the federal program was launched 20 years ago, it has given more than one-billion dollars to conservation projects across the country.   

State Representative Jason Ortitay is pushing a plan to expand high school education.  The lawmaker has proposed a bill that would establish an online course catalog available to every student in the state.  Ortitay says the system would allow students in low-income and rural districts access to classes that interest them not offered by the schools they attend.  House Bill 1330 has moved through the state House and is currently under consideration by the Senate Education Committee.