TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MAY 31ST, 2022

New Castle police are offering a reward for information about a missing woman. According to the department’s Facebook page  Melissa Henson was last seen in January 2021 in the North Hill area of New Castle. Police said they have followed up on “numerous leads” since she went missing. Police believe there are individuals that possess pertinent information to the case. Henson is 5-foot-4 with dark shoulder-length hair and green eyes. She also has a tattoo on her left foot of a heart with an arrow and an “Aubry” tattoo on her right arm.  Anyone with information is asked to call New Castle City Police.

Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey says he couldn’t get the votes ten years ago on a gun-control bill but he believes they will come now.  He wants another chance at the bill he introduced with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin to expand background checks to all commercial gun sales. He says the idea is supported by 90 percent of Americans. Senator Toomey also says there’s a bi-partisan effort underway to create laws that would allow police or family members to ask a court to remove guns from a person.  

One person was taken to the hospital following a two vehicle accident in Slippery Rock Township last week. State Police report 28 year old Patrick Staph of Edinburg was westbound on 422 when he failed to stop and struck a vehicle operated by 59 year old Susan Vitale of New Castle who was stopped due to traffic congestion. Staph was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for treatment. Vitale suffered a minor injury but refused treatment.

Gas prices are continuing to climb in the region and are close to breaking all-time records. Triple-A says the average prices for a gallon of gas in Pennsylvania is four-dollars and 76-cents as of Monday.   The average price of diesel in Pennsylvania has dropped down a bit, however. It’s now at six-dollars and 23 cents per gallon. In Lawrence County the average price is 4.70  a gallon while drivers in Mercer County are paying 4.69.  

Mask mandates are back at the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State.  Pitt resumed the requirement Friday for all indoor facilities on their Pittsburgh, Greensburg and Titusville campuses.  Penn State’s mask mandate returns today at all indoor facilities on their Beaver, Greater Allegheny and New Kensington campuses.  The actions come as the CDC has moved Allegheny, Westmoreland and Crawford Counties to high level status for COVID.

Officials are expected to provide a full update today on the situation in Harmar following Thursday’s train derailment.  Seventeen cars left the track with nine of them going into an inlet near the Allegheny River and one leaking an estimated three-thousand gallons of sweet crude oil into the water.  The EPA reports that all of the cars that went into the inlet have been removed.

As part of the Click It or Ticket campaign which runs through June 5th, PA State Police are encouraging the parents of young children to make sure car safety seats are being used properly. Checks to make sure child safety seats are properly installed and free from recalls are available through the State Police. Go to psp.pa.gov. State law requires children under the age of two to be secured in a rear-facing car seat, children under four to be restrained in an approved child safety seat and children four to eight years old in an appropriate booster seat.

Two brands of strawberries regularly sold in Western Pennsylvania supermarkets are being investigated by the FDA as potentially linked to an outbreak of Hepatitis A.  Consumers are being advised that strawberries sold under the brands FreshKampo and HEB between March 5th and April 25th of 2022 should be thrown out.  The agency advises that if consumers have strawberries on hand and they are not sure of the brand the berries were sold under, that they should err on the side of caution and dispose of the strawberries.  The berries are often sold in Aldi stores, Walmart stores and other outlets.