United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced yesterday that Lawrence County has been officially designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. Lawrence joins five other western Pennsylvania counties, that includes Beaver County in receiving dedicated federal resources to coordinate federal, state, and local governments to fight drug trafficking and abuse. According to U.S. Attorney Chung, Lawrence County is being utilized by multi-jurisdictional drug traffickers as a destination for the large-scale distribution of controlled substances into Lawrence and the surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Governor Tom Wolf says the American Rescue Plan Act has been used to plug “numerous economic holes and kept Pennsylvanians on their feet.”  Wolf visited the White House yesterday to meet with Vice President Harris and talk about how ARPA funding has helped Pennsylvania’s recovery from the COVID pandemic.  His remarks came as the Biden administration announced over 40-billion-dollars more that has been committed in American Rescue Plan funds to strengthen and expand the country’s workforce. It primarily will be used for underserved populations, public health and infrastructure workers. 

Two suspects are facing charges after the discovery of animals living in filth and squalor this week at a home in Beaver County.  Seven dogs, three puppies and a ferret were rescued Tuesday from a home on 18th Street.  The situation came to the attention of authorities after a dog escaped the home this week and reportedly led officers back to the scene.  Suspects Brittany Sanner and Essence Jackson have been arrested and are charged with animal cruelty and abuse.

Pennsylvania’s new 45-billion-dollar state budget has set aside nearly 500-million dollars for anti-gun violence initiatives. The biggest chunk of that is 135-million that’ll be used for police departments.  Specifics including funds for new equipment and for hiring and keeping officers on staff.  One-hundred-million dollars has also been earmarked for school safety grants.

Waterfire Sharon says it needs volunteers for its event on Saturday, July 23rd.  Waterfire Sharon officials say it takes 200 volunteers to run the event.  Details of the different opportunities and times can be found on the Waterfire Sharon website.  Waterfire Sharon is asking for a two-hour commitment.

A Butler woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to Social Security Fraud. 54 year old Amy Lynn Snow pleaded guilty to one count of Theft of Government Funds. Snow is accused of falsely reported to the Social Security Administration that her spouse was not a member of her household knowing that his status as a member of the household and his income would affect her entitlement to Social Security Income benefits.  The amount of the fraud was in excess of 45 thousand dollars. A sentencing date was not set.  

Governor Tom Wolf says 70 Pennsylvania towns are getting close to 40-million dollars.  The money will be used to upgrade traffic signals, increasing safety and mobility across the state.  It’s part of PennDOT’s Green Light-Go program.  Governor Wolf made the announcement yesterday.

A new consumer survey from Triple-A has revealed that one quarter of Americans would be likely to choose an electric vehicle as their next vehicle purchase.  Soaring gas prices are the primary reason.  According to AAA, 77% have cited skyrocketing gas prices has the top reason for their interest in switching to an electric vehicle. However, consumer hesitation surrounding range and accessibility to charging continues to draw concerns. Another concern is the high prices of the EV vehicles.

Three people suffered minor injuries from an incident yesterday at the Central Youngstown YMCA.  The branch was receiving swimming pool chemicals just before noon when that substance somehow found its way into the chlorine tank causing a chemical reaction.  The result caused some at the scene to begin having breathing problems.  Those individuals were taken to a local hospital and are expected to be okay.  Firefighters and a Hazmat team responding to the scene were able to clean up the situation.