TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR AUGUST 5TH, 2022

A New Castle man was sentenced to twelve and a half years in prison and five years of supervised release on his conviction of violating federal narcotics laws. 37 year old Dondi Searcy Jr.,  was sentenced in federal court on Wednesday for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Intercepted communications revealed Searcy’s role in a large-scale cocaine distribution based out of the New Castle area. The New Castle Police Department, and the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office assisted with the investigation.

U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman’s absence from the campaign trail doesn’t appear to be hurting his chances of being elected to Washington.  A new poll from Center Street PAC shows the Democratic Lieutenant Governor has a 14-point lead over Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz.  The poll shows Fetterman has support from 52 percent of likely voters while Dr. Oz has the backing of 38 percent.  Fetterman hasn’t held a campaign event since suffering a stroke days before the May primary.

The New Castle News is reporting 56 year old Stephen Karenbauer of New Castle was sentenced yesterday to 15-30 years in prison for child rape. He’ll also have to register as a sex offender for life. Karenbauer declared himself guilty in an open plea in court on March 21 of two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with an child.  New Castle police charged him on Aug. 26 last year with the child sex-related offenses and when they went to arrest him, he shot himself in the cheek with a 12-gauge shotgun. He was flown to a Youngstown hospital and arrested when he was discharged five days later.

Governor Tom Wolf says he’s celebrating the success of the PA Farm Bill.  While in State College today, Governor Wolf said the bill has secured 76-million dollars and hundreds of projects.  Wolf says the PA Farm Bill has proven to help support a strong food supply chain, remove red tape, and improve the lives of the state’s farmers and families. 

Lottery officials are waiting for the winner of Wednesday night’s 202-million-dollar Powerball jackpot to come forward. The holder of that winning ticket, sold at a Sheetz store in Westmoreland County, could choose to take the estimated lump sum payment of 119-million-dollars. The Powerball jackpot resets to 20-million dollars for tomorrow night’s drawing.

Two abortion rights activist groups are planning a protest outside the Greensburg office of state Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward.  The rally is planned from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. today.  Organizers say the demonstration is centered on Ward’s support for Senate Bill 106.  One of the state constitutional amendments included in the bill would deny a right to taxpayer-funded abortions.

The Pennsylvania Lottery announced that the lottery has generated a profit of nearly $1.2 Billion to benefit older Pennsylvanians during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.  A release stated that this is the 11th consecutive year that the lottery has generated more than $1 billion for senior programs, which include property tax and rent rebates, free and reduced transportation, prescription assistance, and more. The 2021-2022 fiscal year followed the all-time record fiscal year of 2020-2021 when a 20% growth rate greatly eclipsed the lottery’s projection.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are asking for help from the U.S. State Department in arranging the release of a teacher imprisoned in Russia.  Sixty-one-year-old Marc Fogel, of Oakmont, was arrested nearly a year ago on drug smuggling charges after taking 17 grams of medical marijuana into the country. He was travelling internationally for his tenth year of teaching at the Anglo American School in Moscow.  Eleven members of Pennsylvania’s delegation to Washington sent a letter to Secretary of State Blinken this week, asking that Fogel be included in release arrangements for WNBA athlete Brittney Griner.  Fogel’s sister says she is thankful for the bipartisan support from Congress members.