TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR AUGUST 24TH, 2022

Workers at 24 skilled-nursing facilities in Pennsylvania  have set September 2nd as the date to strike if they don’t reach agreements with three major nursing home owners. The facilities include nine nursing homes owned by Priority Healthcare in eastern and central Pennsylvania. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania says the unions want higher pay, the use of temporary agency employees and better staffing ratios.

A criminal homicide trial in Butler County is moving forward after the defendant in the case rejected a recent plea offer. According to the New Castle News 24 year old Paris Carter of New Castle will head to trial in the shooting death of David Hines of New Castle. Carter is accused of shooting Hines in the side of the head in May of 2021 and leaving his body inside a car near a campground off Route 19 near Portersville just inside the Butler County line. Carter remains in the Butler County Jail being held without bond.

The state health department has been ordered to show how many medical marijuana patients have received doctors’ approval to use cannabis for opioid addiction treatment. A panel of Commonwealth Court judges on Friday rejected the idea that releasing the information could lead to criminal charges against employees. A media outlet says it wanted the information to better understand the impact of the agency’s controversial decision to endorse marijuana as a treatment for opioid addiction.  

Classes in Moon Area School District are beginning today despite recent computer system concerns.  Superintendent Barry Balaski says a “cyber incident” has encrypted some computers and caused disruptions for administrators.  The superintendent says specialists and government authorities are looking into the source of the issues and they are working to resolve any remaining problems.  An update will be provided to parents when more information is available, according to Balaski.

Governor Tom Wolf continues to push for an increase in the state’s minimum wage.  Governor Wolf said today Pennsylvania’s minimum wage would be 24-dollars-an-hour now if the state had kept up with productivity growth since the late 1960s.  The Democrat says today’s living wage needs to be over 16-dollars-an-hour.  Wolf added it’s past time the Republican-led legislature raises the minimum wage to meet today’s economic reality.

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding has opened proposal applications for half-a-million-dollars in state Farm Bill Agriculture and Youth Grants. Redding invited applicants who have projects directed toward youth agriculture to apply by September 30th.  The Ag and Youth Program provides direct grants of up to 75-hundred-dollars and matches grants of up to 25-thousand to support projects and equipment purchases by youth-run organizations.

Sales of new, single-family homes across the country dropped last month over 12-and-a-half percent. The data released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department and HUD says high prices and rising mortgage rates scared off buyers. Economists at PNC Financial Services Group based in Pittsburgh say the forecast for Pennsylvania is declining as well, but not by as much.  They expect a report for new home sales will report an eight-and-a-half percent monthly decrease for July.

Lt. Governor John Fetterman is pledging to stand by union workers if elected to replace Pat Toomey in the United States Senate.  Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, said as much while rallying with United Steelworkers members Tuesday at the group’s Pittsburgh headquarters.  A poll out this week from the Trafalgar Group shows Fetterman leading his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, by a slim margin in the race. 

Student loan borrowers from Western Pennsylvania and around the country are expected to receive welcome news from Washington today.  Reports are that the Biden administration will announce forgiveness of 10-thousand dollars in student aid debt for borrowers who earn less than 125-thousand dollars each year.  Many have called for the White House to forgive more, but the 10-thousand dollar figure would represent the largest amount forgiven on a wide scale.