TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2022

A Summit Township couple is facing charges after state police this week found the home where they were keeping an autistic child and a number of animals to be filthy and in hazardous condition.  The child was removed from the residence as were 10 dogs and 3 cats after a search warrant was executed on the Saxonburg Road residence.  Regina and Robert Pruitt are both in custody today.  There has been no update provided on the child who is in the custody of Child and Youth Services but the animals are reportedly receiving care and doing okay.

Pennsylvania State Police arrested three New Castle teens who were accused of stealing dirt bikes in Slippery Rock Township earlier this summer.  Troopers said that two of the teenage boys are 14 years of age, while the other is 16 years old.  Police said that there was a red and black dirt bike that was able to be recovered. Troopers said that they tried to find the yellow dirt bike that was reported as stolen, but they couldn’t find it. The report lists both dirt bikes at a combined total value of approximately $4,300.

Ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato announced on Wednesday that New Castle was awarded nearly $103,000 in grant funding to expand the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables available to students. The funding was awarded under the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and includes $52,150 to the Harry W. Lockley Early Learning Center and $50,750 to Washington Intermediate School.  The two schools were among 266 elementary schools in the Commonwealth that received a total of $7 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

Senator Pat Toomey is criticizing President Biden’s decision to cancel debt from student loans. In a news release, the Lehigh Valley republican calls it a bailout scheme that will  especially burden Americans who don’t even have a college education. The senator also says the plan will only benefit the top 60 percent of income-earners in the country.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman says he won’t debate opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz.  In a statement last night, the Lieutenant Governor said Oz’s campaign thinks it funny to mock his recovery from a stroke.  Oz offered to pay for medical personnel Fetterman might need on standby in addition to allowing him to have all of his notes on hand and an earpiece to get answers from his staff.  Oz had hoped to debate Fetterman the first week of September.

A state group is working on recommendations for how to clear up confusion and avoid political bias in Pennsylvania elections. The Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board met Monday to gather information and discuss mail-in ballots and other challenges that have arisen in recent elections. Board members say they want to offer some recommendations to fix those issues and hope to present them to the General Assembly around the first of the year.

Triple-A is reporting even though the price of gas has dropped for eleven straight weeks fuel costs for the Labor Day weekend are still the highest ever. The national price is at 3.84 a gallon. Gas prices are impacted by rising oil prices and they are going up because of concerns Saudi Arabia could lower fuel output to try and raise prices. The U.S. price of oil rose a total of 5% over the course of the past three weeks. Triple-A says The average US household will spend about $450 more on an inflation-adjusted basis for gasoline this year compared with last year.

COVID cases are down in 60 of the state’s 67 counties. Lawrence County reported 151 cases and three deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 218 cases and three deaths. Throughout the pandemic, it has reported 20,987 cases and 436 deaths.  Mercer County has recorded 23,094 cases and 481 fatalities.

A Grove City man has been sentenced after 30 animals were found dead in Mercer County earlier this year. The Sharon Herald reports 54 year old Phillip Schaefer had been charged with 145 counts ranging from animal cruelty, neglect of animals, and aggravated animal cruelty. Schaefer pleaded guilty to one consolidated felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals causing serious injury or death. He was sentenced to three months to two years in prison and five years probation.