TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2022

A New Castle man has pleaded guilty in federal court to drug and gun law violations. 23 year old Jgenus Steele pled guilty to possessing with intent to distribute and/or distributing cocaine base, fentanyl, and heroin on Dec, 19th of 2019, and Feb. 21st, of 2020. Steele also pled guilty to a firearms charge.  Sentencing has been set for January 12th of next year.  The law provides for a sentence of at least five years to life in prison. The Lawrence County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force and the FBI conducted the investigation.

An investigation by the Pennsylvania auditor general questions whether some people are winning state lottery jackpots by illegal means.  Auditor General Timothy DeFoor says some of the people who claim prizes may be buying winning tickets from other players, at a discount.  DeFoor says this way, they can avoid having their winnings garnished to pay back taxes or things like outstanding child support.  DeFoor says retailers may be the biggest abusers of this behavior. 

State Police have charged a Mercer County bus driver with the rape of a 64-year-old woman with intellectual disabilities. 66-year-old Rodney Sealand is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person with a mental disability, aaggravated indecent assault with a person with a mental disability, along with several other charges. The alleged incident took place back on August 22nd.  Bond was set at 25 thousand dollars. Sealand is due back in court on September 28th.  The company that contracts bus drivers for school and other programs in Mercer County said Sealand is no longer employed.

The state Fire Marshall is looking for the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a home in Sharon early Thursday. WFMJ-TV reports the fire broke out just after 2am at a home in the 200 block of Cedar Avenue. The home reportedly is vacant. No injuries were reported.  Several fire companies assisted firemen in Sharon

The New Castle News is reporting fire has left a Slippery Rock family of five homeless. The fire broke out just before 9 a.m. at the back of the one-story house on Houk Road. One person was at home at the time of the fire. A woman who is a substitute teacher and her three children were attending classes in the Laurel Area School District at the time of the fire.  No injuries were reported.  The school district is exploring fund raising options for the family.

Bond has been denied for a former Allegheny County teacher and youth athletics coach accused of sexually assaulting students.  Eric Fairman was charged September 1st on counts involving 4 victims while charges involving 3 more victims were added this week.  Authorities expect to bring more charges.  Fairman’s request for bond was turned away yesterday.

A tentative contract is now on the table that could end the nursing home workers’ strike at some facilities.  SEIU union leaders say they have reached a deal with owners, Comprehensive Healthcare Management.  Picketing began at care centers that included New Castle on September second.  Union members at those properties are pausing demonstrations to review and vote on the contract.

Governor Tom Wolf says he’s gotten agreements from legislative leaders on legislation to give future victims of child sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits.  Governor Wolf’s office says the proposed measure would additionally end time limits for police to file criminal charges.  Though a state constitutional change on the issue was approved previously in both chambers, the proposal reportedly lost momentum in this past session.  It must now be re-approved before the end of January.

Lottery players are hoping their numbers match the ones drawn for tonight’s top prize in the MegaMillions game.  Tonight’s Mega has an estimated jackpot of 210-million dollars.  Winning numbers will be announced at 11 p.m.