TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 23RD, 2022

 A man was found guilty on Thursday in a Mercer County courtroom for the murder of his wife in June of last year. WKBN-TV reports 45-year-old Eric George was found guilty of third degree murder in the death of his wife, 41-year-old Serena Schoeder. George will be sentenced next month. The crime took place at their home in Coolspring Township.

Governor Tom Wolf is touting investments made in public education during his time in office.  The governor visited Aliquippa High School yesterday to speak on the three-point-seven-billion in state funding contributed to education over the last eight years.  Wolf noted that the Aliquippa district is seeing a more-than 14 percent increase just this year.  Schools across the state are getting an average of eight percent over last year in state funding due to the new one-point-eight-billion-dollar school budget.

A Monaca man is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly admitted to having sex with a minor earlier this year. The Beaver County Times reports police arrested 23 year old Tyler James Caplinger for allegedly sexually assaulting and delivering drugs to a 14-year-old girl. Officers said Caplinger confessed to the crimes during a police interview. Caplinger faces a number of felony charges, including counts of statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, aggravated indecent assault of a minor and possession of drugs with intent to deliver.

The Pennsylvania Department of State says it needs poll workers in all 67 counties ahead of November’s midterm elections.  The Department of State says poll workers can be paid for training sessions and for their work on Election Day. The Pennsylvania Poll Worker Interest Form can be filled out on the Department of State’s website.  Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th.

A bill which aims to improve the state’s response to drug overdoses has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would require law enforcement and emergency medical services agencies to report overdose incidents within 72 hours to a statewide overdose information network. Supporters say this would enable officials to identify and respond to areas where drug overdoses are increasing. But concerns
were raised that the bill would criminalize people with addiction.

Local and state education leaders are gathering to address the statewide teacher shortage.  The Pennsylvania Teaching and Technical Assistance Network met yesterday, hoping to come up with solutions.  Teacher shortages are impacting lower-income districts, which officials agree is partly due to the state’s school funding formula.  One major concern among education officials is the disproportionate distribution of property taxes to more well-to-do districts.

Some state lawmakers are pushing a bill that would add universal free lunch to Pennsylvania public schools.  The legislation would devote two-hundred-75-million dollars annually to providing the meals.  Sponsors of the bill say it is the simplest solution to food insecurity for kids.  The proposal comes roughly two weeks after Governor Tom Wolf announced free breakfast for all students, beginning next month.

Your new Pennsylvania drivers license could be available on your cell phone soon.  PennDOT authorities are exploring the idea that would be a major step in digitizing more of residents’ daily lives.  There’s no timeline for when it might happen, as PennDOT says they are still in the early stages of development.  The digital license feature has already been rolled out in ten states across the U.S.    

The State of Pennsylvania will soon change the eligibility requirement for households to receive food stamps.  Governor Tom Wolf’s administration yesterday announced that, starting in October, the threshold for receiving assistance will change to 200-percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.  That means an estimated 174-thousand more families will qualify.  Food assistance is paid for by the federal government but individual states determine the eligibility requirements for the aid.