TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR OCTOBER 6TH, 2022

A Beaver County man is facing federal sex crimes charges after authorities say he assaulted an underage girl.  Court records show 64-year-old Mark Kriss has been indicted on attempted sex trafficking of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor counts.  Investigators say Kriss received explicit images of the child and offered her money to engage in a sex act.  Authorities say he then picked her up and took her to a motel where he assaulted her.  The FBI and the Northern Regional Police Department were involved in the investigation.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board released unaudited financial results for the fiscal year 2021-22 that reflect record net income, and for the first time ever, liquor sales topped $3 billion. Sales in the most recently completed fiscal year, which is 2021-22, totaled $3.02 billion which includes liquor and sales taxes, which is $109.9 million more than the prior year.  In addition, the PLCB authorized about $2 million in grants during the past fiscal year in support of the state’s beer and wine industries and awarded nearly $1.4 million in alcohol education grants during the year to reduce underage and dangerous drinking.

A Beaver County teacher is going back to work following a suspension over his refusal to use preferred pronouns.  South Side Area School Board members reinstated biology and anatomy teacher Daren Cusato during a packed meeting yesterday evening.  Roughly four-hundred people were in attendance, around 40 of whom spoke in defense of Cusato’s stance.  The board has suspended the policy requiring teachers to use preferred pronouns, and has plans to draft a new policy in the coming weeks.

Lawmakers in both houses of the state legislature are not in session for a couple more weeks. State officials say the state senate will reconvene on Monday, October 17th and house members come back to session the following Monday, October 24th.  Many committees are still holding hearings and sessions, with some taking place in areas away from the capitol or via video conference on-line.  

A former Sharon man has been sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for committing firearm and ammunition crimes. 33 year old La’Var Brown who now lives in Georgia was sentenced to 57 months in prison and was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after his sentence. Authorities said Brown in October of 2021 possessed several guns and ammunition at his home in Sharon, and at his girlfriend’s residence, also in Sharon. Brown has a previous felony conviction in 2018 and is prohibited from possessing firearms.  

Governor Tom Wolf is now tasked with appointing a new justice to fill a vacancy on the State Supreme Court, although his choice will be subject to state senate approval.  The position became vacant with the death of Chief Justice Max Baer last weekend.  An election for the seat has been scheduled for 2023.  The court says Justice Debra Todd, who was set to replace Mr. Baer after he retired, will now serve as chief justice.  She is the first woman to lead the state’s high court.

The water in the fountain at the State Capitol is now pink to serve as a visual reminder about breast cancer.  Doctors and health advocates say it’s important that people get regular mammograms to check for the disease, especially if they have a family history of breast cancer.  In those cases, they recommend getting screenings before age 40, the age that they recommend women begin getting yearly exams.  They also say genetic testing can look for mutations that put people at higher risk.

Pennsylvania’s state alcohol regulator is offering some rare deals.  Fine Wine & Good Spirits is taking 50 percent off more than 33-hundred wines, liquors, and accessory items.  Officials say well-known brands are included in the clearance, with sales available in stores or online.  Pennsylvania residents can get free shipping on purchases over 99 dollars at F-W-G-S-dot-com.